River Ward City Councillor Maria McRae's Report to Hunt Club Community Organization 6 October 2008

City Invites Residents To Share Their Transitway Memories

The City of Ottawa is asking everyone to participate in a contest to celebrate the Transitway's 25th anniversary. The Transitway Memories Contest invites residents to submit a short story of 500 words or less recounting an experience on the Transitway. The winner will receive an annual transit pass worth more than $1,000. Four runner-up prizes of a monthly transit pass will also be awarded.

The Transitway was the first bus rapid transit system of its kind, has been studied by politicians and planners from all over the world and was recognized as a Public Works Project of the Century: The City intends to exercise this same bold vision in creating Ottawa's transit future and work together to make an outstanding transit system even better.

The Transitway has been a part of the day-to-day lives of our residents for a quarter of a century. It has connected people and communities. We want to hear those stories about how that charming person sitting beside you ended up becoming your spouse, or how a wonderful driver or kind passenger turned an ordinary day into an extraordinary one.

Stories should be submitted online at octranspo.com, dropped off at any OC Transpo Sales and Information Centre during regular hours of operation, or mailed to: Transitway Memories Contest, OC Transpo Marketing Department, 1500 St. Laurent Blvd., Ottawa ON K1GOZ8

The contest closes on Friday, October 24, 2008 at 4 p.m. The winners will be announced and posted on octranspo.com by noon on Friday, October 31, 2008. All stories must be submitted with the contestant's name, address and phone number. Full contest rules are available on octranspo.com or by visiting any OC Transpo sales and information centre.

Snow Go Program and Snow Go Assist Pilot Program

The City of Ottawa is partnering with the Seniors Citizens Council and 11 local community support agencies to deliver two winter programs for seniors and people with disabilities.

The Snow Go Program matches seniors and people with disabilities with contractors and/or individuals who will perform the service of clearing snow and ice from their private driveways and walkways.

The Snow Go Program snow removal workers have been screened by the Ottawa Police through a police record check, and a review of the service fee is performed to ensure an appropriate cost range is charged to the client.

Once matched up with snow removal help, residents are responsible for making payments directly to the individual or contractor. To be matched with a snow removal provider, contact the participating community support agency closest to your area (see list below).

Snow Go Assist Pilot Program: Eligible low-income seniors and people with disabilities may apply to receive financial assistance to pay for a portion of their snow and ice removal costs through the three-year Snow Go Assist Pilot Program. Approved participants may be reimbursed for up to 50 per cent of the cost of snow and ice clearing per event, up to a seasonal maximum of $250. The community support agencies have the ability to limit the funds allocated to participants if the demand is high.

For more information about the Snow Go Program matching service and the Snow Go Assist Pilot Program eligibility criteria and application process, contact one of the participating community support agencies, or visit the Services for Seniors section on ottawa.ca or call 3-1-1.
AgencyGeographic AreaPhoneE-mail
City of OttawaGeneral Inquiries3-1-1311@ottawa.ca
Glebe Centre (Abbotsford House)Serving between the Queens way and Hunt Club Road, between Fisher Avenue and the Rideau River 613-230-5730outreachservices@glebecentre.ca
Senior Citizens CouncilGeneral Inquiries613-234-8044kayf@seniorcouncil.org

City Launches New 3-1-1 Integrated TTY System

On October 3rd, as part of AccessAbility Day celebrations, the City of Ottawa embarked upon a new era in technology with the launch of an enhanced service that allows TTY users to connect directly to the City's 3-1-1 agents when they call the TTY number.

TTY (Text Telephone) is a special device that lets people who are Deaf, deafened, hard of hearing, or with speech impairments, use the telephone system to communicate. TTY users type out messages that are displayed on a small one-line screen instead of talking and listening. The message is transferred over a dedicated phone line to the receiving TTY and displayed on a running one-line display. Until now, TTY's were required at both ends of the conversation and required their own phone line and phone number.

TTY users will still be required to call the City's special TTY number (613-580-2401) however, the advantage of this new software solution provides TTY callers the same access to 3-1-1 agents as voice callers. The only difference will be that the 3-1-1 agents will answer these calls on their computer interacting by text similar to an online chat session.

Additional improvements include the redesign of ottawa.ca to correct problems encountered by screen reader technologies and to incorporate international standards for accessibility. As well, Browsealoud can be downloaded without charge from the City's website. This software allows text to be read out loud that can assists people with low vision or with learning disabilities.

National Rideshare Week Promotes Carpooling in Ottawa

Canadian National Rideshare Week runs from October 6-10 to highlight the many benefits of carpooling. A series of lunchtime events in Ottawa will promote ride sharing as a great way to save money while protecting the environment and reducing congestion on area roads. Carpooling can be easier and more convenient than people realize. With rising gas prices, road construction and growing traffic congestion, it is proving to be an excellent option for many commuters.

OttawaRideMatch.com, an advanced online service that connects people for ride sharing, was launched in the summer of 2006. The Website service matches users with other commuters searching for ride shares based on a number of criteria including work and home locations, travel routes, travel times, and even preferences for smoking or non-smoking. Two thousand residents have logged onto the OttawaRideMatch.com service. With rising fuel costs and growing awareness of the benefits, the service is now taking off.

A series of lunchtime events in downtown Ottawa to promote the Website will raise awareness of ride sharing options and will encourage commuters to try the service. Everyone who logs on to OttawaRideMatch.com before October 10, 2008 will be entered into a draw for great prizes that include a GPS unit, Shell gift certificates, movie passes and more, all provided by the EnviroCentre. For more information visit Ottawa.ca/travelwise

STEP Buckles Down On Unrestrained Vehicle Occupants And Tailgaters In October

This month, the City of Ottawa's Integrated Road Safety Program (IRSP), through its Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP), is buckling down on vehicle occupants that fail to use their seatbelts or fail to use required child car seats and drivers who follow vehicles too closely.

In Ottawa, over the past five years, 27 people were killed, 63 suffered life-threatening injuries and another 354 were injured to a lesser degree as a result of not wearing vehicle occupant restraints. Of the 27 people that were killed, 21 (78 percent) were male and 11 were under the age of 24.

To show support for the Province's "Fall Seatbelt Campaign," the Ottawa Police and Ottawa Public Health nurses are setting up roadside spot-checks to check that vehicle occupant restraints are being used and child car and booster seats are suitable.

Tailgating is also a serious issue on Ottawa roads. In 2007 alone, tailgating caused 4,716 rear-end collisions - the most frequent type of collision accounting for one- third of Ottawa's total collisions. These collisions resulted in four deaths and 1,470 injuries - 17 of them life-threatening,

The STEP tailgating initiative is part of a larger education and enforcement campaign, called "Back Off, that is emphasizing safe following distances during October and November.

Each month since 2004, STEP has been profiling and enforcing two initiatives that target specific traffic safety priorities. These initiatives support larger IRSP public awareness and enforcement campaigns.

In 2003, two City departments - Public Works and Services and Ottawa Public Health - and the Ottawa Police Service developed a program that strengthens, and provides a comprehensive approach to promote, road safety - the Integrated Road Safety Program. The Program's goal is to reduce traffic fatalities or serious injuries by 30 percent by 2010.

Ottawa residents have identified traffic safety as a top priority. The IRSP is committed to using available resources to make Ottawa roads safer for residents.

Progress report shows efficiency savings and FTE reductions

The City of Ottawa has identified $25.2 million in efficiency savings and will eliminate 100 positions by the end of the year, according to a quarterly report released today.

The savings and full-time equivalent (FTE) reductions are part of the Efficiency Savings Program - a three-year, $100-million savings target directed by Council - and are outlined in the Quarterly Report - Efficiency Savings - April 1 to June 30. The savings program is comprised of four areas; productivity improvements, technology investments, asset rationalization and procurement savings.

The productivity target for 2008 is $23.7 million of which $23.2 has been achieved. The remaining $500,000 has been identified within Transit Services and will be achieved in 2009. The remaining $12.5 million of the overall 2008 efficiency target is comprised of $2 million in asset rationalization, and $10.5 million in procurement savings.

Management has identified $2.7 million in savings related to asset rationalization, which will be realized in 2009 and 2010 and will have minimal impact on existing programs or service levels. A report on further asset rationalization opportunities for Council's consideration will be brought forward as part of the 2009 Budget deliberations to facilitate public consultation. Council had been previously advised that procurement savings of $ 13 million are anticipated by 2010, less than the original $35 million target. In order to compensate for this and to remove the impact on the 2009 Operating Budget, the report recommends bringing forward the 2010 productivity improvements target of $13.75 million to 2009. The report further recommends carrying forward the remaining procurement savings target to 2010.

A detailed explanation of each component is contained in the full report, which can be found at Ottawa, ca.

New Comprehensive Zoning By-Law - Effective June 25, 2008

On Wednesday, April 23, 2008, City Council approved the new Comprehensive Zoning By-law, which harmonizes the existing 36 zoning by-laws from the former municipalities into one bylaw; and provides access to zoning information on the City's website by enabling residents to enter an address, which will then bring up the site's zoning designation as well as access to aerial photographs. All zoning information is available in English and in French.

The new By-law reflects the Ottawa 20/20 Vision and is designed to recognize Ottawa's distinctive urban and rural areas. The new By-law implements many of the policies of the City's 2003 Official Plan, which focuses growth within the urban part of the City; promotes increased transit ridership; emphasizes good urban design; preserves environmental integrity; conserves resource areas; focuses rural growth within our villages; and will achieve compact mixed-use communities over the next two decades.

Get It, Plant It, Grow It - Register for Your Spring Tree Today

I would like to invite the residents of Riverside Park to register for a tree to plant on their property through the Trees, Reforestation and Environmental Enhancement (TREE) Program. One potted tree (approximately 1.5 to 2 metres in height) per household is available by registering online at ottawa.ca/TREE or by calling 3-1-1. Residents are eligible to receive only one tree over the life of the program.

Registration runs year-round and trees are available on a first-come, first-served basis, while quantities last. Once registration for the spring 2009 tree distribution is complete, residents may register to receive a tree that will be available in fall 2009.

The TREE Program is a four-year initiative that aims to enhance the City of Ottawa's urban and rural forests through tree planting. The program is nearing the halfway milestone towards the goal of planting 100,000 trees. The TREE Program empowers residents, businesses, community groups and schools to participate in planting trees to increase and maintain the city's forest cover and combat climate change.

Residents who have registered to receive a tree during the fall 2008 distribution are reminded to refer to their registration letter for the date and time of pick up. This fall, distributions will take place at the City of Ottawa's tree nursery and at community distribution sites across the city in partnership with local community associations. Only residents with a confirmation letter or who can provide proof of a municipal address to confirm that they are registered for the fall 2008 distribution period will be eligible to receive a tree. For more information on the TREE Program, visit ottawa.ca/TREE or call 3-1-1.