The partial closure of Gatineau Park to cars is causing dissatisfaction

From May 14 to October 10, Gatineau Park parkways will be reserved for bikes, scooters and other skates, as well as walkers, at specific times of the week.

Throughout this period, on weekends, the Sir-John-A.-Macdonald and Sir-George-Étienne-Cartier promenades will be closed to cars, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the Queen-Elizabeth promenade will be reserved for active transportation from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

From 1er July to September 5, the closure of the Queen Elizabeth Driveway to cars will even be in place seven days a week, the city announced. NCCthis week, through a press release.

One way to reduce car use in Gatineau Park, as already proposed by the NCC with a pilot project set up in 2020.

We took advantage of the pandemic which imposed new restrictions to allow greater access and more opportunities for people to enjoy the outdoors and the park. This is also one of the objectives of our recent Gatineau Park Master Plan. […] It is clear that the desire is to reduce the use of cars in the park and to promote active transportationexplains Catherine Verreault, Senior Manager Lands and Natural Resources at the NCC.

A couple sitting on a beach in front of a lake surrounded by their bicycles.

The NCC wants to favor active transportation in the park (archives).

Photo: Richere David

The pilot project was well received by users, assures Ms. Verreault, offering them a new way to discover it and beneficial effects could be observed on the fauna, she says.

The main benefit of having fewer cars is for wildlife. We see more animalsremarks Ms. Verreault, who indicates that the NCC will collect more data on this issue, particularly on frogs, in order to document the impact of this initiative.

A petition calls for the parkways to be reopened to cars

But this announcement does not please all residents of the National Capital Region. One of them, Ala Kaddy, recently started a petition on the online platform, Friday, it had collected 3146 signatures.

Its author requests that access to the park be restored as it existed before the pandemic.

He invites signatories to send an email to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Filomena Tassi, believing that recent initiatives led by the NCC to close access roads to the park from federal funds to turn them into performance sports facilities are unacceptable.

The radical view of the original intent as access corridors is not supported by the mandate of the NCC or by the intended use of the park. The change in direction of the NCC moving active users away from green space in favor of active users from parkways is out of line with the original use of taxpayer dollars to create this federally funded assetcan we read in the proposed email template, estimating that the new schedule for walks is very discriminatory towards people with reduced mobility, seniors and families with young children.

But according to Ms. Verreault, the decision of the NCC is in line with the objectives of its new master plan which was the subject of meetings, consultations and surveys before being approved in January 2021.

Consultations that Mr. Kaddy calls into question.

I wonder if these polls and information sessions advertised through the social communication networks of the NCC and reserved exclusively for existing subscribers of the website of the NCC can be considered unbiased and inclusive. I know very few people who are aware of the planned changeshe wrote.

A new free shuttle

Even if improvements are envisaged and possible changes, a complete reversal is not envisaged, warns Ms. Verreault, however, recalling the vocation of conservation of Gatineau Park.

We take all feedback from the public very seriously. […] This petition, we take it into account. […] But we also suggest that people try out what was put in place this summer and give us their feedback afterwards.she says.

Access to the various sites in Gatineau Park can be done in several ways, continues the Senior Land and Natural Resources Manager.

A free shuttle accessible to people with reduced mobility (New window) will be available from June 25 to August 28 and will offer round-trip service between Ottawa-Gatineau and the Gatineau Park Visitor Center in Chelsea, stopping at popular destinations along the parkways.

It will also be possible to rent electric bikes, she adds, at the outdoor relay and in Chelsea. The NCC will also offer free rental of electric scooters for people with reduced mobility.

3 thoughts on “The partial closure of Gatineau Park to cars is causing dissatisfaction”

  1. Gatineau Parkways open on May 7th but the shuttle, which only runs on weekends, doesn’t start until June 25th? It also ends before Labour Day? What about Canada Day?

    Also the rental provider of the four-wheel scooters has no idea when they will be available, where they will be available, how fast they go or how far they will go.

    This is called an #AccessibilityFail

  2. The Gatineau Parkways open on May 7 but the shuttle, which only runs on weekends, does not start until June 25? Does it also end before Labor Day? What about Canada Day?

    Moreover, the renter of the four-wheeled scooters has no idea when they will be available, where they will be available, how fast they will go or how far they will go.

    This is called an #AccessibilityFail


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