The Ottawa City Council votes to reopen Wellington Street in front of Parliament House one year after the motorcade protest.

Wellington Street in front of the Houses of Parliament has been closed to traffic since late January 2022 due to Freedom Convoy protests, the city’s transport commission said on January 26. voted To resume Roads after March 1st.

A large concrete barrier was set up shortly after the largest protests in Canada’s history landed in the capital. The Ottawa City Council has since approved a motion to extend the temporary closure on February 23, 2022. in particular, 3 blocks Between Bank Street and Elgin Street until the end of the year. However, the street is open to pedestrians and cyclists.

On January 26, the commission’s vice chairman, Katherine Kitts, moved to reopen the road, noting that the city has received requests to do so from residents, businesses and visitors.

Wellington Street between Elgin and Bank Streets will “reopen to all traffic as soon as operationally feasible, but not before 1 March 2023 to allow for replacement and installation of transportation infrastructure in the area.” will be,” the motion said.

The motion also said the city would consider options for temporary road closures between these two streets in the summer of 2023 “for special events or community programs, or for the safety and well-being of Ottawa residents.” .

committee too Proposed temporary bike lanes.

The motion states that the City “is now in consultation with the Ottawa Police Service, Ottawa Fire Service, and Ottawa Emergency Medical Service to allow special events, safety reasons, or lawful protests on Wellington Street and other You can choose to temporarily close the streets of the city,” he said.

In early February, the motion will be put to a city-wide vote.

City Councilor Ariel Troster told the commission that the plan should ensure that “emergency services are never overwhelmed” and that the streets should be “better than they were.”

Commission chair Tim Tierney responded that emergency services and the Ottawa Police Services Commission are working together to address safety concerns. He said the streets are currently unsafe and that councilors want “safety measures in place” if they reopen.

Some councilors, like the senators who addressed the committee, suggested that the streets could be turned into pedestrian zones.

Senator Andrew Cardozo, who lives in Ottawa, said his office is on Wellington Street.

“Right now, bare ugly barricaded streets are not an option,” he said. He called on the committee to make Wellington Street a pedestrian street.

“This is the most important street in our country,” he suggested.

business predicament

The committee also heard that businesses were being inconvenienced by road closures.

Kevin McHale said on behalf of business owners around Sparks Street, one block south of Wellington Street, that the closure has made it difficult for heavy truck deliveries and parking has been a problem for customers.

“The limited amount of surface parking in our area is inaccessible to our members, clients and service providers. Loading zones are inaccessible and deliveries are restricted,” McHale said. said.

City of Ottawa city planner Ben Coolfergus said the Wellington Street talks provided a “historic opportunity” to “not just go back in time, but think about what’s possible in the future.” said.

City Councilman Matthew Ruloff said transportation plans are a key part of the reopening of Wellington Street, which could lead to increased traffic and congestion as more federal workers return to work in offices. said.

“The downtown core infrastructure is not working well in the current situation,” he said.

The House Committee on Procedure and House Affairs recently Proposed Transfer Wellington Street to federal jurisdiction.

The Transportation Commission’s motion calls for the General Manager of Planning, Real Estate, Economic Development, and Public Works to “continue with federal officials on the potential for redefined congressional districts, while conducting appropriate consultations with local businesses and residents.” We will continue to have meaningful discussions,” he said.

Using files from Canadian Press.