Ontario Highway Traffic Act (Ontario Highway Traffic Act, )
- $80 fine for failing to wear helmet on bike (under 18 yrs)
- $110 fine if carry passenger under 16 is not wearing helmet
- $110 fine for riding in or along a crosswalk
- $110 for failing to stop as a cyclist
(Clean Air Partnership, 2009) - Bike Lanes, On-Street Parking and Business
- Only 10% of patrons drive to the Bloor Annex neighbourhood;
- Patrons arriving by foot and bicycle visit the most often and spend the most money per month
- There are more merchants who believe that a bike lane or widened sidewalk would increase business than merchants who think those changes would reduce business;
- Patrons would prefer a bike lane to widened sidewalks at a ratio of almost four to one;
(Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), 2007) - Neighbourhood Environments and Resources for Health Living - A Focus on Diabetes in Toronto
- Outlying areas of Toronto […] were built largely after the Second World War. Compared to more central parts of the city, these outlying neighbourhoods were more sparsely populated, had poorer access to public transit and retail services, and had higher rates of car ownership. Residents in these areas also reported relatively fewer walking, bicycling and public transit trips per day
- In contrast, the south central part of Toronto and the downtown core had low diabetes rates. Neighbourhoods in south central Toronto were built largely in the pre-war era. […] characterized by a high population density, mixed residential and commercial land use, dense road and public transit networks and lower rates of car ownership. South central Toronto also had a relatively high number of bicycle lanes. Residents in these areas reported relatively more walking, bicycling and transit trips per day.
- This relationship between low activity-friendliness and high diabetes rates was strongest in “high-risk” neighbourhoods (i.e., those characterized by lower income levels and higher proportions of visible minority residents).
- Dr. Cavacuiti’s Notes:
- Key Finding: Multiple Risks
- Many neighbourhoods with high diabetes rates and low AFI also have high proportions of low income and visible minority populations
- Key Finding #3:
- Areas of the city with the highest diabetes rates have among the lowest rates of walking or biking and transit use
- They also score low on our measure of activity
- Key Finding #1:
- Diabetes rates are the highest in areas that have: lower income levels, a higher proportion of visible minorities, high immigration rates
- Key Finding: Multiple Risks
- High diabetes areas tend to be outside of downtown and have generally worse: access to resources & activity levels
- Neighbourhoods are affected differently:
- Downtown high risk areas have lower diabetes rates than expected
- Wealthy areas have low diabetes rates, no matter their access to resources or activity friendliness.
- … only 18% of cyclists reported feeling comfortable biking on major roads without bike lanes, whereas 53% reported feeling comfortable cycling on major roads with bike lanes
- Overall, walkers visit the area most often, with 84% visiting more than 5 times per month; followed by bicyclists, 72% of whom visit more than 5 times per month
(Clean Air Partnership, 2010) - New research finds strong support on Bloor Street to remove on-street parking for bike lanes
- 4 out of 5 people surveyed do not usually drive to the area
- Merchants overestimated the percentage of people who drive to Bloor West Village and yet more than half believed that reducing onstreet parking by 50% and adding a bike lane or widening sidewalks would either increase or have no impact on their daily number of customers.
- People who arrive by transit, foot, and bike visit more often and spend more money than those who drive
- People who preferred to see street use reallocated for widened sidewalks or a bike lane were significantly more likely to spend more than $100 per month than those who preferred no change.
- The majority of people surveyed (58%) preferred to see street use reallocated for widened sidewalks or a bike lane, even if on-street parking is reduced by 50%
(Dotan, 2009) - The Revolution Will Not Be Motorized
“…every single bike lane is a fight right now, as is every pedestrianization initiative and almost every shift towards public transit. We are told we need to prioritize, pick the one or two projects that matter most, and then justify those to everyone with a car and a (mistaken) belief that businesses benefit more from vehicular traffic than that which arrives on foot.”
(HKPR District Health Unit & Health for Life, 2007) - Active Communities Charter
- Work towards building active communities based on following values: Quality of Life, Health, Accessibility, Inclusion, Community Safety, Community Cohesion and Vitality, & Environmental Sustainability
(McKeown, 2007) - Air Pollution Burden of Illness from Traffic in Toronto - Problems and Solutions
- Taken together, implementation of comprehensive, integrated policies and programs are expected to reduce total vehicle travel by 30 to 50% in a given community, compared with current planning and pricing practices.
Intervention Studies Related to Reducing Traffic
- During the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia, a strategy for minimizing road traffic congestion was implemented. An ecological study comparing the 17 days of the Olympic Games to a baseline period of the 4 weeks prior to and following the Olympic Games was conducted (Friedman et al. 2001).
- The results demonstrate a significant decrease in the number of asthma acute care events (by 42%) in children between the ages of 1 and 16 during this time. Air quality improved with a decrease in peak daily ozone and carbon monoxide by 28% and 19%respectively.
- Studying the effects of relocating individuals from more to less polluted areas also presents a unique opportunity to demonstrate the associated health benefits. Over the duration of a10-year prospective study of respiratory health and air pollution in children in Southern California, 110 participants moved to a new place of residence.
- Subjects who had moved to communities of lower PM10 showed increased lung function while those who moved to areas of higher PM10 showed decreased lung function (Avol et al. 2001).
- In 2003 the London Congestion Charging Scheme (CCS) was implemented in an effort to reduce traffic density in London, UK.
- A recent review of the impact of this scheme analysed traffic data and emissions modelling (Beevers and Carslaw. 2005). There was a 12% reduction in both NO2and PM10emissions at the time of the study, and even greater reductions are likely with expansion of the program.
- Overall: Intervention studies provide compelling evidence that reducing vehicle emissions improves health outcomes:
- An analysis of the impact of air pollution on quality-adjusted life expectancy in Canada reports that a reduction of 1µg/m3 in sulphate air pollution would yield a mean annual increase in quality-adjusted life years of 20,960, a very substantial positive impact (Coyle et al. 2003). It is clear that reducing vehicle emissions will have a significant impact on improved health outcomes. There is an urgent need to implement plans and policies that will work towards mitigating these adverse effects.
Sustainable Transportation Approach
- Implementation of a sustainable transportation system typically focuses on enhancements to transit services, urban form, and behaviour shifts towards becoming more physically active and driving less
- …higher density cities spend the least on providing mobility infrastructure for their residents when trips are being made using predominantly public transport, walking and cycling. The proportion of community income used on transportation rises from less than 6%in densely populated cities where most trips are made by walking, cycling and public transit, to 12% in cities where the car is relied upon almost exclusively for transportation.
- Investments that support active transportation result in important social benefits, including better social cohesion, neighbourhood vitalization, and sense of community
- Some research findings suggest that where safe opportunities exist to walk and cycle, low-income Canadians are more likely to make use of cycling and walking. Therefore, investments that support active transportation result in important social benefits.
- As urban density increases, walking, cycling, and use of transit increases while car travel declines
- Health Promotion Initiative: The Walking Strategy
- The main theme of the strategy is “putting pedestrians first” in future city building. The Walking Strategy will call for a change in mindset from a transportation system designed principally for automobiles to one that places pedestrians at the top of the transportation hierarchy.
- Prepare a Sustainable Transportation Implementation Strategy, drawing from and integrating existing policies and plans (e.g. Official Plan, Bike Plan, Transit City Plan, TTC Ridership Growth Strategy, Walking Strategy)
(Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation, 2008a) - Benchmarking Toronto Bicycle Environment
- When we compare the supply of on-street bike facilities to the total amount of land available in Toronto, we see that very little land is devoted to bike infrastructure – just 0.3 km per km2. In comparison, we see as much as 3.4 km in Copenhagen, and about 1.0 km in New York City.
(Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation, 2008b) - Pedaling into High Gear: Lessons from Bike Summit
- If a municipality can adopt a Complete Streets policy, all the other work involved with creating a bike-friendly city will follow
- In Seattle, where a Complete Streets policy exists, when it’s time to reconstruct a street that’s in the Bike Plan, the City hosts a complete streets meeting, bringing together various municipal departments like transportation, forestry, signals, utilities, parking, and others. If the route is in the Bike Plan then the bike lane project happens – there is no further debate or opportunity to defer work. Under this system, installing bicycle infrastructure becomes much more routine so that a public debate is not needed for every bike lane installation.
(Ward 20 Cycling Committee, 2010) - List of Priorities
According to the City's Toronto Bicycle/Motor-Vehicle Collision Study (2003): "in the central area of the city, the most frequent type of collision [between bicycles and motor vehicles] involved a motorist opening their door and striking a cyclist."
Bike boxes are marked spaces at intersections that indicate dedicated areas where cyclists can wait when stopped at an intersection (for an example, see the illustration below). Bike boxes can serve a variety of purposes. They can facilitate left hand turns and improve the visibility of cyclists.
Bike boxes could also be used to facilitate “two-point left turns” or “indirect left turns” as in the example pictured below.
Markings through Intersections
Increases cyclist visibility, creates more space for them on the road and through intersections
Protected Bike Lanes
Increases safety, quickest way to implement is to install inexpensive and removable plastic bollards (shown)
(Toronto Public Health, 2012) - Road to Health: Improving Walking and Cycling in Toronto
- The state of active transportation in Toronto:
- Surveys suggest that official mode shares understate the number of Torontonians for whom walking and cycling are important modes of transportation
- About 55% of all trips in Toronto are less than 7 km, and are therefore very conducive to cycling. Over 20% of all trips are under 2 km and therefore very walkable.
- Of relevance to Toronto, cycling is almost as fast as driving for trips of 7 km in urban areas, and walking is generally as fast as driving for trips of 500 m and less.
- Improving active transportation in Toronto:
- In Toronto’s re-developing areas, walking and cycling can be supported through mixed use, higher density development with high route connectivity.
- Transportation and public health have historically been addressed separately by planners and policymakers in Canada. However, it is now recognized that current land use planning and automobile-oriented transportation systems are closely linked to Canadians’ low levels of daily physical activity
- Active transportation as a source of physical activity:
- People who commute by active modes (e.g. walking or biking) get more physical activity than those who commute by inactive modes (e.g. driving).
- Research indicates that it is also easier to maintain physical activity levels through activities that are incorporated into daily life – such as walking, cycling or using stairs –than through activities that require a gym or recreation centre. “Lifestyle” physical activity interventions that are not “facility-dependent” are more likely to produce longer-term increases in activity levels.
- Active transportation and equity in Toronto:
- Safe walking and cycling opportunities can reduce inequality by enabling individuals without motor vehicles to more easily access goods and services. In Canada, older adults, children, and low-income families are less likely to own cars, and are therefore most likely to benefit from improvements to alternative modes of transportation. Active transportation can also reduce health inequality by improving access to health services and increasing physical activity.
- First, walkable and bikeable neighbourhoods in the former City of Toronto tend to be the least affordable for those with low incomes.
- Second, low-income families often live in high-rise neighbourhoods in Toronto’s suburbs. These neighbourhoods are characterized by wide roads, long city blocks, segregated land uses, and clusters of high rise apartment buildings. They frequently feature limited pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure and few public gathering places. Many residents feel uncomfortable walking in their neighbourhood at night.
- The positive association between income and pedestrian safety has been recorded in many American cities. In Montreal, twice as many young cyclists and almost four times as many young pedestrians require medical interventions in the poorest areas than in the wealthiest areas.
- Young and elderly people using active transportation also appear more vulnerable to collisions and fatalities in Toronto:
- Separation from traffic:
- Cycling and walking are safer and more enjoyable if cyclists and pedestrians are well separated from traffic for the entire length of their journey. The extent and continuity of sidewalks are associated with increased walking and reduced pedestrian-vehicle collisions.
- Bicycle facilities that separate cyclists from motor vehicle traffic are strongly associated with increased levels of cycling, and reduced crashes and injuries. In the City of Portland, the 210% increase in cycling from 1991 to 2004 is linked to two key factors: the quality of cycling facilities; and the completeness of the bikeway network, including clear connections and near-continuous service. Where the bikeway network was not well connected and not of the highest quality, bicycle use essentially remained at the levels that existed prior to network expansion.
- As of 2010, Toronto had 17 km of bicycle lanes per 100,000 residents. Montreal and Vancouver had 28 and 38, respectively.
- Toronto’s bike lanes were described as “poor” by 54% of Torontonians and 64% of Toronto cyclists. Over 70% of Torontonians – those who already cycle for transportation and those who do not – reported that separating bike lanes from traffic would most improve cycling in Toronto.
- Improvements to cycling facilities are also needed to reduce the 30% of Toronto collisions that involve sideswiping, car doors, and rear-ending.
- Based on surveys, separated bike lanes are viewed as being equally desirable as off-street paths, a testament to their perceived safety.
- In New York City, the installation of cycle tracks decreased injuries to cyclists and pedestrians by 57% and 29%, respectively.
- Studies in London found that new cycle tracks decreased the rate of bicycling crashes and increased the number of cyclists on the roadway by 58% over 3.5 years
- Re-allocating space from motor vehicles to active transportation:
- According to City of Toronto Transportation Services, there are few remaining opportunities to accommodate bicycle lanes on Toronto roadways without reducing traffic capacity or on-street parking. Consequently, in both the downtown and the suburbs, safe cycling facilities will likely require the reallocation of roadway space from on-street parking or motor-vehicle traffic to cyclists.
- In a study of 62 roadway reallocation projects in eleven countries, 51 of the 62 cases showed a traffic decrease as the overall result, with 11% reductions on average.
- In New York City, a bold program to reallocate space has transformed Times Square and Herald Square into pedestrian plazas. The change has increased the number of pedestrians by 11% in Times Square and has decreased injuries to motorists and passengers by 63% in the project area. It has also reduced traffic congestion in the area and increased travel speed along most routes. Finally, the scheme has broad public support; 74% of New York residents agreed that Times Square has improved dramatically as a result of the change.
- In Bloor West Village, nearly half (48%) of those who usually drive to the neighbourhood reported that they would prefer a more pedestrian- or cyclist-oriented street, even if it meant removing on-street parking
- Almost 75% of business owners and managers thought that their business would improve or stay the same with these changes.
- Traffic signal phases:
- Bicycle phases: A study in Davis, California, found that bicycle phases dramatically reduced automobile bicycle collisions. There were 10 collisions near a focus intersection in the 35 months before the installations of a bicycle phase; in the 35 months following installation there were no collisions at this same intersection.
- Bicycle boxes: In Portland, observations revealed an improvement in motorists yielding to cyclists at bike box locations. Most cyclists report feeling safer with bike boxes. The majority of motorists in Portland also reported that bike boxes made driving safer.
- Making active transportation more attractive
- Route quality and speed:
- 39% of Torontonians who do not ride in the winter reported that they would ride more often with safer, cleared bike lanes and paths
- Pavement quality is very important to cyclists’ rating of road segments. The number of cyclists on a path in London doubled after the path was resurfaced
- Winter reductions in cycling may be countered by snow clearing and sanding or salting of ice along cycling routes, dedicated bike lanes, bike-friendly transit, and education about how to ride safely in inclement weather.
- Transit integration:
- All aspects of the Greater Toronto Area’s transportation system will face increasing stress as 100,000 people move to the area each year. Avoiding doomsday predictions of total gridlock in the City of Toronto will require significant investments in regional transit, active transportation, and modal integration.
- Between 1985 and 2006, the number of inbound vehicle trips between 6:30 and 9:30am increased by 75%, and outbound vehicle trips increased by 79%. Many of these vehicle trips are too long to be made by walking or cycling alone, but could effectively be replaced by active transportation in combination with transit.
- Research supports the possibility of increasing walking-transit trips through targeted investment in the comfort and convenience of these integrated trips.
- Almost all transit users in Toronto walk to and from transit (92%), so it is critical that Toronto ensure safe and convenient pedestrian access to transit.
- Marketing programs:
- Because of their relatively minimal cost, marketing programs are extremely cost-effective, particularly at the city- or community-level.
- Education programs:
- In both Germany and the Netherlands, curriculum-based education on safe walking and cycling encourages habitual and safe active transportation in the next generation of citizens
- Enabling active transportation through land-use planning
- One study found that urban sites with small blocks and extensive sidewalk systems had, on average, three times the pedestrian volumes of suburban sites with long blocks and short, incomplete sidewalk systems. The Transportation Research Board (2009) concluded that doubling residential density reduces household vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by 5-12% in the US. When combined with mixed-use developments and improvements to public transit and employment concentration, VMT reductions reach 25%
- There is also evidence that street-level urban design significantly increases levels of walking and cycling.
- Making active transportation more accessible
- Walking and cycling facilities for vulnerable users:
- Interventions that increase the year-round safety and convenience of walking, cycling and transit use tend to support non-drivers and economically disadvantaged people. Unfortunately, as discussed in Chapter 4, Toronto’s current active transportation patterns and facilities appear to create transportation and health inequalities. Young pedestrians in Toronto appear particularly likely to be hit by motor vehicles, while elderly pedestrians are particularly at risk of being killed. Toronto’s low-income neighbourhoods may also have lower levels of walkability and bikeability.
- Traffic calming strategies are particularly valuable for the elderly, for children and for other vulnerable users.
- Affordable housing in vibrant communities:
- These trends are apparent in Toronto, where many low-income families often live in the outer areas where active transportation is least feasible
- Toronto could make a special effort to increase the supply of affordable housing in neighbourhoods with high destination accessibility. Increasing the supply of affordable housing in walkable and bikeable locations may help to address health disparities (Chapter 4).
- Culturally competent community-based programs:
- In a survey conducted by the Community Cycling Centre in Portland, 60% of respondents expressed concern about the cost of a bicycle, indicating that such an expense would be outside their means.
- Implementing coordinated packages of actions:
- A coordinated package of complementary infrastructure measures, programs, and policies may enhance the impact of any intervention that is a component of that package.
- Setting goals:
- Developing quantitative goals that are supported by Council, by City staff, and by community stakeholders have helped other cities increase their effectiveness in promoting safe walking and cycling.
- Chicago’s goals are to increase bicycle use so that 5% of all trips less than 8 km are by bicycle;
- New York City’s goal is to reduce traffic fatalities by 50% by 2030
- Calgary’s goal is to increase the downtown walking mode share to 11% and the downtown cycling mode share to 4% by 2020
- Developing plans, policies and standards
- For example, the City of Toronto could proactively identify opportunities for pedestrian and cyclist facilities as part of every road reconstruction or resurfacing project. Every “secondary land use plan” is an opportunity to specifically address the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, and users of all ages and abilities. As of 2006, few Toronto secondary plans addressed active transportation.
- Collecting better information:
Data on walking and cycling in Toronto is severely limited by the Transportation Tomorrow Survey’s exclusion of walking trips other than to work or to school.