Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Does Ottawa need a NAC-OCC pedestrian bridge?

Today I stumbled onto an OBJ article from earlier this year about the Ottawa Convention Centre.  What struck me as interesting was not the article but a comment from a reader named Les Gagne who suggested that there was a need for a heated pedestrian bridge connecting the National Arts Centre and the new Ottawa Convention Centre.  He ended his comment with, "Think Big Ottawa".  I like that kind of language, so I started thinking about it.

I'm not sure if Les Gagne literally meant a bridge from the NAC to the OCC, but I'm imagining a bridge from Le Café on the NAC side to the new waterfront plaza on the OCC side.  The NAC has rare waterfront commercial space where you can actually get something to eat or drink.  Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, it's somewhat hidden from the general public.  

With such a crossing Le Café immediately becomes accessible to people on the east side of the canal whether they're attending an event at the convention centre, staying at the Westin, or hanging out in the waterfront plaza.  The space around Le Café would become an extension of the waterfront plaza.  Such a bridge may even lead to the construction of a similar plaza on the NAC property.  The connection would also allow the two facilties to tag team on events if need be, including the Genie or Juno Awards where the NAC could play host and the OCC could be used for fan experience events.

This bridge would also get a lot of action once the public square at the Rideau-Sussex intersection is complete by 2017.  I would like to see this bridge included in the plans for what will be Ottawa's most happening intersection.  It would do wonders for the area.

Les Gagne, whoever you are, two thumbs up for your great idea.  Ottawa indeed has some thinkers.

For your viewing pleasure here are some pics of some great pedestrian bridges.  At this point we can only dream.

Kevin Bourne

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