Disappointed that I won't be at the Ontario Bike Summit in Ottawa next Monday and Tuesday.
This is the first one I've missed, although now that more municipalities (Guelph, Kingston, Waterloo) are holding bicycle-friendly symposia or active transportation conferences, there are more opportunities than ever to hear planners, advocates and end users share ideas about how to build a better cycling future.
Ottawa is great venue for the bike summit, though, especially with the cycling infrastructure work being done by cycling champions such as Marie Lemay, CEO of the National Capital Commission, and one of the summit speakers. Ottawa is getting the first segregated bicycle lane in Ontario, a pilot project that, I am sure, will lead to more such projects around the province.
I'll also be disappointed not to be there on Monday when the list of Ontario's first Bicycle Friendly Communities are announced. I understand that Windsor, Ottawa and Waterloo will get BFC designations, but don't know at what level.
Eleanor McMahon, founder of the Share the Road Cycling Coalition and summit organizer, said the reps from the League of American Bicyclists, whose program this is, said they had never seen such strong first-time applications for BFC designations.
I'll also be disappointed not to be there on Tuesday, when conference participants will be discussing the release of an advocacy toolkit designed to emphasize cycling issues to those running in this fall's provincial election.
Municipalities may administer cycling infrastructure, but the province sets the framework in which such infrastructure can exist. If the Education Ministry smiles on the Active and Safe Routes to School program (and provides incentives to school boards that adopt an active transportation charter), then boards are likely to line up to be pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly. If the Health Ministry commits resources to facilities that combat obesity (such as cycling trails), then municipalities are likely to undertake programs that qualify for funding.
If you are going to this year's Ontario Bike Summit, tweet me, or email, what you hear or see. I'd like to hear your impressions.