Fences Fences Everywhere a Fence

Fences, fences, everywhere a fence ! IF it’s not a song yet, it should be ! But I’m not sitting on one, there is no doubt in my mind that these fences are trouble. It is truly amazing the City (or is it RTG) spending so heavily on fences along Albert and Scott. These ones, along Scott, are wooden … … to keep the salt and slush from splashing on the houses when the 2500 buses a day go crusin’ by. They will also block some of the residential views of the bus lanes, albeit at the price of a … Continue reading Fences Fences Everywhere a Fence

Navigating Scott-Albert (east bound)

Alas, for those people walking or cycling east towards the downtown, there won’t be a separated multi-user path, nor as direct a path as along the north side of Scott and Albert. Starting near Tunney’s, there is a south-side east-bound painted bike lane, which I suppose it a wee tad better than cycling with sharrows in the “50KMH” lanes: The cycling lane is “buffered” from cars, trucks, and buses by a 2′ painted median, but the cycling lane is also the right turn lane and driveway access lane. And boy, are there ever a lot of those: There are many … Continue reading Navigating Scott-Albert (east bound)

Navigating Albert-Scott (westbound)

People who drive westwards from the downtown using Albert and then Scott have big flashing traffic signs, painted arrows, and scrupulously scraped bare pavement. While the lane markings are new, the learning curve should be short. My only bugbear on this so far is the sudden merge of the two westbound traffic lanes around Brickhill Street (just before Good Companions). People who cycle and people who walk face some more challenges. To RTG’s credit a few small ped directional signs have appeared near Bayview Station. So maybe it is worthwhile to follow the route for people who walk or cycle … Continue reading Navigating Albert-Scott (westbound)

Westward Ho ! (part iii) the curse of stations and transit users

The Cleary Avenue end of the western LRT and motor expressway corridor is shown here:   The westbound trains enter the picture from the right, along the orange line. Cleary Station is shown in dark blue. The Unitarian Church and apartment building is shown a bit further west (left). The underground track alignment swings gently under the Unitarian parking lot to get out towards its (under) Richmond Road alignment. The swing out to Richmond will occur under a car repair shop and/or Kristy’s restaurant. These businesses will not remain in place during construction. Since dig-the-ditch-and-cover construction won’t start until 2017 … Continue reading Westward Ho ! (part iii) the curse of stations and transit users

LeBetter Flats (part 3): when the Senators go marching in …

I hear that the NCC’s proposal call for the next phase of building the Flats was carefully worded to not exclude a major stadium as a land use*. While we may think the current Canadian Tire Place is still “new”, it is ageing. Apparently major arenas and rinks often only have a 30 year or so lifespan before they are functionally obsolete suboptimal. Built in 1993 as the Palladium, it will be 30 years old in 2023. So its not too soon (according to stadium aficionados) to be investigating a new stadium. And that requires a site. The Flats are … Continue reading LeBetter Flats (part 3): when the Senators go marching in …

No leaning on shovels at this city construction project

A short while ago I mocked a City transit project on the west side that I described as “lollygagging along”.  * So it’s only fair we look at one that is moving with the (relative) speed of light. Yes, it’s back to the (in)famous Albert Street bus detour. Construction only began last week:  The city originally just wanted to remove the multi-use path on the north side of Albert, never to replace it. Community input caused it to be (temporarily **) saved, relocated. Then the same pressure got the City to replace it first with the new path, before digging … Continue reading No leaning on shovels at this city construction project

Planning for something

While trotting out to Bayview Station recently I noticed these tread tracks in the snow, leading out toward the Macdonald Commuter Expressway. Barely visible in the distance is one of those soil sample hole drillers that we have seen so frequently in past years along the LRT route. These aren’t cheap engineering exercises, which lead me to wonder what someone might be planning out there beside the popular new OTrain bike path.   Continue reading Planning for something

What to do with unused Talent(s)

What do we do with the three existing Talent OTrains soon to be surplus? Work continues round the clock and on holiday weekends to complete the trackwork required to run the six new Alstom OTrain sets starting in the Spring. These new trains replace the 3 Talent OTrains we now have. With the six new trainsets we will have approx. 8 minute service instead of 15. It is noticeable that there has been no commitment to selling the older Talent trainsets and pocketing the money. Which leads to speculation that we are keeping them. But for what purpose? Maybe the Mayor’s transportation … Continue reading What to do with unused Talent(s)

O-Train resumes service

Here’s a shot of the OTrain doing a practice run south of Somerset viaduct on Monday afternoon. It had just left Bayview Station.   In this area, the OTrain will continue to use its single track, albeit with some new alignment and grading just south of Bayview Station. Turnouts, or switches, have been installed for the new passing track, and the deep layers of roadbed installed. Some new retaining walls, signalling and wiring are also installed. Yet to come is the final roadbed, ties, and rails for the passing tracks. They have to be operable by spring 2014, when the … Continue reading O-Train resumes service

Fence me in, please !

Construction fences are a mixed blessing. They are harbingers of something new, and hopefully improved. And they are less welcome when they block off public paths and spaces. Earlier this month the large parking lot on the north side of Albert just west of Bronson was fenced off. The parking lot isn’t much loss, but with it went Brickhill Street and a segment of Old Wellington, where the tour buses used to park. This will be a staging site for constructing the LRT tunnel under the downtown. So we are in for years of entertainment, err, mess and noise. Depending … Continue reading Fence me in, please !

Suddenly, Bayview Station CDP doesn’t look so bad

The City’s (in)famous Bayview-Carling CDP process has been sputtering along for a very long time. In January, the City cut it into three segments, each their own CDP. Rather like the myths about worms, does each section have a heart and ability to keep on wiggling? Interested observers can trot off to Tom Brown Arena this Tuesday evening to see the purported “final” draft of the Bayview Station area plan. You can send your doppleganger to the Albert Street reconstruction open house being held the same night at the Dalhousie Community Centre. Since the two projects overlap planning areas, it … Continue reading Suddenly, Bayview Station CDP doesn’t look so bad

Albert Street reconstruction – Back to the Future?

  above: elderly gent attempts to give directions to city engineers who will shortly zoom off – but in what direction?   The section of Albert Street that runs through LeBreton Flats is up for reconstruction starting this year. Total reconstruction, as in deep sewers, new watermains, new pavement and curbs. But the wiring won’t be buried  that is a cost imposed on suburban areas not in central Ottawa. What will be the changes? Well, we don’t know for sure. The contract is being given to the Rideau Transit Group while the project is in the design stage, with more unknowns … Continue reading Albert Street reconstruction – Back to the Future?

Eric Darwin commemorative gate CLOSES soon

Intrepid follows of this blog may recall the brou-ha-ha over the gate at the north end of Preston (aka the Preston Extension) where for decades residents have accessed the Ottawa River parklands. We even had a legal crossing of the Transitway ! Then one day — shock: Several times the NCC has tried to close the gate, but we beat them back. Some kind soul even put up a sign naming the gate after Qui- Moi? That sign is long gone, and today the NCC announced our gate and access to the Flats, the River, the bike paths … is … Continue reading Eric Darwin commemorative gate CLOSES soon

OTrain bike path paved

Okay, I mislead you a bit with the title. It’s not a bike path, it’s a multi-user path, since cyclists, pedestrians, dog-walkers and their guardians are all welcome. And it’s not all paved, just the section from Somerset north to the Ottawa River. I suspect the section from Somerset to Young didn’t get paved due to the heavy equipment installing the staircase at Somerset. But I am hopeful we will get it paved before this winter. Herewith, the pic:   Continue reading OTrain bike path paved

Spreading the dirt

Work continues on the OTrain bike and pedestrian pathway (the multi-user path, or MUP, in planning jargon). It looks awfully close to being ready to pave. Contractors are spreading topsoil along the edges of the path. On Monday I saw this gizmo spreading the topsoil over large areas: Here’s another picture of it, showing the source truck with the topsoil: A few days ago, both CTV and CFRA ran stories on the path. I can only imagine what CFRA found awful; but I did see the CTV report on their website. It was pretty pointless. They interviewed several cyclists along … Continue reading Spreading the dirt

The “Other” Iconic Station viewpoint that we lost

The Confederation Square station entrance (or lack of one) is getting a lot of press.  Earlier, the proposed Rideau Station was straddling the underside of the Canal, with the east entrance coming up at the Rideau Centre and the west entrance coming up at Confederation Square. This was called the Rideau Street station as that was its primary market, and the main reason it was pushed eastward under the canal was the sharp southward curve the track took immediately upon leaving the Rideau Station heading towards Campus:   The prior plans showed the western end of the Rideau station platform connected to a long, fairly … Continue reading The “Other” Iconic Station viewpoint that we lost

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)

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

Planning the O-Train bike path

Okay, so it’s not really a “bike path”, the City doesn’t have any of those. We have MUPs, or Multi User Paths, which are shared by cyclists, dog walkers, parents with wailers, grannies with yappers, kids alone,  etc. (It makes an interesting contrast: on roads, cyclists are told to play nicely with cars, buses, and tractor-trailers going 70km; off road, cyclists are sent to play with various pedestrian folks). I’m on the PAC (public advisory committee) for the O-Train path that will eventually run from the Ottawa River pathways south to Dow’s Lake. The City will construct the section from Bayview Station to Somerset (or maybe … Continue reading Planning the O-Train bike path

Bike shelter at Bayview Station

OC TRANSPO has installed the new bike shelter at Bayview Station. It does not have a glass wall on the “back” side of it, but nor is the back side readily accessible for cyclists while there is loose dirt/mud. Presumably, if no glass back wall is installed, and the grass grows, some cyclists can use the rack from the back side but at the cost of losing out on the roof. Is it safe to suggest this is another one-sided front-in only bike shelter? In which case, it holds six bikes. After we spend millions on the new Bayview LRT and indoor-transfer-by-escalator to the … Continue reading Bike shelter at Bayview Station

Preventive maintenance vs replacement

The Bayview O-train station is only “temporary”, but like many temporary things in the City, it has a long “temporary” life. Constructed in 2001, there are long sloping pedestrian walkways connecting the O-Train and Bus platforms. The asphalt paths were laid on gravel base, but with no “shoulder” of gravel. Instead, the gravel slopes away right from the edge of the asphalt. I am sure someone dutifully looked up the correct slope in some engineering table, and that the gravel would be stable and not erode. Except … Except the stability of gravel on a slope depends on there being no load … Continue reading Preventive maintenance vs replacement

Preston Extension open (for how long…)

Recall that last week the Preston extension (running north from Albert to a legal crosswalk over the transitway to NCC paths along the River) was suddenly gated and locked. We still don’t know for sure who did it, but the NCC seems willing to take the hit. Then, the next day the gate was open. I am told that the chain/lock were cut rather than unlocked. On Tuesday evening, the path received heavy use for patrons heading out to Bluesfest, where they could catch The Long Waits and The NeverEnding Lineups. About dusk I headed out to check out the route. Upon first seeing … Continue reading Preston Extension open (for how long…)

Popular bike and ped route “locked shut”

Several years ago a gate was installed at the north end of Preston, where it crosses NCC land. There is a paved path (actually a derelict bit of the transitway from pre-1980’s) that leads to a legal marked crossing of the current transitway and then out the Ottawa River bike paths. The gate was installed by contractors during water main construction a few years ago. On Monday, it was locked shut. I went out Monday evening to view the scene. I met cyclists coming up from the River, having crossed the transitway, and were then forced to return and recross the transitway to search … Continue reading Popular bike and ped route “locked shut”

O-Train Cycle Path makes progress

A version of this post appeared earlier this week at www.SpacingOttawa.ca. ______________________________________________________ The City has an amazing bureaucratic machine. It spends most of its time and resources promising, planning, and budgeting. All of that mental heavy lifting seems to leave it quite exhausted, but, sometimes, just sometimes, it surprises by making something actually appear “on the ground”. There is a multipurpose path (MUP) (aka a bike path) proposed to run along side the O-Train corridor. Parts of it, south of Young Street, have existed since 1963. This year, Council decided to fund an underpass under Somerset, which is the last big … Continue reading O-Train Cycle Path makes progress