● Public consultations and online survey on plans for Ottawa River linear park.

The NCC is currently consulting the public on options that could radically alter the park that runs along the Ottawa River between the Canadian War Museum and Britannia Park. This is of interest to cyclists because the multi use pathway in this park is one of the major bicycle routes in Ottawa.

Basically, the NCC proposals (there are several variations) would provide for better public access to the linear park and provide for more things for the public to do on the river front (i.e. make the park more of a public gathering place).

The good news for cyclists (and pedestrians too) is that the proposals would provide for separate or segregated paths for cyclists and pedestrians. This is something that is badly needed for the more popular multi use pathways in the National Capital Region. (Remember, these paths were originally called “Bikeways”.)

The NCC proposals for redoing the linear park generally places less emphasis on accommodating motor vehicle traffic. In fact, there are options for reducing the parkway road from 4 lanes to 2 lanes. Again, all good news for cyclists and pedestrians.

There is no doubt that Jacques Gréber (the man responsible for the plan that redesigned the National Capital Region in the 1950s) made a major mistake when he decided that people should be able to enjoy the waterfront by driving through the park on a 4 lane road. This kind of thinking was prevalent in 1950s and 60s when jurisdictions that weren’t bending over backwards to accommodate motorized traffic were considered backwards.

So today, the solution is simple. Reduce the parkway from 4 lanes to 2 lanes, or maybe even get rid of it altogether. The only problem is that over the past 4 decades, this parkway has become a major commuting route for people driving to and from work. As a result, any proposal to reduce the use of the parkway to motorists will be dead before it even gets off the ground. In other words, the NCC may be consulting people on something that simply isn’t do-able ( at least the part about reducing the parkway from 4 to 2 lanes).

Click here for the presentation of the various proposals for the river front linear park (a PDF document that seems to take forever to load).

Click here for the NCC online questionnaire about the various options for the linear park (available until April 13, 2016).

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