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Chamberlain Avenue, Catherine Street and Isabella Street Functional Design Study

Project Status: 

Study Overview

The City of Ottawa is undertaking a Functional Design Study for the downtown streets that parallel the Queensway including:

  • Catherine Street between Elgin Street and Bronson Avenue;
  • Chamberlain Avenue/Isabella Street between Percy and Elgin Streets;
  • Bank Street between Catherine and Isabella Streets; and
  • Metcalfe Street from Argyle Avenue to Catherine Street.

Catherine Street and Chamberlain Avenue/Isabella Street function as one-way streets between Bronson Avenue and Elgin Street and provide connections to the Queensway on and off-ramps. 

The roads that are being studied for full reconstruction of the pavement and underground municipal services.

The study will explore opportunities to improve walking, cycling, transit and general traffic along these streets by reviewing the existing traffic lanes and sidewalk widths, parking and loading areas, pedestrian and cyclist movements and traffic circulation.  The functional design of Chamberlain Avenue will be coordinated with the realignment of Chamberlain Avenue by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) from Bronson Avenue to Percy Street.  

The street design will address all travel modes and the many demands on the street by:

  • Seeking opportunities to improve the walking environment;
  • Identifying opportunities to enhance the cycling environment;
  • Addressing transit requirements; and
  • Accommodating motor vehicle demands during peak periods and potential Queensway detours;
  • Addressing, in general terms, the potential space requirements for other functions along the street including: on-street parking, taxi and lay-by/ loading zones, bicycle parking, street-side services and amenities, and emergency vehicle access.

The renewal of these corridors will implement the vision established in the City of Ottawa Official Plan and the Centretown Community Design Plan. Accordingly, the streets’ designs will have regard for the various planned functions and community contexts along the project limits. Functional designs will also consider the requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. 

Study Process

This study will identify any potential environmental assessment requirements to be completed prior to implementation.  The process will incorporate steps to help fulfill municipal and/or provincial requirements including a review of needs, development of a functional design and assessment of alternatives for the full range of transportation modes.  Public and agency consultations will be held throughout the study. The study will also address potential implications on the adjacent provincial right-of-way and the need for approvals to implement the project.

Study Result and Timing

This initial study will serve as the basis for the subsequent detailed design and future integrated road and underground infrastructure reconstruction in the study area.  The study will provide a functional design for the reallocation of street space to inform a fully integrated road and sewer renewal project for Catherine Street, Chamberlain Avenue, Isabella Street, Bank Street and Metcalfe Street within the study limits. As part of the process, a Roadway Modification Approval report or Transportation Committee approval may be required.  It is anticipated that the functional design component of the study will be completed in mid-2019, after which the project will proceed to the subsequent detailed design phase.

Getting Involved

Various opportunities for public involvement will be provided, including a public open house to present study material.  Public input and comment is encouraged throughout the project process. The study will receive input from a combined Technical and Public Advisory Committee and other stakeholders during the study.

You are encouraged to participate in the study by attending consultation events or by directly contacting the study team with information, comments or questions. Updated project information will be posted periodically on the study website.

The City of Ottawa invites you to a public open house for the Chamberlain Avenue, Catherine Street and Isabella Street Functional Design Study:

Public Open House 
Thursday, June 6, 2019
Glashan Public School, 28 Arlington Avenue, Gymnasium
5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (presentation at 6:00 p.m.)

Open House Display Boards [ PDF 1.354 MB ]


  1. Welcome and introductions
  2. Presentation
  3. Brief question and answer period
  4. Open house

By attending, you will have the opportunity to learn more about the project, review the draft design and provide feedback. Your feedback will assist the City in finalizing the draft functional design. The detailed design process will begin following approval of the functional design.

Highlights of the draft design:

  • Remove one vehicle lane on Chamberlain Avenue.
  • Replace the sidewalk on Chamberlain Avenue with a multi-use pathway.
  • Remove one vehicle lane on Isabella Street east of Metcalfe Street.
  • Provide cycling connections between the Rideau Canal and the O’Connor Street Bikeway.
  • Remove the conflict at Catherine Street/Kent Street intersection between pedestrians on the north side and right turning vehicles.
  • Replace one vehicle lane on Catherine Street from Kent Street to Percy Street with a peak period transit priority lane and off-peak parking.
  • Increase pedestrian refuge areas at traffic signals where feasible.
  • Widen sidewalks where feasible

Register online to be informed of upcoming consultation events.  For further information or to provide comments please contact:

Vanessa Black, P. Eng.
Transportation Engineer – Network Modification
Transportation Services Department
613-580-2424, ext. 12559

Consultation Summary - June 6, 2019

Approximately 26 people participated in the Public Open House at Glashan Public School on June 6, 2019. The Public Open House included displays on the project available for public review and a presentation by the consulting team followed by a question and answer period. There was additional time to review the displays at the end of the question period. The main comments received are summarized as follows:

  • Improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists and encourage alternative modes of travel
  • Increase pedestrian and cyclist comfort by maximizing separation from vehicular traffic
  • Consider accessibility for people of all abilities in the design
  • Provide continuous and intuitive bike routes, including under Highway 417
  • Minimize width and number of vehicular lanes
  • Install speed management measures

In addition to the comments collected at the workshop, three comments were forwarded to the City Project Manager following the event. City staff and the consulting team will use the information gathered at the Public Open House to refine the functional design for the Chamberlain Avenue, Isabella Street and Catherine Street corridors. Comments received as the study progresses will be considered for the final documentation.

Notice of Study Completion

The City of Ottawa has completed the Chamberlain Avenue, Catherine Street and Isabella Street Functional Design Study. Comments received from the public open house were used to finalize the recommended functional plan, which has been approved via a Roadway Modification Approval Report.

The proposed roadway modifications include:

  • A multi-use pathway on Chamberlain/Isabella Streets from the Percy Street Cycling Route to Queen Elizabeth Driveway.
  • A westbound cycling facility on Catherine Street from Queen Elizabeth Driveway to the O’Connor Bikeway
  • Wider sidewalks and boulevards where feasible.
  • Increased pedestrian queuing area at traffic signals.
  • Separate pedestrian and westbound right turn traffic signal phases on the north side of Catherine Street at Kent Street.
  • Transit priority lane on part of Catherine Street.
  • Narrower vehicle lane widths.
  • Reduction in the number of vehicle lanes where appropriate.

Plan [ PDF 11.869 MB ]

The functional design will proceed to the detailed design stage in advance of construction, which is anticipated to occur in 6-9 years, after the Ministry of Transportation Ontario has completed the Highway 417 bridge rehabilitations abutting this project.