Week in review: November 6, 2017

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Consultations, feedback, and events

Vision Zero and zero vision

Injuries and deaths from distracted driving vs distracted walking in Ontario

Injuries and deaths from distracted driving vs distracted walking in Ontario

As we mentioned last week, a private member’s bill that would ban “distracted walking” has been proposed. We delved into the numbers, and discovered that not only is the impact of distracted walking extremely small compared to other road safety concerns, but that the proposed legislation, through victim-blaming and distracting from real safety solutions, would do more harm than good.  Here’s a few things others are saying:

  • Why a ‘zombie law’ won’t stop the ‘killing and maiming’ happening on Toronto streets (Metro)
  • Distracted walking laws make no sense (Spacing)
  • Penalizing distracted walkers is a step in the wrong direction (TVO)
  • Ban on ‘distracted’ walking is a lousy idea (The Star)
  • Update on Ontario’s “Phones Down, Heads Up Act” – it just gets dumber and dumber (Treehugger)
  • A law against distracted walking? Not yet (Kitchener Post)
  • Ontario’s proposed ‘Zombie Law’ to ban texting and walking is a terrible idea (Motherboard)
  • “Distracted walking” is a distraction from the real problem (Streetsblog)
  • Forget the zombie law, we need to design safer roads (The Star)
  • Distracted walking ban is a zombie idea that has infected the brains of reasonable people (The Star)

… we think you get the idea.

Conestogo: Drive like your children live here

Image by Magnolia677 on Wikipedia licensed under Creative Commons.

Meanwhile, Woolwich’s “Drive like your children live here” signs get featured in Greater Greater Washington’s list of “five street signs that really mean the street design is wrong,” as they shame motorists who drive according to the roadway’s design but do nothing to provide sidewalks for the kids for whom they purport to show concern.

  • Driver charged after cyclist hit in Elmira (The Record)
  • Kids are four times more likely to be hit on Halloween (CityLab)
  • SF Fire Department’s new ‘Vision Zero’ truck (Streetsblog)
  • Reducing speeding-related crashes through design (Alta Planning + Design)
  • Why can’t we have traffic-calming “3-D” crosswalks like Iceland? (Streetsblog)
  • Cars as weapons and the terrorist attack in New York:
    • Vehicle attacks are not inevitable (CityLab)
    • Terrorists don’t scare cyclists. We already have to deal with cars (Washington Post)
    • Living with vehicular violence in America (Bike Portland)
    • How safer streets can thwart terrorists (NY Times)
    • We should ban cars from big cities. Seriously. (Buzzfeed)
    • These cities are building downtowns safe from vehicle attacks (CityLab)
    • From Oktoberfest:

ION light rail

Consultations for proposed stage 2 light rail routes through Cambridge will take place November 21 and 28, in Galt and Preston. Meanwhile, the Region is being vague about the start of testing vehicle 502, saying only that it will begin “within the next two weeks,” while also releasing video of more (overdue) vehicles being tested in Kingston:

  • The seven things you most want to know about light rail (The Record)


Friday is the last day to send comments on the proposed 2018 GRT route changes. Getting the bus route redesign right to integrate with ION light rail and provide fast, efficient service will be critical to the overall transit network’s future success.

  • America’s bus stops are too close together (Streetsblog)
  • Electric buses are coming, and they’re going to fix 4 big urban problems (Vox)
  • What public transit can learn from Uber and Lyft (The Conversation)
  • Denver radically expanded its transit. So why are many more people driving cars? (CityLab)
  • GTFS: The promise of data-driven public transit (Sidewalk Labs)
  • Learning from Portland’s “For Rent” signs (Human Transit)
  • GO Transit:
    • Major new transit hub in Toronto takes next steps forward (Ontario)
      This hub could be the future terminus of the 25 GO bus which currently ends in Mississauga, providing direct access from Waterloo Region to the TTC.
    • Transit, health groups call for Metrolinx reform (The Star)
    • All-day Milton GO stopped in its tracks by CP, says Metrolinx (Inside Halton)

Winter walkability

As Wellesley mulls municipal sidewalk clearing, Kitchener looks for “snow buddies” to shovel sidewalks for residents who can’t clear sidewalks on their own, as required under present bylaws. We’ve written before about the deficiencies of the present do-it-yourself sidewalk clearing regime.


  • 5 reasons why Amsterdam works so well for bikes (CityLab)
  • NACTO’s new guide spells out which bike lanes should get protection (People for Bikes)
  • Doctors should care about cycling (BMJ)
  • Bike-riding parking officer won’t be silenced after his Twitter account is suspended (The Star)

Land use and parking

  • Big turnout to discuss Wilmot Township’s Official Plan changes (The Record)
  • Kitchener wins a 2017 Excellence in Planning Award from the Ontario Professional Planners Institute for its central rapid transit station area planning (OPPI)
  • Waterloo high-rise condo sells out within 2 days (CTV)
  • 4 easy steps to squash a “there’s no parking” argument (Strong Towns)
  • Freeing up the huge areas set aside for parking can transform our cities (The Conversation)
  • How Philadelphia fixed parking craters using tax policy (Streetsblog)
  • The staggering value of urban land (CityLab)
  • Jan Gehl: “In the last 50 years, architects have forgotten what a good human scale is” (Arch Daily)

Road ahead

  • Blueprint for Autonomous Urbanism (NACTO)
    • How to design streets for humans – and self-driving cars (Wired)
  • The economics of the office: why do we still commute (CityLab)