Project update : March 21, 2019 : Draft Plan for Sparks Street : Phase III Public Realm Plan
In 2018, the City opened a storefront at 79 Sparks Street to collaborate with partners and the public to create a cohesive plan for the future of Sparks Street’s public realm. Over the past several months, staff have been hard at work on that plan, using this space to engage with pedestrian mall users, offer project information to the public and work with key stakeholders.
Based on the study so far, including streetscape analysis, pilot projects and public feedback, the City has established the following strategic design directions to guide future improvements to Sparks Street:
- Mobility and access: Based on overwhelming public feedback, Sparks Street will remain pedestrian only from Elgin Street to Lyon Street.
- Greenscape: The pedestrian mall will be a downtown oasis with the addition of around 50 new trees, planters, greenspaces and perennial gardens, to create comfortable public spaces that encourage people to relax and linger.
- Programming and activation: A carefully curated calendar of special events, artistic installations and public activations will bring the street to life and celebrate the diversity of cultures across Canada and Ottawa as its capital.
- Adjacent property alignments: Improvements will be coordinated and integrated with ongoing planned renewals of properties along the pedestrian mall.
- Ground Floor Business Alignments: Businesses will be encouraged to coordinate and refine their ground floor contributions to support the street’s role and vision as a pedestrian oasis and cultural celebration street.
- Interpretation: The public experience of Sparks Street will be enhanced by integrating elements that highlight its rich history and cultural context.
Some of the options being considered as streetscape elements include: approximately 50 new canopy trees, aerial installation systems, digital kiosks, programmable water features, new public lounge spaces, wifi, flexible performance spaces, pockets of weather protection, heated surfaces and many new opportunities for art and interactive installations.
Public feedback has played an important part in developing the plan so far, and the City is once again seeking input from residents, business owners and key project stakeholders to help develop detailing parameters and guidelines for all aspects of the streetscape. The public can visit the storefront at 79 Sparks Street to review at the following times:
- Thursday, March 21 from 3 to 7 pm
- Friday, March 22 from 10 am to 3 pm
Feedback can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org before May 1, 2019.
City Council, the NCC, and the Sparks Street Mall Authority will all consider the public realm plan for approval this fall. Once approved, staff will launch a detailed design and engineering phase, when there will be more opportunities for feedback on streetscape details.
Project update: July 2019: Draft Plan for Sparks Street: Phase II Stakeholder Memo [ PDF 19.986 MB ]
Since January 2018, the project team has gathered ideas, comments and feedback from residents about the vision and future of Sparks Street from the public’s participation in the Mayor’s Town Hall and two online surveys.
In July 2018, we invited residents to visit the project storefront at 79 Sparks Street to view the key functional analysis and preliminary recommendations for consideration in the second phase of the new plan’s development. Residents also experienced the SparksScape additions to the street over the summer months that included street furniture, a library pop-up, hammocks and other street amenities.
A new plan for Sparks Street
Using the public’s input, the project team has developed a draft plan, with key analysis, preliminary recommendations and three functional plan options. In particular, the plan includes these key directions:
- Pedestrian Street - Reaffirm the value and unique nature of the pedestrian mall based on the public and stakeholders overwhelming desire to further restrict and enforce limited vehicular access
- Heritage backdrop - Acknowledge and protect the heritage aspects along Sparks Street and the surrounding backdrop of buildings and landscapes.
- Cultural and entertainment venue - Advance a collaborative programming and special event strategy to showcase and celebrate contemporary local, Canadian and Indigenous cultures. Installations, activations and seasonal events will all be executed with high artistic and entertainment value and aim to be unique and refined spectacles within the City.
- Urban oasis - Sparks Street will be transformed into a beautiful and balanced landscape that serves as an exceptionally attractive pedestrian amenity area and route through the core of the City, both day and night. Sparks Street will be transformed into a beautiful and balanced landscape that serves as an exceptionally attractive pedestrian amenity area and route through the core of the City, both day and night
The draft plan proposes three functional plan options, all with common components, for the five-block area of Sparks Street. The options include space for:
- Emergency Medical Services
- Building access
- Gathering areas
- Event areas
- Street lighting
- Heritage lighting
- Contemporary lighting
- Water features
- Public Art
- Multifunctional kiosks
Learn more about the draft proposed functional plans and email ottawa.ca/sparksstreetplan with your comments.
The project team is now working on the third phase of the project and anticipate releasing design options and variations of the preferred functional plan for discussion in February 2019.