As I’ve observed downtown Ottawa parking over the years, I’ve come to realize that there are a few “parking personalities” that have emerged. Parking in Ottawa can sometimes be a frustrating, challenging experience: especially to those that have trouble with parallel-parking or hate tight spaces. If you are one of those, stick to the four options outlined below. In the meanwhile, see if you can spot some of these parking personalities out and about downtown Ottawa!
- The time-killer: this personality requires two people in the car–one to go to their appointment, the second to circle the block until the appointment is done
- The eagle: the one who follows you around while you are searching for a spot and then swoops in sideways to take the spot you were about to back into
- The marathon runner: the one who finds a parking space so far away from where they need to be that they keep spare running shoes in the car to make it to their destination on time
- The learner’s permit: the one who holds up two lanes of traffic while edging back and forth incrementally in order to parallel park their vehicle
- The fake out: just when you think you’ve found a parking spot, you edge up only to see that the spot is taken already. By a motorcycle. Or a mini.
- The can opener: this is the person that wedges their car up so tightly behind your car that you need a can opener in order to get out of your spot
- The X-files: this is the person that believes their car has super powers–the ones that think their car’s bumpers can shrink to fit in to their parking spot instead of hanging halfway into the clearly marked “no parking zone”
- The superstar: the one that stops their car in the middle of the road (“but-it’s-okay-because-I-have-my-blinkers-on”), hops out, and continues merrily on their errand with a blithe wave at the frustrated drivers honking impatiently behind them
- The “size-doesn’t-matter”: these are the ones who park their humungous SUVs into itty-bitty spaces marked “compact”.
- The ADD (attention-deficit-driver): you can spot these when they come out of a shopping mall with a puzzled look on their face, trying to look casual as they desperately wander the aisles of parked cars trying to figure out where they parked their car.
To make downtown Ottawa parking a little more palatable, we’ve discovered a wonderful IGtO Ottawa Secret that we’re happy to share with you:
This neat little website collects information to help you find the cheapest and most convenient parking available. Go to www.parkopedia.com, enter the address of where you need to be, and it will do a search of its massive database and come up with some options for parking nearby, including: price, directions, and other pertinent information.
If the idea of driving in downtown Ottawa gives you hives, try out our four low-stress alternatives to driving:
1) Take the bus
4) Take a taxi
Option ONE: TAKE THE BUS
Ottawa is blessed with one of the best public transportation services around. OC Transpo has a fleet of over 1000 buses and 3 trains with a dedicated Transitway that runs from one end of Ottawa to the other. Bypass construction woes, sitting in heavy traffic, and save gas.
Option TWO: WALK
Many of Ottawa downtown attractions are within easy walking distance. Take in the Parliament Buildings, stroll along the Rideau Canal, see the Byward Market, the National Art Gallery, Sparks Street Mall, the National Arts Centre, and Confederation Park. Just to name a few.
Option THREE: BIKE
Bike rentals are available in downtown Ottawa. The two main ones we’ve seen are: RentABike Ottawa, and Cyco’s. You can also check out Capital Bixi bike rentals. Or strap your bikes to your car and try out the bike paths. For more detailed information, check out our page on Ottawa Biking.
Option FOUR: TAXI
If you have short distance to go while downtown, several taxi services are available as options. Blue Line Taxi Co. Ltd. (613-238-1111) and Capital Taxi (613-744-3333) are the two main ones we see all the time.