Ottawa – City Council today approved the community’s Rideau Street Vision Statement and Guiding Principles that will help to inform ongoing and future development in the area from Mackenzie Avenue to the Cummings Bridge.

“We want Rideau Street to be a world-class, cosmopolitan ‘high street’ in the heart of the city,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “We are eager to work with local business and residents to create a rich mix of urban activities and cultural expression that will strengthen the vibrant character of the street and appeal to people of all ages.”

“Rideau Street is one of the premier thoroughfares in our city that links tourists and residents to our downtown core,” said Rideau-Vanier Councillor Mathieu Fleury. “It must be an easily accessible downtown hub with shopping, arts and culture. Our goal is to make it an even more unique and exciting public place that attracts residents and tourists alike to come and experience our downtown.”

In creating this exciting new plan for Rideau Street, City staff surveyed a broad cross-section of the local community for their input. Members of the Downtown Rideau Business Improvement Association were also key to developing the vision statement and principles that will be used as a guide for all future initiatives and projects in the area. The community requested a more rigorous maintenance program, upgrading of landscaping, new public art and lighting to distinguish the area and improve the perception of safety.

The end result is a comprehensive plan that encompasses six guiding principles that will see Rideau Street become:

 1. A commercial “high street”

2. A thriving social and cultural hub

3. An accessible destination

4. A lively, inviting and animated place

5. A gateway to Parliament Hill

6. A well-balanced, transportation system

This ambitious neighbourhood project will begin with the reconstruction of Rideau Street from Dalhousie to the Cummings Bridge. The effort will include full roadway, curb and sidewalk reconstruction, replacing the existing watermains, valves, hydrants, and services. The project is planned to begin in 2012 and last for two years. Construction is subject to budget approval. Other major projects, such as Light Rail Transit, will also fit into this long-term revitalization of one of Ottawa’s most historic and key areas.