Archived - Old News Blog about cycling
NOTE: This old News Blog is no longer active (postings from May 3, 2010 to August 19, 2011). It remains here for reference purposes only.
For information and news about cycling in the Ottawa-Gatineau area, please go the main page of the GoBiking.ca website.
The city had been considering Somerset, Gladstone, and Laurier for a segregated bike lane. All in all, Laurier Avenue isn’t a bad choice because it will allow cyclists to get into the heart of the downtown core, and it connects nicely with the part of the city on the east side the Rideau Canal. However, there is some concern about how this bike lane will come to an abrupt end at Bronson.
Click here for the story in the Ottawa Citizen
Click here for a series of detailed maps of the proposed bike lane.
Click here for the City of Ottawa’s website about its bike lane project.
Then there was the story about how the City of Ottawa was removing the heads of the defunct parking meters, and as a result, making it very easy to steal the bikes locked onto these parking meter posts. Fortunately, the city quickly explained it was a case of human error, apologized, and dispatched a crew to install tops to the posts to prevent locked bicycles from being lifted off.
Most recently there was a story about NCC chief executive Marie Lemay and her vision for the national capital region. The good news is that she reaffirms her commitment to make the region a better place for cycling. The bad news is that the same article highlights the fact that the NCC is running up major deficits, and can’t even afford to maintain the status quo with its current projects.
Although Nova Scotia will be the first province to do so, 16 states have adopted "3-foot" passing laws. In Ontario, a private members bill was introduced last spring that would bring such a law into effect in that province. Although the bill passed first reading with all-party support, it has not yet been adopted, and is only scheduled for second reading in spring of 2011.
It was good to see Mayor-elect Jim Watson reaffirm his commitment to do more to promote cycling in Ottawa.
A recent article in the Ottawa Citizen quotes Jim Watson as saying "I try to push myself to get on my bike at least a couple of times a week." He goes on to say that when it comes to making Ottawa a more bike-friendly city, "...we can learn some lessons from jurisdictions like Portland, Oregon, or Montreal, even closer to home. Montreal has a really good pathway system with segregated lanes and they emphasize cycling as a tourism and economic generator".
Link to the Ottawa Citizen story
For Jim Watson’s 10 point plan to improve cycling facilities and to “positioning the city as a future cycling capital”, go to: http://www.jimwatson.ca/cycling-en
Click here for the story in the Ottawa Citizen.
Meanwhile in the States the case where a driver allegedly struck a cyclist near Vail, Colorado, and failed to remain at the scene is also getting a lot of attention. The local prosecutor decided that the driver would not be charged a felony for a hit-and-run, but rather two misdemeanor traffic charges. Making matters worst is that John Carney, a Senior Editor at CNBC.com, wrote a column where he suggests that the only reason the police arrested the driver for something as mundane as hit-and-run was because he was a wealthy guy driving a brand new Mercedes Benz.
The cyclist suffered serious injuries which have been described as “debilitating”.
Click here for the story in the local Colorado newspaper.
Where do cycling issues stand now that there are 11 new faces on the City Council?
The Mayor: Jim Watson will be a big improvement over Larry O’Brien. Watson sometimes describes himself as a cyclist, and he did issue a well thought out position on cycling during the election campaign. For more details about his position, see: http://www.jimwatson.ca/cycling-en
By comparison, Larry O’Brien maintained a complete disinterest in cycling issues during his term of office (but his positions, or lack of positions, on cycling were nowhere as bad as those of Toronto’s Mayor-elect Rob Ford).
City Councillors: We lost three individuals on City Council who were very supportive of cycling. These include Clive Doucet (who ran for mayor, but lost), Alex Cullen (who jumped back into the race in his old Ward at the last minute, and as a result, lost) and Jacques Legendre (who didn’t run again).
On the plus side , it appears that some of the new faces on City Council will be supportive of cycling. Judging from the information provided to Citizens for Safe Cycling during the election campaign, it seems that Katherine Hobbs (Ward 15 - Kitchissippi) and David Chernushenko (Ward 17 - Capital) will be highly supportive.
Other new councillors who are likely to be supportive, or somewhat supportive, include Mathieu Fleury (Ward 12 - Rideau-Vanier), Keith Egli (Ward 9 - Knoxdale-Merivale) , Doug Thompson (Ward 20 - Osgoode),
For more information about what the candidates had to say (or not say) about cycling during the election campaign, go to: http://www.safecycling.ca/news-and-projects/election2010/candidate-responses
One has to wonder about the intelligence of a large number of Torontonians (mainly from the suburbs) who voted in Rob Ford as the new mayor of their city. The suitability of this person to be mayor of Canada’s largest city has to be questioned, if only because of what he says about cycling.
During the 2007 Toronto city budget debate, Rob Ford said, "Roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks. Not for people on bikes. My heart bleeds when someone gets killed, but it's their own fault at the end of the day." At a city council meeting in 2009, he also said that cyclists are "a pain in the ass" for motorists.
See for yourself the video clip on YouTube:
With Rob Ford as mayor, people may want to avoid Toronto the next time they are heading out for a vacation on their bikes.