23 February 2022 / #news Downtown Ottawa loosening up as occupation wanesThe secured area downtown has shrunk, and more businesses/services are returning as the weeks-long Ottawa occupation draws to a close.On Tuesday, the City of Ottawa announced several service resumptions in the area, to come this week:The Ottawa Public Library Main Branch will re-open on Wednesday at 10 a.m. This follows the re-opening of the Rideau Branch on Tuesday.Beginning on Wednesday, Routes 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 14, 16, and 18 will have revisions to existing detours to bring transit service closer to Centretown, Lowertown, and downtown residents and businesses.Routes 6, 7, 14, and 19 will operate via King Edward instead of Vanier Parkway and will connect with Line 1 at Lees Station. Route 9 will return to its regular route. Route 11 will be extended east along Somerset to O'Connor. Routes 15 and 18 will be extended west to Rideau Station. The Centretown shuttle will be extended north to Somerset. OC Transpo continues to monitor and adjust bus service as access is reliably restored to downtown streets. Residents who need to travel in and out of the downtown core are encouraged to use O-Train Line 1 or the Centretown shuttle.Updated information on transit impacts are posted on octranspo.com.The City will resume appointments for in-person counter services at its City Hall location on Thursday, February 24 – for both Service Ottawa and Building Code Services.Snow clearing operations are being conducted in area secured by the police.The city said it does not expect there to be delays to residential waste collection. Street-side receptables and litter are being addressed where possible.Sparks Street is open again.In addition to the secured area near Parliament Hill, some roads remain closed including Rideau westbound between Dalhousie and Sussex, The Mackenzie King Bridge, and Laurier Westbound between Nicholas and Elgin. All details on road closures can be found on traffic map.On Monday, O-Train Line 1 service resumed.All Queensway exits have re-opened. Traffic delays will continue, and the city advised residents traveling through the secured area to carry ID with them.Other organizations and businesses have said they will resume operations that had been put on hold due to the occupation. The University of Ottawa resumed all scheduled in-person activities on Monday. Several restaurants, including Bar Robo, North & Navy and Moo Shu Ice Cream announced re-opening plans for either Tuesday or Wednesday. The ByWard Market was open as of Tuesday. Rideau Centre was too, but a scare that turned out to be a shoplifter with a fake gun prompted its evacuation in the afternoon.At City Council on Wednesday, a number of measures to assist impacted residents and businesses were proposed. These include targeted property tax deferral, no-charge parking for a month in the area, and an expansion of no-fare transit service that will include all routes serving the affected area.The police operation to remove occupiers continues, but "the worst I believe is behind us", said Mayor Jim Watson at Wednesday's session of council. A recent count put the number of people arrested at 191, and 107 people were charged with acts including obstructing police, disobeying a court order, assault, possessing a weapon or assaulting police. Since January 28, some 3700 parking tickets had been issued.