TransitOttawa recently talked to Ottawa city councillor Peggy Feltmate (Ward 23, Kanata South) for the first time since March. She offered her views on expanded cycling in Kanata and a Universal Bus Pass for the city's post-secondary students.
In June, City Council approved a $24.6-million Cycling Plan. Feltmate commented on the benefits for Kanata of such a network:
"There are whole pieces in Kanata where there are links missing for ... commuting bicycles. It’s very daunting for people to cycle there, and they end up taking recreational pathways, which is not the most direct route or probably even the best route for people who are also using those pathways for walking or running, or those kinds of things.
"I think the Cycle Plan will bring together those missing links that will ... encourage people [to cycle], because at the present time, I’m not sure that when you have the missing links and the kinds of safety concerns that I hear from people, that people are going to take up cycling."
University of Ottawa students voted in February to lobby the City for a $125-per-semester Universal Bus Pass. Feltmate was supportive:
"I met with some students a couple of years ago, two or three years ago, about it. It can make a lot of sense, in terms of being more efficient. I suppose that for some students it would be wasteful if they don’t need it, but, you know, I think if the students are interested than it probably seems to make sense.
"I’m not going to push for it if the students aren’t interested, but if the students are interested in it ... I would vote for it."
Interesting points. Cycling is a little difficult as a permanent transit solution in Ottawa due to our winters, but getting from home to transit hubs in the spring, summer, and fall can certainly be made easier if cycling infrastructure is improved. Even more than that, education about cycling etiquette--for drivers and cyclists--is a hugely important task.
I bike all year in Ottawa. It is a lot slower in winter, but with studded tires and good clothing you can get a good workout and go anywhere. See http://www.icebike.org/Articles/Ottawa.htm for tips. You can always take the bus until the streets are all cleared.
Cycling for me is faster than buses because you have fewer stops. You also don't have any waiting for the bus or for transfers. It takes me about 25 minutes to get downtown from Carlingwood - about 10k. And I'm no testosterone-fueled twenty-something - I'm 62.
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