Lansdowne Park a work in progress after nearly a year of business
More foot traffic, better traffic infrastructure flagged
Nearly a year after it held its first major event, Ottawa's Lansdowne Park remains a work in progress on the day the city held an "official opening" Friday.
The park's first major events were the first Ottawa Redblacks and Ottawa Fury home games in mid-July 2014, with the Ottawa 67s returning to the arena in the fall and several of the anchor businesses opening through the winter.
On a day a new fitness centre opened and in the middle of the FIFA Women's World Cup, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and officials with the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG) stopped to take stock of the park's development on Friday.
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"This has truly once again become a great destination for people to come and have a meal, to have a drink, to see a movie, to shop, to go to a sporting event," Watson said.
That's not to say the park is completely finished, with work still being done on condominiums, townhomes and some of the businesses on the site.
"Thirty per cent [of the businesses] are going to be opening over the period of the next few months as they finish off their space," said OSEG partner Roger Greenberg.
The president of the Ottawa Farmer's Market at Lansdowne said the group is still waiting for more foot traffic on the average day and some vendors have pulled out.
"The vendors here and ourselves as a market figured it was going to be going pretty much full tilt when we got back here, but it's not," said Andy Terauds.
"Our understanding from the officials was that the Lansdowne site needs 5,000 people per day running through to make it viable, and we're hoping that comes through soon."
Area Coun. David Chernushenko did say the impact of Lansdowne Park's redevelopment on nearby businesses hasn't been as harmful as they expected.
Traffic changes coming
Officials also said they are working to clear up confusion about where vehicles and pedestrians can go in the park, with the separation between road and sidewalk not always clear.
Watson said getting around the park can be "confusing" and they're working to change that.
"We have to improve the distinction to make sure people understand where pedestrians have the right of way and where cars do," he said.
OSEG CEO Bernie Ashe said they'll soon paint lines that create more of a distinction between vehicle and pedestrian areas in the entire park, not just in the retail areas.
"We already put lines down on part of the site and we're working with the city to complete the lines on the city part," he said.
Ashe said they'll soon be colour-coding the underground parking garage at Lansdowne to help people find their way back to their spot more easily.