Bike Ottawa has actively provided feedback on the City’s Transportation Master Plan (TMP) in various phases, and in both broad and narrow strokes. Below is our letter focusing on five key issues relating to the TMP.
Subject: Bike Ottawa Feedback on the Draft Transportation Master Plan
Dear Ms. Forgie,
I am writing today on behalf of Bike Ottawa to provide feedback on the Transportation Master Plan (TMP). The TMP is foundational to determining how Ottawa will grow and provides the opportunity to fundamentally shift how Ottawans move around our city. Bike Ottawa strongly supports the Official Plan (OP) target of having more than half of trips in Ottawa be taken using sustainable transportation modes. This target sets a level of ambition that if achieved, will play a critical role in building a city of sustainable, liveable 15-minute neighbourhoods.
With that in mind, we would like to offer the following comments for consideration. More detailed comments on the TMP will follow in the form of an annex.
- Bike Ottawa believes the TMP needs to more boldly reimagine how space is allocated on city streets by putting the needs of the most vulnerable road users first. Specifically, if movement by private automobile is no longer to be the main priority for transportation planning, then the city needs to not only build new active transportation infrastructure, it also needs to start allocating existing road space to prioritize sustainable transportation modes and make them the most desirable way to travel.
- Bike Ottawa is pleased to see that the city has developed a strong equity lens for making transportation planning decisions. For too long, North American cities have prioritized commuting to and from work, while underemphasizing the need to travel to and from schools and shopping areas – trips that are typically carried out disproportionately by women. By recognizing the importance of these trips, the city can make important steps to ensure that safe transportation alternatives are planned in a gender-balanced manner. We are also encouraged to see that the TMP acknowledges the need to prioritize neighbourhoods where public transit and active transportation options may not be as equitable as other parts of the city. Given the reliance on these modes of transportation in lower-income communities, which often include racialized communities, this is an opportunity to ensure that urban mobility is not a privilege associated with owning a private automobile. We encourage the city to develop performance indicators so that it can measure the effectiveness of efforts to improve equity in the transportation network.
- The TMP creates important links between active transportation and transit, by acknowledging the role active transportation can play in expanding the catchment for transit, and making it more accessible. Bike Ottawa is supportive of this approach to integrating sustainable transportation modes to leverage their strengths. The success of many bike-friendly cities rests in the close integration between the two, and we believe that bikeshare can be a critical part of the transit network in Ottawa.
- Given the success of the existing winter biking network in encouraging more people to ride bikes year-round, Bike Ottawa is disappointed that the TMP only contemplates an expansion to 80km of winter-maintained bike infrastructure by 2030. Biking is the only mode of transportation where infrastructure is not universally maintained year-round, which hampers the growth of winter biking and limits the effectiveness of encouraging biking as a low-cost, equity-supporting mode of transportation.
- Bike Ottawa supports making use of street designs that will prioritize active transportation over private automobile use, including woonerfs and bike-first streets. We encourage the city to look at similar measures, including using filtered permeability, to allow active transportation users to make more direct trips, while discouraging private automobile trips, and the use of super blocks. We also encourage the city to commit to implementing these types of street forms that have been a success in other cities, rather than relying on pilot projects.
Should you wish to discuss our feedback, I am more than glad to set up a time to meet.
President, Bike Ottawa
Cc: Ms. Vivi Chi, Associate General Manager, Planning, Infrastructure and Economic
Mayor Jim Watson
Councillor Tim Tierney, Chair, Transportation Committee
Councillor Jeff Leiper, Vice-Chair, Transportation Committee
Councillor Eli El-Chantiry
Councillor George Darouze
Councillor Laura Dudas
Councillor Mat Luloff
Councillor Catherine Kitts
Councillor Shawn Menard
Councillor Mathieu Fleury
Councillor Rawlson King
Councillor Diane Deans
Councillor Riley Brockington
Councillor Catherine McKenney
Councillor Theresa Kavanagh
Councillor Keith Egli
Councillor Scott Moffatt
Councillor Jan Harder
Councillor Carole Anne Meehan
Councillor Jean Cloutier
Councillor Allan Hubley
Councillor Cathy Curry
Councillor Glen Gower