Bikes on Dundas

London Cycle Link has been campaigning for safe and convenient cycling infrastructure on Dundas Street between Old East and Downtown for almost 3 years because it's one of the best opportunities to encourage more people to ride. The City of London is currently studying this cycling connection in conjunction with creating specific land use policies for Old East, and presented theirpreferred solution at a public meeting on November 1.  See this map for part of the plan. 

Let's start with the good news: the City is proposing cycle tracks (protected bike lanes) for the entire corridor and removing a lane of on-street parking in OEV to widen sidewalks and allow for patios and landscaping. This would make the village a very nice place to be, except the current plan doesn't allow for convenient cycling in both directions. Most of the bike lanes occur on Dundas Street which is our preferred solution - put the bike lanes where people want to go - but in the narrow area of OEV they have split eastbound cyclists on Dundas and westbound cyclists on Queens. 

The bad news: placing one direction on Dundas and the other on Queens is not intuitive nor direct and it wouldn't stop people on bikes from continuing to ride westbound on Dundas - without any safe infrastructure. We have proposed a compromise that allows for increased sidewalk width and landscaping, but doesn't come at the expense of safe and convenient cycling. See here.

Next steps: We've met with the City and asked them to review our proposal and see if it's feasible. We'll continue to advocate for convenient bike lanes in both directions on Dundas and attempt to make this plan the best it can be for people on bikes, business owners, and patrons.  We welcome your feedback and support.

Molly Miksa
Squeaky Wheel Bike Co-op gets new digs!

We are super excited to announce that Squeaky Wheel Bike Co-op has moved to a new location, just down the street at 809 Dundas Street.  We can't wait to welcome you to our new space! 

Molly Miksa
London Cycle Link hires Executive Director

We here at London Cycle Link are delighted to announce that we have hired Daniel Hall as our new Executive Director.  Dan has been working with London Cycle Link and Squeaky Wheel Bike Co-op as a dedicated volunteer for a long time and will be a familiar face to many of you.  A few words from our new E.D.:

A little bit about me: I am a proud Londoner, a father of two, husband of one, and I ride in comfort on an upright 3-speed. I am honoured to be hired on as London Cycle Link's Executive Director and am excited to work together to help more Londoners choose to ride a bike. I will work hard to link the cycling community so we can amplify our voice and be heard - advocating for Bikes on Dundas, an increased budget for bike infrastructure, and a better TVP will be top priorities. Our city has much to gain from more people choosing to ride; expanding the programs and community outreach of the Squeaky Wheel Bike Co-op will help move London's cycling culture forward. I welcome your ideas, support, encouragement, criticism, and passing hello's (spontaneous meetups while riding are one of my favourite things!) and look forward to what we can accomplish together.

~Daniel Hall

Molly Miksa
Lessons Learned from the Ontario Bike Summit 2018
 

I had the opportunity to attend the Ontario Bike Summit in April as a representative of London Cycle Link and wanted to share some of the things I learned with decision-makers and cycling advocates in London.

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Encouraging more people to ride bicycles is a uniform desire for Ontario municipalities and the province as a whole. It was stated by the Minister of Transportation, Kathryn McGarry, that a 10% increase in physical activity equals a decrease of $150 million in health care spending per year in Ontario. More people riding bikes improves public health and the associated health care costs dramatically.

The people of Ontario are eager to ride more as well – in a geographically representative survey of Ontario, 32% of respondents would like to cycle to work. Would like to is different than choosing to and the major barrier to seeing more riders is the fear of riding in traffic.

The solution is simple. Separate people on bikes from vehicles with physical barriers and people will ride more. In a survey of GO Transit commuters, 90% said they would be comfortable biking in a protected bike lane (cycle track). The results of recent infrastructure improvements in Toronto, Ottawa, and Hamilton also tell a similar tale. The Bloor Street cycle tracks in Toronto saw 49% more cyclists in its first year (City of Toronto, 2017). The Cannon Street cycle track in Hamilton saw a 68% increase in ridership from its first year to its third year (Bender, 2018). The increase of people biking on Laurier Avenue in Ottawa is up 330% in the five years it has been open (City of Ottawa, 2016). People will bike more if they perceive their journey to be safe.

The amount of cycle tracks being implemented in Ontario is increasing rapidly as more and more successes are had. Toronto has cycle tracks on Sherbourne (2012), Richmond (2014), Adelaide (2014), Bloor (2016), and River (2017); Hamilton opened the Cannon cycle tracks in 2014 and the Bay cycle tracks in 2017; Ottawa has cycle tracks on Laurier (2011), Churchill (2014), and Mackenzie (2017); and London will celebrate its first cycle track on Colborne this week. These are just a sampling of cities in Ontario who are taking the lead on making our streets safer.

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There are many municipalities who are being rewarded for their introduction of good cycling infrastructure. Increases in the number of people biking means healthier, wealthier, and more equitable communities and also means provincial recognition. Waterloo was given a Gold Bicycle Friendly Community Award this year to join Ottawa and Toronto as the leading cycling cities in our province.

Attending the Ontario Bike Summit made me hopeful for a future Ontario where people who ride bikes have safe access to whole cities and the entire province. London should act now to improve the safety of our streets by implementing a network of cycle tracks that will result in a dramatic shift in how Londoners move around our city.

References

Bender, D. (2018). Cannon Street Bi-Directional Cycle Track Pilot Project (PED 18136). City of Hamilton, Planning and Economic Development. Hamilton: City of Hamilton. Retrieved from https://pub-hamilton.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=155977.

City of Ottawa. (2016). History of Ottawa’s first Segregated Bike Lane. Retrieved from City of Ottawa: https://ottawa.ca/en/residents/transportation-and-parking/cycling/cycling-planning/completed-projects/history-ottawas-first-segregated-bike-lane

City of Toronto (2017). Bloor Street Bike Lanes. Retrieved from City of Toronto: https://www.toronto.ca/services-[ayments/streets-parking-transportation/cycling-in-toronto/cycle-track-projects/bloor-street-bike-lanes/

 
Daniel Hall
Notes from the 2nd National Bike Summit - PART I
 

The spring/summer season is a very busy one, especially for bikes. The 2nd Canadian National Bike Summit in Ottawa in the last week of May was immediately followed by Bike to School Week, London Bicycle Festival and London Celebrates Cycling. And there are a bunch of other events lined up for this year, but I’ll take advantage of this little break to do a quick recap of the 2CNBS. As hard as I tried to be succinct, there was too much going on, so I'll break down in a couple of parts.

 

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The event lasted “only” two days and it was jam-packed with panels and lectures. There were more than 35 speakers on the first day alone. After the welcoming remarks, the keynote speaker, Lars Strömgren started the day stating that instead of promoting cycling we should be thinking about how to make it the easiest and most convenient choice.

“Sometimes we are trying so hard to create ideal cities that we forget to make cities slightly better.”

Then he went to describe the three main elements in their strategy using a very interesting symbolism. The whale (describing the narrative to create a strong support base), the garbage can (pool of valuable resources and skills that are sometimes overlooked), and the red scarf (let others take the stage but ensuring they deliver your message). Finally, he presented the #MovingBeyondZero concept.

Lars set the tone for a theme that would appear again and again throughout the Summit. The power of storytelling. I don't believe this was meant to be intentional which makes it an even more powerful message coming spontaneously from people from many different walks of life.

The second panel brought some encouraging perspectives of politicians affirming that cycling has a great future in Canada. Steve Parish can witness the transformative impact in his community Ajax, ON and the potential for Canada to be the cycling mecca. Ottawa councillor David Chernushenko, in a very lucid presentation, talks about how we moved past the "if" to "how" moment, regarding cycling promotion. But in order to get there, we need more long-term planning, not ad hoc implementation. A clear vision of what we want our cities to look like in the future. That means, for example, if we say we want to increase cycling significantly but we are expanding roads and highways, we won't get there. We need to "get back the space to people".

The following panel presented some of the economic benefits of cycling with the focus on cycling tourism. Although a very important aspect, it could explore more of the impacts in daily urban matters. For a more comprehensive view of economic benefits I recommend the book Bikenomics by Elly Blue.

Fun fact, Dr. Arne Elias referred to our National cycling Strategy as a Squeaky Wheel Bicycle.

The last panel in the morning brought some unusual perspectives about winter cycling, long-distance commuting and bike logistics. This last aspect of urban transportation is easily forgotten in discussions about active transportation. To learn more about the impact of Bike Logistics in a big city, I recommend the research that won the Cycling Visionary Award in Vienna, five years ago. The Case Study is in Rio de Janeiro, host city of one the biggest cycling conferences this year (Velo-City 2018). The video below is in Portuguese but has English subtitles.

Next week, we will see a few more snippets of the 2CNBS in Ottawa.

 
New Site!

We are pleased to introduce our new website, 3 years to the day after our first website went live!  Stop in for cycling news, events and information for the Forest City. 

Molly Miksa