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Week in review: September 25, 2017

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Consultations, feedback, and events

Vision Zero

On Wednesday, the province announced new legislation intended to protect vulnerable road users. The changes include a new charge under the Highway Traffic Act for careless driving causing death or bodily harm with a fine up to $50,000, increased fines and a 3-day license suspension for distracted driving, and increased fines for failing to yield to pedestrians.

Cycling

Good news! The Berlin Bicycle Café is staying open! It sounds as though the bike shop is going to be scaled down to mostly covering seasonal repairs, but the bike-friendly café and events will continue.

Radio host and columnist Mike Farwell decided to find out what the fuss was over his column on cycling behaviour by riding his bike to work for a week. (“The fuss” was covered in our September 5 post.) Fortunately for him, the experience was pleasant. Unfortunately, he took his positive experience to dismiss the negative experiences and concerns of others who bike (or would like to) in his latest column, essentially telling them to tough it out with the “right attitude” where infrastructure is lacking.

It’s a stark contrast to where our understanding of cycling safety is headed. In the past, Vehicular Cycling, the notion that people who bike are safest when they ride in the roadway like vehicles rather than on separated paths, has held sway in North American planning. However, a dominant theme of last week’s International Cycling Safety Conference, including two of the keynotes, was that Vehicular Cycling has failed. Peter Furth talked at length about how Vehicular Cycling has had a stranglehold on the engineering profession but is supported with bad data, and the way forward with low stress cycling networks. Bill Schultheiss (in a related panel shortly before the conference) also talked about undoing the damage of vehicular cycling, saying it has led to a culture of victim-blaming.

Meanwhile, Robin Mazumder considers the privilege inherent in Farwell’s column as he reflects on the need to consider diverse perspectives and challenges when designing urban streets and spaces.

Transit

  • Second ION train ships Monday, two more expected next month (The Record)
  • Your questions about LRT answered (CTV News)
  • Sidewalks and “the last mile” problem (Torontoist)
  • Despite a new long-term plan, Metrolinx is still playing catch-up (TVO)
  • The Next Big Move: (I) Overview (Steve Munro)

Land use

  • Apartments, townhouses dominate latest Kitchener growth numbers (The Record)
  • The cost of delaying development (Waterloo Chronicle)
  • Gowling to move into office tower in Innovation District (The Record)
  • Mayor introduces idea of multiplex at Cambridge Centre mall (The Record)
  • Kitchener holding an information session regarding changes to the downtown development charges exemption Sept 29
  • The suburb of the future, almost here (NY Times)

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