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Plan to improve Rideau Street and nearby streets available for public review

The City of Ottawa has a unique opportunity to coordinate dramatic future improvements to Rideau Street and neighbouring streets in the Rideau Arts Precinct. Residents can now review and comment on a proposed plan for these public realm improvements.

The Rideau Arts Precinct is the area bordered by Rideau Street to the north, Laurier Avenue to the south, Colonel By Drive to the west and Waller Street to the east. The area is undergoing enormous change related to a series of projects, including the construction of the Confederation Line, the revitalization of the Rideau Centre, the Ottawa Art Gallery Expansion/Arts Court redevelopment, continuing investment on the University of Ottawa campus and ongoing residential and commercial development.

The City will take advantage of this unique opportunity to create a unified, functional, walkable and beautiful public realm. Planned improvements include wider sidewalks, landscaping and street furniture, while still accommodating public transit, driving and cycling. The City worked with Cadillac Fairview (owner of the Rideau Centre), City departments and area property owners, residents and business owners on this public realm concept plan.

The Rideau Arts Precinct is a vibrant hub adjacent to some of Ottawa’s most important destinations and serves to connect the central business district, Parliament Hill, the ByWard Market, the Rideau Canal, the University of Ottawa and Sandy Hill. By redeveloping and transforming the area, it will take its place as the arts, entertainment, and shopping district of Ottawa’s downtown. The mix of lively spaces and pedestrian-focused streets will make the area a destination for visitors and city residents alike.

Some of the proposed public realm enhancements to Rideau Street and Nicholas Street would be the first to be implemented, starting in 2015. Changes to Rideau Street would include wider sidewalks, improvements to the pedestrian crosswalk at William Street, additional trees and an integrated loading area for OC Transpo and STO (Société de transport de l’Outaouais) buses. Nicholas Street would be converted to a pedestrian mall between Rideau Street and Besserer Street. Both projects would be designed and built in coordination with the ongoing Confederation Line and Rideau Centre construction projects.

Residents can review the plan at and provide feedback until Tuesday, February 10.

Once feedback is collected, the City’s Planning Committee will review the plan in early February and will bring it forward to City Council, with a recommendation that it serve as a guide for public realm improvements in the area. Council will consider budgets for the detailed design and construction of the Rideau Street improvements and Nicholas Pedestrian Mall as part of the 2015 Budget process.

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