Is $250 million too grand a price for cycling in Ottawa? | Unpublished
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Ottawa, Ontario
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Is $250 million too grand a price for cycling in Ottawa?

September 8, 2022
Peter Karwacki, Candidate Ward 13 Rideau-Rockcliffe

Municipal Election 2022 will affect cyclists and I am a year round cyclist

I said that if we were in a true climate emergency you would see different things happening in the city NOT business as usual.  You would expect impacts on where we live, what we eat and how we move about. Cycling opens up the options for how we live and get to work safely and efficiently.

The recent announcement that one Mayoral candidate would see $250 million spend on cycling infrastructure is astounding.  Safe well maintained paths that make sense, are inter connected, fast and efficient are promised. How much would this be worth to you, to the city, to the world? Money for biking gets the Suburban down thumb as soon as cost is discussed when good roads and low taxes rule.  If McKenney is elected as a strong mayor I will help get this resource allocation done.

I do not know how the costs break down but Ottawa spent $117M (46.8% of proposed 4year spend on cycling infrastructure) widening a single road for cars in Ottawa this year.  Winter paths are not currently or well maintained. You need a plough in each case, either for highway or bike path.  The entire city includes thousands of kms of roads. Committing to maintenance to a few hundred km cycle tracks is going to increase costs but the difference should not be "drastic". It needs to be costed. There are benefits such as improved health status.  Paths help others, besides cyclists. They also help with accessibility for others… for example cyclist easily share their bike lane with someone who uses a wheelchair, mobility scooter, or baby stroller

With safe winter-maintained infrastructure, cycling remains an excellent transportation option for distances ~5km. That's about 15-20mins outside. Similar to someone walking and then waiting for a bus. The difference is that cycling keeps you warm! and fit.  In suburbia, the biggest value of a good winter network is for local trips (to schools, grocery, etc) and to the nearest transit station (for mixed mode commutes). People drive because that's only option that's currently supported for them. That needs to change.

Able bodied health and cycling fanatics will argue that we already ski, snowboard, snowshoe, and skate on the canal all winter.   Well maintained infrastructure and the same winter clothes make winter cycling very possible. See what they do in  Finland. https://youtu.be/Uhx-26GfCBU

We will see similar trends as with most bike infrastructure. It's cheaper, quicker, easier to maintain, and money invested has ROI in the local economy.

All that is required is a vision, and a leap of faith. 

 

 

 



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