This is the Citizens for Safe Cycling online newletter. The vast majority of our members indicated they'd like to receive the newsletter electronically, so we will gradually shift to on line versions. We are using a new mailing program; we may need some tweaks here and there. We are working on a new set up to merge our Chain Mail and Ottawa Cycling News in order to work more efficiently. For those who'd like to receive the letter on paper, we will still print a number of copies and send them to CfSC members' home addresses.
CfSC receives Mayor's Office City Builder Award
By Schuyler Playford
On May 14, 2014 Citizens for Safe Cycling (CfSC) received the Mayor's City Builder Award for 30 years of cycling advocacy in Ottawa at the Ottawa City Council meeting.
The Award is a civic honour created by Mayor Watson to recognize an individual, group or organization that has, through outstanding volunteerism or exemplary action, demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to making Ottawa a better place today and for the future.
Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor Keith Egli recognized CfSC’s role in building the city’s cycling culture as they presented the Award.
CfSC President, Hans Moor accepted the honour on behalf of the organization, telling Council: “The Award signifies our contribution towards creating a better Ottawa. It also signifies the importance of the growing presence of cyclists in the city. We thank you for recognising our achievements and promise to keep raising the bar for future improvements to our city, because we must stay vigilant".
Airport Parkway Multi Use Pathway open
by Hans Moor
A new stretch of the pathway connecting Hunt Club with Brookfield is now open. This (former) missing llink connects Brookfield at the north end and Walkley Station at the other end. When the Airport Parkway pedestrian and bicycle bridge is finished, residents living west of the parkway have much easier access to this path too.
Members are pleased with CfSC according to Membership Survey
By Simone Rivers
This past April the Board of CFSC invited members to participate in a survey to provide feedback on its work and developments within the organization to help guide our work moving forward. Nearly 40% of members responded to the survey, the majority of which were pleased with CfSC’s work and the direction the organization is taking. CfSC would like to thank all of our members who took the time to fill out the Membership Survey.
The results and suggestions received about areas on which to focus and ways to improve will be considered in our future advocacy efforts. Of course, the positive comments were also greatly appreciated as a reminder of the importance or our presence within the Ottawa community:
"I am very proud to be a member of this organization. I admire the hard work and great expertise contained on our board. Thanks and congratulations on the hard work you have done and continue to do!" – a member
A more detailed report with full responses to all the questions will be sent to the members upon completion.
CfSC Tulips on Two Wheels Recap
By Risa Sargent
CfSC’s third annual spring cycling celebration event Tulips on Two Wheels was held on Saturday, May 10th. Tulips on Two Wheels encourages cyclists to get their bikes out of storage and to get cycling! The event coincides with Envirocentre's Bike to Work month and in previous years with Jane's Walk. CfSC partners with Cycle Salvation to offer free, light bike tune-ups, which draws attention from passersby on the Canal pathways.
We were once again lucky to have beautiful weather. Plenty of folks stopped by to ask for cycling advice, to purchase new memberships, and to take advantage of free tune-ups offered by the handy mechanics. By mid-morning the lines for a tune-up wrapped around the booth!
Long time member volunteer Don McIntosh ran tours of the NCC's colourful tulip displays. Volunteers, Ruth Swyers and Felicity Borgal, helped sell memberships and gave out information. Our President, Hans Moor, was in attendance with Board members Jess Wells, Risa Sargent, Simone Rivers and Isabel Jenish. Thank you to everyone who helped make Tulips on Two Wheels a success!
Ottawa loves biking to work
By Kathleen Wilker
The results are in for the 2014 edition of Bike to Work Month, a partnership program between the City of Ottawa and EnviroCentre. 1568 residents pledged online to bike to work. This represents an 11% increase from the 2013 edition. 81 workplaces participated as teams. Up 51% from last year, this number is significant and encouraging.
There are numerous incentives to encourage workplaces to build teams and for cyclists of all levels to join. Experienced cyclists who are able to mentor colleagues interested in biking to work but who have questions or need some support usually lead a workplace team. Friendly competition with a “rival” workplace and staff team can entice folks to ride to work.
For example, this year two Ottawa highschools competed against each other. For others, knowing that personal kilometres are contributing to a group total is encouraging enough. The promise of prizes motivates others to cycle to work. Many area bike retailers sponsored bike pumps for winning workplace teams and other retailers sponsored dinners out and a trip for 30 to Camp Fortune’s Aerial Park.
Whatever the motivation, once people start biking to work, they often are surprised at how fast, convenient and pleasant bike commuting is and continue choosing to ride to work whenever they can. In the words of one participant, “Bike to Work Month motivated me to take my bike out of the garage and start riding in May. Now I’m hooked”.
CfSC writes to the City about Albert and Booth Street
By Hans Moor
Citizens for Safe Cycling has sent two letters to a number of City of Ottawa staff, NCC and some councillors about the changes that are proposed on Albert Street (between City Centre and Bronson Avenue) and about Booth Street (between Albert Street north bound to the NCC Parkway near the War Museum).
In the opinion of our Advocacy Working Group, Albert Street is well thought out with bike tracks and Dutch style left turns. However, Booth Street is another story.
Booth Street will run north from Albert St and will eventually be elevated to the same level as Albert Street in order to go over the LRT tracks. After the LRT, the road will slope downward to connect to the intersection with the NCC Parkway. However, there is no space planned for cyclists.
Comparatively, Albert Street will offer great bike infrastructure. It appears that OC Transpo doesn’t want cycle tracks behind the bus stops (even though cycling infrastructure in other countries has proven this to be a successful concept). Also Chaudiere Island will have ret bike infrastructure eventually. OC Transpo is really missing the point here that this is an important bike route.
We believe there should be a safe north - south route to connect with the future developments of Chaudiere Island which is designed for walking and cycling. It would also create a safe route to Quebec, which is sorely missing in this area. In this context, we have sent additional letter to the City of Ottawa and Gatineau about repurposing the Prince of Wales Bridge across the Ottawa River earlier than originally planned.
Bikes bring business
By Kathleen Wilker
This summer, Ottawa’s streets will get their first three bike corrals. In each case, an on-street parking space will become host to a bike rack, providing parking space for 10 bikes at each location. Popular in many cities world-wide, including Montreal, Peterborough and Portland, bike corrals allow more customers to shop at local businesses by dramatically increasing parking possibilities. Keep an eye out for bike corrals in the Wellington West BIA and the Glebe BIA.
East end residents ask for better bike infrastructure
By Hans Moor
This summer, St Patrick Sreet will be repaved. As part of this project, the City of Ottawa will include bike lanes along the stretch between Cobourg Street and the bridge to form part of the East-West Bike Way. The residents in the area, from Vanier to Lowertown, and from Beechwood Village to New Edinburgh, are disappointed that the bike lane will not continue for the entire length of St. Patrick Street.
The City argues that the new standard for bike lanes is 1.50 meters (which is great) and that they can’t sign off on a narrower lane. The residents however argue that there are precedents in other areas and believe that if all lanes were narrowed, cyclistc, pedestrians and motorists could all fit.
There has been a letter writing effort to the Mayor and councillors to convince the City to do better than to offer a handful of quick to fade sharrows. The community organisations are asking the City not to wait with bike infrastructure for another nine years when a complete overhaul is planned to build a complete street for St. Patrick Street. The letters are available on our website: www.bikeottawa.ca. Just last week, the City agreed to adjust the infrastructure by building a M.U.P.
Bluesfest Bike Parking
by Hans Moor
Once again, CfSC is offering valet bike parking at Bluesfest. Keep an eye on our website, our Twitter Account and Facebook page for the details. The valet parking is our biggest fundraiser and generated about $2500 for Blues in the Schools and the same amount for CfSC last year. Donate generously, it is a great service and not one bike got lost in all those years (we parked over 40,000 bikes until now). See also our page about Bluesfest.
A river runs through it
by Paul Clarke
Although late to arrive, the annual post-winter rise of the Ottawa River levels flooded NCC’s Ottawa River Pathway. As in most years, cyclists trying to enjoy a springtime ride along the Pathway were blocked by Mother Nature. By mid May, the pathway between New Orchard and the War Museum was covered by floodwaters in several sections (See April and May comparative photos). Some paths, such as the Sentier des Voyageurs near Aylmer, can become completely blocked when the river rises.
Most path users typically resort to taking the ad hoc detours slightly further inland, which causes erosion to the grassy banks bordering the Sir John A Macdonald Parkway. These tracks, now well worn from seasons of use, become a muddy inconvenience for cyclists during rainfalls and pose a difficult passage for in-line skaters no matter the weather.
Putting up barriers during times of flooding is not an adequate solution and we have advocated to the NCC for better. In a meeting held this past February, we asked them to consider taking more permanent measures, such as building a boardwalk or dikes for the sectors that have chronic problems. The Gatineau side of the river already has an extensive boardwalk near Parc Jacques Cartier. The NCC could at least make a more official detour that doesn't degrade the landscape.
We also suggested that better advance signage about flooding should be posted, preferably at junctions where it would be logical for users to switch to an alternate route. Additionally, an on-line means of checking the condition of various sectors of the pathway network, similar to what is now provided for the Rideau Canal Skateway, would be a major benefit to those trying to plan a passable route.
After getting your cycle all shined and tuned up for the new season, who wants to submerge it halfway to the wheel hubs while filling your shoes with frigid water!
Report released on cycling in Ottawa
By Hans Moor
It has been a few months ago already, but for those who missed it, our Annual Report is available and includes updates about improvements to cycling infrastructure, community bike events and activities. It offers maps and once again CfSC has rated select improvements to infrastructure and of course, we have released the new Top 10 issues for this year. Check out the report here:
AGM set on September 30th
By Hans Moor
The date for CfSC’s AGM is set for September 30th. We will keep you informed about the speaker, the food and the birthday cake!
Board member Jess Wells has stepped down from the Board as she is going to work for the City of Ottawa in the Neighbourhood Connections Office. CfSC wishes her the best of luck with this opportunity. Without a doubt we will soon get a sense of the opportunities that could arise by working with the Neighbourhood Connection Office.
NCC Linear Park - better waterfront access
By Isabel Jenish
The National Capital Commission hosted a workshop on Tuesday May 27 to gather ideas on how to turn the riverfront along the Sir John A. Macdonald Pkwy. into a "linear park" that could be inspired by examples from Chicago to Quebec City.
CfSC was invited to NCC offices along with a number of other community associations and stakeholders for a “blue-sky” session on possible improvements to the nine kilometres of parkland between Preston Street and Carling Avenue.
The purpose of the workshop was to explore various ways to transform sections of the Ottawa River shoreline corridor into a park. The aim is to make this corridor a space that people visit more often and that is more accessible to the public for a variety of uses, while also ensuring unimpeded access to the river for the neighbouring communities.
The discussion focused on creating better access to the waterfront, adding activities or amenities that would attract people or entice the large volumes of cyclists who use the pathways to stick around. Resurfacing of pathway, increasing signage, creating more bike lines along north-south corridors to improve access to the pathways for neighbouring communities were repeated themes throughout the discussion. Although I was there to represent CfSC, it seemed as though the majority of the crowd were advocating on our behalf! Another sign of a rapidly growing interest in cycling.
The initiative is part of the development of the Capital Urban Lands Master Plan and Parkways Policy, and follows on public consultations that were held in March.
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