Tag Archives: walking

Autowa Then and Now

Almost two years ago I stumbled on the National Capital Commission’s plan to include a narrow, completely unprotected bike lane in the redesign of the Alexandria Bridge. In response I wrote a post explaining how this design could easily be made a great deal safer for cyclists, and more ecologically sound.

My proposal for safe active transit in downtown Ottawa runs counter to the long-cherished ideal of a national capital held together by parkways. In such a vision, urban cyclists and pedestrians are merely an impediment to the experience of driving around distracted by tulips, grass, historic monuments, and the occasional splash of colourful fabric.


View of the Proposed Confederation Boulevard-Sussex Drive Rehabilitation, King Edward to St. Patrick.

This vision of downtown Ottawa as a touring motorist’s paradise is baked into the NCC’s 1959 founding document, the National Capital Act, which refers to “any street, road, lane, thoroughfare or driveway” as a highway—i.e. a place for cars. The National Capital Act served to implement the 1950 Gréber Plan for the city that we now know call Autowa. The Gréber plan is a hefty 400-page tome, but one can get the basic idea from the remarkable ten-minute film Capital Planavailable in full on the NFB website. Continue reading

Audiocast #2: Walking with Dan Rubinstein

Dan Rubinstein walking to my house on the morning of 13 November 2013.

Dan Rubinstein walking to my house on the morning of the audiocast.

The intrepid Dan Rubinstein came to my living room recording studio on 13 November 2013 to tell me about his Born to Walk project, including a forthcoming book on “the transformative power of walking.”  Dan shared many enlightening stories about his extensive travels with serious walkers and experts on walking.

To hear the complete interview use the player below on supported platforms, or click HERE to download.

[UPDATE 24 Nov 2013: Professor Phil Ford has commented extensively on this audiocast in a blog post describing walking as a ‘technology of experience.’ Join the conversation here.]

[UPDATE 17 March 2015: The book is now out. Buy it, and kindly spread the word.]

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