NCC opening Queen Elizabeth Driveway to active use, adding more car hours in Gatineau Park
The National Capital Commission says it will be reopening Queen Elizabeth Driveway to active use this summer.
Starting May 13, the street will be closed to vehicle traffic from Somerset Street to Fifth Avenue to make room for cyclists and pedestrians every Saturday, Sunday and holiday Monday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Between July 1 and Sept. 4, the active corridor will be in effect from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, not just on weekends. It will return to a weekend-only schedule from Sept. 9 to Oct. 9.
The NCC says that new this year, users will be able to enjoy the CAA rest area between Fourth and Fifth avenues. There will also be a rest area near Pretoria Bridge.
A section of the Queen Elizabeth Driveway has been routinely closed to vehicular traffic since 2020 to give downtown residents a place to safely walk, run, and cycle during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The schedule was amended this year based on feedback from the community, the NCC said.
WEEKEND BIKE DAYS
The NCC’s Weekend Bike Days are back for their 53rd season starting this month
Every Saturday, Sunday and holiday Monday from May 13 to Oct. 9, both westbound lanes of the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway, from Vimy Place to Carling Avenue and both lanes of the Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway between the Aviation Parkway and St. Joseph Boulevard in Orléans will be reserved for active use.
Weekend bike days will be in effect on the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway from 8 a.m. to noon because of work on the Champlain Bridge. Closures on the Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway will be in effect from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. every weekend.
The NCC says it can take time to reopen roads to cars, so in the case of the closures on the Queen Elizabeth Driveway and the parkways, motorists are asked to wait one hour after active use ends before driving on the street again.
The NCC says it will be offering more shuttle service to Gatineau Park and additional time for private vehicles on parkways.
Shuttles will be running all day on Saturdays and Sundays from May 20 to Aug. 27, extending the shuttle by five weekends.
From May 6 to September 22, the Gatineau Park parkways will be open to private vehicles on Wednesdays from 8 am to 30 minutes after sunset, and Saturdays and Sundays from 12 pm to 30 minutes after sunset.
In past summers, vehicle traffic started in the afternoon. This would give drivers additional time on the parkways in Gatineau Park. Some hikers and walkers have said they wanted the NCC to extend the hours that cars are able to access the park, starting a petition to ask for increased access.
Nicole DesRoches, vice-president of AQDR Outaouais, a group that advocates for retired and semi-retired people, said she was disappointed in the small amount of extra time for vehicles at Gatineau Park.
“Everyone understands the need for less cars in the Park but this is something that needs a planned phasing out with alternative access,” she said in a statement to CTV News Ottawa. “Sending cars on a municipal road (Kingsmere Road) not built for major traffic and people using Notch Road as a parking lot show that the NCC has not analyzed the impacts of their decision.”
The group had been calling for more data from the NCC on how it determines when to allow cars on the parkways.
Here is how Gatineau Park parkways will be used from May 6 to Sept. 22:
- Monday – Reserved for active use all day
- Tuesday – Reserved for active use all day
- Wednesday – Reserved for active use until 8 a.m.; open to private vehicles from 8 a.m. to 30 minutes after sunset
- Thursday – Reserved for active use all day
- Friday – Reserved for active use all day
- Weekends – Reserved for active use until noon; open to private vehicles from noon to 30 minutes after sunset
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