Angela's message was that having cycling education, skill development and traffic safety as part of the elementary curriculum is important for offering everyone the opportunity to bike, but if you have the time and ability to ride with your kids, enjoy it, even if it's scary sometimes while the kids are learning!
Kickstand Sessions and the Councillors
In the afternoon we rejoined our working groups from the day before, discussed bike programing we'd like to implement in the areas of our neighbourhood we were working on and planned presentations we'd deliver to the city councillors who were invited to join us later in the day. This turned out to be a session with lots of learning as giving presentations is beyond some of our comfort zones.
Mikael Colville-Anderson led us in a quick and interesting session on marketing and creating bike slogans to help us tell convincing bike stories so that our presentations to city councillors would be effective and compelling.
We learned to include a personal story, to keep the points brief, precise and clear, and to limit the presentations to five minutes.
Although I'm very comfortable talking to people I do and don't know in a lot of settings, I find public speaking challenging. My small group and the larger group were incredibly supportive, encouraging and offered helpful tips. The experience was still a little overwhelming. But I appreciated the challenge of stepping outside my comfort zone.
Our group introduced the concept of Complete Communities, an extension of complete streets. We wanted to build on the city's transitway investment and identified neighbourhoods across the city that are ready to become Complete Communities through an incremental approach. We asked councillors to limit speeds to 30km/hour so that people entering the neighbourhoods could enjoy them safely, to partner with Bixi Bikes or Right Bikes at transitway stops, to apply bold and creative intersection treatments that put pedestrians and cyclists first and to enhance existing parking opportunities so that more people can frequent the area businesses by converting on-street parking spots into clusters of bike parking.
Councillor Marianne Wilkinson, head of the city's Transportation Committee, and I had a great conversation after the presentation. She's already implementing or in the process of implementing many of our suggestions and wanted me to know that I could expect on-street parking to become bike parking in four select locations across the city in the spring. "I've been pushing for that for a while now, it just takes time," she told me.
After a warm reception, the Kickstand Sessions in Ottawa wrapped up. But not before there were lots of connections made, emails exchanged and promises of future shared projects and bike rides together in our wonderful city.