Ottawa Learns Street Design Can't Please Everyone
With large portions being no wider than four lanes (with two of those lanes being street parking) and no room to grow, Elgin Street in downtown Ottawa, Canada finds itself in a battle between the businesses who want to keep their street parking and everyone else who want a bike and pedestrian friendly street. David Reevely of the Ottawa Citizenreports that the consensus opinion of locals is a desire to see wider sidewalks, bike lanes, more street trees, and patios. Businesses on the street disagree, putting their number one priority as the street parking that lines both sides of the narrow roadway.
Reevely writes that a 1989 study by consultants of the area's parking situation found that there was an abundance of daytime parking, but evening parking, when patrons were going to restaurants and businesses, was in short supply.
The consultants kicked around the ideas of banning new restaurants and bars on Elgin because they bring people in at night beyond the area’s parking capacity, fiddling with a handful of no-parking zones to add some spots here and there, and — the big one — tearing up Jack Purcell Park for a new 150-space city garage.
The garage was probably best, the consultants concluded, even though it would cost millions and need subsidies because people will pay for parking when they’re going to work but resist it when they’re going out to enjoy themselves. I’ll say that again. People want parking but not enough to pay what it costs to provide, even when it’s scarce.
The city of Ottawa's project web site notes the functional design study for the street, following the review and evaluation of all options, is scheduled to conclude early next year.