Bank Street Canal Bridge Safety Improvements Approved by City Council

Capital Ward Councillor Shawn Menard is pleased to announce that city council has approved the proposed design changes to the Bank Street Canal Bridge. The new design will provide more space for pedestrians and bicyclists, and improve the overall safety of the bridge. The design was approved unanimously by Transportation Committee last week.

The bridge is an important transportation link in Capital Ward, connecting the communities of Old Ottawa South and the Glebe, and providing a link between downtown and areas further south.

Residents have expressed concerns about safety on the bridge for many years. Councillor Menard notes, “speeding has been a long-standing issue, with traffic regularly exceeding the posted speed limit.

“There are also issues with pedestrian and bicycling safety,” Menard continues. “The sidewalk is very uncomfortable for pedestrians. It has a high curb and it’s not very wide. With speeding traffic on one side and a railing on the other, it can be very difficult for pedestrians to pass each other, especially in winter. There are also no bicycling facilities on the bridge, and bicyclists are forced to share the road with buses and heavy trucks. Many choose to ride on the sidewalk because the roadway is so unsafe.”

Six different designs were developed and considered by city staff, before identifying one design that could meet the needs of all users and adhere to city guidelines. Consultations were conducted over the summer, and 86% identified street safety as a priority, while 87% preferred the new design over the existing design.

The new design will reduce the bridge from four traffic lanes to three traffic lanes—two northbound and one southbound. The extra space will be used to implement wide Multi-Use Paths (MUPs) on each side of the road. These MUPS will be 50% wider than the sidewalks they replace. The design will still facilitate buses queuing on the bridge for large events at Lansdowne Park, an important aspect of the Lansdowne Transportation Plan.

This new design will balance the needs and safety of all road users. With limited space on the bridge, compromise was needed, and the design will make the bridge work best for all residents.

Menard considers this not only a positive development for the community and the city, but also an example of what can be achieved through collaboration and consultation. “I want to thank city staff for working so closely with us on this project for several months,” said Menard, “and I want to thank residents and community groups for all their feedback. Through this project, we had a lot of good discussions about street safety.”

Now that the design is approved by city council, the project will enter the detailed design phase. City staff and Councillor Menard’s office will be working with the city’s Accessibility Advisory Committee, the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, the Glebe BIA, and the local community to finalize the detailed design.

The city expects construction to begin next year and be completed by the end of 2021.

Download this press release here [PDF].

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