Category Archives: complete streets

On the road to Vision Zero Canada … with your help

[UPDATE to what follows: In May 2016 I launched the Vision Zero Canada website.] 

What is Vision Zero?

Vision Zero is a global movement dedicated to the elimination of the 1.2 million deaths and 50 million injuries caused by vehicular collisions each year. In many places the numbers are mounting, and progress will only happen by way of substantial changes in attitude and public policy. It’s time for Canada to get with the program.

As Neil Arason notes in his indispensable 2014 book No Accident: Eliminating Injury and Death on Canadian Roads, Canadians tend to regard motor vehicle crashes as accidents, acts of God, or the fault of individuals engaging in aberrant behavior. This fatalistic attitude helps explain why Canada’s per capita traffic fatality rate is almost double that of the world’s best performers. To improve this lamentable toll Canadians will need to take action based on the example of countries who lead in the development and implementation of safe design.

The first step towards a Vision Zero policy is raising public awareness about the extent of the carnage, and showing how it can be avoided though improvements in regulation and design. Continue reading

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A Tactical Urbanism Primer

The freedom to make and remake our cities and ourselves is … one of the most precious yet most neglected of our human rights.
—David Harvey

Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?
—Henry David Thoreau

Tactical Urbanism (hereafter TU) is the term that Mike Lydon and Anthony Garcia, principals of the Miami- and Brooklyn-based Street Plans Collaborative, use to describe an innovative and effective method of urban improvement. In their new book Tactical Urbanism: Short-term Action for Long-term Change (Washington, DC: Island Press, 2015) they describe a sometimes rogue approach to “complete streets” advocacy and design—sometimes called “action planning” or “planning by doing”— that emerged out of frustration with broken regimes of civic administration. tu_cover In the preface to this remarkably readable and well-illustrated volume Garcia recalls his efforts, as editor of the early blog Transit Miami, to support the progressive Miami 21 zoning code in 2006-2009. The revised code, which aimed to overturn an archaic and fatal system of segregating the urban fabric according to rigidly-defined land-use categories (commercial, residential, institutional, industrial) was ultimately implemented to wide acclaim. But as Garcia explains, the process of approving these sensible revisions was excruciatingly time-and-resource intensive. He recalls that Continue reading

Bike Lanes are as Dutch as Tulips

This is a brief post regarding the NCC‘s recent scheme for the redevelopment of Ottawa’s Confederation Boulevard (i.e. a stretch of Sussex Drive) between King Edward and St. Patrick. (Thanks Chris Begley for bringing this to our attention.)  My point is simple, and I begin by asking the reader what is wrong with this picture.

View of the Proposed Confederation Boulevard-Sussex Drive Rehabilitation, King Edward to St. Patrick.  Click image for complete proposal (PDF) on the National capital Commission website (www.ncc-ccn.gc.ca).

View of the Proposed Confederation Boulevard-Sussex Drive Rehabilitation, King Edward to St. Patrick. Click image for complete proposal (PDF) on the National capital Commission website (www.ncc-ccn.gc.ca).

I’ll forgive you for answering “The drunk in the red car.” Continue reading