Ottawa Airport Parkway pedestrian and bike bridge finally open

It took a a couple of years longer than planned but the bridge is finally open. Judging by the large turnout (an estimated 300 cyclists and pedestrians) the bridge is going to be popular.

The bridge provides a long-overdue east-west connection over the Airport Parkway in the Nation’s Capital. Lots of city staff and local politicians came out to see the opening.

People were thanked for their perseverance to get this project done. It was one of those headache files that you really don’t want to have on your desk, as design and construction were initially not up to standards. Major Watson admitted he “was originally a Doubting Thomas” regarding such a frivoulous design, but considering his Presbyterian upbringing, that comes as no surprise.

Hundreds of pedestrians and a dozen or so cyclists tried out the bridge at below zero temperatures. Hot chocolate waiting across the bridge helped. (Hans Moor)

Cyclists and pedestrians no longer have to use the dreaded Hunt Club Road to get to the Multi-Use Pathways or South Keys transit station. The bridge connects the calm roads of Hunt Club East – Western community -and further west Mooney’s Bay- with the paths along Sawmill Creek. 

The bridge from the other end. (Paul Clarke)
City cycling planners Zlatko Krstulic and Robin Bennett came out on Saturday too. (Paul Clarke)
The Sawmill Creek pathway connects with the Bridge and with South Keys Mall. (Hans Moor)

There were a large number of city staff and elected officials in the crowd: We noticed ward councillor Maria McRae, veteran councillors Diane Deans and Marianne Wilkinson, City Manager Kent Kirkpatrick, Deputy City Manager Nancy Schepers, Chris Swail, Chief of staff at the Deputy City Manager, Vivi Chi (Manager Transportation, Planning), Cycling planners Sam Roberts (the other one), Zlatko Krurstlic and Robin Bennett, Councillor Catherine McKenney (Somerset Ward) and John Fraser (Liberal MPP, Ottawa South) to name but a few. Of course there were Citizens of Safe Cycling members, modest as always.

When we noticed Mayor Watson shaking hands all across the bridge we thought we would warn him that the elections are over.  To which he responded jokingly: “Just one day closer to the next election“.