I live in Ottawa Canada where a public bike sharing system and segregated bike lanes in the downtown core were finally introduced last year, some thirty years after these concepts became the norm in Denmark. While these initiatives do provide a healthier/greener transportation alternative, they are seasonal (at least in Ottawa) and they mainly target city dwellers, who likely already have an active lifestyle and whose carbon footprint (transport component) is already lower than the average suburbanite’s footprint. Similarly to other Canadian cities, much of our transportation dollars are invested in non sustainable transportation options. Take for example, the city of Montreal, where $3 billion is being invested into rebuilding one of the busiest interchanges (links 3 main highways), thus facilitating/endorsing the use of personal vehicles for commuting into the city.
Could we not invest in more sustainable transportation to make ‘green’ commuting more palatable than daily driving? With continually increasing volumes of cars, our governments continue to pave wider roads and add more lanes, while no attention is given to the archaic (from the 1970s) public transit system. Astute consumers will not give up driving – even if it’s 1hour each way – if it is more comfortable, more affordable and more time efficient than public transit!
Individuals must make responsible choices, but the infrastructure must be in place!