Make it permanent: Open letter regarding the Queen Elizabeth Driveway

Tens of thousands of people have enjoyed the open NCC driveways and parkways throughout Ottawa at some point during the last 20 months- you may be one of them!

This week Bike Ottawa submitted the following letter regarding the Queen Elizabeth Driveway which runs along-side the Rideau Canal.

TL;DR: make the opening of the Queen Elizabeth Driveway for active transportation permanent; 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The demand is here. Its time has come.

To: Tobi Nussbaum, President & CEO, National Capital Commission

cc: Yasir Naqvi, MPP, Ottawa Centre

Dear Tobi,

I am writing to you in support of the National Capital Commission’s decision to make Queen Elizabeth Driveway available exclusively for active transportation during weekends. As we have seen through numerous parkway closures to automobiles, Ottawans have shown their support for parkway closures, allowing us all to imagine how parkways could evolve from automobile-oriented corridors, into more people-oriented public spaces based on active transportation..

In light of the support for parkways closures Ottawans have shown, Bike Ottawa is requesting that the National Capital Commission permanently close Queen Elizabeth Driveway along its whole length to automobile traffic and make it a year-round space for active transportation users. Data collected by the National Capital Commission shows that Queen Elizabeth Driveway was well-used by active transportation users, peaking at 25,000 users a week – a level well beyond other parkways in the city. Permanent closure of Queen Elizabeth Driveway would bring numerous benefits, including:

Improved active transportation facilities that can be appropriately maintained year-round, for people on bikes, with expanded capacity that reflects actual bike ridership trends along Queen Elizabeth Driveway;
By designating the driveway itself as space for people on bikes and other faster-moving modes of active transportation, the existing multi-use pathway that is currently operating at or above capacity could be prioritized for pedestrian and recreational uses;
Converting Queen Elizabeth Driveway to use for active transportation would create an enhanced active transportation corridor that links several neighbourhoods, as well as key destinations along its route, including Confederation Park, the University of Ottawa, Patterson Creek, Lansdowne Park, Commissioners Park and Dow’s Lake, as well as the Dominion Arboretum.

Improved active transportation access along Queen Elizabeth Driveway would be a showcase for Canadians as to how the National Capital Commission can help lead the transformation of Ottawa from a 20th Century model of automobile-based urban sprawl, to one where we plan for human-scaled activities to make a more liveable city. We hope that the National Capital Commission will move quickly to make this vision a reality.

Érinn Cunningham
President, Bike Ottawa