Victoria remains Canada’s cycling commuter capital, with nearly 6 per cent of residents choosing to ride a bicycle on their daily commute. An additional 10 per cent of Victorians commute by foot.
On the other end of the spectrum, St. John’s and Saint John have the lowest rates of bicycle commuting in Canada, but comparatively high rates of walking to work. Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa have the highest percentage of citizens depending on public transit to get them to work, with more than one in five using those systems.
Across Canada, it’s the cities struggling with congestion the most that are seeing the strongest gains in active transportation. Walking and cycling to work is often seen as a way of avoiding the headaches of public transit and the slow slog of a packed freeway.
Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Edmonton and Vancouver all posted gains in active transportation between 2006 and 2011.
If you build a city that is great for an eight-year-old and for an 80-year-old, then you build a city that is going to be great for everybody. They’re like an indicator species. We need to stop building cities as if everybody in them is 30 years old and athletic.
Perhaps the best analogy yet for the insane cold weather now afflicting the US came from science blogger Greg Laden, who created the viral image above. “Go home, Arctic,” it reads. “You’re drunk.”
When it comes to the reason why the United States is currently experiencing life-threatening cold—with temperatures in the negative-20s in the Upper Midwest, and wind chills much lower than that—that’s actually not so far from the truth. “It’s basically the jet stream on a drunken path going around the Northern Hemisphere,” explains Rutgers University climate scientist Jennifer Francis. In other words, we’re experiencing record-breaking cold temperatures because a wavy and elongated jet stream has allowed frigid Arctic air to travel much farther south than usual.
And according to Francis’ research—which has drawn increasing attention in the past few years—we’re seeing more of just this kind of jet stream behavior, thanks, at least in part, to the rapid warming of the Arctic.