Groups call for Complete Streets policy prior to Mayor’s transportation speech Organizations representing more than 100,000 Ottawans release open letter addressed to City CouncilOTTAWA, Oct. 7, 2013 / - With Mayor Jim Watson scheduled to give an important speech Wednesday morning on the future of transportation in the nation's capital, organizations representing more than 100,000 Ottawa residents wrote to him and all City Councillors today to urge them to pass a strong Complete Streets policy and to ensure that it is included in the new Official and Transportation Master Plans, which will be finalized this fall.
The groups wrote and released the letter in the hopes that the Complete Streets policy commitment will be included in the Mayor’s speech on Wednesday.
“Complete Streets are an important piece of the solution to the present inactivity crisis,” said Mark Tremblay, Director of Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario. “Accessible, attractive and appealing pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly streets are an important step in the right direction. Ottawans and the nation’s capital will benefit greatly if our elected officials pass a strong Complete Streets policy soon.”
“We wholeheartedly support the adoption of a Complete Streets policy in Ottawa," said Micheline Turnau, Health Promotion Specialist, Ontario, Heart and Stroke Foundation. "Every seven minutes, someone in Canada dies from heart disease and stroke, and physical activity not only helps prevent these diseases, it can add four years of quality life.”
Groups that have signed the open letter in support of the City passing a Complete Streets policy include 10 Ottawa community associations, the Social Planning Council of Ottawa, the Ottawa & District Labour Council, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, graduate and under graduate student associations at Carleton University, University of Ottawa, Saint Paul University, as well as Community Health Resource Centres, and cycling, pedestrian and environmental organizations, among others.
“Community support for a strong Complete Streets policy is surging,” said Trevor Haché of Ecology Ottawa. ““There is no other preliminary policy proposal being considered by the City as part of the new Official and Transportation Master Plans, which even comes close to having as much support. City Council need to ensure this policy includes the 10 key elements of a comprehensive Complete Streets policy, so that all of the environmental, public health and financial benefits of Complete Streets are realized.”
“We know that increasingly our community wants to walk, cycle and take transit—for trips inside and outside of Vanier,” said Mike Bulthuis, President, Vanier Community Association. “We see it in the level of activism for these alternative modes of travel. But we need these options to be safe and efficient; a Complete Streets policy offers one important tool to make this reality. And benefits will be wide-ranging. We know our neighbourhood offers some excellent amenities, and when walking, cycling or taking transit to nearby amenities becomes easier, we will be more likely to travel to use them. That creates economic development potential—making a Complete Streets approach another tool in fostering a complete neighbourhood.”
“Ottawa needs Complete Streets, where safe and comfortable access 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 Graham Saul, Executive Director of Ecology Ottawa. “We urge Mayor Jim Watson and all Ottawa City Councillors to support the passage and implementation of a comprehensive Complete Streets policy into all planning documents under review. The policy should be applied to the entire urban boundary so that residents in urban Ottawa, as well as citizens living in the suburbs and villages, all benefit from Complete Streets.”
The open letter is available for download on the Ecology Ottawa website, was emailed to the Mayor and City Councillors this morning; it is also available at the following link: