Who gets heard - transit users or car owners?

Who gets to consult?

All residents of this city have one vote and technically speaking, we should stand on equal footing. But in reality … some people are more important than others.

An interesting tidbit of information that we learned at the Healthy Transportation Coalition meeting in February is that the city requires extensive consultation with communities, BIAs, and local councillors before they are able to increase parking fees.

In general, we’re big fans of consultation, but we’re also big fans of equality and inclusiveness and fairness.

The situation in Ottawa in 2019 is that transit riders can beg and plead and make impassioned speeches about how a 2.5% increase will affect our lives and how poor transit traps people in their houses or puts them in dangerous situations (see the letter from Stephen St. Denis below) and the reaction from City Hall is “too bad, so sad, there’s nothing we can do”.

But, consider a proposal to ask wealthier people to pay slightly more for parking and as soon as people object, City Hall throws up its hands and says “democracy in action – the people have spoken – we can’t possibly impose a fee increase”.

It’s rather shocking, isn’t it?

Parking fees have been frozen since 2008.

Transit fares have risen 70% over the same time period.

Think this is ridiculous? Speak up. Talk to your councillor.

Personally, I would like the following change:

  1. Put transit riders and car owners on the same level – mandate that OC Transpo consult with communities before making route changes/fare increases and remove the veto power of car owners so that reasonable increases in parking can be considered when a majority agrees.

Meaningful consultation means that you listen to all sides of an issue and make the best decision possible that benefits the most people and does not harm the most vulnerable.

The city of Ottawa is conducting consultations with residents on whether to re-think their parking strategy: Municipal Parking Management Strategy (MPMS) refresh 

There’s also an online survey so we're hoping that people who read this blog will let the city know their opinion.

A final report on the MPMS refresh will be presented to Council in June 2019.

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