Huntmar Drive overpass unfriendly to bikes, pedestrians, residents say

Residents living near the Canadian Tire Centre and the Tanger Outlets mall say a Highway 417 overpass built before an upsurge of local development fails to properly accommodate cyclists or pedestrians.

Huntmar Drive overpass too narrow, lacks sidewalks, community association says

Residents living on both sides of the Huntmar Drive overpass say it needs to be upgraded to improve accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists. (Andrew Foote/CBC)

Residents who live near the Tanger Outlets mall and the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa are calling for better pedestrian access across Highway 417.

The Huntmar Drive overpass connects the two Kanata landmarks but it was designed and built before thousands of people moved into homes nearby.

The narrow thoroughfare lacks sidewalks and is dangerous to bike across, said Joe Boughner of the Fairwinds Community Association.

Joe Boughner of the Fairwinds Community Association says one solution could be converting part of the Huntmar overpass to one-way traffic. (Andrew Foote/CBC)
"[It] was never designed with pedestrian or cycle traffic in mind," said Boughner, whose group wants the city to convert part of the overpass to alternating one-way traffic.

Ginger Newman, who lives in the Fairwinds neighbourhood just south of the arena, said people do try to walk across the overpass anyway but she won't.

"If somebody gets hurt crossing it, it affects everybody," said Newman.

Could affect traffic patterns

Coun. Shad Qadri, whose Stittsville ward includes the area, said city staff are looking into some of the residents' ideas.

There are concerns, however, about whether a major alteration to the bridge could affect traffic patterns, Qadri added.

"Whatever we do has to be safe, not just for pedestrians but everyone who uses that bridge — the vehicles and the cyclists and so forth," said Qadri.

A new bridge is too expensive right now and likely couldn't be built until 2026, he said. 

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