07 November 2010

Trail improvements in Peterborough

In this video from Peterborough Green Up's youtube channel, Peterborough's acting TDM planner, Virginia Swinson, explains improvements to Peterborough's section of the Trans Canada Trail. TDM stands for Transportation Demand Management; so basically her job is to make it easier for people to get around without driving. That, I must say, is pretty cool. Peterborough is one of the few municipalities in Ontario with a TDM planner on staff.

23 October 2010

UPDATE: Project complete (...for a while now)

It's about time I let you know the “Great Streets for Peterborough” project has been complete for a while now.

The final report was released September 1. Check out the excellent coverage in the Peterborough Examiner and Peterborough This Week.

Find the final report on the Peterborough Social Planning Council website under “Great Streets”.

Thanks to everyone for all of your support, including those who commented on the blog!

19 August 2010

It takes more than paint to increase cycling

Cities large and small across North America are looking to increase the number of bicycles on their streets. Most, including Peterborough, now have goals to increase cycling backed by measures like building new bike lanes, providing bike parking, and limiting car parking.

Cycling education is one other important measure cities will need to use to get more people pedaling. Infrastructure projects like bike lanes make it to the headlines, but it takes good public education programs to make sure they are used safely. 

Cyclists on sidewalks, pedestrians and parked cars in bike lanes, cyclists going the wrong direction in bike lanes, impatient motorists; there’s no shortage of safety concerns and oblivious road users to discourage potential cyclists and make cycling less safe. NYC blogger Chris O’Leary has posted photos of some all too common misuses of bike lanes in his city. 

09 July 2010

Bringing streets to life: Ciclovía for Peterbora!

Too many cities lack park space and safe cycling and walking routes. They also have too much traffic and not enough clean air. Clever city builders are solving those problems by making better use of something cities have in abundance: streets. Their solution: Ciclovía. It's an event, started in Bogotá, Colombia in the 70s, which shuts down streets for people to walk, socialize, and cycle on one day a week. It is now catching on in cities like Winnipeg, Los Angeles, and Portland, Oregon.

L.A. organizers emphasize the event is a cheap way to create temporary park space. It also helps people get comfortable being on their bikes and on their feet in their streets.

05 July 2010

Transforming city streets on a budget

Planners at Peterborough City Hall headed back to the drawing board last week after Council took $10,000 out of their Gilchrist Street redesign budget. The $11,000 set aside for planters was too much, Council decided. 

Councillors Dean Pappas and Ann Farquharson argued the beautification project would enhance pedestrian safety. 
They were outvoted by those who saw the planter cost as "extravagant".

24 June 2010

Calming George Street

A few years ago the City identified George Street south of the railway tracks as an area in need of traffic calming. It's a busy spot where people cross the street to get to Tim Hortons and the Beer Store. It's also where the trail along the old railway crosses the river from East City.

The rendering below was commissioned by the City and depicts what a calmer George Street could look like. 

Thanks to Clifford McCarten at Peterborough Green Up for sending me these!

15 June 2010

Oh, and did you see my Twitter feed?

People seem surprised that I'm using Twitter to share my research findings. But Twitter isn't the time waster its name implies. Yes, you can follow the comings and goings of celebrities. Yes, many people post inane details from their lives (in quick succession one night a friend posted “Getting ready to go the bar,” “Heading to the bar,” “At the bar”).

What many are realizing, though, is that Twitter is also a useful tool for governments, businesses and researchers to share information. Frequent, short “status updates” or tweets keep users up to date on everything from city council meeting to store sales to... research projects.

10 June 2010

The art of traffic calming

Cobourg may be the traffic calming capital of Ontario. Numerous residential streets in the downtown, and notably one arterial road (Ontario St.), have been given traffic calming features in recent years.

Traffic calming features are designed to slow down traffic, making streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists. They help make streets places to live and socialize, rather than just pass through. Speed bumps, extended curbs, and the elimination of one-way streets are all traffic calming techniques.

07 June 2010

Transportation Headlines - road construction season is here

City street and trails 

Inter-city connections
Other news

30 May 2010

My summer reading pick: Peterborough's Comprehensive Transportation Plan

Three trips to the registrar's offices (40 mins. round trip by bike) and several panicked phone calls later, I'm finally registered for CAST 3810Y: Community-based research project. I'm the only student doing a project with the Trent Centre for Community-Based Education this summer, so the people at the dean's and registrar's offices were not sure what to do with me.

25 May 2010

Transportation Headlines

City streets and trails

Intercity connections

Other news
  • Ontario urged to reduce dependence on transport fuels [ Globe & Mail]

17 May 2010

Project Commencement

Welcome. This is a place to think about the future of transportation in small cities.

Author: Brett Throop

About me: Undergraduate in Canadian Studies, Trent University, Peterborough, ON. My main research interests are in urban planning and municipal governance. I get around by foot, bicycle, bus, and from time-to-time my mom's minivan.

Research project: As a summer project (for course credit) I am researching transportation planning in the city of Peterborough (pop. 74,898). The city is currently updating its transportation plan to comply with provincial planning legislation; my project aims to contribute to this process by encouraging collaboration between stakeholders (including citizens, community orgs., and the city), identifying transportation planning best practices, and highlighting the strengths and identifying the weaknesses of Peterborough's transportation network. The final aim is to promote an active, accessible and diverse transportation network for the city of Peterborough.

Project partners:

Stay posted here for ideas about the future of transportation in Peterborough and other small cities.