Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Toronto’ Category

Community gardens can satisfy more than just their gardeners’ nurturing  instincts for food and Nature. They add instant visual beauty and interest near 

Leslie St. community allotment gardens in light industrial area by Toronto's Waterfront bike-pedestrian path beside entrance to Leslie St. Spit. Gardens in existence over past 15 years. 2011. Photo by J. Chong

Leslie St. community allotment gardens in light industrial area by Toronto's Waterfront bike-pedestrian path beside entrance to Leslie St. Spit. Gardens in existence over past 15 years. 2011. Photo by J. Chong

 bike and pedestrian routes.  After all, car drivers are usually moving  too fast to encourage up close lingering and reflection on budding plants and garden art.   Sample approaches of community gardens in relation to active transportation routes, will be highlighted for cities of  Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary.

A Bright Spot in Industrial Area by Leslie St. Spit- Along Toronto’s Waterfront Bike Route

Leslie St. community gardens protected by fence on right. Waterfront bike-pedestrian path connects between Beaches area, east Toronto and along Lake Ontario into downtown Toronto by Harbourfront.

Leslie St. community gardens protected by fence on right. Waterfront bike-pedestrian path connects between Beaches area, east Toronto and along Lake Ontario into downtown Toronto by Harbourfront. Road is heavily used by trucks during work week 2011. Photo by J. Chong

 Fifteen years ago, before community gardens became the blooming rage for growing local food and flowers, I used to cycle to work daily and pass a large community garden along Toronto’s Waterfront bike route  –not far from the Leslie St. spit.  At that time, this garden had a low wire fence where one could look over top to see a profusion of plants, compost piles and garden lawn chairs scattered about for resting.

Now, the Leslie St. Allotment Community Gardens are protected by higher secure fencing.  But these gardens still thrive in the same location.  They have expanded and matured with some lawn grass rows and ever-thickening 

Well-loved new community gardens along abandoned Molson rail branch line off the Arbutus abanonded rail corridor.

Well-loved new community gardens along abandoned Molson rail branch line off the Arbutus abanonded rail corridor. At rail line corner stop on lst St. on bike route connecting between Granville Market and Burrard St. Bridge separated bike lanes. Vancouver BC 2011. Photo by J. Chong

 bushes.  Most likely, the choice location wasn’t because of the bike path location. It was  the reality, that sometimes people could drive and stop briefly to unload soil and other gardening tools.  Besides, the location was on a convenient plot of public land across from a light industrial area that continues to have flotillas of trucks rumbling on the road.  Thank goodness for a marked bike and walking route.  Without the Leslie St. allotment gardens and signed pathway, this area would be dull, bleak and an area to avoid.
 

lst St. community gardens line abandoned Molson rail branch line. To right of rail, is on-road bike lane. Vancouver, BC 2011. Photo by J. Chong

lst St. community gardens line abandoned Molson rail branch line. To right of rail, is on-road bike lane. Vancouver, BC 2011. Photo by J. Chong

Vancouver’s Spirited Reclaimation of Abandoned or Underused Land
Some Vancouver community gardens display creative reclamation of abandoned public right of ways and other underused land plots, such as traffic calming circles.  Just a 5-minute walk from the Granville Public Market, lst Ave. near Fir St., are recent new community gardens lining the  abandoned Molson branch rail line from the Arbutus Corridor, another abandoned rail line.

The gardens line a well used bike route that feeds to and from the popular Burrard St. Bridge separated bike lanes that are 2 blocks away. The Burrard Bridge separated bike lanes have a daily average of 5,300 cyclists. (2011)

Davis St. Village community garden in heart of Vancouver BC at Burrard and Davie St.

Davis St. Village community garden in heart of Vancouver BC at a busy corner of Burrard and Davie St. Cyclists transit, cars and pedestrians converge in this area. 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

 You can’t help but stop by to marvel bright red poppies, miniature tongue-in-cheek, homemade transmission line art and jewel-coloured floral annuals dotting  decorative grasses, ground cover plants and some veggies, including tomatoes.  It’s a brave garden: it has no fencing –yet. There’s even an arbour built right by the rail crossing sign.  Certainly cyclists have to slow down anyway to look,  in order to angle their wheels safely across the rail line.

One of several traffic calming circles which contain community gardens. Ontario St. bike route, Vancouver BC 2010. Photo by J. Chong

One of several traffic calming circles containing community gardens. Ontario St. bike route, Vancouver BC 2010. Photo by J. Chong. A road centrepiece that slows down cars, cyclists and pedestrians.

 After cycling another 10 minutes north on the separated bike lane via the Burrard St.  Bridge, you will reach the Davie Village garden. 

This community garden is planted right in the heart of downtown Vancouver,  at a street corner thronging with people, car traffic, buses and bikes during the day.  The garden has overtaken land where there was once a gas station. The land was specially prepared to contain soil contamination for gardening on top.  There, sunflowers rise like smiling, calm faces to greet the harried crowds and traffic.

The City of Vancouver had only discovered within the last few years, that its cycling network had some major routes close to a wide range of community gardens. Here are maps that combine its bike routes and community gardens.

Bright Spots in Calgary– A Prairie City
Calgary has less of a lengthy history and number of community gardens. People tell me it’s the shorter warm growing season since it is over  400 km. north or 8 

Community garden behind Fort Calgary, historic former Northwest Mounted Police site. Along Riverside bike-pedestrian path by Bow River. Calgary, AB 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker.

Community garden behind Fort Calgary, historic former Northwest Mounted Police site. Along Riverside bike-pedestrian path by Bow River. Calgary, AB 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker.

 degrees latitude north  of  Toronto.   While Vancouver has over 2,500 community garden plots, Calgary has 30 community gardens with over 115 garden plot allotments.

So the expectation to find many of Calgary’s community gardens near its signed bike routes and paths, is a bit premature at this time.  The most obvious community garden would be a large full community garden behind Fort Calgary along the heavily used Bow River bike path in the downtown core.  If it 

Toy piglet garden amulets adorn a temporary community garden in East Village while area is under construction. Calgary AB 2011. Photo by J. Chong

Toy piglet garden amulets adorn a temporary community garden in East Village while area is under construction with new condos, parkland in downtown Calgary AB 2011. Photo by J. Chong

  weren’t for the occasional concert and staging area for annual Calgary Stampede, this flat prairie parkland is otherwise underused. The community garden is a bright spot under the blazing hot, naked sun.
 
As you continue along the path and near the heritage Simmons Bedding Factory which now house architectural offices, there are temporary community gardens in the rising, rehabilitated East Village area.  The gardens pop cheerfully and humbly amongst the construction flurry of condos, a new Central Library and more. 

Food, flowers and visual interest at Leslie St. Allotment Community Gardens. Toronto 2011. Photo by J. Chong

Butternut squash, tomatoes, flowers and visual interest at Leslie St. Allotment Community Gardens. Toronto 2011. Photo by J. Chong

 Community gardens and bike-pedestrian routes, if well-positioned and integrated into community design, enhance neighbourhood property values, health of its residents, and promote conviviality among people in shared outdoor activities.

Further Reading and More Photos of  Other Community Gardens
Calgary Horticultural Society.  Community Gardens.  List provided with links.

Chong, Jean.  People’s Oases: Community Gardens. In Cycle Write Blog. Apr. 9, 2010.

Chong, Jean.  Touring Vancouver’s Community Gardens Along its Bike Route.  In Velo-city Global 2012 Conference Blog. Apr. 15, 2011.  Includes community gardens on front lawn of Vancouver City Hall.

City of Vancouver.  Community Garden Walking and Cycling Tours. Includes maps.

Toronto Community Garden Network.  Community Gardens in Toronto and GTA. For unknown reasons, Leslie St. Allotment Gardens are not on this list.

Read Full Post »

 In the 1990’s, I do recall sitting in the cheap $10 seats in St. Paul’s Church and listening to Tafelmusik, Toronto’s baroque chamber music group play.  Gazing across the church on the other side, I saw Olivia and Jack come in and sit down.  Guess everyone likes a bargain.

Toronto's Waterfront bike path extended more elegantly by ghostly aboveground pylons for this part of Gardinder Expressway. After persistent pleading to Toronto City Council, J. Layton' motion was approved for a mere $25,000 to conduct a study to tear down this eastern part of Gardiner Expressway. Trail continues along Lake Ontario east to popular Beaches area. 2006. Photo by HJEH Becker

Toronto's Waterfront bike path extended more elegantly by ghostly aboveground pylons after removal of this part of the Gardiner Expressway. After persistent pleading to Toronto City Council, J. Layton' motion was approved for a mere $25,000 to conduct a study to tear down this eastern part of Gardiner Expressway. Trail continues along Lake Ontario east to popular Beaches area. 2006. Photo by HJEH Becker

In the 1994 or 1995, to 1999 period, I had the privilege of being the Public Co-Chair to either Jack or Olivia Chow on the Metro Toronto Cycling Committee, which then transitioned into the Metro Toronto Cycling and Pedestrian Committee, and finally to the Toronto Cycling Committee. 

Pleading for $25,000 Study
I do recall watching the proceedings of the Toronto Council where Jack was pleading with almost tears in his eyes.  He was asking the Council for a paltry $25,000 to do an initial study on tearing down the east end extension of the aboveground Gardiner Expressway.  He just kept on persistently pleading and pleading for this little 

Public memorials drawn in chalk all over Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto's City Hall. Aug. 26, 2011. Chalk words were redrawn over previous words washed away by rain shower several days ago. Photo by D. Liu (nee Chong).

Public memorials drawn in chalk all over Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto's City Hall. Aug. 26, 2011. Chalk words were redrawn over previous words washed away by rain shower several days ago. Photo by D. Liu (nee Chong).

  money, similar to a child pleading for a  candy bar.  Finally, Council,  which was totally pro-car except for a couple of members, gave in.  It appeared that giving Jack $25,000 for the study was a way to shut him up.

Later on, as the final plans to tear down this section to Leslie St., were taking shape and being prepared for tender, on Jack’s encouragement and facilitation, I appeared before a Council Committee to ask for their endorsement of  a wide bike path beside the road where the Gardiner Expressway once stood.

By the Kensington Market area, that abutts Chinatown. About less than 2 kms. where Layton and Chow lived. 2006. Photo by HJEH Becker

By the Kensington Market area, that abutts Chinatown. About less than 2 kms. where Layton and Chow lived. 2006. Photo by HJEH Becker

 1990’s- Inspired by Amsterdam’s Cycling Infrastructure After Vacation Trip
I do remember in the 90’s when Jack returned from a trip to Amsterdam.  He brought back a Dutch copy of the CROWE Design Manual for Bicycle Traffic, the bible on cycling infrastructure design.  He loaned it to me for a short while, but insisted that I return it to him.  He was totally excited with the cycling infrastructure designs he saw in the Netherlands and wanted to bring them to Toronto.  Finally, ten years later I was able to get my own copy, this time in English.

He has been described as energetic, upbeat, anything can be done, let’s move forward against all odds.  That is the way how I remember him.

Loved Stage of Public Limelight  
Jean:  Clearly he was a politician who revelled in the public limelight or at least centre stage, to mobilize himself and others into action. Yes, it did appear abit egotistical. But he was willing to work hard to gain that limelight and by giving back to the community.

Along Spadina Rd. near College St. Toronto, ON 2006. Photo by HJEH Becker

Along Spadina Rd. near College St. Toronto, ON 2006. Photo by HJEH Becker

I never personally knew Layton. But I did witness his gregarious, fun side at fundraising dinner in a Chinatown restaurant during the mid 1980’s.  At the time, I had just started to become involved with the Chinese Canadian National Council (CCNC), a lead national organization on race relations and immigrant issues.

 This was before I caught the bicycling bug in 1992  and later identified Layton, as a cyclist who rolled into some Toronto Bike to Work Week events in the early 1990’s.

Bike-pedestrian bridge by Lake Ontario, western part of Toronto's Waterfront Bike route in Etobicoke 2006.  Photo by HJEH Becker

Bike-pedestrian bridge by Lake Ontario, western part of Toronto's Waterfront Bike route in Etobicoke 2006. Photo by HJEH Becker

In Chinatown- Fundraising for a Hospital
 The first time, he was the comic auctioneer with his then friend, now wife, Olivia Chow.   The duet were clearly enjoying each other’s company on stage  –he joking in English, dashing in clumsily a Chinese word, while she was  flirting and laughing as she translated or probably semi-translated, in Chinese, to a crowd of well over 300 diners.  I’m sorry I don’t remember the exact charity dinner, but maybe it was the famed Mount Sinai Hospital fundraiser that sparked the Layton and Chow romance.

Through CCNC, Layton personally knew the key Toronto Chinese-Canadians involved in social justice and race relations with dedicated years of service and public education work on immigrant support services, counseling and legal aid. It is not surprising that later, this type of personal understanding and grass-roots networking, would help build his electorate base for the “common” people  which Ignatieff and Harper have found it harder to capture more broadly.

City of  Toronto's ring and post bike rack that was conceived by Layton. In the Beaches area, along Queen St. East. 2006. Photo by HJEH Becker

City of Toronto's ring and post bike rack that was conceived by Layton. In the Beaches area, along Queen St. East. 2006. Photo by HJEH Becker

 My other memory is of Layton rolling into Nathan Phillips Square one morning in celebration of Bike to Work week.  He was cycling and singing satirical cycling ditties with Toronto’s cycling choir, “Song Cycles”. (They actually did have a CD which I have somewhere lost in the bowels of my overcrowded bookcase.)

Thousands of Layton’s Cycling Legacy in Toronto: Bike Rack Design
Toronto doesn’t have to worry about finding a permanent public marker to memorialize his legacy  –there already is one:  16,000 ring and post bike racks installed over the city, a design that he concocted.

So thanks, for the memories.  From the cycling world, thanks for cycling because you loved to cycle year after year  to and from work and around town in Toronto and Ottawa, regardless of whether or not the Canadian media paparazzi even paid attention at all.
 
Now, that is spinning words into action.

Below: Canadian comedian Rick Mercer tours their environmentally friendly home and glimpses  home life in Toronto. Filmed in 2010:

Further Reading
Roberts, Wayne.  “He’s Already Made a Revolution“.  In Now.  Aug. 25 – Sept. 1, 2011. Vol. 30 (no.52).  Article highlights Layton’s efforts as Toronto city councillor, then as national NDP leader.

Read Full Post »

By H-JEH Becker and Jean Chong
Updated May 21, 2010 with addendum at end.

Just earlier this week and despite vocal opposition from a handful of politicians and residents, Toronto Public Works Committee councillors approved a summer pilot for separated bike lanes on University Avenue, a major 8-lane arterial road in middle of downtown Toronto. Yes, it is 8 lanes wide.  Final approval should occur at the Toronto City Council meeting on May 11 and 12.

Proposed Separated Bike Lanes. University Ave. Toronto, ON. 2010.

Proposed Separated Bike Lanes. University Ave. facing north towards Queen's Park, Ontario legislative buildings. Toronto, ON. 2010. Mock-up illustrates one of the proposed options for pilot implementation. Photo from City of Toronto Report Apr. 2010.

 Toronto’s First Separated Bike Lanes
The alignment of the proposed bike lanes would make good use of the wide, people-scaled centre median running along University Ave.  The median is populated with art, statues, benches, trees and flower gardens. The proposed 1-km. long separated bike lanes from Queen St to College St. would reduce University Ave. to 3 car lanes in each direction.

It will be the first separated bike lane in Toronto.  University Ave. cuts across several east-west bike streets with bike lanes which are well-used by cyclists.

This street is well serviced with the Yonge – University – Spadina subway line and its closely-spaced stations leading to underground retail shopping malls thus minimizing the need for surface bus routes.  Within a dense workforce corridor, several large hospitals, financial institutions, courthouses and high-rise corporate head offices line the street.  Once a sterile street void of people after the sunset,  high-rise residential housing is making its gradual appearance.

University Ave. Toronto, ON. Photo by J. Becker

Walking along University Ave. Toronto, ON. 2006. Green treed centre median is just left of the orange dumpster. Photo by J. Becker

 As a North American city, Toronto is distinctive where it has always maintained an important residential component to its make-up in the downtown core.  Over the years, this component has been strengthened with conversion of a few office building to include residential units.

When Jean cycle-commuted to work from Scarborough into downtown Toronto for several years, University Ave. was handy. The pavement was smooth for cycling and there were less bus interruptions. On the other hand, car speed was and probably still is fast. During the work day, there were pedestrians streaming from subway stations, buildings and the feeder streets. However at night, University Ave. was void of pedestrians and street life. Cars zoomed along but clearly not in the great numbers as during the day — typical of a business district area.  However pedestrians did walk along intersecting streets after work hours on their way to a subway station for other destinations in the entertainment or shopping districts.

Humanizing University Avenue
Separated bike lanes could help rebalance overall road usage at all hours of the day and night, calm traffic and increase safety for both cyclists and pedestrians. As a pedestrian, I do remember several times nearly running across University Ave. just to make the crossing on one traffic signal.

Separated bike lanes could also allow safe cycling for parents with children within downtown. At this time, there are no child protected cycling facilities in downtown Toronto except for the Waterfront Trail sections and in the ravine bike trails system. Just like Toronto, lack of protected cycling routes for children, is also true in downtown Vancouver except for sections of the 30-km. Seaside-Seawall bike path. 

Cyclists on Separated Bike Two-Way Lanes. Berri St. Montreal, QC 2005. Photo by J. Becker

Cyclists on Separated Bike Two-Way Lanes. Berri St. Montreal, QC 2005. Photo by J. Becker

 This trial will be quite different from Vancouver’s Burrard Bridge or Dunsmuir Viaduct separated bike lanes into downtown. If successful, separated bike lanes could, once more, humanize and bring back more Toronto pedestrians along University Ave. and even create, gasp, more demand for on-street cafes, and social meeting spaces. Vancouver is also planning new separated bike lanes for this year,  by extending the lanes on the Dunsmuir Viaduct and the Burrard Bridge into the downtown core.  Of course, Montreal cyclists have been enjoying their separated bike lanes for years with a network leading from the suburbs into the downtown core and into Old Montreal.

With separated bike lanes being installed this summer both in Toronto and Vancouver, we have two different laboratories for observing the contribution of cycling and car separation within downtown cores for growing cycling traffic volumes.

Interesting Reading:
City of Toronto. Protected Bike Lane Pilot : University Avenue and Queens Park Crescent Project. Presentation to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee. Apr. 20, 2010.  Document includes photo examples of separated bike lanes in other cities worldwide.

James, Royson. “James: Stop and Smell the Lilies”. In Toronto Star, Apr. 24, 2010.

Shepherd, Jeremy. “City Considers More Bike Lanes.” In Vancouver Courier, Apr. 23, 2010.

Addendum:
On May 12, 2010, Toronto city council did not approve the pilot University Avenue separated bike lanes. However their first Bixi public bike rental program was approved the day before by council.

On May 20, 2010, Vancouver city council approved extension of the Dunsmuir separated bike lane into downtown Vancouver. Projected completion for this 6-month trial, is expected to be June 15, 2010.

Read Full Post »

Facilitating Kinesia Paradoxica in Parkinson’s Disease
We know well, the cardiovascular and psychosocial benefits of frequent cycling.  However now there are recent medical research forays to examine cycling  and possible health effects for some other long-term disorders and diseases. 

Cycling in Saint Raymond du Port-Neuf, Quebec. 2009. Photo by J. Becker

Cycling in Saint Raymond du Port-Neuf, Quebec. 2009. Photo by J. Becker. Man was observed walking with his cane which he later stowed in his rear bike carrier before he cycled away.

 Recently the New York Times republished a remarkable video from the New England Journal of Medicine and an article about some  patients with Parkinson’s disease, who were able to ride a bicycle even though they had  difficulty standing or walking.  The video documents a Parkinson’s patient who rides his bicycle regularily for 10 miles. Yet the 58-year old man could barely stand or walk without trembling greatly and collapsing onto the ground.

Researchers posit a neurological coping mechanism in some Parkinson’s patients, “ kinesia paradoxica”, may be triggered “by the bicycle’s rotating pedals, which may act as an external pacing cue”

Cycling together. Saint Raymond du Port-Neuf, Quebec 2009. Photo by J. Becker

Cycling together. Saint Raymond du Port-Neuf, Quebec 2009. Photo by J. Becker

Similar observations were made for 20 other Parkinson’s patients.  It is hopeful work which may benefit  some patients. After I forwarded  the NY Times article to other people, a woman  indicated that health care staff already had her husband, who has Parkinson’s, unsuccessfully cycle a recumbent bike.  It was not clear if her husband rode a recumbent bike in the past.

Mitigating Some Effects for Prostate Cancer
At this time, Jack Layton, federal leader for the Canadian  NDP political party and long time cyclist, is participating in a medical research study for prostate cancer patients to determine if cycling and other regular exercise can mitigate tumour growth.  The research project, Survivorship Exercise Program is based at Princess Margaret Hospital, a lead cancer hospital in Toronto.  J. Layton has been undergoing radiation treatment.

Ring and post bike parking posts. King St. West, Toronto. Photo by J. Becker

Ring and post bike parking posts. Design concept by former Toronto councillor, Jack Layton. King St. West, Toronto. Photo by J. Becker

For over 20 years, which included his tenure as Toronto city councillor, J. Layton constantly advocated for cycling facilities.  For many years he also chaired the Toronto Cycling Committee and its predecessors.  The story has been  that over a drink of beer,  J. Layton designed on a napkin the now well-known Toronto post and ring for parking bikes. Now there are approximately 18,000 of these post and ring installations. During part of this time, Jack Becker of Third Wave Cycling Group had the pleasure of serving as his public co-chair from 1995 to 1999.

Further Reading:
Kolata, Gina. “For Some, Cycling Provides a Break For Some with Parkinson’s Disease.” In New York Times. Mar. 31, 2010.

Savin, Monique. “Studying Exercise and Cancer –with Jack Layton’s Help”. In Globe and Mail. Mar. 25, 2010.

Snijders, Anke J. and Bloem, Bastiian R. “Cycling for Freezing of Gait”. In New England Journal of Medicine. Vol. 362; (e62). No. 13.  Apr. 1, 2010.

Read Full Post »

Festive boat lights. False Creek. Vancouver 2009.

Festive boat lights. False Creek. Vancouver 2009.

We received an email earlier last week from the local ratepayers’ group:

There has been a request from VANOC and the Olympic committee asking Citygate and False Creek residents to keep their festive lights up and on throughout the Olympics so the world can see us. 

Presumably this request can even include the festive Christmas lights that some boat owners festoon their masts along the waterfront.

What would be an equivalent, visibility tactic for the cycling community to announce the significance of cyclists? 

It could be as simple as keeping your helmet on your head when you are shopping.  This action would go a long way towards changing the perception of local business retailers that their customer base and retail sales comes from car 

Cyclist shopping in local store.

Cyclist shopping in local store.

drivers.  It may start stopping retailers’ complaints any time that a new bike lane at their store entrance takes away more street car parking.  It may start retailer action to call for more storefront bike parking racks.  It may change perception that cyclists in a store does not contribute to the bottom line of retailer sales and profitability.  A “helmet-on-campaign-while shopping” would remind retailers that cyclists do comprise more of their customer base than retailers might realize.

Cyclists do shop, contribute to local businesses and the economy. Like everyone else, they still consume products and services.  In fact, cyclists, without the burden of paying for car maintenance, may have more money available for shopping.

In downtown Toronto, there has been an ongoing debate on implementation of a bike lane on the busy Bloor Street west of Spadina  Rd., an area  known  as the “Annex”.  For many decades and still now, the Annex is a gentrified neighbourhood with busy cafes, restaurants, independent shops, community centre and services that draw patrons and convivial street life.

A recent study of 61 local merchants, 531 patrons, and parking space use, revealed only 10% of patrons drive to the Bloor-Annex area. Pedestrians and cyclists were spending more money than the drivers.  This is not surprising since the area is served by 3 different subway station exits, feeder bus lines and an established bike lane grid in this Bloor St neighbourhood.

Meanwhile in Vancouver, the Canada Line opened in late August 2009.  Now changes in customer levels have been noted to be modest for businesses along the Canada Line on Cambie St.   Businesses closer to stations have seen an increase in foot traffic.  The full effect of a switch from car-based shopping to people-based shopping takes time.  It takes more than a full year business cycle for commuters to establish changes in their transportation choice, travel and shopping patterns.

Since no one is constantly monitoring where bikes are locked up outside  shops, then the bike helmet is the beacon to signal retailers that another customer that has just arrived –in a different way.

 

Third Wave believes that a carefully thought out bike parking strategy for a retail neighbourhood would enhance local  sales and retailers’ financial bottom line.  Time to park a bike, proximity to retailers’ storefront door, and perceived personal and bike safety are some of the critical components in such a strategy.  Third Wave specializes in bike parking planning.

Interesting Reading:
Bike Lanes, On Street Parking and Business: A Study of Bloor Street in Annex’s Neighbourhood. Toronto: Clean Air Partnership Fund, Feb. 2009.

Morton, Brian. “Customer Traffic up Modestly Since Canada Line Opened, Cambie Street Merchants Say.” Vancouver Sun. Dec. 7, 2009.

Read Full Post »

In our personal archives of bicycle maps where we have visited or lived, is a rare copy of probably Canada’s first Chinese-English language bike route map. It was produced in 1996.  This map was the brain child of Eugene Yao, former Toronto community activist and  bike shop co-owner for the Urbane Cyclist, a shop located in downtown Toronto in the trendy Queen St. West district.  Eugene passed away in Feb. 2008 but many long-time Toronto cycling advocates still remember Eugene.

Canada's first bilingual cycling map in Chinese and English. Original map in black and white. Blog post by Jean Chong.

 

 

Whenever we visited Toronto, we inevitably dropped by the Urbane Cyclist because it catered to commuter cyclists and it was near our favourite bike routes.  Eugene often was around in the shop with his friendly and helpful manner.

I was not aware of this bilingual map until I was cycling from my Scarborough home and by chance, met Eugene leading a small fundraising group ride for the  Chinese-Canadian National Council (CCNC).  This group of cyclists was on the Don Valley Bike Path route by Taylor Creek.  

The map represented via Eugene Yao, the merging of two different advocacy worlds he was involved: cycling and previously, on race relations and immigrant matters with CCNC in the late 1980’s.  

 This map is no longer in print. It’s been over a decade now.  Meanwhile the Toronto cycling network has expanded further since 1996. Its population continues to grow.  In Greater Toronto with over 5 million people, there are over 486,000  residents of Chinese descent.  But this group is eclipsed by now the largest visible minority group in Metro Toronto: South Asians at 684,000  (Statistics Canada 2006 census).  However given such changes, recently there was a  2009 study by University of Toronto planning student E. Duque, on perceptions of cycling or non-cycling among certain ethnic communities, “Divercycling : a look at who (who’s not) cycling in Toronto”.    Many reasons such as language and easily accessible cycling information, can be sometimes, a challenge.  Other reasons maybe the same as found for the general population: inadequate cycling infrastructure for safe cycling in certain areas.

Mag legend on Chinese-English bilingual Metro Toronto Bike Path Map 2006.

There is preliminary work under way for Metro Vancouver to  investigate into its own local situation. Already there have been significant changes in demographics  and geographic dispersion of residents across the region.  Stay tuned.

Meanwhile if anyone can share with us more historic details about this bilingual map, please comment or send us an email.  Jack Becker believes the map was  funded through private corporate sources.  Does anyone else have a copy of this map too?  Let us know too.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: