Table discussion interpreted by Simon de Verteuil, Anthony Imbrogno, John Woodhouse and Daniel Buckles.[1]

Priority: Quickly transition away from car-centric transportation towards public transit, cycling, walking and other forms of active transportation that meet the needs of people with different abilities and incomes. To expedite the transition, the Official Plan requires policies with an outcome of significantly reduced private car use inside the rapid transit zone. By reducing car use, Ottawa’s streets can support healthier, safer communities and allow for faster and more efficient active and public transportation.

Policy Actions:

  • Sharply increase user-fees for parking, starting with the downtown.
  • Introduce a system of congestion charges, starting with parts of the city currently served by light rail transit.
  • Increase the efficiency of the existing road system, using data analytics and technologies to improve traffic management.
  • Convert more car lanes to public transportation by establishing pop-up bus-only lanes and narrowing the lanes of existing two-lane roads to add a dedicated bus-only lane.
  • Convert roads into active transportation corridors with transit lanes, bike lanes, pedestrian walkways and greenspace, starting with streets where light rail transit has reduced bus and car traffic. Depave as much as possible.
  • Implement the Vision Zero strategy for road design and construction, to remove the stigma and improve safety for all road users. Build grade separated cycling lanes wherever possible.
  • Establish an off-peak road use policy for delivery vehicles, starting with home parcel and mail delivery. Encouragethe use of electric cargo bikes for last mile delivery.
  • Sharply reduce spending on road expansion, especially in areas where public transit is planned or projected.
  • Design selected streets for autonomous vehicles, starting with the downtown.
  • Support more intensive use of public and corporate parking space, by permitting off-peak residential uses of commercial parking lots.
  • Improve and enforce no-idling policies for vehicles.
  • Facilitate the development of a coordinated network of charging stations for electric vehicles.
  • Assess and rate city streets on health indicators, including walkability (winter and summer), accessibility factors, safety and air quality. Combine the rating with baseline measures of the true costs of building and maintaining infrastructure for cars, including congestion, pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, noise, unsightliness, and injury and death.

Immediate steps:

  1. Mandate Ottawa Public Health to coordinate stakeholders in an assessment and rating of city streets on health, safety and liveability indicators, which must then be included in transportation network operations and infrastructure planning.
  2. Immediately implement policies with little or no public cost, such as increased parking fees and street conversions to bus-only lanes.

Linkages with other priorities: Reducing car(bon) use is directly linked to priorities focused on transforming LRT stations into Community Hubs and improving the quality of the public transportation network (see Transportation table discussions). Steps taken to create walkable and connected neighbourhoods (see 15 minute neighbourhoods table discussion) also support the reduction of car use in the medium to long term.

[1]Some details previously published by the Healthy Transportation Coalition and Bike Ottawa in an August, 2019 submission to the Planning Committee: Strategic Directions for Ottawa’s New Official Plan: Active Transportation.