Toronto road diet

Christie Street in Toronto is painted in different configurations. The southern section is a typical urban arterial, like Bronson: four lanes squeezed into a tight right of way, traffic jostling for position and obviously unattractive to adjacent businesses and residents. The more northerly section has been repainted into a different configuration. There is a painted bike lane between the parking and the travelled road surface. The bike lane is tight up to cars, raising concerns about “the door prize”. Traffic flowed much more smoothly too, with no passing and less stress driving the street. Above: north of Davenport,  Christie is painted with two … Continue reading Toronto road diet

Unofficial signs that need to be official …

If it was a “real” sign it would be mounted eight feet up in the air, pointed along the curb rather than parallel to it, and would be difficult and expensive to get installed. Instead, this private sign is conveniently mounted 3-4′ above the sidewalk, directly facing the car that might park illegally on the bike lane. In short, it’s actually useful. In this particular instance, there is a curb side bike lane and a popular restuarant adjacent. Legal on-street parking commences just a few metres further west, so motorists must try to “squeeze in” one last car and then block … Continue reading Unofficial signs that need to be official …

Our Lady of the Condos, more Archly

The redevelopment of the Soeurs de la Visitation site on Richmond Road is a great opportunity for infill development and intensification. The City had the chance to buy the site for a park, and passed on it. An eight to twelve storey building along Richmond and 4-6 storey buildings behind it is appropriate. Some aspects of the current design are not my first choice, but then I am not building it. Previous posts featured the Rowe’s Wharf project in Boston. See I thought it was a good inspiration for the Richmond facade of the project here in Ottawa. I like the idea of keeping the convent “cloistered”, ie … Continue reading Our Lady of the Condos, more Archly

Elegant sidewalk treatment

The sidewalk treatment shown above is in front of the two Hudson condo towers by Charlesfort. In the foreground the smooth concrete band marks the public sidewalk. The brick paver area may be private property, or may be public (note the lamppost) but in any case it provides a pleasant widening on the corner. The pattern is simple yet dynamic and intriguing. The eye follows the curving lines to the edge of the installation and tries to extend it beyond. The pattern must also work when seen from above, as the condo towers are about 18 stories high. This bit of … Continue reading Elegant sidewalk treatment

Pruning thoughts

City maintenance crews have been busy in our west side neighborhood. This is the pruning done on the west side of Plouffe Park, behind the Plant recreation complex. I am always alarmed at the “shave it off at the ground level” style of pruning. It just seems an awful lot of green material to hack off and toss away. A similar pruning took place around the Plant Bath building itself, but not so close cut. Yesterday, the crews were gathering huge heaps of green branches into piles at Primrose Park. Continue reading Pruning thoughts

Mispriced parking

  The City continues to devote enormous sums of money every year to providing free parking spaces for motorists to store their cars. Public rights of way are a limited commodity, yet the City insists that the highest and best use for these rights of way is not for street trees, wide sidewalks, or other “people” and environment benefits. The above photo is taken on Lisgar, looking west. The intersection in the distance is Bay Street. Note that all the parking spaces in the foreground are empty, at 10am on a weekday morning. The City charges for parking here, as it is … Continue reading Mispriced parking

Sex on the West Side

There isn’t a photo in today’s post. It’s all text. Sorry. I was part of a long conversation on the weekend past, dealing with the potential ramifications of the recent Court decision regarding prostitution. Recall that prostitution per se is legal; however, communicating for those purposes is not. If the laws are struck down, if new ones are required, what should we do? Note that these opinions below come from a reaction to changing circumstances and are not that I am advocating for change. Prostitution is complex, I favour controlling/regulating it to avoid nuisance to others. While these points are not strictly … Continue reading Sex on the West Side

Electoral miscellany

I made a post earlier in the civic elections about a candidate’s election platform that I thought was relevant to this readership. It promptly generated “comments” that seemed to me to be less than genuine, and more like spin. I notice the same thing for the Citizen commentary, which has been quite on the mark and perceptive, particularly David Reevely’s Greater Ottawa posts (don’t read this as being I agree with all of his views). The “comment” responses to his posts have the same “spin” tone to them. It’s a game I don’t really want to play. After the election, I might … Continue reading Electoral miscellany

Acts of faith

  Some neighbors got together to plant bulbs along Preston. The 200 daffodils and 200 tulips were bought by the Preston BIA and the buying/planting delegated to the Dalhousie Community Assoc. The Somerset Chinatown BIA also bought bulbs to refresh the flower beds along Somerset near Empress. These will be planted in the next week or so. About seven beds were planted along Preston Street. We chose areas with new, smaller shrubs where the soil would be easy to dig up. The bulbs should bloom before the shrubs leaf out. We don’t know if the bigger shrubs will block out too much light for the … Continue reading Acts of faith

Posterior sight

  Getting our traditional mainstreets rebuilt into a more pedestrian and neighborhood friendly format has been a long but ultimately rewarding task. It took eternal vigilance to fight off the naysayers, the city minions who thought facilitating rush hour commuter traffic was the ultimate city goal, those  residents and business people who felt that the highest duty of the city was to provide free storage for private cars … but there were many delightful moments too, and significant victories, and the fine quality of the finished streets is a tribute to all the hard work, coöperation, and trade-offs made over the years. The progress … Continue reading Posterior sight

Slow Miracles worked here

  I last posted about St Francoise d’Assise school in August, showing the new playstructures installed but lacking finishing details to permit the kids to play on them. I figured they would be open by time school opened … or shortly thereafter … but a recent cycling trip detour to see the finished structures revealed them in virtually the same condition as August. Are contractors waiting until Dec 31st? In delightful contrast, two small enclosed playyards are open right beside the daycare LeCarrefour. They are surfaced in a soft material that cushions falls, drains well, and reduces the tonnage of sand dragged into the school in shoes, … Continue reading Slow Miracles worked here