Moving Actively Press Room

View the news & highlights from the conference events.
These include, reports, delegate interviews and much more!

PROVINCIAL REPORT: PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND

Everyone was very pleased with the conference and felt it met its objectives around being a "spring board" for generating ideas on how provinces can begin to roll some of this out. It was agreed that we ( those in attendance ) from the province would become our "network " and that we would meet the end of April in Charlottetown. At this meeting we will give thought to a provincial gathering that will provide an opportunity to discuss our plans for a provincial workshop. Each participant will provide updates on initiaitves that they are currently working on that compliment our collective efforts. It was also agreed that there was need to expand our group and this would follow our meeting the end of April .

PROVINCIAL REPORT: NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR

Newfoundland and Labrador's move toward Active Transportation
-we need more people!
-develop a coalition
-use conference calls
-no expense, just keep people informed
-NLPIRA Annual General Meeting and Conference
-talk about Active Transportation as a topic
-inspiring keynote
-Active Transportation as part of a debate panel or a topic
-work on initiatives
-success stories
-use inclusion and people with disabilities, use their framework
-develop Active Transportation committee
-refer information to planning conferences
-tap into other disciplines impacted by this (engineers, planners, practitioners and people in these fields of study)
-regional reps should have been here
-take this information back and share it at the Annual General Meeting in May 2004



Fight fat with leaner cities: speaker

Canada's provinces will look at ways of integrating active transportation into communities:
Condensed from canadaeast.com
April 3, 2004
BY KAREN RAWLINES
MONCTON - As populations and waistlines bulge, Atlantic communities are trying to bring in more solutions for "active transportation."
Delegates at the Atlantic Atlantic Active Transportation Conference in Moncton are brainstorming ways to get people out of their cars and commuting under their own steam.
The principle is pretty simple.
Keynote speaker Gordon Price recently finished his sixth term as a Vancouver city councillor. He has been a leader in the Regional Bicycle Task Force, Vancouver's 125-km interconnected bikeway, and the bike parking bylaw.
However, Mr. Price said these sorts of slow-cooking issues are never truly addressed until the consequences become serious. And he said they already are.
He said it's all a function of two things: supersizing and sitting. The fast food value theory of bigger and more leads to high fat and high sugar choices, he said. Meanwhile, exercise levels slide as city planning favours a "safer" model of slick roadways.
Big box stores fringed with massive parking lots are frequently located on the outskirts of communities, forcing consumers to drive.
It's not enough to have bike paths, he said. To make the best use of them, these routes have to lead to where people want to go, such as businesses, malls and schools.
About 115 people attended Friday's session. Today, the group is set to break off by province to look at ways of integrating active transportation into communities.


Couple embraces active transportation

Active transportation offers personal, community and environmental benefits:
Condensed from canadaeast.com
April 5, 2004
KRISTEN VERNON
To commute between her Riverview home and her workplace at Peoples Park Tower in Moncton, Penny Durocher, 37, either walks or bikes.
A trip that would take 10 minutes by car, takes Penny Durocher an hour and 10 minutes by foot or 18 minutes by bike.
Her husband, Peter Durocher, 52, who works from home, can be found biking at lunchtime or to meet Penny at the end of the work day.
And when the Durochers drive to the mall, their car can be found at the edge of the parking lot, furthest from the entrance.
The couple, who has long embraced a lifestyle that includes active transportation were among the 115 participants at a two-day conference, Moving Actively through Atlantic Canada. The conference took place in Moncton and wrapped up Saturday.
Active transportation is defined as human-powered transportation, such as biking, walking and inline skating. It has personal, community and environmental benefits.
The need to educate people about active transportation, including decision makers, was one of the main points highlighted at the conference.
Active transportation is a relatively new concept, but there are a lot of developments within pockets in the province.
Moncton, for example, has a planned active transportation network that identifies the major street and trail routes, as well as community streets residents say they would use to travel to destinations by bike or on foot.
With those routes identified, various departments at city hall are now starting to look at how they can make this community-identified system a reality.
Implementing the plan is a long-term project that includes education, as well as infrastructure bike lanes, signs and bike racks.
The active transportation vision is to give people the choice to leave the car at home and walk or bike to work, school or the store.
To help people make these choices, people need to be educated about active transportation and about the streets being a shared space for motorists and cyclists. As well, the needed trails, bike racks and even showers at the office have to be put in place.
The word on active transportation is a message Peter Durocher plans to spread.
Co-chair of tri-community bike festival, which scheduled for June 19 along the riverfront in the metro area, Peter Durocher said he plans to use that event to educate people about active transportation.
The need to advance alternative modes of transportation in the community is also a message Peter Durocher said he intends to take to municipal candidates during the spring election campaign.
In Riverview, Peter Durocher wants safe and active routes for children to take to school, as well as safe, level areas for seniors to walk. He'd also like more bike racks, particularly at shopping centres.


A Warm Welcome!

On Friday at 1:00 p.m., the delegates filled the Brunswick Ballroom, and were welcomed by two members of the Conference Planning Committee and a City of Moncton Councillor. Jeff LeBlanc started the afternoon with a brief introduction and a few announcements. Councillor Catherine Barnes gave a warm welcome to all the delegates and speakers, who were attending from the four Atlantic provinces, and points across Canada, including British Columbia. Councillor Barnes has been instrumental in bringing Active Transportation to the City of Moncton, as the Chair of the Active Transportation Committee for the City. She acknowledged Marie-Claire Pierce, who has not only spearheaded the organization of this conference, but also the AT program in Moncton. She also thanked the organizers and sponsors of the conference and expressed the wish that this conference would aid the delegates in taking back information to their own communities that would result in communities which are planned to meet the needs of the people, protect the environment, and produce sustainable cities.

Ted Scrutton, another member of the organizing committee, welcomed what he called an ”eclectic group” of planners, practitioners, volunteers and youth to the first Atlantic Active Transportation Conference, a conference that he hoped would be a springboard to future action in both the provinces and communities from which they were attending.


Kiosks

  • City of Moncton
  • Transport Canada
  • Canadian Health Network
  • Leisure Information Network
  • ECHO (Eastern Cooperative Health Organization)
  • Go for Green
  • Prince Edward Island Community and Cultural Affairs
  • Nova Scotia Health Promotion Sport and Recreation
  • New Brunswick Sport, Recreation and Active Living Branch
  • HeartWood
  • Ecology Action Centre
  • Recreation Nova Scotia


The Fundy Room in the hotel has served as a coffee area and the Exhibit Hall. During lunch on Friday, and during the coffee breaks, the delegates have had the opportunity to network with each other and browse the kiosks set up by the various exhibitors. It has given people a chance to connect with the private groups and government offices which support the idea of Active Transportation, and to share their views. The kiosks are full of leaflets and booklets which give lots of ideas for choosing alternative transportation methods which will help us to integrate more activity into our daily lives.


Keynote Speaker - Gordon Price

Gordon used the wonderful example of Vancouver to illustrate what is possible in terms of Active Transportation. He believes that the best way to develop a city that includes Active Transportation is to build on the unique qualities of each city. He also advocates sharing ideas and learning from others as you apply others’ ideas to your own community, as Vancouver has done with its 125 km bikeway and 20 km waterfront system. Urban planners are instrumental in these projects, as they are the “Artists of the City”.

He discussed the major issue of urban change, and one that is part of Active Transportation – obesity. Obesity is the result of supersizing and sitting – a combination of cheap high-calorie food and no activity. Our lives have been made easier, so as a city counsellor, he wants to make it easier for people to make good health choices too!

Vancouver is a city that is bounded by nature – water and mountains, and as a result, it is not able to spread. The first settlers cut down all the trees to make room for real estate, and built their roads on the grid system right up to the waterfront. In 1911, these first waterfront homes were removed to make room for parkland. The idea was to return the waterfront to the people, and by the 1970’s, people were biking, walking, and skating along waterfront trails. Development followed the process, and as the city was developing the public land, it imposed conditions for developers so that improvements were paid for by the developers. In return, their assets increased in value.

Waterfront development was a long-term project which took place over a few generations. It took a number of generations to develop our dependence on the car, and it will take just as long to re-orient people to Active Transportation, so it will develop into a loop. Loops are a theme in Active Transportation. People love loops because they don’t have to retrace their steps, and movement is circular.

Gordon also warned delegates not to underestimate the popularity of greenways and trails. Research has shown that if distances greater than 5 km are travelled, people will switch from feet to wheels. Traffic congestion can result from the combination of wheels and feet. At this point asphalt can be laid over the greenspace, separating bikes (wheels) from pedestrians (feet), using different lanes or boulevards. The leftover spaces may also be useful as valuable resources. An example of Vancouver using asphalt to its advantage occurred when it changed part of its free parking to paid parking. Fewer cars used the parking, and the leftover asphalt became a roller-hockey rink, and a training ground for inline skaters and skateboarders. They also took roads running parallel to arterial roads, and made them bike-friendly. As the recreational routes expanded, it brought people onside, and they participated in naming the routes. Bike path signage was on the street signs, so it was easy to use. As more people used wheels and feet, car use dropped. The paths and walkways were joined together, and joined to other regions, to produce a network of opportunity!

Gordon concluded by saying that if the opportunity to play is there, and the car becomes less popular, children will be healthier and obesity will be less prevalent.

Gordon’s speech was truly inspiring as he showed us the history of Active Transportation, its present popularity in Vancouver, and its future possibilities across Canada!


First Presenter - Jim Scott

Jim Scott was the first speaker, and he described the process that the City of Moncton had undergone in order to put its Active Transportation plan in place. It had started with Catherine Barnes’ Active Transportation Committee, which brought together various ideas and made them a reality. They solicited ideas from the public, and involved the municipal government in the development and implementation of the plan. All the departments of the city government had a role to play in this project, so the plan was put together and distributed to them.

The plan was based on four main ideas. The city had a number of business destinations, and it wanted them to be connected to the community. Moncton consists of 7 or 8 communities, and these can be divided into many neighbourhoods, but by far, the most important aspect of the city is its streets.

Early plans for Active Transportation may be traced back to the Greenway Plan of 1996, which established trail and road systems for recreational use, and showed parks becoming bigger and more centralized. The city also built a large sports complex and a shopping mall, and these needed to be connected.

The next step was to hold public workshops regarding plans for the big destinations, such as parks, schools, and shopping, which needed to be connected to the restaurants and offices of the downtown area. For this, trails and arterial roads were necessary.

They also studied traffic patterns in other cities, such as Bloor and Yonge Streets in Toronto, where they have bike lanes. It has been shown that trails breed Active Transportation people, since they go from being children on the trail, to adults on the road. In order for this to happen safely, education on biking on the road is necessary.

He concluded with a list of the lessons learned. Education must come first before infrastructure. All streets are public corridors, and safe and busy streets are good for bikes. The recreational systems of trails and bike lanes, especially those that connect home and destinations on a safe route to the arterial road system, feed the Active Transportation system.


Second Presenter - Marie-Claire Pierce

Marie-Claire Pierce discussed the educational challenge of Active Transportation. The City of Moncton had two main goals: to develop the plan with the assistance of the citizens, and to not reinvent the wheel by doing a lot of research.

They began by researching existing programs. Wiserider is a bike safety program in the schools which is partnered by the Cooperators Insurance in Saskatchewan. Moncton adapted it by asking the RCMP to partner with the schools to promote bike safety. Vel-Action in Ottawa is another bike safety program which is being launched in three city schools this year.

The Walk and Roll Guide is for companies who wish to establish active transportation programs in the workplace. Three or four companies in Moncton are bringing this program to their employees.

Research has also been done to find programs to promote sharing the road among cars, pedestrians, and cyclists. Ordonnance de Vitalité is a program to promote small changes in our individual habits which will result in more activity. Making choices to walk to work, run errands on foot, park further away from your destination, or even leave your car at home will add to our daily activity.

Marie-Claire’s presentation made all the delegates aware of the programs available for participation, and gave them concrete examples to bring home to their own communities!


Third Presenter - Chantal Laliberté

Chantal’s speech was on retrofitting municipalities in order to encourage Active Transportation. Her presentation was focussed on alternate modes of transportation, such as walking, bikes, scooters, and wheelchairs, and she sees her objective as changing the habits of people so that they will choose these over the car. Along with this being a personal decision, she sees many arenas in which such activity can be fostered: workplace, schools, municipalities, public transportation and within organizations. An example of this is the walking school bus, in which groups of children walk together to school.

In her work, Chantal looks for ways in which planners can encourage active transportation, such as planning more sidewalks and pedestrian walkways.

Her main example is the suburb of Terrrebonne, north of Montréal, which has been planned as a community for the future. The roads are safer, with bike lanes, and a roundabout system that encourages drivers to slow down. Pedestrian bridges cross busy thoroughfares. The plans for the community include a PGA golf course, and 800 hectares of land have been set aside for the international industrial area of Terrebonne, which will be accessible by bikes and on foot. The buses carry bikes so that mixed modes of transportation may be used, and a network of bike trails are used for active transportation. These plans assist real estate agents, the municipality, and businesspeople to promote the area.

Plans for the future include a community bike program in which members share a network of bikes stored in various locations in the neighbourhood, which is based on a successful program in Copenhagen. There are also plans to build roads in an s-shape and medians to keep traffic speeds low and safety at a high level.


Comments - Gordon Price

Gordon Price, the keynote speaker, was very enthusiastic about the conference, where he observed that the latest ideas on Active Transportation were being shared and a lot of mutual cooperation would result in innovative solutions. He believes that although technology is wonderful, it can not replace personal interaction, and that people can work together to create change.

He also spoke about the role of politicians in bringing about change. Traditionally, politicians try not to involve themselves in grass-roots conferences or at the community level, which can be rather difficult. He believes that they should come to conferences like this one so that they can get behind movements like Active Transportation. He stated that traditionally there is a large gap between youth and politicians, but that conferences like this help to bridge the gap.

Generally in Canada, politicians like to deny the source of change, because Canadians dislike sudden change. Politicians would prefer not to involve themselves in movements for change in fear of alienating certain voters.

He concluded by suggesting that once we find where we need to go to bring about change, we must find the political link and use it to move forward.


Comments - Jim Scott & Chantal Laliberté

Jim Scott and Chantal Laliberté, two of our speakers reflected on the activity and were amazed by the results of Friday’s sessions. They commented on the very different approaches taken by the youth, volunteers and practitioners to the tasks. They were really looking forward to seeing the results of mixing the three groups on Saturday!


Comments - Simon Moll

Simon Moll, a young adult facilitator, liked the idea of participation from the bottom up, both within the community and at the conference itself. He believes that participation is necessary for the planning process to be successful and for the implementation of Active Transportation to work!


Activities

After the presentations, the delegates were divided into three groups: practitioners, volunteers, and young adults, to complete the assignment for Friday, which was to discuss what Active Transportation can do for their communities and then retrofit a community for Active Transportation, using a map.

Each group approached the task in their own way. The young adults sat in a "café" and discussed how ideas can lead to social change. Rather than using the maps, they produced artwork which illustrated their thoughts. In the evening, their artwork was displayed in the Art Gallery. An airplane made up of words that define Active Transportation, and ideas for bridging the gap between young adults and the volunteers and practitioners illustrated some of their conclusions.

The volunteers provided the passion and enthusiasm for the cause of Active Transportation. The health, social, and psychological benefits of Active Transportation were incorporated into a number of statements that define Active Transportation, such as "efficient/alternative movement of people (non-motorized) through our communities that provides health, economic, and environmental benefits for future generations". From these ideas, they moved forward to apply these statements to a map of the community.

The practitioners used their different experiences to collaborate on their maps, incorporating loops and joining the amenities within their planned communities.

A buffet dinner was served on Friday evening, with a presentation by some of the young adults on the Otesha Project, in which they had cycled across Canada to raise awareness of conservation and simple living. Their presentation was very moving, and left the older adults in awe of their accomplishments!

Dinner was followed by a tour of the Art Gallery, which showcased the projects and maps created by the groups during Friday’s activities. Later in the evening, everyone was treated to Maritime hospitality in the Café/Bar in the Fundy Room.

On Saturday the groups reassembled to produce one or two sentences which summed up what the group was trying to accomplish based on the Art Gallery tour. Then they had to find the top three excuses why it could not be implemented. Each table exchanged their list of excuses with another table, and discussed answers to the excuses. The groups presented their results, and found many innovative solutions.

Gordon Price gave the closing speech, and the delegates divided up by province. They discussed what had been accomplished, and what steps would be necessary to move forward from this point. At the end of the conference, everyone agreed that it had been a fantastic success for organizers, speakers and delegates!


Share Your Thoughts