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Home » Colonel By reopens to vehicles, prompting cyclists, pedestrians to ask why

Colonel By reopens to vehicles, prompting cyclists, pedestrians to ask why

a person riding a bicycle down the street: A man stops his bike at the intersection of Hawthorne and Colonel By Drive on Monday - the last day before a five-kilometre stretch of Colonel By reopens to motor vehicles.

© Ben Andrews/CBC Information
A person stops his bike on the intersection of Hawthorne and Colonel By Drive on Monday – the final day earlier than a five-kilometre stretch of Colonel By reopens to motor autos.

Some cyclists and pedestrians are asking why the Nationwide Capital Fee (NCC) is reopening a five-kilometre stretch of Colonel By Drive to motor autos, following a summer season closure that allowed folks to remain lively throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fee closed the part of Colonel By that stretched from Daly Avenue beside the Shaw Centre to Canal Woods Terrace close to Bronson Avenue on July 1, to permit for rehabilitation of the street’s getting old retaining wall.

However with the NCC reporting greater than 92,000 visits throughout that point, some who took benefit of the closure are questioning the return to establishment.

“I feel the [NCC] has had since April of final yr till now to develop some form of a coherent coverage round future use for these sorts of areas,” mentioned Gabriel Rivett-Carnac, who walked on the street 5 or 6 days every week and biked alongside it together with his younger son throughout the summer season.

“I can not rationalize why these areas are being closed to lively transportation … and why they are going again to only being roadways.”

Extra visits to lively areas

Though the NCC closed Colonel By to accommodate building, the street was additionally one among various initiatives designed to encourage the usage of out of doors area by means of the pandemic.

The fee reported over 657,000 visits to parkways that have been restricted solely to lively use in 2021, a rise of greater than 25 p.c over the identical interval the yr earlier than.

The NCC continues to be preserving the stretch of Colonel By closed to motor autos throughout “peak instances” for bicycle and foot visitors, one thing that was noticed extra on weekends than on weekdays, mentioned communications advisor Dominique Huras.

Motor autos will probably be diverted away from Colonel By between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekends till Oct. 11, to match the NCC’s weekend bikedays program on the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway and the Sir George-Etienne Cartier Parkway. 

Nobody from the NCC was obtainable for an interview, Huras mentioned in an electronic mail.

Advocates see alternative for ‘daring motion’

Shawn Gettler, vice-president of biking advocacy group Bike Ottawa, mentioned he’d like the closure to be thought-about a “pure experiment” for a way Colonel By may very well be used otherwise sooner or later.

“The unique intent was by no means that it was only a commuter route. It is simply form of fallen into that function,” mentioned Gettler.

“It is public area, and it is the form of factor we should always actually be as a means we might add extra park area and extra capability on the lively transportation community.”

The NCC’s resolution final yr to increase pedestrian and bicycle entry throughout COVID-19 lockdowns was “fairly profitable,” mentioned Adrienne Yuen, an Ottawa resident who revealed a e-book chapter in August on pandemic recreation within the metropolis.

“It was an instance of an area authority experimenting a bit bit in mild of COVID to provide folks a protected area to recreate and benefit from the outside,” she mentioned.

Rivett-Carnac mentioned he’ll miss the liberty of strolling and biking on an open roadway now that pedestrian visitors on Colonel By has been shifted again to the slim multi-use pathway.

“Something exterior of a motorcar isn’t handled as a critical mode of transportation,” he mentioned. “There’s only a lack of coherent coverage round taking daring motion to make some form of a change.”