Spring. Ottawa. Bike. – Celebrate Spring on March 24th

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Even Sparks Street in Ottawa looks funky if you run a photo through a few filters. It’s all in the eyes of the beholder – Image: Urban Commuter

At Citizens for Safe Cycling’s recent Annual General Meeting, Board Member Risa (she from the Ottawa winter bike ride who got her pic in Dandyhorse magazine’s web site, scroll down half way that page) asked everyone to jot down ideas for better cycling in Ottawa. She put all the ideas on a wall, ran it through Wordle and will now forever be known for Risa’s Wall of Wishes. There are so many wishes, that she ‘ll be retired by the time the last item is done.

It is one thing to collect ideas, but actually much harder to follow up. So we sat down and tossed some ideas around. Risa thought you won’t get anyone out for a Saturday morning meeting, however, she forgets that half of Ottawa has a farm on the side and has to get up at 5 am anyway so they can go home at three to milk the cows. If you ever wonder why traffic jams start at 3:15 pm, that’s why. Ottawa is bigger than the entire Dutch province of Noord-Brabant, much of it rural. Ottawa is likely the only G8 capital with cows grazing within 5 km of the Parliament buildings at the Experimental Farm.

Risa's "Wall of Wishes" at the AGM of Citizens for Safe Cycling, captured in a word cloud.

Envirocentre and Streetfilms

We agreed that we have to offer a bit more than just a conversation so we decided to throw coffee in the mix. So we called Bridgehead and Bridgehead kindly offered to sponsor the coffee. We’ll watch a few clips from Streetfilms.org to remind ourselves that many other North American cities are moving forward in active transporation too. We asked Envirocentre to come and talk about their new plans. After waving to cyclists for a few years during bike to work day week month, they figured it is now time to leave those cyclists alone and find fresh victims cyclists. Come and listen to their new plans.

Capital Velo Fest

Next up is Ottawa Capital Velo Fest. An initiative of Dick -eternal optimist- Louch, who has been tirelessly working to put a festival together with so many initiatives that he must not need much sleep. Dick will explain the program for this year and it promises to be even bigger than last year. Last year, I didn’t foresee 30 degrees in the shade at the fest, and there was no shade; so a friendly member of OBC (Ottawa Bicycle Club) covered my head in Nivea and announced that “Citizens for Safe Cycling wasn’t so bad“.

Zlatko Krstulich, as in [Kur-stu-litsch]

Third on the list is Zlatko Krstulich, who will update us on the bike initiatives for 2012. There will be a possible bike route through the city, construction will start on the path along the O-train; he will explain how the city is going to deal with bike/walk lanes and paths during the upcoming construction in the city.

Bikeway image by Dennis Leung - Ottawa Citizen

Bikeway: Dennis Lung – Ottawa Citizen

Walk Ottawa

Revived by a number of walking advocates and broadly supported by the cycling community, pedestrians in Centretown are organising themselves in order to be better represented where necessary.  Lana Stewart will give us a quick update where things are standing (pun) and what came out of the first few meetings.

Right Bike

Meet Shane and Schuyler to hear the latest on their new Causeway community Bike Share program that will start very soon.

Bike Parking ThoughtXchange

We’ll also address bike parking in the city. Ah, that was the whole point of the meeting in the first place. Many of us feel there is not enough parking but others don’t really see the problem. We’ll do an inventory, see where we feel it can be improved so that CfSC can communicate it with the City/NCC. We’ll call it the ThoughtsXchange, with an X for the hipsters among us.

We won’t have a strict agenda, the purpose of the meeting is to meet eachother during this first weekend of spring, socialise, exchange some thoughts and ideas, enjoy a coffee or tea, get up to date, build on collaboration (also on Risa’s Wall of Wishes) with walking advocates and see if this would be a viable concept to expand on in future years.  For more information, go to Citizens for Safe Cycling’s website: www.safecycling.ca and see how to sign up.

Risa will be there too. Last time I checked she didn’t have cows. She is more into insects apparently. And into grant writing for exciting new Citizens for Safe Cycling ideas.

Does that sound good enough to get up at 9 on a Saturday? Don’t forget to RSVP at advocacy@safecycling.ca if you haven’t done so. Bring your own coffee mug.

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