MIS-STEP: A list of mysteriously missing sidewalks

Jane's Walk 2016 on Stittsville Main Street. Photo by Barry Gray.

(ABOVE: Walking down Stittsville Main Street during Jane’s Walk 2016. Photo by Barry Gray.)

The Ottawa Neighbourhood Study gives Stittsville a walkability score for of 54% for pedestrian infrastructure. That’s slightly above the city average of 50%, but it suggests there are a lot of places where we can do better. Here’s a list of 10 spots in need of an upgrade for pedestrians.

Stittsville walkability score
Ottawa Neighbourhood Study, 2016.

Hazeldean, between West Ridge and Carp.  There’s an OC Transpo bus stop along here, but to get to it you have to walk on the shoulder or the bike lane. That might work in the summer but it’s rather unsafe after a big snowfall.  There’s no sidewalk to be found on either side of the road, despite being adjacent to homes and businesses.  This would also be a handy route to walk to the Sobeys grocery store for people in West Ridge or Timbermere.

Maple Grove Road, between Huntmar and Terry Fox. It’s time for an upgrade from the current gravel shoulders. A proper sidewalk on this road would make it a convenient (and safe) link for people in Fairwinds to reach two major recreation facilities: Bell Sensplex and Walter Baker Park / Kanata Rec Centre.

Fringewood Drive, south of Hazeldean.  There are sidewalks on both sides of the road along Granite Ridge, but they stop abruptly when the street turns into the older part of Fringewood.  Given the proximity to Stittsville Public School, sidewalks along this route should be a no-brainer.

The Huntmar Bridge over the Queensway. We’ve written about this one before.  The bridge links a major shopping centre (Tanger Outlets) and a major entertainment facility (Canadian Tire Centre) and yet the bridge has been deemed off-limits to pedestrians.  That leaves the Arcadia neighbourhood north of the Queensway completely isolated unless you own a car.

Huntmar Bridge overpass
Approaching the Huntmar Bridge overpass from the south, the narrow paved path ends just before the bridge.  The “sidewalks” have been deemed unsafe for pedestrians to use.


West Ridge Drive.  Most of West Ridge has sidewalks on both sides of the road,  but there are a few sections where the sidewalk meanders from side to side, forcing pedestrians to cross over the busy street.  One of the most inconvenient – and incomprehensible – examples is just north of Sable Run, where Canada Post put the community mailboxes on the side without the sidewalk!  Residents have also been asking for more pedestrian crosswalks at various points along the street, including at Deer Run Park.

Map of West Ridge near Sable Run
Missing sidewalk on the west side of West Ridge. Via Bing Maps


Carp Road, north of Timbermere. Not a super-busy area for pedestrians yet but now that there are more homes and businesses in the area it would be a useful link to have. Sure you can walk on the shoulder but look out for vehicles using it as a passing lane!

Iber Road. The city tends not to build sidewalks in industrial areas, but this street might count as a special situation. Many of the businesses stray from “industrial” and include dance studios, fitness studios, a craft brewer and a daycare.  Commuters walk on the shoulders – or snow banks – to get to the bus stop on Hazeldean Road. It’s close to a high school and it’s adjacent to the Trans Canada Trail.

The west side of Huntmar Road, across from Food Basics / Shoppers Drug Mart. The sidewalk is curiously missing between Coriolis and Hazeldean.  There was a sidewalk there previously (I remember walking my dog there when I first moved into the neighbourhood – I even tweeted about it, see below) but it was ripped up circa 2011 or 2012, never to be seen again.

Park pathways. Add to this list the many pathways that cut through parks that don’t get plowed in the winter, reducing mobility for people on foot. These are important connections to get around in our community and should be maintained year-round.

Crosswalk on Stittsville Main at Elm.  Crossing the street at the north end of Elm, around where Jo-Jo’s Pizza is located, is like playing a game of Frogger.  It’s the longest stretch of Stittsville Main without a crosswalk.

WHERE ELSE?  Tell us what other streets need better pedestrian infrastructure.  Add a comment below or email feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca


Pedestrian crossing sign on Kittiwake Drive



31 thoughts on “MIS-STEP: A list of mysteriously missing sidewalks”

  1. There’s a bus stop on the west side of Springbrook (in Amberwood Village – right near the entrance off Hazeldean Road, across from the Rona) that has no sidewalk. Got off a bus there the other night and needed to walk to the Glen on Hazeldean Road – had to dodge cars turning onto Springbrook in the dark.

    Especially tricky since the bus stop is located round a bend and incoming cars can’t see pedestrians getting off a bus until they’re right on top of them.

  2. The entire sidewalk down main street is terrible. It is difficult to push a stroller over the curbs let alone use a wheelchair or walker.
    Additionally, the sidewalk ramp at elm and main street closest to fernbank slopes onto main street so those with strollers have to push the babies into main street to access elm crescent.

    There should also be a sidewalk from Porter street to fernbank on stittsville main.

    Lots of improvements for accessibility for sure!

    1. Great suggestions.
      As part of the Stittsville Main Community Design Plan, there are plans to widen the sidewalks – but there’s no timeline on when that might happen.

    2. Agree! I had to skip the pedestrian walkabout on Main Street last fall because that street is inaccessible at the best of times for anyone with mobility issues. This must be a priority when revitalizing Main Street.

    3. Agreed Sarah! There is so much potential for Main Street to be a vibrant, pedestrian friendly street with store-fronts, restaurants, and boutique shops. A collective focus, lead by City Council, on how to make this a reality and not succumb to the quick revenue of car-focused plazas is badly needed.

  3. Elm Cres. (Soon to be Brae) is considered an arterial road and has the soccer fields, playgrounds, bus stops, mail boxes, skating rinks, and now a HUGE construction site coming up and NO sidewalks on either side. The city says it plans to do the sidewalks when they re-do the roads there, but realistically that will probably be 15+ years away. With this new subdivision comes 120-150new homes with maybe 200 cars and no safe access to any of the amenities. How do we teach our chilRen to walk on the sidewalk when there is no sidewalk.

    1. Thanks for your suggestion Todd.
      Elm’s listed as a “Minor Collector” for now, on par with a street like Granite Ridge or Maple Grove – both of which have sidewalks.

      1. I live just off of the southern part of Elm, near Norway Spruce, and have to agree. The shoulder of the road is non-existent, so the edge of the road is crumbling badly, making it difficult to navigate in the summer. Given the lack of culverts, water collects during winter months, then freezes over, making it very icy for winter walking. To top it off, it is poorly lit, so not very safe for a pedestrian to walk at night due to lack of visibility. This is disappointing as there is a bus stub right at the corner of Elm (south) and Stittsville Main.

  4. Liard St. is an extremely busy road with lots of blind corners. Cars fly down this street after coming off Main St or Fernbank road. It’s dangerous to walk down this street, especially at night.

    Liard connects with Hartsmere after it crosses Fernbank rd. However, Hartsmere has sidewalks running along its full length.

  5. Regarding Huntmar near Food Basics…I would like to know the details – who gave the authorization to remove a new sidewalk, and what were the reasons.

    The sidewalk is clearly there on the 2011 Geo Ottawa aerial view. It looks brand new.

    I cannot fathom why someone would agree to take away a sidewalk.

    1. Andre, back in 2015, as part of the Fairwinds Community Association’s comments on the proposed Keg restaurant development, I asked a city planner about what happened to the sidewalk.

      The sidewalk was originally installed by Mattamy, but was removed sometime after 2011 to replace utilities.

      From what I understand, Mattamy technically didn’t have to build a sidewalk on that side — it only has to be built once the vacant land is developed.

      So, when the Keg gets built on the corner they’ll build a stub of a sidewalk along Huntmar in front of it. But the sidewalk won’t connect all the way to Coriolis until somebody decides to develop that property – could be years from now!

      Rather ridiculous isn’t it?

      1. Absolutely ridiculous!

        I think it would be better if the City required developers to put everything in to support their development – i.e. access to and from it.

        And now you have me wondering about something else… what happened to the Keg going in? I was hoping it would be there by now so I could walk over and sit on the patio! Well, with the sidewalks probably going in as you describe, perhaps a walk and a skip! 🙂

  6. With Fernbank Crossing developing so quickly it would be great if there was a way to walk along Fernbank to Walmart. I know Cope is supposed to be going through. Do you know when that is slated for?

    1. Sidewalks along Fernbank will happen when the road is widened – currently that’s 2031 in the City’s Transportation Master Plan. Not sure about the timeline for Cope – but it would likely be built out as development happens along the route.

  7. Main Street also needs a cross walk at the south end of Elm Crescent. It’s extremely difficult for cars to get onto Main there, and dangerous for pedestrians to cross Main for a bus or other reason, especially when cars pass stopped buses. In non-snowy conditions, kids cross there to get to their schools by bike during morning rush hour and after school — better than going along Main and Fernbank which have no sidewalks. I agree that kids should bike to school (mine did), but I dread the day when someone gets hit.

    Also, we’ve been onto the City about plowing the path to the north of Bell and west of Elm, that goes beside the storm water ditch and across to Coyote Park. (It’s done south of Bell, so go figure.) Gerry goes that way regularly with our dog, as do others. For some obscure reason, the City doesn’t want to plow that path, but if they want us to walk, they should be plowing all the off-road routes to do so.

    1. Thanks for the suggestions Keldine. I agree about the paths – plowing them would seem like a very simple thing for the city to do that would provide a great benefit for health, mobility, etc.

  8. Another missing sidewalk is the brand new one we paid dearly for I’m sure, that runs from Maple Grove to Silver Seven. Don’t go looking for it you won’t find it, not even footprints in the snow. It has not been plowed this winter, not once; forcing people to walk on the ever narrowing Maple Grove Rd., staring down the traffic. I let my Councillor know last week and was told it would be looked into.

  9. More side walks in Stittsville should be the150th Canadian anniversary gift for ourselves. More useful than other things that are planned!

  10. Laird Street between Stittsville Main Street and Fernbank Road.
    Heavy traffic at rush hour weekdays with little space to move off the road onto the shoulder, at most two feet off the pavement for pedestrians when oncoming traffic approaches. Then there are deep ditches and with off road parking, in both directions, this becomes an accident waiting to happen!

  11. Fernbank Road between Stittsville Main St. and West Ridge Drive. Always see people walking along the shoulder on this very busy road where speeders blow through the stop sign at Etta St.

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