Emmaline Coulter

  • Access to Information Workshop

    Dear members and friends of Healthy Transportation Coalition,

    Public transit users in Ottawa are left out of the decision process and community members need more transparency to participate in pushing for change. When transparency is hard to get, the only way to get answers is to know how and where to look.

    We would like to invite you to a workshop on Access to Information, featuring Ken Rubin. Ken Rubin is a dedicated advocate of our right and freedom to access information, in Canada. He is a public interest researcher based in Ottawa, who continuously sheds light on the lack of transparency of policy-making and fights to keep our governments accountable. He has won journalistic awards and his achievements don't go unnoticed!

    You can read for yourselves all the great work he does and what he has accomplished: http://kenrubin.ca/  

    The workshop will take place at the University of Ottawa (room to be confirmed soon) on Sat Dec 7th, from 1:00pm to 4:30pm.

    Hope to see you there! Please RSVP below.

    WHEN
    December 07, 2019 at 1pm
    WHERE
    University of Ottawa
    75 laurier Ave
    Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5
    Canada
    Google map and directions
    14 rsvps rsvp

  • Hunt Club Park Report

    June 1st Meeting 

    We held our first meeting in Hunt Club Park on June 1st, from 2:30-4:30 pm at the Greenboro Community Centre. We started with an introduction to the HTC organization, including an overview of our past victories as well as our ongoing campaigns. It was attended by 5 residents and 3 HTC staff members. We wanted to discuss transportation issues that were important to the residents, and make a list of things we might want to address. After compiling a list of these issues on flipchart paper, the residents agreed on the need to narrow down a couple of issues to start taking action on first. We created an online survey which was then circulated among the Hunt Club Park residents, with all of the issues from the first meeting, for the team and community members to choose their top 3 priorities. 

     

    June 22nd Meeting

    The second neighborhood meeting was on June 22nd from 2:30-4:30 pm, at the same place. It was attended by 6 members including 3 HTC staff members. We tabulated the results from the survey that was circulated among neighborhood residents and shared the results with the residents. The top 3 priorities were:

    • Increasing the frequency and reliability of the #40, #98 bus routes;
    • Implementing online booking for Para Transpo by 2020; and
    • Doing a much better job removing snow and ice from sidewalks in the winter to ensure pathways and sidewalks are safe for everyone to commute.

     After the survey results were finalized, the residents got to work brainstorming action plans. One of our ideas was to draft a petition outlining the group’s demands. We worked together to create a petition as well as distributing it to volunteers and staff, who collected signatures around the neighborhood. In an effort to promote the upcoming meeting, team members agreed to take some event flyers and distribute them around the neighbourhood. The meeting concluded with an agreement to meet next on July 27th 2:30-4:30.

     

    July 27th Meeting

    The most recent meeting in Hunt Club Park took place on July 27th from 2:30-4:30 pm at the Greenboro Community Centre. We went over the survey results for new members attending the meeting for the first time, including an overview of the priorities that had been chosen by the team. Then, the team decided to focus on capacity building for the group. We wanted to use the petition as a tool to recruit more members, and to communicate team priorities to the public and decision makers. The remainder of the meeting focused on brainstorming ways we could increase the numbers of resident attendees to the Hunt Club Park team meetings. HTC members expressed an interest in attending any upcoming neighborhood events to promote the neighborhood team meetings. Residents suggested reaching out to their social circles and inviting them to the next meeting. Staff offered to provide flyers or pamphlets for team members to distribute, and copies of the petition for team members to bring to events. 

     

    August 27th Meeting 

    On the evening of August 27th, two team members met at the Greenboro Community Centre to draft a form letter to send to Councillor Deans, outlining the top priorities chosen by the group. We also discussed how the team might work to spread the word about the letter and encourage people to participate. Some suggestions included having a community BBQ, post flyers in apartment building foyers, talk to unions for support, and reach out to fellow bus riders - especially when they’re currently frustrated with the (lack of) service. 

     

    Forestglade Team 

    While doing outreach for Greenboro Community Centre meetings, we came across a small community room located in the Carpenter Co-Op called Tasker Hall. We reached out to an employee at Tasker Hall, inquiring about holding neighbourhood team meetings there. We ended up working with these community members to identify their own set of transportation priorities and have begun to develop strategies and tactics to address these issues. The Forestglade neighbourhood team has identified the following priorities: 

    1. Ensure the #98 bus that services Forestglade Crescent be reliable and arrive as scheduled.
    2. Implement the use of express buses during high peak times.
    3. There are too many bus stops along the #98 route.

    So far, the team has emailed and called their Councillor to make her aware of the team’s priorities and urge her to take action. The team is in the process of drafting a petition and developing an email tool to encourage their community to get involved and show the City that there is strong support behind the priorities. Going forward, the team plans to create a graphic illustrating what transportation developments they want to see in their community, get their neighbours to take part in their petition and email campaigns, and invite city officials to a potluck in support of the team’s priorities. 


  • Bay Ward Report

     

    As part of the Trillium Seed Grant, we’ve worked in three neighbourhoods in Ottawa to support residents to form transportation advocacy teams. The Bay Ward team was founded at Regina Towers and has since expanded to the Winthrop Court Community House. Both groups have chosen top priorities to take action on, and have had one joint meeting, to work together on neighbourhood and city-wide issues.

    The Bay Ward neighbourhood team, later dubbed the Bay Ward Equitable Mobility Team, began on March 12th with an introduction at a weekly lunch event in the community room at Regina Towers. Here, we were able to have several one-on-one conversations with residents about their experiences getting around the city and learned that several people were interested in continuing the conversation and getting involved. 

    We arranged to have another meeting on April 12th to have a deeper conversation about the specific transportation issues faced by residents at Regina Towers. Everyone was given the chance to contribute to the long list of issues and we concluded the meeting with a discussion on how we could go about addressing the issues brought forward by the group. The team would later go on to vote on which issues they believe need to be prioritized. This resulted in the following priorities: 

     

    1. Speed: buses drive too fast, drive away too quickly, before people are seated. Some passengers who need more time aren’t able to sit down safely. People with walkers, or who are older could have a fall (13).
    2. Bus fares are too expensive (12).
    3. Sidewalks are uneven and need repairs. Especially Poulin Ave and Don St. (11).
    4. The bus stop needs to be closer to the front of the building (10).

     

    The team suggested that a good first step for bringing these issues to the City would be by reaching out to their City Councillor, Theresa Kavanagh, through a Letter Writing Party. They also requested that Councillor Kavanagh be invited to the next meeting so she could receive the letters and provide her input. 

    On May 28th, residents at Regina Towers wrote letters explaining their personal experiences with the top priorities. Councillor Kavanagh spoke with residents and gave a brief speech on her take of the priorities. She referred to priorities 1, 2, and 4 as high hanging fruit that would require long term strategies and tactics. She referred to priority 3 as a low hanging fruit that she would be able to assist with addressing in the short term. She suggested that the residents reach out to her over email to specify the location and problems of the sidewalks that need repairs. 

    After hearing from Councillor Kavanagh, residents shared that her attendance and suggestions made them feel optimistic about their goals. The momentum continued at the next meeting on June 25th when residents at Regina Towers decided to focus on a long term, high hanging fruit, and a short term, low hanging fruit. The long term goal is to address the speed of buses as they pull away from stops, and the short term goal is to improve sidewalks in the neighbourhood that cause accessibility barriers. Going forward, the team would aim to draft a letter to OC transpo indicating where and how bus drivers should take special consideration into the needs of their most vulnerable passengers.  They also arranged to take pictures of the sidewalks that need repairs to share with Councillor Kavanagh which took place leading up to the next meeting.

    At the most recent meeting, community members from Regina Towers, Winthrop Court Community house, and other HTC volunteers came together to work on the priorities together. Councillor Kavanagh also came to the meeting and provided suggestions for addressing the issues. She proposed a “Wait a Sec” motion be brought to the Transit Commission which would see bus drivers being required to allow passengers who request it to sit down before pulling away from the stops. After the meeting, two of the team members shared their photos of the sidewalks with Councillor Kavanagh, and shortly after repairs were made on Richmond Road and Poulin Avenue to address the accessibility barriers. 

    Going forward, the neighbourhood team will ensure that the “Wait a Sec” motion is passed and gains traction in the community. They will also reassess their priorities and continue to strive towards a better transportation system in their neighbourhood.




  • Vanier Report

    March 28th

    As part of the Trillium Seed Grant, we’ve worked in three neighbourhoods in Ottawa to support residents to form transportation advocacy teams. With the support of the Healthy Transportation Coalition, these teams planned and took action to encourage the city to make much needed improvements. We had our first meeting at the Vanier Community Service Centre, on March 28th, from 6pm-8pm.We had 12 residents of Vanier and 3 HTC staff attend. The first meeting was planned to introduce the organization, our past victories, current activities, and goals for the group, before starting the process of identifying team priorities. Between meetings, we created a survey that included the priorities and action ideas developed by the group, asking participants to choose their top three priorities for each.

     

    April 25th

    At the meeting on April 25th, also at the Vanier Community Service Centre, from 6pm-8pm, there were 8 attendees and 2 HTC staff. Most of the attendees were new to the group. We introduced the Healthy Transportation Coalition, its past activities, and the purpose of the Trillium Seed Grant to the new members, and we discussed this group’s priorities. Since the group was smaller, we voted on the top priorities during this meeting. With a much smaller group than we had anticipated, we were able to move quickly through the top priorities identified in the previous two meetings, and discuss strategies for achieving our goals. At this meeting, a few participants volunteered for tasks including: 

     

    • Collecting information to develop an annotated Org chart for the City of Ottawa and OC Transpo – identifying duty holders for key issues, and noting their inferred level of support for the priorities identified by the team;
    • Reaching out to ACORN to discuss the possibility of organizing a protest together around the issues of transit affordability, accessibility, and reliability;
    • Reaching out to neighbours in an OCH building, to see if they would be interested in holding a meeting around transportation equity there, and helping to organize this meeting. 

     

    May 16th

    On May 16th, 4 Vanier residents and 2 HTC staff met at the usual place and time. We used materials that we learned from our training with the Institute for Change Leaders to work through the process of identifying strategies and tactics that work best to achieve our goals. This exercise led fluidly into brainstorming tasks that we might want to do before the next meeting to move us along the path to our goals. Team members volunteered to draft a form letter that each of us could send to Mathieu Fleury, the City Councillor for Vanier, outlining our priorities, and a letter to send to the Councillor from the group. 

     

    July 4th

    Since the last meeting, a volunteer had helped to draft two letters to Mathieu Fleury: one from the Neighbourhood Team as a whole; and one to use as a template for our email-your-representative tool, hosted on the Healthy Transportation Coalition website. Both letters outlined the top two priorities of the group, urging Mathieu Fleury to take action to address these concerns, and asking for a prompt and specific reply. As a group, we read through the two draft letters, and provided feedback. Specifically, we decided to develop two email-your-representative templates: one for the beg button issue, and one to address the issue of double decker buses on the #12 bus route.

     

    August 8th

    We had three Vanier residents and four HTC staff at this meeting. With our email tools up and running, we brainstormed ways that we could publicize them and build support for our demands. We compiled a list of organizations that team members have ties with, that might help us reach out to their membership. We also brainstormed media contacts that we have who might help us reach more of the public for support. The group decided that promoting our activities should be an ongoing goal between meetings, and each team member set the goal of reaching out to one organization or media contact by the next meeting. The group discussion touched on some of the activities of one of the other HTC Neighbourhood Teams: the team for Bay Ward. Specifically, that team planned to write letters to OC transpo about equity and inclusion training for bus drivers, and some Vanier team members are planning to work in solidarity.

     

    Newcomers’ Workshop (July 19th)

    In an effort to better engage with newcomers to Canada, we held a workshop at the Vanier Community Service Centre on July 19th, from 1pm-3pm, to bring people together and get them talking about transportation issues. A Settlement Worker at the Community Service Centre helped us organize this workshop, and invited people she had worked with from around the neighbourhood. Two HTC staff, the Settlement Worker, and 9 Newcomers attended the workshop. We gave a short presentation introducing the Coalition, our goals with the Seed Grant, and what we hoped to do at the workshop: create a list of transportation issues that the group faced in Vanier and across the city. We had a lively discussion, facilitated by the settlement worker, and we created a list of 15 transportation priorities, around transit, pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, congestion reduction, and equity in transportation planning. 

     

    September 19th

    Three team members met up to discuss how to get more people to participate in the campaigns. We decided to create a poster that will go above beg buttons so when people get stuck waiting to cross the street, they will see the poster and feel inspired to take action. We also decided to reach out to more city officials in the transportation department to demand that they remove double decker buses from the #12 route. Removing the need for beg buttons and double deckers on the #12 route are not limited to causing issues in Vanier alone - we decided to adjust our email tools to allow people throughout the city to add their perspective and speak out to their local Councillors as well. 

     

     

    Next Steps

    Going forward, the team plans to put more effort into involving other community groups in Vanier and ensuring that the demands reach Councillor Fleury. The next meeting is planned for November 7th where we will continue to work on getting public support on our campaigns. 



  • Snow and Ice Clearing Campaign

    Everyone should have the option to move freely about the City throughout all seasons. Snow and ice covered sidewalks that impede pedestrian mobility is unacceptable. During Winter 2018-2019, people across Ottawa were trapped in their homes, unable to access transit, or experienced numerous slips, falls, and inconveniences due to lack of snow removal on sidewalks and at bus stops. Immediate action is required to ensure that no more people suffer from isolation, injuries and aren’t required to take great risk to leave their homes

    Ottawa needs to be prepared for ongoing winters with treacherous conditions and take the necessary steps to ensure that Ottawa’s most vulnerable communities are not disproportionately burdened by the effects of climate change. 

    Let the City know that winter sidewalk maintenance must be prioritized this year. 

    Sign the petition here and reach out to the mayor and your local Councillor using our easy email tool here, urging them to take action now.


  • Snow and Ice Clearing Petition

    Everyone should have the option to move freely about the City throughout all seasons. Snow and ice covered sidewalks that impede pedestrian mobility is unacceptable. During Winter 2018-2019, people across Ottawa were trapped in their homes, unable to access transit, or experienced numerous slips, falls, and inconveniences due to lack of snow removal on sidewalks and at bus stops. Immediate action is required to ensure that no more people suffer from isolation, injuries and aren’t required to take great risk to leave their homes

    What You Can Do:

     

    Please share our petition with your network and communities, and speak out to your representative using this easy email tool. We hope to send a strong message to City Council that another winter of inaccessible sidewalks is unacceptable. We need Class 1A standards - that is, snow clearing to bare sidewalk levels - across the city


     

    GOAL: 123 signatures

    Petition for Improved Snow and Ice Clearing from Sidewalks
    To: Ottawa City Council, 110 Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa, ON, K1P 1J1

    Winter 2018-2019 was uncharacteristically severe with several freeze and thaw cycles. This winter, pedestrians across Ottawa struggled through the ice and snow as roads continued to take priority over other modes of transportation. Ottawa needs to be prepared for ongoing winters with treacherous conditions and take the necessary steps to ensure that Ottawa’s most vulnerable communities are not disproportionately burdened by the effects of climate change. 

     

    I/We the undersigned, petition Ottawa City Council and the Transportation Committee to:

    • Bring snow clearing standards of all sidewalks in the City of Ottawa to a Class 1A standard. 
    • Commit $7 million a year to bringing winter sidewalk maintenance to a class 1A standard, starting in the 2020 Budget. 
    • Conduct a cost/benefit analysis of the costs incurred from slip/fall and vehicle damage liabilities compared to how much it would cost to bring winter sidewalk maintenance to a class 1A standard.  
    • Take an equitable approach to snow clearing - redevelop the snow clearing schedule to prioritize sidewalk clearing over road clearing, and prioritize the mobility of Ottawa’s most vulnerable residents. 

     

    By signing this petition, I hereby acknowledge that this petition will become a public document at the City of Ottawa and that all information contained in it will be subject to the scrutiny of the City, and will be publicly available. Questions about the collection and disclosure of personal information contained in this petition should be directed to the City Clerk, 110 Laurier Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 1J1.

    By providing your email address, you consent to Healthy Transportation Coalition sending you electronic messages. You can withdraw your consent at any time.

    Add signature

  • Affordable Public Transit Petition

    The City of Ottawa is planning to increase OC Transpo fares by 2.5% per year, but we already have some of the most expensive transit fares in Canada. We must speak out so people living on low incomes can afford to ride public transit.

    GOAL: 54 signatures

    Petition for Affordable Public Transit
    To: Ottawa City Council, 110 Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa, ON, K1P 1J1

    OC Transpo has some of the most expensive transit fares in Canada. We must ensure that people living on low incomes can afford to ride public transit.

    I/We the undersigned, petition Ottawa City Council to:
    • Freeze transit fares in Budget 2020 for people who use the Access, Community, and EquiPasses;
    • Increase the standard transfer time from 1.5 hours to 2.5 hours.
    • Increase the eligibility of the EquiPass by 15% above the Low-Income Cut-Off, as defined by Statistics Canada;
    • Add 1 weekday of free transit use for people living on low-income; and
    • Implement a sliding scale for transit fares, with different price bands based on people’s income (for example, in Calgary, if an individual earns less than $12,000 a year, their monthly public transit pass costs them less than $6/month).

     

    By signing this petition, I hereby acknowledge that this petition will become a public document at the City of Ottawa and that all information contained in it will be subject to the scrutiny of the City, and will be publicly available. Questions about the collection and disclosure of personal information contained in this petition should be directed to the City Clerk, 110 Laurier Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 1J1.

    By providing your email address, you consent to Healthy Transportation Coalition sending you electronic messages. You can withdraw your consent at any time.

    Add signature

  • Petition for Para Parity

    Please sign to help us ask the City of Ottawa and OC transpo for a more equitable accessible service!


    We are fighting for equity with the Para Transpo booking system which currently requires users to book their rides a day in advance and cancel a minimum of 3 hours in advance or incur penalties. People often find themselves waiting on hold for 2+ hours, and have no other option. We have asked the city to expedite the creation of a smartphone application and website that will help clear up the phone lines.

    It is time to speak up, speak out, and speak against these issues!

    GOAL: 266 signatures

    We, the undersigned, demand the following from City Council and OC Transpo:

    • A report about online booking for Para Transpo, including a draft plan for implementation and the key components of an online booking system, be presented by OC Transpo staff to the Transit Commission at its meeting in September 2019;

    • The online booking system be fully functioning and operational for Para Transpo customers not later than end of 2020; and

    • Fifty per cent of seats available to be booked on Para should be saved for people using the online booking application, and 50% for those who use the phone service, so as to allow for everyone to access these services. To be changed accordingly, reviewed quarterly.

     

    By signing this petition, I hereby acknowledge that this petition will become a public document at the City of Ottawa and that all information contained in it will be subject to the scrutiny of the City, and will be publicly available. Questions about the collection and disclosure of personal information contained in this petition should be directed to the City Clerk, 110 Laurier Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 1J1.

    By providing your email address, you consent to Healthy Transportation Coalition sending you electronic messages. You can withdraw your consent at any time.

    Add signature

  • Electric Bus Petition

    This is a joint petition between Ecology Ottawa, the Healthy Transportation Coalition, and the Electric Vehicle Council of Ottawa.

    HTC-LogoRBG_72dpi-01.pngEcology_Ottawa_logo.jpgNew_EVCO_Logo.png

     

     

     

    OC Transpo’s bus fleet is responsible for about 45% of the City of Ottawa’s corporate emissions with about 125,000 tonnes of CO2 emitted every year. A policy change can reduce this by 95% over 15 years. Electric buses reduce GHG emissions, improve air quality and reduce noise. Light Rail Transit (LRT) will reduce the intensity of transit emissions in Ottawa, but LRT success will lead to overall growth in bus transit in Ottawa as feeder bus routes grow to match the capacity of the LRT. Electric buses are much cheaper to operate, fuel and maintenance costs are much lower so more transit can be provided for the same operational budget.

    GOAL: 1,918 signatures

    I/We the undersigned, petition Ottawa City Council to match the commitments already made by Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Laval, and Edmonton.

    In the 2019-2022 Term-of-Council Priorities commit to a planning process to electrify the bus fleet, with a clear commitment to the following targets:

    • Run an electric bus pilot in 2020;
    • Introduce electric buses on regular service by 2021;
    • Purchase only electric buses starting in 2024; and
    • A 100% electric bus fleet by 2035.
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