This Friday, September 22, I am speaking about cycling advocacy at City Hall. Not to the mayor, not to Transportation Committee but at the Transportation Equity Summit put on by the Healthy Transportation Coalition and Envirocentre.
The summit starts at 8 am with beverages and snacks and lasts until around 3:30 pm with a number of speakers from Ottawa and two speakers from Portland and Toronto. The entrance is $30 but if you can’t afford it, there are special arrangements possible.
Affordable and Accessible Transportation for All
One of the issues is that residents with a low income might need to travel by bus across the city to find work. Recently, the city introduced a low income pass to help these residents saving some money. This was a step in the right direction. Accessibility remains an issue sometimes, especially in winter.
Having a safe and connected cycling network is important too. It allows children to cycle to school, elderly to get around independently longer and commuters to leave their cars (or their bus pass) at home.
Bike Advocacy at Summit too
I will talk about the years of cycling advocacy in Ottawa since 2009 by Bike Ottawa (Citizens for Safe Cycling since 1984) and the progress we have made, but I will mostly talk about how we did that. Contrary to popular belief, cycling advocates generally advocate for a more livable city, not only for a few cross town bike lanes, and they believe that cycling is a big part of bringing back that livability. Focussing on a bigger picture with cycling embedded allowed us to reach a wider audience.
So no photos of meandering new pathways, raised bike lanes and women on upright bikes with baskets and flowers or hipsters with beards on vintage bikes cycling in plaid across the city’s pastures, craft beer in hand, picnic basket on the luggage carrier. Sorry.
Events such as these are always useful because you meet like minded people, you can test some ideas and you can usually tackle a councillor or two, three. I am glad to see Kornel Mucsi in a panel, one of the bike planners who is instrumental in moving the cycling agenda forward and who is not afraid to try new (for Ottawa, proven in other areas of the world) infrastructure concepts. Bonus, he cycles on a real Dutch upright bike.
Hope to see you there.