Pop-up patios could replace some parking spots next summer

The City of Ottawa should run a one-year pilot project that turns up to 25 on-street parking spaces into areas used for restaurant seating, entertainment, retail or bike parking, according to a staff report.

One-year pilot project suggested by city staff report, to be voted on by transportation committee

Pop-up patio pilot possible for next summer

7 years ago
Duration 1:59
A pilot project could replace up to 25 parking spots with patios, vendors, bike parking.

The City of Ottawa should run a one-year pilot project that turns on-street parking spaces into areas used for restaurant seating, entertainment, retail or bike parking, according to a staff report.

Coun. Catherine McKenney, who represents Somerset Ward, requested city staff members examine the potential for more patio and sidewalk space in the downtown areas. (CBC)
The report, which will be voted on at Wednesday's transportation committee, suggests councillors approve the "Streetside Spot" pilot. It would remove up to 25 parking spaces.

This came about after downtown Ottawa councillors Catherine McKenney and Mathieu Fleury asked city staff in May to look into ways to create more pop-up street patios and sidewalk extensions.

The report has separated these pop-up streetside spots into three categories, which would create an "improved feeling of safety, livability and neighbourhood animation."

They are:

  • Streetside parklet: Public use including seating, shading, bike parking, games table.
  • Streetside patio: Private use by patrons of applicant (bar, restaurant, café).
  • Streetside vending stall: Private use for retail.

Five of 25 spots will be reserved for parklets due to their "higher contribution to the public realm," the report adds.

'Very few' injuries caused, report says

The report also detailed how city staff reviewed existing best practices in cities such Los Angeles, New York, Montreal and Toronto to examine potential safety concerns and any impact on parking.

Officials found removing four of 17 on-street parking spots didn't alter "parking vacancy rates" in L.A., and fewer spots didn't hurt business.

Thomas McVeigh, owner of Share Freehouse on Somerset Street and the president of the Centretown Citizens Community Association, said in May this idea will help create more sidewalk space and "liveliness of our streets." (Stu Mills/CBC)
The report also said there are "very few documented injuries" related to placing a patio in an area previously accessible to vehicles — a key concern raised by Ottawa police.

The requirements for a "streetside spot" include:

  • Within width of permit holder's property unless written permission is given (a business could use more than one parking spot).
  • On streets with speed limit of 50 km/h or less.
  • Where parking is allowed at all times.
  • Location does not have outdoor patio and has no opportunity to build one due to encroachment bylaw.

If the pilot project passes through votes at transportation committee and city council, the report estimates a call for applications would go out in early October.

Spots would pop up in April

Streetside spots would then start popping up in Ottawa in April 2016 and they can stay open until Oct. 31, 2016 at the latest.

Businesses that are granted streetside spots will be responsible for all costs and responsibilities related to the patio or vending stall. The fees are broken down like this:

  • Patios and vending stalls: $1.18 per metre squared, per day, plus $361 in one-time fees.
  • Parklets: One-time fee of $212.

The results of the pilot project would be shown to transportation committee at the end of 2016.


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