Gretchen Reynolds from the The New York Times reported this week that barely 3 percent of the American work force bikes or walks to work with any frequency, despite the obvious virtues: decreased risks for obesity and diabetes, environmental benefits and lower transportation costs. Ask people why they eschew what’s known as active commuting, as many surveys have, and the primary reason cited is time. Those things take too long, most say.

They’re probably wrong. A new study published in a journal called Transportmetrica A: Transport Science shows that people often overestimate the time required to commute actively, a miscalculation especially common when someone has secured a parking permit near the office.

Read more on this topic and get inspired:  “Think Biking or Walking To Work Would Take Too Long?  Think Again”

And if you need more convincing that bikes are the way of the future, read Cars Are Ruining Our Citiesby Justin Gillis and Hal Harvey for the New York Times.

In the aftermath of the deadly van attack that killed 10 people and injured 14 others on a busy stretch of sidewalk in North Toronto, the city reacted by installing concrete barriers in areas with heavy foot traffic.  This was a temporary safety measure, but it accelerated discussions in the city on more permanent urban design solutions for busy cities:  Designing safer spaces:  How to separate pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles in the city.

Claire Weisz, a principal-in-charge at architecture and urban planning firm WXY Studio in New York City, says cities have to find ways to separate fast-moving vehicles from people walking and biking in a way that doesn’t interfere with an area’s operation and beauty.

On Wednesday April 25 in a tweet, former Toronto City planner, Jennifer Keesmat wrote: “The more we separate space designed for cars in our cities from space designed for people, the better. We have some excellent precedents of doing this right. Here is another example, from Bloor Street. We know that lowering the speed limit for cars would help too. It all matters.”  She shared photos of permanent structures with trees and flowers in them lining the sidewalks on Bloor Street and St. George Street and praised them for their ability to act as barriers between pedestrians and traffic in an innocuous way.

 

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