Ottawa bike politics.
There isn’t a centimetre of bike lane in the city that didn’t require volunteer time…
That meant getting a babysitter to go to a consultation, filling out an awful survey on your lunch break or having a frustrating argument with your councillor. Some people take time off work to go to Public Advisory Committees. I know people who do this for their retirement.
Road building for cars is a well-oiled machine; engineers get paid, suburban builders get bonuses and politicians are re-elected. No lobbying is required. This is not a group that benefits from change.
But bike infrastructure is different. This part of our Transportation Master Plan depends on unpaid citizens with no formal training.
Enforcement isn’t working. They’re not patrolling major routes with regularity. If you call it in, the driver will leave and nothing can be done. The main offenders are delivery truck drivers, and those tickets are just an assumed operating expense for the company. Who cares?
The entire rest of the road is optimized for motor vehicles. Can’t we please have this one small strip of land we fought for?
We need to make parking in a bike lane socially unacceptable. So I appeal, again, to go to open houses, have polite discussions with offenders, call bylaw and post photos on social media.
And if you don’t have time, pay a few bucks to your local advocacy group so they can do it on your behalf.