Ottawa is hoping its new bike park scheme will help the city reduce its traffic and parking woes.
But with the city still grappling with the costs of the scheme, the $4 million it’s earmarked for bike parking could end up paying for itself.
In its first budget, the city announced a $1.8-million incentive for new bike spaces.
But the money is now only expected to cover the initial $2.5-million project.
“This is not going to be enough for us to do the bike parking,” said Coun.
David Shiner, who represents Ward 2, which includes the Ottawa suburb of Orléans.
“We need to do more than just a bike park.”
The plan is meant to spur development around the new bike facilities, which will be built at a cost of $6.5-$8 million each.
But Ottawa will have to pay for the cost of the park as well.
The city is also proposing to build more than 30 new parking spots at a total cost of nearly $10 million.
That’s despite the fact that only five parking spaces have been approved in Ottawa’s newest budget.
“I’m worried that we’re going to have more parking spaces than we can afford to use, because we’ve already had some of the city’s most popular locations closed for bike infrastructure,” Shiner said.
Shiner is pushing the city to find new money to build bike parking in a budget that could easily pass without a vote.
The city already spends more than $1 million annually on bike infrastructure.
The current budget, which is the most recent in the city, also proposes to spend $1 billion on bike projects over the next five years.
The proposed bike park is part of a new program called the Ride for Ottawa, which encourages cyclists to take part in a number of events.
While Ottawa is now in the midst of implementing a plan to provide $1-million grants to cyclists and pedestrians for new parking, the province is also putting in place a new cycling fund.
But while the province’s fund is aimed at reducing congestion on the roads, Shiner worries it could be used to help subsidize the new park.
“They’ve already allocated money for the bike lanes and for bike paths, but they haven’t actually provided funds for bike park infrastructure,” he said.
“That’s a huge problem.”
Shiner’s concerns about Ottawa’s plan for bike parks echo those of his fellow councillor, Coun.
Mike Layton, who also represents Ward 1.
In his budget, he said he is concerned that Ottawa will end up spending more on the bike park than it is taking in.
“The city’s plan is to spend at least $2 million to build a new bike lane, a new park, a bike parking facility, but not enough to do this without the city getting a rebate,” Layton said.
He’s worried about Ottawa taking in more money than it can spend on the infrastructure needed to get to work and into the community.
“We need a new approach to the bike share program, not one that subsidizes bike parking.
I’ve heard from some people that they are concerned that this will lead to more parking,” Lay, who is also the executive director of the Ottawa Cycling Coalition, said.”
It’s a big question mark as to whether or not this is going to work.
I know that the city and the province are committed to building the bike sharing network, and we need the support of the public to ensure that this happens.”
The Ride for Orléan is a pilot project that has already helped to curb congestion on city streets.
The new bike lanes will also include two lanes for bikes, one for walking and another for cycling.
But Shiner isn’t convinced that these lanes will have a huge impact on congestion.
Shiner has also raised concerns about the cost and safety of the project.
“The cost is going up.
We need to keep the price as low as we can and be prepared to pay, and I think the risk is real,” he noted.
Ottawa is also planning to build up to two bike parking spaces in Ward 1 and two in Ward 2.
Shiner says he will ask his city council colleagues to support the two new bike spots.