Pedestrians are mixed on a plan to keep some stairways near the Rideau Canal open and cleared of snow this winter after they'd been blocked off — along with many other so-called "stair prisons" in the city — in previous years.
Earlier this week, Capital Coun. Shawn Menard and Somerset Coun. Ariel Troster announced that stairways at the Flora and Corktown Footbridges would remain accessible as the temperature drops.
Time, money and delays in the development of updated snow maintenance quality standards have been factors behind their closures in the past, Menard said.
"No more gates," Menard said on social media, adding that he'll keep working on winter maintenance for other stairs in his ward.
Troster told CBC that when it comes to the steps by the Corktown Footbridge, the intention is to make sure pedestrians don't have to take "the big detour" onto the ramp.
Down by the Flora Footbridge on Saturday, pedestrians welcomed the news.
Walking around the ramp is "always a bit of a pain," Rob Walker said, while Ginette Bertrand said having the stairs clear is great because it's "a long distance to go around."
Some residents say they welcome the Flora Footbridge stairs being open, because going up by the ramp takes longer. (Guy Quenneville/CBC)
'Would be nice for it to be more walkable'
On the other hand, Adrian Walraven said the money needed to keep them open could instead be put toward potholes and roads that need fixing.
"I've never seen it where there's a backup or any volume issue," Walraven said.
Monica and Matthew Woodford were walking their dogs by the Corktown Footbridge on Saturday.
Matthew said closing stairs causes congestion, while Monica said the city should have always been clearing the steps.
"A lot of places close to Parliament have some stair prisons that don't get cleared," she said.
"So those would be nice [to have cleared] because tourists come through there, [and] it would be nice for it to be more walkable."
CBC has asked the National Capital Commission if, in light of the city's plans at the footbridges, they also plan to clear any of the closed-off steps they oversee.
The NCC said it would provide a response.
These steps by the Corktown Footbridge will now be cleared of snow, according to Somerset Coun. Ariel Troster. (Guy Quenneville/CBC)