Red River College's Sustainability Office is growing!
This fall, Whitney Crooks, RRC’s current Sustainability Coordinator, will
assume a two-year role at the College as a Resource Reduction Specialist (find
out more here) <http://blogs.rrc.ca/redgreen/news/>. As a result, they will
be backfilling her current position on a two-year term, with the
possibility of extension.
Resumes are due September 10th.
*Critical link between Wolseley and Exchange District applauded*
* Rolling ahead with bike lanes near HSC *
A$1. 3-MILLION upgrade to rebuild the road surface, curbs and sidewalks on
a five-block stretch of Mc Dermot Avenue through the Health Sciences Centre
campus begins next week.
The project includes construction of what an official said will become a
pivotal piece of the city’s permanent protected bike-lane network: a
threemetre- wide, two-way, permanent bike lane on the south side of Mc
Dermot, from Arlington Street to Furby Street.
The permanent bike lane will eventually be the connecting link between
permanent protected lanes that lead into the Exchange District and from
Wolseley, said Scott Suderman, the city’s transportation facilities planning
engineer. “In the greater context of the network, it’s considered a
critical piece,” Suderman said of the 880 metres of protected bike lane
being constructed within the Mc Dermot project.
To provide adequate space for the bike lane, Mc Dermot between Arlington
and Sherbrook streets will be converted into a one-way, eastbound street.
The portion of Mc Dermot from Sherbrook to Fort Street has long been a
one-way eastbound street.
Suderman said the HSC bike lane will be built using the city’s traditional
method of permanent, poured-in-place concrete curbs separating cyclists
Work on the project is expected to be completed in two months.
Complete details on the project can be found on the City of Winnipeg’s
A spokesman for the city’s cycling community said he’s excited by the
latest addition to Winnipeg’s protected bike network but is concerned about
the city’s piecemeal approach.
Mark Cohoe, executive director of Bike Winnipeg, said he understands city
hall’s long-term vision for the protected bike network and how the HSC/ Mc
Dermot portion fits in, but he remains hopeful the city will follow the
example of other communities and move faster.
The gaps between the protected sections of the bike network dissuade riders
from taking advantage of it, he said.
“Painted lanes just don’t do it. We know there is a huge pent-up demand for
this. When we put in protected bike lanes on Assiniboine, we saw a 225 per
cent increase (in ridership),” Cohoe said.
The HSC/Mc Dermot permanent bike lane will connect to the existing painted
bike lanes on Mc Dermot and Bannatyne avenues east of Furby that go all the
way to Waterfront Drive.
The city is currently conducting a public engagement and engineering study
to upgrade those sections to a permanent status.
“We’ve been studying that for quite a few months now. We’ve been meeting
with the public, the businesses and owners along the route to work out a
plan,” Suderman said.
It’s possible portable, adjustable curbs— which were installed this week as
part of a nine-month pilot project on short stretches of Sherbrook and on
Bannatyne in the Exchange — could be chosen as the building material for
the Furby-Waterfront upgrade, making that project more affordable and
getting the work done quicker, he said.
Other portions of the network that will eventually link to the HSC stretch
● A permanent protected bike lane along Arlington, from Selkirk Avenue to
Mc Dermot, as part of the Arlington Bridge replacement project.
● A construction of a greenway along Ruby and Banning streets connecting to
Wellington Avenue to Arlington and on to Mc Dermot.
Included in the HSC/Mc Dermot project are plans to connect Sherbrook from
Cumberland Avenue to Mc-Dermot.
But Suderman said it’s not certain that work will be completed before
*City looks ready to roll with concrete bike-lane curbs *
CITY hall appears to be reconsidering its opposition to the use of
low-profile concrete curbs for laying out protected bike lanes in Winnipeg.
The city announced a nine-month pilot project Tuesday that would result in
the placement of the concrete curbs on a short block in the Exchange
District and on a 100-metre stretch of Sherbrook Street, south of
The move is surprising. Coun. Janice Lukes (South Winnipeg-St. Norbert) has
been proposing a similar approach for months, but each time, her efforts
were rejected by the administration and the public works committee on the
grounds the curbs were contrary to the city’s “award-winning” cycling
strategy, which uses time-consuming and more expensive poured concrete.
“It just goes to show the dysfunction we operate under at city hall,” Lukes
said. “Of course, I’m happy, but what a lot of needless nonsense, time and
effort was spent when they were going to do it all along.”
Stephanie Whitehouse, city hall’s active transportation (AT) co-ordinator,
said the nine-month pilot is a “materials test” to determine the
suitability of the low-profile, portable concrete curbs, but added she was
excited about the move.
Whitehouse said the city’s awardwinning AT strategy places the highest
priority on building protected bike lanes leading into and throughout the
downtown network, but it doesn’t stipulate which materials to be used.
She said the experience of other municipalities has shown concrete curbs to
be an easy, efficient and less expensive way to build a bike network. The
pilot will determine if they emerge as a preferred material to the city’s
traditional method of using poured concrete.
“I’m excited about this one. I think it’s a win,” Whitehouse said. “They’re
great, they’re adjustable and movable.”
Whitehouse said it took crews only three hours to lay down the 100 metres
of concrete curbs on Sherbrook Street, adding she believes crews can beat
that time on a similar stretch Wednesday along Bannatyne Avenue, between
King and Albert streets.
Whitehouse said the pilot program will determine if the concrete curbs are
compatible with winter snow-clearing and ensure they are durable.
“We don’t want to find efficiencies in installation and then discover we’ve
created a whole host of deficiencies in our ability to deliver a street and
cycling maintenance programs,” she said.
The City of Winnipeg has been slow to adopt and resistant to using
adjustable materials to construct protected bike lanes. While Winnipeg’s
current approved plan is to build 10 kilometres of protected bike lanes
downtown over a three-year period, Calgary built a 6.6km network in four
months in 2015 and Edmonton built a seven-km network in a three-month span
earlier this year. Both cities used the low-profile concrete curbs, along
with paint and flexible bollards.
Other municipalities, including Vancouver and Ottawa, have also
incorporated the concrete curbs, along with other portable/adjustable
materials, including planters, in constructing protected bike lanes.
Whitehouse said regardless of the outcome of the pilot program, the city is
committed to constructing the Garry Street portion of the downtown network
using poured concrete methods, as part of a major roadway reconstruction.
“We recognize this as an important material and a potential mechanism for
delivering protected facilities,” she said. “They’re a great way to get
(bike lanes) in and a more efficient way and generally more cost-effective.”
Whitehouse said staff decided to do the $15,000 pilot as part of a $100,000
initiative for the enhancement of delineated bike lanes. The overall
funding had been approved by council, part of its $4.7 million for active
transportation for 2017.
Whitehouse said the city will be looking for feedback from motorists and
cyclists for the pilot areas. While the concrete curbs are fixed into the
roadway, they are portable and can be moved and the routes adjusted in
response to public concerns. (Details on the pilot program can be found on
the city’s website: wfp.to/walkbike.) “Once people get a taste of it,
they’ll want more,” Lukes said. “I’m glad we made the big effort and put
the spotlight on the need for it.”
* * * * *
Also coverage on CBC: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/
Alta Planning + Design has put together an excellent white paper on
Advisory Bike Lanes
is well worth reading. Of note, there is a Canadian example (Somerset
Street East in Ottawa).
For those wondering what an advisory bike lane is, it's essentially a bike
lane with a dashed lane marking between the bike lane and the travel lane.
The big difference from a normal bike lane is that vehicles share a two-way
center travel lane sandwiched between the two advisory bike lanes. When two
vehicles approach, they yield to bicycle traffic and encroach into their
respective advisory bike lanes to pass each other. A parking lane may or
may not be present.
It's used in situations where there is limited road right of way, and
limited traffic volume. Think lower volume collectors like Des Meurons
south of Vivian, maybe Sinclair where you generally have a 10m right of way.
[image: Inline image 1]
There is a program in the UK to encourage builders to be
neighbourhood-friendly and ecologically careful in their building
The sites which meet the guidelines display the attached poster on their
The organization is going international; maybe we could invite them to
The Considerate Constructors Scheme is a non-profit-making, independent
organisation founded in 1997 by the construction industry to improve its
Construction sites, companies and suppliers voluntarily register with the
Scheme and agree to abide by the Code of Considerate Practice, designed to
encourage best practice beyond statutory requirements. For more information
on the Code, please click here.
The Scheme is concerned about any area of construction activity that may
have a direct or indirect impact on the image of the industry as a whole.
The main areas of concern fall into three categories: the general public,
the workforce and the environment.
Our aim: To improve the image of construction
The construction industry has a huge impact on all our lives, with most
construction work taking place in sensitive locations. If all construction
sites and companies presented an image of competent management, efficiency,
awareness of environmental issues and above all neighbourliness, then they
would become a positive advertisement, not just for themselves but for the
industry as a whole.
The Code of Considerate Practice commits those sites, companies and
suppliers registered with the Scheme to care about appearance, respect the
community, protect the environment, secure everyone's safety and value their
The Scheme is open to construction sites, companies and suppliers of all
types and size and for every type of construction activity, with many
construction companies and clients automatically registering all their work
as company policy. ....
Walkable mixed-use neighborhoods help families build wealth—enough to help
fund big-ticket items like college and retirement.
ROBERT STEUTEVILLE <https://www.cnu.org/node/538> AUG. 7, 2017
Houses appreciate. Cars depreciate. That simple contrast is a key to
building wealth over a lifetime, writes Todd Litman, a researcher with the
Victoria Transport Policy Institute.
Even though housing is more expensive in walkable, transit-rich
neighborhoods, vehicle costs are substantially lower. Households in such
neighborhoods shift their spending from transportation to housing. Over 40
years, this shift will add a million dollars of net worth to a typical
household, Litman calculates.
That's enough to put children through college and/or to retire on—all from
careful choice in housing location. There are plenty of other reasons to
live in a walkable neighborhood—among them better health because exercise
is built into the daily routine, less damage to the environment by cutting
carbon emissions, and less time spent driving which frees up leisure. But
the "million dollars" should really get people's attention.
"Urban fringe homes generally offer more space per dollar, and so appear to
be better investments, but there are other economic factors to consider. By
shifting household spending from transport to real estate, Smart Growth
tends to increase household wealth, and by providing more affordable
transport options it increases economic resilience," says Litman, in a
report called *Selling Smart Growth* <http://www.vtpi.org/ssg.pdf>.
In the last generation, urban housing in North America has appreciated
faster than suburban or rural housing. This price appreciation has added to
the wealth of those who have invested in multimodal places. The
appreciation is due to the rising demand for walkable urban places due to
changing demographics, reduced crime, and the return of jobs to urban
Housing appreciation in Urban, Suburban, and Rural locations over the last
20 years. Source: Todd Litman, *Selling Smart Growth*.
Litman discusses his own experience living in a walkable neighborhood in
Victoria, British Columbia.
• He purchased a house in 1995 for $236,000
• That house is currently worth about $750,000
• In 2025, when the mortgage is paid and Litman can retire, it "should be
worth more than a million dollars," he says.
That's a thirty year time period in Canada, but he has run the numbers for
the US over 40 years for three scenarios: the TOD (transit-oriented
development) location—a house in a walkable neighborhood with transit
access; the inner-ring suburb; and the urban fringe. The fairly typical
$60,000/year US household can afford $27,000 in combined housing and
transportation expenses (that's 45 percent of income for the two expenses
"After ten years the TOD home builds $63,789 more equity, and after 25
years $448,217 more equity, than an urban fringe home. If, starting at age
25, a household always chooses TOD homes and invests the transport savings
in real estate, they can retire at age 65 with approximately $1.8 million
in equity, $1,016,561 more than if they purchased urban fringe houses with
high transportation costs," Litman calculates.
Living in a walkable neighborhood benefits those who buy homes, but how
about renters? The math works for non-homeowners as well. Households can
save substantial money by reducing the number of cars the family owns,
eliminating them entirely, and/or reducing the mileage on the cars they do
own. For this, they have to live in a walkable neighborhood. Here are
typical numbers for household living options:
The potential savings are demonstrated in the Housing & Transportation
Affordability Index <http://htaindex.cnt.org/> (H&T Index), created by the
Center for Neighborhood Technology in Chicago. The Index makes the case
that households should not spend more than 45 percent of their income for
housing and transportation combined. This goal is best achieved in walkable
neighborhoods, even though the cost per square foot of housing may be
higher in those neighborhoods.
H&T Index of the Pittsburgh area shows affordability based on housing,
left, and housing and transportation, right, in the Pittsburgh region.
Distant areas are relatively less affordable.
CNT founder Scott Bernstein notes that poor and working-class families are
routinely given financial advice on how to get a car loan, but they are not
educated on the financial advantages of reducing transportation expenses.
Less affluent households in distant suburbs are often caught in a bind,
Bernstein notes. Such households may use strategies to reduce car
costs—especially owning older cars—but higher maintenance costs kick in
when the car is driven a lot of miles. "It is difficult to spend less than
about $6,000 annually to legally own and operate a high-annual-mileage
vehicle," says Litman.
The following are the characteristics of multi-modal neighborhoods where
households can best cut their transportation costs:
- An urban center is nearby.
- Walking and cycling conditions are excellent.
- Density is sufficient and housing is diverse.
- Homes are within an easy 10-minute walk of commonly needed services
(public transit, shops, schools, parks, etc.).
- Streets are complete (designed for multiple users) and well connected.
- Public transit and taxi/ride-hailing services are adequate.
- Car-sharing (vehicle rental services) is available.
- Delivery services are available.
"Realtors should be paying attention to this," says Peter Katz, who
co-presented this research in a session with Litman at CNU 25 in Seattle in
May. Realtors have been selling "drive 'til you qualify," advising clients
to buy the cheaper house further out regardless of transportation costs.
"This doesn't serve Realtors for two reasons. It lowers the dollar value of
their fee and it may eliminate the fee altogether, because the customer is
looking at an entirely different location with perhaps a different Realtor."
Robert Steuteville is editor of Public Square: A CNU Journal and senior
communications adviser for the Congress for the New Urbanism.
[I know Jeannette, the sponsor of this bill. Her daughter was killed in
Montreal. She has been successful in having this implemented in numerous
jurisdictions, but is now aiming to see it happen at the federal level. See
below if you wish to review and consider signing and/or spreading among
your networks. - Anders]
A new study offers perhaps the most definitive reason yet why society
should be doing more to encourage cycling, and serves as another reminder
that the health benefits of cycling far outweigh the risks.
This British study <http://www.bmj.com/content/357/bmj.j1456> took a
comprehensive look at the health benefits of bicycle commuting, and the
results are staggering. Over the course of the study, the 263,450 subjects
who were under review had a 41 per cent lower chance of death than those
who didn’t. “Cycle commuters had a 52 per cent lower risk of dying from
heart disease and a 40 per cent lower risk of dying from cancer. They also
had 46 per cent lower risk of developing heart disease and a 45 per cent
lower risk of developing cancer at all,” the study’s authors wrote
Just let those numbers soak in a bit. They truly are significant. If a
pharmaceutical company created a pill that could reduce your chance of
dying by almost half, with particular success against those stubborn
scourges of humanity of cancer and heart disease, it would be heralded as a
wonder drug. Luckily, this pill is already hanging from the rafters of your
Two things struck me particularly from the study.
In their analysis, the researchers accounted for the risk associated with
road accidents, which offers further evidence that even the supposed risks
of riding a bike are vastly outweighed by the benefits of riding. Put
another way: Our irrational fear of the relatively small risk of a blow to
the head is overriding the guaranteed health benefits of bicycle commuting.
Our assessment of risk in this context is, to be blunt, pretty messed up.
This mirrors the message of this new Australian documentary
<https://youtu.be/nGsM-XIuGwo>This mirrors the message of this new
Australian documentary arguing against the country’s mandatory helmet law.
In it, public health doctors and advocates express the same message: the
health benefits of cycling far outweigh the risk of injury, so we should be
doing more to make it easier to ride bikes daily for transportation.
Which leads me to the second aspect of the study that really caught my
attention. Of most benefit here wasn’t just riding a bike, but bicycle
commuting. This is a pretty significant distinction.
That distinction is the difference between encouraging people to get out
and exercise and making it easier for people to simply use a bike in their
everyday lives. The medical community has been encouraging us for nearly a
century to do the former, and despite the mainstreaming of things like
running and going to the gym, we keep getting more sedentary, more obese
and more unhealthy. That approach to health isn’t exactly a ringing success.
But this study seems to be mirroring what many cycling advocates have long
said, and what bike commuters preach about all the time: But this study
seems to be mirroring what many cycling advocates have long said, and what
bike commuters preach about all the time:* Active living works when it’s
part of our day, not an add-on.*
The study found most of the benefits from cycling come in those situations
in which cycling has already been built into the daily lives of people. In
the world’s great bike cities, for example, people don’t bike because it’s
good for them any more than they bike because it improves the street life
of the city or because, God forbid, it reduces their carbon footprint. If
you ask them, they will tell you that they ride a bike because it’s quick
“Policies designed to affect a population level modal shift to more active
modes of commuting, particularly cycle commuting (eg, cycle lanes, city
bike hire, subsidised cycle purchase schemes, and increasing provision for
cycles on public transport), present major opportunities for the
improvement of public health,” according to the study’s conclusion.
Therein lies the solution. If we want society to realize that 41 per cent
improvement in our health that comes with bicycle commuting, we need to
make it fast and easy to get places on a bike. That means continuing to
accommodate bikes on our streets and building cities around the idea of
active transportation. We’ve already started in most cities. We just need
to hurry up.
Property owners in the Ohio capital's core are rethinking the relationship
between cars and jobs.
Despite a surge of redevelopment in downtown Columbus, office rents are
tumbling and vacancy rates are on the up. The problem, business leaders
say: Lack of parking.
A structured parking space in the Ohio capital’s space-crunched core runs
nearly $25,000 a year, which typically isn’t covered by revenues. So
developers feel hamstrung from building new garages, and the city is wary
of subsidizing them; building to meet parking demand, after all, is an
exercise in futility
Meanwhile, employers fear they’re losing ground to suburban competitors.
Now Columbus has found an out-of-the-box solution, following a vote by
downtown property owners last week. Starting next summer, they’ll buy
transit passes for thousands of workers
Some 43,000 employees inside a special improvement district will be
eligible for annual bus passes, free to them and paid for primarily by the
550 building owners in the area. “Capital Crossroads” property holders will
pay 3 cents per square foot of space per year, which will generate about
half of the $5 million subsidy. Grants and fundraising by Capital
Crossroads board leaders will raise the rest. The Central Ohio Transit
Authority has said it will offer the passes at a deep discount
The decision follows a successful pilot that ran from June 2015 through
January 2017, which doubled the share of bus commuters among 844 employees
at four companies in the district from 6.4 percent to 12.2 percent.
If those results can be replicated across the entire downtown district,
“Capital Crossroads estimates that it would free up 2,400 parking
spaces—about four parking garages—and allow for 2,900 more people to work
in the district,” according to the *Columbus Dispatch*
. “Between 4,000 and 5,000 people would trade their cars for COTA on their
commute, the district estimates.”
In some ways, Columbus’ solution is a textbook “transportation demand
management” strategy to nudge drivers out of single-occupancy cars, and
reduce congestion, pollution, and road wear. San Francisco, Boulder,
Cambridge, and others have TDM ordinances requiring developers to include
transit-oriented amenities in new properties. Cities all over the country
require developers to pay infrastructure impact fees, which often feed
transit budgets <http://sf-planning.org/impact-fees>. And employers often
help cover the cost of their employees’ transit passes.
But this program will be the first in the country where bus passes are
directly funded by property owners, according to Cleve Ricksecker,
executive director of Capital Crossroads, and many cities are keeping a
watchful eye on its deployment. “The more people who think about this, the
more sense it makes,” Ricksecker told the *Columbus Dispatch*
There is deep and rather remarkable logic coming to the surface here. As
the famed transportation scholar Donald Shoup has put it, the true costs of
parking are largely hidden from drivers. Developers, property owners,
employers, and cities subsidize the costs of parking infrastructure because
of the seemingly un-severable connection they make between car access and
economic viability. Columbus’s new program adds capacity to the number of
commuters downtown can handle, and it also shows an optimism among property
owners—who have everything to lose—that cars aren’t everything when it
comes to a thriving downtown economy.
Transportation demand management isn’t a silver bullet; many programs that
pay commuters to take transit rather than drive have not yielded enduring
behavioral changes. Some critics say that courting transit commuters with
free passes takes the pressure off transportation authorities to build the
higher-capacity, higher-frequency service that would organically attract