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Introducing Tom Thivener, Calgary’s New Cycling Coordinator

City of Calgary

Thivener only started his new job last Monday, but he’s already got some thoughts about where he’d like Calgary to go:

The first thing I’m going to do is try to learn, as much as possible, what are the barriers to bicycling, as seen from the cycling advocates, from staff, from the aldermen and their aides, and the general public. I think a lot of people have a lot of knowledge out there, and I want to learn from it.

It’s not all about building bike lanes. We need to build a network of bikeways that connect to each other.

We know we have a lot of great roadway infrastructure in place already, but we will need to make some modifications, to carve out some space for bicyclists,… to make it safe and attractive for bicycle users.

We’ve got to have better bike infrastructure in the downtown. It’s not enough just to unleash the bikes without new infrastructure.

Calgary’s weather is cold, but really it’s not that different from some of the Scandinavian cities, like Stockholm, where they have 10% bike ridership. They have great infrastructure, and they can overcome the weather.

The vast majority of cyclists [in Calgary]— about three fourths— are men…. The research shows that if you can get a lot of women biking, you will get a lot more men biking as well— and a lot more older people; a lot more younger people.

All the best!


Bicycles are ‘Preferred’ in Waterloo’s New Official Plan

On April 2, the City of Waterloo, Ontario, approved its new and improved official plan. Here’s a collection of excerpts that describe how the bicycle is a key part of the City’s vision for the future.

Achieving a healthy and livable City and a transportation system that is sustainable into the future will require placing increased emphasis on moving people – this means managing our travel in order to reduce reliance on the automobile in favour of transit and more active forms of movement such as walking and cycling.

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Review #2 cont’d: Shanghai Bike Lanes

Location French Concession, Shanghai

It was only a couple of decades ago that the bicycle was ubiquitous in China – to the extent that North American school books included photos of hundreds of Chinese people on bikes in their introduction to the country. Now the bicycle has fallen behind as Chinese people turn to vehicles to show off their new-found wealth. In terms of status, it’s understood that luxury car > regular car > moped > bicycle. It’s an unfortunate turn, given all the problems that private auto use brings to a city, but luckily for the Shanghainese, bicycle and moped use had such inertia that they are still very common, especially by North American standards.

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Review #2 cont’d: Shanghai Signage

Location French Concession, Shanghai

In North America we love signs. Don’t turn right. Go straight. Go around this round-about. Don’t run into this wall. The road is about to curve. This traffic light is for people wanting to turn right [1]. As soon as you get on the road, everywhere you look there is a sign telling you where to go, where not to go, and how fast to do it.

Not so in Shanghai.

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Review #2: Shanghai

Location Entrance to Shanghai Old Town

In December I was lucky enough to find myself in Shanghai for a few days. This was my first time in China, and I was excited to visit this bustling, burgeoning metropolis. Naturally, given China’s historical relationship with the bicycle, my top priority there was finding a bike and going for a spin.

Though the hotel concierge seemed perplexed at the idea, we finally got in touch with China Cycle Tours and set up a four-hour tour of the city. Man, what a treat!

It was a beautiful day (if you don’t mind a bit of smog in the air), the guide was knowledgeable and fluent in English (lucky for me!), and I was the only one crazy smart enough to sign up for the tour that day: does it get any better?

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Bridge Vlaardingse Vaart

Bridge Vlaardingse Vaart
Location Vlaardingen, Netherlands
West 8

The new crucial connection in the urban and recreational bicycle network calls for a strong identity in the area. By virtue of its location in a natural green setting on the edge of the city, the bridge is both tempting and surprising to its users. An expressive though subtle sculpture establishes the moment of ‘crossing’ and captures the qualities of the immediate landscape.

West 8 provides more information.

Review #1: Hornby Bike Lane

Location Northbound on Hornby Bike Lane, Vancouver
♫ Train Robbin’ Scoundrels by Train Robbin’ Scoundrels

This is the first installment of a new series of reviews of cycling facilities close to home and anywhere I can hop on a bike. My goal is to describe the user’s experience of these facilities, and hopefully suggest some helpful adjustments to make them better.

Let’s roll.

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