NCC expanding parkway closures for cyclists, runners and walkers this summer

Queen Elizabeth Driveway is closed to traffic from Laurier Avenue to Fifth Avenue (Josh Pringle/CTV News Ottawa)

The National Capital Commission is opening up its parkways in Ottawa and in Gatineau Park for active transportation this summer, giving residents more space to go walking, running and cycling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NCC unveiled its plans for “Summer Capital” in the national capital region, which includes quadrupling the space for activities to promote physical and mental well-being.

“Just to give people space during the pandemic to be outside and to enjoy some physical space to do their exercising,” said Tobi Nussbaum, President and CEO of the National Capital Commission.

“We know how important that is for their physical and mental well-being.”

The plan will see the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway and Sir George-Etienne Cartier Parkway closed to vehicles on Saturdays and Sundays. Parkways in Gatineau Park will be reserved for active transportation most of the time this spring and summer, with roads open to vehicles on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays after 1 p.m.  

Here is a look at the NCC’s plans for the summer

NCC Weekend Bikedays

The NCC is expanding its popular Sunday Bikedays to NCC Weekend Bikedays, every weekend from May 1 to Oct. 11.

Active users will have exclusive access to the scenic parkways for their physical and mental well-being.

Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Both westbound lanes of the SJAM will be closed to vehicles from Vimy Place to Carling Avenue.

Sir George-Etienne Cartier Parkway – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Both lanes of the Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway between the Aviation Parkway and St. Joseph Boulevard in Orléans will be closed to vehicles.

Gatineau Park Parkways

Starting May 1, Gatineau Park parkways will be reserved for active use most of the time.

The NCC says there will be motor vehicle access to Gatineau Park parkways on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays after 1 p.m.

Parkways for the People

Queen Elizabeth Driveway will be closed to motor vehicle traffic daily to encourage active transportation. A 5 km section will be closed to vehicles from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. this weekend.

Starting Monday, May 3, Queen Elizabeth Driveway will be closed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily between Fifth Avenue and Somerset Street for active users.

Beginning July 2, Colonel By Drive will be closed from Daly Avenue to Canal Woods Terrace 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The road will be available for active transportation use.