Carling-Preston CDP: 72 ways to offend, concluded, part iv

public realm


street and ped infrastructure priorities

Here are the last  27 of my comments on the Carling-Preston CDP draft plan originated by George Dark and put forward by the City of Ottawa.

45. Proposed mini-parks or squares at Preston-Carling, Beech-Rochester, Adeline-MUP, Dow Motors site, need not be assumed by the city but can be mandated as green space (not vehicular zones) and left in the ownership and maintenance of the adjacent buildings, with appropriate legal provisions, similar to the Hudson building on Kent. Never underestimate the susceptibility of this city to arguments to turn such miniparks or plazas into loading zones or stack lanes.

46. The west side OTrain MUP must be continued along Railway Street (shared with motor vehicles) as a ped-cycling priority zone, and continued to Gladstone. It must not terminate, as it does now, at Beech. This is a great opportunity for Ottawa to implement its first cycling boulevard or active transportation priority street.

47. The linear greenspace provisions south of Carling near Sherwood are good and adequate.

48. The linear greenspace provision on the west side of Preston south of Carling is more curious. What is it intended to do? I think an open zone on the west side of Preston will simply make the entire strip look and function even more as a fast-road-priority zone as it is now.

49. And it virtually begs the city & NCC to avoid the hard issue of extending the MUP to and across the Pr of Wales by detouring it in a circuitous way along the sidewalks to the Preston-Carling intersection. Such a detour is not how we promote active transportation, but is how we further entrench motorist-first planning. If the linear park main function is to look nice for motorists, that it will do well, and is fully in accord with the 1950-60’s planning that prioritizes all our riparian frontages for motor car roads.

50. The selection of “Streetscape Priority” streets is most curious. They prioritize the routes most used by motorists and access to developer sales offices. They do not prioritize the pedestrian or cyclist or transit-oriented priority routes. These priorities reflect an outdated car-centric outlook; and are the antithesis of a real TOD.

51. The current streetscape priorities need to be scrapped, and new ones identified, working with the study PAC. A charette might be a good idea.

52. The Preston streetscaping style and ped lighting already extends off Preston onto Somerset, extends into a residential area (north of Spruce) and is sort of in place along Gladstone running up to Booth. All to say it is not unique to the commercial zone of Preston. Therefore, we should consider extending that treatment to Beech and part of Adeline as they will be parts of the BIA. Question: extend this treatment to be a whole-neighbourhood style from Loretta to Rochester, inclusive?

53. All the dead-end streets in the area have parking problems. Ie, they are overrun with parking, front yards have been converted to parking, there are too-few trees, access and egress from driveways in winter is very difficult due to snow banks, etc. The plan needs to move on from paving-curbing-sidewalk design like we have, and move towards something innovative, like shared space, wonerfs, brick courtyards (ask yourself how a private developer would handle this space if he was marketing the whole street). Alas, there is no mention in this plan on how to improve what we have. This is a huge missed opportunity.

54. The bridge-sidewalk widening over the OTrain at Carling is good. BUT, it continues the too-auto-centric mindset. It’s as if Jane Jacobs never lived. What of the north-south MUP movement, which will be very important for station access to and from the south side of Carling? The plan needs to identify carrying the MUP and pedestrian traffic under Carling (and under POW?) when these bridges are rebuilt as will be necessary to double-track the OTrain.

55. It is better to identify the underpasses now, and then choose not to implement them if that is what we think in the future when they are to be built, rather than not identify them and have them cripple a cycling and ped budget in the future when they become an add-on to the road and rapid transit budgets. Planning should protect opportunities and not close doors.

56. The bold dotted square identifying the Carling station as bridging or straddling Carling is good, albeit somewhat unlikely given the timid and cheesy current designs for the LRT stations. A four-foot wide concrete underpass with damp walls is much more likely. And why does it only span Carling and potential bus transfer there, instead of capturing the active-transportation zone north of Carling? Ie the dotted space should extend from the south side of Carling to Adeline. [surely not a car-centric bias?]

57. The “enhanced Preston street gateway” is hard to imagine, given that the Soho Italia and Claridge  aren’t contributing any greenspace like CIBC is; and that there is already an overhead light fixture in the arch; and the road is already too one lane too wide on the NB side … which leaves room for not much more than pavers on the road. If there are ideas for here, it would be good to see them, otherwise this designation seems lacking content.

58. The suggested ped bridge over the OTrain cut (and I do hope it is a ped bridge and not a car bridge) at Norman makes sense given the proposed park on Norman at Rochester and the linkage to the expanded park on the west side of the cut. But why does the linkage end at the cut – why not show it extending along the edge of the park west to Loretta? The absence of such a linkage reinforces my notion that TOD and active transportation were not adequately considered in this draft (in contrast to motorists are catered to endlessly).

59. We do not need the proposed new street connecting Prince of Wales to Sherwood. It will only encourage motorists to cut through the residential areas. Honestly, I have no doubt how the authors of this study get about.

60. Aberdeen is a narrow street. Its narrowness is not addressed. Keep it, or modify it?

61. We do not need a public street to connect Sydney to Adeline. The Richcraft development on this site may choose to propose project entrances to his garages on Adeline, but the public need not  buy or maintain a street in perpetuity. We do need to preserve rights of way for active transportation so the site is permeable in all directions.

62. The “mews” streets  — Forgetaboutit.

63. The proposed “shared bike lane” on Rochester and Booth presumably means sharrows. Might be useful. BUT, the city’s adopted road strategy for Booth north of the Hwy 417 is to narrow the road at chokepoints to ~10’ lanes (to slow traffic flow, since the city refuses to end the abuse of local residential streets by Gatineau private-car commuters) , which are not suitable for a designated bike route. Rochester was supposed to be the N-S bike route, but in the last while Booth has crept back on the list. Does anyone cycle on Booth? Try going SB from Primrose.  It’s a horror. Direct cyclists to Rochester, then improve it *as a cycling through street that hasn’t the same high traffic volumes as does Booth.

64. Young is a useful E-W bike route – despite the hills — as it continues quite far west, much further than does Beech, particularly it connects to Fairmont, a popular N-S bike route (which is flat).

65. City should negotiate an extension of the Young bike route over the Sakto properties (north side of the office towers) to connect to Rochester and Booth. (shared space, not a bike path). Using this route today is awkward, requires near U-turns, and riding on the ped space arcades of the office tower.

66. The extension of the west side MUP along the OTrain cut north to Gladstone is good, but is not reflected in the other maps, eg greenspace. See bike and MUP comments in those sections.

67. As mentioned elsewhere, preserve a MUP underpass route at Carling and POW. See comments such as at 53, 54.

68. The N-S MUP should not die at POW.

69. The proposed on-road bike lane on Carling misses a great opportunity. The south side of Carling is greenspace from Dows Lake Road to Island Park Drive, and offers potential for a south side bi-directional MUP, all on land owned by governments, and bypassing dozens of intersections on the north side (safety!). This will attract way more users than the on-road lanes. It won’t aggravate motorists. It also completes a much wider network of cycle paths. Why not do the easiest stuff first? — unless having various govt land owners is worse than not owning the land at all! (From Dows Lake Road to Bronson cyclists might use a MUP that replaces the south side sidewalk or Madawaska).


Next Steps


70. The Gladstone area CDP offers an interesting opportunity to try for an imaginative intensification regime that differs from the high-rise centric models used for the north (Bayview) and south (Carling) CDP’s. Let’s try modifying the city’s setback and other restrictive rules to encourage an imaginative very high density low rise neighbourhood  a la Robert Dalziel’s new book House in the City which says we can get the same density as high rises but with low rise.

71. I remain concerned that the city identifies large tracts of housing within the catchment zone of transit stations but doesn’t address how to transform them from their 1920-1950’s small-city car-commuter format into something contributing to their new status given proximity to the stations. Are we just going to reserve them as low density high income areas enjoying transit proximity? If we want them to change, how? And what measures do we put in place to guide that transformation over the next decades and century? Ignoring them isn’t good planning.

72. The current plan doesn’t address the income and demographic consequences of the plan proposed. We are providing high rise apartments for singletons and couples. We are limiting low rise areas, which will over time become the preserve of the affluent. Where do start-up families live? After all even Richard Florida’s creative class of affluent people require somewhere for the shop clerks and those with families to actually live. Let alone the lower income groups.


* Rochester is on the cycling plan, but ends at Albert. Rochester continues north of Albert but is renamed as Broad. The City’s brand new LRT plan identifies Broad as a major ped-cyclist linkage from the LeBreton Station to the Bluesfest site/War Museum, and the WM was designed to permit passage through or over the building on the Broad alignment and continuing to Gatineau along the islands and dams. Alas, the City isn’t planning to include the one block section from Albert to the LRT, so the network will be broken.


7 thoughts on “Carling-Preston CDP: 72 ways to offend, concluded, part iv

  1. I am looking forward to hearing more about the Albert/ Lorne/ Perkins/ Empress reconstruction that you have mentioned a couple of times in passing. Has the design begun? Are there plans for public consultation?

    1. Underthegoat: Yeah, hadn’t you heard? The City’s public consultation for the reconstruction is this tuesday, 7pm, Dal Centre (just up the hill from you). Prepare to be let down. Thus far, Albert reconstruction looks pretty much like Bronson, except wider, with the carot that there might be bike lanes 5+ years from now, should they choose to narrow it back down from the six lanes being constructed now.

      1. Thanks for the news, no I hadn’t heard (clearly the city isn’t trying too hard to get the word out to even those of us within a block of Albert . . . ) I will do my best to be there Tuesday!

        1. Coincidentally (?), I arrived home to find a notice in my mail box about this open house – so kudos to the City there . . . however, they don’t seem to know that Lorne is an Avenue and not a Street . . .

  2. How come the MUP isn’t even on the map of pedestrian facilities. It seems really slipshod to not map out facilities currently being used.

    That really makes me wonder about this whole process of CDPs. Is this just a process to slowly shift the acceptable building height and densities and the rest is just filler that Urban Strategies Inc. has put very little thought into because at the end of the day the CDP will have very little impact on what is built. For instance, the new road they are suggesting from Sherwood to POW. That might make sense if they felt it would be useful to access buildings in the vacant lot south of Carling, but they have it going through parkland on the public realm map. Either the parkland or the road is a flight of fancy or perhaps both.

    Who is going to pay for the new roads and park between Rochester and Booth that they carve out of a federal parking lot? That isn’t going to happen without some major funding and who is going to push for the funding if these new roads provide no access to lots not already served by Booth or Norman.

    All those pedestrian bridges, maybe one of them gets built but not more. How many pedestrian bridges have been built across the Transitway trench since it was dug?

    What do the people living in the low rise apartment across the street from the park on Champaign.think about their homes being turned into a park? What do the property owners think? I’d be interested to know if it is already owned by the city of Ottawa as low income housing.

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