Ottawa bike politics.
I got invited to blog over at the comparatively prestigious Spacing Ottawa, and to hit a significantly broader audience, I put a summary of the Lansdowne bike situation over there.
Here’s a quick review of what came from the open house sponsored by the City of Ottawa, MRC, OSCA and the Glebe Community Association.
For the first half hour or so, various poster boards were put up for guests to see. Then was a somewhat convoluted presentation in front of 100+ attendees on behalf of the city, and then the real entertainment of a Q/A session. There were about 10 people on stage, some GCA + OSCA members, plus Councillor David Chernushenko, Don Stephens (sp?) from MRC, and John Smit from the City. The last two guys got really hammered.
So many people are concerned about parking, few understand that reducing car usage is a way to address that, and that actual sacrifice is required to get there. I know and genuinely believe the city wants to improve their Transportation Demand Management (some people think the D is for ‘Dream’), but I’m not sure they understand what the non-financial investment is. They all seem extremely confident in making 2-3%. You know what I think of that.
My one question (after about an hour of standing up in line; why can’t we have the take-a-number system?) was about working together with the cycling community to do end-to-end bike planning. There was not much of an answer.
Afterwards, by cornering a few of the city folks, they were quite defensive about the QED crossing removal. I don’t think they actually knew what the story was.
I did manage to get them to commit to a face-to-face meeting. These meetings are always hard to get, particularly over something as contentious as Lansdowne. In that way, I should feel lucky. (One day, I’ll blog more about how community activists are made to feel ‘lucky’ for the privilege of doing work that should be done by taxpaying professionals.) I’ll try to blog more on such a meeting later.
The GCA guys worked very hard to put this together, and it was great working with them on this.