Slater, Albert streets in for major makeover after LRT launch

The $32-million makeover planned for Slater and Albert streets after Ottawa's Confederation Line is up and running calls for an east-west bikeway through the downtown, leaves room for fewer parking spots, and gives more space to pedestrians but less to cars.

More cycling lanes, wider sidewalks planned for downtown transit corridor

Long rows of OC Transpo buses lining Albert and Slater streets will be replaced by cycling lanes and more space for pedestrians once Ottawa's Confederation Line is up and running. (Paul Jay/CBC)

The $32-million makeover planned for Slater and Albert streets after Ottawa's Confederation Line is up and running calls for an east-west bikeway through the downtown, leaves room for fewer parking spots, and gives more space to pedestrians but less to cars.

"Once the buses come off of those roadways, we are taking back that public space," said Somerset Coun. Catherine McKenney. "And we are making it active for pedestrians and cyclists, which is what it should be."

The plan for redesigning Albert and Slater, from Empress Avenue in the west to Waller Street in the east, will be discussed at the transportation committee on Wednesday, where public delegations are also expected to make presentations.
A look at the area that's in for a $32-million makeover. (City of Ottawa)

For decades, the two one-way roads have been used as urban extensions of the Transitway, and both roads are packed with buses during the morning and afternoon commutes.

But once  LRT is running through the downtown tunnel by the end of this year, it will replace many of those OC Transpo buses. Gatineau's STO buses that currently use Wellington Street will be rerouted to Slater and Albert.

Lanes reduced

Both streets will be reduced to one lane of traffic in each direction, to be shared with buses. The number of parking spots along the route will decrease by about 190, but those that remain will be available for use all the time. 

The work will be completed over the next three years, and is divided into the the following separate segments.

West sector

  • From Empress Avenue to Bay Street, including Bronson Avenue between Queen Street and Laurier Avenue.
  • Complete road reconstruction expected to begin in 2021.
  • Most expensive segment, costing an estimated $26 million.
  • Will simplify the intersection where Bronson, Slater and Albert meet.
  • Raised cycling tracks on right-hand side of street.
  • Sidewalks at least two metres wide.
  • Flexible roadside space for patios, car or bicycle parking.
    Many OC Transpo bus routes that currently use Slater and Albert streets will be rerouted. (Paul Morisset/CBC)

Core sector

  • Runs from Bay to Elgin streets.
  • Interim solution, as not schedule for road reconstruction for many years.
  • Cycling lanes to be installed on right side of each street, buffered by curbs or planters.
  • Keeps loading zones, taxi stands, accessible no-parking areas.

​East sector

  • Runs from Elgin to Waller streets, over the Mackenzie King Bridge.
  • Buffered cycling lanes on the right side of each lane of Mackenzie King Bridge between Elgin and Rideau Centre.
  • Cyclists must use pedestrian crossing at Rideau Centre to access existing lanes running along median of Mackenzie King Bridge between Rideau Centre and Waller.
  • Part of bridge that forms the roof of National Arts Centre could be reconstructed as early as 2020. At that time, city will install new sidewalks and improved cycling facilities.