To: Mayor Jim Watson and Ottawa City Council
The retirement of John Manconi as Ottawa’s General Manager of Transportation provides us with an opportunity to rethink the City’s transportation policy and bring it into the 21st Century. Mr. Manconi’s replacement must be someone who understands that the private automobile’s time at the centre of the transportation system is over. In order to address the climate emergency the City has acknowledged, to enable all of Ottawa’s residents to participate in the economic, socio-cultural and political life of the City and to improve our overall health, the space given over to cars must be reduced and reclaimed for public transit as well as active forms of transportation.
The new head of transportation services must be someone who understands that transit is not a business. Rather, it is a vitally important public service that should be publicly owned and financed, accountable to its users, and managed so as to realize its full potential as a source of stable, skilled public employment. They should embrace the need of essential workers, students and persons with disabilities for a reliable and affordable transit system that takes them to all the places that they need to go. And they should aspire to head a transit system that is a viable alternative to private transportation.
It is critically important that the process used to select the new General Manager of Transportation be a transparent and accountable one. In this spirit, we call on the City to include a public meeting as part of the interview process where applicants for the position can introduce themselves to the City’s residents and answer questions pertaining to their qualifications and vision for the development of the City’s transportation system.
ATU Local 279
Free Transit Ottawa
Ottawa Black Diaspora Coalition
Ottawa Transit Riders