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Old Posted Sep 3, 2009, 1:46 AM
Morogolus Morogolus is offline
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Personally anyone who bikes in -20 is nuts, that's all I wanna say. Short of underground heated sidewalks in Saskatoon, I'm getting in my car if it's winter out.
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Old Posted Sep 3, 2009, 2:34 AM
jas321 jas321 is offline
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Originally Posted by Morogolus View Post
Personally anyone who bikes in -20 is nuts, that's all I wanna say. Short of underground heated sidewalks in Saskatoon, I'm getting in my car if it's winter out.
Honestly, the cold isn't as bad as people think. I often would not even dress that warm and just from moving, I kept warm. It's no different than playing hockey outdoors...when you're moving like that you keep warm. The uncleared snow, however, is a much more worrisome concern.
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Old Posted Sep 3, 2009, 3:24 AM
lbird lbird is offline
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socialist, et al, I think we've laid out our points, so I will stop on this subject.

Back on topic, I see that the old Simon's/Mykonos/Cyber Cafe/etc... location on 22nd is going to be a Chinese/Japanese buffet, the same one that is in the old Asian Buffet location on Circle and Ontario. I think the downtown needs a better buffet than Octane, so this makes me happy.
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Old Posted Sep 3, 2009, 7:50 AM
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Scruff Bucket Scruff Bucket is offline
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Originally Posted by jas321 View Post
Honestly, the cold isn't as bad as people think. I often would not even dress that warm and just from moving, I kept warm. It's no different than playing hockey outdoors...when you're moving like that you keep warm. The uncleared snow, however, is a much more worrisome concern.
Studded bike tires help improve your control on visible ice or ice hidden by uncleared snow, and they really do help! You can purchase tires already studded or you can make them yourselves (http://www.momentumplanet.com/compon...-studded-tires)
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Old Posted Sep 3, 2009, 2:49 PM
Wyku Wyku is offline
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Originally Posted by Ruckus View Post
Of course I did. But, are you surprised how often we don't hit -40? And one must remember temperatures fluctuate throughout the day. A cyclist commuting to work or school will endure colder temperatures during the morning commute. In the afternoon, the sun is out, temperatures are up and cyclists will enjoy riding that much more (willingly). Another factor one must consider is the duration of the commute. What policies, or designs can the city adopt to make commuting for cyclists less time consuming and more comfortable. Jan Gehl said it best "we must invite pedestrians and cyclists...".

We should focus on the good days, not the 10-20 days of bitter cold temperatures.

As a closing thought, if the city refused to construct sidewalks for people, given the cost, and loss of driving lanes for cars, should we expect pedestrians to navigate between moving traffic on one side, and parked cars on the other? Under all weather conditions? No, of course not. Then why do we expect cyclists to endure such conditions? (no need to answer).
I'm not suprised, but I also remember to take into account the wind that blows everyday as well .

Anyways, do people think that adding dedicated bike lanes (proper or like the ones added currently) in downtown is going to help much? I know it's a start, but it seems like a little bit of a waste when the majority of people that would be using them come from outside of downtown and face the biggest challenges on the road elsewhere (most of the downtown streets were already wide, hence the easy adaptation to the current bike lanes). Where would the key places for bike lanes need to be to make a bigger difference? I would suggest that bike lanes to places other than downtown (i.e. the North end) would be a bigger priority given where the bulk of the traffic snarls are during the day. Granted, lanes running to downtown from all directions leaves paths for people to carry on through downtown to where they need to go.
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Old Posted Sep 3, 2009, 4:24 PM
creaft creaft is offline
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I really enjoyed reading over the post about Jan's talk. A couple things I took away from the talk that I see as very relevant. One was the ability of cities much larger than Saskatoon to re educate their citizens about how they commute. I would hope if a New Yorker could learn to operate with changes to their urban environment a person from Saskatoon could as well.
The other idea I took away from Jan was how for a over a hundred years cars have been key in informing the built world. But many are redesigning the world around 'green' cars', which is still a car based culture. I fully realize that car culture will not just stop. But unless we are willing to engage the idea of commuting in our day to day lives we will not develope useable solutions! H.G well wrote "cycle tracks will be abound in utopia". Cycle tracks may seem like an inpractical pipe dream, but it represents a discussion that looks for a solution and just maintaing status quo
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Old Posted Sep 4, 2009, 1:29 PM
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For every one bicycle on the road, there is one less car. There is no need to widen existing roads to accommodate cycling traffic, however there needs to mass adoption of cycling as real form of transportation. Until the bicycle is not regarded as a toy or cycling as only a recreation, this will not happen. That said, adoption of cycling en masse will be a hard sell in Canada for reasons such as climate and distances needed to be travelled.

Last edited by babo; Sep 4, 2009 at 1:35 PM. Reason: D'oh.
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Old Posted Sep 6, 2009, 6:28 AM
Kruzat Kruzat is offline
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Originally Posted by Morogolus View Post
Personally anyone who bikes in -20 is nuts, that's all I wanna say. Short of underground heated sidewalks in Saskatoon, I'm getting in my car if it's winter out.
Just a note on this.

I unicycleto u of s in -35 plus windchill last winter, in a LOT of snow. That little incline up university bridge isn't so little haha...

Honestly, and bunnyhug, touque, jacket/gloves is all you need if you're being active.
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Old Posted Sep 8, 2009, 6:39 PM
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Bike friedlier streets and the closure of Senator Sid Buckwold Bridge

With great challenges come great solutions.

Could Saskatoon adopt the attitudes and requisite proposals articulated in the following two articles? I have been lead to believe it is certainly possible.

That these progressive ideas are receiving such attention from the mainstream media as of late can mean one of two things: a fleeting focus on the latest social fad OR the birth of a new, visionary agenda via disruption of our fundamental understanding of what it means to build a community.


Pressing need to make streets bike-friendlier
The Star Phoenix September 8, 2009

A tragic confrontation between a motorist and a cyclist, such as the one that resulted in the violent death of bike messenger Darcy Sheppard in Toronto last week, could easily be imagined on the streets of Saskatoon.

Former Ontario attorney-general Michael Bryant was arrested in Toronto after Mr. Sheppard was in an alleged confrontation with a driver of a black Saab convertible that ended with Mr. Sheppard gripping the car as it careered along the street.

Witnesses said the car was steered into oncoming lanes and Mr. Sheppard was dragged along, striking trees and a mailbox before hitting the ground. He was left bleeding in the street and died later in hospital. Mr. Bryant was charged with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving causing death, but is proclaiming his innocence.

As more details of the incident filtered out through the week, cyclists in Toronto held memorials and protests that called attention to the increasing frequency of car-bike confrontations, where no matter how the incident begins, the bike is destined to lose.

Here in Saskatoon, where more than 5,000 residents cycle to work every day (around 2.5 per cent of the population, and the second-highest rate in Canada), bikes and cars are forced to mingle on many busy streets.

Our city's cycling plan has few routes where cyclists are separated from drivers -- in fact, the bulk of the recently adopted plan consists of lane markings that remind drivers to share certain lanes downtown with bicycles. Adding more cyclists into an already congested traffic pattern in a city where road rage incidents are increasing in frequency isn't the ideal solution, but appears to the be the best the city can do with limited resources.

Or is it?

Danish architect Jan Gehl, on his visit to Saskatoon last week, pointed out that the bike lanes on streets such as Fourth Avenue should be located between the parked cars and sidewalk, instead of between the parked cars and traffic, so the parked cars protect the cyclists from motorists.

"Cycling should not be an extreme sport, but for everybody," he said. "What I've seen so far, this city has the potential to be one of the greatest cities of Canada," said Gehl, who delivered two sold-out lectures at Persephone Theatre.

Other suggestions Gehl had for Saskatoon included adding bike lockers to the planned new bus mall, where commuters could safely leave their bikes, as well as creating a place to rent city-owned bikes.

It's not only downtown where cycling safety is an issue. Dedicated bike lanes that separate motorists from cyclists are needed throughout the city.

A look at a map of Saskatoon's "cycling network" (available on the city's website) looks good on paper, but for a daily bike commuter, translates into a majority of time spent darting in and out of traffic mixed with thinly spread intervals of relative tranquility on the dedicated or mixed-use trails.

The city recently established a $2-million bicycling infrastructure fund for things such as extending and creating more paths -- a welcome and long-overdue move. The city has been touting its vision for denser, more pedestrian-friendly suburbs, and integrating already-existing neighbourhoods into this vision is going to take effort and cold, hard cash.

But it's also going to take an increased level of appreciation and mutual respect, for both motorists and cyclists, to make our city more bike friendly. The downtown lane markings are one small step toward this goal.

Let's hope bigger steps come more quickly.

- - -

"Democracy cannot be maintained without its foundation: free public opinion and free discussion throughout the nation of all matters affecting the state within the limits set by the criminal code and the common law."

-The Supreme Court of Canada, 1938
© Copyright (c) The Star Phoenix


It's time to close the Buckwold Bridge
By Paul Hanley, The Star Phoenix September 8, 2009

The Senator Sid Buckwold Bridge should be closed. I have thought so for years, but never dared raise such a crazy idea. Here's what gives me the chutzpah now.

First, the City of Saskatoon actually tore down an on-ramp to the bridge last summer. I was pleasantly shocked city hall would do something so radical. The wisdom of their decision is now evident for all to see: The alternative approach is considerably more attractive -- and in many ways more convenient -- than the ramp. It also opens up 19th Street and connects the east and west of south downtown.

Second, the city is about to go ahead with the South Bridge that will close the loop of semi-Circle Drive. I am normally opposed to new highways and bridges, since there is no evidence they actually reduce traffic congestion. In this case, however, a new bridge would reduce traffic flow, especially heavy truck traffic, through the city's core -- which would also make it possible to retire the existing bridge.

Third, Jan Gehl said it's a good idea. Gehl is the wise, funny urban planner/revolutionary from Copenhagen who wowed packed houses (including Mayor Don Atchison and four city councillors) during his two-night stand at the Frank & Ellen Remai Arts Centre last week. The fact that an urban planner can fill a good-sized theatre in Saskatoon two nights in a row -- and get back-to-back standing ovations -- was a surprise in itself. What he showed us about the potential to create wonderful, people-oriented cities was inspiring. (Find out about him and his work at www.gehlarchitects.com.)

Gehl helps cities become better, more enjoyable, "sweeter" places to live. He was instrumental in making Copenhagen one of the world's most livable and green cities, and is advising major cities such as Melbourne and New York on adopting similar measures. The results, not just in terms of livability, but also in terms of environmental performance, could only be described as incredible. Green cities are not dour, spartan places; they are the best places to live on this planet.

Gehl is also working in small cities, including one in Greenland, so he easily deflected comments that you can't do things like get everyone walking and riding bikes and enjoying street life in a cold, small community such as Saskatoon.

One of Gehl's main tenets is the need to reclaim cities from cars. Cars essentially took over cities in the 1950s and '60s, making them unpleasant places for people to create community and culture. But some cities are being re-conquered by people and Saskatoon is well suited to be one of them.

Gehl noted it has been proven worldwide that you can't reduce traffic congestion by increasing the amount of asphalt. You just end up with more people driving on your new roads and bridges. If you do build a new road and bridge, he said, you should eliminate another.

Gehl cited the example of San Francisco, which lost some of its major freeways during the 1989 earthquake. Everyone was in a panic about how people would move around. After a couple of months, traffic sorted itself out and traffic engineers found it possible to design replacement roads that were much smaller and less obtrusive than the originals.

The Buckwold Bridge and freeway were not a positive addition to this city. The freeway south of the bridge runs through some of the best residential real estate in Saskatoon. The utilitarian bridge detracts from the character of the riverfront. And the route pulls a lot of heavy, noisy traffic right into the centre city. The part that should be, as Gehl puts it, the city's throbbing heart has become hard and ugly.

One option is to remove the current bridge. Another would be to turn it into a garden bridge for pedestrians, bikes, buses and future light rail. Idylwyld could be redeveloped as a low-volume street with generous bike lanes, sidewalks and treed boulevards.

As Gehl said, Saskatoon's wide streets are an asset. They are ideal places to re-create our sense of community, but only if they are turned into places that are "sweet to people."

© Copyright (c) The Star Phoenix

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Old Posted Oct 2, 2009, 5:17 PM
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Ruckus Ruckus is offline
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I have similar thoughts with regard to Saskatoon's position relative to other larger Canadian cities, that our city should (and could) become known for values far greater than a large population, skyscrapers (perfume bottles as per Jan Gehl), or sports teams. I could add all sorts of warm, fuzzy words in addition to the previous statement, but I'll leave that to the Richard Floridas of our world

Creativity barely exploited resource
By Gerry Klein, The Star Phoenix October 1, 2009

I had a chance to see Persephone's The Walnut Tree last weekend.

What was remarkable about the play wasn't only the quality of production or its entertainment value -- I have come to expect those from Persephone -- but that it was a story global in its depiction that grew out of the creativity of one of our neighbours.

Martha Blum, a longtime Saskatoon resident -- who coincidentally immigrated here from Chernovitz, the Eastern European city from where my grandparents came -- wrote the story. Geoffrey Ursell brought it to life on stage.

By the reaction of the audience, I wasn't the only one who believed the story was well worth the price of admission. While a block away hundreds of more people were being entertained by the latest blockbuster at the Galaxy, what's going on at the Persephone for the next couple of weeks attests to the tremendous potential, both economic and cultural, of the creativity that thrives in this city.

Saskatoon long has had a reputation of nurturing cultural icons, but there is a growing movement to make this aspect a defining characteristic of the city. Not coincidental to this movement is the business plan recently put out by Tourism Saskatoon, which wants to make such creativity an integral part of the new art gallery proposed for River Landing.

"Saskatoon is at a crossroads," the proposal states. "We either move forward with positioning Saskatoon as one of Canada's creative cities or (we) focus efforts elsewhere."

One gets the feeling, however, that from the highest reaches of city hall through to the administration at the University of Saskatchewan and increasingly among citizens, there is a growing desire to make Saskatoon something different from a run-of-the-mill prairie community.

In all likelihood, Saskatoon never will have a population to match that of its major regional competitors such as Calgary, Edmonton or even Winnipeg. If Saskatoon is to have an impact on Canada's future and to claim its place in the country, it has to do thing differently and better.

This goal, by the way, was clear in a letter recently written by city manager Murray Totland as he reached out to community leaders to help create a world-class city. "I intend to set the performance bar high so that the City of Saskatoon is the hallmark against which successful municipal government in Canada is judged," he wrote.

This desire is reflected in the stated goals at the U of S. President Peter MacKinnon made it clear to me recently that he hopes one of the things for which he will be remembered is having helped to strengthen the bonds between the university and the municipality. Since becoming president just more than a decade ago, McKinnon has been trying to shift the institution's culture to strengthen innovation, creativity and community service.

Those connections have been transparent in efforts, for example, from the community to support and attract such facilities as the Canadian Light Source and InterVac, and the university's decision to move some of its business school to downtown Saskatoon, invest in health services on the city's west side, and create among Canada's first community-university research units.

But these connections have also grown in areas that aren't so obvious. For example, the college of arts and sciences has established an interdisciplinary centre for culture and creativity that not only reaches across the campus but also into the city. This centre, by the way, helped bring in Sir Ken Robinson, an internationally renowned educator and creativity expert, who will be giving a lecture at 8 p.m. tonight in Convocation Hall. His premise is that societies, if they are to reach their potential, must stop trying to stifle the creativity of individuals.

While it's refreshing to see this debate gaining traction in so many areas of Saskatoon -- particularly when it has become an accepted course at the highest echelons of local government and the university -- the movement poses inherent dangers. As Robinson said in a recent lecture, unless one is prepared to be occasionally wrong, it is impossible to be original. That also suggests that, if one wants to be creative and innovative, one can expect that on occasion one will make errors.

And in a political atmosphere where leaders are held to account more on their records than ideas, being wrong can hurt. Consider, for example, the 1990s' proposal by then-councillor Don Atchison, supported by an engineer, to enclose Second Avenue and 21st Street to create a year-round street-level cultural space. So mocked was he for the idea that Atchison quickly threw it out and moved into the mayor's office on a fortunately since-discarded campaign of fiscal stridency and tough policing.

As I walked down Second Avenue and along 21st Street on Saturday after leaving the Persephone, I couldn't help but wonder what the area would be like without winter's harshness, and with fewer cars and more people crowded into "outdoor" cafes.

I was reminded of a foray I took with my wife and daughter this summer down the main drag in the university town of Ann Arbor, Mich., where cars were squeezed on the road to make room for people eager to participate in the culture of the city.

It's not clear whether initiatives such as the culture and creativity centre on campus or the centre for creativity on River Landing will survive over the long run. The late Martha Blum's story, as told by Persephone, would seem to indicate, however, that creativity is a side of Saskatoon of as yet almost untapped wealth.

© Copyright (c) The Star Phoenix


Last edited by Ruckus; Oct 2, 2009 at 5:40 PM.
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Old Posted Oct 10, 2009, 12:36 AM
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A supportive response to the above worth sharing.


Creativity learnable skill
The Star Phoenix October 8, 2009

Commenting on Gerry Klein's Oct. 1 column, Creativity barely exploited resource, I totally agree that Saskatoon and Saskatchewan have barely scratched the surface of their creative nature.

Part of the problem is that we still think that creativity is art, dance, music and culture. Wrong! Creativity is about making and communicating meaningful new connections, and we can all do it.

We can have creative businesses and performance arts programs, and creative scientists, managers and plumbers. It's all in how you think, not what you do or even what you know.

Saskatoon is way behind the rest of the world in this regard. I hope that the visit of Sir Ken Robinson has stimulated some thought.

I have been teaching creative attitudes and processes, skills for years, and a few people are coming out of their "I'm not creative" rut. Anyone who is passionate about their job, family, community or any part of their lives has the potential for real creativity.

As Sir Ken has said: "Creativity is possible in any activity in which human intelligence is actively engaged."

Creative thinking is a learnable skill that's critical to future prosperity. This city, our businesses, educational institutions, labour unions, government and anyone who thinks they would like to make a difference should get busy and learn how to make those meaningful new connections.

Bill Brooks

© Copyright (c) The Star Phoenix

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