Denley: In the loop – Plan for a car-free Wellington Street would be a game-changer for Ottawa

By Randall Denley, Ottawa Citizen, October 28, 2020

When Ottawa and Gatineau community leaders band together to support a city-enhancing project, it’s a rare occasion and one that demands public attention. It’s even better when the idea is a winner that solves longstanding national capital problems.

That’s the case with a plan to create an electric streetcar loop that would connect the Parliament Buildings, the ByWard Market, the Canadian Museum of History, the National Gallery and major federal office buildings. The electric trams would travel down a car-free Wellington Street, cross into Gatineau on a rebuilt Alexandra Bridge and return to Ottawa over the Portage Bridge.

Connecting an urban area’s major workplaces and attractions with an easy-to-use transit system is an obvious idea, widely accomplished elsewhere and long talked about here. Ottawa is spending about $4.7 billion on LRT, but it doesn’t connect to Gatineau. The Quebec side is planning a $2.1-billion rail setup to carry people between the two cities, but it ends on Wellington Street, providing only part of the value it could deliver.

Connect with us