Slippery Slope of Pedestrian Desires

Pedestrians climb over the significant height of the steel barrier to leave the sidewalk and climb down the slope along Albert Street at Tom Brown arena. At the foot of the slope, they cross the soccer field or parking lots at a diagonal, heading towards West Wellington or Bayview/Bayswater. The worn out slope is quite wide, indicating the volume of pedestrian desire is so large is might be termed pedestrian lust. The “landing zone” on the slope is almost a foot lower than the sidewalk, worn down by all the users. [Notice the curious shaddow of the man – it … Continue reading Slippery Slope of Pedestrian Desires

The Luigi

I note in today’s paper the recent demise of His Tremendousness, Giorgio Carbone, the elected prince of the principality of Seborga — (Bing it!) What caught my interest was the name of the coin of the realm: in addition to the Euro, they had the Luigino. Hmm. Given the popularity of Luigi, spokescharacter for Preston Street, who had locals and tourists alike posing for pictures with his sign likeness, and who enjoyed a certain popularity with the light-fingered, perhaps the Preston BIA should mint its own currency, the Luigi. Make it a 25c or dollar coin, use it for change at … Continue reading The Luigi

Condo mania on OTrain corridor

The issue of Ottawa Business Journal (OBJ) out this past week has a major story on the development pressures along the Carling-Bayview OTrain corridor, parallel to Preston’s trendy Little Italy. They interviewed me (tiny bit, amongst more illustrious others) following my postings about developments at the Champagne/Hickory/Carling area. You can read their story at Last week I attended the Civic Hospital Neighborhood Assoc meeting. First item was the new development by Domicile at the corner of Hickory and Champagne Avenue (shown below). The site is now a one storey industrial building, and is zoned for 4 storey redevelopment. A month or so ago, … Continue reading Condo mania on OTrain corridor

Science Canada awards national prize to local school

Science Canada had a national short film contest for high school students, on the subject of science. Ecole Secondaire de la Salle (on Old St Patrick St) is the local french language public high school for the west side action area.  Produced for chemistry class, and recorded in a single 75-minute period, this short rap film extols the virtues of science and technology through the illest lyrics you’ve ever heard . It was produced from start-to-finish in less than five days while the students continued attending regular classes. ES de la Salle won first, second, and fourth prizes in the film contest. You can watch … Continue reading Science Canada awards national prize to local school

Pedestrian desires ignored

The City is pretty much finished its reconstruction, streetscaping, and traffic calming work along Bayview Avenue near Scott. The picture above is of the recently sodded field between Tom Brown arena and the Bayview/Scott/Albert intersection. The dividing line between the old field (left) and new sod (centre) is obvious. Notice how pedestrians cut across the field starting right at the end of the steel crash barrier along the road. The barrier effectively discourages many pedestrians from taking even shorter short cuts; as soon as the barrier ends, a few paths appear immediately. There is a city sidewalk, but it goes … Continue reading Pedestrian desires ignored

No lobby for the homeless

The two new condo towers downtown on Kent Street called the Hudson have their entry keyboard on the outside rather than in the Lobby. I haven’t noticed this in Ottawa before. It is common in Vancouver, where the climate is milder. Approaching and using this key pad felt cramped and uncomfortable. It is reality today that so many buildings now have to have their exterior doors locked to prevent people moving into the comfy chairs in the lobby, but this is the first time I have seen one keep people out of the airlock entry. It’s one more step to … Continue reading No lobby for the homeless

West Wellington Condo Mania

A new condo is planned for 1433 Wellington, a half block east of Island Park Drive. It is almost opposite the recent Domicile building at the corner of Picadilly. The site is currently a small strip mall. I think a new mid-rise condo is a big improvement over the strip mall and worthwhile bit of intensification. The building will have vehicular access from the side facing the Loeb/Metro store. The building exterior is very much in the same style as the building at 200 Lett Street at the corner of Wellington, the first condo built in the current LeBreton Flats … Continue reading West Wellington Condo Mania

Gourmet Take Out

Whilst walking along Preston Street on a new sidewalk (and not climbing over gravel and around holes) I spotted this gourmand partaking of pigeon delight in Ploufe Park. The concrete in the foreground is the planter wall that separates the sidewalk from the playing field. So, the bird is about 12′ from me. I poked my camera through the chain link fence to become paparazzi to the eagle-eyed.  The bird stopped eating, eyed me suspiciously for several moments, before flying off with the carcas. A similar predator frequented my backyard last winter, importing pigeon delicacies to consume by the hibernating … Continue reading Gourmet Take Out

Shaving Religiously

Any introductory book or course on advertising will bring up the original Burma shave campaign. A series of signs along the road has to be read in sequence to get the whole message or advertisement. I thought this was somewhat similar, in front of St Andrew’s Church in downtown Ottawa. If Celtic Prayers don’t do it … there are Prayers for Peace … and then Scottish Tea, plus two other signs that don’t match. Continue reading Shaving Religiously

LeBreton Flats condo grows

Claridge is busy building the second tower / second half of the first building at 200 Lett Street on LeBreton Flats. Now that the garage levels are in, the swiming pool cast, and the ground floor poured, the remaining floors will pour quickly, maybe one floor per week. The new building will be a seven storey podium of yellow brick, with a tower on the east side going to 14 floors, with an exterior of yellow brick and glass (same glass as first tower, but second tower will read as mostly brick). The architecture or style of this building is … Continue reading LeBreton Flats condo grows

Chinatown Mystery

This info from Capital Crime Writers about a workshop being held in Chinatown at Sushi 88, between Bronson and Cambridge. **Next Sunday’s workshop has limited enrollment, so if you are interested get your tickets soon! The The Dusty Owl Workshop Series Presents Bare Bones of Mystery Writing with Barbara Fradkin Sunday 29 November 2009 1pm to 4pm Sushi 88690 Somerset Street West, Ottawa $15 — tickets available at Sushi 88! For more information: This informal, interactive workshop will examine the enduring power of the mystery novel, in all its guises. There are four magical ingredients of writing crime fiction … Continue reading Chinatown Mystery

Tree will thrive …

One of the noticeable aspects of the Preston street landscaping project is how aggressive the landscape architect was in sticking in trees and shrubs (she was responding to some pretty intense lobbying by the BIA and residents for more greenery). There are a number of tiny planters like this in the area. Barely four feet square, I wondered how well a tree would thrive in such a small well of space. It should thrive, though, due to the protection of the curb from foot traffic that pounds down the earth, and protection from snow plow damage. But mostly its success … Continue reading Tree will thrive …

Structural Earth

I have dismayed to see the material trees and shrubs are planted in during the reconstruction of Wellington and Preston Streets. How do they expect trees to grow in paving base? I looked closer, and noticed that the gravel is actually very “dirty”. It is a scientific mixture of gravel, clay, and water-holding chemical ‘modules’. Here is a close up of the material, called structural earth: Below is a picture of a bus stop bulb out on Preston Street into which a tree or shrubs will be planted. It is excavated 3.5 ft down and lined in landscaping fabric to … Continue reading Structural Earth

Preston Infill

This infill on Preston is rapidly being enclosed for winter completion. The window pattern is pleasing. There are two storefronts on the ground floor and six apartments above. The top floor is stepped back from the lower floors, which reduces the building bulk. It doesn’t look like the flat roof on the second floor will be balconies/terraces, though, which seems a missed opportunity. Continue reading Preston Infill

Garland Bike Lane

West Wellington, like Preston, has been reconstructed to be two lanes of traffic, plus parking bays. There is no marked bike path but the traffic lane is supposed to be so wide it can accomodate cyclists and motorists compatibly. The lane width is rather cosy for cyclists and the No 2 OC Transpo bus or the many trucks in the area. And there are door prizes to be won. Cyclists are also being directed to marked bike routes parallel to West Wellington along two-way Armstrong street. It remains to be seen what amenities cyclists will get along Armstrong (other than … Continue reading Garland Bike Lane

Mini Garden in Chinatown

This brick planter replaces a rickety wooden one at the corner of Upper Lorne Place and Somerset Street in Chinatown. It is simple, inexpensive, attractive. The Chinatown / Somerset landscape could use more such pocket gardens to soften the landscape and generally improve the look of the area, which tends to look a bit bedraggled, especially with the number of vacant storefronts. Continue reading Mini Garden in Chinatown

Who Needs a Building Permit?

Another stop work order on a renovation on Preston Street. The upstairs has been gutted, new firewalls built, wiring and plumbing … who would have thought a permit was necessary? I gather the old Paradise water garden store will become an Indian grocery store. Do renovators just try to do things without a permit to “beat the cost” of buying a permit? Or is to avoid the “rules” that might be in place (like zoning, permitted uses, FSI, etc) by hoping an as-built will get the go ahead that might not be possible for an application made in advance? Or … Continue reading Who Needs a Building Permit?

Paying for Water Etc.

Ken Gray over at The Bulldog blog cites the following from a Conference Board study:  “Water charges based on the value of property-or any other fixed measure that is not directly related to water consumption-cannot provide consumers with clear price signals,” said Len Coad, Director, Environment, Energy and Technology. “A cultural shift is required in how we manage our water system. Instead of relying on the tax base and allowing users to pay a below-cost price, those who use the service should pay the full cost of water, including capital expenditures.” I agree fully. The genius of our society is … Continue reading Paying for Water Etc.

Lansdowne Live – More sole sourcing?

I note with interest that the City has given the go-ahead to the Lansdowne Live proposal with certain conditions, one being that there be a design review or something headed up by George Dark. He is a consultant. He is not cheap. Was the review contract put up for tender? Or is it sole sourcing? Will all the opponents of sole sourcing Lansdowne Live take to the streets to complain about sole sourcing the process to “improve” the urban design? Of course, maybe it’s not sole sourcing at all… Continue reading Lansdowne Live – More sole sourcing?