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Bicycle Infrastructure in Unexpected Places 16

Campden Bike Lanes

Photo by James D. Schwartz / The Urban Country

On the weekend we rented a car and drove to Niagara to visit family and have fun in Niagara Falls while Grandma babysat the little one for us.

En route to the Falls while driving through Niagara “wine country” I was pleasantly surprised to encounter a small chunk of bicycle infrastructure that is so uncommon here in the regressive province of Ontario – and particularly rare in a small town.

This bicycle infrastructure cut through a small village called “Campden” (population unknown, but probably less than 200), which is part of the township of Lincoln (population ~22,000).

“Downtown” Campden features bump-out planters – with the bicycle lanes proceeding to the right of the planters – a nice little touch to prevent cyclists from being forced onto the street while having a calming effect on motor vehicles:

Campden Bike Lanes

Photo by James D. Schwartz / The Urban Country

To prevent cars from parking in the bike lane, Campden created short-term parking lanes for cars – with a 15 minute limit:

Campden Bike Lanes

Photo by James D. Schwartz / The Urban Country

Campden Bike Lanes

Photo by James D. Schwartz / The Urban Country

Just one province over, it’s far more common to see bicycle infrastructure in small towns. Below is a photo of some nice bicycle infrastructure in a small town in Quebec – spotted by Todd on his Long Ride East:

Bromont Quebec Bike Infrastructure

Photo by Todd / The Long Ride East

Aside from recreational trails, a small town in Ontario could only dream about (or dread at the thought of) having bike infrastructure like this Quebec pedestrian/bicycle path.

It also explains why people resort to using their cars for even the shortest of trips and their bikes only leave their homes strapped to the back of their SUVs when they head for the off-road trails.

City/town planners should consider bicycles as a viable mode of transportation for short trips within a town. It needs to be convenient and comfortable so people can hop on their bike and head to a restaurant or the corner store.

After all, 49% of all trips are shorter than 5km: a wonderful and pleasant distance to ride a bicycle (if the ride is made comfortable with some basic bicycle infrastructure that is).

James D. Schwartz is a Transportation Pragmatist and the Editor of The Urban Country. You can contact James at james.schwartz@theurbancountry.com or follow him on Twitter.

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  • http://bicyclestc.blogspot.com/ Ryan

    From what I understand, the stretch between St. Catharines and Niagara-on-the-Lake has improved considerably.
    Lakeshore Rd. has bike lanes, then when you get closer to NOTL, one of the main roads into town has a separate (multi-use) trail.

    Personally I’d much rather live in a smaller town, but the cycling infrastructure keeps me away…I could actually live with little to no bike lanes within the town itself, what concerns me is the lack of bike lanes connecting the smaller towns to the bigger cities.

    I do believe however Lakefield to Peterborough has a mostly off-road bike network, so there might be hope for Ontario’s small towns!

  • http://thecitycyclist.blogspot.com/ Ryan

    From what I understand, the stretch between St. Catharines and Niagara-on-the-Lake has improved considerably.
    Lakeshore Rd. has bike lanes, then when you get closer to NOTL, one of the main roads into town has a separate (multi-use) trail.

    Personally I’d much rather live in a smaller town, but the cycling infrastructure keeps me away…I could actually live with little to no bike lanes within the town itself, what concerns me is the lack of bike lanes connecting the smaller towns to the bigger cities.

    I do believe however Lakefield to Peterborough has a mostly off-road bike network, so there might be hope for Ontario’s small towns!

  • http://www.facebook.com/John.S.Rawlins John Rawlins

    It is great to see such a small town with bike infrastructure in Ontario. Although I live in Spain, much of my family is from the Toronto area. I have visited Ontario a couple of times over the past decade and the imbalance between recreational riders and utility riders is very apparent.

    By far, the scariest point in Canada is the significant number of very old car drivers. While some manage fine, I notice that many of these older drivers are barely competent to drive and represent a real hazard for cyclists. In Europe, most of these older drivers would have had their licenses gently withdrawn by their family doctors, or would have failed the fairly frequent license renewal tests.

    The other aspect of transportation that struck me was the extreme aversion to public transport felt by most middle-income and middle-aged Canadians. As I visited an aged relative in hospital, I remember telling everyone around the bedside that I had travelled to the hospital by bus. My family could not have been more surprised if I had said that I arrived by camel or hot-air balloon.
    In fact, every time that I have flown to Toronto airport, I have travelled downtown on an new, cheap, quick, and surprisingly empty public bus.

    I suspect that it is easier for many Europeans to change from public transport to bikes, than for Canadians to change from private cars to bikes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/John.S.Rawlins John Rawlins

    It is great to see such a small town with bike infrastructure in Ontario. Although I live in Spain, much of my family is from the Toronto area. I have visited Ontario a couple of times over the past decade and the imbalance between recreational riders and utility riders is very apparent.

    By far, the scariest point in Canada is the significant number of very old car drivers. While some manage fine, I notice that many of these older drivers are barely competent to drive and represent a real hazard for cyclists. In Europe, most of these older drivers would have had their licenses gently withdrawn by their family doctors, or would have failed the fairly frequent license renewal tests.

    The other aspect of transportation that struck me was the extreme aversion to public transport felt by most middle-income and middle-aged Canadians. As I visited an aged relative in hospital, I remember telling everyone around the bedside that I had travelled to the hospital by bus. My family could not have been more surprised if I had said that I arrived by camel or hot-air balloon.
    In fact, every time that I have flown to Toronto airport, I have travelled downtown on an new, cheap, quick, and surprisingly empty public bus.

    I suspect that it is easier for many Europeans to change from public transport to bikes, than for Canadians to change from private cars to bikes.

  • http://twitter.com/eveostay Steve O.

    Interesting photos and story; thanks for posting.

    That bump-out looks pretty silly though. As a cyclist, no way am I going to mount that little curb onto the sidewalk, when I can just stay on the road and keep my speed.

  • http://twitter.com/eveostay Steve O.

    Interesting photos and story; thanks for posting.

    That bump-out looks pretty silly though. As a cyclist, no way am I going to mount that little curb onto the sidewalk, when I can just stay on the road and keep my speed.

  • Matthew Line

    I visited Whitehorse last week and I was impressed with the bike lanes and bike parking boxes. It makes sense though, since Whitehorse (at least the main built up area) is small enough to bike across in about 5 minutes.

    It’s also possible to walk from the airport into town. Took us only 40 minutes to walk from our hotel to the airport.

  • Matthew Line

    I visited Whitehorse last week and I was impressed with the bike lanes and bike parking boxes. It makes sense though, since Whitehorse (at least the main built up area) is small enough to bike across in about 5 minutes.

    It’s also possible to walk from the airport into town. Took us only 40 minutes to walk from our hotel to the airport.

  • Km

    You got me Jim. I am in Regina SK for work – and the night I checked in I asked the hotel concierge to find me a bike rental shop within walking distance :) He did. And I did. Now biking about the Great Flatness ;)

  • Km

    You got me Jim. I am in Regina SK for work – and the night I checked in I asked the hotel concierge to find me a bike rental shop within walking distance :) He did. And I did. Now biking about the Great Flatness ;)

  • http://www.uprinting.com/car-magnets-printing.html car magnets

    Interesting that they seems to understand the safety issues of bike lanes. It is indeed nice to take bicycle as a ride for short trips it’ll be like you’re being thrifty, you’re being environmentally friendly and you’re exercising.

  • http://www.uprinting.com/car-magnets-printing.html car magnets

    Interesting that they seems to understand the safety issues of bike lanes. It is indeed nice to take bicycle as a ride for short trips it’ll be like you’re being thrifty, you’re being environmentally friendly and you’re exercising.

  • Reaperexpress

    I’m unimpressed with either example of small town cycling infrastructure. That Campden example is downright dangerous, getting cyclists to jump a curb at a narrow angle. And Quebec really needs to learn that a bike path needs to be more than a sidewalk with stripes. For examples of how to do it properly, we need only look to the Netherlands, where the numerous small towns have flawless and popular paths and lanes.

  • Reaperexpress

    I’m unimpressed with either example of small town cycling infrastructure. That Campden example is downright dangerous, getting cyclists to jump a curb at a narrow angle. And Quebec really needs to learn that a bike path needs to be more than a sidewalk with stripes. For examples of how to do it properly, we need only look to the Netherlands, where the numerous small towns have flawless and popular paths and lanes.

  • Ridinginsd

    I imagine that one purpose of the ‘bump-out planer’, as well as the possible intent of the design, is to keep motor vehicles from driving in the cycling lane. Every community in the U.S. should take note!

  • Ridinginsd

    I imagine that one purpose of the ‘bump-out planer’, as well as the possible intent of the design, is to keep motor vehicles from driving in the cycling lane. Every community in the U.S. should take note!