Bore Hole Drilling at City Centre Complex

The City Centre complex is a combo office tower and industrial bays located on City Centre Avenue just east of and south of Bayview Station. Built in 1960 as part of the federal-funded railway relocation project, it was a intermodal terminal for offloading rail cars onto delivery trucks. Now it is industrial bays, with a surprisingly large number of printers located there. The largest tennant in the whole complex is my old company, Cielo Print. – All last week there were two drilling rigs working the parking lot, drilling bore holes around the perimeter of the parking lot along City … Continue reading Bore Hole Drilling at City Centre Complex

Why Not Ask First? We May Have Other Plans!

There’s a lot of hoopla in the mainstream media these days with everybody and their brother popping up with new plans for Lansdowne Park. The alternative plans tend to share some elements in common: The Glebe will get a big grassy and treed park. Someone else’s money will restore some older, architecturally significant buildings into marvellous wonders for the local neighborhood. Locals will wander in on bicycles and by foot to buy directly from the friendly farmer locally-grown no-downside produce. After that they can linger by Venetian canals sipping coffee from organically grown (in the shade) responsibility harvested 100 mile … Continue reading Why Not Ask First? We May Have Other Plans!

Exercise and Drugs

While cycling home from the Parkdale Market the other day I tried to avoid both West Wellington and Scott due to the construction. This took me through the centre of Hintonburg, past a fireplace store. I came accross one guy on a bike, the other on roller blades. Cyclist had a pager. Roller blader: puff puff, “He wasn’t there.”Cyclist: “he must be, he just called five minutes ago” (holds up pager).Roller blader: “want me to go back?”Cyclist: “naw, gotta another call” (cites address).Blader skates off madly down another street.Cyclist: checks pager, heads west at a fast clip. Now what these … Continue reading Exercise and Drugs

Knock Knock, Ottawa Police

While creating the following post on double-tracked pathways in Toronto (punnily entitled: InAction), there came a knock at the front door of my house. Two Ottawa police persons were there, giving competition to the UPS men in short pants category. One officer was hanging off the end of my verandah to peer over my driveway gate, which is 7’6″ high. The cause: my elderly Cdn tire 6speed commuter bike was parked in my driveway, the front door of the house was open (although the glass aluminum door was locked). It seems there is a burglar active in our area, age … Continue reading Knock Knock, Ottawa Police

Separate Bike Path InAction

from left: gravel path, asphalt path, concrete walk note the wide wide curbs on the bike path and jogging path Before we spend lots of money double-tracking bike and pedestrian paths, it is important to know if double tracking is warranted and if it works where tried elsewhere. I am not opposed to double paths, but I want to know that the expenditure would be worth it, both for the paths and compared to alternative uses of the money.– Pictured are two views of the same path in Toronto. Click to enlarge. There are actually three paths here: a concrete … Continue reading Separate Bike Path InAction


I came across a row of decapitated parking meters on Lisgar Street on Sunday morning. If you look closely the green arched hood of the unit has been forced up, possibly with a pry tool. The coin mechanism was then lifted out, and the coins removed. The mechanisms can be seen disgarded in the shrubs in the background. – At one time parking meters were located between the pedestrian and the curb line, which helped separate pedestrians from vehicular traffic. Now, all the meters are located on the far side of the sidewalk, forcing the pedestrians to walk on the … Continue reading Decapitated

Playing with Bus Shelters

Bus shelters can quickly become background items we seldom notice. A few years ago, I noticed some advertising firms converted a whole shelter into an advert, or built a roof structure that totally modified the appearance of the shelter.– Around Ottawa, we have seen the Casino de Lac Lemy ads that convert a glass shelter into a Carribean-looking poker hut.– I enjoyed this shelter, in Toronto, with fake frost on the windows and snow on the roof. It’s part of a beer campagin to complete the phrase “colder than…” Continue reading Playing with Bus Shelters

200 Lett St condo by Claridge

Claridge built the first yellow brick condo tower at 200 Lett Street in LeBreton Flats. While not my favorite building, it looks a lot better with (most) landscaping now installed. Construction has begun on tower 2, immediately to the south of the first building. It will be joined to the first building on the 4th through 6th floors, and will have another tower (not all glass) at the east end of the final U-shaped structure. The picture shows the bottom floor of the two floor garage. Blue drainage pipes for all the down runs have been installed, the floor gravel … Continue reading 200 Lett St condo by Claridge

Why the wider corner ?

SW corner of Albert/Preston.Note the red line that cuts off the sidewalk. I really do think our city has too many roads, too wide, and despite the claims of being cycle or pedestrian friendly, too much of what gets done is car traffic friendly first and foremost. – I recall working with city staff on a project for Booth Street with the specific mandate to calm traffic and to reduce the volume of traffic on the street. The engineers/planners came back with ideas to widen the intersections, add additional lane space, etc. – Now Preston Street, after 16 years of … Continue reading Why the wider corner ?

Young Street Infill Housing

view from Champagne S. looking west Champagne S will extend a hundred feet more to the Qway right of way, presumably it will eliminate this parking lot rendering of houses seen from the southThe vacant property runs along the south side of the Queensway, starting near St Mary’s Church, opposite the City Living housing, and running down towards the OTrain railway cut. It has at varies times been proposed for townhouses, apartments, or Qway off ramps. At the foot of Young is a pedestrian bridge over the cut to the other segment of Young, where Young St Motors is located, … Continue reading Young Street Infill Housing

Naked Intersections, Naked Streets, Woonerf

The net is an amazing place. Following links on the Greater Ottawa blogsite to stories on naked intersections, I end up a dozen sites away, I can’t remember how I got there, and sometimes only peripherally related to the original story that started the links. Other times the links are exciting reading, and I find myself wanting to subscribe to this or that RSS feed (astoundingly, so many sites do not make it easy to subscribe or follow them…). Naked streets, or naked intersections refers to the latest Dutch planning fad of removing all traffic signs, signals, and painted lines, … Continue reading Naked Intersections, Naked Streets, Woonerf

Contrary results …

NCC path (foreground); City path beyond what will the yellow line do? There must be a law or maxim somewhere that the more planning is done, the more expensive the administration, the worse the results.– A few blogs ago I lamented the apparent mismatch between the NCC section of the bikepath from new Wellington that goes south along the aquaduct behind the new Claridge condo at 200 Lett Street in LeBreton Flats.– I still cannot believe that despite all the planners, all the coordination, the high city taxes … that the City-spec’d path is two feet narrower than the NCC … Continue reading Contrary results …

Alternatives to pathway apartheid,ii

worn dirt trail along path. Arrow indicates NCC will sod this strip to repair it. sod laid last August, presumably to be removed and replaced agin this year as joggers wear it out typical worn jogging path along asphalt I am always curious when cycling the path as to why joggers run along side the path instead of on it. (Being a non-jogger, I can only believe people who claim the gravel, dips and hollows, and hard-packed dirt path is softer than the asphalt). –Eventually, they wear a complete dirt trail along the path, killing the green stuff that grows … Continue reading Alternatives to pathway apartheid,ii

bike parking

Slate magazine has an article on why free parking matters for car drivers as well as cyclists. The article is interesting, and it offers a number of links to other sites and stories related to the topic. I was especially impressed by the link to a Japanese company that makes underground automated bike storage units that actually look easy to use. There is a quote in the article about the clutter factor of too many bikes parked on the surface. Like many cyclists, I take the nearest rack or post to lock my bike to; then as a pedestrian I … Continue reading bike parking

Alternatives to pathway apartheid,i

through-cycling path interrupted by car access to parking lottypical pedestrian-only path leaves main path There are a number of things that can be done to existing multipurpose paths (which I normally call bike paths, because that is how I use them) to make them more user friendly.–For example, a Remic Rapids the riverside path is congested with families visiting the ducks, geese, and sculptures, and others accessing erotic pleasures in the remaining shrubbery (I no longer see the city social worker at this site handing out condoms… ).–To deal with the volume of slow moving pedestrian traffic and through-traffic cyclists, … Continue reading Alternatives to pathway apartheid,i

Double your bike paths ….

Double your pleasure, double your fun, double your bike paths … Our society is prone to leap to solutions before clearly identifying problems or examining alternatives. Recent blogs on safe injection sites, green roofs, intensification … all have elements to me of being solutions searching for a problem. Before we go off parallelling our bike paths with yet more asphalt, we should examine the success of those segments of paths that are already segregated. Pathway apartheid may or may not work. For many years, the bike path along the Ottawa River Commuter Expressway was on the inland side of the … Continue reading Double your bike paths ….

What Blight is This?

I had occasion to cycle along the canal several times this weekend, from Dows Lake to the NAC end, using the NCC bike paths. I was really struck by how many trees have dried up, brown, crunchy leaves. First noticed on the south side of the canal, from Bronson to east of Bank, whole swaths of tree branches, entire sides of trees, exhibit dried branches. I presume it is not from lack of water. Then some became apparent on the north side of the canal too, along the Golden Triangle area. Once looking, they were frequent. Usually on mature trees. … Continue reading What Blight is This?

Is Smart Growth Smart?

Most anyone reading this blog will be aware of “smart growth”, intensification, infill, the Portland nirvana example, the glorious Vancouver leadership, and other urban design trends. A number of posts back, I questioned whether the assumptions of high density redevelopment in the existing inner city areas made sense. Do people moving from suburbs to infills exhibit the behaviour of the inner city population or do they bring with them their suburban lifestyle and consumption patterns? It strikes me that there is an element of geographic determinism going on here: if the inner city population exhibits certain characteristics now, moving people … Continue reading Is Smart Growth Smart?

Gladstone Ave. north side boulevard

While I think it would have been better to have planted trees that will have an eventual mature size that is significant, this streetscaping is still attractive. The city planted columnar/fastigate oaks and maples along the boulevard on the north side of the street. The stems look rather beat up, but the trees are growing. – More significantly, the boulevard is on what used to be a vehicular lane. Several years ago the City tore up the asphalt and narrowed the road. The sky has not subsquently fallen, irredemably terrible traffic chaos has not been the result. A pleasant streetscape … Continue reading Gladstone Ave. north side boulevard

Safe Injection Site (revised*)

Some of the Toronto and Ottawa papers have had stories about a proposed safe injection site. I was part of a focus group for that study. I was “representing” neighborhood citizens from the Dalhousie catchment area. Most people who watch the news or read about current affairs will be familair with the distressful situation in Vancouver’s downtown east side (DTE). There, hundreds if not thousands of drug addicts congreate and shoot up in public, buying the drugs openly. It is a miserable scenario. As part of government actions concerning this (I say concerning, because helping and other words are value … Continue reading Safe Injection Site (revised*)

855 Carling, part ii

The Ottawa Civic Hospital Community Assoc. held a meeting on Tuesday evening. On the agenda was the 855 Carling Ave project proposed by Arnon Developments. They already own the two red brick office towers on Carling between Preston and Rochester (a site I vaguely recall might already have planning approval for a third tower?) – From their planning documents I had concluded in my post a few days ago that this was a rezoning well in advance of any project, but at the meeting it became clear that this project might proceed in the near future, and my interpretation was … Continue reading 855 Carling, part ii