OTTAWA -- Ottawa residents will have a little more space to walk over the Bank Street Bridge during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Councillor Shawn Menard has announced the outer lanes of the bridge over the Rideau Canal will be reserved for active transportation.

Menard had been working with city staff on ways to expand sidewalks so people can practice physical distancing while going to pick up essential items.

“The Bank Street Bridge, on the outer curb lanes, is going to be dedicated to active transportation. So pedestrians, people who are rolling, people on bikes – that group of folks is going to be able to use those two outside curb lanes, both northbound and southbound,” said Menard, in a Twitter message Tuesday afternoon.

Menard says the lanes should be blocked off for pedestrians, joggers and cyclists in less than a week.

The Councillor says discussions will continue on other measures to make physical distancing easier along Bank Street.

In March, City Staff rejected Councillor Catherine McKenney’s request to close the northbound curb lane of Bank Street, from Riverdale to Gloucester, to traffic.

Mayor Jim Watson has said the city is prepared to look at bump outs to expand sidewalk areas onto roads near busy pharmacies and grocery stores.