Earlier this year, the NCC quietly made a significant shift for the Gatineau Parkways. Whereas before, the Parkways were closed to cars and open to bikes for a few mornings a week, now the Gatineau Park parkways are, by default, available only for active transportation, except on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons when the parkways are opened to all vehicles.

Get it? The NCC has flipped the script, with the Gatineau parkways now prioritising active transportation while making allowances for cars.

And here is the really interesting thing. While there has been some opposition from drivers, there have been thousands of cyclists, walkers and rollers can’t stop talking about how wonderful it is.

So here is a simple proposal for the Queen Elizabeth Driveway: do for the QED exactly what you have done for the Gatineau parkways. Public agencies always like to be able to point to a precedent, and so there it is. This is something we have tried and tested before, and it has been a knock-it-out-of-the-park success.

More specifically, here is one possible solution for making the QED a people-first parkway:

  • Make the QED available for active transportation by default.
  • Let cars drive down this scenic route three afternoons a week.
  • Open up the roadway to cars for major events at Lansdowne, such as the 10 or so home games played by the RedBlacks each year.
  • Erect permanent gates along the QED, similar to what we have on the Gatineau Parkways, so that transitioning from one mode to the other only need take a matter of minutes.

Which leaves one last question: what do we do in winter? Leave the QED open for cars … or turn Dow’s Lake to Pretoria into another fabulous winter trail?