● Ottawa to get $325,000 from the Ontario Cycling Infrastructure Program.

The Ottawa Citizen is reporting that the City of Ottawa will be getting $325,000 from the Ontario Municipal Cycling Infrastructure Program. It appears that most of this money will go to the construction of the already announced Mackenzie Avenue bike lane.

(Note – this funding from the province should not be confused with any request for infrastructure money made available under the recent federal budget.)

Although it’s nice that Ottawa will be receiving this $325,000, it is really pocket change in the grand scheme of things. For example, the construction of just one highway interchange on the 417 recently cost the city and province $58 million.

The $325,000 comes from the Ontario Municipal Cycling Infrastructure Program, which was unveiled last summer as part of Ontario’s Cycling Strategy. The program provides $10 million over two year to municipalities for cycling projects.

Again, it’s nice that Ontario is finally putting some money behind its highly celebrated Cycling Strategy. However, given the size of the province and number of Ontario municipalities, $10 million over two years also has to be considered pocket change. Originally, close to 150 municipalities expressed an interest in getting some of this money (which would have worked out to an average of only $33,000 per municipality per year). In the end, only 51 municipalities were invited to apply for a maximum amount of $325,000.

The point is that if governments are really serious about promoting cycling as a means for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, encouraging a healthy lifestyle, and decreasing road congestion, they are going to have to come up with a lot more money for cycling infrastructure. In the meantime, a little pocket change is better than nothing at all.

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