[note: I’m back from some travels, and blog postings will resume on a near daily basis] The gods of planning wars have unleased their dogs in Little Italy, Chinatown, and West Wellington, key areas in the west side action beat. Lets examine several of the beasts in the pack: Note how the “common, recognizable” names of the former neighborhoods (Dalhousie, Hintonburg, Mechanicsville) are being replaced by the marketing names of the Business Improvement Associations. These groups — funded by city taxes levied on commercial properties on their behalf —  plaster their monikers on lampposts and decorative arches. They ensure the benches, lampposts, … Continue reading Gentrification

A matter of Choice …

Shown below is the Queensway, typical autumn mid-afternoon volume. Shown below, the transitway. I gather that the transitway carries the same volume of passengers each year as does the Qway. Which one would you rather have cutting through your neighborhood? Look again at the land take of the Qway, smell the fumes! Yup, I think I prefer the transitway. And I will even more appreciate when it is converted to electric LRT service. The city is going to grow … do we bitch forever about the cost of transit and continue to ignore the 10-20x larger expenditure on roads for … Continue reading A matter of Choice …

Hickory-Champagne Condo Site

Mastercraft-Starwood acquired the Aquerello site on Champagne Avenue at Hickory some months ago. This site is immediately north of the Arnon proposed office towers at 853 Carling, and immediately south of the current and soon to be redeveloped humane society site. The new condos will border the OTrain on the east side of their site. Their proposal is for high condo buildings positioned to view Dow’s Lake. Recall that Hickory Street is likely to be continued across the Otrain corridor cut as a pedestrian street, which will also improve access to the Otrain station there for all the new developments … Continue reading Hickory-Champagne Condo Site

Making Infill Work – details

Recall the previous post showing the very trendy mod front and rear exterior shots of the new infill project proposed for Elm Street west. What looks from the front and the rear like two houses on the double wide lot is very deceptive. There are actually four houses in total. There are two back to back units on each lot. Front garages are forbidden by the city in this area. The driveway comes down between the two front houses and there are four carports inbetween the front and rear houses. The houses cantelevor over the carports or have a carport … Continue reading Making Infill Work – details

Making Infill Work

About two years ago a developer bought the lot directly behind my house. The lot faces Elm Street. It is a double lot, about 56′ wide x 100′. The current tiny house on the lot is shown in the  photo, directly behind my 28′ lot. I love the little house because it has no windows on the back. I have total backyard privacy. I immediately contacted the developer and insisted that he hear me out when it came time for him to redevelop the lot with infills. So earlier last summer he sat in my backyard and I waved my … Continue reading Making Infill Work

BikeWest – Bayview Station

BikeWest at Bayview Station The largest single impediment to a continuous cycling route from the downtown to Westboro (and eventually beyond) is the Bayview Station area. The OTrain comes through the area from the south; expansion of OTrain or LRT service to Gatineau over the Prince of Wales Bridge must be allowed for. So the cycling route must get across the north-south rail axis. There are currently two overpasses over the OTrain route. One is Albert Street itself, a four lane road facility with sidewalks on each side. For pedestrians the environment is pretty hostile. On-road cyclists must endure uphill … Continue reading BikeWest – Bayview Station

BikeWest – Tunney’s Station

How BikeWest could By-Pass Tunney’s Transit Station The current Scott Street multipurpose path travels along the north side of Scott. At Holland, it passes the Tunney’s Pasture transit station. This passing is awkward for cyclists, pedestrians, and bus users alike. The route of the path is not apparent. As shown in the photo below, people exit the pedestrian overpass at its south end facing Scott. They step out directly onto a concrete walk, crossing the asphalt multipurpose path to get to the concrete sidewalk that forms the bus waiting area for local westbound buses on Scott. current situation – spot … Continue reading BikeWest – Tunney’s Station

First expansion of Cycling Sundays in years …

there is a fragmented path along the east side of the Otrain corridor in Little Italy The Preston Street BIA (PBIA) is working on a marketing idea for closing Preston on cycling Sundays. The Preston street closure would connect the Ottawa River bikeways to the Rideau Canal paths. The PBIA is in logistics discussions with NCC and City. The idea is to make Preston street a useful link in the bike network, opening up new routing combinations, and making the street and its café’s a destination for cyclists. They are trying for July 2010 only as a trial. The street … Continue reading First expansion of Cycling Sundays in years …

Chinatown arch

click to enlarge to see gold detailing Construction of the Chinatown Royal Arch begins in April. The whole structure will be precast concrete. The precasting of features may be done in a tented workshop behind Yangtze Restaurant using handcarved wooden molds, then put on the concrete main frame. It will take two months to cast, then painting will take two months, altogether five to six months. The lowest point of the arch will be 16’ above the street; the top point will be about 33’ above the street. The arch spanning the street will weigh 100 tons, when the decorative … Continue reading Chinatown arch

Rapid Transit in the 1950’s

This photo is taken on Somerset Street in front of the Plant Pool, looking east up the hill into the heart of the Little Italy district which is now Chinatown. Preston runs left – right across the photo. The Rainbow grill on the corner of Preston and Somerset is now May’s Chinese restaurant. The Atlas tire billboard is now Frisby tires. The buildings on the far left corner of the intersection houses Azar Signs amongst other businesses. The buildings burned down in the late 60’s I think. At that time, my elderly Italian neighbor once told me, one of them … Continue reading Rapid Transit in the 1950’s

1946 Scott Street condo and house prices

This boutique-scale condo is proposed for the corner of Scott and West Village Private.  Yesterday’s post dealt with the conflicting planning documents, and how each party relies on the document (level) that best suits their arguments. I was surprised at the hearing how often the proponent was asked extremely detailed questions about the building. Would the side bedroom windows of the condo have a view across park and then obliquely across the street into the second and third floor windows of the houses on WVP? Did the proponent have a detailed traffic plan from a consultant showing the impact of … Continue reading 1946 Scott Street condo and house prices

1946 Scott Street condo

For edutainment, I went to the Committee of Adjustment hearing on this condo a few weeks back. The six storey condo is proposed for the corner of Scott at West Village Private (WVP). Also at the intersection is Lanark Avenue. Directly across the street is the Metropole condo, the tallest in the city. The proponent wanted several variances. For example, reduced side yards and building the structure closer to the street. It turns out that the builder was being forced to ask for these by the City, because the zoning requires certain setbacks but the Community Design Plan (CDP) for … Continue reading 1946 Scott Street condo

Infill on Willow

This picture was posted earlier in fall 2009 of a house demolition on Willow, opposite St Anthony school. The lot is phonominally deep, but narrow. New house under construction. I was really surprised at how far set back on the lot it was. As shown, it is set well behind the line of the existing houses on the street, violating one of the key design characteristics in the city’s infill housing guidelines. I was also surprised to see a garage at the front, since other projects in the Preston area have been turned down if they have front garages. Continue reading Infill on Willow

Courtyard in Condo

This photo looking towards the downtown from the courtyard at 200 Lett Street, the first condo on the Flats. Place de Ville is the blocky building in the background. Phase two of the condo is under construction to the right. At the very back, it is still one floor short of its full podium height. Due to the angle the building sits on the site, the second phase podium has more units than the first, and it turns to partially enclose the back of the courtyard. The second tower, to be clad in yellow brick and some of the same … Continue reading Courtyard in Condo

LeBreton Flats Condo grows

The first phase of the first building on LeBreton Flats is towards the left. It includes a six storey podium building of yellow brick with a seven storey glass tower above. The right most wall of the podium was partially unfinished, in order to attach the second phase. The podium portion of the second phase has been poured. Six storeys high, it will be clad in yellow brick like phase one. Windows and exterior walls are being put in place. Plumbing drains have been installed on the first two floors. There will be a seven floor tower on top of … Continue reading LeBreton Flats Condo grows