• My letter to Canada Post on City of Ottawa parking regulations

    Deepak Chopra,

    The purpose of this letter is to seek clarification from Canada Post following its public declaration of July 25th, 2017, that, due to “concerns regarding safety and bike lanes in Toronto” you have directed your employees “to not park in bike lanes in the City of Toronto.”

    It is the expectation of the City of Ottawa that Canada Post issue instructions to all of its employees to operate continuously in accordance with the Highway Traffic Act and all applicable federal and provincial laws as well as municipal by-laws while performing their duties.

    Vehicles stopping in, or otherwise obstructing, dedicated cycling lanes represents a serious public safety hazard for cyclists and motorists alike, and is contrary to the City’s Traffic and Parking By-law.  We would like to remind you that the City’s by-laws are enforceable on a crown corporation.  Additionally, when a Canada Post vehicle obstructs a cycling lane it further exacerbates traffic congestion, particularly in the downtown core, and is contrary to the City’s public policy goal of providing a safe city-wide cycling ecosystem, as detailed in the Ottawa Cycling Plan.

    We were encouraged to read in the Metro that Canada Post spokesperson Jon Hamilton recently said that, “our employees are expected to follow the traffic laws when serving customers, which includes no-stopping zones like bike lanes.”  The City of Ottawa is formally requesting that an official statement be made similar to the one issued to your Toronto-based employees here in Ottawa to Canada Post employees.  The City further requests official assurance that your employees are aware that obstructing cycling lanes is always dangerous and not an acceptable practice.  Should Canada Post employees experience problematic areas for making deliveries, the City would be pleased to work with you to develop possible mitigation solutions to keep our city and economy moving. As good neighbours, the City of Ottawa is committed to working with Canada Post to find operational solutions to your specific delivery challenges.

    We look forward to your response. Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Mayor’s Office directly.

    Sincerely,

    Jim Watson                                                        Keith Egli
    Mayor                                                                 Chair, Transportation Committee
    City of Ottawa                                                   City of Ottawa

     

  • 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.

  • 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.