Free parking in City of Ottawa lots making it easier to get downtown

The City of Ottawa is offering free parking at select parking garages, as well as free transit, in an effort to encourage people back downtown.

“Awesome,” says Christine, who drove from Gloucester and parked at a city-operated parking garage in the ByWard Market. “I just went to work but now that I know it’s free for the next while, I might come down more often.”

City council passed two motions approving the measures. They are among a slate of motions to help with downtown Ottawa’s economic recovery following the “Freedom Convoy” occupation.

Council approved a plan to offer free parking between Feb. 25 and March 31 at six city-owned parking lots in the downtown and ByWard Market areas to help encourage people to drive downtown and visit businesses.

The lots affected are located at 210 Gloucester St., 234-250 Slater St., 422 Slater St., 70 Clarence St., 142 Clarence St., and 110 Laurier Ave. W.

“Don’t excuse! Let’s come and support our local businesses,” says Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury. “They need you help more than ever. The last two years were extreme, and last month was even more than that.”

The city estimates a loss of $380,000 in parking revenues, to be covered by reserve funds should it result in a net loss at year’s end.

“We’re happy about it; we think it’s a great gesture,” says Pat Nicastro, owner of La Bottega in the ByWard Market, “our customers have already been using it and they love it. It’s getting people down here.”

Customers like Leila Ayoub, who drove from the city’s south end and parked at one of the nearby garages says, “It just makes it easier, coming downtown.”

Six city-owned parking lots in the downtown and ByWard Market areas will be offering free parking from Feb. 25 to March 31 in a bid to help encourage people to visit downtown businesses. (Don MacLean/CTV News Ottawa)

Several downtown OC Transpo routes and the O-Train Line 1 are no charge until March 26. The affected routes are 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 55, 56, 85 , 114. OC Transpo says customers can board the O-Train Line 1 and these 15 bus routes at any stop along the route without paying a fare and the fare gates at stations will be open.

All Para Transpo trips to or from Rideau-Vanier and Somerset wards are also no charge until Staturday, March 26.

Fares and transfers will continue to be required for access to Line 2 buses, all other bus routes, and STO buses.

Kalin McClouskey, executive director of the ByWard Market BIA, is hopeful that these measures will incentivize people to come back to the market. “We’re hoping that it will attract lots of folks from around Ottawa to come down, spend more time in the ByWard Market, do their shopping down here.”

–With files from CTV News Ottawa’s Ted Raymond.

Leave a Comment