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Flowers on a One-Way Street 6

The summer of 1967 sealed the fate for the future of Toronto. The city was on the verge of a revolution that would see the community reclaim the urban landscape to create a Mecca for the bohemians to hang out and relax – free from the toxic exhaust fumes that had smothered the city. It ...

Toronto Set to Axe Bike Sharing? 7

Photo by James D. Schwartz / The Urban Country In November, The Urban Country broke news that Toronto’s upcoming bike share system would run year-round when it arrives in 2010. In that article, we asked whether Toronto was ready for BIXI, Montreal’s bike sharing system that has since signed contracts with Boston, London, Minneapolis and ...

Pragmatism Eludes Politicians 17

Photo courtesy of Dylan Passmore  Toronto Star urban affairs columnist Christopher Hume writes yesterday: “the fact remains we don’t have a choice; if we want Toronto and environs to prosper, there’s no alternative but transit”. Sorry Mr. Hume, but there is another alternative. A very viable alternative that most in the media and government choose ...

Use Your Brain, Wash Your Spoon 8

An e-mail forward on plastic cutlery has been floating around for a while – so I thought I would revise it slightly and post it here: It’s pretty amazing that our society has reached a point where the effort necessary to extract oil from the ground, ship it to a refinery, turn it into plastic, ...

Sketch It: Taking The Lane 6

“Taking The Lane” – by George Pechtol / The Urban Country Sketch it! is a fun section on The Urban Country where we feature random napkin sketches from our resident sketch artist and writer, George Pechtol. In a tweet this week, I called on fellow Torontonian cyclists to take the whole right lane to discourage ...

Bike Lanes: A Motorist Invention? 16

Photo by James D. Schwartz / The Urban Country (Beverley St. Toronto) Imagine this: a cycling advocate who doesn’t support bike infrastructure. I was both surprised and intrigued when I first learned about the phenomenon they call “vehicular cycling”. Vehicular cycling was popularized by John Forester, a Britain-born American cyclist and industrial engineer who has ...

Giving New Meaning to “Cargo Bike” 8

Photo by Mark Green / The Urban Country In China it’s not uncommon for bicycles to carry an inordinate amount of cargo. When I visited Beijing in 2007 I saw bicycles carrying loads of vegetables that would make a dump truck driver envious. This picture was snapped the other day by The Urban Country’s China ...

Australian Councillor Who Gets It 5

My friend and documentary filmmaker Mike Rubbo recently made a very inspiring short film that captures a day spent with Australian city councillor Jackie Fristacky. Jackie is a city councillor in Yarra City area of Melbourne where she previously served as Mayor in 2005-2006. What sets Jackie apart from your typical city councillor is that ...

The Bike Path That Almost Was 8

Video by James D. Schwartz / The Urban Country – Music by danosongs.com Yesterday I ventured out to the suburbs of Toronto to video record one of my favourite bike paths on Eglinton Ave West in suburban Etobicoke. The 5km+ unobstructed bi-directional bike lanes is a rarity in a city where most unobstructed bike lanes ...

Bike Sharing in Car Capital of the World?

Photo by Mark Green / The Urban Country (Jan 2010) Can bike sharing possibly succeed in the world’s largest automobile market? It doesn’t sound logical, but it’s a reality on a planet that simply doesn’t have enough space for all of its inhabitants to drive a car. Bicycles are a practical and low-cost solution to ...