Higher downtown parking rates would curb congestion: Report

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The study was paid for independently by four city councillors who don't think widening highways is the best solution to downtown gridlock.

Emma Jackson, Metro

Adding an extra $2 to current downtown parking rates could help alleviate road congestion, according to a report commissioned by four city councillors.

A parking meter on Bank Street in Ottawa

A parking meter on Bank Street in Ottawa. Emma Jackson/Metro

In addition to the parking surcharge, the report looks at three other potential levies: a highway toll; a “cordon charge,” which would ding motorists each time they entered the downtown during peak times; and a higher gas tax.

“We’ve got congestion — it seems to be getting worse,” said Coun. David Chernushenko, one of the four city councillors who funded the report from their own office budgets.

“Let’s have the conversion about, Ok, (if we don’t want to widen roads) what are the other options?” he said.

The study suggests that hiking parking costs would be the best of the four options, projecting that the policy would reduce the volume of the daily morning commute by 136,283 vehicles. And 12,498 more people would be motivated to use transit instead, the report says.

Chernushenko said there’s no reason those people should be alarmed by a research report.

“We’re not planning to introduce any motion in this term to revisit the issue,” he said. “It was clear, rightly or wrongly depending on who you are, that council did not have the appetite at this time to look at congestion pricing.”

Congestion pricing study results to be presented at sustainable transportation event

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I am pleased to share the results of a study that I commissioned with my fellow councillors Jeff Leiper, Catherine McKenney and Tobi Nussbaum to evaluate specific congestion pricing tools that could help reduce traffic congestion and increase transit ridership. We would be grateful to hear your feedback.

The findings of a study on road congestion pricing prepared by transportation specialists CPCS will be discussed for the first time at a road user fee symposium organized by the Healthy Transportation Coalition. The study modelled four scenarios to achieve these objectives and concluded that raising the cost of parking would likely be the most cost-effective congestion pricing tool.

The report, now available here, explores four Ottawa-specific options to encourage transit ridership and increase the economic sustainability of the City's recent LRT investments, including highway tolls, "cordon" charges (a toll to enter downtown), parking rate changes and an increase in the gas tax.

The report concludes that while a cordon charge to enter the Ottawa central area could be more effective at accomplishing the stated objectives, the implementation costs given today's technology would make it impractical. Highway tolls would be less effective given the possibility of leakage onto parallel arterial roads and the inability to address north-south traffic. The study notes important jurisdictional and other challenges regarding the feasibility of raising the gas tax, and concludes that focussing on parking charges would be more useful in addressing congestion and increasing transit ridership. Although high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes were not examined in detail, the report suggests their feasibility could increase in light of provincial highway expansion plans.

The report's lead author, CPCS' Vijay Gill, will be one of several speakers at the March 28 event Road User Fees: Key to Sustainable Urban Transportation (click here for details), along with City Council Environment and Climate Protection Committee Chair David Chernushenko.

"Managing congestion using pricing tools is increasingly recognized by cities worldwide as a way to increase transit ridership, lower greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and address commuting frustration," Chernushenko says. "Our goal in commissioning this research and analysis from CPCS is to contribute to an ongoing conversation about how to best to encourage sustainable transportation and support our significant investment in LRT. This is a very important discussion for Ottawa to have."

Take a look at the report here.

2017 Household Hazardous Waste Depots

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If it’s corrosive, flammable or poisonous it’s hazardous waste. These types of products contaminate water and landfills and should never be poured down the drain or put out with your regular garbage. Instead, bring them to one of the City of Ottawa's one-day Household Hazardous Waste Depots, which are for residents only. They run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the following dates:

Sunday, April 30
Rideau Carleton Raceway
4837 Albion Rd.

Sunday, May 7
Tunney's Pasture
251 Sir Frederick Banting Dr.

Sunday, June 4
Progressive Waste Landfill
3354 Navan Rd.

Sunday, June 25
OC Transpo Park & Ride
3355 Fallowfield Rd.

Sunday, August 20
Kanata Research Park
411 Leggett Dr.

Sunday, September 17
Tunney's Pasture
251 Sir Frederick Banting Dr.

Sunday, October 1
OC Transpo Park & Ride
1201 Trim Rd.

Saturday, October 28
Barrhaven Snow Disposal Facility
Strandherd Dr. at Kennevale Dr.

Products accepted (maximum 100 litres by volume):

Cleaning the Capital early bird registration now open

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City of Ottawa 

Early-bird registration is now available for Ottawa's annual GLAD Cleaning the Capital campaign, which takes place from April 15 to May 15.

Go to ottawa.ca/clean or call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401) to register for the cleanup. Check the interactive map to see which locations have already been claimed, to register your own project site, and to choose the cleanup supplies that you need. You can select any location, such as a park, ravine, shoreline, bus stop, pathway or other public area that requires litter pickup or graffiti removal.

Win prizes
Volunteers who register their cleanup project before April 14 have a chance to win one of many early bird prizes donated by sponsors. Volunteers who submit a final cleanup report by May 31 will be eligible for more prizes.

GLAD Cleaning the Capital is a city-wide event that brings together neighbours, communities and friends to help keep Ottawa clean and green! Last year alone, 72,000 volunteers collected more than 58,182 kilograms of litter from 1,300 projects.

This is a great opportunity for families and friends to work together on community cleanup projects that help make Ottawa clean, green, graffiti-free and litter-free. Cleaning the Capital is also an excellent way for high school students to earn their community volunteer hours.