By John Dance
How about another footbridge to help Glebe residents explore further afield by foot or bike?
The Old Ottawa East Community and Riverview Park Community associations have requested that the City of Ottawa consider the value and feasibility of a modest footbridge over the Rideau River at the eastern end of Clegg Street, which is now joined at its western end to the Glebe by the Flora Footbridge.
During these pandemic days, Glebe pedestrians and cyclists have become urban explorers, and Flora Footbridge has opened up a new world for discovery. The proposed river footbridge would allow easy access to pathways on the far side of the Rideau River.
The footbridge would provide cyclists and pedestrians with a safe alternative to the Main Street McIlraith bridge which leads onto cycling-unfriendly Smyth Road.
The bridge would also provide a missing link in the city’s east-west active transportation system and easy access to and from the Smyth Health Campus.
With the new Hospital Link pathway and route through the hydro corridor on the eastern side of the Rideau River, cyclists would have an enjoyable and convenient way of getting across the city without going downtown to Laurier or travelling to the busy Baseline-Heron and Hunt Club cross-town routes.
Similarly, the bridge would provide a link to the pathway going through the Alta Vista transportation corridor all the way to the bike lanes on Conroy Road.
The new footbridge would complete a Rideau Canal-River loop with three other footbridges: Flora, Corktown linking Centretown and Sandy Hill, and Adàwe linking Sandy Hill and Vanier/Overbrook. With its wonderful views, Adàwe allows an added appreciation of the Rideau; a new footbridge would further enhance access to and appreciation of the river.
Similar to how Flora has better connected the Glebe, Old Ottawa East and Old Ottawa South, the proposed river footbridge would connect Riverview Park and Alta Vista to western communities.
“Just like Corktown Bridge 13 years ago and now Flora Bridge, footbridges have surprised us with the larger-than-expected number of users, and this new bridge is also likely to exceed estimates for its use,” said Glebe resident Allison Dingle, who was a strong advocate for the Flora Bridge.
Capital Ward Councillor Shawn Menard and Alta Vista Councillor Jean Cloutier have expressed interest in investigating the proposed bridge.
The Old Ottawa East Community will be presenting the proposal to the Glebe Community Association to seek its perspectives.
John Dance lives in Old Ottawa East and has been a key advocate for building the footbridges of Ottawa