Monthly Archives: July 2012


Bikes Without Borders organized a big Re-Cycling event in May.

The Great Bike Recycle

This was billed as the biggest bike drive and bike recycling celebration to hit Toronto, and  a chance for the Toronto community to come together and see the amazing impact bicycles can make! The Great Bike Recycle bikes are for use in the St. James Town program. All additional bikes will be distributed evenly to our non-profit partners.

If you missed this event, Bikes Without Borders is still accepting donations of old bikes throughout the summer.

  • 25 Havelock Street – Please call Tanya ahead of time at 416-432-4801
  • ING Direct Cafe (221 Yonge Street) check site link for hours.
  • Parkdale – Please call Andrew at 647-704-5514 for specifics.

Complete Streets for Canada

As I posted on June 18, the report of the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario on All Accidental Cycling Deaths in Ontario From January 1st, 2006 to December 31st, 2010 highlighted the need for complete streets. But what is a complete street? And what can we do to lobby for them?

Courtesy Toronto Centre for Active Transportation

TCAT, the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation, has been working on complete streets since 2006. Their definition of complete streets is below. You can read more about complete streets for Canada here.

What are Complete Streets?

A Complete Street is designed for all ages, abilities, and modes of travel. On Complete Streets, safe and comfortable access for pedestrians, bicycles, transit users and the mobility-impaired is not an afterthought, but an integral planning feature.

A Complete Streets policy ensures that transportation planners and engineers consistently design and operate the entire street network for all road users, not only motorists.

Complete Streets offer wide ranging benefits. They are cost effective, sustainable and safe.

The link between Completes Streets and public health is well documented. Jurisdictions across North America already include Complete Streets policies in their suite of preventative health strategies. Complete Streets also promote livability. Human-scale design treatments such as street furniture, trees and wide pedestrian rights-of-way animate our public realm and encourage people to linger.

Complete Streets can exist in communities of all shapes and sizes; from downtown Montreal to Corner Brook and more suburban communities such as Surrey. There is no singular approach to Complete Streets. However, Complete Street policies ensure that transportation planners and engineers design and manage infrastructure for all ages, abilities, and modes of travel across the entire transportation network.

Bike Stop

I just chanced across an old episode of Spacing Magazine, reporting back on the winners of their Urban Design Ideas Competition (Fall 2008 – Winter 2009). This one caught my eye, an honourable mention (well deserved) to Patti Beaulieu and Braden Gray (University of Waterloo):

If you haven’t discovered Spacing Toronto, take a look.

Squandering our resources


Canada near bottom of energy ranking
From the Globe and Mail
Friday, July 13, 2012

Richard Blackwell
Canada ranks second last among 12 of the world’s largest economies for its efforts in conserving energy. The rankings, created by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, looked at 27 factors, including each country’s effort in setting national policies, and how much energy is used in buildings, industry and transportation. Britain came out on top over all, followed by Germany and Italy. Canada lagged in eleventh place just ahead of Russia, partly because many energy efficiency initiatives are set at the provincial level rather than nationally. But Canadian buildings also consume a high amount of energy per square metre of floor space, there is no national mandate for industrial energy audits, and very few trips are taken by public transportation, the report said.

Simplicity, success

Nick Dewar (2008)

by Nick Dewar:

“I hope that America is entering a post-’greed is good’ period. I can’t think of a single step that would change the nature of our society more than everyone abandoning their automobiles and cycling instead. There would be less dependence on oil, obesity levels would drop dramatically, and reflective bike clips would replace fancy ladies’ purses as the current must-have fashion accessory.”

{see more of Nick’s work at}

Cycling Sagacity in Saga City

Saga City

Saga City

It’s easy to think that the promotion of urban cycling is a matter that concerns cities and their downtown core alone. But the downtown struggle for complete streets and liveable cities is embedded within a larger history of town and country, small town and city, city and suburb. Toronto is a perfect illustration of how a large town surrounded by smaller towns turned into an urban centre surrounded by industrial parks and suburbs, choked by highways, swallowing up valuable farmland. Can this process be reversed in a way that improves the living quality of Torontonians?

Christian Savard of Vivre en Ville thinks that it can. All we need is a vision for the future, careful planning and good leadership. Under Savard’s inspiration, Luc Chamberland and Christian Petit have made a short film Saga City that beautifully points the way.

Roads were built for cyclists


There’s a common misconception among drivers of cars that the roads belong to them. They think their taxes pay for the roads, and they think that if they are in their cars, they have more right to the roads than other citizens who are not in cars. But when you think about it, why should cars have more right to roads than pedestrians or cyclists, or just people who might feel like taking a picnic on asphalt? Why do pedestrians walk on the sidewalk and not on the road? When it comes to road costs in Toronto, pedestrians, picnickers and cyclists all bear the same if not a greater financial burden than motorists.

We’ve become so used to the idea that our roads were built for cars that the idea of a picnic on Queen Street or pedestrians walking down the middle of Bloor seems bizarre.

But roads were not built for cars. At least not in Britain. This is the subject of a rather remarkable new book by Carlton Reid, “Roads Were Not Built for Cars”. It will be available for free as an e-book in the near future. You can read more about it here.