The City of Ottawa is receiving a Sustainable Communities Award from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities) for the Laurier Avenue segregated bike lanes, Ontario’s first in a downtown location, and a major component of the City’s bicycle network.
“We are proud of the work we have done to earn this prestigious award and of the investments we have made to ensure a safer cycling and pedestrian-friendly city,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “We are committed to sustainable transportation and to further improving our networks over the next term of Council.”
The Laurier Avenue segregated bike lanes began as a pilot project in July 2011, providing designated on-street bicycle lanes through the downtown core that are physically separated from motor vehicle traffic. Based on the success of the pilot project, the lanes were made a permanent feature of the city’s cycling network by City Council in July 2013. At the time, there had already been more than 740,000 trips made along the lanes, with daily cycling volumes during peak season surpassing 2,500 cyclists on some days. An electronic counter confirmed use surpassed 1.3 million trips this week.
“Sustainable transportation projects like the Laurier segregated bike lanes help create alternatives to the car that are healthy for our citizens, reduce stressful road congestion, and advance Ottawa’s national reputation as a good place for cycling,” said Councillor Keith Egli, Chair of the City’s Transportation Committee. “This award is a reflection of our commitment to continually improving mobility and safety for all travelers through best practices in design and engineering.”
In 2013, the City of Ottawa received a silver-level designation as a walk-friendly city by WALK Friendly Ontario, the highest level ever awarded by this organization. Also in 2013, Ottawa became the first city in the province to receive the gold-level Bicycle Friendly Community Award by Share the Road Cycling Coalition.
More than $28 million has been invested in cycling facilities in this term of Council, which has enabled several significant new cycling facilities and enhancements in all parts of the city, including the O-Train Pathway, several rural pathways, and the Laurier Avenue segregated bicycle lanes. Additional projects are being implemented, including completion of the 12-kilometre East-West Bikeway, and cycle tracks on both Churchill Avenue and Main Street and the Coventry and Donald Street bridges.
Ottawa now boasts a growing network of cycling infrastructure and multi-use pathways that covers 700 kilometres around the city, with more than 10,000 bike parking spaces and more than 1,500 ring-and-post racks.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities will make a formal announcement about the award in December after videos of all winning submissions have been produced and posted online on the FCM website. A trophy will be awarded at the closing of the 2015 Federation of Canadian Municipalities Sustainable Communities Conference in London, Ontario from February 10 to 12, 2015.