New TCAT reports show how Toronto is falling behind other cities in bike facilities
TCAT has surprised me with two reports announced at the same time, the Benchmarking Active Transportation in Canadian Cities report and the Building Better Cycling in Cities: Lessons for Toronto report.
Benchmarking Active Transportation in Canadian Cities, compares the performance of active transportation in Toronto against other cities in Canada, the United States and Europe, and I've just started getting into its meaty content. Some of its results include confirming the "safety in numbers theory" - the more cyclists and pedestrians the safer it is for both; low active transportation mode shares equal high private automobile shares; low gas taxes often mean higher private automobile shares.
TCAT/Clean Air Partnership researcher, Kevin Behan claims there are many ways Toronto could improve conditions for pedestrians: “More people walk to work in Montreal and Vancouver than in Toronto. Both of those cities have pedestrianized streets and lower speed limits in residential areas. Toronto opened its first pedestrian priority streets after the conclusion of this study but doesn’t have lower speed limits in residential areas. "
I thought the claim about the speed limits is interesting so I called 311 (it really is an amazing service). They told me that the normal speed on residential streets in Toronto is 50 km/h but that in any area where there is a school, community centre, parks, playgrounds and some pedestrian-centred factors then the speed will be 40 or lower. Indeed, the majority of side streets around me that are 40 and then the odd one that is 50.
Building Better Cycling in Cities: Lessons for Toronto, the second report by TCAT, looks at how arterial roads should start accommodating high volumes of cyclists, much like they are constructed to carry high volumes of automobiles. It looks at best practices and policies from Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Portland, New York City and Berlin. The lead author was Ada Chan.
I've yet to finish reading both of them, but they should provide nice rainy weather reading for bike geeks while they cozy up to a hot chocolate or as they buff up their Brooks saddle.