*Legalize free-range parenting *
I AM encouraged by the amount of discussion and conversation that has been
happening around whether the law should more explicitly allow children
under 12 more independence.
Dan Lett — in “ Protecting kids can mean awkward questions” (Nov. 3) —
argues that protecting children requires diligence, and I fully agree with
that. As I have said before, my issue is not with receiving a visit from a
Child and Family Services worker — I understand and support CFS’s need to
follow up when a concern is brought to their attention. What I take issue
with is being told that it is not acceptable for children under 12 to be on
their own under any circumstances, and that is the focus of the petition I
Lett makes the argument that there is no harm done in being overly
cautious, and that a few CFS visits that turn up no concern are a small
price to pay, as it may keep some children from suffering serious neglect
or abuse. It seems to be a sensible argument.
However, this does not take into account that the status quo is not
neutral, but is actually doing damage. It prevents children from engaging
in activities that are key for healthy development. By denying our children
opportunities to gradually learn independence, we put them at risk of a
number of conditions and challenges. There is a sizable body of respectable
research that demonstrates the importance of self-directed play, outdoor
play, risk-taking and incremental independence for children’s physical,
social, emotional and mental well-being.
The Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health of Canada says, “Access to
active play in nature and outdoors— with its risks — is essential for
healthy child development. We recommend increasing children’s opportunities
for self-directed play outdoors in all settings— at home, at school, in
child care, the community and nature.”
Psychology Prof. Peter Gray says, “Over the same decades that play has been
declining, we have seen a well-documented increase in all sorts of mental
disorders in childhood… five to eight times as many children today suffer
from major depression or from a clinically significant anxiety disorder as
was true in the 1950s.”
ParticipAction has identified the protection paradox: “Children are
overprotected in the name of safety, but trying to keep them safe by
keeping them close and indoors may set them up to be less resilient and
more likely to develop chronic diseases in the long run.”
Dr. Mariana Brussoni et al. states that “The evidence… indicates that the
overall positive health effects of increased risky outdoor play provide
greater benefit than the health effects associated with avoiding outdoor
risky play… (and) that risky play supportive environments promoted
increased playtime, social interactions, creativity and resilience. These
positive results reflect the importance of supporting children’s risky
outdoor play opportunities as a means of promoting children’s health and
As it stands right now, we have a law, enforced by CFS, which says kids
cannot be unsupervised until the age of 12. Reality, however, paints a
different picture of what we as a society deem normal and acceptable.
Many children under 12 play outside without a parent hovering over them at
all times — as they should, according to the research.
Many children walk to school alone, or with friends or siblings, long
before they are 12. School
patrols are responsible for helping children (often under 12, often
unaccompanied) navigate traffic before they are 12.
If CFS tells parents that children under 12 should never be unsupervised,
that means we are turning a blind eye to many such “violations” and the law
is being enforced very selectively.
What I am advocating is not for CFS to ignore a concern when it comes in.
Rather, I would like to see a change in the law that explicitly allows for
children to have these basic freedoms and learning opportunities, and which
creates room for parental discretion based on the circumstances and an
individual child’s maturity. That way, there is no basis for someone to
call CFS solely because a parent is not hovering over their child every
moment of their day.
CFS then would not have to get involved in such a situation, which frees up
valuable resources for them to attend to children and families that truly
do need support and protection.
Calls to CFS about children going to the local bakery, with a parent
watching, are not, in fact, the ones that save lives, but ones that divert
CFS resources from situations where the lives and safety of children are at
risk. These situations only make parents and children anxious, and damage
To use an analogy: we do not aim to address the dangers of driving by
saying that “staying out of a car is a small price to pay,” but rather by
trying to balance the need for safety with people’s need to get places.
Similarly, we should try to strike a balance here. I believe we need to
find a way, while protecting all children’s safety and well-being, to also
honour their need for healthy development.
A change in the law would do both: it would give children the opportunities
to develop the skills needed to become competent and confident in the
world, while freeing up valuable CFS resources to focus on children and
families that truly do need protection and support.
Additionally, it would reflect the reality that our society already expects
and allows our children to have gradually increasing independence before
they are 12.
*Katharina Nuss has started a petition to enact a “free-range parenting”
law for Manitoba.*
Join us on Tuesday, December 4th for a webinar on complete streets from the
perspective of three Canadian examples.
*Tuesday, December 4, 2018 | TIME: 12:00-1:00 PM *
*MB Eco-Centre Board Room*
This webinar will highlight challenges faced by complete street projects
across Canada, and identify lessons learned by three practitioners.
*Argyle & Grafton Shared Streetscape Project*
*Hanita Koblents* (Halifax Regional Municipality) will present this
award-winning project, which transformed the heart of Halifax’s
entertainment district into a “shared streetscape”.
*Main Street Renewal: Retrofitting a Complete Street*
*Ronald Clarke* (Parsons) will discuss the planning, design and
reconstruction of an arterial road through the Old Ottawa East community -
a transformative investment that improved multimodal mobility, the
streetscape and public realm.
*The Art of the Trade-Off*
*Ryan Martinson* (Stantec) will address approaches to making trade-offs
when designing complete streets, drawing on his own experience of
integrating technical and stakeholder inputs.
Apologies for the late notice but feel free to join us in the EcoCentre
boardroom tomorrow at noon to view this webinar. Or register for free to
watch from your desk.
---------- Forwarded message ---------
*Free NITC Webinar: *Wednesday, November 28, 2018, 10 am PT (1 pm Eastern)
Speaker(s): Philip Winters and Amy Lester, University of South Florida
Social marketing seeks to develop and integrate marketing concepts with
other approaches to influence behaviors that benefit individuals and
communities for the greater social good. It is a useful transportation
demand management (TDM) planning approach to promote travel behavior
change. The purpose of this study was to explore a consumer market
segmentation technique successfully used in Europe for its applicability to
marketing efforts in the United States. Attitudinal and demographic data
were collected from 1900 individuals in Florida, Oregon, and Virginia
modeled after the European approach. Clustering analysis was applied to
divide the sample into segments so that members of the same group share
similar attitudes. These include attitudes about various modes, car use,
and congestion and environment. A classification model was built to predict
group membership. The most stable and distinctive segmentation resulted in
7 segments. From this list of over 100 attitudinal questions, 17 questions
were found to separate segments most significantly and predict group
membership with high level of accuracy. Attitudinal profiles for each group
were developed based on thee mean responses to these “golden questions”.
This webinar will discuss the method and results.
KEY LEARNING OUTCOMES
At the end of this webinar, the learner will be able to:
- Describe at least 2 potential benefits of market segmentation;
- Explain differences between the European results and US results;
- Identify 2 potential applications of the segmentation; and
- Describe how to use the spreadsheet tool to identify a commuter’s
*CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
This webinar is based on a study funded by the National Institute for
Transportation and Communities (NITC) and conducted at the University of
South Florida (USF). Read more about the research: SEGMENT: Applicability
of an Existing Segmentation Technique to TDM Social Marketing Campaigns in
the United States
*Philip Winters, **University of South Florida*
Philip Winters is the Transportation Demand Management Program Director for
the University of South Florida's Center for Urban Transportation Research.
*Amy Lester, University of South Florida*
Amy Lester is a Faculty Research Associate at the Center for Urban
Transportation Research at the University of South Florida. Dr. Lester
earned her PhD in Public Health concentrating on Social Marketing in 2014
from the University of South Florida, College of Public Health. Dr. Lester
holds additional undergraduate and graduate degrees in Public Health,
Anthropology, and Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Lester has strong methodological
expertise, and her research interests focus on qualitative formative
research, social marketing, social determinants of health, and program
evaluation. In addition to research, Dr. Lester has extensive teaching
experience at both the college and high school levels.
This 60-minute webinar is eligible for 1 hour of professional development
credit for AICP (see our provider summary)
<https://www.planning.org/cm/provider/100058/details/>. We can provide an
electronic attendance certificate for other types of certification
Sign up for our newsletter
<http://nitc.trec.pdx.edu/news/newsletters/join-mailing-list> to get
updates on our events.
ADD TO CALENDAR
*This webinar is hosted by the Transportation Research and Education Center
(TREC) at Portland State University. The research was funded by the
National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), a program of
TREC and one of five U.S. Department of Transportation national university
transportation centers. The NITC program is a Portland State-led
partnership with the University of Oregon, Oregon Institute of Technology,
University of Utah and new partners University of Arizona and University of
Texas at Arlington. We pursue our theme — improving mobility of people and
goods to build strong communities — through research, education and
*For more information about this webinar, contact us at asktrec(a)pdx.edu
Beth McKechnie* | *Green Action Centre <http://www.greenactioncentre.ca/>
3rd floor, 303 Portage Ave | (204) 925-3777 x102 | Find us here
Green Action Centre is your green living hub
Support our work by becoming a member
<http://greenactioncentre.ca/support/become-a-member/>. Donate at
The controversial Peace Bridge is now one of the most-used walking and
cycling routes in Calgary. The councillor behind it reveals the project’s
The level of hatred directed towards that piece of infrastructure was out
of proportion with the cost,” says Druh Farrell as she recalls the stormy
process leading to the construction of Santiago Calatrava’s pedestrian and
cycling Peace Bridge in Calgary. “It was an incredibly painful process. It
became so intense.”
The celebrated Spanish architect was brought in to address a complicated
brief. The crossing – connecting downtown to the northern river pathway and
the community of Sunnyside – had to completely span the Bow River, while
being flat enough to avoid obstructing a nearby helicopter-landing area.
Bringing in a big name didn’t change people’s opinions, however. For the
opening of the bridge, councillor Farrell was escorted by four bodyguards.
Even Farrell’s brother had to endure the ire directed at the Peace Bridge
when a dinner guest discovered their relation and said to him: “You tell
your sister that if we wanted beauty, we’d travel to Paris. In Calgary we
just need it to work.”
“It was the first piece of significant infrastructure predominantly for
active mobility,” Farrell explains. “If it had been for vehicles, we would
not have had any debate, and it would not have been controversial.”
Since its ribbon-cutting in March 2012, though, the Peace Bridge has become
one of the most-travelled walking and cycling routes in the city, with more
than 5.5 million crossings, an average of 28,000 per week – not bad for a
region that enjoys a meagre 1.75% modal share for cycling.
Most Canadians know Alberta as “Oil Country” due to its economic dependence
on the Tar Sands. Calgary, Canada’s fourth largest city, is home to a
number of oil and gas headquarters. Covering a 848 sq kilometre area –
eight times the size of San Francisco – and sprawling endlessly into the
prairies, it’s easy to see why driving has become the default mode of
transportation for the vast majority of Calgarians.
In recent years however, things have started to shift, and residents have
begun demanding options. Farrell sits at the heart of that transition. In
2007 Calgary’s Centre City Plan
passed by a vote of the council under the then-manager of planning and
design, Brent Toderian. The plan established that they would not consider
any new river crossings for motor vehicles entering the downtown core. Situated
where the Bow and Elbow rivers meet, Calgary’s downtown is only accessible
from the north and east by means of a river crossing, resulting in several
car-dedicated bridges that are largely unwelcoming to cyclists and
The Centre City Plan identified three locations where potential bridges
could be built, dictating two simple criteria: they had to be dedicated
pedestrian and bicycle crossings only, and they had to be beautiful. But as
Farrell soon found out, building something of beauty in “Cowtown” would not
be as easy as it seemed.
The total budget for the bridge was C$24.5m (£14.2m), half the cost of a
planned highway interchange in nearby Cochrane, 11 miles west of Calgary,
that would serve one-50th of the population of Calgary.
“Now I think most Calgarians would recognise it was worth it,” she asserts
emphatically. “I certainly believe it was worth it because the bridge is so
In spite of the initial negativity, the bridge stands out for Farrell as a
memorable pivot point for Calgary. “The Peace Bridge really was a first for
a lot of reasons,” she says. “It got people talking about architecture, and
it identified a bottled-up need and desire for more walking and cycling
connections to our downtown core.”
In the years to follow, the city constructed the George C King and Elbow
River Traverse bridges – a pair of pedestrian and cycling connections to
the east of downtown, with a fourth crossing planned to the west when
demand grows to sufficient levels.
The iconic structure has become more than just a gateway to the city. “What
we ended up doing unintentionally with the Peace Bridge is building a
public space over the river,” recalls Farrell. “It’s far more than a
transportation hub or connection – it’s a meeting place, a sense of place,
on top of our beautiful river.
“It’s the most photographed structure in the city. It’s used for the
promotion of Calgary in everything from real estate to hotels, and included
in international bridge-design showcase books. It reinforces that we did
the right thing.”
The Peace Bridge also laid the groundwork for Calgary’s next big cycling
infrastructure project: a downtown cycle-track network.
Within a year of the bridge opening, the latent demand for cycling
infrastructure became clear. As more people were using the trails and
bridges to enter the city, they needed a comfortable place to travel once
they burst onto the downtown streets.
Farrell stood at the forefront again, providing the initial push for the
7th Street Cycle Track that would connect directly to the Peace Bridge.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, talk of reallocating road space spurred anger.
After the construction in 2013, the 750m bidirectional, curb-protected lane
quadrupled cycling numbers along that corridor overnight. Initially the
project was to be completed in increments, but the discussion shifted to
the idea of building the whole scheme at once as an 18-month pilot project.
It seemed to be smooth sailing until a change of council later that year
made the politics more challenging.
As with the Peace Bridge, Farrell says hostility towards the project from
businesses and politicians was disproportionate to the cost of C$5.75m. But
the temporary nature of the pilot cycle lanes allowed them to pass by an
8–7 vote in April 2014. A little over a year later, Calgary’s downtown
cycle-track network was delivered two months early and $2m under budget –
reallocating just 2% of downtown street space to induce 1.2 million bicycle
trips over 18 months, with little to no driver disruption.
“Pilots are so important. For one thing, we were constantly adjusting,”
explains Farrell, referring to the 100 tweaks that staff made in response
to data collected at 80 different points. These changes were facilitated by
the provisional nature of the scheme, including flexible delineators,
planter boxes, temporary concrete curbs and floating traffic signals.
“The transportation department was extremely nimble in identifying problems
and mitigating them. By the end of the pilot, the system worked. So they
weren’t just waiting until the end of the project to make adjustments –
they were doing it all along and measuring the data. We had such a
compelling case. We had more people cycling: different people, young
people, women, and families were all using the network. It was hard to say
In December 2016, the council voted 10–4 in favour of making the network
permanent, meaning that the pilot had accomplished exactly what was
intended: demonstrating to a skeptical public that with safe separated
space for cycling, even the sprawling, frigid cities of the Canadian
Prairies will get on their bikes.
Councillor Diane Colley-Urquhart, who had initially voted against the
pilot, changed her vote, telling reporters: “I was a person that didn’t
support this in the beginning. I thought this was madness. But, to see how
it’s evolved, and how it’s working and to see how people are starting to
get the fact that this is shared public space …”
Now Calgary’s cycle network is cited as a reason companies and employees
are relocating to the city. As Farrell said: “If we want to attract new
industries to Calgary, we need to first build a city that’s worth moving
* Making Winnipeg a cycle-safe city *
ON Tuesday, the city’s public works committee will consider a proposal to
spend $5.4million in each of the next three years on infrastructure,
including cycling corridors, new sidewalks and cycling-education programs.
However, the future success of the city’s active transportation network
comes down to more than just cash and concrete.
In recent years, in accordance with the city’s active-transportation
strategy, there have been dedicated bike lanes and protected bike lanes
installed on many streets in West Broadway, the West End, downtown and the
Exchange District, to name a few. The new infrastructure has made it safer
for cyclists and challenging for motorists used to having the streets to
Frustrated cyclists point to limited road space and belligerent driver
behaviour as reasons why cycling is dangerous or not worth the hassle.
Motorists point to scofflaw cyclists with no regard for traffic signals or
pedestrians as the problem.
However, both groups (and many commuting cyclists also use cars, and many
motorists ride a bike for pleasure) have a point. What’s really needed in
Winnipeg is an actual active-transportation culture.
We’re getting there in fits and starts. Infrastructure is a big part of it.
But education and safety are also important.
An example of the old way of doing things is found in Wolseley. In the
summer, motor traffic on Wolseley Avenue is restricted to one block at a
time on Sundays, leaving the street open for cyclists, many of whom
continue over the Assiniboine River to ride along Wellington Crescent,
where the same restrictions apply. However, that freedom to ride without
worrying about cars is linked to the mistaken assumption that cycling is
merely recreational, and seasonal.
For cyclists to be safe around motorists, cycling needs to be part of
year-round traffic awareness — not just on certain days of the week on
certain streets. For motorists to be comfortable, cyclists must adhere to
safety precautions and traffic laws. (Yes, cyclists, red lights apply to
you. Yes, motorists, you should change lanes to pass a bicycle.) When
residents are asked about local infrastructure, sometimes the most vocal
voices will be against changing anything.
The city has a long-term Pedestrian and Cycling Action Plan, available on
the city’s website. Proposed changes to active-transportation
infrastructure are guided by a 2014 policy document, Winnipeg Pedestrian
and Cycling Strategies. The recent consultation process begun for the
Wolseley to Downtown Walk Bike Project invites feedback from area residents
and those who visit or pass through the area. Whether you use the roads or
sidewalks or a combination of both, it’s worth taking part.
But for taxpayers who wish infrastructure would only mean endless repaving
of roads, consider what attempts to change the city’s transportation
ecosystem can save you.
Decreased motor traffic means better flowing traffic, and that’s one effect
of people opting to ride a bike instead of a car in which they’re the only
occupant: more room on the roads, even with a protected bike lane. Roads
take less wear and tear, the community benefits from fewer greenhouse- gas
emissions and individuals boost their fitness levels.
Infrastructure upgrades can also mean more accessible sidewalks and better
crossings at intersections.
You don’t have to look far in Winnipeg to see how motor traffic has been
prioritized for decades: a glut of surface parking lots, sidewalks and bike
lanes that end abruptly, and increasing urban sprawl. It’s long past time
to look at other ways of getting around, and making the city work for all
its citizens — not only those with their hands on the wheel.
Why Don’t We Forget How to Ride a Bike?
*The way memories are anchored in the brain plays a role, neuropsychologist
Boris Suchan explains*
November 15, 2018
Most of us learn how to ride a bike during childhood. But as we grow older,
many of us stop riding and put those once-beloved bikes in storage. Years
later, when we discover these relics and hop on, it’s as if we never
This is surprising because our memories let us down in so many other
instances, such as remembering the name of a place or a person we once knew
or where we put our keys. So how is it that we can ride a bicycle when we
haven’t done so in years?
As it turns out, different types of memories are stored in distinct regions
of our brains. Long-term memory is divided into two types: declarative and
There are two types of declarative memory: Recollections of experiences
such as the day we started school and our first kiss are called episodic
memory. This type of recall is our interpretation of an episode or event
that occurred. Factual knowledge, on the other hand, such as the capital of
France, is part of semantic memory. These two types of declarative memory
content have one thing in common—you are aware of the knowledge and can
communicate the memories to others.
Skills such as playing an instrument or riding a bicycle are, however,
anchored in a separate system, called procedural memory. As its name
implies, this type of memory is responsible for performance.
One of the most famous studies showing the separate memory systems was that
of an epileptic named Henry Gustav Molaison (aka H. M.). In the 1950s he
underwent the removal of portions of his brain, including large parts of
his hippocampus. After the operation doctors found that although the number
of seizures had decreased, H. M. was unable to form new memories. Many of
his memories of the time before the operation were also erased.
To learn more about his amnesia, neuropsychologists carried out various
tests with H. M. In one, they asked him to trace a five-pointed star on a
sheet of paper while only looking at it and his hand in a mirror—meaning
the image was reversed. Although H. M.’s hand–eye coordination skills
improved over the several days he performed this task, he never remembered
performing it. This meant that he could develop new procedural, but not
Is procedural knowledge then fundamentally more stable than explicit
knowledge? As it turns out, the former is more resistant to both loss and
Even with traumatic brain injury the procedural memory system is hardly
ever compromised. That’s because the basal ganglia, structures responsible
for processing non-declarative memory, are relatively protected in the
brain’s center, below the cerebral cortex. However, it’s not clear, beyond
brain damage, why procedural memory contents are not as easily forgotten as
declarative ones are. According to one idea, in the regions where movement
patterns are anchored fewer new nerve cells may be formed in adults.
Without this neurogenesis, or continuous remodeling in those regions, it’s
less likely for those memories to get erased.
One thing we know for sure, however, is simple sequences of movements we
internalize, even far in the past, are typically preserved for a lifetime.
Or as the saying goes, it’s “just like riding a bicycle.”
Proposed pedestrian, cycling projects
• $200,000 — Cliffwood Drive west/Newcroft Road north/Shamrock Drive south
• $200,000 — Wellington Crescent, north side from Omands path to Renfrew
• $200,0 00 — West Broadway to University of Winnipeg connection,
• $250,000 – Maryland/Sherbrook upgrade to protected bike lane (select
• $250,000 — Leila Avenue bicycle facility, functional design
• $300,000 — Keewatin Street pathway Burrows Avenue to Gallagher Avenue,
• $550,000 — St. Boniface west-east corridor study and improvements
Recreational walkways, cycling paths
• $1.7 million— Transcona Trail, Regent Avenue to Panet Road
• $300,000 — Rover Avenue to Chief Peguis Trail study
• $1.1 million— Northwest hydro corridor, Phase 2
Public education, awareness and promotions
• $75,000 — Bike parking in parks, various locations, sign installation
• $25,000 — Communication, education and promotions campaigns
• $50,000 — Active and safe routes to school, various locations
Bicycle parking partnership grants— installations
• $10,000 — Exchange District BIZ
• $5,000 — Selkirk BIZ
• $10,000 — Downtown Winnipeg BIZ Public education, awareness and promotion
• $10,000 — International Trails Day (Winnipeg Trails)
• $10,300 — Winnipeg Trails
• $45,000 — Bike Week Winnipeg
• $35,000 — WRENCH
• $1,750 — Movable Feast (Downtown Winnipeg BIZ)
• $6,450 — Bike Friendly Business Program (Downtown Winnipeg BIZ)
• $2,500 — Pedal in the Peg (Downtown Winnipeg BIZ)
• $7,000 — Infrastructure Educational Videos (Exchange District BIZ)
• $7,000 — Bike Friendly BIZ (Exchange District BIZ)
• $20,000 — Commuter Challenge (Green Action Centre)
• $10,000 — Bike to School Month (Green Action Centre)
• $20,000 — Bike Education and Skills Training (Green Action Centre)
Projects subject to additional funding
• $15 million— Fort Rouge to McFadyen Park Bridge over the Assiniboine
• $15 million— Bishop Grandin greenway over Pembina Highway
• $6 million— Maple Street through-pass of the CPR mainline
• $7 million— New crossing of the Seine River
• $3 million— Northwest hydro corridor construction, remaining phases
• $2. 2 million— Confusion Corner to Fort Rouge Park, bicycle connection
• $10 million— Ruby/Banning neighbourhood greenway construction and road
• $2.7 million— Wolseley Avenue/Westminster Avenue/Balmoral Street/Granite
• $2 million— Keewatin Street underpass bicycle facility, construction
• $2 million— Waverley Street, John Angus Drive to Victor Lewis Drive,
• $4 million— Downtown west-east corridor connection
• $500,000 — Princess Street, Higgins Avenue to William Avenue
• $2 million— West Broadway to University of Winnipeg, connection
• $4 million— Leila Avenue, construction
*City eyes $16M for bike paths, sidewalks *
CITY hall plans to spend $16.2 million over the next three years on
sidewalks and cycling corridors.
A proposal for consideration at Tuesday’s public works committee states the
administration is proposing to spend $5.4 million in each of the next three
years— 2019, 2020, 2021— on new sidewalks, cycling corridors and programs
to support cycling education.
The public works department has also listed 14 cycling and
pedestrian-related infrastructure projects, with a total price tag of $74.5
million, that it wants to complete; no funding sources are identified.
The process for the projects approval was set in place in 2015 when council
approved the award-winning Pedestrian and Cycling Strategies, which
requires approval from the public works committee for individual pedestrian
and cycling projects carried out each year before going to council.
While the projects are approved for a three-year period, council must
authorize spending annually in the capital budgets. While civic departments
have been preparing budget proposals since the spring, the new council is
expected to begin review of the 2019 budget in January.
The cycling and pedestrian projects, identified in the initial 2015
strategy report, include new sidewalks on regional and local streets, new
multi-use pathways, new cycling routes, crossing control improvements,
public education programs and a series of awareness and promotion and
The administrative report says that if the approved projects come in under
budget, or if additional funding is provided by Ottawa or the province,
that money would be redirected to one or more of the other 14 projects —
but only after the committee approves the spending.