Ambassador Heyman’s Remarks at Mackenzie Avenue Bike Lane Reception

Ottawa City Hall
Ottawa, ON

As prepared for delivery. 

Thank you Mayor Watson, Dr. Kristmanson, and the entire city, NCC, and Embassy staff who have worked so diligently to make this happen. What a fantastic project. It will not only bring dedicated bike lanes to Mackenzie Avenue this spring, but it will be a welcome addition to downtown Ottawa.

I have been excited about this project from the beginning and I know our neighbors have wanted this for a long time. I was thrilled to get the green light from the State Department so we could work with the  City of Ottawa, the National Capital Commission, and the Province of Ontario to expand the city’s cycling infrastructure.

Some of you might not recall the history behind this, but the concrete barriers that used to stand where the bike lanes now sit were installed as a security measure following the 9/11 attacks. To be clear, we remain very conscious of security measures. But we are happy that we found a solution that will work for everyone.

The new bollards will continue to offer site security but are more community-friendly, visually attractive, and as a bonus, they contribute to the greening of the city.

So now we have a more pleasing environment that promotes green transportation, and further demonstrates Ottawa’s position as one of the most “bikeable” cities in the world.

The U.S. Embassy is committed to being a good friend and neighbor.

As a matter of fact, the commitment of the U.S. Mission in Canada to the environment and our community goes well beyond this bike lane project.

In 2015, the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa and our seven consulates across the country joined the Department of State’s Greening Diplomacy Initiative.

We have since invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to improve our energy footprint at all our facilities in Canada, and to use more efficient, less energy-intensive technologies at my official residence, Lornado.

We have also invested in energy-efficient printers, monitors, hybrid vehicles, and smart thermostats. We’ve planted pollinator gardens that provide a welcoming habitat on the grounds of the residence.

This is just a sampling of what we are doing to improve the sustainability and efficiency of our daily operations in this beautiful country.

Thank you.