OC Transpo offers free transit in December and Farm Boy celebrates a milestone: Five stories to watch in Ottawa this week
An LRT train near uOttawa station on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021. OC Transpo began simulating regular service on the line on Thursday. (Josh Pringle/CTV News Ottawa)
OTTAWA -- All eyes on COVID-19 cases in Ottawa as child vaccinations continue, OC Transpo offers free service through December and an Ottawa-based grocery store turns 40.
CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at five stories to watch in Ottawa this week.
COVID-19 VACCINATIONS GO INTO ARMS AS CASES RISE
Ottawa Public Health will continue its push to get COVID-19 vaccines into the arms of children and keep an eye on a new COVID-19 variant this week, as the city sees its highest one-day increase in new cases in eight weeks.
There were 61 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Ottawa on Sunday, the largest one-day jump since Oct. 3. Twenty-four of the 61 new cases of COVID-19 involved residents under the age of 20.
COVID-19 vaccination clinics for children will continue to operate at seven locations in Ottawa this week, and Ottawa Public Health plans to release details on its pop-up clinics in schools.
This all comes as the world keeps an eye on the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Researchers in South Africa identified the variant last week.
Late Sunday afternoon, Ontario announced two Ottawa residents who recently travelled from Nigeria have tested positive for the Omicron variant of concern.
NO MOLECULAR COVID-19 TEST REQUIRED FOR SHORT TRIPS ABROAD
Starting Tuesday, you won't need to provide proof of a negative molecular COVID-19 test when returning home from short trips to the United States.
The federal government says as of Nov. 30, fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents returning home after less than 72 hours in the United States will no longer have to provide proof of a negative PCR test.
The molecular test requirement will still be in place for trips abroad lasting more than 72 hours.
The government says travellers are still required to enter their travel information in the ArriveCan app and will be responsible for maintaining proof of their 72-hour window to show airlines, rail companies and government officials when required.
ALL ABOARD FOR FREE TRANSIT IN OTTAWA
Ottawa transit riders can ride OC Transpo buses and the O-Train for free in December.
Starting Dec. 1, the city is offering no-charge transit across the city all month after a fall that saw the Confederation Line out of service for 54-days following a derailment on Sept. 19.
Mayor Jim Watson proposed the idea of free transit in December back in September.
"This is to thank our residents for their patience and loyalty," said Watson on Twitter. "A regular monthly fare holder will save over $122 while helping our small businesses rebound from the pandemic during the Holiday Season."
OC Transpo says fare gates at all O-Train stations will be open and fare boxes and smartcard readers on all OC Transpo buses will be covered.
All Para Transpo trips during December will be free.
OTTAWA COULD ELIMINATE RED REVERTS AT INTERSECTIONS
The Transportation Committee will vote Wednesday on a proposal to eliminate red reverts at intersections across Ottawa.
The red light technology, called 'red reverts' or 'revert reds', is a sensor at an intersection that detects when a bicycle or vehicle is on it.
Before the light changes, the sensor does a final check to ensure there’s still a car or bike on the sensor. If there is, the light turns green. But if not, the light stays red and the crossing street returns to a green light after five seconds.
Coun. Jeff Leiper is calling on council to get rid of the technology, saying it poses a safety hazard to cyclists.
“If you’re a pedestrian or you’re a driver you have some expectations about how a traffic light is going to behave. If you see that the traffic that’s crosswise gets an amber or a yellow light you have a really strong expectation that you’re about to get a green,” Leiper says.
“If an intersection detects that there is a cyclist at it that cyclist should get a green light no matter whether they’ve left the dots or not. The number of times there is a false detection of some sort has got to be minuscule in the grand scheme of however millions of vehicle movements we have in the city every year.”
City staff, including police and fire services, are opposed to eliminating red reverts at intersections.
The public works department says the change would have a "significant' impact on intersections that work with detection, including more instances of running red lights and jay walking.
FARM BOY TURNS 40
Ottawa-based grocery store chain Farm Boy turns 40 this week.
Jean-Louis and Colette Bellemare opened the first Farm Boy store in Cornwall on Dec. 2, 1981.
Today, there are 42 Farm Boy stores across Ontario, including 16 in Ottawa.
The Farm Boy website says Jean-Louis and Colette opened the first store with one goal in mind: "to bring their community the freshest produce possible at the best value."
EVENTS IN OTTAWA THIS WEEK
Ottawa Board of Health meeting – 5 p.m.
Ottawa Public Library Board meeting – 5 p.m.
OC Transpo's free transit month begins
Proof of vaccination required for all guests 12 and older at national museums in Ottawa-Gatineau
Ottawa Transportation Committee meeting - 9:30 a.m.
Ottawa Senators host the Vancouver Canucks – 7:30 p.m. (TSN 1200)
CTV Morning Live Holiday Helpers Food Drive
Ottawa Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee meeting – 10 a.m.