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FW: [CfSC] Ottawa cycles with gusto

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  • Lanyon, Ryan
    Sometimes the message does get through... -RL FYI- I think you ll have to cut & paste this URL into your browser:
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 23, 2003
      Sometimes the message does get through...


      FYI- I think you'll have to cut & paste this URL into your browser:


      Ottawa cycles with gusto

      The Ottawa Citizen

      Monday, April 21, 2003

      One of the little successes of the City of Ottawa is that this community
      is one of the most bicycle-friendly communities in Canada. That's
      something to celebrate as the spring sun comes out and we pull the bikes
      out of the garage.

      It wasn't always this way. Ottawa's transportation system was geared to
      cars and buses for a long time. Cyclists were squeezed against sidewalks
      by oblivious motorists who didn't think they deserved to share the road.
      But Ottawa and Gatineau have become a capital cycling centre through
      such things as the National Capital Commission's recreational pathway
      system. Ottawa has helped things along by encouraging the installation
      of bicycle racks all through the city. OC Transpo now has bike racks on
      more than 200 of its buses to make life easier for commuters, and
      cyclists may even get a ride with their bikes on the north-south
      O-Train. The city has a pilot project under way at Fallowfield,
      Greenboro and Place d'Orléans transitway stations to provide lockers to
      cyclists. Where once cyclists felt unwelcome, they are now encouraged.

      Even on major transportation projects cyclists are remembered in the
      city's plans. Big roads such as Hunt Club -- hardly hospitable territory
      for cyclists -- have dedicated cycling lanes, which make this mode of
      transportation considerably safer and more pleasurable. That's a major
      change for transportation engineers who have been building big roads.
      Some Ottawa police patrol on bikes. Some people cycle even after the
      snow is flying.

      The trend to cycling has all kinds of benefits. The obvious one is
      heightened levels of fitness for families, and especially office workers
      and students, whose days are often sedentary. Huffing, puffing and fresh
      air is all to be encouraged if we want to live healthy, longer lives.

      Cycling gives young people mobility, something they often don't
      otherwise have in many of our auto-oriented neighbourhoods. Cycling also
      diffuses the mass of traffic in our community, and that's going to get a
      lot more important in the next 20 years. If we have 400,000 or so more
      people going to settle in Ottawa during that time, and there isn't going
      to be a lot more road-building in the central area, we need people to
      use a variety of modes of transportation. That will obviously include
      cars and buses, but must also include people opting to do some walking
      or cycling. If we don't foster these alternatives, we'll face endless
      traffic jams with cars.

      There are some problems with our bicycle culture. A fair number of
      cyclists ride on sidewalks, which upsets many pedestrians and can
      present a safety hazard. Some cyclists fail to obey traffic lights and
      stop signs. But these are quibbles. Ottawa's cycling story is mostly a
      successful celebration of the city's beautiful outdoors. Ottawans would
      rather be cycling. © Copyright 2003 The Ottawa Citizen
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