Office of Councillor Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward, Ottawa | (613) 580-2485  |
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Open letter on bike/scooter parking at LRT stations

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This morning I read about another resident who experienced a bike/scooter theft at one of our LRT stations. The opportunities associated with bike->LRT and scoot->LRT are enormous, but not if residents won't park their bikes and scooters for fear of theft. I've written to the City's leadership as follows:

Mayor Sutcliffe, Chief Stubbs and Ms. Amilcar,

I’m writing on the heels of having read another post by a resident who has recently lost their scooter or bike to theft at Bayview Station. Stage 1 LRT has been open for over three years, now, and the need is urgent to address this problem through the provision of secure bike parking.

One of the City’s key metrics for transportation planning is the percentage of residents who live within 5 km of a planned or existing rail station. It’s an important number. We use 5 kms because that is the distance that puts a station within easy cycling or scooting reach, in addition to being a short local bus hop away. The promise of bringing LRT into easy cycling or scooting distance is that inter-neighbourhood travel will become more convenient and reduce reliance on private vehicles.

Council and the City have been and will be investing significant time and resources into attracting residents back downtown. I don’t need to belabour here the challenges associated with the Market and Rideau Centre. One of the key issues we’ll need to address in bringing people back downtown is to ensure they have safe and convenient ways to do so, and to do so sustainably.

Secure bike storage at our LRT stations - particularly those that experience high rates of theft - is an important piece of this puzzle. In theory, the trip from an area surrounding an LRT station should be hassle-free: bike or scoot to a train station, lock up, then eat, shop or visit our Market-area amenities, before making the reverse trip. Stage 2 stations will make this an even more compelling case. Our stations need secure bike parking as has been provided in jurisdictions around the world. The Bikesecure initiative is a good start, but it needs quickly to be accelerated.

Too many residents have experienced theft or vandalism of their bikes and scooters at our transit stations. I don’t know the statistics, but a visit to Tunney’s Pasture or Bayview on any given day will show the bikes that have been stripped of parts and cut locks and cables. The stations’ reputation as an unsafe place to lock up is likely irredeemable at this point, and few are willing to lock up in the vicinity of Rideau Station.

Ottawa’s cycling and scooting communities need safe use of our transit stations. We need to be able to park our park and ride with the same sense of safety and security that drivers do. If private vehicles were being stolen and stripped almost every day while residents used the transit system we’d fix it. Those who may have no other choice or who make a sustainable choice deserve the same consideration.

I look forward to discussing with you how we can improve transit station security for cyclists and scootists to encourage more residents to enjoy the amenities outside their immediate community, and how we can collaborate with Council to accomplish it.

Jeff Leiper

Councillor, Kitchissippi ward

Posted July 3, 2023