Nature & Public Spaces
February 20, 2019

Winter City Walkable Bingo for Kids


From the Saskatchewan in Motion program coaching children to walk to school and be more active in their communities is this “Bingo” card designed for children to take out on their winter walks.

And as Wildernook Fresh Air Training enthuses “This weekend we’re taking a break from our regular neighbourhood walking game of I Spy to try out Saskatchewan in Motion’s Winter Walking Bingo Card.

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By Scot Bathgate:

Vancouver has gone to great lengths to develop a vibrant pedestrian and bicycle friendly downtown core with abundant transit options for commuters and residents alike.  Those priorities have been so successful that the number of cars traveling into the downtown core is the same as it was in the 1960s.  In addition, we see all around the city centre the removal of large parking structures once vital to accommodating the flood of single occupancy drivers commuting into the city are coming down.

With such a successful planning approach, why is the City sabotaging this ethos by continuing to demand private parking spaces for residential development in downtown Vancouver’s largest neighbourhood, the West End?

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The City of Surrey hosted the first Vision Zero summit in British Columbia  at Surrey City Hall.  Vision Zero refers to zero road deaths and no serious injuries on roads, with the philosophy that every life matters.  Applied in Sweden since 1997 the core belief is that “Life and health can never be exchanged for other benefits within the society”. This approach differs from the standard cost benefit approach, where a dollar value is based upon life, and that value is used to decide the cost of road networks and calculate the cost of risk.

This Vision Zero summit brought together the Provincial Health Services Authority and the City of Surrey to lead a discussion on implementing  Vision Zero  to mitigate  road fatalities and serious crash injuries in the Province.  The conference also advocated for the adoption of the Safe Systems Approach to evaluate roads as safe for all road users. This is different to the “85th percentile” speed philosophy that bases road speeds on the speed 85 percent of vehicles travel past a certain fixed point on the road.

In the City  of Surrey twenty people a year die from car crashes and there are over 12,000 traffic related injuries.

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On Tuesday morning I was walking up my street when a commuting SUV honked loudly as a little girl going to school by bike crossed the unsidewalked road. She had been told by her mom to cross the street before the hill so that she could line up with the only sidewalk that is on the connecting  arterial road.  The honking SUV driver came up beside me, rolled down the window, and said that the little cyclist had crossed the road in front of her as if that was a bad thing. And you get the narrative~if there had not been a witness no one could have said what had truly happened, that a driver using the street as a commuting street  went around a corner at speed and could not see the child crossing from the height of her SUV. I told the driver to slow her vehicle down as she continued her tirade about children walking and biking to school.

This is why children don’t bike, and why moms are hesitant to allow their children to go to school by foot or by cycle. We have designed streets, we evaluate streets, and we fix streets so that the most vulnerable of our society are the most disadvantaged by them.

Miriam Moore of New Zealand’s Women in Urbanism nails it when she says ” Road and street networks are so often analysed and assessed regarding their automobile connectivity, that we forget about their function in supporting the street life that surrounds them… Unfortunately, those who suffer from these networks maintaining their predominance, are society’s most vulnerable.”

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Tomorrow, Vancouver City Council will receive a report from engineering about public engagement on proposed improvements to the Granville Bridge that would add safe, accessible facilities for cycling and walking, and connect up to similar facilities at either end.

What might that look like? Details aside, we already know the likely, big picture outcomes — you can see them on Burrard Bridge, and most recently, on Cambie Bridge.

Speaking of which, our friends at small places have a new before and after video called Cambie Connected: Cycling Smithe, Nelson, Beatty, and the Bridge

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Let’s take a fresh look at that old fish tale about pedestrians not crossing a street midblock. Think about it~why are we insisting that pedestrians cross at corners? Is that not specifically to treat pedestrians and other vulnerable road users just like vehicular traffic and force them to behave as such, waiting their turn at an intersection?

There is a sad reality on  our fatality statistics in Metro Vancouver and basically anywhere on pedestrian crashes. You will find that the majority of fatalities are pedestrians over fifty years of age, mostly men, that are crossing at intersections WITH the  walk light. And how are pedestrians getting injured and  dying? It appears that the majority of crashes seem to occur with drivers  turning left through the intersection when the pedestrian has right of way.

This article by is worth revisiting~author Ben Ross who wrote Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism asks why we insist that pedestrians cross at intersections, suggesting that “careful jaywalking” saves lives. Ross observes that while there are “no definitive studies”,  statistical evidence collected from New York’s Vision Zero program can show the way.

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