Elgin Street Revamp Plans Set In Motion

Elgin Street is set for a facelift.

The city has approved $36.3 million to completely revamp Elgin Street, according to a press release. With the funds, they hope to construct wider sidewalks, shared cycling and driving lanes, and space for parking and patios. Public art, benches, landscaping, and bike racks are also included in the list of changes.

A public review forum was held last night at City Hall for the upcoming remodel, set to begin construction in early 2019. Ottawa residents had their last chance to give feedback on the Elgin Street Renewal Project’s final designs at the forum. 

The project began with a need to replace underground water mains and sewer systems that date back to 1874, according to Alain Gonthier, the city’s director of infrastructure services.

“It needs to be replaced, but we’re really taking this opportunity to really re-transform Elgin Street to make it a focus as a public space,” he said.

One resident of the area, Nicole Crutcher, said she’s worried local businesses will suffer during construction and road closures.

“I’m concerned that it’s going to end up being a wasteland that will take a long time to come back from,” she said. “We’re going to have to frequent our favorite restaurants on a regular basis so that they have a good flow of people coming in and out.”

Elgin street will remain accessible to pedestrians during construction, confirmed Gonthier, but walking on Elgin is already a challenge because of existing construction by Bell Canada, said another local resident, Barabara Omolewa.

“You have pedestrians, strollers, heavy foot traffic, but having to navigate around that and trying not to go on the road where the construction is happening is a challenge,” she said.

At the forum, Crutcher suggested the city give business owners on Elgin a tax break for the year of construction to encourage them to stay.

Another resident wrote “scramble crossing,” a crosswalk that allows all pedestrians to cross at the same time in all directions, on 10 different suggestion notes.

The project committee attended the information session to answer questions about the designs and said they will review the public’s and other stakeholders’ feedback to finalize the plan.

OC Transpo services will continue with alternate routes during construction and free parking at City Hall will be offered until the project’s completion, expected in fall 2020.

See the full design plans here.