Campus MIL Newly Opened in Montréal

 
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Students are back in full-swing for the Fall school semester, which is especially exciting for university students attending the newly opened University of Montréal Campus MIL. Located at the crossroads of five boroughs and an independent municipality in the heart of the island of Montréal, this huge swath of land was once a railway yard that ceased operations back in 1985. The Campus MIL has been in redevelopment for almost 15 years, and focuses on sustainable design, with ample green areas and a new bicycle and pedestrian bridge.

Recently, the Copenhagenize team in Montréal took a bike trip to visit the newly-opened site and crossed over the bicycle and pedestrian bridge. The “Blue Line” as the University has named the bridge, connects the Parc-Extension and Outremont boroughs, two neighbourhoods that were previously separated by the rail line. Parc-Extension in particular has always been a fairly isolated neighbourhood, and so now has additional walking and cycling connections, but up to this point has not been as affected by the majority of gentrification in Montréal. With the Campus MIL development project, there are some concerns that this is increasing demand in the area, increasing pressure on residents of Parc-Extension to move as housing costs rise, given the high demand for housing in the wealthier neighbouring boroughs.

There are additional concerns over the pedestrian and bicycle bridge, as the University tries to deter bicycle riders from cycling over the bridge, and instead encourages users to walk their bikes. The design of the bridge allows for pedestrians and bicycle riders to use the bridge simultaneously, with a smooth and calm slope to allow comfortable climbing and slower descents on the north side, but preemptive fear over potential conflicts are deterring the University from taking full advantage of their newly built infrastructure.

As part of the Site Outremont redevelopment around the campus that our team has been involved in, new Copenhagen-style grade-separated protected bike lanes were constructed on Avenue Thérèse Lavoie-Roux, a street that runs directly through the Campus MIL. Over the coming years, additional bicycle infrastructure will be implemented by the City throughout the area, following a series of design recommendations prepared by the Copenhagenize team. 

There are still areas for improvement in the Campus MIL bicycle infrastructure, but the movement towards a more bicycle-friendly architecture and landscaping is an important step. We look forward to seeing University of Montréal students riding to school throughout the year, taking advantage of these new paths and active transportation options.

 

Dispatches from the Canadian Prairies (1 of 3)

 
Photo Credit (Instagram) @thebbcreative

Photo Credit (Instagram) @thebbcreative

Saskatoon, a small prairie city in the heart of Canada, has been setting its sights on promoting cycling and walking over the past several years. In 2016, the City created the Active Transportation Plan which  included several goals to increase cycling infrastructure and percentage of bicycle users. One key finding in the 2016 AT Plan is that 46% of Saskatoon residents want to cycle more, both for recreation and transport purposes. In order to find out more, and in close collaboration with 8 80 Cities, the Copenhagenize team conducted workshops, pop-up engagements, focus groups and an online survey to collect information on Saskatonians and their thoughts on cycling in the city. We found that residents think positively about bicycle users, but very few think of them as “regular people,” such as their friends, families, parents and children – the perception of bicycle users as lycra-suited, sporty riders still persists. 

In order to help shift this narrative, our team created a communications campaign for the City using people of all ages riding their bikes to everyday destinations: from the pool, to the home or school. Using a playful reference to Saskatoon’s airport code, YXE, the hashtag #BYXE has been plastered along cycle paths, on buses, transit shelters and throughout social media to encourage users to tag and share photos of their bicycle trips. A simple search of the hashtag on social media and it’s clear the bicycle truly is for everyone: from a penny-farthing bicycle rider, a family of nine travelling down a cycle path, to a young BMXer going top speed downhill in a tutu. 

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Saskatoon is a city of festivals, and throughout the summer Saskatoon Cycles runs a Free Bike Valet which was set up at different events and festivals around the city. The Bike Valet not only provided a bicycle parking service, but also distributed free #BYXE branded bicycle lights and seat covers to festival-goers. 

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Part of the campaign also aimed to create an education portal that Saskatoon residents could use to learn best practices for cycling around the city and encourage the safe use of cycle paths, lanes and shared roadways. These new cycling tips can be found on the City of Saskatoon’s website, showcased in bright, positive and easy-to-follow graphics. Residents can also find other information the City has made available such as the Cycling Guide and Map, bike registration details, and a how-to video for loading a bike onto a local bus. 

The campaign will continue into the Fall and early Winter, and we look forward to seeing more #BYXE trips around beautiful, sunny Saskatoon.

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Bruges Appoints an International Consortium for the FR30 Cycling Project

 
The Lord Mayor introduces the Bruges’ cycling policy.

The Lord Mayor introduces the Bruges’ cycling policy.

 
 

Together with the international landscape architecture firm West 8 and the traffic company Vectris, Copenhagenize Design Co. has been commissioned to work for the City of Bruges on a study into the construction of the FR30 bicycle ring road.

The project will allow Bruges to develop a new vision for its cycling network. This vision will focus on tackling weak areas within the existing system and on further raising the cycling modal share (already 43% in 2017). The project is supported by the EU Horizon 2020-funded Handshake collaboration.

The City Monitor, which compares Flemish cities across some 200 indicators, ranks Bruges as the number one cycling city in Flanders. “This does not mean that we can afford to slow down our efforts,” says the Lord Mayor De fauw. “On the contrary. The growing popularity of cycling also makes it clear that a number of weak points, especially near the city centre, remain to be addressed. Amsterdam and Copenhagen have clearly demonstrated that higher targets for the cycling modal shift can be achieved. New emerging trends, like fast e-bikes, challenge the current infrastructure. This is why Bruges is participating in Handshake, a collaborative project between European cycling cities that enables the exchange of successful practices in cycling.” 

The project team will work on a concept design for a bicycle ring road (FR30) to strengthen the cycling network. “Together with our partner Vectris, we will first study the city fabric and, in particular, the urban morphology. In doing so, we will analyse the need for a new supra-infrastructure and its possible location” states Maarten van de Voorde, director at West 8. “We want to preserve Bruges’ unique DNA and maximise the city’s soft values. We believe that cycling is more than a form of mobility -- that it is an integral part of a bustling and productive urban life. The expertise of local and regional experts is therefore of paramount importance. Thanks to our partner Copenhagenize Design Co., we will be able to actively involve these partners.”

“This ambitious project kicked off during our first meeting on August 23rd,” states Clotilde Imbert from Copenhagenize Design Co. “At this meeting, we discussed our first findings with a dozen local and regional experts and with our ‘Handshake-project Mentor,’ the City of Amsterdam. We did a cycling tour to witness Bruges’ vibrant cycling atmosphere as well as see the challenges the city is facing.”

Like the Lord Mayor said in his opening speech, quoting the medieval merchant family Gruuthuuse “plus est en vous.” There is more in you; you can always exceed yourself. The best is yet to come!

 

Copenhagenize at the 2019 Hamburg Bauforum

 
The Hamburg Bauforum has long been a visionary tool to guide future growth in the German metropolis.

The Hamburg Bauforum has long been a visionary tool to guide future growth in the German metropolis.

Last week Copenhagenize’s Morten Kabell and Lorenz Siegel joined a selection of Europe’s leading architecture, planning, and urbanism offices to tackle the big challenges at the 7th International Bauforum in Hamburg. First held in 1980, the Bauforum has proven to be a creative institution with the goal to rethink Hamburg as a city as well as a starting point for defining urban changes, including the innovative Hafencity development.


During five exciting and demanding days, the Copenhagenize Team redesigned Hamburg’s Ring 2 arterial road with the approach to significantly reduce car traffic, remove street hierarchies, untie traffic knots and most importantly give space for more efficient and sustainable modes of transport. Like many urban ring roads, the Ring 2 arterial functions as a series of corridors, rather than one continuous functional loop. With this in mind, the team presented a series of refreshing ideas to help shake the city of 20th Century car-centric thinking. The result was a pool of ideas and concepts that will give inspiration to how Hamburg is handling its most important connectors and arterial streets over the course of the next 50 years.