NCC Parkways

The National Capital Commission wants to revisit the role its parkways play in developing the character of the city. (NCC)

The National Capital Commission says it wants to put the park back in Ottawa's parkways, saying the scenic routes into and through the city should not be treated as just another commuter thoroughfare.

The federal landowner has updated its policy governing those driveways for the first time in thirty years.

The Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway and Queen Elizabeth Drive and other routes in the city and through the Greenbelt have veered from their original purpose as Ottawa has grown.

"Conceived of and designed for uninterrupted, pleasurable driving in park-like settings with scenic views, and hailed as marvels of transportation innovation and design, the early parkway concept is today overshadowed by local municipal demands for supplementary regional transport capacity," the NCC writes in its policy document, unveiled Wednesday.

The NCC said increasing demands to accommodate local transportation on federal lands has put the "future integrity" of the parkways at risk.

NCC wants more activities at park space

The commission wants to focus on giving people more access to shorelines and holding more activities on those lands.

"Cars will continue to be on the parkways but the parkways should not just be seen as a commuter route, and what this policy is doing is putting more emphasis on the corridor rather than only on the paving and on the road," said NCC head of planning and transportation Lucie Bureau.

Fred Gaspar, acting vice-president of capital planning, said the NCC and City of Ottawa staff have been having positive discussions about the updated parkway policy, which he says can align with the city's goals for western light rail.

"We're making it quite clear our goal for the parkway is really to emphasize the park element of the parkways and that's why the need to enable pedestrian and cycling activities is so important," said  Gaspar.

The public can also weigh in on the new parkway plans on the NCC's website and at open houses next week.


On mobile? Click here to weigh in on how the NCC's parkways should be used.