Bank Street BIA seeks to close Centretown strip Saturdays
Business association proposing closure of Bank from Queen and Flora
The Bank Street Business Improvement Area wants to close part of the downtown commercial strip to traffic on Saturdays this summer.
The BIA is proposing the complete closure of Bank Street between Queen and Flora streets every Saturday from July to September, from 9 a.m. to midnight.
The BIA said it wants to provide better access for cyclists and pedestrians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Overall, the response has been positive," said Christine Leadman, executive director of the Bank Street BIA.
1/3 Downtown Bank has put together a proposal to close Bank Street (Queen - Flora) to motor vehicles to provide greater access for cyclists and pedestrians. This would take place Saturdays (9am - 11:59pm) from July - September 🚲🚶♀️—@DowntownBank
"For those businesses that have concerns about pick-up and delivery services, we're putting options out there to address those," she added. "For one day a week, I think we should be able to find a balance that will be able to work for everyone."
Coun. Catherine McKenney, who represents Somerset ward, said opening up the streets to pedestrians and cyclists will help residents and local businesses adhere to physical distancing rules during the pandemic.
"People want to go out, they want to be able to cycle, they want to be able to walk," McKenney said.
The City of Ottawa requires two-thirds of businesses from each of the 13 blocks affected to vote in favour of the proposal for it to move forward.
The Bank Street BIA said it hopes to update residents on the results of that vote by July 8.
On Friday, Mayor Jim Watson announced the weekend closure of Somerset Street W. between Bank and O'Connor streets, an initiative spearheaded by McKenney after working with the Somerset Village BIA.
As part of our plan to help restaurants create more space for expanded patios, Somerset Street between Bank and O’Connor will be closed on weekends starting this evening. Go out and enjoy this beautiful night while supporting Ottawa’s small businesses! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BuyLocal?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BuyLocal</a>—@JimWatsonOttawa
A relatively modest move by Capital ward Coun. Shawn Menard to close parking lanes along a few blocks of Bank Street in the Glebe caused a rift between him and the Glebe BIA, but on Friday they announced they'd mended their differences.