No Santa Claus, Please

  A few years there was a semi-popular (provided you were paying close attention to municipal issues) campaign called “one cent”. It advocated redirecting 1 cent of the GST to “the cities”. My problem with the old “1 cent” campaign, and probably its main attraction to municipal politicians, was that the money was raised by one level of govt (the feds) and spent by another (the city). What a delight: free money. And a convoluted responsibility trail that meant the mayors would be unaccountable. If you don’t like the tax, or feel taxes are too high (or conversely, that you do like … Continue reading No Santa Claus, Please

Recirculating books

I use the Ottawa Public Library a lot. First, because I am frugal. It’s so cheap to use the Library … it’s free. Second, because I got over my need to hold onto books, to have walls of books that “prove ” that I am literate or educated. Four (or was it six) years of University English Lit books moved out the second time I moved house. And because it is risky to buy a book, what if you don’t like it, or it has no “keeping” value. Money Lost. At the Library, it’s  risk free. I seldom go into the stacks … Continue reading Recirculating books

Building a better underpass

I snapped this pic while in Toronto a few months ago. It illustrates several bits of better transportation engineering than we are likely to find in Ottawa. First, notice the dark line down the centre of the lane. It is a painted-out white line that used to divide the road into four lanes, two in each direction. These would have been narrow lanes, especially narrow-feeling at the underpass structure itself. There was no accomodation for cyclists. The road has been dieted, and changed to one wider lane in each direction. Sailing through the underpass in a car was easy and … Continue reading Building a better underpass

Westboro tizzy (iv) – of benefits, incentives, and selling out

I was at Development Committee some time back when they voted on the Our Lady of the Condos development on Richmond Road. Then-councillor Leadman could count heads as well as anyone, and no doubt knew the vote was going against her. The audience was chock full of angry neighbours/voters. At the last minute, she changed tactics from opposing the project to one of “if you’re going to approve it, at least get some community benefits”. The charge in the air was electric. The audience was aghast. Betrayal! Selling out!  No matter the logic of the move, the optics were terrible, my sinking stomach knew Leadman had … Continue reading Westboro tizzy (iv) – of benefits, incentives, and selling out

Westboro tizzy (iii)

As part of the Uniform Developments condo proposal for Roosevelt Avenue, the City/Councillor negotiated some “community benefits”. This consists of $200,000 worth of traffic calming and streetscaping to be paid for by Uniform. Here is an overview of the changes to Roosevelt (top street in pic) and Winston (lower street in pic) (transitway trench is running up the right side of the pic): Double click on the picture to enlarge it. The south end of Roosevelt Avenue, to the left in the above pic, where it meets Richmond Road, gets redesigned to be more pedestrian friendly. Midway along the block are some traffic … Continue reading Westboro tizzy (iii)

Westboro tizzy (ii)

Well, that Westboro post of a few days ago certainly got the juices going of a number of readers who took time to construct clever and insightful responses. The “comments”  that follow that post are a goldmine of intelligent views. Do read them if you haven’t yet. One wise reader send me the following link which features a “case study” of a low-rise high-density infill, with the suggestion that the developer at Roosevelt should have tried harder to build within the zoning and height limit. I read the CMHC review of Arbutus Walk, and will add it to my bucket list of … Continue reading Westboro tizzy (ii)

Bayview Station (final)

The saga of the amazing perambulating Bayview Station is nearing completion. Recall that the station has been proposed in various scales, sizes, and locations. Well, the final plan is available exclusively to readers here. Bayview Station is back to being “on the structure” of the transitway bridge over the O-Train cut (yes, I know, the O-train isn’t in a cut, it’s on the level, it’s the road that is elevated, but  such is our road-focussed society that the road becomes the normal level, and the flat becomes the hole…). The new station is in the same style as the majority of other proposed LRT stations. … Continue reading Bayview Station (final)

Westboro tizzy

Westboro and Westboro Beach neighbours are all up in arms about a proposed condo (ie apartment) development along the Transitway just west of Churchill. The site is currently manufacturing, a leftover from the days when the Transitway was a railway line and there was industry along it. The briefs opposing the development plan bring out the usual boogeymen: too much traffic, too high, killer shadows, deleterious change, etc. Being high end, about the only argument not brought out is crime. (Fortunately, an earlier suggestion to route the new condo access away from the older neighborhood by routing through the front lawn of the less-affluent apartment … Continue reading Westboro tizzy

Sim-City model: Bayview-carling CDP

The City has been sporadically doing up a CDP (Community Design Plan) (which is a plan of dubious effectiveness under the Official Plan) for the O-Train corridor running from Bayview Station to Carling Avenue. Residents frequently ascribe its tardiness to a desire on the part of the City to see all the developable land purchased and rezoned before the plan is drawn up. In that way, the city won’t have to continually amend it. The City is committed to having CDPs done for all the stations along the OLRT. Having seen some of the in-progress ones I’d have to say they are better than nothing.  At least they … Continue reading Sim-City model: Bayview-carling CDP

City announces art project for Bronson Ave

The City takes a percentage of all major capital projects and spends it on art. Their policy is that the art installation should be located in close proximity to the capital project that generated the money. The reconstruction & widening of Bronson Avenue will cost about $30 million for the first phase alone. Here is an excerpt from the City’s press release regarding the Bronson art project: “city officials noted that just as additional landscaping is proving difficult to provide, because as the landscape architect says “the houses are too close to the road”, and just as the road widening is proving difficult to accomplish “due … Continue reading City announces art project for Bronson Ave