Stretches of Bank Street, Rideau Canal driveway to be closed to vehicles

After weeks of lobbying, and examples set in Montreal and other cities, officials are moving to 'pedestrianize' some of Ottawa's streets.

Bank Street bridge change in less than a week, says councillor

The Bank Street Bridge over the Rideau Canal will have its 2 outside lanes turned over to pedestrians and active transportation in the next week, says the city councillor for the area. (Francis Ferland/CBC)

Good morning commuters!

I haven't done one of these for a while, but holy smokes — there's something significant to write about!

After weeks of lobbying, and examples set in Montreal and other cities, officials are moving to "pedestrianize" some of Ottawa's streets for people out on essential trips.

That should include bikes and all sorts of active transportation.

Here in Ottawa, Coun. Shawn Menard has been one of the leading voices in favour of closing lanes and streets to vehicles in to create more space for pedestrians and cyclists to pass each other at a safe distance.

Last week the six-foot Capital ward councillor even posted a video of himself lying across a Bank Street sidewalk to demonstrate the difficulty of physical distancing.

Yesterday he took to Twitter again to announce the city's plans to close both curbside lanes of Bank Street over the Rideau Canal.

The NCC has has also announced it intends to close a section of the Queen Elizabeth Driveway to motor vehicles.

So we don't know where exactly or when, but it seems like it will happen.

And then, maybe more: the NCC has been saying it is also looking at its Sunday Bikedays program that closes more parkways to vehicles Sunday mornings in the spring and summer.

It said it's not considering closing parts of the Sir John A. Macdonald or Sir George-Étienne Cartier parkways because of challenges including staffing it and access for buses and emergency vehicles.

The first Sunday Bikeday of 2019 was on May 19. Every Sunday morning until Labour Day weekend, the National Capital Commission's parkways were open to only cyclists. (CBC)

I'll keep an eye on it.

Have a great day!


Doug Hempstead

CBC Ottawa's traffic specialist

Doug Hempstead is CBC Ottawa's traffic specialist and can be heard on CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning and All In A Day. Originally from the Ottawa Valley, Doug is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience in the region covering all types of news. You can reach him when he's on air at 613-288-6900. Tweet him at @cbcotttraffic or @DougHempstead. His e-mail is

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