Connecting Ottawa, one pathway at a time

A lone cyclist rides on a bike path

When you hear us talk about active transportation, we’re talking about how you can move yourself around the city without a personal vehicle. Do you walk to the bus? Do you cycle to work? Do you use a wheelchair or scooter to go for groceries? These are all forms of active transportation.

The use of active transportation in Ottawa is growing. The City’s Transportation Planning and Infrastructure Services teams are responsible for planning, building, and fixing our sidewalks, bike lanes, and pathways so that people can get to where they need to go.

They do this through numerous programs including road resurfacing and reconstruction, new road and transit projects, development of residential and commercial sites, and road safety improvements. All major works on City streets have targets to achieve safe and comfortable spaces for people walking or rolling.

These teams also inspect and maintain the current active transportation network, which spans more than 2,300 km of sidewalks, 250 km of bike lanes, and 950 km of pathways  – equivalent to the distance from Ottawa to Vancouver.

Ottawa is vast in its landscape and growing in its population. We need safe, enjoyable and healthy ways to move and stay connected today which will help meet the needs of our growing city tomorrow.

Ottawa’s cycling network

The cornerstone of the City’s cycling planning is the Crosstown Bikeway Network. When it is complete, it will serve nearly every corner of the city. It will stretch across the greenbelt into Orleans, Kanata, Stittsville, Barrhaven, and Riverside South. Beyond this, the Rural Active Transportation Network will extend paved shoulders and major pathways to rural villages and beyond City limits so that seamless connections can carry people as far away as Smiths Falls, Arnprior or even Rigaud, QC.

A long list of active transportation projects was approved in 2023 during Part 1 of the Transportation Master Plan (TMP) Update. These projects will be prioritized as part of Phase 2 of the TMP, which is planned for later this spring. You can learn more about the TMP Update on Engage Ottawa(link is external).

The list of cycling projects completed in 2023 includes:

  • Montreal Road cycle track
  • Mackenzie Avenue to Colonel By Drive Cycle Track
  • Lees Avenue Bike Lanes
  • Fitzgerald Road Bike Lanes
  • Chief William Commanda Bridge

This doesn’t include the paved shoulder improvements in many rural communities which benefit drivers and cyclists alike. All these projects not only help us get around neighbourhoods, but also help us move from one neighbourhood to the next.

More projects are planned to be completed over the next two years, such as:

  • Bike lanes on Billings Bridge
  • A new active transportation bridge over the Rideau River at Carleton University
  • Cycle tracks on Scott Street
  • Bike lanes on Queensview Drive

The vision of the TMP is that in 2046, Ottawa’s transportation network will be flexible, dependable, safe and efficient in meeting the evolving needs of residents and businesses across the city, while enabling the City to meet its climate change goals. The network will provide travel options for people regardless of their income, identity, or ability. The City has an integrated approach to achieve this with strategic investments planned by Active Transportation Planning and with design and construction executed by Infrastructure Services.

Your city, your ideas! 

There is a great opportunity to improve connections between Ottawa’s many urban, suburban and rural neighbourhoods. Multiple City services are working together to create connections and fill gaps, so that people can safely walk and cycle to the places they need to go. Do you have creative ideas related to this or other City services? Share your ideas at engage.ottawa.ca/ConnectedCity(link is external).  

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