Phoenix LRT

Ken Gray has a reference to the Phoenix LRT in his column today. He especially notes it runs on the surface. It does, mixed with cross traffic. Note the video shows the street to be at least six lanes wide, plus wide sidewalks. A lot wider than Albert Street. The movie makes no mention of how well the LRT plays with cars. I also noted that some stations are very narrow, basically open air platforms with sun shades. Somehow waiting outdoors in 110 degree heat is more acceptable than doing the same in Ottawa in January. I especially noted the … Continue reading Phoenix LRT

Multipurpose Paths for Everyone / Every creature

In addition to the cylists, pedestrians, joggers, wheelchairs, walkers, and geese (and their poop) on the multipurpose pathways along the Ottawa River, I have met turtles, rabbits, chipmunks, skunks, beaver, foxes, and snakes. This snake was near Mud Lake, travelling west in the correct lane of the path. Continue reading Multipurpose Paths for Everyone / Every creature

Preston coming up roses

Only two short sections of Preston were completed and landscaping was installed just a month ago. The rest of the street is an unholy construction hell. I am astonished at how well some of the new shrubery and especially the rose bushes are thriving. I confess to being somewhat dubious of rose bushes being planted in public rights of way, even if they are the super tough rugrosa type, generously endowed with thorns. But now these little bushes are blooming their hearts out and the streetscape is really nice. If a similar proportion of rose bushes is planted in the … Continue reading Preston coming up roses

LRT Maintenance Facility Site

There will be a low-key public meeting at City Hall on Wedn. June 24 from 5.30 to 8pm on the proposed new maintenace facility. No speaches, just poster boards and comment sheets. Recall that on May 27 Council approved the alignment (route) and station locations. The consultants and staff are now working on station design, the BRT to LRT conversion process, construction staging, and how the LRT and BRT will operate once the line opens. Their results will be shown at another open house in Sept. But back to the Maintenance Facility. Planners examined all the site along or near … Continue reading LRT Maintenance Facility Site

LRT Technical Session

The City hosted a technical session on Saturday, June 20th for all those people who delight in spending a summer Saturday listening to streetcar vendors. About 100 of the public showed up, and at least 30 staff and consultants and vendors. The stated purpose of the meeting was to examine technical issues such as low floor vs high floor LRTs, dedicated vs shared rights of way, driverless vs on-board staff, etc. But I think the unstated purpose of the meeting was to educate the bloggers and transit hobbyists and community activists, so as to raise the tone of the debate … Continue reading LRT Technical Session

Pedestrian Safety? or Harassment?

I heard on the CBC radio this morning that the City is starting a pedestrian safety campaign. I went to the City website. Their advice for pedestrian safety: Cross at marked crosswalks or traffic lights, not in the middle of the block or between parked cars.Remove headphones; put away cell phones or other electronic devices when crossing the street. Use your full attention so you’ll be able to see, hear and respond safely to what is happening on the roadway.Make sure drivers see you before you cross.Cross when traffic has come to a complete stop.At a traffic light, cross at … Continue reading Pedestrian Safety? or Harassment?

NCC Ottawa Riverfront regeneration

click to enlarge and see details The geese along the Ottawa River are pretty oblivious of cylists and pedestrians at the best of times (unless they see you with a plastic bag – then they are eager to be fed) but for several days they have been in tighter groupings on the grass and usually facing the NCC workers busy digging holes in their favorite lawn areas along the river edge. In the area downstream from Island Park, the NCC crews have been planting multiple rows of small shrubs along the shoreline. Presumably it is to protect the shoreline from … Continue reading NCC Ottawa Riverfront regeneration

Claridge’s Brown-Green Roof

mid-May mid-June Claridge is the developer of phase one, LeBreton Flats. They have half of the first building on Lett Street is constructed and many suites are occupied. The NCC landscaped the area to the north of the building, running up to the new Wellington Street, with paved bicycle path, benches, garbage cans, trees, shrubs, and grass. The did a significant chunk of this work in mid-winter. Claridge is responsible for doing the landscaping immediately behind the current condo building. The top picture shows truckloads of sand put on the gravel on top of the parking garage roof. They did … Continue reading Claridge’s Brown-Green Roof

Fixing Urban Sprawl

Mainstream media is now reporting cheerfully on the notion of building higher density cities on top of suburban malls and other underused lands.,8599,1904187,00.html I find the article rather frustrating, though, because it is little more than a concept story. There is not enough on who proposed the retrofit of suburbia, competing proposals, and / or the prospects of anything actually being done in this case. Continue reading Fixing Urban Sprawl

Small Lot Housing is a Big Deal

I read in the Citizen the other day about West end residents complaining about single homes on 35′ lots. Heck, my lot is 29′ and I’ve got a great century single home, yard, neat garden, and tons of outdoor space and privacy. Perhaps these people should look a bit further, to find out what is really small. There is a development proposed for the corner of Gladstone and Cambridge, where there currently is a shocking-yellow house. There will be seven townhouses, each on 12′ lots. Judging by the plans and the elevations, should be quite nice neighbors. There is a … Continue reading Small Lot Housing is a Big Deal

Where’s Luigi??

It is good to see the Preston BIA trying to make the best of the holey-mess that is Preston Street this year. The exposed sewer pipes are big enough to run the little Fiat baby cars through, like in The Italian Job movie. Hey, now that Fiat owns Chrysler, maybe we will see those baby cars again ! I have fond memories of my first sighting of these mini-Fiats (so small they make the Smart Car look like a Hummer) in Rome in the 70’s, the generally skinny male driver, the 400lb momma in the front seat, grandma all dressed … Continue reading Where’s Luigi??

Logging Days & Les Raftsmen on the Ottawa

click image to enlarge These two concrete structures sit in the middle of the Ottawa River west of the Chaudiere Falls dam. They are on very small stoney islands, most likely man-made. Years ago, I vaguely recall that there were some small houses/work shacks out in the river for logging crews to use. I can recall they had sloped roofs. I was wondering if these are the walls of the buildings (ie, they were concrete buildings) or if these are the remaining foundations, and the wooden buildings used to be on top of them. This goes back to the log-boom … Continue reading Logging Days & Les Raftsmen on the Ottawa

Royal Mis-treatment

The Prince of Wales railway bridge is owned by the City of Ottawa. Built in the 1880’s it should be declared a heritage structure. It sits unused just north of Bayview O-Train station. Does the city have any maintenance plan for the bridge, or are they going to let it rust away until it collapses or requires more expensive repair? I do not know if the rust is just a surface effect to not worry about or if it is corroding away the bridge. But I do notice that other city steel structures are rust free. Just north of this … Continue reading Royal Mis-treatment

Green Roofs – Gone? The Rideau Centre

congress centre demolished Rideau Ctr rooftop path and patio narrower rooftop path In this blog’s series on rooftop greenspaces I’ve tried to illustrate that we already have a number of attractively landscaped and useful green roofs. One of the earlier roofscaping treatments was the Rideau Centre, and it’s one of the largest. It’s a maze of wide and narrow paths, trees, shrubs, lawns, patios. Not many benches though, probably to discourage loitering or using the park. Regular inhabitants include Rideau Centre staffers smoking or lunching, bunny rabbits, squirrels, birds, and transients. Main access points are from the doors at the … Continue reading Green Roofs – Gone? The Rideau Centre

Westboro Collection

click to enlarge site plan The Westboro Collection is a proposed multi-building development in Westboro. The Real Cdn Superstore (aka Loblaws) is at the bottom of the page, where the title SITE is. The building at the corner of McCrae is Bushtucka. Further north, the building at the corner of Scott is Trailhead and the Westboro transit station is on the top left. Two features of this development that I like: it removes the sidewalk back from the curb and places it along the store fronts (new and existing) running up the east side of McCrae. This should create a … Continue reading Westboro Collection

DOTT Station Depth, Tie-Ins to Buildings, Etc.

There has been a lot of concern lately about the deep depth of the downtown Ottawa transit tunnel(s). I share that unease. But I also sense that critics of anyLRT/tunnel/initiative are also seizing on this one issue as it is a safe one to pile onto. Recall that the shallower tunnel schemes mean that the tunnel has to fit between the existing buildings of the downtown. Neither Albert nor Slater are wide. Utilities are burried under the road and sidewalk surfaces. If the station is under the street, the access points will likely have to be up through existing buildings … Continue reading DOTT Station Depth, Tie-Ins to Buildings, Etc.

Library Location Location Location

While heading back from City Hall via the Library the other day, I noticed how few potential sites there are for a new Library. Recall that the new site is supposed to be on land now used for a parking lot, in the area bounded by Wellington-Bronson-Gloucester-Canal. That isn’t a very large area. And I suspect the library people will want a fairly sprawling building rather than trying to fit one onto a tight site, given their desire for public visibility, easy access, and desire for a multi-purpose building with meeting rooms, etc. So as I walked I speculated on … Continue reading Library Location Location Location

Bellagio Fountains on Preston Street

click to enlarge On Monday, around 1pm, residents near the Primrose / Preston intersection were treated to a fine preview of the new fountains proposed for Preston Street. Shooting 20m into the air, the Bellagio-inspired waterworks show was a crowd pleaser. Later, smaller fountains displays were demonstrated, but I thought they looked a bit too much like the fountains previously removed from the Sparks Street Mall. Luigi was ecstatic though, claiming through his freshly-washed face that Preston Street businesses deserved fountains on the street and not just in select basements. I have it on authoritative rumour that Joe Contronio of … Continue reading Bellagio Fountains on Preston Street