A World-Class City for Cycling

Catherine McKenney’s cost-neutral plan for safe cycling infrastructure across Ottawa

McKenney at the cycling platform press conference

It can be dangerous to bike on Ottawa’s roads, but Catherine has a bold and cost-neutral solution to fix this. With Catherine as Mayor, we’ll make our streets safer while protecting ourenvironment and helping people get around our city.

Almost half of Ottawa’s greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation, and biking is one the most effective actions we can take to combat climate change. 

Some worry that bike lanes will impede cars, but evidence shows this isn’t the case. When Ottawa built its first protected bike infrastructure along Laurier Avenue a decade ago, this and the other bike lanes that followed have had little impact on traffic flow. When parking spots are removed and bike lanes are added, the evidence from Toronto and elsewhere suggests that adjacent businesses see revenues grow. Other world-class cities already know this.

Paris, Milan and Chicago are three cities that decided recently to fast track the construction of their bike networks. There’s no reason Ottawa can’t do the same. Building out our full bike network now should be a no-brainer — for climate, for safety, and to make this a city where every child can enjoy the simple pleasure of growing up riding a bike to school.

Making it easy and safe for people of all ages to cycle across Ottawa — and in their own neighbourhoods 

Today, our cities no longer feel safe enough for adults to navigate by bike, let alone kids. Ottawa city council has the ability to let all kids bike to school safely — and council could make it happen quickly.

As Mayor, Catherine McKenney will create a fully connected bike infrastructure network across Ottawa, allowing cyclists of all ages and ability levels to safely bike across the city — and within their own neighbourhoods too.

With more safe bike lanes and multi-use pathways, we’re going to make it easy and safe for you to get where you need to go. As always, Ottawa’s multi-use pathways will be accessible for those who want to walk, rollerblade or use a wheelchair.

Taking a cost-neutral approach to expanding biking infrastructure

For 2022, the City of Ottawa is spending about $15 million for bike and multi-use pathway infrastructure. But when a fully separated bike lane can cost $1 million per kilometre — for each side of the road — that annual budget isn’t going to get us very far. 

Under Catherine’s plan, Ottawa’s quality of life will go up, but the current 3% approach to property taxes will remain the same. Similarly to how the City has paid for the LRT, Catherine’s ambitious four-year plan for expanding bike infrastructure will be funded by green bonds.

If we are going to spend $15 million for each of the next 25 years on bike projects, then issuing a municipal bond would allow us to raise that money now and build out the entire 25 years of projects as quickly as the construction industry can deliver.

With this plan, the full cost of the bond (both principal and interest) is equivalent to the same amount of money the city normally spends on cycling infrastructure every year.

With Catherine as Mayor, we’ll keep the same cycling infrastructure costs, but Ottawa will get much safer roads.  

When you factor in additional savings from reduced road maintenance costs due to less wear and tear, a more active community, and removing the risk of higher construction costs in the future — cost-neutral borrowing to build now is the fiscally smart thing to do.

Building out our bike network now is the smart thing to do, for safety, but also to reduce emissions, congestion and the unnecessary deaths of cyclists resulting from poor infrastructure.

Catherine is running for Mayor to make Ottawa the healthiest, greenest, and best connected city.


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