Seattle’s disability mobility initiative “Week without driving” - similar to Ottawa’s Transit Challenge
Many people will remember that in 2019 and 2020, city councillors and key staff from OC Transpo were invited to participate in Ottawa’s Transit Challenge - rely on public transit for a week in February.
We learned A LOT during those challenges - some participants tweeted about taking their children on the bus and many councillors chatted to constituents about their experiences. Some councillors detailed the challenges of getting around by transit that they had not dealt with before.
We cancelled Transit Challenge 2021 due to the pandemic and we’re watching the news to decide when Transit Challenge 2022 will take place.
But Ottawa is not the only city facing transit inertia.
In Seattle, a disability rights group called “Disability Rights Washington” ran a one-week challenge (disability mobility initiative) asking local politicians to avoid driving for a week.
They just published a report with their findings - take a look. #WeekWithoutDriving
Take note also of the similarities with Ottawa. Many of the politicians are quoted as expressing surprise at how much additional planning it takes to get around without a car.
Lots of people don’t have access to cars - including kids too young to drive, seniors, people with disabilities, people who are concerned about the environment, and those who can’t afford a vehicle. City council has a responsibility to serve ALL residents of a city - not just drivers.
The Ottawa Transit Riders calls on our city councillors to treat transit and active transportation both as an equity issue and as a climate change mitigation strategy.