May 10, 2011

Recent TCAT activities and news items:

  1. Wrapping Up the 2011 Complete Streets Forum 
  2. CAA "Changing Lanes" Conference
  3. Big Buzz about BIXI in Toronto
  4. Fort York Pedestrian-Cycle Bridge in Peril
  5. Bike Month Just Around the Corner
  6. Ken Greenburg "Walking Home" Book Launch


1. Wrapping Up the 2011 Complete Streets Forum

TCAT is thrilled to announce that the 2011 Complete Streets Forum, our fourth annual active transportation policy conference, was a resounding success. Despite an uncertain political climate and a very rainy start to the day, over 200 engaged delegates from communities around and outside the Toronto region came together to learn, share, and connect with leading active transportation experts. It was a diverse crowd, with about half representing the public sector, and approximately 20% each from the private and non-profit realms. What’s more telling, perhaps, is that 1 in 5 came from beyond the Greater Toronto Area to join this important conversation.
 
Our keynote speakers gave us an inspiring and insightful look into the struggles and success stories of cycling, walking, and transit-friendly cities from around the world. Mia Birk told the tale of how Portland, Oregon shook off its car-dependent roots and transformed the city into what it is today. Roelof Wittink from the Netherlands shared his approach to marketing a cycling culture drawn from his vast experience in international advocacy, and Michel Labrecque from Montreal, Quebec brought his unique perspective as the Chair of Montreal’s transit authority to showcase what he has coined the “Transportation Cocktail”. In a fantastic complement to the conference, senior city staff led workshops the next day that gave delegates a first-hand look at a downtown main street revitalization in Kitchener, Ontario as well as walking and cycling tours of recent public space and infrastructure developments in downtown Toronto.
 
For those who couldn’t make it, we are continuing to update our website with photos, video, and speaker presentations from the event. Mainstream media as well as urban-minded blogs have picked up our story, and can be viewed here. Also check out this just-released special treat - an original song about complete streets written and performed by the Geese, a talented new band based in Vancouver. The song will be used in a compilation promotional video for TCAT's Complete Streets Forum to be released this summer.

Mia Birk has asked us to send along personal message to say: "Thank you all so much for your participation and support of Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation. TCAT’s work is critical; without well organized advocates, very little can be achieved. Stay involved, and be confident! You are on the right path. If you didn’t yet get your copy of Joyride, you can order on-line or stop by ING Direct [221 Yonge Street, at the corner of Shuter] to get your copy. Proceeds are shared with TCAT. If you’d like to be on our e-newsletter list, sign up or send me an e-mail at miabirk@altaplanning.com."

2. CAA "Changing Lanes" Conference

TCAT has been invited to present at the CAA Changing Lanes: Improving the Bike-Car Relationship on Canada’s Roads Conference in Vancouver on May 25th. Darryl Young, a member of TCAT's Steering Committee will be presenting on behalf of TCAT on an infrastructure panel. The panel will involve a ground level discussion about the barriers and advantages to our current road systems, and look at what models and technologies can help provide a made-in-Canada infrastructure solution that works for all road users.

For those interested in attending the conference, but are unable to make it in person, CAA will be webcasting the entire day’s proceedings in real-time, in a format which allows for participants to submit questions to panellists, participate in a live chat, and vote on survey questions. In the week before the conference, details regarding the webcast will become available on the following link.

3. Big Buzz about BIXI in Toronto

After success in several European cities and in Montreal, the long-awaited arrival of BIXI in Toronto last week was a huge celebration and TCAT was proud to participate in the launch of this fantastic program. Familiar faces from TCAT, the Toronto Cyclists Union and other members of the bike community were featured in the Toronto Sun, CBC, CityNews, The Weather Network, and the Toronto Star. Since the launch we have seen BIXI bikes everyday on the streets of Toronto.

There are big hopes that BIXI will be widely used, and in support, Telus will give $1 for every BIXI membership purchased to the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Conveniently located, BIXI Toronto has 1,000 bikes throughout the area from Spadina to Bloor, Jarvis and down to the waterfront. There is even a mobile application called Spotcycle to keep track of the status of the bikes at nearby BIXI stations.

BIXI is a healthy, inexpensive, and efficient way to get around the city and to get to know Toronto a little more intimately. Welcome to Toronto, BIXI!

4. Fort York Pedestrian-Cycle Bridge in Peril

After spending $1.3 million and three years on planning, the city is halting work on a $22-million foot bridge to Fort York designed to be a landmark on par with London's Millennium Bridge and act as a centrepiece for War of 1812 bicentennial celebrations next year. The Friends of Fort York, the Niagara Neighbourhood Association, City Councillors and condo developers have organized quickly and are mobilizing support to save this important link between new communities.

TCAT has been a strong supporter of this project for several years. The bridge is a critical piece of missing infrastructure that would not only connect Fort York to the neighbouring community but also provide an important link to the waterfront for cyclists and pedestrians. Please consider signing the petition to save it today!

5. Bike Month Just Around the Corner

On May 29th, the day before the official Bike Month kick-off, join the annual Go Green Go Dutch Go Bike ride organized by the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Toronto and ING Direct.  All proceeds from the event will go towards the purchase of new bicycles, helmets, locks and cycling skills training for Toronto youth. For a $10 donation, you get an orange bike T-shirt and for $75 you get an orange race Jersey. To register for the event, go to their website.

On May 30th, ride with thousands of cyclists in local municipalities across the entire Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area on Bike to Work Day. Take an online pledge to ride to work or school and you will be entered into a draw for a fabulous weekend getaway for two to Northumberland County, courtesy of Welcome Cyclists! Find out more at the Metrolinx Smart Commute website or download the flyer here. End the day off right celebrating cycling at the launch of the SIXTH issue of dandyhorse magazine at the Gladstone Hotel. More info here.

Toronto's month-long celebration of cycling features hundreds of community events. Check out the calendar here.

6. Ken Greenburg "Walking Home" Book Launch

May 25th marks the launch of Ken Greenberg's book, Walking Home: The Life and Lessons of a City Builder. The Random House event is taking place at the Urbanspace Gallery, located 401 Richmond from 6:00 to 8:00pm. Greenberg will be there to sign copies.