The Benefits of TOD

Via Streetfilms:

For the first chapter in our Moving Beyond the Automobile series we’ll take a look at Transit-Oriented Development, more commonly known by its “TOD” acronym in transportation industry circles. TOD is a high-density, mixed-use residential area with access to ample amounts of transportation. There are usually many transportation nodes within its core and contains a walkable and bike-able environment.

Full article here: MBA: Transit-Oriented Development

Toronto Bike Life: Queen Street Part 5

Trinity Bellwoods Park to Bathurst

Behind the GatesThe street seems to narrow along the stretch between Trinity Bellwoods Park at Strachan all the way to Bathurst and beyond.

Physically, it may not have lost some width, but with the sheer volume of traffic from cyclists, motorists, streetcars and pedestrians rubbing elbows here can make you feel a little claustrophobic.

Street parking is hard to come by, both for cars and for bicycles. This area is a shopping, eating, lounging and people-watching destination and on a sunny day the crowds slow their pace. Whether you throw a blanket down in Trinity Bellwoods or wait in line for a coveted table at Terroni’s the best way to get here is to ride your bicycle, just don’t expect to get that post and ring right out front.

Red and Waiting

Scene of the Crime

Locked Up

Rooms

Fashion Post

Fresh Plaid

Quiet Yellow

Park Meeting

Call Waiting

At Their Post

The Crush

In Passing

Racks and a Cart

Notice

Welcome to the Neighbourhood Tim Horton

Inspirational

Is This Your Corner?

Waiting in the Sun

Toronto Bike Life: Queen Street Part 4
Toronto Bike Life: Queen Street Part 3
Toronto Bike Life: Queen Street Part 2
Toronto Bike Life: Queen Street Part 1

Retire Your Ride – Trade Your Old Car for Bicycles, Transit Passes and More

Screen shot 2010-03-24 at 9.19.07 AM

It’s not too often that I take notice of the ads on the back of TTC buses. But this morning, one really made me look twice.

The program is called Retire Your Ride:

Retire Your Ride is an initiative of The Government of Canada, Summerhill Impact and its partners, designed to enable people to get their high-polluting cars off the road and reward them for doing so. The program is committed to improving air quality by responsibly recycling vehicles and aims to retire at least 50,000 vehicles per year until March 31, 2011.

If you have a car that needs retiring, we’ll recycle its parts in an environmentally responsible way, and reward you for it.

Reducing Emissions and Saving the Environment

Did you know that 1995 model year and older vehicles produce 19 times more smog-forming pollutants than 2004 and newer models? In fact, these older vehicles make up one quarter of vehicles driven by Canadians and can generate as much as half of the smog-forming pollutants caused by personal vehicle use.

By ensuring that vehicles are properly recycled, we can prevent the release of toxins into the environment. By retiring vehicles earlier, you’ll be helping reduce harmful emissions.

Okay, the “environment” may not be the biggest incentive out there for many people. So, how about rewards?

Screen shot 2010-03-24 at 9.20.42 AM

When my car was on its last legs my mechanic offered me $300 for it for parts, so this offer isn’t quite as low as it sounds.

For more info on the program, visit Retire Your Ride

Bikeway Network Event Public Notice


Bike Path By Night
Originally uploaded by sniderscion

Make your voice heard and show your support for more cycling infrastructure in Toronto:

Bikeway Network Event Public Notice

Date: Monday February 1, 2010
Time: 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Location: Metro Hall, 55 John St. Room 308-309

The objective of this meeting is to get community input on proposed new downtown bikeways that the Transportation Services Cycling Infrastructure and Programs group is working on for 2010.

Topics will discuss concepts and criteria for new projects, including:

• 2010 bicycle lanes
• Rush hour sharrow bicycle markings on streetcar routes
• New bicycle lane intersection treatments at signalized intersections
• Locations for bicycle boxes at intersections
• Updates on the West-End bikeways project

Participants are invited to attend for a brief presentation and question period with City Staff from 6:30 – 7:00 p.m. From 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. the floor will be open for the public to view maps, talk to staff about projects, and submit comments and suggestions.

Visit our website at www.toronto.ca/cycling

On the Dangers of Cars

smog free car

Aside from the sensational headlines, this article brings to light many of the dangers of private motor vehicles. Dangers that are so common we mostly ignore them until they affect us individually.

From StraightGoods.ca:

Cyclist’s death highlights auto hazards

Cars are death traps in many ways.

by Albert Koehl

Darcy Allan Sheppard accomplished this year what almost 3,000 other Canadians will fail to do: get more than fleeting public attention for his death on our roads. If Sheppard’s death had not occurred in downtown Toronto, in gruesome circumstances, and under the wheels of a car driven by Ontario’s former top law-maker, the public would already have forgotten his name.

While the tragedy on Toronto’s Bloor St. may have highlighted the frailty of the human body in conflicts with the car, the fact is occupants of cars are hardly safe from the danger on our roads.

Polluting emissions from car and truck traffic claim 440 lives in Toronto alone each year.

Although cyclists are over-represented in road fatalities, the most common victims of road accidents are drivers and their passengers, comprising three quarters of all deaths. Motor vehicle occupants also count heavily among the 20,000 Canadians wounded so seriously by motor vehicles each year that they require hospital care, often for long terms.

So routine are serious traffic accidents that we more often hear about them as obstacles in the morning traffic report than in news headlines.

Cars aren’t deadly just because of collisions.

Polluting emissions from car and truck traffic claim 440 lives in Toronto alone each year, according to the city’s public health authority. Climate change, which is caused in significant part by transportation emissions, will claim more lives still. Over 35 percent of Toronto’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are from motor vehicles.

The tragedy of these numbers is not that we accept them so willingly, but that we accept them despite the obvious alternatives.

First, buses and streetcars are many times safer than cars, while emitting a fraction of the air and climate poisons. A 30 percent reduction in traffic emissions would save 190 lives in Toronto each year and result in $900 million in health benefits, according to Toronto Public Health. Mass transit can be improved quickly with better and more frequent bus service.

Second, bicycles produce zero climate and air pollutants — while posing minimal risks to other road users. Cycling fatalities can be reduced. In certain European countries where bikes have been given dedicated space, cyclists (despite shunning helmets) are much safer.

“Good fences make good neighbours” wrote the poet Robert Frost. Painted lines for bikes make good relations on our streets.

Yes, cyclists must obey the rules of the road, although this doesn’t help cyclists injured by motorists in so-called “doorings” that are all too common. When I cycle, I fairly diligently obey every rule of the road but sometimes marvel at the irony of it all: complying with the rules of a society that has already carelessly passed through urgent warning signs of climate change and unnecessarily wasted so many innocent lives.

Third, cars are transportation products, not necessities. Other personal transportation products would make our cities safer and healthier. Power and speed, along with polluting emissions, are car design features, and consequences, that kill.

We may be able to justify the use of a car to carry groceries, take kids to soccer practice, or pick up grandparents — but do milk and eggs really need to leave the mall in a machine capable of achieving 0-60kmph in 6 seconds? Low cost, low emission, low speed vehicles, similar to the electric ZENN car, provide another logical alternative, especially since city traffic doesn’t average even 40kmph anyway.

Finally, when our roads are safer and more hospitable places, people will walk more.

The car may be part of our culture but this is no reason to stand in the way of safer and more efficient options. The facts support a war on traffic deaths and injuries, traffic pollution, and vehicle GHG emissions that have made us all —- motorists, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians —- victims.

Albert Koehl is a lawyer with Ecojustice (formerly Sierra Legal), a Canadian environmental law organization.

In November 2007, Ecojustice and KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, a church-based social justice organization, demanded that Canada’s Auditor General investigate the government’s oil and gas subsidies and the cuts to programs for poor households.

Photo via Flickr