Compelling difference between NA and the Netherlands experience with
children and mobility (no surprise, I know!) .
While a family in the U.S. has their children apprehended because they were
allowed to walk to a park less than 1km from their home, children in
Utrecht are taught about cycling, walking and motorized vehicles in a
'traffic garden' (watch 3 min Streetfilms video <https://vimeo.com/31545084>.)
A speaker in the Utrecht video notes that it is important because at age 10
or 11, children there will start biking across the city. That's the same
age as the older child in the U.S. family that isn't allowed to let their
children walk 1km to the park in their own neighbourhood. Sigh.
* * * * *
'Free-range' parenting under the gunAgency seizes kids walking home alone
By: Amanda Lee Myers
SILVER SPRING, Md. -- Two suburban Washington, D.C., parents are under
scrutiny again for letting their six- and 10-year-old children play in a
park and walk home alone in a case that has stirred debate about
"free-range" parenting and government powers.
For the second time in four months, police on Sunday picked up the children
of Danielle and Alexander Meitiv as they were walking home alone from a
park that's just over a kilometre from their house. This time, instead of
bringing the children home, police took them directly to Child Protective
"It's beyond ridiculous," Danielle Meitiv said Monday. "The world is safer
today, and yet we imprison our children inside and wonder why they're obese
and have no focus."
The Meitivs, who live 9.6 kilometres from Washington in Silver Spring, Md.,
believe in "free-range" parenting, which includes allowing their children
to play and walk alone in the neighbourhood to teach them self-reliance and
Child Protective Services first began investigating the couple in December
after police stopped the children midway through a 1.6-km walk home from a
different park after responding to a call from a concerned citizen. Police
drove the children home but called Child Protective Services.
The Meitivs were notified in a February letter they had been found
responsible for "unsubstantiated neglect," a ruling that's made when
there's some information supporting child neglect, seemingly credible
reports disagree or there isn't enough information for a conclusion.
The Meitivs continued allowing their children some independence until
Sunday, when the couple dropped the kids off at a park so they could play
after a six-hour drive back from upstate New York, telling them to be home
by 6 p.m.
Danielle Meitiv said she and her husband began worrying when the kids
weren't home by 6:30. Child Protective Services didn't call them until 8
p.m. to say the children were in their custody.
Police had picked them up on the walk home after another concerned citizen
In a news release Monday, the Montgomery County Police Department said the
officer who responded to the call saw a homeless man "eyeing" the children.
Capt. Paul Starks, a department spokesman, couldn't immediately elaborate
on whether the homeless man was considered a serious threat.
Starks said the children were turned over to Child Protective Services at
the agency's request.
The Meitivs were able to get their children back from Child Protective
Services around 10:30 p.m.
Similar to December's incident, Danielle Meitiv said the couple had to sign
a temporary safety plan saying their children would be supervised at all
times until a followup visit.
"This morning, my daughter wanted to go play in the yard and I couldn't let
her out because I was making breakfast," Danielle Meitiv said. "Are they
prisoners? She's six and she's not allowed to play in the yard?"
The case has drawn international media coverage, and Danielle Meitiv said
the couple have heard from people all over the world. The majority have
been supportive, Meitiv said, but some have expressed outrage at the
couple's parenting style.
Starks said police and Child Protective Services were conducting a joint
investigation of the Meitivs for possible child-neglect allegations. Once
that is finished, a decision will be made about whether any charges will be
filed against the couple, he said.
Child Protective Services said the agency is prohibited from discussing
In the meantime, Danielle Meitiv said she won't leave her children
unsupervised until she and her husband are cleared.
"Child Protective Services has succeeded in making me terrified of letting
my children out," she said. "Nothing that has happened so far has convinced
me that children don't need independence and freedom, except that they'll
be harassed by police and CPS."
-- The Associated Press
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 14, 2015 A6
Green Action Centre and Bike Winnipeg invite you to join us for a local
viewing of the APBP webinar: *Exploring Vision Zero: Legal Rights and
Issues for Pedestrians and Cyclists**. *
The webinar viewing takes place in the EcoCentre boardroom (3rd floor, 303
Portage Ave) and will be followed by group discussion of local applications.
RSVPs appreciated but not necessary. Hope to see you then!
** * * * **
Exploring Vision Zero: Legal Rights and Issues for Pedestrians and Cyclists
*Wednesday, Apr. 15th, 2-3pm, EcoCentre
*Key learning objectives*:
1. Understand the background and focus of the Vision Zero concept, and
how laws relating to vulnerable road users relate to this concept
2. Identify strategies for implementing a Vision Zero plan
3. Recognize ways to improve laws that protect pedestrians and cyclists
Traffic laws that ensure the safety and fair treatment of pedestrians and
cyclists vary widely from state to state, and within states. Is there a
better alternative? Vision Zero uses one simple idea to reframe the issue
of legal rights for vulnerable users: all citizens have the right to safe
mobility—on a par with the right to clean air or safe drinking water. The
Vision Zero approach to mobility prioritizes safety and presumes that
traffic fatalities are preventable; the focus is on changing transportation
culture. APBP’s next two webinars (April 15 and May 20) explore Vision Zero
and how communities have begun to rethink engineering, education and
enforcement to promote behavioral change.
Presenters will discuss the origins of Vision Zero, the implications of
Vision Zero for equity, key factors in implementation, and the roles of
advocacy groups and law enforcement. The City of Seattle’s Vision Zero plan
provides an example of a plan that integrates policy, regulations, street
design and law enforcement to achieve a visionary goal of ending traffic
deaths and serious injuries by 2030. The webinar concludes with a
discussion of ways to clarify and improve laws and regulations that protect
vulnerable road users.
- Dongho Chang, PE, PTOE, City Traffic Engineer, City of Seattle
- Arthur Ross, Pedestrian-Bicycle Coordinator, City of Madison
- Heather Strassberger, AICP, Project Manager, WalkBoston
The sneaky parking-lot plotHydro proposal for Notre Dame Avenue
ON ARCHITECTUREBy: Brent Bellamy
IN the past decade, downtown has experienced development and renewal. To
keep up with increasing electrical demand and serve this growth, Manitoba
Hydro will soon begin construction on a new $62-million substation downtown.
It will be located on a large parking lot at the corner of Adelaide Street
and Notre Dame Avenue, previously owned by nearby Calvary Temple. As part
of the transaction to secure the property, Hydro agreed to replace the
church parking by co-ordinating the purchase of an adjacent 40-stall lot
with the intent of demolishing four commercial buildings along Notre Dame
to make room for another 35 cars. An application to the city for a
demolition permit has not yet been submitted, but intentions to do so have
been made public.
An important obstacle facing this scheme is that demolition to create
surface parking as a primary use on a downtown property is no longer
permitted. Building demolition is only allowed with proof that an
appropriate redevelopment plan is forthcoming.
The negative effect surface parking lots have on urban areas is well
recognized across North America, and these restrictions in Winnipeg have
been put in place to begin the long process of reversing their blight on
our city. It is staggering to consider that almost one-quarter of
Winnipeg's downtown is devoted to surface parking.
The most significant reason they are so detrimental to urban areas is that
they degrade the pedestrian experience, which has a cascading effect on the
economic and physical health of the city. Unlike suburban businesses that
cater to the automobile, commerce downtown relies on a volume of foot
traffic for its success. Large swaths of asphalt parking reduce the density
of a neighbourhood and in turn the intensity of that pedestrian traffic,
hurting the economic vitality of the area.
Buildings constructed to the sidewalk improve the pedestrian experience by
creating a continuous edge that provides shelter, increased retail density
and activity, greater visual interest and connection to interior spaces.
This edge encloses the peripheral expanse of a street, which intuitively
slows vehicular traffic, heightening pedestrian comfort and security.
Surface parking also increases the perception of crime in a downtown.
Building density and increased sidewalk traffic is a self-policing
deterrent to criminal activity. Crime is attracted to secluded open spaces
such as parking lots, and without feeling connected to adjacent buildings
as a pedestrian, the perception of safety decreases as one's feeling of
Every Winnipeg mayor since Glen Murray has recognized the negative effect
of surface parking on downtown and each has campaigned on promises to
reduce their numbers. Former mayor Sam Katz referred to them as "magnets
for crime" and Mayor Brian Bowman along with Premier Selinger, who himself
made anti-parking-lot pledges, recently announced an important new
residential grant program that targets development on open lots. For
initiatives such as this to be successful long-term, it's crucial we
maintain consistent values and uphold these goals and ideals in all
The demolition application for the Notre Dame properties will likely make
the argument the overall amount of surface parking will not increase
because the substation will rise on a lot across the street. This may be
technically true, but if impact on the neighbourhood is the measure of a
project's value, the parking-lot trade is not an even one. A building is
not merely the inverse of a parking lot. The opportunity it provides and
its interaction with the street are what create relative value for the
Many people will look at these four buildings and decide they are small,
old and of no real worth, but these types of buildings are vital for
establishing healthy and economically prosperous urban neighbourhoods.
The high rents required to make new construction viable in Winnipeg
generally prevent local or small business from affording space in new
buildings. Redevelopment of older structures such as these can provide
lower-cost opportunities for small-scale commerce, promoting a diversity
and entrepreneurship that is the backbone of a neighbourhood's economy.
The West End has seen a renaissance, transforming itself into one of the
most vibrant and diverse neighbourhoods in the city, fuelled by a
proliferation of small, unique, family-owned businesses that have found
success in the low-cost model offered by the older buildings in the area.
Located on a busy thoroughfare between Central Park and the West End, the
Notre Dame buildings are perfectly situated to provide opportunity for the
area's population, many of whom are new immigrants or migrants from rural
areas searching for an independent livelihood. The restaurants, corner
stores, retail shops and services that build a strong, vibrant community
can only find a home in these types of small, older structures. With three
unique storefronts, low commercial rents and small flexible spaces, the
Notre Dame buildings can be a catalyst in furthering the neighbourhood's
transformation by enabling this fine-grain commercial growth.
Startup companies, arts groups and non-profit incubator organizations have
also found success in these types of buildings. Winnipeg's new Innovation
Alley, directly adjacent to the Notre Dame properties is a celebrated
collection of creative industries that could only have happened in the
low-rent spaces of older buildings.
Manitoba Hydro is making a significant contribution to downtown Winnipeg by
constructing its new substation. Calvary Temple has been an important and
positive presence in the city centre for several decades. There is a strong
will from both partners to be good neighbours and to do what is best for
the community. The Central Park and West End neighbourhoods deserve more
than a parking-lot trade and the status quo. They deserve a project that
improves the safety, economic opportunity and sense of pride for everyone
who lives in those communities.
If a provincial Crown corporation is allowed to co-ordinate the creation of
a new surface parking lot on one of downtown's main commercial streets, the
precedent will be difficult to defend when private building owners hope to
follow suit and cash in on the reduced property taxes, low maintenance
costs and easy profits surface parking can provide.
Reducing the four unassuming buildings on Notre Dame to rubble would
represent a lost opportunity to make positive change in a sensitive
inner-city neighbourhood. It is not too late to reconsider the need for
those 35 parking stalls and find a solution that is a win for Manitoba
Hydro, for Calvary Temple and for everyone in the community.
Brent Bellamy is senior design architect for Number Ten Architectural Group.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 13, 2015 B3
*Beth McKechnie* | Workplace Commuter Options
<http://greenactioncentre.ca/>Green Action Centre
3rd floor, 303 Portage Ave | (204) 925-3772 | Find us here
Green Action Centre is your non-profit hub for greener living.
Support our work by becoming a member
<http://greenactioncentre.ca/support/become-a-member/>. Donate at
Portage and Main study moves forward By Joyanne Pursaga
<http://www.winnipegsun.com/joyannepursaga>, Winnipeg Sun
First posted: Friday, April 10, 2015 03:17 PM CDT
A city committee has taken a step to ensure pedestrian access at Portage
Avenue and Main Street continues well beyond the occasional hockey
Coun. Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry) said the fact fans flocked
to the iconic intersection Thursday night to celebrate the Winnipeg Jets'
playoff berth highlights its significance.
"People went down to Portage and Main to celebrate, which, I think, shows
you that even when you close something for 35 years, people will not forget
that's a place for people," said Gerbasi.
Winnipeg's most famous intersection is closed to foot traffic due to a
40-year agreement with property owners of an underground shopping mall at
the site. But that contract expires in 2019 and Mayor Brian Bowman has
pledged to re-open the intersection to pedestrians.
The downtown development motion would direct city staff to lay out
guidelines for a full traffic study and determine any other steps needed to
allow the change. It still requires full council approval.
The committee also received confidential legal advice on the matter, which
didn't appear to impede further work toward the alteration.
"We didn't hear anything that would cause us to stop a study," said Coun.
Brian Mayes (St. Vital), the committee's chair.
Coun. Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan) cast the sole opposing vote to the
motion, fearing it would cause traffic woes.
"Certain parts of our traffic network, key arterial routes, go through our
downtown and I think opening it up to pedestrians would be a detriment to
that flow," said Browaty.
A little something to drool over – €150 million investment for everything
from dedicated bike highways to bike parking and 30km speed limits
throughout the city (and only 50km on major roads). While Copenhagen and
Amsterdam probably don't have to worry about losing the title of world
cycling capital, it should certainly help with the smog problems in Paris.
Lots more details on the bike plan provided in this link for French
speakers. - cheers, Beth
* * * * *
Now Paris Wants to Become the 'World Capital of Cycling'
Lower speed limits, subsidies and loads more bike lanes are all
forthcoming. Will it be enough?
- FEARGUS O'SULLIVAN <http://www.citylab.com/authors/feargus-osullivan/>
- Apr 6, 2015
Paris is destined to become the “world capital of cycling,” or at least,
that's the grand ambition declared recently
Paris City Hall.
While Amsterdam and Copenhagen may not be sweating it just yet, the French
capital is indeed taking bicycle transportation more seriously than ever
before. To underscore that effort, the city has just announced a €150
million ($164.5 million) program over the next five years that aims to make
Paris far easier, safer and more attractive for cyclists.
At the heart of the project are plans to double the city's bike lanes.
Between now and 2020, Paris will add 80 kilometers (roughly 50 miles) of
new, improved routes. The crown jewels of this new network will be a grid
of five bike highways
will be bi-directional and almost entirely protected from automobile
traffic by barriers. Three of the new lanes will be axial—two bisecting the
city north to south and one east to west—while a further two will follow
the banks of the River Seine as closely as possible. Quite apart from their
value for commuters, the tourist potential for these alone is huge.
Visitors on rental bikes will soon be able to amble down the Champs-Élysées
and along the Seine Quays without braving traffic.
The overhaul isn’t just sticking to tourist spots, however. Paris will also
focus on overcoming obstacles that hamper cyclists from crossing the *Boulevard
Périphérique* beltway. Separating the city core from its suburbs, routes
across this barrier will be smoothed, easing the transition through Paris’s
traffic-filled, potentially dangerous “city gates
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_gates_of_Paris>.” And off the express
network, things should get easier too. Junctions with traffic lights will
be equipped with 7,000 new alternative corner crossings that allow cyclists
to turn without waiting for lights to turn green. Where these are not in
place, cyclists will benefit from priority at all lights.
People who ride bicycles in Paris should also stand to benefit from an
ongoing plan to cut the citywide speed limit to 30 kilometers (18 miles)
per hour, with only major roads rising to 50 kilometers (30 miles). And
finally, when they arrive at their destination, cyclists will have more
places to put their bikes, as Paris will fund 10,000 new parking spots for
Improved infrastructure is great, but it won’t mean much without lots more
cyclists to use it. Paris is clearly aware of this. In a bid to coax bike
riders onto the road who don’t necessarily want to arrive at their
destination sweaty, the city is also providing financial help for electric
bike purchases. Parisians can now get reimbursed
33 percent of the cost of an electric bike, with the upper cap set at €400.
These are radical, healthy changes indeed, but they won’t make Paris a
cyclist’s paradise overnight. The new plan’s ambitions to get 15 percent of
Parisians commuting on bikes by 2020 still sets it target far below
matching the 43 percent of Amsterdammers who already do
Paris transit and public space secretary Christophe Najdovski acknowledges
Paris still has a long climb ahead of it.
“It’s a long-haul job,” he says. “The Netherlands has been working on it
since the ‘70s. We’ve got a lot of work to do to reach their stage, but
*Where Do We Go From Here?*
*Trailblazing Summit 2015*
*Saturday April 18th*
*Norquay Community Centre*
*(Just North of the Disraeli Ped/Bike Bridge on the North Winnipeg Parkway)*
*65 Granville Street
*Meeting: 11am to 2 pm*
*Site visits: 2-3pm*
*We want to hear from you! *
Come share your perspective on the past, present and future of Winnipeg
Trails. Our last coordinator is now Chair of Public Works; and boy does the
new guy have some big boots to fill. Join us as we review our mandate and
vision, review the impact of the City of Winnipeg's walking and cycling
strategies, and talk about about our shared priorities for the next year.
When we are done chatting, those interested will be heading out to check
out some emerging projects and priorities right nearby. So don't forget
your shoes or bikes or skateboards . . .we're going on a little
trailblazing adventure! Lunch & refreshments will be served
Introductory remarks by former WTA Coordinator Janice Lukes.
Facilitated by new WTA Coordinator, Anders Swanson.
Kindly RSVP today by contacting Sylvie at info(a)riverswest.ca.
Better Streets: Whatchu whatchu whatchu want?
"What a bunch of idiots. Don't they know this will create a traffic
Sound familiar? It's the most commonly voiced complaint any time the
community conversation turns to traffic calming.
Taken at face value, it's not an outrageous sentiment. After all, when
you're out and about, anything that stands between you and where you want to
be looks like a problem. So why on earth would anyone choose to further
complicate your commute on purpose?
I don't blame them. Most people alive today have been told for their entire
lives that infrastructure upgrades occur to ease congestion and, by that
measure, the reduction of lanes does seem sort of, well, stupid, right?
But here's the thing: Traffic calming isn't done to ease congestion. That's
not the problem it's trying to solve. If that's surprising news to the
community, one of two things has likely taken place: Either leadership has
done a poor job of articulated and validating a particular vision; or
infrastructure investments are being made outside the participation of the
Hell, sometimes it's even both.
Let's start at the beginning
The right-of-way, as it exists from property line to property line, is
public space, which means that we, the public, can divvy it up any way we
want. Long before money gets released and design schematics surface, that's
the conversation we need to have. What kind of space do we want this to be?
(From time to time I'll come across great illustrative graphics on social
media, then get annoyed that they're small or of insufficient resolution to
print or use in presentations. This week, I took some time to rebuild a
number for this post and am including them all at a large, useful size. Feel
free to use, link or otherwise circulate.)
Complete Mobility <https://twitter.com/dewanmkarim> suggests looking at our
built environment in terms of either Links, in which movement is
prioritized, or Places, in which destination space takes precedence. Each
has design best practices to serve its larger respective goal. In a Link
environment, the design objective is to save time. In a Place, it's to spend
time. Neither is a value judgment. It's just a decision that needs to be
made one way or another.
This graphic explains:
Concept from Complete Mobility (Twitter user @dewanmkarim). Click for larger
Once you've narrowed down the context that defines your objectives, then you
can get down to the decisions that flow from there. In a Links environment,
you'll face questions like: Are we seeking maximized automotive throughput
(your classic car sewer scenario), or do we want a more humane and equitable
environment in which facilities exist to serve all users, from cars to bikes
to those on foot or with assisted mobility? What are the advantages and
negative impacts associated with each?
That's even a conversation that most DOTs are now equipped to participate
in. But sometimes communities have a different realization. Such as: Why do
we care if people can pass through our community faster on their way to
somewhere else? First and foremost, our streets should be engineered to
serve us, the surrounding community.
When that's the case, you're talking about the public realm as a Place
rather than a Link. Which means a totally different set of criteria takes
In a Place, automobiles might be accommodated but they are not prioritized.
Human scale and comfort are what rule, and all subsequent design decisions
First and foremost in that consideration is speed. Simply put, people places
don't function with high speeds. If you constrict capacity but do nothing to
reduce speeds, you're investing a whole lot of money in a lose-lose
Why is speed so important? Because if people don't feel safe, they don't
hang out. If they don't hang out, it's not really a people place now, is it?
So why don't they feel safe in the presence of higher speeds? These two
graphics do a great job of explaining:
Original image from Complete Mobility (Twitter user @dewanmkarim). Adapted
for US measurements. Click for larger view. Now available in metric
C.jpg> as well.
Adapted from a graphic at www.gjel.com. Click for larger view. Now available
ic-METRIC.jpg> as well.
There you go. When people drive fast, pedestrians are injured more severely
and die in greater numbers. Which is not a particularly enticing prospect
when you're trying to get people to treat the street as a shared public
Why we get confused
Generally speaking, traffic engineers only see Links, so when they talk
about safety, they're looking at ways to reduce accidents without
compromising throughput. That's car-first safety. It has its place in
certain contexts, but people places are not one of them. People places
require safety measures that put pedestrian safety and comfort first.
Failing to begin any change in infrastructure with a community conversation
of Link vs. Place will result in all the public confusion and outrage we've
come to expect. And why not? We all know such discontent stems from unmet
expectations and our expectation as a culture, which has been reinforced for
more than a half century, is that we spend money to ease congestion to help
us get where we're going faster.
Sometimes that's still the case, but sometimes it's not. That's why the
conversation is so important. Without it, you end up like Gainesville,
Florida (where they installed and are now removing bike lanes
ad-diet/384307/> ) or Denver's new urban community of Stapleton (where a
failure to adhere to the distinctions of Link and Place has left them
You can't be all things to all people. No one expects that. But you can
minimize conflict when you define what kind of street you want up front,
then commit to the path that'll get you there.
It's worth noting that transportation decisions don't just impact mobility.
Or lifestyle. So those shouldn't be the only factors in the discussion.
Transportation policy also plays a huge role in associated development
models and our friends at Strong Towns <http://www.strongtowns.org> have
done tremendous work quantifying the economic returns associated with
different development patterns. Spoiler alert: A lot of the conventional
wisdom peddled by politicians is wrong. Flat out wrong.
Finally, once you get the big question of context answered, you eventually
work your way down to the very granular details of design. To that end, the
book to read is Street Design: The Secret to Great Cities and Towns
John Massengale and Victor Dover.
-Scott Doyon <http://www.placemakers.com/meet-and-contact-us/#Atlanta>
Wanna go to Vienna?
Enter a project in the Walking Visionaries Awards. See details from Florian
The formal submission process is over, but a new award has been announced.
If you have an innovative project that aims to advance pedestrian design,
policy or planning, throw your name in the ring.
You'll be in good company. Hundreds of organizations and ideas apply. Most
are interesting and worthwhile.
If your project win, you get free registration (which is not cheap), an
excuse to visit Vienna and a chance to present/discuss your work to the
leaders in the field (priceless).
Take it from me: in 2013 at Velocity Vienna, CounterPoint
<http://counterpointapp.org> was one of two winning entries from Winnipeg
(The U of W's Bike Lab was the other) to make the cut for a similar award
for cycling. It was an incredible chance to engage and partner with leaders
in this field from around the world. It led to countless opportunities such
as being invited to Australia. Walk21 Sydney in 2014 was an excellent
conference packed with information critical to understanding pedestrian
issues. The depth of things to learn is incredible.
So.. Go for it. You might win.
Even if you don't, but you work in this field and your boss will let you,
try to attend this conference.
You won't regret it.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Florian Lorenz <florian.lorenz(a)gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Mar 27, 2015 at 12:39 PM
Subject: Info: Walking Visionaries Awards launched
Dear friends peers and people interested in active transport,
This is an email to notify you about the Walking Visionaries Awards
<http://walk21vienna.com/visionaries/>, an initiative that I am working on
as member of the Walk21 Vienna Management Team.
This year Vienna, Austria will be hosting Walk21, the foremost conference
about walking as a strategy to foster liveable communities and vibrant
Within the conference we launched the Walking Visionaries Awards
1. invite people to share creative, visionary and bold ideas for how to
foster more walkable spaces and thereby build a reference collection to
inspire people to work together towards more walkable and liveable cities,
2. award a minimum of 30 "Walking Visionaries" who will receive free
tickets to participate in the Walk21 Vienna conference
I am writing to you to ask you to help us spread the word about the Awards,
participate yourself in them and/or visit the awards page to see the
growing collection of submissions.
Follow the hashtag #WalkVision on Twitter
Facebook) to keep updated.
Attached I am also sending you some info material that you can use upon
your wish. Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Thank you very much and hope to see you soon!
All the best