pedal pusher - a photo essayFri Aug 19, 2005 accidental altruist
This summer my husband and I helped organize a Parking Meter Party. What we did was roll up to York Street early on a Saturday, park our bikes on the street and feed the appropriate parking meters. We invited our friends from the HPVOoO to bring more bikes, lawn chairs and snacks.
The whole point of this event was to reclaim space that has been exclusively earmarked for motor vehicles. To challenge assumptions about how we all get from point A to point B. To ask passers by - do you want to live in a city built for cars or for people?
We were interviewed by several TV and Radio reporters. The following is the transcript from CBC Radio, the photos were candid shots taken by Greg.
"Jenn and Greg Farr had barely parked their bikes and plugged
the meters when the first complaint was made."
"A driver wanted one of their two spaces."
"Two people in Byward Market Association T-shirts soon
showed up and politely told them that motorists already
have enough trouble finding parking, without their demo.
guy in yellow shirt said: Basically you're pissing off people
-- I mean the motorists because parking is hard, as
"And then a by-law officer drove up.
bylaw officer said: I just got a complaint saying that you
guys are not allowed to park there.
Jenn said: Well we paid for it.
bylaw officer: You guys paid for it?
Jenn: Yeah we have our little stubs on our handlebars.
bylaw officer: Okay, hold on."
"Turns out, they could park there... as long as they paid
for the space. That was the word from the next by-law
"Jenn Farr then delivered her message that too many cars
raise the stress level in an area that should be for people...
and that a lot more people could go to the market without
Jenn said: It's just about getting into people's
consciousness and reminding them that there are other
ways to get around than in gas powered vehicles."
"When the Farr meters ran out, other cyclists rode up to
claim parking spaces and keep the protest going... and
slowly circling motorists continued to look with dismay
at the potential -- but unavailable -- parking spaces.
Wayne Anderson, cbc news - Ottawa"
We think the event was a huge success and plan to do it again. The whole morning had been fun and invigorating for all of us. If you're keen on good-natured cycling advocacy, believe in eco-friendly transportation or just love funky-weird bikes - you'd probably enjoy the Human Powered Vehicle Operators of Ottawa (HPVOoO). Our bike group has weekly Sunday dinner meetings at local restaurants. We're holding a beach-themed parade to the Ottawa Folk Festival on Sunday the 21st. On the 28th we're dressing up & riding our bikes in the Pride Parade. And then we'll be at Car Free Day on September 22nd!