A few weeks in review: January 8, 2018

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Consultations, feedback, and events

The “sidewalk ice dancing”

(with apologies to Jane Jacobs)

If you walk somewhere in winter, you’re not likely to get very far without encountering ice or uncleared snow on the sidewalk – even when there’s been no snow in the last few days. That’s the findings of our just-released winter sidewalk study. Last February, we invited volunteers to help us measure how accessible Kitchener’s sidewalks were. Our numbers show that cities’ system of having adjacent property owners clear sidewalks severely restricts winter mobility. Read the report here. (Coverage in the Record, CBC, CTV, Kitchener Post)

  • Falls on ice seriously injure Albertans at triple the rate of people in Ontario (CBC)
    Because most Ontario cities (but not ours) clear their sidewalks, rather than leave it up to adjacent property owners.
  • Paying attention to the mundane policy issues (Policy Options)

Transit changes and funding

Grand River Transit’s 2018 winter service schedule begins Monday. Meanwhile, plans are being made to launch the 205 Ottawa iXpress route on April 30.

The province has announced $10,454,575 from its gas tax funds for transit in Waterloo this year. That’s up about $400,000 from last year, (but only $100,000 from the 2016.)

  • What Elon Musk doesn’t get about urban transit (CityLab)
  • Whistler slashes bus fares, turns to public transit to beat congestion (CBC)

ION testing (of trains and patience)

The first outdoor powered tests of an ION vehicle took place December 19. Our fourth vehicle, train 503, was delivered to Waterloo, while train 501 was sent back for repairs.

Meanwhile, Metrolinx cut their order of Bombardier light rail vehicles in half, which has local officials optimistic this will allow the company to focus on completing our order. They have also failed to meet scaled back targets for TTC streetcar delivery.

Vision Zero

  • Pedestrian hit by pickup truck, charged for walking on road (CTV)
    Wonder how well the sidewalk had been cleared of snow…
  • Pedestrian struck and killed in Wellesley (The Record)
  • Elderly pedestrian seriously hurt in crash (CTV)
  • Fewer impaired charges, but far fewer RIDE checks (The Record)
  • Is your city committed to Vision Zero, or just paying lip-service? (Streetsblog)

Bike networks

  • Calgary sees big increase in the number of winter cyclists (Global)
    After building a network of protected lanes downtown
  • 2017: The year America’s institutions got into all-ages bike networks (People for Bikes)
  • ‘A rolling walking stick’: why do so many disabled people cycle in Cambridge? (Guardian)
  • Berlin’s upcoming bike revolution (CityLab)
  • Top 15 cycling neighborhoods in Canada (City Clock Magazine)

Rethinking streets

The shape of our cities

  • Boom time: $1.2 billion in building permits expected for downtown Kitchener (The Record)
  • Governance strategies to achieve transit-oriented development (Ryerson City Building Institute)
  • Changes will come slowly despite OMB reforms (The Star)
  • Ditch the drive? Here’s what Americans would give up to live in walkable communities (Realtor)
  • The race in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (The Agenda on Politics)
  • King Street complainers need to remember why they’re on King Street (Sean Marshall)
  • How ‘not in my backyard’ became ‘not in my neighbourhood’ (The Upshot)

The road ahead

  • Who owns urban mobility data? (CityLab)
  • Why can’t Uber make money? (Forbes)
  • People aren’t ready for self-driving cars (CityLab)
  • Self-driving cars have hit peak hype – now they face the trough of disillusionment (Wired)