Carleton Place to start a bike share program, host active transit summit

Posted on: April 19, 2017

Matthew Behrens 

Carleton Place is pumping up its efforts to get people onto bicycles with a number of upcoming initiatives that will see more people on two wheels throughout the tourism season.

At the Carleton Place community issues committee meeting on April 18, the group approved a bike share service plan to invest $2,850 (from unused funds originally slated for the tourism trade show budget) to purchase five bicycles with baskets, fenders, bells, and three-speed shifting. Funding will also cover the cost of helmets, locks and keys, a bike rack with concrete feet and bolts, and a sign holder for bike share information.

Modeled on a similar program in Mississippi Mills, the Carleton Place version will feature four bikes available for rental with a fifth reserved as a replacement should one of the original group require servicing. The bicycles will be made available in front of the town’s visitor information centre for a modest daily fee in the vicinity of $5.

Enthusiastic support for the bike share program dovetails with the committee’s support for next month’s fourth annual Eastern Ontario Active Transportation Summit, taking place May 31 and June 1 in Carleton Place. The town will contribute $3,000 to the costs of the gathering, which will host a series of expert-led workshops while exploring how local municipalities can work towards receiving bike-friendly designation via the cycling advocacy group Share the Road.

According to Transport Canada, active transportation refers to “all human-powered forms of transportation, in particular walking and cycling. It includes the use of mobility aids such as wheelchairs, and can also encompass other active transport variations such as in-line skating, skateboarding, cross-country skiing, and even kayaking. Active transportation can also be combined with other modes, such as public transit.”

Danielle Shewfelt, a public health nurse with the Leeds, Grenville & Lanark district health unit, hopes the gathering will be the largest to date. “We want to make sure key stakeholders are there,” she said, adding that with the Voyageur Trail going through Carleton Place and Mississippi Mills, “this will close the loop of the waterfront regeneration trust circle, which is the cycling route all around Ontario. It’s very exciting.”

Mayor Louis Antonakos sees the summit as an opportunity to kick-start an annual bike month in Carleton Place. “It will involve the business community in the downtown core. And the summit will really get the ball rolling and help us catch up to other municipalities that have taken this to another level,” he said.