A Guide to the Complete Streets Implementation Framework for the City of Ottawa

The City of Ottawa shared its proposed Complete Streets Implementation Framework with many stakeholders, including Ecology Ottawa and the Complete Streets Campaign Leads on May 5, 2015. This important proposal will be on the agenda at the October 7th Transportation Committee meeting where Councillors will vote to accept or reject it. Ottawa greatly requires all future street construction projects to include Complete Streets design elements and for the Implementation Framework to go forward. We encourage you to contact the Transportation Committee members and ask that they vote for the Complete Streets Implementation Framework to ensure the City builds a more livable Ottawa. What follows is a summary of the plan with more details in the embedded slides.


The Complete Streets Implementation Framework provides us with the City’s follow-up plan to the adoption of the Complete Streets Policy in 2013. In order to ensure the Complete Streets approach is emphasized and utilized in all upcoming transportation projects, this framework outlines the various layers of the project development process and the most effective way of incorporating Complete Streets principles at all levels.

The framework necessitates the consideration of the Complete Streets policy at the very beginning of the project development phase by including the principles in the scoping of the project. The emphasis of the implementation plan is placed on starting early and being consistent in the consideration and prioritization of active transportation and Complete Streets throughout the project development process. The two main existing strategies within this process that would require integration include:

  • Comprehensive Asset Management Strategy, which is a vital consideration for the implementation of Complete Streets as it can change how projects are developed and by whom. This is especially the case as roads, sidewalks, and transit are considered physical public assets and require the City to follow the appropriate framework when undertaking any related projects.
  • Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (MCEA), of which compliance is required for all road projects in the City and designates projects to certain project schedules. At present, building cycling and pedestrian facilities are left open to interpretation and can be easily omitted if they do not fit in with the ascribed schedule. The CS implementation framework includes proposed amendments to the MCEA in order to better allow for integrating Complete Streets into the process.
Two of the tools highlighted by the City in the Implementation Framework are the Road Design Guidelines and Multi-Modal Level of Service (MMLOS). These two tools, which are still under development, add to the repertoire of existing guidelines and master plans that could help encourage and integrate principles of active transportation and Complete Streets into upcoming transportation and road projects.

A key point that is reiterated throughout the City’s Complete Streets Implementation Framework is the need to coordinate the entire process through different departments and branches so all parties participate in project development with the ultimate vision of a safe and accessible city for people of all ages and abilities. In particular, this implies and requires knowledge-sharing and training of City staff that are involved in the early stages of the project development process, especially the initiation, planning, and design.

At its core, this implementation plan is a thorough analysis of the City’s project development process in relation to a Complete Streets approach. It provides an in-depth outline of the most effective and impactful way of making the city of Ottawa safe, accessible, and comfortable for all. Thus, it is our job as concerned citizens to hold the City accountable to this plan and to the process they have proposed. This implementation framework will be voted on at the Transportation Committee meeting on October 7th at City Hall, which is our chance to express our support and be present at this moment of decision-making that will shape the future of our city!

Download the following documents here and here

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