Community Groups, Citizens Mobilize to Voice Strong Support for Complete Streets

Media invited to info session and campaign launch March 26 at the University of Ottawa

March 25, 2013 (Ottawa, ON)–Ecology Ottawa and a variety of community organizations are mobilizing their supporters and citizens across the city to voice support for Complete Streets for Ottawa.

Ryan Anders Whitney, of the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation and Complete Streets for Canada, is the keynote speaker tomorrow at an information session happening at the University of Ottawa. Ryan will discuss how a Complete Streets policy can direct Ottawa’s planners and engineers to create streets that work for all users at this key moment in the City’s planning history. The event coincides with the City’s review of its Transportation Master Plan:

What: Complete Streets for Ottawa information session and campaign launch

When: Tuesday, March 26 starting at 5:30 p.m.

Where: 90U Residence Lounge, 90 University Private (University of Ottawa campus)

Additional speakers at the event include Dr. Rosamund LewisAssociate Medical Officer of Health, Ottawa Public Health, who will discuss the public health benefits of complete streets, and City Councillor Keith Egli, Chair of Ottawa’s Transportation Committee and Member of the Ottawa Board of Health, who will welcome people to the event and encourage a discussion on Complete Streets in Ottawa.

“We are pleased the City of Ottawa is considering Complete Streets as one of the Preliminary Policy Proposals related to the review of the Official Plan, and Transportation Master Plan,” said Trevor Haché, policy coordinator at Ecology Ottawa. “We look forward to working with the City to ensure a comprehensive Complete Streets policy is implemented into the planning documents under review. The policy should be applied to the entire urban boundary area so that all residents of Ottawa, whether they live downtown, in the suburbs or in a rural village, will benefit from Complete Streets.”

The information session and campaign launch is being organized by Ecology Ottawa, the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa’s Bike Coop, Walk Ottawa, Citizens for Safe Cycling, Green Communities Canada, EnviroCentre, and the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation.

“Complete Streets help ensure that safe and comfortable access to streets for pedestrians, cyclists and public transit users of all ages and abilities is not an afterthought, but an integral part of the planning process for the construction, retrofitting, and maintenance of all roadways,” said Barbara Hayes, chair of the Ecology Ottawa Transportation Committee.

A diverse group of organizations are voicing support for the city’s plans to create a Complete Streets policy and those groups will be sending representatives to the event. They include:

The Council on Aging of Ottawa “The Council on Aging of Ottawa (COA) supports the Complete Streets movement that directs that streets need to be designed to be safe and convenient for travel by car, foot, bicycle and transit regardless of age or ability.”

Ottawa Public Health “We are pleased to be part of this important city-building conversation as we recognize the important connections that exist between the places we live and the streets we travel, and our overall health and well-being,” said Dr. Rosamund Lewis. “Complete streets designed to be safe, comfortable and convenient for everyone contribute to the improved health, vibrancy and liveability of our communities.”

Heart and Stroke Foundation “When communities opt for active, healthy design, they set the stage for community members to be more active, protect their heart health and enjoy a healthier lifestyle. Supporting Complete Streets for the City of Ottawa is a great opportunity for residents and groups to work together to develop in ways that support active living,” says Micheline Turnau, of the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Walk Ottawa “Our streets are important public spaces that need to be safe, comfortable and convenient for all of us, no matter how we get around. It’s time to complete our streets,” says Michelle Perry of Walk Ottawa.

Green Communities Canada “Complete streets are safer streets for everyone including our kids. I can’t think of a better way for us to start making our roads and neighbourhoods safer for children to walk and bike to school, the park or a friend’s house,” says Wallace Beaton, Coordinator of the Ottawa School Travel Planning Project, Green Communities Canada.

Citizens for Safe Cycling “Now the infrastructure to get into downtown by bike is improving, we really need to look to the neighbourhoods and ask ourselves: are these roads safe enough to send our kids to school without parents’ company? We have forgotten that we can cover many of our daily distances by foot. The corner store, Tim Hortons and the library are in walking and cycling distance for many of us. As a city, we have to make sure that we provide the facilities to get to these destinations. It is really a no brainer: cycling goes through a real big boom, simply because car ownership is declining among the next generation. We need to prepare our streets for this.”

Student Federation of the University of Ottawa’s Bike Co-op “Students are a vital part of the city of Ottawa and we rely on economically and environmentally responsible transportation to get to school, work, and home,” says Seamus Wolfe of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa’s Bike Co-op.“Students have already invested substantial amounts of money in the OCTranspo U-Pass as well as cycling infrastructure on campus—we urge the city of Ottawa to hold up their side of the bargain and make Complete Streets a reality.”

EnviroCentre “EnviroCentre supports the adoption of a Complete Streets policy in Ottawa as a way to ensure that our roadways are open and inviting to all residents, regardless of their chosen mode of transportation. A Complete Streets policy fits with municipal objectives to encourage sustainable transportation and provides clear guidelines for planners and engineers,” says Jamie Stuckless, Transportation Demand Management Coordinator at EnviroCentre.

Vanier Community Association “The Vanier Community Association promotes planning and development that emphasizes the interests of pedestrians, cyclists and transit-users alongside drivers—interests such as safe and enjoyable cycling; an enhanced pedestrian environment on our main streets; and green elements in the renewal of our residential streets. A Complete Streets policy will help ensure that the streets in our neighbourhood—and in all neighbourhoods—are developed in this way,” says Mike Bulthuis, President, Vanier Community Association.

C.U. Cycling “Complete streets mean everyone is included. C.U. Cycling supports the complete streets initiative to make roads safer for the entire community and for citizens of every age and ability. The Carleton University campus is home to many students, staff, faculty, alumni, and neighbours. We rely on public and active transit to get to campus and to get around the city. Therefore, we support the complete streets initiative.

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