City to add bike lanes, explore closures for special events this summer
Ottawa city councillors voted in favour of reopening Wellington Street to vehicles Wednesday with a motion that leaves the door open to making the downtown roadway pedestrian-only for special events as soon as this summer.
City councillors voted to take down the concrete barricades "as soon as is operationally feasible" but no sooner than March 1. Capital Coun. Shawn Menard and Gloucester-Southgate Coun. Jessica Bradley dissented.
The barriers were installed to block Wellington between Bank and Elgin streets following the three-week convoy protest last winter.
While Wednesday's motion paves the way for the return of vehicular traffic, it also includes a plan explore temporary closures on the street for special events as soon as this summer, as well as a plan to add a temporary bike lane between Sussex Drive and Lyon Street. City staff said the lane would use painted lines and flex stakes.
'Ugly' barricades must go: Sutcliffe
Mayor Mark Sutcliffe called the decision to reopen the street a "short-term plan" while a grander vision for Wellington Street is worked out with federal partners.
That longer-term plan would take into account security concerns, but also street design, public transit and the needs of both local businesses and resident.
Sutcliffe said it's time to remove the "ugly" barricades and bring activity back to the street.
A working group made up of Public Services and Procurement Canada, the National Capital Commission and the city is currently overseeing a transportation study of Wellington. A final report with recommendations will be tabled later this year or early 2024, according to a city memo.
Council's support for Wednesday's motion comes after the transportation committee voted unanimously to support the motion in January.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Laura Glowacki is a reporter based in Ottawa. Previously, she worked as a reporter in Winnipeg and as an associate producer for CBC's Metro Morning in Toronto. Find her on Twitter @glowackiCBC and reach her by email at email@example.com.
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