The elected Board of Directors of the Healthy Transportation Coalition recently sent in our Budget 2020 requests to the Mayor, City Councillors, and relevant City staff.
We are calling for an investment of $35 million to achieve more affordable public transit for people living on lower incomes, better snow and ice clearing off sidewalks, affordable and inclusive housing near rapid transit, safe cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, and on-line booking for ParaTranspo users.
If you too want the City of Ottawa to invest in these improvements to help ensure the transportation system is more equitable, please email the Mayor and your City Councillor today, using this tool on our website.
Please voice your support for these good ideas today, because the more people who speak up in favour of these needed improvements, the more likely we are to win them.
Below is the letter we sent to the City with our 2020 Budget requests.
October 16, 2019
Dear Mayor Jim Watson, Ottawa City Councillors, City Manager Steve Kanellakos, City Treasurer Marian Simulik, Deputy City Treasurer Isabelle Jasmin, and Manager of Financial Strategy Cyril Rogers,
As you may know, the Healthy Transportation Coalition is working to make Ottawa better for pedestrians, cyclists, and public transit riders, and we put a big focus of our work on transportation equity. We have made some progress on transportation equity, working with the City, over the past few years. However, if we are to have a transportation system that truly works well for everyone, much more progress is needed.
We are submitting the following Budget 2020 requests, in the hopes that you too agree that Ottawa needs to be an excellent place for pedestrians, cyclists, and public transit riders, and that the City’s Equity and Inclusion Lens should be rigorously applied to budget decision-making processes:
1) Affordable and Inclusive Housing Near Rapid Transit
Commit at least $15 million/year of City funding, over and above federal and provincial grants, to build new affordable housing near rapid transit stations. This affordable housing should be deeply affordable, meaning people living on very low incomes should be able to live there. And, the housing should be accessible for people living with disabilities.
2) Affordable Public Transit:
Freeze transit fares in Budget 2020 for people who use the Access, Community, and EquiPasses (the City Treasurer's office has estimated this would only cost $400,000).
3) Snow and Ice Clearing of Sidewalks:
Commit $7 million a year to bringing winter sidewalk maintenance to a class 1A standard, starting in the 2020 Budget. People should not be confined to their apartments in the nation’s capital of a G7 country, and yet that has been the case these past few winters because not enough money is being spent to properly clear snow and ice off of sidewalks. 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.
4) Vision Zero Road Safety Action Plan Improvements
Too many people biking are being killed and injured on City streets, therefore a minimum of $12 million must be spent on building cycling infrastructure for all ages and abilities, based on Vision Zero principles and international best practice. Vision Zero principles must be implemented into planning documents, alongside consultation with those found to be most at risk (specifically seniors and children). These cycling safety improvements could be partially funded by charging for parking on evenings and weekends in on-street paid parking areas, and in City-owned parking lots (as per Chair Blais's Motion at the Oct. 2, 2019 Transportation Committee meeting).
5) ParaTranspo on-line booking system
Please invest $1 million in an online booking system for ParaTranspo riders, and it should be fully functioning and operational not later than end of 2020. Due to the fact that some people cannot use or cannot afford computers, 50% 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.
Can you please let us know what actions you will take to ensure that our budget priorities are included in Draft Budget 2020 prior to it being tabled on November 6th at City Council?
The Board of Directors of the Healthy Transportation Coalition
Oriana Ngabirano, president
Terrie Meehan, vice-president
Chris Osler, treasurer
Erin Andrews, secretary
John Woodhouse, member-at-large
Michelle Perry, member-at-large
Alison Sidney, member-at-large
Maria Basualdo, member-at-large
Mitchell House, member-at-large
Gisèle Doyle, member-at-large
Rochelle Buenviage, member-at-large
Trevor Haché, member-at-large