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From: Terry Zdan <tjzdan50(a)gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [At-network] Slower Speed Limits Give Cities a New Attitude
About Biking, Walking, Breathing
Traffic pollution tied to slower cognition in schoolchildren
Take pollution into account when selecting sites for new schools,
CBC News <http://www.cbc.ca/news/cbc-news-online-news-staff-list-1.1294364>
Mar 03, 2015 2:22 PM ET Last Updated: Mar 03, 2015 9:59 PM ET
Children who attend school in heavy traffic areas may show slower cognitive
development and lower memory test scores, Spanish researchers have found.
About 21,000 premature deaths are attributed to air pollution in Canada
each year, according to the Canadian Medical Association. The detrimental
effects of air pollution on cardiovascular health and on the lungs are well
documented and now researchers are looking at its effects on the brain.
To that end, Dr. Jordi Sunyer and his colleagues from the Centre for
Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona measured three aspects
of memory and attentiveness in more than 2,700 primary school children
every three months over 12 months.
"What was surprising for us is among our children, we see very robust,
consistent effects," Sunyer said Tuesday from Rome.
The associations between slower cognitive development and higher levels of
air pollutants remained after the researchers took factors such as parents’
education, commuting time, smoking in the home and green spaces at school
The researchers measured air pollutants from traffic twice, in the school
courtyard and inside the classroom for schools with high and low
traffic-related air pollution. Pollutants from burning fossil fuels,
carbon, nitrogen dioxide and ultrafine particles were measured.
For example, working memory improved 7.4 per cent among children in highly
polluted schools compared with 11.5 per cent among those in less polluted
Sunyer called on politicians to understand and act on how air pollution can
be harmful to the developing brains of children, given that one of the
cognitive measures studied is a good predictor of learning achievement.
The study builds on experiments in animal models and smaller human
studies, Sunyer said. But the only way to prove a link between air
pollution and poorer cognition would be to remove the cause and see if the
The findings have important implications for Canadian children, said
environmental health Prof. Ryan Allen of Simon Fraser University in
Burnaby, B.C. His research team has found more than one-third of public
elementary schools in Canadian cities are located within 200 metres of a
highway or major road, a distance where he said traffic-related air
pollutants are significantly elevated.
"The best long-term strategy is to reduce the amount of pollution that is
produced in the first place," Allen said in an email. "We should also take
environmental pollution into account when selecting sites for new
schools. For example, legislation in California prevents the construction
of new schools within 150 metres of a freeway."
For existing schools, Allen suggested locating playgrounds as far from
traffic as possible, moving air intakes for ventilation systems away from
traffic and using enhanced air filtration.
University of Toronto chemistry Prof. Greg Evans studies sources of air
pollution, how people get exposed and health outcomes. For Evans, it's too
early for parents to worry about how close schools are to roads.
"What we can do, which really doesn't need more evidence, is try to reduce
the traffic emissions and that is done most simply by removing some of the
highest emitting vehicles on the roadway," Evans said. "Secondly, for
parents who are worried about this, I'd encourage them to stop idling in
front of schools."
While Canadian cities generally have good air quality, a 2013 commentary
published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal estimated 54 per cent
of the population live in areas with high exposure.
Evans said the levels of traffic air pollutants measured in Spain are quite
comparable to those in most Canadian cities.
Sunyer would like to see more children walk to school
<http://www.cbc.ca/1.2648059>, adults walk to work and more rides on public
transit to mitigate the traffic problem.
The study was funded by the European Research Council.
With files from CBC's Christine Birak
Slower Speed Limits Give Cities a New Attitude About Biking, Walking,
As more U.S. cities embrace the Vision Zero
<http://nextcity.org/daily/entry/seattle-new-speed-limit> approach to
curtailing traffic and ensuring pedestrian safety, theres plenty of
compelling data in favor of slow roads coming out of Edinburgh, Scotland.
The numbers show how lower speed limits can change drivers attitudes about
bicyclists and even let city-dwellers breathe a bit easier thanks to air
The easy-to-love capital city is rolling out a plan
cap the speed limit at 20 mph across 80 percent of its roads, including the
entirety of its dense downtown. Key arterial roads will retain their speeds
of 30 and 40 mph. After three years of planning, public engagement and pilot
projects, as well as advocacy by Living Streets
<http://www.livingstreets.org.uk/scotland> and 20
<http://www.20splentyforus.org.uk/> s Plenty For Us, the new strategy is
explicitly about encouraging people to bike or walk, rather than drive.
Crucial details about cost and enforcement will come in an implementation
report that is due in March. But what is certain is that change will begin
to be phased in later this year. It is expected to be complete by the end of
the 2017/18 fiscal year.
The last sweeping change
space-1-3694827> in Scotlands speed policy dates back more than 80 years,
when it adopted 30 mph as its limit in 1934; before then, there were no
restrictions on driving speed. At the time, there were about 2.5 million
cars on British roads. Today, there are 31.5 million. The greater traffic
density calls for a new road strategy. Between 2009 and 2013, there was an
average of 2,842 bike and pedestrian casualties in Edinburgh, or about 22
percent of the Scottish total. Traveling at excess speed caused 13 percent
of all reported accidents, and 20 percent of fatal ones. While the risk of
fatal injury for pedestrians is only 1 percent when the vehicle is traveling
at 20 mph, it jumps up to over 30 percent when the speed is 40 mph.
Slow roads are a meaningful intervention here. Down south, Portsmouth became
the first city in England to put 20 mph limits in place over most of its
streets, and even though it didnt include traffic calming features as part
of the plan, it still saw a drop in accidents and casualties. Pilot projects
in Edinburgh revealed <http://www.planetizen.com/node/71374> that the
number of people who believed cycling to be unsafe fell from 26 percent to
18 percent. The number of young children riding bikes to school tripled,
while, among older kids, the rate of bike-riding to school went from 3
percent to 22 percent.
Scotlands council of Fife, which is home to St. Andrews, stands out as a
slow roads pioneer. In 2003, its leadership adopted a 20 mph initiative that
eventually encompassed nearly all urban residential streets. Ten years after
the fact, an evaluation of the program is pending, but early indicators
suggest that the policy had a tangible impact traffic has indeed slowed
and there is generally a very good level of support for it, although few
are fans of speed cushions or bumps.
Easing down the rush of traffic neatly connects to the newly energized
o-contribute-to-new-strategy-on-air-pollution-1-3665444> to clean up air
pollution in Scotland. Even as the country has steadily reduced emissions
since 1990, it still has a tendency to break
European air quality standards. Environmental groups connect this to serious
public health problems that cost the National Health Service £2 billion
annually. In January, Scotland adopted
<http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2015/01/3287> a low emission strategy for
sustainable growth and an increased quality of life.
Emilia Hanna, the air pollution campaigner for Friends of the Earth
<http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-30798323> the BBC
that traffic fumes in urban areas are a leading cause of poor air quality,
meaning that the new speed restrictions can be part of a larger evolution.
One of the biggest barriers to walking and cycling is fear of speeding
traffic, so 20 mph zones, if accompanied by greater investment in active
travel infrastructure, could transform how people move around the city, she
said. Importantly, the
d> good practice guide developed for Edinburgh by Transport Scotland
points to how pollution has a disproportionate effect on disadvantaged
communities, suggesting that slower traffic can reduce health inequities.
Edinburghs move also syncs with the Scottish governments 2010 Cycling
Action Plan, which aimed for 10 percent of all journeys to be taken by bike
by 2020. When the plan was updated
<http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/report/j0002-00.htm> in 2013, urban
areas were encouraged to introduce more 20 mph streets.
The citys pro-active shift to slow roads is inspiring its neighbors.
Residents of Glasgow, Scotlands most populous city, have recently committed
-add-4985126> to capping speeds at 20 mph for all residential roads, but
residents are petitioning
gow-157557> their council to expand the policy to commercial districts.
These lower speeds encourage more considerate driving, leading to safer
streets for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, they argue. Likewise, a
councilor in Dundee is introducing
dundee-20mph-limits-1.842632> a 20 mph proposal, suggesting that
Edinburghs best practices can also work for the nations fourth largest
city. And speed cameras are looking like they will become more popular
scottish-roads-1-3693496> across the board in Scotland, bringing greater
awareness and transparency to road safety.
One important point that Transport Scotland makes in its slow roads report
is that reducing speed limits are not a shortcut to complete streets.
They should not be set in isolation, but should be considered as part of a
range of other measures to manage speeds, improve safety and meet other
objectives, including the encouragement of active travel, it says.
Enforcement is, of course, an immediately pressing point. Not everybody is
happy about the pending slowdown in Edinburgh. A procession of black taxi
edinburgh-s-20mph-limits-1-3697432> recently, pointedly trying to bring
traffic to a standstill. Drivers are concerned that the slow road plan will
backfire, causing more rather than less congestion, disinclining people to
The city councils transport convener, Lesley Hinds, has said before
<http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-28970224> that she
understands that public consultation at each step is essential in moving
toward a culture change in the capital. To make the 20 mph speed limit
workable, and not just a philosophical point, the council plans to focus on
signage and road paint, as well as calming measures like pedestrian islands.
Speed bumps will not be used on any main streets served by the bus system.
The most recent public poll of Edinburgh residents showed
that 60 percent supported the 20 mph limit. And much of the opposition is
fueled by misconceptions
burghs_20mph_roll-out> , including the concern that it will be a blanket
rollout or that it will hurt commercial districts.
For his part, Stuart Hay, head of Living Streets, has his eye on the prize.
If this encourages more people to be active, it could have the biggest
impact on public health since the smoking ban, he wrote
space-1-3694827> in The Scotsman.
Please circulate to your networks:
Bike Week Winnipeg is looking for an independent, enthusiastic individual to
act as an intern/assistant to the Event Coordinator for Bike Week 2015.
Position Description: Working with the Bike Week Event Coordinator, the
Event Intern will assist with a variety of duties in the planning,
organizing, and coordination of the events and activities of Bike Week 2015.
It is our hope that this Intern position will transition into the Event
Coordinator role in 2016. The current event coordinator will be leaving this
position after this year's event and there will be an opportunity for the
intern to move to this position.
Bike Week is an annual event that celebrates people riding bicycles.
Starting as Bike to Work Day in 2008, the event has grown to become a
week-long celebration of bicycles that engages everyone that rides a bike,
regardless of reason they ride.
Through a wide variety of bicycle related events our goal is to encourage
people to get on their bikes and help to improve the culture of riding bikes
in our city. In 2015 Bike Week will run from June 13 to 19. Events and
activities include but are not limited to the Bike Week Kickoff Breakfast
and Celebration Barbeque, workshops, themed group rides, and a variety of
other bike related activities. For more information please visit
www.bikeweekwinnipeg.com <http://www.bikeweekwinnipeg.com> .
Duties and Responsibilities: In cooperation with the Event Coordinator and
Project Manager, the Event Intern will assist with all aspects of the
* Attend Bike Week planning meetings as availability permits
* Overseeing the overall marketing campaign and working with the
* Disseminating materials and information to sponsors
* Collecting and disseminating all promotional information required
for participating events
* Booking venues and securing permits as required for events such as
the kickoff breakfast and celebration BBQ
* Coordinating and hosting the Bike Week media launch party in early
* Coordinating events including the kickoff breakfast and celebration
BBQ (including liaising with sponsors and venue, ordering food services,
distributing signage, managing volunteers, booking security, ordering event
materials, setting up stations and running event)
* Coordinating other activities including themed group rides and
* Liaising with the Pit Stop and Volunteer coordinator to ensure all
pit stop sponsors have information and materials required
* Preparing for and coordinating the pit stop information meeting
* Representing Bike Week at events
* Managing distribution of t-shirts and other Bike Week prizes
* Coordinating interviews with media, contacting appropriate Bike Week
committee members for media opportunities and potentially speaking to media
throughout Bike Week
* Coordinating documentation of Bike Week activities (including
booking photo/videographers and managing data)
* Creating and distributing final project report
* Other tasks as assigned
Qualifications: Self-motivated, reliable and able to work collaboratively
without close supervision. Key qualifications include:
* Organized, responsible and self-disciplined
* Good interpersonal skills
* Team player
* Good written and verbal communication skills
* Knowledgeable about Winnipeg and Manitoba communities
* Previous event coordination experience an asset
* Some knowledge of bike culture in Winnipeg and asset
Term of Position: April 15 to July 31, 2015.
An opportunity exists for the successful candidate to fill the Event
Coordinator position for 2016. There is no guarantee of further employment
and the final decision on hiring of an event coordinator for 2016 will be
determined by the Bike Week Steering Committee.
Remuneration: The Event Intern will receive a contract for $ 2000.00. It is
estimated that the work of this position will be approximately 100 to 120
hours. The position is part-time and hours from week to week will be
variable, however during Bike Week the successful candidate will need to be
Deadline for application: 4:00 p.m on Friday, March 20, 2015.
Apply: Applications will be accepted by e-mail only. If you are interested
please email your resume and cover letter to dave(a)bikeweekwinnipeg.com