Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA) changes planned for Kanata


Friday July 4th, 2014

 Mr. Kelahear,

 Thank you for the informative meeting this past spring on the changes that are being made by the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA) that will affect the eligibility of some children who currently take a school bus to get to school.  Based on the confusion being created from the recent public consultation that was held in Kanata on the changes, I feel it is necessary to set the record straight publicly.

 The proposed changes are being made by OSTA, the school bus transportation provider for the Ottawa Catholic School Board and the Ottawa Carleton District School Board.  OSTA have indicated that upwards of 5,000 children may no longer be eligible to take the bus and their families will have to find another mode of transportation to get to and from school each day.  OSTA has created a “Walk Zone” map for each school which outlines the boundary in which children are no longer eligible for busing and has posted this on their website (http://www.ottawaschoolbus.ca/policies/transformation/walkzone-maps).  

 It must be noted that these maps were created by OSTA and the City of Ottawa was not consulted nor participated in their creation. 

 OSTA has been informing parents attending their public consultation that the City will be reviewing locations for Adult Crossing Guards in preparation for the changes to busing in September 2015. 

 However, this is not the case.  The City has a process and a set of requirements in place which determines where crossing guards are installed.  The City completes pedestrian surveys at requested locations in the Spring of each year and locations that meet warrants are recommended for installation in the following year of the study through the budget process.  If funds are approved in the City Budget, Adult Crossing Guards will be added at these locations at the start of the calendar year.  At this point in time, OSTA has not provided any information to the City on the potential increase in the number of children walking to school. 

 Other potential impacts to the City of these proposed changes include an increase in the number of requests for traffic signals, modifications to speed limits, plowing of pathways and increased police and bylaw enforcement around schools.   City staff have had some preliminary discussions with OSTA on this issue, however until OSTA confirms the extent of changes and impacts that these changes could have on City services, it is difficult to predict what the true impact that these changes will have on City services.

 My intention going forward is to communicate to residents that if they have not attended the meetings and wish to discuss these changes or have any questions, to please contact their local school board trustee or by contacting Vicky Kyriaco, General Manager for OSTA at vicky.kyriaco@ottawaschoolbus.ca.  However, I will also be pointing out that residents need to be aware that OSTA cannot make financial commitments on behalf of the taxpayers of the City of Ottawa and therefore any suggestions of changes to city services are just that – possible suggestions.  To determine their new route they should use and OSTA should be encouraging people to use, current conditions when it comes to whether there is a crossing guard, whether the pathway maintained in the winter, parking rules and so on.

 OSTA’s assistance in making these clarifications will be sincerely appreciated. 

Respectfully,

Allan Hubley
Councillor Kanata South

Phone: 613-580-2752
Email: allan.hubley@ottawa.ca

www.councillorallanhubley.ca
Twitter: @AllanHubley_23

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