Today the Ottawa Centre EcoDistrict (OCED) released its first Cycle In report, a citizen’s review of local cycling infrastructure. It is a follow up to a ride held on September 14th when 60 volunteers followed 20 routes to downtown from 12 wards, all arriving at City Hall at 9:00 AM that morning. The following Councillors participated in the ride: Tobi Nussbaum, Mathieu Fleury, Jean Cloutier, Tim Tierney, Jeff Leiper and Catherine McKenney.
The findings can be summed up as follows:
- Ottawa is a great cycling city with many pathways to take.
- However these pathways are not continuous and not always safe. Addressing the gaps is important.
- Commuters and experienced cyclists are resilient and choose the most practical path from their home to downtown, balancing safety, enjoyment and time of travel.
- However increasing the modal share for cycling means bringing new cyclists into the fold and our rides point to many things that need to change in order to get more people on bikes.
- Improvements made will also make Ottawa more cycling friendly for tourists, many of whom are using bikes to see the city.
“Our report identifies quick fixes for both the National Capital Commission (NCC) and the City as well as tougher challenges that need to be addressed,” notes OCED Executive Director Don Grant. “This includes what we call ‘pinch points’ – spots like bridges where users have very little choice. These pinch points have to be safe and easy to use.”
The Ottawa Cycling Plan sets a modal share target of 8% for trips originating within the Greenbelt by 2031 which would be double the 4% share in 2011. In order to do this more people need to choose to cycle. The report identifies over 40 recommendations for improvement and work has already begun engaging the NCC, the City and other community groups like Citizens for Safe Cycling in the discussion of how to implement the findings.
Improving cycling connections to and from downtown was identified as the number one issue for the OCED by community members and stakeholders.
The full report includes all findings plus a ‘report card’ for each ride. The full report can be found at www.ottawaecodistrict.org/cycle-in-report-fall-2015.