Ottawa

Bank Street BIA seeks to close Centretown strip Saturdays

The Bank Street Business Improvement Area wants to close part of the downtown commercial strip to traffic on Saturdays this summer.

Business association proposing closure of Bank from Queen and Flora

The Bank Street BIA is proposing making 13 blocks of Bank car-free on Saturdays during the summer. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC)

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. 

 

"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. 

 

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.

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