Complete Streets for Canada

policy and design hub for building safe and inviting streets for all

Main Street, Ottawa, Ontario

Situated entirely within the historic Old East Community, Main Street is the first Complete Street redevelopment of a major arterial road within the City of Ottawa. Originally constructed as a four lane high capacity arterial road, with narrow pedestrian sidewalks, the previous design contributed to an undesirable and unsafe environment for the local residents and patrons reliant on the street daily.

The two-year Complete Street construction project was initiated in 2015, due to the need to replace water and storm sewer infrastructure underlying the street. The capital project provided an opportunity for the City to implement the design guidelines for all new and redeveloped streets that had been adopted within the 2013 Transportation Master Plan. These guidelines “seek to balance the needs of all users in a sustainable way” (City of Ottawa, 2013).

The redevelopment of Main Street includes:

  • Creation of separated raised bike lanes.
  • Widening of sidewalks, now using sidewalk pavers.
  • Replacement and addition of on-street furniture.
  • Enhanced on-street vegetation, such as trees and shrubs.
  • Improved on-street parking.
  • New and improved transit shelters and orientation.
  • Addition of a central turning lane to improve traffic flow.
  • Removal of slip-lanes at the Riverdale and Main St intersection, to a standard T-intersection.
  • Addition of new signage and on-street paint to highlight bicycle infrastructure.   

The transformation of Main Street has spurred new interest in infill development within the Old East Community to capitalize on the historic character and central location of this community.

City of Ottawa, Planning and Growth Management Department. (2013, November). 2013 Transportation Master Plan. Retrieved October 20, 2017, from

Photo Credit: Hansonthebike. (2017, June 25). Main Street Ottawa opens as (almost) Complete Street. Retrieved October 20, 2017, from

Before and After

Photo - After: 
Photo - Before: 


Main Street
K1S 1C6 Ottawa