Here is a link to the Ottawa Citizen article with more details:
LCA president Liz Bernstein made a presentation during the meeting on behalf of several community groups wanting to have their voices heard on the issue.
Below is a list of Priorities for Complete Streets as presented by the various community groups.
Good morning Chair, Councillors, I’m Liz Bernstein, President of the Lowertown Community Association and am privileged to share a letter presented to you by the following groups and speak on their behalf today:
· Action Sandy Hill / Action Cote de Sable
· Centretown Citizens Community Association
· Champlain Park Community Association
· Citizens for Safe Cycling
· Civic Hospital Neighbourhood Association
· Council on Aging-Ottawa Seniors Transportation Committee
· Ecology Ottawa
· Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital
· Hintonburg Community Association
· Lowertown Community Association
· McKellar Park Community Association
· New Edinburgh Community Alliance
· Old Ottawa South Community Association
· Riverview Park Community Association
· Wellington Village Community Association
· Federation of Citizens Associations (FCA) which includes close relations with over 40 organized groups East to West to South in Ottawa
The letter we are presenting to you today represents communities who care deeply about the safety of our streets. I’m privileged to speak on behalf of them today. This is about the safety of our children, our parents and grandparents, and ourselves.
The 3 issues addressed in the letter are approval and rapid implementation of the Complete Streets Implementation Framework to ensure Ottawa has streets that provide safe and comfortable access for people of all ages, abilities and modes of travel. We also call on Council to use the 2016 budget process, as consultations are currently being held, to accelerate funding for Ottawa’s Cycling and Pedestrian Plans. Some of us will be at those consultations saying so.
Finally, we urge you to support the revitalization of ByWard Market, especially efforts to fund cycling connectivity and pedestrianization in the run-up to the 2017 celebration of the 150th anniversary of Canada. It is not just Lowertown’s market; it is Ottawa’s market and it is Canada’s market.
As you know I am from Lowertown, and we’ve been struggling to make King Edward Ave, which turned our community into a traffic sewer, safer for years. We’ve suffered several deaths and more than 65 pedestrian injuries on that street alone, Today we remember Yvonne Hendricks, a young woman killed walking to work at Rideau and Waller Feb 21, 2014. But we also remember 40 year old Laurie Strano killed cycling in the Ride the Rideau event Feb 6, 2014; and we remember an 80 yr old woman killed after she was hit by a vehicle Oct 15, 2013, in the Woodroffe-Lincoln Heights area, and whose name I could not find, and the many more. None of these people were engaged in dangerous behavior. They should not be collateral damage on our city’s streets.
The communities I’m representing here today want our children to be able to walk safely to school, we want our parents to be able to walk to the shops without worrying about crossing the street, we want our grandparents to be able to go to the senior centre without fear of being struck by a truck, and we want people to be able to cycle to work without feeling like they are taking their lives in their hands. We want wheelchair users to be able to move safely without barriers, in all seasons.
We want affordable, safe alternatives to depending on our cars, which means public transportation that meets our needs. What this report shows is that the city has not been taking our safety, our needs and our concerns into consideration when designing streets. Those of us who care about these issues are not represented in the way traffic engineers design our streets. As a result, roads become speedways, children are not safe in the street, cyclists are not comfortable riding to work and public transit is not the most efficient way to travel. It doesn’t provide us with what we need as communities.
Yet this proposal is a good one, and it moves us in the right direction. It demonstrates the city is ready to incorporate the interests of pedestrians, cyclists, public transit users, wheelchair users.
It is only a first step, but it is a good first step, and there should be no question that communities represented on this letter care deeply about this issue. This is about the quality of our neighbourhoods, about our streets being places and not just throughfares for cars and trucks. It is ultimately about the safety of us, our children, parents and grandparents, and the health of our communities.
We’ve waited too long for the City to include the interests of pedestrians, cyclists, transit users and wheelchair users but congratulate the Committee for this important step. It’s a good plan, and the time has come. We know that under this proposal not every street will be built in the same way, different streets serve different purposes but for us, our streets are our neighbourhoods, they’re our homes, places we care about and we want a city that respects that. This appendix to the letter shared today includes priorities for improvements in cycling and pedestrian infrastructure and shows how much communities care. Volunteers have taken the time to conduct active transportation audits and street catalogues highlighting unsafe intersections, for example. We are partners, ready to work with you and City Staff to save lives, to enable us to walk safely to school, cycle safely to work, wheelchair safely to a seniors class, or gather to meet neighbours in a public space.
We want a City Council that builds streets as if these things matter, because they matter in our communities.
This proposal moves us in the right direction. We want our City Council to fully support it, and to fund it.