News / Ottawa

Pedestrians to reign over Queen Street

The city is injecting $20 million into Queen Street so it's more pedestrian-friendly by the time light rail opens.

Wide sidewalks, trees and planters are planned for the areas around Lyon and Parliament light-rail stations on Queen Street.

City of Ottawa

Wide sidewalks, trees and planters are planned for the areas around Lyon and Parliament light-rail stations on Queen Street.

Pedestrians will rule the road once Queen Street is redeveloped.

The city will spend $20 million between now and 2018 reinventing Queen Street as a welcoming and comfortable environment for people walking to and from the LRT stations at Lyon and O’Connor streets, staff said at a meeting Wednesday.

The uninspiring four-lane road we know today will pinch to two lanes just east of Metcalfe Street, down to Bay Street. The sidewalks will be widened and bricked, and dotted with bike racks, benches, trees and planters.

There won’t be any cycling lanes – just green ‘super sharrows’ – but it’s still considered a complete street.

“For Queen Street, pedestrians get the highest level of service,” said Somerset Coun. Catherine McKenney.

The city’s light-rail tunnel runs directly beneath Queen, and two of three stations will surface there. Thousands of people are expected to pour onto the sidewalks during rush hour.

“Part of what will define the success of LRT is their experience when they come out,” McKenney said. If it’s welcoming, “you’re more likely to take the train again.”

Construction starts this spring and will close the road to westbound traffic for the better part of two years.

The mayhem will run right through the Canada 150 celebrations in 2017, but Sparks Street BIA program co-ordinator Kevin McHale, who represents several businesses on Queen, said the short-term pain will be worth it.

"I think you're going to see a real revival downtown."