I took a great deal of pleasure in the recent federal government funding announcement that chose to highlight and use as its backdrop the site of a new pedestrian/cycling bridge over the Rideau Canal. Pleasure in knowing this bridge will be of enormous value to Glebe residents and visitors, and in realizing it represents an important shift in priorities from three levels of government supporting it.
The Fifth-Clegg Bridge is proof that the importance of "active transportation" is finally being widely recognized. More and more people are telling us they would walk, cycle and roll more for work, fun or exercise if governments built infrastructure that makes it appealing to do so: safer, convenient and more pleasant. Providing viable alternatives to driving encourages more of us to get around by other means. When large numbers of people do that, society benefits from improved public health, increased public security, reduced pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and more vibrant streets.
The federal government making a big deal out of emphasizing active transportation and public transit as cornerstones of its infrastructure projects is in itself a big deal.