Committee approves plan for expanded retail opportunities, patios and food trucks at city parks

CITY HALL – The city is looking at supporting economic recovery by increasing the number of outdoor retail spaces in front of storefronts and in parking lots.

“The Transportation committee received a presentation about how the city could support economic recovery and help restaurants and retail businesses accommodate physical distancing requirements,” city staff released in a statement today (June 3). “Staff recommend creating new outdoor retail spaces in front of storefronts and allowing food trucks to operate in parking lots at approved city parks. Staff are in discussions with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario about enabling liquor licenses, as well as working on a special strategy for physical distancing in the ByWard Market.”

Ottawa could soon see electric kick scooters on the city’s roads, bike lanes, pathways and footbridges. The Transportation committee approved piloting the use and rental of e-scooters in Ottawa until the end of October 2020. If the pilot is a success, it could be extended for four more years.

If approved by council, the pilot would begin after contracts are in place and consultation with Ottawa Public Health. E-scooter sharing companies, working with the city through a contract, would follow Ottawa Public Health guidelines for scooter sanitization and provide in-app education about hand washing and physical distancing. E-scooters would not be allowed on sidewalks, OC Transpo facilities and vehicles, National Capital Commission pathways or in Gatineau.

The dockless bike sharing pilot would continue this year, if any companies are interested in providing this service. The committee approved a new fee structure to better recover the costs of a dockless system that allows users to pick up and return e-scooters and bikes anywhere. Sharing companies would pay $60 per vehicle and $250 per station, with a $5,000 non-refundable application fee and $25,000 security deposit. They would need to have $5 million in liability insurance.

The committee approved the functional design to extend Vanguard Drive from Lanthier Drive to Mer Bleue Road and add sidewalks and cycling facilities. This would protect the corridor and allow neighbouring landowners to develop their lands around the future extension. The development industry would cover the $10.9-million cost for this project.

The committee heard about Traffic Services’ EcoDrive II project, which recently received the Transportation Association of Canada’s Environmental Achievement Award. Using connected and automated vehicle technology, the project led to a five-per-cent savings in fuel, reducing costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

Recommendations from today’s (June 3) Transportation committee meeting will rise to council on Wednesday, June 10.