Philip Craig, artist

While reading the October 09 issue of Cdn House and Home magazine, I noticed in their article on redecorating an historic showhome in Toronto there was a painting hung above a fireplace that looked vaguely familiar. I may never have seen the painting before, so it was probably the style of the artist. Sure enough, the sidebar credited the painting to Philip Craig. He has his studio just off Beech Street in Little Italy. If you visit his studio, the entrance is off the to left side of the building in an alleyway. The artist’s loft is everything a loft … Continue reading Philip Craig, artist

Twilight on the Aquaduct and the … come out to play

A number of earlier posts show damage caused to large trees in the LeBreton Flats area. The Dalhousie neighborhood hosts a surprising number of animals and birds. These two twilights shots show the local vampires, err, beaver out to prey on unsuspecting urbanites. In the photo with a fine stone-arch bridge in the background, the beaver can be jut seen in the right foreground. Click picture to enlarge. The second picture shows him up close … he was about 20 feet away from me and curious about the flash on my camera. After several shots, he dove leaving only a … Continue reading Twilight on the Aquaduct and the … come out to play

Recall all those “raw sewage in the River” stories?

The media has had a field day with stories of raw sewage being dumped into the Ottawa River from ancient sewer control points, a number of which date from the late 1800’s. Typically, the focus is on the obvious: raw sewage. Ignored is why those sewage facilities are over a hundred years old. My view is that successive councils have favoured glamorous higher profile spending projects that buy them favour with select voting groups. The go for the glitz, they delay and postpone the core civic expenditures. Hello Walkerton, decades of not-upgraded water works, cosy featherbedding, porkbarrelling, etc. At the corner … Continue reading Recall all those “raw sewage in the River” stories?

Crime, Supervised Injection Site, transition housing, etc.

Throughout the past months, the issues related to drug dealing, drug using, supervised (safe) injection sites, shelters, transitional or supervised housing units, a proposed parole office, and the impact on the rest of the community, have been visited a number of times on this blog. Recall the supervised injection site focus group. Recall the impact of shelters like Shepards of Good Hope or Union Mission on adjacent neighborhoods. The parole office issue. Recall there is another proposal coming forward for supervised transitional housing units on Booth Street, perhaps with a shelter element, we don’t know yet. Dalhousie is still a … Continue reading Crime, Supervised Injection Site, transition housing, etc.

Red Friday rally Friday

There will be a rally on Friday Oct 2 at Dundonald Park in support of the families of Cdn troops. Here is a press release: FestivAsia Celebrates Red Fridays OTTAWA –FestivAsia, in partnership with the Canadian Forces, will formally kick off this year’s festival on Friday, October 2nd, with a Red Rally at Dundonald Park (Somerset Street W. between Lyon & Bay Street). This is an opportunity for the Asian community and the Canadian Forces to show their appreciation and support for each other. Vice-Admiral Dean McFadden, Commander Maritime Command and the Canadian Forces Champion for Visible Minorities, will be … Continue reading Red Friday rally Friday

Rational Road Pricing

Back in the 80’s I worked at Transport Canada doing strategic planning and policy advice. A big study back then was on Rational Road Pricing, by Zeiss Haritos. My memory of the study is this: the basic principle was to take the gas tax, subtract the portion that was equivalent to the general sales tax rates (since fuel should not be exempt from general tax revenue) and attribute the rest as revenue required to build and maintain the road network. From there, compare what all levels of governments spend annually on roads with revenues earned. Of course, there are many complicating … Continue reading Rational Road Pricing

More on Bike West – part vii

The story of BikeWest began at the point where the transitway meets Albert-Slater where they split in front of the Good Companions centre just west of Bronson. It began there because the block between the split and Bronson used converted bus lanes which won’t be required once the downtown LRT is built and BRT is suspended. For all points west of the Albert-Slater split, BikeWest does not use any street lanes but is a separate route all the way west to Dominion Avenue using the City-owned right of way on the north side of Albert and Scott Streets. Alternative Route … Continue reading More on Bike West – part vii

BikeWest – part vii – westward from Westboro

The previous posts followed BikeWest from the downtown at Bronson westwards along Albert, past Bayview, then along Scott to Dominion Station. This straight route is the crucial portion of BikeWest. To extend the route further west becomes more complicated, since it would involve other agencies such as the NCC, and depend on LRT routing and timing. The essence of BikeWest from downtown to Westboro was that it is almost entirely along a straight right of way owned by the City where major planning studies and reconstruction projects will be underway for the next decade. Incorporating BikeWest into these plans is … Continue reading BikeWest – part vii – westward from Westboro

BikeWest – part iv – Scott Street from Bayview to Dominion

The Scott alignment is much straighter than the riverside path and passes through major residential and employment areas For most of its length along Scott, BikeWest is pretty simple. The two-way paved surface would be set back from Scott Street whenever possible. At major signalized intersections, the bike route might snuggle up to Scott. Signalized intersections at Holland, Island Park, and Lanark would operate as described previously: through east-west traffic on both the road and BikeWest would proceed on green; all left and right turning traffic that might cross BikeWest would go only on green arrows when through traffic movements … Continue reading BikeWest – part iv – Scott Street from Bayview to Dominion

BikeWest – part vi – some path photos

Click each photo to enlarge. Photo above shows a raised pedestrian crossing. Vehicle traffic moving across the walk has about a six inch rise, which has to be steep enough to slow traffic down without (excessively) angering motorists. This design effectively gives priority to pedestrians. A similar crossing would be employed for cyclists in the BikeWest project. A segment of bike path directly adjacent the curb of a vehicle road. A number of Ottawa River bike path segments closely parallel the Ottawa River Commuter Expressway, with only a 1 to 3 meter boulevard between the two surfaces. At dusk this … Continue reading BikeWest – part vi – some path photos

BikeWest – part iii – from Booth to Bayview

Above: looking west from Preston, approaches to the Bayview Station area From Booth, the BikeWest bike road would continue as a two-way road separated from the car traffic by a curb and possibly a boulevard, and coloured pavement, with a raised sidewalk to the side of the bike road, all the way west to Bayview Station. Note that the City already owns the right of way along the side of Albert to Bayview, it is where they buried a high-pressure water pipe and where a vague multipurpose paved path was installed two years ago. The path will pass between the existing Dalhousie … Continue reading BikeWest – part iii – from Booth to Bayview

BikeWest – part ii – from Bronson to the transitway

The current transitway carries buses across LeBreton Flats and links them onto Albert Street (westbound) and Slater Street (eastbound) where Albert-Slater split, in front of the Good Companions Centre, located half way between Bronson and Booth Street. Above: The Albert-Slater split, where the transitway begins/ends, by the Good Companions Centre. Slater, on the right, was originally built expressly for streetcar traffic to access the downtown. Both Albert and Slater have dedicated bus-only lanes from the split right into the downtown core. These lanes will not be required for buses once the Downtown Ottawa Transit Tunnel (DOTT) is constructed and the … Continue reading BikeWest – part ii – from Bronson to the transitway

BikeWest – part i – Opportunity Knocks

The BikeWest project is an idea. An idea about how we can move beyond shared bike lanes. About doing something significant and big to promote cycling to work. An idea for a dedicated, separated-from-cars two way bike road capable of moving thousands of people between neighborhoods and to the downtown. At the same time, an idea that is affordable. Achievable in the medium term. An idea that doesn’t monopolize cycling resources or block other projects. A project that builds up Ottawa rather than dividing it. Ottawa has many cycle paths now, almost all of them provided by the NCC (bless … Continue reading BikeWest – part i – Opportunity Knocks

Last traces of former rail line

What may at first glance seem to be a jersey barrier*  in the woods is really one abutment of a culvert crossing on the former CPR (?) tracks that ran west along the Ottawa River where the Ottawa River Commuter Expressway is now. The rail right of way was expanded and converted into a car road allowance in the early 1960’s following Greber’s plans for scenic drives throughout Ottawa. Many of these drives were never completed, but the NCC still holds numerous rights of way undeveloped, waiting for LRT, other transit, or a serious non-recreational cycling network. Toronto, not blessed with the NCC … Continue reading Last traces of former rail line

The Grapes are Coming

Life in Dalhousie is never dull. As seen on Somerset Street, just west of Preston, another tractor trailer load of California grapes is unloaded by Silvano Musca, owner of Musca Wine Supplies. The grapes are crushed into juice on the premises, and sold directly to customers to ferment into artisanal wines. Some grapes are kept in huge drive-in refridgerated rooms for use later. Wine making is especially popular with the many Italian families that have traditional ties to Dalhousie and the Little Italy neighborhood, most obviously along Preston Street. Continue reading The Grapes are Coming

Coming soon: BikeWest

Starting Sunday or Monday I will deviate a bit from my catch-all blogging and post a multipart series on a project to improve the cycling experience from the downtown to Westboro. At the end of the series (next Friday?), the entire post will be available, with photos, as a single document, for anyone upon request to my email or to via comments on the blog (be sure to include your email address explicitly stated, it won’t show up even to me when you submit comments to the blog). Continue reading Coming soon: BikeWest

Otrain “temporary” station at Bayview

When the OTrain service began in 2001 it was a “temporary” experiment to see if Ottawan’s would like a train. That the service – derrided as being from nowhere to nowhere – quickly exceeded its longer time ridership projections was a pleasant surprise. Today it carries 50% more riders than the optimistic forecast. Still, being an experiment and all, the stations were designed to be “temporary”. Bayview Station was no exception. The City engineers designed the paved paths with steeply sloping gravel sides. No doubt their text books and tables told them that these would be “stable”. Of course, in … Continue reading Otrain “temporary” station at Bayview

Light Rail and the SW (OTrain) route

I am constantly amazed at what I hear about light rail planning in the City. I have to conclude it doesn’t matter what happens, people will simple reinterpret it (twist it) to fit their own preconceived agenda. It is part of the hyper-partisan-ization of our society that I find distressing. There was a SW transit plan under Mayor Chiarelli. It ran on street surface in the downtown, accross the Flats and Dalhousie neighborhoods,  and turned south at Bayswater, ran along the OTrain line, managed to miss the airport, to Riverside,  to the new Strandherd Bridge over the Rideau and thence … Continue reading Light Rail and the SW (OTrain) route

Bayview re-landscaped

Looking east on Albert as it goes over the OTrain Boulevard trees, west side of Bayview seen from Scott Curious curb jogs, seen from Somerset looking north Field of Trees, between TomBrown Arena and Albert Sometimes the City makes me very happy. Like when I see the amount of generous landscaping going in along Bayview Avenue between Somerset and Albert/Scott. For several years the City waterworks people have been burying high pressure water mains in the area. Approx.where the sidewalk is shown in picture 4 & 5 is the route of the pipeline. There was a bare grassy lawn running from Tom … Continue reading Bayview re-landscaped