In addition to Ecology Ottawa's active transportation report, which can be downloaded here, Ecology Ottawa sent out a survey to Ottawa community associations, business improvement areas (BIAs) and community health centres to explore how Ottawa could increase the proportion of people that use active transportation to reach their regular travel destinations. We looked at opportunities, challenges and solutions.
Of the 156 community associations, 19 BIAs and 16 community health and resource centers across Ottawa that we contacted in early 2018, we received responses from 35 community associations across urban, suburban and rural Ottawa, 11 BIAs and 7 community health centers. Some of the findings of this survey include:
- Active transportation is a key issue among urban and suburban communities, but less so in rural areas. The lack of engagement among rural communities is due to a lack of interest among residents, or lack of motivation/time to do so.
- Most communities don’t find that their streets have become safer for pedestrians and cyclists over the past few years. Urban communities prioritize improved conditions and maintenance of streets and sidewalks, more segregated bike lanes, and more sidewalks. Suburban communities prioritize more multi-use pathways, bike sharing networks, and better signage. Rural communities think we should prioritize improved conditions and maintenance of streets and sidewalks.
- Safety remains the largest barrier preventing people to cycle, along with inadequate or poorly maintained infrastructure. Trends are consistent across communities.
- The main barriers preventing residents from walking are inclement weather and icy sidewalks in urban communities, and poor connectivity and service in suburban and rural communities. All groups think poorly maintained infrastructure contributes to the problem.
- All groups recognize the benefits of active transportation in improving fitness and, to a lesser degree, reducing social isolation and increasing mobility and safety for children.
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