Saturday, August 30, 2008

the active transportation hurricane

To begin - anyone else think the guy leaving comments on this post is a little bit too angry about something?

During my life in Toronto, I took part in a few cycling events, and organized that petition, but never really got involved with cycling activism the way I thought I should. When I moved to Orillia, I wanted to get involved in city life and look into bike issues, and so I won a spot on a city committee that deals with trails in general (more commonly hiking / nature trails) and a small group of us from this committee have started promoting active transportation issues.

This is fun stuff. Orillia has had a strong recreational cycling culture for a while, but very little of a commuting cycling culture. Cycling infrastructure doesn't really exist here at all - there are next-to-no bike parking posts in this town, and no bike lanes which are useful for journeying to work/school etc (i.e. no bike lanes going through or across town).

So - we're trying to get something started here. On Sept. 10th we're running a bike/walk to work day, and a Bike Rally (think a critical mass ride, but one in a small town where you're forced to get a parade permit from the cops). We've also been handed responsibility for buying bike parking posts, and we're planning an active transportation report which will wake council up to the importance of shifting planning away from cars to public transit/bikes/walking.

It's kind of like being at the beginning of a revolution - active transportation makes so much sense as a solution to so many problems, that you wonder why governments aren't being as vocal as these guys are about replacing car trips with bike and walking trips.

As they mention over at Dandyhorse - Bicycles lie at the intersection of two of today’s fastest growing trends: personal physical health and urban sustainability.

About time - we never should have fallen for the automobile dependence con-job in the first place.


Melissa said...

you are pretty much an inspiration sometimes.

Jen said...

Oh, my, that WAS an angry poster!

Anyway, you're doing great work on the alternative transporation front. Keep it up! And I, too, stop at stop signs and obey traffic rules... Instead of using the rule-breakers as a way to stereotype all bicyclists as renegades, I think we need to be supporting more bicycle safety education--education that treats bicycles as vehicles, not as toys.