Ottawa is the City that Fun and Common Sense Forgot

It seems like summer has finally arrived in Ottawa. The past several days have been hot and sunny, so I’ve been able to get outside and roll around.

While I love getting out and rolling around, it’s a fresh reminder of the lack of wheelchair accessibility, especially downtown.

For example, I don’t know the name of the bridge beside the Chateau Laurier, but it provides a view of the Ottawa River, the path beside the hotel.

Or so I’ve been told.

The railings are too high to see; I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. The frustrating thing is that there is an elevator right beside it that goes down to the path beside the Chateau Laurier. In the past few years, the doors have always been locked. There’s an intercom to the right of the elevator, but nobody ever answers it.

To get there, I need to go to the National Arts Centre (NAC) and then down the path. To me, it sounds like a lot of hassle to get to a path beside the Chateau Laurier.

If I could use the elevator, I could just go down the path and back up the elevator instead of going two or three blocks in the wrong direction.

The sidewalks near the Chateau Laurier and the War Memorial are bumpy and uneven in some spots. I do my best to avoid the uneven spots, as well as the rougher spots. It shouldn’t be that way, though.

People with disabilities should be able to navigate streets and sidewalks easily.

I’m glad there are bike lanes on Wellington Street and along Rideau Street. I would love to see them extend down Elgin Street. Right now, there’s a huge gap between the bike lanes on Wellington and Rideau and near the NAC.

As I mentioned, I would love to see a bike lane along Elgin Street or on a side street. If a bike lane existed, we’d have more space for those who need it. The sidewalks along Elgin are narrow, mainly where restaurants are located.

Why are the sidewalks along Elgin Street so narrow?

Elgin Street is often busy, especially during the summer months. Common sense would dictate that you give people room to get by.

The same is true for Bank Street. The sidewalks along Bank Street are narrow and bumpy. Why are there speed bumps on the sidewalk in some spots?

Are they really necessary?

If Ottawa is serious about improving its nightlife, wheelchair accessibility and fixing public transit should be priorities. Only some people drive or can use Uber.

I’ve also previously mentioned that most buildings in the ByWard Market area are old and, therefore, aren’t wheelchair accessible. Something needs to be done about that. Due to the lack of wheelchair-accessible venues, I haven’t been able to check out local bands.

A classic example is The Rainbow Bistro. As a music fan, I’d love to go to a show there and check out local bands.

If I want to go to a club, my best options are Irene’s Pub or Club Saw, and Para Transpo is my safest transportation option, especially later at night.

Notice that I said safe, not reliable.

Para Transpo is a very unreliable service. I have waited over two hours for Para Transpo to arrive.

I like using the LRT, but the crazy part is it helps if trains are fully operational.

The focus should be fixing our public transit systems as wheelchair accessibility, particularly in the market area.

Once those issues are fixed, we can start fixing our nightlife.

What’s the point of getting a new concert venue if people can’t safely get there and back home?

I figured that it’d just be common sense. Then I realized that I live in Ottawa, a city that fun and common sense forgot.

Until next week, stay safe and keep on rolling.