Huge opportunity for cycling, walkability and public transit

The City of Ottawa is planning on tearing up a street in your neighborhood and the only question is: “What will the street look like when they put it back together again and do you have a say in the matter?”

Ecology Ottawa has just posted a list of all the planned street renewal and reconstruction projects in the City of Ottawa over the next four years. You can find the list, divided up by Ward, here.

If you ride your bike, walk around your neighborhood, or if you rely on public transit, then these lists are a huge opportunity. They are a kind of “streetmap” for building a better neighbourhood.

Why?

Because the City’s new Transportation Master Plan includes a commitment to Complete Streets. This is a new approach to street renewal that, if implemented, would make our streets safer and healthier places to live. This policy will help ensure that your streets serve all users, ages and abilities, and prioritize walkabilty, cycling and public transit alongside cars.

But if we want this policy to be implemented we are going to have to pay attention and get involved.

So if you want to help ensure that your kids can safely walk or ride their bikes to school, or if you want walkable communities that are connected by convenient transportation options and provide real choices in how you get around town, then here are a few things you can do to help make that happen:

1.  Check out the list of street renewal projects in your Ward and find the ones that are being planned for your community (some of these projects are “subject to funding”). You can find the list here.

2.  Write to us and let us know that you’re interested in a particular street (just hit reply to this email). We are looking for people that want to prioritize cycling, walkabilty and public transit in their neighbourhood. We’ll make sure that one of our volunteer leaders gets back to you with ideas about how you can help shape the streets in your community.

3.  If you want a detailed analysis, read Ecology Ottawa’s draft “Complete Streets Strategy” report to better understand the new policy and what’s at stake. You can find it here.

This draft Ecology Ottawa Complete Streets Strategy report will give you more information on the why this is a great opportunity. The report also highlights other ways to get involved. For example, do you want to help promote safe and healthy streets during the upcoming municipal election or at budget time when the proverbial rubber will hit the road? Is there a Community Design Plan or a Transit Oriented Development plan unfolding in your neighborhood?

The street that you live on is more than just a thoroughfare for cars. It’s also a place, it’s a destination, it’s an extension of your home, and it’s something to be proud of. Ecology Ottawa can share emerging examples of Complete Streets and Green Streets with you and help you understand how to make them happen in your neighborhood. There are inspiring examples like the Main Street and Sunnyside Drive renewal projects that show the promise of this new approach.

Finally, what kind of downtown do you want? With light rail on the way thousands of buses will disappear from our downtown streets. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to re-imagine what the downtown core is going to look like and decisions are already being made! Will Queen Street prioritize pedestrians? What will the new O’Connor Street bike lane look like? Will we have more patios and street vendors downtown?

You can learn more about the choices being made by coming to an all candidates’ debate on the future of transportation in downtown Ottawa on Monday, June 16. To learn more andRSVP your attendance, click here.

Eighty percent of Canadians – and most people around the world – live in urban areas. We can’t build a better world – or a better Canada – until we figure how to build a better city.Please make a donation to help us move your street, our home, and this beautiful city in the right direction.

Sincerely,

Graham Saul

 

Categories: Community Network, Complete Streets, From the Executive Director

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