There are four recurring themes to this week’s newsletter: street safety, the city budget, public consultations and snow (will we ever get a break from all the white stuff!?!). So here are some of the things happening for Capital Ward.
Improved Safety for Pedestrians in Old Ottawa South
With much work by the Ottawa South Community Association, I am pleased to say that after working with city staff, we will be changing the way pedestrian signals work along Bank Street in Old Ottawa South. Soon, pedestrian lights for Cameron, Belmont/Glen and Aylmer will cycle continuously for pedestrians between 7:00 am to 7:00 pm weekdays and 9:00 am to 6:00 pm on weekends.
During these times, pedestrians will not be required to press the “beg button” to get the light to change. In addition, whenever the lights change, there will always be a pedestrian light to accompany the green light for drivers.
This will be another step in improving safety for pedestrians in our ward.
Budget Consultation--CANCELLED (weather)
In conjunction with the other urban councillors, we had panels lined up on housing and transit for a budget consultation meeting in Jean Pigott Hall at City Hall this Wednesday, February 13. The meeting has been cancelled due to the weather.
Transit Week Challenge
A big thanks to Free Transit Ottawa for arranging the Transit Week Challenge. In total, 17 councillors agreed to take transit for all walking and non-emergency trips for the week of Monday February 4 to Sunday February 10. I know how important transit is to the city and to our residents...and how many headaches it can cause. During my week of exclusively using transit, I took OC Transpo to City Hall each working day, to all meetings in the ward and the city, and even to visit a family member in the hospital.
The city really needs to do better to provide equitable, affordable, reliable and accessible transportation for all residents.We have some great bus drivers. They’re friendly and helpful, and keep in good cheer even with the stresses of city traffic.
Coming out of the Challenge, I want to help push for improvements to transit, and I want to focus on getting a fare freeze in the upcoming budget and see a city task force on reliability. A fare freeze would provide a little bit of relief to transit users, and it should especially help those on low or fixed incomes.
It would also help maintain ridership. In the past eight years, we’ve lost 8 million rides a year, while fares have increased over 70%. We need to get people back on the bus, and constantly raising fares isn’t going to help.
Pop-Up Office in Full Swing
As you may know, I don’t have an office in the ward. My staff works out of the City Hall office, and I spend much of my time there. However, I know the importance of being in the ward and having “office hours” in the area.
I’m holding Pop-Up Offices at local venues. Most recently, I spent a few hours one Friday morning at Life of Pie in Old Ottawa South.
Throughout this term of council, I’ll be holding more of these throughout the ward. The next one will be Friday March 8th from 10am to 11:30am at Bridgehead - 750 Bank Street in the Glebe. Please just pop in!
Bank Street Secondary Plan and Clemow Heritage Plan Open House
On Thursday February 21 at the the Glebe Community Centre, the city will be hosting an Open House to discuss both the Bank Street Secondary Plan and the Clemow Heritage Plan. These are two important planning and visioning projects for the neighbourhood and for the city this year. This will be our chance to develop a proper plan for what we want Bank Street and Clemow Avenue to look like for decades to come. We welcome input from all residents, and would love to see you there. It will run from 6:00 to 9:00 pm.
Bronson Avenue Consultation
A week later, on February 28, we’ll have a consultation on Bronson Ave safety and the Bronson Sewer and Watermain Project (Arlington Avenue to Imperial Avenue). It, too will be at the Glebe Community Centre, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.
In the coming years, there will be even more work done on Bronson, from the Queensway to the canal, and we are going to take some time during this consultation to begin the conversation about what kind of Bronson Avenue we’ll want for the next four or five decades. We all know that there are safety concerns, traffic concerns and opportunities for revitalization. This is our chance to get a major street done right, and I want to hear from you about how we can make Bronson a better, more livable part of our ward.
Ward Forum on Snow Removal
On Wednesday February 27 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm, we will be holding a forum for Capital Ward residents on snow clearing. This has obviously been a big issue with the significant snowfalls we’ve seen this year. We want to help you understand what the current city protocols are, and we also want to hear what you would like to see out of snow removal in the city.
The forum will be held at City Hall in Andrew S. Haydon Hall (City Council Chambers).
Mutchmor Rink Update
I have met with the Mutchmor Principal as well as our local school board trustee about the issue of returning a boarded hockey rink to the grounds at Mutchmor Public School, and soon I will be meeting with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board administration. I want to find a solution that addresses the concerns of the school and the board, and sees the rink back at Mutchmor. If this can’t be achieved, I will look to another spot in the Glebe, but, unfortunately, one that wouldn’t be as central in the neighbourhood.
The New Crossing Guard is on the Job!
Previously, I told you that we had secured funding for a new crossing guard at Fifth Avenue and Bank Street. This is a great addition to the street, helping to keep school children safe on their way to classes.
Well, I’m happy to say that our new crossing guard, Wayne, is on duty. You can find him every school day in the morning and afternoon helping kids get across the street safely. Thanks, Wayne!
Ottawa City’s Snow Go Programs
I know there are a lot of residents in the ward who have difficulty clearing the snow from their driveway. It can be a particularly taxing activity for seniors and people with disabilities. To try to help out, the city has the following two programs:
Snow Go Program provides a matching service for seniors and people with disabilities looking to hire an individual or contractor to clear snow from private driveways and walkways. Residents who participate in this program are responsible for paying the individual or contractor removing the snow.
- The Snow Go Assist Program provides financial assistance to eligible low-income seniors or persons with disabilities looking to hire an individual or contractor to clear snow from private driveways and walkways. Approved participants may be reimbursed for 50 % of the cost of snow clearing per event, up to a seasonal maximum of $250.
You can find out more about the program on the city’s website.
Winter Parking Tips
It’s no secret that snow makes our commutes tougher during the winter months. While the City’s Roads crews are hard at work removing snow banks, on-street parking is often limited.
Please help keep our streets passable by remembering the following tips when parking:
- Ensure there is adequate space for emergency vehicles, snow plows and garbage trucks to pass by your vehicle when parking next to a snowbank. Even if legally parked, vehicles that are obstructing traffic may be ticketed and towed.
- Keep an eye out for temporary “no parking” signs staked into snowbanks
- Streets without any parking signs have a 3 hour parking limit Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m,. and a 6 hour parking limit from 7:00 am until 7:00 pm on weekends and statutory holidays.
If you park your vehicle on the street overnight, please secure alternate parking arrangements during overnight winter parking bans. Only vehicles with valid on-street parking permits may remain parked on the roads between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. when a ban is in effect.
Bans are announced via the local media, on the City’s social media channels and on the City’s websites. You may also sign up for e-mail alerts.