Balancing on a self-propelled, two-wheeled mechanism is not everyone's cup of tea. Those who do it, though, agree that it's one of the most exciting experiences. Cycling is an activity that has significant social, economical and health benefits. And with all the new technologies available, it's only getting better.
More than twice as many kids are driven to school these days compared to 25 years ago, and that's having an impact on everyone. In a study released April 5 by Metrolinx, the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area's transportation planning agency, researchers found a decline among youth in the use of physically active modes of transportation to commute to school over a 25-year period. And this has huge implications for the future of Toronto.
When I was in high school, my least favourite class was English. It wasn't my teacher's fault; it was just that, somehow, the lessons of ancient literature did not resonate with my teenage mind. But I've come to appreciate the relevance of the life truths buried within those classic writings we were obliged to study years ago.
Across its 4,440-km route, the Canadian provides an essential service to many communities without other public transportation options. It attracts large numbers of international tourists to the Canadian Rockies and communities like Jasper, Alberta. It is a globally-recognized symbol of Canada, and graces our $10 bank notes.
Whenever I meet a Hummer, tension rises in my chest, unkind thoughts develop in my head and my hands tighten and tremble, as if they want to signal something. I've long wondered why that happens, and I think I've finally figured it out. It has something to do with a song, economics and the courteous way to walk your dog.
Sadly, in my experience, purposely ignoring pregnant women while riding public transit has become the norm, not the exception. What has happened to humanity? The lack of focus on others, supported by the technological tools to "zone out" or feign ignorance wherever and whenever possible makes this willful blindness not only possible but probable as well.
Cities and states around the world are engaged in hand-to-hand combat with mobile tech upstart Uber, a company that is rapidly disrupting the traditional taxi business everywhere. Viewed from an impartial distance, it is pretty clear that, whatever it is, Uber is providing a service traditionally provided by taxis. Complicating matters is that many cities have a chaotic and nonsensical approach to regulating public taxis. Before trying to make sense of where Uber fits into the chaos of its taxi ecosystem, cities such as Toronto would be smart to consider why it regulates the industry in the first place.
I was recently in Toronto to interview John Tory, the 65th and current mayor of my adoptive hometown. Thinking about my return to New York, I couldn't help but make comparisons. An age-old saying came to mind. "The grass is always greener on the other side." In my case, was it greener on the other side of the border?
Changing the way we move through cities is a critical step in reducing carbon emissions. The most direct way to accomplish this is to provide urbanites with reliable alternatives to automobile travel. A two-car household that replaces one vehicle with alternative transportation can cut its annual emissions by 10 per cent.
Keith Hallgren of RBF Cycles is a longtime four-season cyclist. He builds and fixes bikes, teaches courses on winter cycling and, full disclosure, he also built the winter bike of Green Energy Futures editor Duncan Kinney. According to Hallgren there are three keys to being a successful winter cyclist.
Unlike the past, when professionals led transport planning in Toronto, transport planning today has become the exclusive purview of poorly informed politicians. To have any chance of addressing gridlock, transit planning has to start with professionals who actually understand real needs and alternative solutions before political choices are made.
On an average weekday, 1.6 million people use public transit to navigate Canada's largest city, relying on the Toronto Transit Commission's four subway lines, 11 streetcar routes, and more than 140 bus routes to reach their destinations. Writer Dominic Ali spoke with University of Toronto expert Matti Siemiatycki about where Toronto's transit has been and where it's heading.
Frankly I think it's at least partially our fault as an environmental movement that this framing has stuck. We haven't focused enough on specific solutions over the years. We have opposed bad ideas like pipelines with vague notions of carbon taxes or non-specific alternative energy projects. We have rarely proposed or even broadly supported specific alternative projects.
Rather than impugning divestiture, the AGs report confirms that divestiture is the right approach. While it will take 7 or more years to recover the combination of divestiture costs and unfunded pension liabilities, the Government of Ontario will save and estimated $73 million annually afterwards according to the Auditor General's report.
As governments here in Canada wrestle with the challenge of providing high-quality transportation infrastructure, they should increasingly consider public-private partnerships, or P3s. The record shows P3s are more likely to be built on time and on budget, and they offer greater value for money than conventional infrastructure projects.