Mayor Jim Watson donned a helmet and a white T-shirt with a red bicycle, reading, Be the Change, as he cut the ribbon Sunday on Laurier Ave.
“We have finally delivered a segregated bike lane for the cyclists of Ottawa,” he told the crowd.
He gave kudos to council for voting unanimously for the lanes, which aim to allow thousands of citizens to cycle safely downtown.
In the last 10 years cycling facilities in Ottawa have almost doubled, said Watson, “going from approximately 3,600 km in 2000 to over 7,000 km of bike lanes, paved shoulders, and multi-use pathways that we see today.”
Compared to Copenhagen, where 30% of the population ride bikes, Ottawa’s numbers are pretty small.
“Just 2% of residents regularly rely on bicycles for commuting purposes,” said Watson. “What can we do to get more people out of cars and onto bikes across the city in the nation’s capital?”
Watson calls the project a major opportunity for the downtown, creating a vibrant and inviting place for residents and tourists alike.
“It provides significant opportunities and benefits for the businesses that serve them,” he said.