Somerset Street restaurants get more space to set up patios on weekends
Somerset Street will be closed to traffic between Bank Street and O'Connor Street on weekends this summer. (Jackie Perez/CTV News Ottawa)
OTTAWA -- Bars and restaurants have taken over a section of Somerset Street West this summer once again.
From Thursday to Sunday, the stretch of Somerset Street from Bank to O’Connor streets turns into a one-way street during the day. But by 5 p.m. and well into the night, the road is closed to all vehicles to provide more patio space.
"If it gives more room for patios and businesses are able to have more people than I think it’s great," said one Somerset Village resident.
The weekend street closure follows last year's successful trial run, the initiative to give businesses a boost is making a comeback.
"Last summer was the pilot project and it went really well. Adding Thursday is huge for small businesses," Matt Loudon, owner of Prohibition House and a main driver of the pilot project.
Somerset councillor Catherine McKenney hope to make it a permanent summertime fixture.
"I’ve received minimal amount of concern," McKenney said. "The BIA's are seeing the benefits of it."
"It’s not a big deal, there’s enough side streets in Ottawa to make your way around," said one motorist about the closed off road.
After a year of pivoting during the COVID-19 pandemic, Somerset Village business owners are more than ready to continue the momentum.
"It feels great to be off the couch, back at work," said Mark Ghali, co-owner of Arlo. "We served about 200 guests alone. It was a buzz."
It’s a beehive of activity expected to last until September.