For Immediate Release
- Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and MP for Ottawa Centre
- Madeleine Meilleur, Attorney General and MPP Ottawa-Vanier
- Jim Watson, Mayor City of Ottawa
- Janette Sadik-Khan, Former Transportation Commissioner for New York City
- Graham Saul, Ecology Ottawa
- When: 2:30PM Wednesday April 27
Where: ByWard Market – William Street Pedestrian Plaza (Corner of York Street and William St)
Streetfight: Janette Sadik-Khan’s Urban Revolution Comes to Ottawa – Ottawa can do for the ByWard Market what New York did for Times Square
New York’s urban revolution is coming to Ottawa. New York City’s former Transportation Commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, will be in Ottawa on Wednesday April 27 for a major evening speaking event and the launch of her book Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution.
Sadik-Khan didn’t just re-imagine New York City, she implemented a plan that saw people-focused streets with the building of nearly 400 miles of bike lanes and creating more than 60 plazas citywide, including transforming Times Square. As New York City’s Transportation Commissioner, Sadik-Khan transformed the streets of one of the world’s greatest and toughest cities into dynamic spaces for pedestrians and cyclists.
“There is clearly an appetite for this kind of urban revolution here in Ottawa,” said Graham Saul, Executive Director of Ecology Ottawa. “Thirty organizations from across the City are co-sponsoring the event, which we’ve had to move to a larger venue as we expect hundreds of people to come hear Sadik-Khan speak.”
Ottawa already has a Complete Streets plan (one of the best in North America) and a plan to revitalize the ByWard Market. What is needed is for these plans to be fully implemented and funded.
“Ottawa can and must do to the ByWard Market what Sadik-Khan and New York did for Times Square,” according to Saul. “The 150th anniversary of Canada in 2017 provides a perfect opportunity to turn our oldest market into a world class public space.”
And all levels of government have a role to play, starting with the City Council meeting the first week in May (just days after the Sadik-Khan visit) where the ByWard Market Revitalization Plan will be on the agenda.
The City of Ottawa must prioritize spending on active transportation, and ask for increased funding from both federal and provincial governments to build pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. “Those of us in the health community across Ottawa know that active lifestyles are healthy lifestyles and we must invest in healthy transportation options for all ages, abilities and users,” said Chris Osler of Sandy Hill Community Health Centre.
The ByWard Market must be re-imagined so that it is no longer a space just for cars and parking lots, but instead a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly market, with streetscapes that invite people to stay and enjoy the local, fresh produce stands, a meal on a patio, its unique heritage, or just people-watch on a bench.
As visitors to the city descend the steps from Major’s Hill Park to the ByWard Market, the first thing they see should not be a parking lot. York Street should be converted from the parking lot that it is now to a market gathering place.
“Ottawa has the plan to re-image and re-design its streets. And what we’ve seen from the New York experience is that plans can be implemented quickly and inexpensively,” said Saul. “It’s time to move beyond planning and build the city that the residents of Ottawa want.”
Schedule of Events/Photo Ops:
11: 45 to 12:45 – Bike Tour with Community Groups (Coordinated by Citizens for Safe Cycling: Bike Ottawa and the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre)
• Bike tour starts at City Hall
• See full route here: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?hl=en_US&mid=z-VeKIyNoOTs.k-tSAcNrOrvs
2:30 to 3:30 – Press Conference and Walkabout in ByWard Market (Coordinated by Ecology Ottawa, Lowertown Community Association and Green Communities Canada)
6:00 – 7:00: Streetfight Fair with booths and information tables by local organizations and the City of Ottawa
7:00 to 8:30 – Key Note Presentation, followed by Streetfight book sale and signing at Aberdeen Pavillion Lansdowne Park (Coordinated by Ecology Ottawa)
Event Partners: Action Sandy Hill, Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company, Centretown Citizens Community Association, Citizens for Safe Cycling, City Councilors Catherine McKenney, Mathieu Fleury and David Chernushenko, Civic Hospital Neighbourhood Association, Council on Aging of Ottawa, Dalhousie Community Association, Embassy of the United States of America, EnviroCentre, Green Communities Canada – Active & Safe Routes to School Program, Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital, Healthy Transportation Coalition, Hintonburg Community Association, Jane’s Walk, Local Eco-Action Families, Lowertown Community Association, Lowertown Community Resource Centre, Nobel Women’s Initiative, Old Ottawa East Community Association, Ottawa Centre EcoDistrict, Right Bike, Riverview Park Community Association, Rockcliffe Park Residents Association, Sandy Hill Community Health Centre, Sustainable Living Ottawa East, Tooker Gomberg Greenspiration Fund, Urban Forum, Vanier Community Service Centre.
Ecology Ottawa is a non-partisan grassroots environmental organization working to make Ottawa the green capital of Canada.
For more information contact: