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Complete Streets Forum Early Registration is Open!

For those of you interested in things from a policy and government standpoint, early registration is now open for TCAT’s Complete Streets Forum.

The goal of the 2011 Complete Streets Forum is to explore best practices, share ideas and success stories, and showcase research and technical solutions on how to better plan and design complete streets that will embrace and protect cyclists and pedestrians while accommodating all road users, including transit and cars.

The Complete Streets Forum takes place on April 28-29

Learn from leading experts about innovative and creative solutions for designing and implementing safe, inviting streets for everyone including cyclists, pedestrians, public transit users and motorists.

Keynote speakers include:

  • Mia Birk, Alta Planning + Design (Portland, Oregon)
  • Michel Labrecque, Société de Transport de Montréal (Montréal, Quebec)
  • Roelof Wittink, I-CE (Utrecht, The Netherlands)
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How Cycling Will Save Your Wallet and the Economy

Theres is a fantastic article in Grist right now by Elly Blue (the managing editor of the excellent BikePortland.org website) that explains how embracing cycling can be an economic boom to an individual, an urban center, and a society:

In the many North American cities where two-wheeled transportation is taking off, a new bicycle economy is emerging. It’s amazing how much money can stay in your community when it isn’t being pumped into the gas tank, big insurance, and the auto market.

What happens when someone saves the estimated $6,257 per year (PDF – CAA figures – Page 5) it takes to own and maintain the average car in Canada?  They pump that money into the local economy.  Some may save it, but most will spend it and buy local goods and services.

It’s something I’ve personally put into practice… every full month I bike to work (which is most of the time, unless the weather is insanely cold or the roads very snowy or icy) I take the $121 that I would’ve spent on a TTC Metropass and put it against the principle on our mortgage.  In 2010 it totalled $1,089 … which is awesome, but if you also figure out the mortgage interest we don’t have to pay on it over the next 25 years… it compounds up to over $3,500.  I *saved* 2,500 in mortgage interest by biking to work instead of taking transit.

That’s just in 1 year.  Over 4 years it would be $10,000… over 8 years $20,000… over 20 years $50,000.

How much can you save?

Read the full article on Grist

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Road Rule #1: Don’t Be A Jerk

There’s a great article in the Wall Street Journal about the problems New York City is facing by having tons more cyclists on their streets (thanks to large amounts of new bikelanes and cycling infrastructure on their streets).

Essentially, there are a lot more confrontations between cars, bikes and pedestrians… as they all have to share the same space, so NYC is starting a “behaviour campaign” aimed at fostering some on-street civility… basically telling people, no matter their mode of transport: “Don’t Be A Jerk“.

BikingToronto loves this short but sweet message (sweet, if you say it nicely enough) so much that we made a fun-loving little graphic that would be fun to use and share. :)

Let’s play nice out there.

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The Star: Car Drivers on the “Gravy Train”

Cyclists doing good for all of usA somewhat surprising article is appearing in the Toronto Star today.  It’s called “Cyclists doing good for all of us” and is by Joe Fiorito, who has not been the biggest bicycling-advocate the city has seen by a long stretch…) and advocates that the city should pay more attention to cyclists:

[Bikes are] good for the environment. Good for people with breathing problems. Good for the health care system, if you think fitness is a goal.

Saves us money.

All I’m saying is we ought to pay a little more attention to bike riders in this city because right now, there are far too many motorists on the gravy train.

He also mentions that he saw over 500 bikes within 1 hour on one major street.

Think about how that much more congested that street would be with 500 extra cars on it.

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On The Blogs: Toronto’s Cyclists with an Anti-Bike Mayor

Toronto Cycling Community in a Non-Bike Friendly Environment  Nodders talks about what Rob Ford’s election means for the Toronto Cycling Community.  Does the “Community” need to re-position itself and move from a “Share the Road!” message to a “More Bikes = Less Cars = Less Congestion” message?

I think that cycling advocates need to seriously consider how they position their messaging in a fashion that is palatable to the anti-cycling establishment. This does not mean to acquiesce to their positions, but to change the context of the discussion in a way that supports the interests of Toronto’s cycling community.

Would we get farther if messaging was based on the underlying message that promoting cycling infrastructure actually benefits vehicular traffic flow and makes for a less stressful driving experience in Toronto? I think we would.

Read the full post on Nodders Ride.

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