“Ottawa wants to transform itself into a world-class pedestrian city where people walk year-round,” says Tanya Stuart (right), Communications Coordinator for Green Communities Canada. Having achieved significant progress towards this goal, Ottawa was recognized with a silver designation in 2013 under GCC’s WALK Friendly communities program.
Praiseworthy initiatives include updates to the Ottawa Pedestrian Plan, pre- and post-evaluations of road projects and traffic-calming plans, and community engagement.
The Ottawa Pedestrian Plan (OPP), approved in 2009 and updated in 2013, recognizes the crucial role of walking in creating an attractive, accessible, livable, safe and healthy community. City staff are empowered to bring forward proposed enhancements to the pedestrian network, planning and design, safety and promotion, and maintenance and rehabilitation.
Key features of the Plan include the Pedestrian Facilities Program, the Intersection
Accessibility Program, the Development Sidewalk Program, the Sidewalk Rehabilitation Program, the Audible Signals Program, and the Countdown Signals Program.
Targets are set for pedestrian modal share in 2031: 46% in the inner area, 12% in the inner suburbs, 11% in the outer suburbs, and 10% city-wide (up from 9.6% in 2001). The City will monitor progress through extensive traffic counts, including pedestrian-specific counts as needed.
GCC’s WALK Friendly designation recognizes municipalities for their commitment to making their communities safe, easy, and enjoyable places to walk. To participate, municipalities complete an online application that benchmarks where they stand on more than 200 walkability indicators, including sidewalk policies, safe crossings, attractive public places, and citizen engagement, with a particular focus on Planning and the five Es: Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation.
For more on the WALK Friendly designation, see our website.