Cycling safety, new 1010 Somerset plan and remembering Diane Deans

Mobility is a human right. I think about this when I walk or bike through our city. I certainly thought about this a lot this morning, when I joined one of our residents to do errands via ParaTranspo and experienced some of her daily frustrations at delays.

And I saw true mobility in action last weekend, when I joined kids and parents from around the city for a “Kidical Mass” ride on the car-free Queen Elizabeth Driveway. Being able to walk, ride or roll freely and safely through our city should be a given – but as we all know, it really is not.

For years, I cycled with my daughter on the back of my bike. I remember so many close calls, feeling constantly terrified for her safety when I had to use a road without a bike lane. Now I have my heart in my throat when she cycles in front of me, always watching for potential hazards and choosing our routes based on where I think we will be safest. Last summer, I went on a walk with my friend Sally, a wheelchair user. She showed me how cracks and holes in the sidewalk can represent a hazard for her, increasing the chances that she could get stuck or thrown off her chair.

I do not have this experience when I am driving a car because most of our roads are designed to accommodate drivers. But like many of you, I try to use the car as little as possible. It is simply faster and more efficient for me to get to City Hall by bike. I try to make better environmental choices by insisting that our family walk or cycle to locations that are within a 20-minute perimeter. Though my ability to make more sustainable choices really depends on whether or not I know there will be safe, separated infrastructure to get us from Point A to Point B.

At this time last year, our community came together in mourning and rage, after a cyclist was seriously injured in a collision at the corner of Gladstone and Rochester – the very same intersection where a young cyclist was killed 20 years ago. Thanks to public pressure, we were able to get some short-term fixes made to the intersection, plus a commitment from city staff to accelerate the study needed to lay the foundation for a future bike lane on Gladstone. None of it is happening fast enough for me or for our community, but we are getting somewhere thanks to citizen advocacy.

I also have my sights set on Kent Street – essentially a three-way highway exit that runs through our core, right beside where hundreds of residents live. I am happy to report that a traffic study will soon be conducted on Kent – the first step in advocating for safe cycling facilities on that street. On a recent neighbourhood walk with the Centretown Community Association’s Transportation Committee, I was happy to hear that this is also one of their biggest priorities. I cycle on Kent all the time and have had too many near-misses. Change can’t come soon enough.

I am thankful to all of the residents in Somerset Ward who have reached out to our office and joined me in coffee shop office hours to discuss traffic calming, cycling safety and the need for better pedestrian infrastructure. I often say that making change in our city feels like pushing a boulder up a hill, but that we get it up there faster when we work together.

Warmly,

Ariel

Ariel at the safe cycling rally at City Hall last weekend, following consecutive Critical Mass and “Kidical” Mass rides on the Queen Elizabeth Parkway.

Remembering Diane Deans

We are all devastated to hear the news that Diane Deans passed away this week, after a five-year struggle with ovarian cancer. A city councillor for nearly 30 years, Diane was a trailblazer and an inspiration to women in politics. This week, council passed a motion to re-name the Greenboro Community Centre after Diane, in recognition of her life-long commitment to this city and its people.

A celebration of Diane’s life will take place Saturday May 25, beginning at 2 p.m. at the Infinity Convention Centre at 2901 Gifford Drive. The memorial will be open to anyone who wishes to attend.

A book of condolences will be located at Ottawa City Hall and the Greenboro Community Centre on May 21st, 22nd, and 23rd for the public to write messages of remembrance.

Reisdents are also invited to share their condolences by e-mail to [email protected]

Final Plan for 1010 Somerset is on Engage Ottawa

After an extensive public consultation process, the city has released the new (and final) concept plan for the 1010 Somerset/Plant Community Centre site. The new plan preserves Plouffe Park, doubles the green space/park facilities, places Louise-Arbour public school on Oak street, and creates an internal connection for both the school and Plant Bath to a new state-of-the-art recreation centre. Thank you to all of the residents who filled out the online survey, attended community meetings and wrote to my office about your vision for this project.

The project team will hold a virtual engagement session to review the new plan in the coming weeks. You can email [email protected] to sign up for updates, including a notice about this upcoming meeting.

Mayor Sutcliffe, Councillor Leiper and I are committed to ensuring that the French public school board gets to move forward as quickly as possible and build a much-needed school. Our office will keep you updated as this project progresses.

Upcoming open office hours

We are excited to launch our new season of open office hours, working with incredible community partners. Come join me for a coffee and let’s chat about issues in the ward and across the city.

Recreation, culture and sport

Friday, May 24th: 4pm - 6pm @ Happy Goat (326 Elgin St)

Parks with the Dalhousie Community Association

Thursday May 30th: 3pm - 5pm @ Drip House (629 Somerset St West)

Temporary closure of MacLaren Street between Bronson and Bay

Beginning the week of June 3, 2024, MacLaren Street will be temporarily closed between Bronson Avenue and Bay Street to facilitate the continued reconstruction of the watermain, combined sewer and road. This work is being conducted to improve the aging infrastructure in your community. This closure is expected to be complete in November 2024.

More information about the project can be found at ottawa.ca/MacLarenLyonStreets.

Minto Park Sale

It’s that time of year! We’re excited to announce that this year’s Minto Park Sale will be held on June 8, from 9am to 3pm at Minto Park. The sale is a beloved Centretown tradition, and we’re pleased to bring it back for this year. The annual “no yard, yard sale” is a great opportunity to bring out all your odds and sods and see if they can find new life with another neighbour.  

To fill out a request for a table, please fill out the form below. If you have difficulty filling out the form, or are unable to do so, please reach out to us at [email protected] . Please note that tables will be booked on a first come first serve basis. FILLING OUT THE FORM DOES NOT GUARANTEE A TABLE SPACE – you will receive a follow up email with more information, and to confirm your space. If there is sufficient interest, we will open up a wait list. Here is the link to sign up.

Register for the 2024 AccessAbility Day Event 

You are cordially invited to celebrate the City of Ottawa’s 21st annual AccessAbility Day event, held each year as part of National AccessAbility Week.

Date: Thursday, May 30, 2024 

Time: 10 am to 2:30 pm    

Location: Ottawa’s City Hall – 110 Laurier Ave. West

One of the goals of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) is for Ontario to become fully accessible by 2025. With that milestone fast approaching, this year’s theme is "Looking towards 2025 and the future of accessibility".

Please join Mayor Mark Sutcliffe, City Councillors, senior leaders, staff and residents as we mark this important day.   

During the morning opening ceremony, Mayor Sutcliffe will provide remarks and proclaim AccessAbility Day in Ottawa. The event will also feature a keynote address from Phillip B. Turcotte, advocate, disability champion, and former chair of the City’s Accessibility Advisory Committee.

In the afternoon, attendees will have the opportunity to provide feedback on accessibility at the City during consultations on the new City of Ottawa’s Municipal Accessibility Plan (COMAP), launching in 2025.

Registration will be open until Monday May 20, you can register online here. If you are unable to attend in-person, you can watch a live stream of the morning ceremony on the City of Ottawa's YouTube channel.

Theatres at Shenkman Arts Centre Strategy

The Shenkman Arts Centre (SAC) opened in Orleans in 2009 and operates in partnership between the City of Ottawa and the Orleans Town Centre Partnership (OTCP). Within the SAC, the City operates the theatres; a performing arts hall (500-seat Harold Shenkman Hall) and a studio theatre (162-seat Richcraft Theatre).

In 2014, the theatres at Shenkman Arts Centre underwent an extensive strategic review, which identified strategic priorities and direction for the theatres from 2015-2020. The City of Ottawa has identified an opportunity to update and establish new strategic priorities for the theatres at SAC to reflect the current performing arts trends and priorities of the local community.

Following engagement with theatres stakeholders and the general public, an updated 5-year strategic plan will be developed to establish a clear direction and delivery model for the theatres at Shenkman Arts Centre.

Learn more and provide your feedback online here.

Who to Call

Our office put together a comprehensive list of community resources, to help in situations where you or a neighbour might be in distress. Feel free to print this out, post on your fridge and share with your neighbours and local businesses.

Dalhousie Community Association AGM

Join the Dalhousie Community Association on Saturday May 25th for a reflection of the last 40 years and a panel discussion with Councillor’s Ariel Troster, Jeff Leiper and Laine Johnson. The event runs from 3pm – 5pm at the Plant Recreation Centre with the panel starting at 4pm.

 

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