• O-Train Confederation Line Fall Newsletter

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  • Red-light cameras being installed at locations across the city

    October 3, 2016 – Today, Mayor Jim Watson, Councillor Keith Egli, Chair of the City’s Transportation Committee, and Orléans Councillor Bob Monette unveiled a new red-light camera at the intersection of St. Joseph Boulevard and Old Tenth Line Road, making it the first of five new red-light cameras that will be installed throughout the city in 2016 with 15 more to be installed in 2017.

    These 20 new red-light cameras will be in addition to the existing 34 red-light cameras currently in operation at locations across Ottawa. The City installs cameras at intersections based on collision rates.

    “Road safety is a top concern in neighbourhoods across Ottawa and as a Council we are committed to making sure that all of our road, path and sidewalk users feel safe,” said Mayor Watson. “In the 2016 budget, Council approved the expansion of the red-light camera program as another tool we can use to ensure our streets are safe for everyone.”

    The program’s objective is to improve intersection safety by decreasing the number of red-light running occurrences. Collisions resulting from red-light running tend to be more severe than other intersection collisions because they usually involve at least one vehicle travelling very quickly. In 2014, there were 655 reportable angle collisions at signalized intersections in the city.

    “Keeping residents safe as they travel through the city is of vital importance,” said Councillor Egli. “By implementing tools such as red-light cameras, with enforcement and education, we can improve the level of safety for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists on our roads. These cameras also allow police to focus on other enforcement needs.”

    Red-light cameras take two photographs: the first is taken when a vehicle is about to enter an intersection with a red light, the second photograph shows the offending vehicle in the intersection. The fine for running a red light is $260, plus a $5 service fee and $60 victim surcharge.

     

  • Mayor Jim Watson calls for increased protection measures for cyclists and pedestrians

    Ottawa – On September 22, Mayor Jim Watson wrote to the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, to request that further research be conducted on truck side guards and other safety measures that would reduce fatal collisions between cyclists, pedestrians, and heavy trucks.

    Mayor Watson’s letter was sent following a meeting with key local cycling and pedestrian groups earlier this month, organized with the Chair of the City’s Transportation Committee, Councillor Keith Egli.

    Today, following a meeting with his provincial and territorial counterparts earlier this week, Minister Garneau announced the creation of a task force to look at measures to increase safety. He also announced the launch of a new Transport Canada study that will examine new technologies that could reduce collisions involving cyclists, pedestrians, and heavy trucks.

    “I am pleased that Minister Garneau has heard our call and is committed to enhancing safety measures; I look forward to seeing the results of their discussions and the proposed study,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “While it is impossible to completely eliminate incidents, the City of Ottawa will strive to reduce their likelihood and severity.”

    “I’m pleased to work with my provincial, territorial and municipal colleagues to explore options to reduce collisions and improve safety for everyone on Canada’s roadways. Whether it’s through technology, equipment, or an educational approach, we need to find out what works best in order to improve safety for Canadians.”  said Minister Garneau.

    For more information on the Transport Canada study, please visit this link.

  • New federal-provincial funding agreement makes 57 public transit projects possible in Ottawa

    The governments of Canada and Ontario, as well as municipalities across Ontario are making investments that will help create jobs and grow the middle class now while building a strong foundation for a sustainable economic future. Catherine McKenna, Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre, on behalf of the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and Yasir Naqvi, Member of Provincial Parliament for Ottawa Centre, and His Worship Jim Watson, Mayor of the City of Ottawa today announced that 57 transit infrastructure projects totaling $155,900,000 will be getting under way in Ottawa thanks to the signing of an agreement with the Province of Ontario that brings a new federal infrastructure funding program into effect: the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF).

    The PTIF will make over $2.97 billion in combined funding available to Ontario communities for public transit projects that will help ensure residents across the province get to work on time and back home safely at the end of a long day.

    The Ottawa projects include the purchase of two sets of trains for the second stage of the Ottawa light-rail system, 17 new vehicles for Ottawa’s bus fleet, extensive improvements to bus routes and transit corridors, and pedestrian and cycling bridges to connect pathways to light rail stations. This work will improve the flow of public transit in the city and prepare for future construction of the light-rail and other important projects.

    These are among 168 projects approved for funding so far under the new program in Ontario.

    Quotes

    “Good public transit infrastructure is fundamental to economic growth and building an inclusive society. I’m very pleased to see that, amongst many beneficial projects, this collaborative funding program will provide support to the construction of a pedestrian and cycling bridge to connect Old Ottawa East, Old Ottawa South and the Glebe. This bridge will make walking and cycling safer options for Ottawa Centre residents and will contribute to a more livable and environmentally sustainable city.”

    Catherine McKenna, Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Centre

    “Building, maintaining and modernizing transit is a key priority for our government. As cities and towns grow, we need to invest in projects that will strengthen our regional transit networks and improve quality of life for the people who live and work in this province. I am thrilled that all levels of government are working together to help build our province up.”

    Yasir Naqvi, MPP, Ottawa-Centre

    “Federal investment in Ottawa’s pedestrian, cycling and public transit systems will provide long-term benefits for our residents and their families”, said Mayor Jim Watson. “This is a new era of collaboration during which our three levels of Government work together to make transformative investments that will improve the lives of Ottawa residents.”

    Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

    Related products

    List of all Ontario PTIF projects approved to date: http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/pt-sp/pt-sp-on-eng.html

    Quick facts

    • PTIF funding is part of Phase 1 of Investing in Canada, the Government of Canada’s historic $120-billion plan to support public infrastructure across the country over the next 10 years.
    • Phase 1 provides more than $11.9 billion in investments to support public transit systems, green infrastructure projects, and social infrastructure projects. Details on Phase 2 of Investing in Canada will be announced over the next year.
    • Under the PTIF agreement, the Government of Canada has made its funding retroactive to April 1, 2016, so projects can proceed without delay to ensure a productive construction season.

    Associated links

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    News Release issued by the Office of Catherine McKenna, M.P., on behalf of the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
    August 23, 2016

  • Ottawa cyclists pedal through two million trips on Laurier lanes

    The Laurier Avenue cycling lanes, built to establish a safe bicycle corridor through Ottawa’s downtown, have reached a milestone with two million bike trips since its opening in 2011.

    “The Laurier cycling lanes are a proven success, attracting more and more residents who are appreciative of this route through our busy downtown. We frequently see more than 3,000 trips a day along Laurier and there are times when there are nearly as many bikes as there are cars,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “Our residents deserve credit for taking advantage of this important piece of our transportation system, using it as a way to improve personal health and reduce the number of automobiles on the road.”

    “The Laurier lanes are now a core part of our Cross-Town Bikeway network, which is being built in the eight central wards to provide safer, continuous cycling facilities,” said Councillor Keith Egli, Chair of the City’s Transportation Committee. “The network was just 25-per-cent complete when the Laurier bike lanes were opened in 2011 as a pilot project. Our plan is for that network to be 71-per-cent complete by the end of this Term of Council, in 2018, which shows the City of Ottawa is serious about making cycling a real transportation alternative for our residents.”

    The initial 1.3-kilometre segment of the Laurier cycling lanes has since been extended both eastward and westward and is part of a 12-kilometre-long bikeway connecting Vanier to Westboro. This east-west route is Bicycle Route #2 within the City’s Cross-Town Bikeway network.

    On Laurier Avenue West, more than 4,000 bike trips were recorded through the day on Wednesday, June 29. On that day, the bike traffic reached 80 per cent of peak vehicle traffic during the morning rush hour.

    The City made major investments in cycling infrastructure totalling $28 million between 2011 and 2014. Plans for further implementing the City’s Cycling Plan between now and 2031 include projects totalling more than $100 million.

  • City Council approves new vehicle-for-hire regulations

    With the approval of new vehicle-for-hire regulations by City Council today, Ottawa has become one of the first Canadian jurisdictions to adopt regulations for Private Transportation Companies. ‎The City has also adopted a lighter regulatory framework for the traditional taxi industry in order to allow it to compete and innovate with new service offerings.

    “Today’s decision moves our transportation system in the right direction by challenging the status quo and opening up the market to competition,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “Ottawa should be a place where people have access to safe, competitive, affordable, and effective transportation options.”

    “I want to thank the more than 6,000 people who participated in consultations and helped us come up with a smart set of 21st century regulations,” said Councillor Diane Deans, Chair of the Community and Protective Services Committee. “Under the new rules, I have every confidence that the traditional taxi industry will change and succeed in this competitive environment.”

    Effective September 30, 2016, a Private Transportation ‎Company (PTC) that wishes to operate in the City of Ottawa would obtain an operating license similar to that of a taxi broker. Prior to commencing operations and on a regular basis thereafter, each PTC must supply to the City information about its drivers and their vehicles. This will include proof of police background checks, vehicle inspections, and proper insurance. PTCs will pay the same broker fee as traditional taxi companies, while also paying a comparable licensing fee on a per-ride basis.

    ‎The Community and Protective Services Committee met for 18 hours over two days last week to listen to public delegations and discuss the proposed changes. The Committee adopted several motions to amend the staff report, many of which were based on feedback received from the taxi industry. These changes addressed issues such as stronger oversight of PTCs, compliance, enforcement, accessibility, HST, and delaying the by-law implementation date by three months.

    Through its new vehicle-for-hire regulations, the City of Ottawa has modernized regulations for the traditional taxi industry to allow it to compete more freely, while protecting key features on which residents have come to rely. The new features of the taxi regulations include:

    • Allowing taxi companies to offer reduced fares when rides are booked through an app
    • Eliminating the $1.50 credit and debit card fee
    • Reducing the taxi driver license fee by 40% (from $170 to $96)
    • Waiving the taxi driver license fee for accessible taxis (from $170 to $0)
    • Eliminating interior and trunk size requirements for vehicles
    • Increasing maximum vehicle age from 8 to 10 years
    • Allowing taxi companies to determine their own industry-specific customer service training, instead of the $820 standard taxicab driver course at Algonquin College
    • Retaining taxis’ exclusive ability to accept street-hails, together with exclusive use of taxi stands and lanes
    • Retaining exclusive Para Transpo contract, worth about $9-million annually
    • ‎Allowing for nominal cancellation fees and surcharges for premium vehicle options when rides are booked through an app

    ‎The City of Ottawa will enforce the existing by-law until the new regulations come into effect on September 30, 2016.

  • Algonquin College joins U-Pass program, now 71,000 students-strong Primary tabs

    OC Transpo, Algonquin College and Algonquin Students’ Association officials signed a Universal Transit Pass (U-Pass) Agreement today. Algonquin College is the fourth local post-secondary institution to adopt the U-Pass, which will make Ottawa’s U-Pass program one of the largest and most successful in Canada with 71,000 participants.

    “We are proud to work with our college and university students to make transit more affordable and convenient,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “Through the U-Pass program and investments like light rail transit, student transit will continue to improve in the years ahead.”

    Starting this September, approximately 16,000 eligible students at Algonquin will pay an incidental fee of $192.70 per semester for a U-Pass, compared with $403 (regular routes) or $497 (regular and express) for four months of adult transit passes.

    “We’re pleased to welcome Algonquin students to the U-Pass program, offering huge savings for existing riders,” said Ottawa Transit Commission Chair, Councillor Stephen Blais. “Transit is the convenient, environmentally sustainable way for students to commute, and we hope the U-Pass will attract even more Algonquin students to let OC Transpo do the driving.”

    Algonquin College will be well-served by the Stage 2 light rail transit project, with a stop at Baseline Station. From there, students and other west-end residents will be able to get on the O-Train Confederation Line to travel downtown or as far east as Place d’Orléans. The Stage 2 project includes 30 kilometres of rail and 19 new stations, and will link Ottawa’s three largest post-secondary institutions by rail.

    “Our first priority at Algonquin College is student success,” said Algonquin College President Cheryl Jensen. “Providing safe and reliable transportation for our students will enable them to travel to the campus and around the city — one less concern during a busy term. Progressive cities and post-secondary institutions know how important this is.”

    “I would like to thank Algonquin students for making their voices heard and for being patient during this process,” said Algonquin Students’ Association President Christina Miller. “Thanks to your support, U-Pass is finally here!”

    Eligible students at Carleton University, the University of Ottawa and St. Paul University already have U-Passes that are active for the fall and spring semesters. In total, this fall, 71,000 local college and university students will receive a U-Pass as part of their incidental student fees.

  • WLRT Corridor Recommendation

    I am writing to update you on the work undertaken by the NCC-City Working Group regarding the western light rail transit (LRT) corridor.

    I am pleased to inform you that the Working Group has reached an agreement in principle, which was announced at a joint press conference with the NCC this morning.

    This agreement meets all of the City of Ottawa’s objectives in its unanimously-approved Transportation Master Plan and will remain within our affordability plan for the project. We would also be able to keep our long-standing commitment to the community to protect the Byron Linear Park and Rochester Field while providing even better access to the waterfront.

    Background

    In late November 2014, I met with then-Minister John Baird to discuss our Stage 2 LRT project. At that meeting, we had a very constructive discussion about this important project. We agreed to a 100-day dialogue between the City and the NCC to find a mutually satisfactory solution for the western extension of the Confederation Line between Dominion and Cleary.

    In December, the City of Ottawa and the NCC formed a joint Working Group to address this issue. The City representatives on the Working Group were Transportation Committee Chair Keith Egli, Transit Commission Chair Stephen Blais, Bay Ward Councillor and Deputy Mayor Mark Taylor, and City Manager Kent Kirkpatrick.

    I want to thank Councillors Egli, Blais, and Taylor for their hard work alongside our City Manager and our partners at the NCC. This was a very intensive review process which was supported by technical and urban planning expertise, and one that led to a historic outcome today.

    I also want to thank Minister Pierre Poilievre for his leadership. He was named Minister Responsible for the NCC during this process and brought the same constructive tone as his predecessor to this important partnership.

    The solution

    The Working Group has recommended a solution that would allow the western LRT extension to be fully buried under realigned Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway lanes between Dominion and Cleary stations. You will be pleased to learn that this solution would remain within the City of Ottawa’s project budget envelope.

    This solution would bring many benefits for the City of Ottawa, the NCC, local residents, and indeed all Canadians:

    – Protection of the Byron Linear Park and Rochester Field;

    – Minimal visual impact on the landscape and experience by users of the corridor

    – Continuous access to the corridor lands and 38% more usable shoreline parkland

    – Improved cycling and pedestrian access via two new crossings under the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway

    – Retention and enhancement of the mature forest, lands and landscaping elements

    – An eventual reduction of nearly 500,000 bus trips annually on the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway

    Of course, these highlights are on top of the city-wide benefits of our larger Stage 2 LRT project, which includes 30 kilometres of rail and 19 new stations. We hope to break ground on this world-class project once the Confederation Line is operational in 2018, which will help us deliver reduced commute times, cleaner air, and a stronger economy.

    Into the future, this recommended route would perfectly complement the NCC’s vision to create a new linear park of national significance along the waterfront.

    Moving forward

    Residents will be able to provide public feedback as part of the public outreach activities planned for the Confederation Line west LRT extension Environmental Assessment (EA) process:

    Monday, March 30
    Evening (time to be announced)
    Ottawa City Hall
    Jean Pigott Place

    This will be an open house to review the 100 Day Working Group Solution between Dominion and Cleary Station.

    The NCC will discuss the solution and the results of the public consultation session at its Board of Directors meeting in April.

    The Transportation Committee and Council will have the opportunity to review and discuss the results of the EA processes for all Stage 2 projects, including the Confederation Line west extension in June. The EA report will provide a recommended alignment for each of the corridors based on a technical review and results of the public consultation sessions for these extensions.

    The materials presented today, including a visual of the proposed alignment can be found online at ottawa.ca/stage2.

  • Airport Parkway bridge opening makes city more accessible, welcoming Primary tabs

    Ottawa – Ottawa’s reputation as a walking- and cycling-friendly city got another boost today with the opening of the Airport Parkway Pedestrian/Cycling Bridge.

    Mayor Jim Watson and River Ward City Councillor Maria McRae officially opened the bridge, calling it an important link between communities on both sides of the parkway and a means to promote safe and convenient cycle travel in the south end.

    “Beyond adding to Ottawa’s cycling infrastructure, this new bridge creates an iconic gateway for those entering the nation’s capital from the airport,” said Mayor Watson. “Looking ahead to 2017, that role will be even more important as Ottawa becomes the place to celebrate the 150thanniversary of Canada’s Confederation.”

    “This bridge will certainly make a grand and striking portal into the city,” said Councillor McRae, “but perhaps more important will be the value it brings to the local community. Residents will enjoy shorter commute times with a direct link to the South Keys transit station and the O-Train. They will have better access to nearby recreational space and retail areas, and the shops and businesses in adjoining neighbourhoods will benefit from the increased traffic.”

    The new connection will also improve access to the Sawmill Creek Cycling and Pedestrian Pathway, which opened earlier this summer. New LED lighting along the bridge and pathway from Cahill Drive West and Plante Drive to the South Keys Transit Station will greatly enhance security and safety in the evenings.

  • Minister Baird, Mayor Watson agree to work together on light rail

    OTTAWA, ONTARIO – John Baird, Minister Responsible for the National Capital Commission and Member of Parliament for Ottawa West-Nepean and His Worship, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson today issued the following statement:

    “Both the Government of Canada and the City of Ottawa have committed to taking the next 100 days to continue to work constructively along with the NCC toward a solution on this transit issue.

    “Moving forward, we have agreed to stay in close contact, meet on a more regular basis on a range of regional issues, and maintain a positive dialogue as we work together for the betterment of our great Capital.”

     

    Government of Canada contact:

    Adam Hodge

    Press Secretary

    Office of the Honourable John Baird, P.C., M.P.

    Adam.Hodge@international.gc.ca

    613-995-1851

     

    City of Ottawa contact:

    Brook Simpson

    Press Secretary

    Office of Mayor Jim Watson

    City of Ottawa

    613-580-2424, ext. 21526

    brook.simpson@ottawa.ca

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