How Did They Do? Councillors Voice Their Opinions on Complete Streets

English: Ottawa City Hall Français : Hôtel de ...

English: Ottawa City Hall Français : Hôtel de ville d’Ottawa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

City Council voted (Item 20) on July 17th to redevelop Main Street into a Complete Street after the City staff’s recommendation was passed by the Transportation Committee on July 5th. Councillors voiced their support and dissent to this motion at Council and the results were very telling in regards to who will lead our city to sustainability. Read more below for insight into your Councillors perspective and priority on developing Complete Streets in our city.

Councillor Hubley dissented on redeveloping Main Street into a Complete Street. He explained that he is concerned about constricting traffic flow and increasing congestion on the arterial road. He added that he has a lack of understanding what a Complete Street is, but voiced support for Complete Streets so long as they are located on a community bike path (not an on street bike lane) and not on arterial or main roads. Thumbs Down to Councillor Hubley for his preference for incomplete streets.

Contact Councillor Allan Hubley and tell him you would like him to support this issue in the future.

Councillor Deans dissented on redeveloping Main Street into a Complete Street. Following her comments at the Transportation Committee (link) she once again emphasized that the definition of a Complete Street is unclear, especially to her residents. She believes that people will only come forward to be engaged against the Complete Street after it has been implemented and two lanes of traffic have been removed. She sees a need to have a set definition of what a Complete Street is. Councillor Deans argued that arterial roads are not the place for a Complete Street, and said that the City cannot just tell people to get onto bikes—the traffic will need to go somewhere and the City is currently lacking North to South routes for private automobiles. For those reasons, Councillor Deans maintained that Main Street is not the right place nor is now the right time to implement a Complete Street. Thumbs Down to Councillor Deans for her lack of support

Contact Councillor Diane Deans and tell her you would like her to support this issue in the future.

Councillor Egli was supportive of redeveloping Main Street into a Complete Street. He referred to Councillor Deans’ comments when he defined the Complete Street concept as a toolbox, where there are a variety of different options to use and a flexible design that does not have a set definition that is unchangeable. He referred to Councillor Hubley’s ward and emphasized that a Complete Street may appear different in Kanata than it does downtown. Councillor Egli argued that there may be different criteria for what a Complete Street may mean depending on the area, but it is a way to refer to a flexible approach toward a similar idea. He deemed the Complete Street design on Main Street as a progressive and beneficial initiative that he encouraged his colleagues to support. Thumbs Up to Councillor Egli for his support.

Contact Councillor Keith Egli to thank him for his work on this issue!

Councillor Holmes spoke in support of redeveloping Main Street into a Complete Street. In light of the debates on congestion and traffic she reminded Council of the impact the Transitway has had on downtown. She referred to the Transitway as a major change that can be credited with decreasing the number of vehicles travelling downtown, a trend that will only continue with the construction of the Light Rail Transit line. She framed the Complete Streets concept as an equality issue and argued that all taxpayers should have equal and safe access to the roads whether they are cyclists, pedestrians, or motorists. Thumbs Up to Councillor Holmes for her support.

Contact Councillor Diane Holmes to thank her for her work on this issue!

Councillor Fleury spoke in favour for the implementation of a Complete Streets design on Main Street. He believes that a Complete Street is a form of protection for various users and believes that it will be incredibly successful despite peoples’ worries. Thumbs Up to Councillor Fleury for his support.

Contact Councillor Mathieu Fleury to thank him for his work on this issue!

Councillor Hume supported implementing a Complete Street on Main Street. After observing traffic on Main Street he believes that the amount of time motorists are caught in congestion will be the same with the soon-to-be implemented turn lanes and reduced traffic lanes. He believes that a Complete Street will create better places for walking and cycling while keeping traffic time the same. He said that the city will need to have better connectivity for bikes, pedestrians, and cars and deemed this project as a non-major change that will lead to this goal. Thumbs Up to Councillor Hume for his support.

Contact Councillor Peter Hume to thank him for his work on this issue!

Councillor Hobbs spoke in favour of a Complete Street on Main Street as she described the success of redeveloping Churchill Street in her ward to a Complete Street. She noted the improvements in the area in her ward and is confident a Complete Street on Main Street will have similar qualities. Councillor Hobbs disagreed with Councillor Deans’ argument that citizens do not know what a Complete Street is—she believes citizens are smarter than Deans is giving them credit for as the citizens of her ward knew what a Complete Street was and wanted it. Thumbs Up to Councillor Hobbs for her support.

Contact Councillor Katherine Hobbs to thank her for her work on this issue!

Councillor Harder was opposed to redeveloping Main Street into a Complete Street. She argued that the area already has a traffic problem, as a result of other construction projects underway. She said that she is not opposed to the concept of Complete Streets, but argued that the timing is wrong. She also proclaimed to be driven by growth, which must be accommodated by roads being built. She also made it extremely clear that she does not want any assumption that there will be Complete Streets developed in the suburbs in the future. Thumbs Down to Councillor Harder for her lack of support.

Contact Councillor Jan Harder and tell her you would like her to support this issue in the future.

Councillor Wilkinson voiced her support for the revitalization of Main Street as a Complete Street. She argued that Main Street is not the same as a typical arterial road and would like a Complete Street to be developed there (and she would also like a Complete Street to be developed in her ward). Councillor Wilkinson’s support is significant because she represents constituents that arguably would have the same needs as Councillor Hubley—they both represent citizens of Kanata. While Councillor Hubley among other suburban Councillors refused to support a Complete Street on Main Street due to its use by motorists, Councillor Wilkinson’s support indicates that she sees the possibility and necessity for all road users to have equal rights in all communities. Thumbs Up to Councillor Wilkinson for her support.

Contact Councillor Marianne Wilkinson to thank her for her work on this issue!

Councillor Clark deemed the Complete Street on Main Street as supportable. He sees it as an experiment similar to the Laurier bike lanes to see how they work in our city. Councillor Clark pointed out that if a safe cycling network in this city is desired then it must be done in pieces, and this is a piece. Thumbs Up to Councillor Clark for his support.

Contact Councillor Peter Clark to thank him for his work on this issue!

Councillor Chernushenko is supportive of redeveloping Main Street as a Complete Street. As the Councillor of the ward, Councillor Chernushenko said his constituents living closest to the street are those most affected by it, and they are strongly in favour. He identified the debate as downtown Councillors against suburban Councillors, and asked for everyone to come together and envision what the community would look like. He noted that everyone wants quieter, calmer, and safer streets. He said a good design makes all the difference, and Complete Streets will make safer and economically viable streets. Everyone will benefit and people will want to be there. He believes implementing a Complete Street is not going to force people to walk or cycle, rather it encourages people who are afraid or feel unsafe walking or biking, to now feel safer. Thumbs Up to Councillor Chernushenko for his support.

Contact Councillor David Chernushenko to thank him for his work on this issue!

Mayor Jim Watson voiced support for the Complete Street design plan. He said that as a previous Councillor of that area, he understands that the number one complaint was for traffic and speeding. He called the chance to redevelop Main Street as a Complete Street a “once in a lifetime opportunity” and told Councillors to do the ‘right thing.’ He emphasized that this is a progressive initiative that will lead to similar changes to other communities and believes that citizens and Councillors will look back on this positively. He would like to see Ottawa move this way and become a pioneer and leader in Ontario with Complete Streets. Thumbs Up to Mayor Jim Watson for his support.

Contact Mayor Jim Watson to thank him for his work on this issue!

The motion passed so Main Street will be developed into a Complete Street. Councillors who voted in favour of the motion receive a giant Thumbs Up (Councillors R. Chiarelli, E. El-Chantiry, R. Bloess, D. Chernushenko, M. Taylor, B. Monette, M. Wilkinson, M. Fleury, S. Qadri, P. Clark, K. Egli, K. Hobbs, T. Tierney, D. Holmes, D. Thompson, P. Hume, M. McRae, and Mayor Jim Watson) for passing this progressive act and improving Ottawa’s sustainability. Councillors who dissented (Councillors S. Moffatt, S. Blais, S. Desroches, J. Harder, D. Deans, and A. Hubley) received a Thumbs Down.

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Categories: Complete Streets, Council Watch

Author:Alison Sidney

Council Watch Coordinator with Ecology Ottawa.

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  1. Council Watch Monthly Digest – July 2013 | Ecology Ottawa - October 15, 2013

    […] Main Street was approved for redevelopment into a complete street, with less lanes for cars. Read WHAT YOUR COUNCILLOR HAD TO SAY on making Main Street a Complete Street. The SEGREGATED BIKE LANES ON LAURIER AVENUE will also […]

  2. Barrhaven Bicycling | Urban Commuter - Bike Ottawa Blog - December 11, 2013

    […] She also proclaimed to be driven by growth, which must be accommodated by roads being built. She also made it extremely clear that she does not want any assumption that there will be Complete Streets developed in the suburbs in the future. – Ecology Ottawa […]

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