Sustainable Transportation Week 2011 in Ottawa

Written by guest blogger Denise Deby, who writes on local and global social and environmental issues.

If a car, a bus and a bike all left Billings Bridge for the Canadian Museum of Civilization at the same time, which would arrive first?

It’s not a riddle or a math problem – it’s Ottawa’s Bike-Bus-Car Challenge, and it took place on Friday, Sept. 16 during morning rush hour, with the bike, bus and car all starting out at 7:45 a.m.

The bike won. Bike rider Eric Kunstadt arrived at the Museum at 8:25 a.m. The car followed at 8:35, and the bus at 8:48. (By not taking their cars, points out Ottawa’s Envirocentre, the bus riders saved $13 for parking plus the costs of gas, insurance and maintenance – not to mention their lower carbon emissions).

The Bike-Bus-Car Challenge was the kick-off to Sustainable Transportation Week, happening September 16-22 in Ottawa and Gatineau. The aim of Sustainable Transportation Week is to get people using healthier and eco-friendlier alternatives to car commuting, like biking, walking, taking the bus or carpooling.

The week’s events include

  • a sold-out Breakfast Conference on “Sustainable Mobility” with speakers from Ottawa, Gatineau and the U.K. on Wed. Sept. 21;
  • Car Free Day” on Thurs. Sept. 22, where people in Ottawa and Gatineau are encouraged to try out cycling or another sustainable transportation option;
  • a “Bike Museum” featuring unusual bikes (you can contribute your own) and a display on the evolution and significance of the bike on Thurs. Sept. 22 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. outside Ottawa City Hall.

As well, Gatineau’s Sustainable Transportation Week included Park(ing) Day on Sept. 16 and a rally on Sept. 17-18.

This week also saw the launch of Right Bike on Sept. 17 during the Taste of West Wellington festival (which included a very colourful bike parade). Right Bike is a community-supported bike share program established by Causeway. Starting in 2012, Right Bike will offer 30-40 bikes for short trips at 3-4 stations along Wellington and Richmond through Wellington West and Westboro. I can hardly wait!

Let us know how you get around Ottawa and Gatineau this week, and happy sustainable travelling.

One thought on “Sustainable Transportation Week 2011 in Ottawa

  • DD:

    1, You ARe an excellent writer. Could you write a book about the Environment with photos from web page. I love the photo of the bike path. It is something that cannot be found in Third World countries and urban areas in the United States. There is so much that needs to be taught to prevent increasing disparities, urban sprawl and blight.

    2, What you stated about air pollution problem in cities is so very true. I was in NYC a couple of weeks ago and was going to pass out because it has become a gas chamber. Quality of life and sustainability have been made impossible post 9/11.

    3, Help is desperately needed. According to the News Mayor Bloomberg will be spending millions of dollars on the Times Sq. Project. It may be another asphalt pavement project. Hope that landscape designers from Ontario can “connect” to provide much needed green spaces in the area. Contact info.: Tim Tompkins

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