Jun 13, 2012

Calgary's New Cycling Coordinator

Last May, city council passed the Comprehensive Cycle Strategy and in November they funded it as well.  Bicycle advocates in the city have viewed these developments as huge victories for a more bike-friendly Calgary and those of us involved in advocacy are full of hope that maybe we'll finally see more bicycle infrastructure installed throughout the city.

Have you read the cycle strategy?  If not, here it is, in all of its 82-page glory - Calgary's Cycle Strategy.

One of the most important action items in the strategy was to create the position of Cycling Coordinator and to find a qualified person to fill it.  Enter Tom Thivener - our new city cycling guru!



Jun 11, 2012

News Roundup June 11 2012

""Us versus Them" Must Stop"
The “us versus them” divide between cyclists and drivers has to stop, says the founder of a provincial cycling advocacy group.

 "Bicycling can be fun, but can it be a form of transportation?"
Today’s show gets behind a growing appetite for cycling as an everyday mobility option.  Gil Penalosa, executive director of 8-80 Cities, explains the significance of creating lanes that feel safe enough for someone as young as 8 or as old as 80 to use. Councillor Brian Pincott sheds some light on Calgary’s newly-funded bicycle strategy. Mia Birk, president of Alta Planning + Design and author of Joyride, describes how bikeshare can be a game-changer. And Hans Moor, president of Ottawa’s Citizens for Safe Cycling, talks about the pilot project of Laurier Avenue. 

"Can Ditching Your Car Make You Feel More Free?"
Los Angeles once showed the world that the car equaled freedom. Our vast parking lots and spacious two-car garages offered the utmost convenience. Even our roads were named after the idea—freeways—that automobiles provided this feeling of independence as a personal transportation experience. It worked for awhile. That is, until those painted lanes choked with Sigalerts and gas nosed towards $5.00 per gallon.

"The Rise of the Citizen Cyclist."
In the past few years, New York has become a national leader in urban transportation policy by redesigning streets and taking back space for bikes and pedestrians. With the advent of the nation’s biggest bike share program, the city could radically change the way that Americans see bicycles as public transportation. But unless police and courts start treating drivers and bike riders equally, we’ll be going nowhere fast.

"Independent Canadian bike shops limited by "protectionist tariff" 
 ...According to the CBSA, "dumping occurs when goods are sold to importers in Canada at prices that are lower than the selling price of comparable goods in the country of export." Essentially, the tariff keeps the Canadian market from being bogged down with cheap bikes from China, so domestic producers , such as CCM and Raleigh, can compete. 

"18 Future Bikeways in Calgary"
In the coming years, Calgary cyclists will have a plethora of new options for travelling throughout the downtown core and surrounding neighbourhoods. The city has mapped 18 "future bikeways" within Centre City that will some day welcome both commuting and recreational cyclists.

"Bikelane in the Beltline creates confusion"
A new bike lane created last year in Calgary’s core is confusing and dangerous, according to one critic.  The lane on 10th Avenue S.W. is reserved for bicycles during rush hours, but many motorists aren’t clear on the rules or are just ignoring them, said Const. Kevin Bubis.  “If we're finding that's it's merely an education scenario, we'll explain in a not too time consuming way so we're not bogging down the lane and we'll let them on their way,” he said.

"New LRT line to the west side is a boon for cyclists"
The new on-street cycling routes the city plans to string around west Calgary neighbourhoods like Wildwood and Westgate will feature many of the city’s newest bicycle lanes.  But it’s a multi-gear plan that transportation officials have pitched for community streets, rather than just painted lines. They will be installing a range of devices and traffic changes to make the roads friendlier for cyclists, ranging from the confident commuter to the sandal-clad weekender and those just losing their training wheels.

Jun 3, 2012

Weekly Roundup of Interesting Bike News June 4 2012

 The "Weekly Roundup" is a new series we'll be running on the blog to keep you up to date on lots of interesting bicycle related news floating around the intranetwebs (my new favorite non-word!).

Bikes are cool again and everyday there seems to be more news coming from all over the world about how bicycles are changing our communities for the better.

Enjoy! 

"Bike your way to a fitter, happier you."
Look around the streets of any major city today, and it's obvious that the cycling landscape has changed. Once the domain of a lone spandex-clad athlete, the road now hosts throngs of well-heeled cyclists pulsing along, baskets and backpacks stuffed with lunches and laptops.

"Faced with legal and financial challenges, BIXI bike sharing program in a cycle of uncertainty."
Calgary had a short, if heated, debate this winter about launching a service that is painting cities green across North America: a public bike share system.  The concept got a lukewarm response from politicians, who balked at the potential $2.5-million price tag and, before demanding further study, prohibited the use of public cash for a start-up.  As Alderman Shane Keating told a newspaper at the time, “if we’re going to get in business, then we better make sure it’s one that makes money and doesn’t cost the taxpayer.”

"Bike Island: Festival rolling out cycle-friendly initiative"
Sled Island and biking go together like cold beer and a hot day," says Colin Smith, Sled Island’s sustainability coordinator. "Ever since Sled started people have been biking, but we’ve never really supported it.

"Wheels for Wells ride inspiration of 10-year-old Calgary boy"

Clean, fresh water: it’s the elixir of life and something that Canadians take for granted. Sadly not all of Earth’s inhabitants are so lucky, a fact that 10- year-old Alex Weber has taken to heart.  “I found out that there are thousands and thousands of kids dying every single day from water-related diseases, just because they didn’t have access to safe water and I thought that was crazy,” says Alex.

"Pedal Revoultion"
New York City isn’t known as a biker’s paradise. Overcrowded subways, pedestrian packed sidewalks, yellow taxis snarled in traffic and noisy buses – yes. Yet even fast-paced New York City is heading in the direction of places like Portland, Paris and Copenhagen, which have embraced and promoted bike culture and bike sharing in the urban environment.

"Inspired To Ride By Her Son"
 It started last year, when, in a desperate attempt to rid myself of the nagging guilt I felt at leading my son into a life of inactivity, I hatched a crazy plan to not renew my driving license. I’m pretty sure even that would have been a fad, had I not very purposefully painted myself into a corner by starting a blog about my proposed journey.

"Canadian Automobile Association Promotes Bike Safety"
In Canada, an increasing number of people are commuting to school or work on a bicycle while many simply ride for fun or exercise. With so much traffic on the road, it’s important that motorists and cyclists work together and understand their roles and responsibilities and share the road.