Barrhaven outside the Haven

The Haven multifaith housing initiative project is located very near Longfields transit station. The transitway and a rail line are right over the fence:

The Haven’s entry point to the grande allee debouches onto the MUP:

That entry is smokin’ hot.  Turning right, one can see the Longfields transit station a short distance away:

Just follow the convenient line of green poles. Maybe they are expecting deep snow this year. Beyond the Haven site is a transformer station, then construction fields:

The promise …

The product, seen with a zoom lens:

To get to the Haven from the downtown west side there’s a direct  bus, the #95:

The OC Transpo Travel Planner told me to then take a hike:

It’s not like the long dotted walk they show is shorter, or safer, as it goes through a rather desolate bunch of empty streets and fields. It was much shorter to walk along the MUP connecting the station to Point B. Although the MUP is not lit at night, it would probably feel safer than the construction zone streets. Note also the two schools named after not uncontroversial saints.

The MUP accessed an upper level northboundbound platform:

and there is a generously wide underpass to get to the other side’s southbound platform, said underpass also providing sheltered bike parking:

Approaching the Station lower entrance the MUP does a sort of traffic circle, with one exit being the Station (indoor) and another the Station underpass (outdoor) and some toute directions exits off into the housing projects. It was clever and does prevent cyclists whizzing by too close to the doors:

Of course, grand designs on paper may not be followed by the goats:

Nearby, a bunch of city trees were planted with no doubt fine hopes, but alas, not fine results:

The level of detail in the finishing around the station was deplorably low. I hope it was all just temporary, pending full build out of the adjacent sites, and then the city will swoop down with a talented landscape architect to build a grand transit arrival point worthy of the taxpayers that use it. Fond hope. I am an optimist.

edit: George, a reader, sends along this artists conception of Longfields Station plaza, from when the city was proposing it. Truly planning porn:

Back at the Haven, I noticed that the first apartment building had a entrance facing towards the transit station. Alas, the entrance to the MUP is on the grande allee on the far side of the building, so a goat trail has appeared along the boundary fence:

Goats can just squeeze between the wooden country style fence and the chain link security fence of the power substation, to get to the building.

That building entrance, BTW, had a generous sidewalk leading … to the parking lot.

On the other side of the Haven, there were stacked towns, towns, and single houses recently built or under construction. It is really apparent how dense the newer Barrhaven is. I suspect it is denser than centretown or the west side. I’m not sure it is yet walkable in the sense of someone wanting to walk as a preferred mode.

I noticed that most of the Haven was the only strongly horizontal-design architecture development. Everyone else seemed to play up the vertical elements.

There was plenty of pride of ownership in the adjacent homes, which had lots of quality materials on the facades:

I’m not sure that there is any room left to add a sidewalk, someday, should one be desired, due to the length of the driveways and parking spaces. Plus the sidewalk would be a continuous “tilt” as it crosses driveway, driveway, bit of lawn with tree, driveway, driveway.

But no matter how nice the front porches and entries, the facades are dominated by garage doors and parked cars. Very little “eyes on the street” or interaction with the public realm. Most of the ground floor windows, certainly the living room, looked to the back, where the view was

I’m sure things will improve with time, and trees grow.

Note, however, the main division of land is for a public space at the front of the homes, and a only-yours space,  potentially private space (if you put up fences, and if shrubs and trees eventually block sight lines) in the back. Room for a dog to run, a small child to toddle, a patio or garden, but for any serious play its off to the park. Of which there seem to be lots, and very large ones too. And if you are lucky, you can walk there safely and enjoyable, if not, your parents have to drive you because streetscapes are given over to cars, and there are only some multi user paths.

I was astonished, though, looking at this google image of nearby PET school. Most of the schoolyard appears to be asphalt. And at least at the time of the photograph, their access sidewalk falls short of connecting with the street sidewalk:

To zoom back out a bit, here is the built up area around The Haven, which further contrasts the dense division of space into small private parcels for each household, with some significant large public parklands, and the Haven with its “in-between” the houses green scaping:

(in Barrhaven, the Haven site is shown here still as a treed lot in the 9 o’clock position, just below the Longfields Station at the 10 o’clock)

Thus ends the visit to Barrhaven, my second this year. If the good weather holds up, I may get out there again.

But first, a detour to City View neighbourhood, off Merivale Road.


5 thoughts on “Barrhaven outside the Haven

  1. Thanks for this tour of Barrhaven. Was not aware of all that was going on and appreciate the education.

  2. “also providing sheltered bike parking..”
    Seems to me this is not for bike parking, but some use it as such.

  3. It is true that Barrhaven, although being a suburb, seems much more dense than Orleans or Kanata – I wonder if those stats are available somewhere…

    Although I’m happy this isn’t just full of SFH, why can’t there be more of a push to densify part of central Ottawa? Is it all just costing related? I know a lot of people who would rather have a condo or stacked town closer to the core, closer to jobs, downtown, shops, etc.. but we don’t seem to be building much in the core other than a rental or condo tower sprinkled here or there.

    1. I am pleased to see that this part of Barrhaven (Longfields) has a fine mix of all types of low rise and mid rise housing. Great stuff. But in the older established parts of the city the sentiment is still that single family home areas are sacred and not to be intensified much beyond new singles, doubles, and the odd accessory unit. Therefore density is achieved by high rises, which gives a sort of all-low-flat housing areas with clusters of (too tall?) towers which emphasizes the contrast and contributes to the low rise areas fear of intensification. Yes, inside the greenbelt, infills are largely missing the “missing middle” type of intensification.

  4. Behold, the “artist conception” for longfields station:

    I’m really hoping that as the remaining developments closer to the station itself (AFAIK a few more condo buildings, stacked townhomes, and retail units) come in that the landscaping gets finished off. Right now it looks really bad.

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