Alex Bikes

Ottawa bike politics.

My open letter to Councillor Blais about bike funding

(I’ll add here that my blog doesn’t necessarily represent the view of Citizens for Safe Cycling)

Councillor Blais,

In a discussion today about why you didn’t support the Laurier Segregated Bike Lanes, you tweeted:

The last sentence warrants a response that I cannot fit in 140 characters. Actually, cyclists pay more than their fair share.

If you look at the 2006 Census, you’ll see that 2% of commuter trips to places of employment are by bicycle. The National Capital Region 2005 Origin Destination Survey backs this up, showing 2% of trips are by bicycle. Anecdotal evidence supports that there are many more cyclists in 2011.

Your implication that cyclists are getting more than their fair share is incorrect. Looking forward at your council term, the draft budget increases cycle-oriented funding to $24M over the next four years. Over the same period of time, the total transportation budget is $1231M. This means that 1.9% of the transportation budget is going to cycling. This allocation matches the cycling modal share from the mid 2000s, not from today.

It is important to point out who pays for municipal infrastructure. This is paid for by local landowners, regardless of their preferred form of transportation. There is no transfer of provincial or federal gas taxes to municipal infrastructure.

Cyclists pay the same tax rate as everyone else, yet their projects get proportionately less funding than they pay. In fact, cyclists are subsidizing infrastructure for other forms of transport, such as for motor vehicles.

I look forward to your response to this note.

Thank you,

– Alex deVries



4 responses to “My open letter to Councillor Blais about bike funding

  1. ottawabikeguy November 24, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    I assume that 2% figure is for all trips to work in Ottawa. I suspect it is much higher for those who work downtown. As for Councillor Blais, he should really do his homework before tweeting such nonsense. Hasn’t that weak argument been shut down often enough.

  2. Lija November 28, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    Did you receive a response from Councillor Blais?

    • alexthepuffin November 28, 2011 at 8:04 pm

      A couple of people have asked me this. Here’s the thread that followed:

      He replied back with:
      “@alexthepuffin your letter is a complete misrepresentation of an entire conversation – by doing so you do your whole argument a disservice”

      To which I replied:
      “@StephenBlais Please explain what you meant then about subsidization of bike lanes.”

      And he said:
      “@alexthepuffin that has nothing to do with the conversation it has to do with whether Laurier bikes lanes made sense over other projects”

      He seemed to want to wrap it up with:
      “@muddybike @alexthepuffin I’m very green and anyone who takes more than 10 secs to look at it would agree – green with common sense”

      So there you go.

  3. Pingback: The real problem in changing transportation strategies « Alex Bikes

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