Pedestrian Issues

More information on Pedestrian related issues in Ottawa can be found at the Walk Ottawa website.

New PXO Type Pedestrian Crossings

During fall 2015 the City approved a plan to implement a number of new pedestrian crossings referred to as PXO's throughout the City.  This is the result of recent changes by the Province to the Highway Traffic Act which now allows new types of crosswalks to be installed at non-intersection locations (ie. midblock or at roundabouts).  These new style PXOs would be allowed on residential or neighbourhood collector type streets (ie not major arterials) and would involve a crosswalk painted on the road with a pedestrian crossing sign at the side of the road.  In some cases, depending on the traffic levels on the road there would also be a pushbutton which would activate a flashing light.  Exactly what type of crossing to use where is tightly regulated by the Province and several different PXO configurations are possible. 

Over the 2016-2019 timeframe the City plans to implement several hundred of these along with an education campaign to ensure drivers understand that they must stop at these crosswalks when a pedestrian is at the side of the road (even though there is no 'stop' sign there).  Now is a good time to engage with your local councilors to put forward suggestions of locations in your neighbourhood that could benefit from a new mid-block pedestrian crossing.  It is not clear at this time the process that will be used by the City to prioritize and decide where the new PXO's will be installed.

Following is a link to the City Staff Report on PXO's outlining the details of this new program.

NCC Vision for Parkway/Driveway Network

The NCC has published a vision document outlining their vision, proposed direction for their Parkway and Driveways Network.  The CCC discussed this proposal and put together some Parkways Policies comments which were sent to the NCC.

In general the CCC is supportive of the NCC's recognition of the greater role the Parkways and Driveways should play for active transportation users both recreationally and for commuting.  Focus needs to be on slowing down car traffic and making the parkways/driveways into corridors that are safer and more enjoyable for all users.

In concert with the above vision document the NCC is also holding public consultations regarding the Sir John A Parkway (former Ottawa River Parkway) along the lines of developing it more intentionally into a 'linear park'. A public consultation session was held in May 2014.  A preliminary proposal for changes is expected in Jun 2015 and a final plan for the end of 2015.

Release of Ontario Coroner's Report on Pedestrian Fatalities

In Nov 2012 the Coroner's Office of Ontario released a report based on an analysis of the 95 pedestrian fatalities that occurred in 2010 in Ontario.   The report goes on to make some recommendations aimed at making walking safer.  The chart below is extracted from the document and provides a summary overview of the 95 cases.

Selecting this link will provide access to the full Ontario's Coroner Pedestrian Death Review 

Formation of Pedestrian Advocacy Group - Walk Ottawa

During 2012, the office of Diane Holmes acted as a catalyst to bring together individuals interested in forming an advocacy group to further the cause of improving the pedestrian environment in Ottawa.  Their website is maintained at

This group has obtained and made available the following list of the top 20 locations in the City where pedestrian injuries/fatalities have occurred in incidents with vehicles as measured over the time period of 2007 to 2011.  This information does not provide any context as to the circumstances involved in these incidents, but it can be useful context information to  indicate where efforts to improve safety could be best focused.  A quick glance at the chart will reveal that 5 of the 20 locations are on Rideau St and an additional 3 on King Edward Ave.

This injury data can then be viewed against the backdrop of the busiest pedestrian intersections to further refine the analysis of where safety efforts could be focused.  It should be noted that the data in this table is collected from summer counts.  As a result it greatly underestimates pedestrian traffic at important and busy intersections around Ottawa U.

See particularly the Walk Ottawa Resources Page for other information relevant to pedestrians in Ottawa.

Rideau River and Rideau Canal footbridges

Following on from the greater than anticipated success of the Corktown footbridge over the Rideau canal at Somerset street, the City of Ottawa is now (2010-2013) conducting environmental assessments and detailed designs for 2 additional footbridges.  The CCC is a supporter of these projects which will form important links in the pedestrian and cycling network.   

The proposed Rideau River footbridge would link Donald Street (Overbrook) and Somerset Street East (Sandy Hill).  More details about this proposed project can be found on this Rideau River footbridge report to Transportation committee.  Funding of 7m$ was allocated for the construction of this bridge in the 2014 budget.  This bridge opened for use in Dec 2015.

During the summer of 2016 usage of this bridge was averaging about 4000 users per day with approximately 55% of those being cyclists and 45% pedestrians.

The second proposed Rideau Canal footbridge would link Clegg St in Old Ottawa East to Fifth Ave in the Glebe.  More details about this proposed project can be found in this Rideau Canal footbridge report to Transportation committee.  The 2013 Transportation Master Plan allocated 15m$ in funding for the construction of this bridge in the 2020-2023 timeframe.  

2016 Update:
  • design has been simplified to reduce costs (straight vs curved)
  • means ramps up to bridge level along side of canal
  • unclear whether space permits stairs as well, communities are asking for stairs
  • some concerns about how peds, cars, bikes, will operate smoothly together at Clegg on the east side
  • desire to add 'lookout' area at middle of the bridge
  • efforts underway to find funding sources from upper levels of gov't to facilitate earlier implementation (prior to current plan of ~2021)
  • in 2016 the Federal Government committed 10.5m$ in funding for this project via the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund. (In total 1.5B$ of this fund is committed to projects in Ontario)
  • this has moved the planned completion date for this project forward to the 2018-2019 timeframe.

The latest status of public consultations on these projects can be found on the City of Ottawa's website public consultations page: City of Ottawa Footbridges Public Consultations

Additional Pedestrian/Cycling Bridges and Pathways

A number of additional pedestrian and cycling links have been undertaken, many of the bridges in particular  financed as part of transit project improvements.  These include:

  1. Pedestrian Bridge across Woodroffe Ave at Baseline Station (Algonquin College) - Completed 2011
  2. Pedestrian Bridge across Airport Parkway at South Keys: Under construction 2012-2013, 2014
  3. Pedestrian Bridge across 417 at Train Station/Coventry Road - Committed in 2012 Budget, Work being performed as part of the 417 Widening Project 2014-2016
  4. Pedestrian Bridge across O-Train tracks at Hickory St. - Construction 2013

Multi-use Pathway Segments:
  1. Hampton Park Multi-Use Pathway: This project includes the extension and upgrade to Multi-Use pathway of the existing pathway in the Hampton Park and through NCC land (Summer 2014)
  2. Sawmill Creek Pedestrian and Cycling Pathway Extension: This project includes the extension of the existing Sawmill Creek pathway from Walkley Transitway Station north along the Airport Parkway and connects into the existing Brookfield pathway just west of the pedestrian bridge over Sawmill Creek. The new pathway will be 3.0m wide, asphalt paved with a 1.5m buffer on either side.  Completion Date: Spring 2014
  3. O-Train Pathway:  This is a new multi-use pathway parallel to the O-Train tracks between Somerset street north to connect with the Ottawa River Pathway.  Completion: Summer 2013.  An extension is planned to complete this connection southwards to Dow's Lake

Details of many of these projects are available on the City of Ottawa Bridges and pathways web page

Colonel By and Queen Elizabeth Drive Pedestrian Crossings Study

The NCC has recognized the need to provide safer pedestrian crossings of these 2 busy roadways along the east and west sides of the Rideau Canal.  A study has been done by consultants and a public consultation process was held.    A large number of candidate crossing locations were narrowed down to 15 candidates for further study (9 along Colonel By and 6 along Queen Elizabeth driveway). Improvements at these locations could be implemented via a range of options such as refuge islands halfway across the roadways, 4-way stops, pedestrian traffic signals, or roundabouts.    

Each of the 15 possible crossing locations was evaluated via a range of factors (safety, auto speed & volume, pedestrian volume, etc) in order to prioritize the locations for future intervention.  Once the ranked list was finalized then plans for improvement were scheduled into the NCC's 5 year capital plan.  

The NCC has removed the link on their website which provided access to a copy of the study.  However following is a link to a powerpoint presentation summarizing the various Canal pedestrian crossings under consideration.

Jan 2017 Update: UofO Campus Station to Corktown Bridge

The City has commenced the design phase for the enhancement of the crossing of Colonel By Drive from UofO Campus to the Corktown bridge. The Recommended Plan for the Crossing at UofO includes a 4.0m wide pedestrian crosswalk and a 4.0m wide bi-directional cycling crossing (or “crossride”). 

The pedestrian and cycling crossings will be located such that they align with the proposed layout of pedestrian and cycling pathways that are to extend through the tunnel beneath Nicholas Street and connect with the future uOttawa LRT Station and the University of Ottawa. The crossing will include the following features:
  • New traffic signals with pedestrian and cycling signal heads that will be compliant with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
  • Pedestrian and cycling staging areas on both sides of the crossing
  • Additional pathway circulation space on the canal side of Colonel By Drive
  • Protective bollards
  • Improvements to existing landscaping

Nov 2016 Update: Queen Elizabeth Drive at QE Place and Commissioner's Park

Crossing enhancements at two further locations along the Queen Elizabeth Driveway have been completed. The new pedestrian crossovers, a joint project between the NCC and the City of Ottawa, were installed at the Queen Elizabeth Place and Commissioners Park locations, both identified as key crossing points in the NCC's 2011 Rideau Canal Corridor Pedestrian Crossing Study. Half of the project's construction costs were funded through the Government of Canada's Public Transit Infrastructure Fund

The pedestrian crossovers are designated areas that allow pedestrians to safely cross roads; vehicles must yield to pedestrians when crossing. Pedestrian crossovers are identified by specific signs and pavement markings

Fall 2015 Update:  Colonel By at Clegg Ave

A traffic light with cycling cross-ride was completed at Colonel By Ave and Clegg Ave.

Some of the community associations along these roadways have provided their comments to the NCC and can be viewed at the following links:
Sep 2014 Update:

The NCC completed installation of a traffic light which is pedestrian activated on Queen Elizabeth Drive at 5th Ave.  Construction was completed in fall of 2014.  More details can be found on the NCC website at 5th Ave crossing improvements.