Loss of City Education and Promotion programs

CfSC Letter to City of Ottawa Transportation Committee
15 April 2009

Dear Transportation Committee,

Citizens for Safe Cycling (CfSC) is gravely concerned that the City of Ottawa currently has neither a Cycling Safety & Promotion Program nor a Cycling Education Program. Such programs comprise one of the four "cornerstones" of the 2008 Ottawa Cycling Plan.

The City has had these programs in one form or another since 1985, with the Ottawa Safety Council, then Citizens for Safe Cycling, and most recently Envirocentre, and has developed considerable expertise on cycling safety matters by partnering with community organizations to deliver them.

We were very disappointed to learn that there were no applications to deliver the CAN- BIKE program when the contract was put up for bids in March of 2009. This repeats the problem that occurred in 2007, when the contract with CfSC expired with no plan to replace it.

We were rather surprised to learn that all four of the managers for this contract, from the program manager right up to the former Deputy City Manager, have either been moved out of this department or are no longer working for the City. The Cycling Roundtable, a quasi-formal meeting of various City departments and community partners concerned with cycling issues, was also indefinitely postponed because of the City's restructuring. These both represent a significant loss in corporate memory.

We look forward to working with Mona Abouhenidy and we hope she has the resources to get this file back on track, as she is now in charge of making sure that the Ottawa Cycling Plan is fully implemented. We urge the City to engage in discussions with its community partners to find out what caused these programs to fall off-track, and what can be done to resuscitate them.

More importantly, the City must reestablish cycling education, safety, and promotion programs ASAP, both on an urgent short-term basis for 2009 and on a long-term basis for future years.

Tom Trottier,
President CfSC

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