Nussbaum: Here's why the NCC is opening up part of The Queen Elizabeth Driveway

By Tobi Nussbaum, Ottawa Citizen, April 18, 2020

The National Capital Commission has a proud history of supporting healthy living in the capital — including walking and cycling – and of making it easier and more enjoyable for residents and visitors to make use of its many trails, paths, roads and parkways.

(...)At the NCC, we have been working over the last month to try to achieve this balance. On the one hand, we facilitated local access to most of our pathway network by expediting the clearing of ice and snow. We have continued to allow local access to our trails in the Greenbelt, to ensure people living close by can continue to use them.

On the other hand, we have closed our parking lots to discourage people who don’t live near a particular trail or pathway from making them a “destination” and accessing them via non-essential trips in motor vehicles.

This distinction is important: When outdoor spaces become destinations, they attract crowds from farther afield – which runs contrary to the directive to stay local and the purpose of physical distancing, which we know is critical to controlling the spread of COVID-19. At the same time, we understand that residents of the capital who live in denser urban areas have a greater challenge in exercising locally while respecting physical distancing.

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