Ottawa

Queen Elizabeth Driveway partially closes this weekend to vehicles

Motor vehicles will soon be barred from a stretch of the Queen Elizabeth Driveway and Bank Street Bridge so people can enjoy the spring weather without getting too close to one another.

Bank Street Bridge lane closures expected today

The National Capital Commission says its upcoming closure of part of the Queen Elizabeth Driveway could extend beyond April 26 if it proves beneficial. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC)

Motor vehicles will soon be barred from a stretch of the Queen Elizabeth Driveway and Bank Street Bridge so that people can enjoy the spring weather without getting too close to one another.

Starting Saturday, the driveway will be blocked from Laurier to Fifth avenues between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. so that nearby Ottawans can "get outdoors and enjoy their neighbourhoods while practising safe social distancing," the National Capital Commission (NCC) said in a statement.

The daily closures will last until at least the following Sunday, April 26, the NCC said, and may continue beyond then.

"Because of the directive to avoid all non-essential travel, we ask that only local residents living in adjacent neighbourhoods access the Queen Elizabeth Driveway during this pilot project," the NCC said. 

"Other members of the public should not seek to drive there as a destination."

Bank Street Bridge changes Friday

The road on the west side of the Rideau Canal — which is overseen by the NCC, not the city — cyclists and pedestrians should treat it as one of the commission's other multi-use pathways, with the middle yellow line separating northbound from southbound travel.

Drivers will still be able to cross the driveway at the Pretoria Bridge to access Pretoria Avenue, the NCC said.

Capital Coun. Shawn Menard tweeted Friday morning he expected the two outside lanes of the Bank Street Bridge over the Rideau Canal would close to vehicles today.

Pedestrians and cyclists have been making the case that closing roads to vehicles makes it easier to safely get around for essential reasons, while also staying two metres apart.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, however, has expressed concern that converting streets into bicycle-and-pedestrian-only thoroughfares could actually encourage people to come into closer contact.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story said the Queen Elizabeth Driveway closure started Sunday April 18, not Saturday April 17.
    Apr 17, 2020 8:40 AM ET

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now