County municipal leaders and staff hear how Petawawa is becoming a Bicycle-Friendly Community "one bite at a time"
Petawawa's public works director Dave Unrau has helped lead his Town toward becoming a Bicycle-Friendly Community.
PETAWAWA, October 29, 2020: Petawawa's public works director, Dave Unrau, told a Zoom meeting full of Renfrew County municipal reprentatives and Active Transportation advocates that any community can become a Bike-Friendly Community (BFC) if the community gets involved and takes it "one bite at a time."
The fourth annual general meeting of Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance (OVCATA) was held online via Zoom due the pandemic, which enabled many to attend who might not have been able to otherwise. Elected people and staff from at least ten Renfrew County municipalities attended.
"We are thrilled that so many municipal people could attend," said OVCATA's co-chair Ish Theilheimer. Mayors or reeves of at least seven municipalities - Killaloe-Hagarty-Richards, Madawaska Valley, McNab-Braeside, North Algona Wiberforce, Pembroke, Renfrew, and Whitewater Region, took part, as well as councillors and staff from several others. "Dave Unrau gave an inspiring and information-packed presentation that laid out a do-able roadmap for everyone who attended."
Mr. Unrau emphasized that the things this town has done represent, "One municipality's dream. Every municipality has its own opportunities and challenges," but moving forward is "Very important for creating safer streets, a healthier environment, healthier people, mental health, health for seniors getting out, less greenhouse gases. The more bikes on the road and the more people we can get walking, the less pavement we have to build."
Petwawa's BFC story began with a 2011 masterplan for sidewalks and a community committee set up to look at safety and traffic connected with transportation to and from two local schools. A Safe School Travel Working Group "morphed into an Active Transportation Committee with representatives from the public, schools, the OPP the town, the district health unit and others.
"I have found that everyone I talked to will take the time to talk to you. All you have to do is reach out," he advised. "If I gain in the Town of Petawawa, that also supports Pembroke and Laurentian Valley."
In 2017, Petawawa received provincial funding that enabled the town to create an Active Transportation Plan and to upgrade the Algonquin Trail to include a twinned trail suitable for all users. The Plan calls for paved shoulders on all new road construction. Other items on its list include bike valet service at public events, educational opportunities, and encouraging people to bike to work.
"You've got to eat the elephant one bite at a time," Mr. Unrau said, acknowledging the complexity of attaining BFC status. He said Petawawa's plan focuses on five E's - education of drivers and cylcists and pedestrians, encouragement, engineering, enforcement and evaluation, with a sixth E too: equity. "We've got to make sure that whatever we build and the education around it is available for everyone."
Mr. Unrau recommends that other communities, "Start really simple. Start the conversation, engage stakeholders, inventory existing infrastructure - there is a lot to celebrate, and create a community-wide Active Transportation plan." He pointed to funding sources available including the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), the Investing in Canada Program (ICIP), and Green Communities Canada.
Mr. Unrau's talk and presentation are available online here.
At the meeting, Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance elected four directors for two-year terms: Debbie Fiebig, Ron Moss, Debbie Roach-MacDonald, and Ish Theilheimer.
February 2023OVCATA receives 2022 community service award
January 20232022 Bike Bank report
2022 Co-chair's report
June 2022OVCATA Opens Bike Bank Renfrew County for 2022
May 2022County of Renfrew and OVCATA celebrate expansion of cycling networks
Silver Chain Challenge is back - enter and log your klicks in June
February 2022OVCATA and MPP John Yakabuski support road safety education and enforcement
November 2021Volunteers send bikes to Cuba from Eastern Ontario, with sweat and love
July 2021Bike Bank reaches 100-bike milestone
November 2020County municipal leaders and staff hear how Petawawa is becoming a Bicycle-Friendly Community "one bite at a time"
October 2020Fall is a great time for cycling in the Ottawa Valley.
Petawawa Bike-Friendly Communities champion to speak to OVCATA AGM
May 2020Algonquin Trail Report - May 2020
Citizens partner with County and OPP to make trails work for all despite pandemic - OVCATA
December 2019Active Transportation is growing in the Ottawa Valley
October 2019OVCATA launches municipal outreach campaign
August 2019OVCATA salutes Tour de Whitewater success, setting records for participation, activity
June 2019The Ottawa Valley is a cycling paradise
April 2019Renfrew County Council to lead on Active Transportation Month activities in June
Gearheads donates elite E-bike for OVCATA raffle
Volunteering at OVCATA - there's a place for you
Highway 17 rumble strips could have fatal consequences - OVCATA
2018 a big year for Active Transportation in Ottawa Valley
October 2018OVCATA meets with Ontario's new transportation minister - our own MPP John Yakabuski
June 2018OVCATA promotes active transportation for seniors with provincial support
March 2018Join OVCATA - Win A Bike
December 2017Local cycle routes win big with December provincial funding!
Education is key to bike collision prevention - OPP Sergeant
October 2017OPP to share bike collision stats at Renfrew OVCATA meeting
OVCATA Co-chair's report for 2017 - a lot accomplished in Year 1
June 2017New provincial cycling funding could be used in Renfrew County - OVCATA
May 2017Help Sprocketman fly! Online cycling advocacy music video
April 2017RIDE OF SILENCE 2017
OVCATA thanks Renfrew County Council and asks for more commitment.
Voyageur Discovery Route Funding a big step toward trans-Canada cycle route.
Community Rides in communities across Renfrew County this spring
Silver Chain Challenge relaunches in June, 2017
Adopt a Road
December 2016New hardened shoulders in Renfrew County in 2016
The Algonquin Trail - tell municipal councillors you support it
OVCATA's vision for cycling in Ontario
November 2016Share the Road Cycling Coalition wants to hear from you
MTO Public Consultation on Cycling Program
October 2016Véloroute Voyageur / Voyageur Cycling Route would connect Northeastern Ontario
September 2016Alliance responds to Minister Del Duca, presses for public education
Petition for cyclists and hikers in national parks
Partial lane for cyclists on Hwy 17 west of Petawawa