Safer pedestrian access to Pretoria food and beer

After six years of deliberation, work will begin this fall to close a small but dangerous piece of roadway just west of Pretoria Bridge.

This would allow pedestrians easier access to the Loblaw’s plaza on Isabella Street.

The closure would prevent southbound vehicles from using the portion of Elgin Street that runs just east of the Canada Trust/TD Bank building at Pretoria Bridge. It would divert all vehicles to Queen Elizabeth Drive.

Photo by John Dance

Currently, pedestrians at the Elgin extension find it difficult to know whether southbound vehicles are about to use the strip or turn towards the bridge or Queen Elizabeth.

Originally announced in 2007 as part of a set of pedestrian and cycling improvements for the Pretoria Bridge area, the work was delayed pending approval by the National Capital Commission and the securing of funds.

This fall, old water main pipes will be replaced near the crossing. After the work is done the closure of the Elgin Street extension is expected to proceed, a city spokesperson indicated.

Plans for the redesigned intersection call for the existing sidewalk along Queen Elizabeth Drive to be continued to the corner of Isabella Street.

This would provide access to the west sidewalk of Elgin Street. The plans also show a new sidewalk leading from the traffic lights at Pretoria Bridge to the south side of the Canada Trust/TD Bank building.

Wendy McRae, long-time Old Ottawa East resident and frequent user of the crossing, suggested another short sidewalk leading from the traffic lights to the north side of the bank would be useful.

She said that was how most pedestrians travelled to and from the Loblaw’s plaza. Barriers closing the Elgin extension should be installed immediately rather than waiting until construction, McRae added.

Such measures “can’t be done safely without the rest of the planned intersection modifications,” said a city spokesperson.

Glebe residents have also requested the city build a parkette in the space created by the street closure.

The Glebe Community Association is consulting with the city on the design although no budget has been identified for the project. One GCA member suggested there be a “fenced area that could be enjoyed by young families.”

OOECA members said park benches and a drinking fountain would be useful amenities in the new space.

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