How Many LRT Stations are Needed Downtown?

I am a bit mystified about the mini-controversy about how many stations should be in the downtown core. The DOTT plan calls for two, as was shown in the Feb. open houses. I have heard a number of suggestions we might need 3. I disagree. Each station will be a entire block long – the “long” blocks in the downtown, ie the east – west blocks (the north south blocks are much shorter). Each station will have at least two exits, most likely near each end. The stations themselves will be very deep down. Unlike Toronto, where the subway is … Continue reading How Many LRT Stations are Needed Downtown?

Corso Italia – aka Preston Street – Closed

Preston Street has been closed to through traffic until December, to permit reconstruction. Happily, the tree and shrub planting now going on at Plouffe Park and the sections of Preston rebuilt last year, demonstrate that the aggravation, noise, and dust is well worth it. One of the minor little pleasures last year was the ability to easily stroll across the street just about anywhere that wasn’t a pit, without being run over by a bus or speeding commuter. Continue reading Corso Italia – aka Preston Street – Closed

Transit tunnel success …

The City today announced its preferred LRT routes and station configurations. Good news: the major transfer station from buses-on-the-transitway-west will be at Tunney’s Pasture, built on the grassy vacant area north of the current station. Good news: the configuration at Bayview will permit same train access from the (future) southwest transitway / O-Train alignment to the downtown. This means that we can attract larger conventions to the new convention centre downtown as we will have no-transfer-required service direct from the airport to downtown. The configuration at Bayview permits much greater flexibility in train routing. Bad News: the LeBreton Station is … Continue reading Transit tunnel success …

Preston Streetscaping; Plouffe Park

Trees on Oak St.await planting Plouffe Park planters planted While some trees and shrubs were planted on the reconstructed parts of Preston south of the Queensway last fall, the north side did not get any planting done last winter. The crews are busy now planting. In Plouffe Park, the combination retaining walls and sitting areas have been planted with periwinkle (vinca), which will eventually spread into a thick mat. Pretty blue flowers in the early spring. A huge number of trees have been delivered and are being stored for now on Oak Street. Tree types include amur maple, ginko, and … Continue reading Preston Streetscaping; Plouffe Park

Chinatown art festival

Here is all about it, from their press release. I am so pleased that Grace Xin has organized this. It should help put our neighborhood and its businesses on the map, and raise awareness. Exhibits in unexpected spaces: come see original art in the bakery, giftshop, optician, bookstore, grocery, cafe and restaurants in this multicultural village with Asian flavour. CHINATOWN REMIXED COLLECTIVE is pleased to present the works of over 30 contemporary artists. The artists, mostly local, include the likes of HOWIE TSUI, CYNTHIA O’BRIEN and ADRIAN GOLLNER. More than 15 businesses in Ottawa’s Chinatown, from Percy St. westward to … Continue reading Chinatown art festival

LeBreton Landscaping adventures continue

NCC plantings along new bike path, view from Wellington Claridge doing nothing yet… this is their green roof NCC plants up to edge of Claridge condo NCC trees along north edge of condo In a posting in March, there were photos of the NCC doing winter landscaping on the Flats. They filled in the depression on the north side of the Claridge condo on Lett St, phase 1 of LeBreton Flats north of Albert. They graded the land to a lawn area, roughed in bike/pedestrian paths, and installed a generous trench of topsoil for a row of trees along Wellington. … Continue reading LeBreton Landscaping adventures continue

Green Roofs in Ottawa

War Museum This photo shows the west side of the War Museum roof. This roof is unusual in that it is at ground level at the west edge and slopes up to be an elevated roof. Another section of roof is beyond the office space structure. It is accessed from a north/south ramp and path system that crosses the building at midpoint. Originally designed to “break” the very long narrow building into two, it “completes” the north / south pedestrian circulation scheme on the Flats, should it ever be developed. Two years ago this path was usually open. Now, whenever … Continue reading Green Roofs in Ottawa

Green Roof examples

Minto Place podium With this picture, showing the green roof on the podium level of Minto Place, I intend to start a series of photos of existing green roofs in Ottawa. There are over a dozen green roofs I can think of immediately. Most are at the podium or near ground level, where they have a useful aesthetic function. I took this from the elevator lobby of Minto Place hotel, about the 8th floor. This window also had an oblique view of the similar roof garden on Constitution Square. While I think green roofs have a function, they are somewhat … Continue reading Green Roof examples

Magnolia Blossoms on Walnut Court

The magnolia we always went to see on Spruce St seems to have died. But there is this one in Walnut Court just moving into full bloom now. The Experimental farm has a nice collection of trees just above the OTrain tracks near Prince of Wales Drive. Over the years we have identified many magnolia locations and cycle around to see them all. A favorite large tree is on Cambridge a few doors north of Gladstone. Continue reading Magnolia Blossoms on Walnut Court

Green Roofs in Ottawa

A view of Minto Place podium green roof, this one showing an area with public access. The three tepee skylights are over the pool over the Hasty Market; the larger skylight on the right is over the main lobby/concourse. A similar green roof is barely visible in the background on Constitution Square. Access to the roof is from the slightly larger tepee skylight which houses a stair up from the pool deck. I think it is interesting to note how much of the green roof is actually decking and other “not so green” features. Continue reading Green Roofs in Ottawa

New Library – Current vs Future Neighborhood

The City still has not announced where the new main branch library will be located. Councillor Chiarelli has said on Ken Gray’s blog The Bulldog that he fears it won’t be at Bayview. Apparently it will be on a site that is currently a full city block of parking. If it is located near the downtown core on a block of parking lot, I truly hope it isn’t just another low rise such as this city favours so often, but is the base of a residential building. This would move us toward our goals of a sustainable, smart-growth city. A … Continue reading New Library – Current vs Future Neighborhood

Somerset Viaduct (Bridge) over the OTrain Line

Somerset west of Preston rises up and over the OTrain Tracks, near the City Centre Building. At the height of the crest, the bridge itself is only about 20′ long; the rest of the road is simply a fill between retaining walls. The road was designed long ago and the angle of the slope means that motorists cannot see what’s on the road (for eg, a parked car) over the crest. This creates a stopping-in-time problem. The solution selected by the City is to narrow the road to two lanes for vehicle traffic. The road is wide enough for a … Continue reading Somerset Viaduct (Bridge) over the OTrain Line

New OC Transpo bus routes impact centretown

OC Transpo is proposing some significant bus routes changes that affect our neighborhoods on the west side of the downtown. Comments on the routes must be in to oc transpo by April 25th. Most significantly, the number 16 would no longer run along Scott nor Albert in the Flats area. It would instead start somewhere in the downtown ( I couldn’t find out where on the OC transpo page) and run east only. And number 18 will run only run as far west as Tunney’s. These changes are part of OC Transpo’s rerouting scheme to reduce the buses that run … Continue reading New OC Transpo bus routes impact centretown

A stadium for Ottawa

Lansdowne Live? Scotiabank Place? LeBreton – Bayview? I am not a fan of a new stadium at Lansdowne Park. It is not accessible enough – the neighborhood streets are narrow, local-style shopping and residential streets. It is not on the Qway nor the transitway. Open air concerts and mass public events are just not compatible enough with the residential area. A major park, including residential development (yes, expensive condos) to help pay for it all, is better. A massive city expenditure on a fancy park just for the Glebe, no. I suggest we continue the urban fabric along Bank Street … Continue reading A stadium for Ottawa

New Floodlights, Plant Recreation Centre

Work crews have removed the old floodlights from the Plant Rec Centre playing fields “Plouffe Park”. As of this afternoon, six new posts and new floodlights were installed. Last week, the city removed the hockey boards. On the north side, against the tot lot, crews were busy today installing new chain link fencing to separate the soccer fields from the path and playstructures. Hopefully, sod will soon appear on the playing fields. It will be great to have a large green space again. Seeing work done (ie benches, garbage cans, light standards, paving) to bring visible community benefits is so … Continue reading New Floodlights, Plant Recreation Centre

Preston Streetscaping Installations

After so many years of planning and nagging and endless meetings, it is so nice to see parts of the Preston Street streetscaping appearing in final form. While one of the sections done last year got its trees but not its shrubs, the northern section go no plants (yet) at all. But this week benches have started appearing. These stylish aluminum slat benches have a centre arm rest. Several matching garbage cans have also appeared. This bench is bolted to the concrete base; in areas paved in brick, some bricks are removed and a discrete concrete base put in so … Continue reading Preston Streetscaping Installations

More on Roofs, greening, homeowners

Chris asked me if I had considered a white roof. Yes, I did. But first, consider that there are two subjects here: one is replacing the existing roof covering when it is past its prime, the other is adding something like plant sedums in trays on top of the existing flat roof. The 100,000 sq ft warehouse I view from my 3rd floor windows was redone two years ago in white. Very reflective. I know white shingles on a sloped roof have a drastically shorter life than black shingles, I dont know if a white flat roof is any shorter … Continue reading More on Roofs, greening, homeowners


Today’s paper had a major front page story on green roofs ( Apparently Mayor Millar in Toronto is trying to position Toronto as a green sweepstakes winner. Green roofs have a number of widely recognized benefits (and less widely recognized costs) so Council is considering mandating them on new buildings. Curiously, they propose to exempt themselves from the rule: their new municipal housing would be exempt, as would schools and, curiouser and curiouser: large commercial buildings. The buildings that would be targeted (ie, forced to install green roofs) include condos and retail malls. Note that both of these types of … Continue reading Greenroofs

Uglification Award

quality work … looking south on Booth looking north on Booth Chado and his Cousin Eddy run body shops on Booth Street between Somerset and Gladstone. Let me clarify that these are automotive body shops, thus legitimate enterprises. If you double click on photo one, you may notice a row of demised trees along the front of the building. Also evident are abandonned tires and what appears to be the remains of a Subway restuarant bench. Photo 2 shows a tree stump, all that is remaining of a city boulevard tree. There is another one by the Insurance deductible sign. … Continue reading Uglification Award