Vote for a Liveable Ottawa!

Vote for a Liveable Ottawa!
Posted on October 22, 2014 | Citizens for Safe Cycling | Written on October 22, 2014

Author's Note:

Author's Note:

by Citizens for Safe Cycling

Who doesn’t want safer roads?

During the run up to the 2014 elections it became clear once again that Ottawa’s residents want traffic to slow down. In Knoxdale - Merivale, our candidates tell us traffic is the biggest concern. The same concerns can be heard in the down town area, with King Edward being a major issue. So what do we want from our next council? In Vanier, citizens are asking for safer access to downtown. In Orleans, a candidate wants to build a safe Orleans route for cycling. Everywhere, citizens are asking for safe roads in their neighbourhoods. Citizens for Safe Cycling polled hundreds of residents who cycle for fun, to work, to shops, to family and many other destinations. These residents can be your neighbours, your colleagues or your elder at the church.

Then, we asked all candidate councillors three simple questions. Many councillors indicated that they recognise cycling (and walking for that matter) as a priority. The candidates we elect on October 27, 2014 will determine how strongly cycling­-friendly projects and programs are championed in your community.

Citizens for Safe Cycling (CfSC) developed a four point cycling platform, based on input from residents, that can be implemented in the next term of council to make cycling safer and more accessible to people of all ages and abilities. From kids cycling to school, students cycling to university, commuters cycling to work, and seniors cycling on the many bike paths in Ottawa, many of us benefit from a healthy, livable Ottawa.

1. Support “Vision Zero”

  • The Vision Zero approach to road safety: no loss of life is acceptable. Focus on education, enforcement, and engineering to protect all road users from harm.
  • Reduce speed limits in residential areas to 40km/hr or less.
  • Separate bike traffic from trucks and buses.
  • Continue to support positive educational partnership efforts such as Safer Roads Ottawa, programs like "Lights on Bikes", and bike rodeos.
  • Work with the Ottawa Police Service Board to promote cycling awareness amongst all road users and to focus enforcement on the most serious safety hazards.

2. Collaboration between different government layers in Ottawa

  • Lack of coordination between different jurisdictions (Province, Cities, NCC) results in disconnected and inconsistent infrastructure.
  • Establish a formal committee that meets regularly, including representatives from the City of Ottawa, National Capital Commission, Ville de Gatineau and Citizens for Safe Cycling, to identify opportunities for collaboration when new cycling facilities are planned.
  • Collaborate with local businesses to promote the value of bike-friendly streets, and to improve bicycle parking and access to our city's businesses and workplaces.

3. Link budget to bike ridership

  • Ottawa's Cycling Plan calls for 5% of all trips to be made by bike by 2031[1], up from 2.4%[2] in 2011. 
  • From 2011-­2014, Council invested $28 million in cycling[3], which represents less than 0.85% of all transportation spending, or about $7.30 on the average residential annual tax bill[4]. That is the equivalent of about 1.5 gallon (or 6 liters) of gas.
  • CfSC recommends allocating $20 million annually to cycling. That is only 2.5% of overall mobility spending, and is a commitment that is equal to the number of people who already ride to work, school or the grocery store. It may sound like a lot, but the city’s entire budget is $2500 million.

4. Desirable Projects

  • Make every neighbourhood bike friendly: complete missing links and community connections for a more continuous cycling network. Segregated facilities provide greater security than paint.
  • Bikes are for all ages: Create ‘Complete Streets’ for all road users, and design new communities with safe routes to schools, parks, and recreational facilities.
  • Let’s go to Lansdowne: Build the Fifth-Clegg foot & bike bridge, make improvements to the Bank Street Bridge.
  • Park it: Expand the popular bicycle corral parking program to more business districts.
  • Bus it: Encourage multi­modal trips, with bike share, secure bike parking, and safe and convenient bike access at transit stops and stations.

From every perspective, creating a bike-friendly city makes sense. More mobility choices, a healthier population, less competition for road space and parking, a more appealing streetscape... The leadership to shift just a handful of dollars into creating quality space for cycling could spark enormous change during this term of council. Let’s not shortchange ourselves by making only minimal progress towards creating a liveable city. Tell your candidates that you intend to make your vote count towards prioritizing the fun, active, and sustainable Ottawa lifestyle!

See what your candidates have to say at:


[1] 2013 Ottawa Cycling Plan section 3.1.2

[2] 2011 Origin-Destination Study, table 3

[3] City of Ottawa news release, August 8, 2014

[4] City of Ottawa adopted capital and operating budgets, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014

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Citizens for Safe Cycling (CfSC) is a not-for-profit incorporated, independent, membership-based organization founded in 1984. It is a voluntary association made up of cyclists like you who work for better, safer,... More