Cities across the United States are promoting cycling as a great primary mode of transportation especially for commuting.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently released the results from their pilot project which increased investments in non-motorized transportation. From 2007 to 2010, the FHWA provided funding to four pilot communities within the U.S. in order to evaluate the effectiveness of investing Federal funds in non-motorized transportation. Each community was to focus its resources on increasing walking and bicycling and then examine the impacts over this four year period.
Waterloo Region kicks off their annual Commuter Challenge this week and Miovision is joining in to help out. For those unfamiliar with the Commuter Challenge, it is nationwide event hosted locally by the Region of Waterloo to encourage commuters to adopt sustainable travel habits by trying out cycling, walking, transit, carpooling or anything else that doesn’t involve driving alone.
With consistent population growth, many urban cities are expanding their transportation networks which not only includes vehicles but also pedestrians as well. Vehicles need to accommodate the pedestrians especially in areas that are multi-modal with public transit, bike routes, sidewalks and neighbourhoods with heavy foot traffic.
Over the past few years, there has been more pressure from cyclists demanding that drivers share the road. Community groups are getting the attention of public agencies to include cyclist-focused initiatives in urban areas. These initiatives can be difficult to execute based on limited expansion space for roads, cyclist vs. driver demands, increased cars on the road and fixed budgets.
Ditch the road signs, road lines, curbs, elevation changes and traffic signals and what remains? A singular space with little to no visual delineation between sidewalk, road and bike lane. At first look, it’s not quite clear which mode of transportation should have the right of way, where the sidewalk ends, or where the road begins. It’s full on anarchy! It’s chaos! It’s brilliant.
First things first, kudos to Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong in Toronto who is championing new bike lanes on five major downtown streets. As a previous Toronto resident who has tried to make his way through Downtown Toronto on the saddle, the mess of parked delivery trucks, construction, narrow streets and oblivious drivers and pedestrians can scare all but the craziest bike couriers away from the core.
Tony Brijpaul is a guest blogger on the Street Sense blog. He will be sharing some of his experiences while in Cologne, Germany helping to set-up our European headquarters.
The great thing about being in Europe is that their public transit system is awesome, especially in the larger cities. What is even better is that many cities in Europe have great bike lanes and infrastructure, including lanes where drivers and pedestrians work with cyclists (for the most part) instead of fighting against them for the right of way. Lanes are clearly marked and people have no hesitation to tell you that you shouldn’t be walking in the bike lane or vice versa.
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