In previous years it was kept secret until the very day of the award, but this year, it was already released a week ahead of the ceremony that this year’s Bruce Timmermans Award is going to Vanier’s Sarah Partridge and to Trip for Kids.
We suspect that the reason is to get more people out on the day of the award ceremony itself as sometimes the turn out is a bit thin.
We met Sarah about two years ago at an Ecology Ottawa meeting, a bit of a kick off meeting for a complete streets event. Over the last few years, we stayed in touch and Sarah came to some of our Advocacy Working Group meetings, held once every six weeks throughout the year.
Sarah has been working very hard on improving infrastructure for walking and cycling in Vanier. As you can read in this blog: Vanier Prime Candidate for High Bike Modal Share, Vanier has a lot of potential to become a bike haven, but the problem is that it is still very car oriented, somewhat neglected and east of the Rideau River, making cycling to such nearby places as Lowertown, By Ward market and even Ottawa University a challenge. One could argue that cyclists can take safe detours, but like drivers, cycling residents also kind of like to take the shortest route possible.
Fighter for St. Patrick
Last year Sarah helped organise Vanier’s first velo fest, where we saw Sarah in action again. Earlier this year, Sarah stood up to make a point of getting safe bike lanes on St Patrick, something the city is planning to do only 9 years (yes, nine years) from now. As St. Patrick gets new asphalt, Sarah is suggesting to put bike lanes in (a line of paint, that is all), but the city staff doesn’t want to narrow vehicle lanes to do so. Sarah has rallied support of a number of community organisations (see other blog posts on this site) behind her. From our own experience, we know that it takes many evenings of reading, going to open houses, meeting with the city and building on arguments why the city should create a safer space for East end cyclists on the road.
In order to get safer cycling in Vanier moving, she joined the Vanier Community Association and formed Vanier Cycles. She is working on making sure that Montreal Rd will eventually become a complete street, simular to the future Main Street in Old Ottawa South. Last year she participated in the Vanier Community Association’s Vanier Signs project, led by Nick Heisler, temporary way finding signs to destinations in the neighbourhood.
We are very happy for Sarah, who is a lawyer, living in Vanier. The City of Ottawa will be presenting the award during Vanier VéloFest. Vanier VéloFest will be on June 8th, 10 am to 1 pm (1 hour shorter than last year), with a similar set-up to last year except that it will all be in one location (no need to cross the street between the rodeo and the info booths).
Other than the individual award, the Bruce Timmermans award also recognises a group. This year the group award goes to Trips for Kids Ottawa, founded by Mario Theoret and Cat Weaver. More on the group in the next post. Mario was killed by a truck turning right (blog), crossing a bike lane last year. But his work continues.
Trips For Kids Ottawa (TFKO) is a non-profit organization that provides mountain bike outings and environmental education for kids who would not otherwise be exposed to such activities. At our outings, we teach lessons in personal responsibility, achievement and environmental awareness through the simple act of having fun.
TFKO provides opportunities for children and teens to experience adventure through mountain biking and other outdoor activities. TFKO believes every child deserves the opportunity to explore the great outdoors so we provide the equipment.
Congrats from all of us! Thirty years -nearly to the day- after Bruce Timmermans and others founded Citizens for Safe Cycling, bike advocacy is alive and kicking in Ottawa.
Read the City of Ottawa press release.