The view from Portland

As part of a retrospective of previous stories on new urban neighbourhoods, lets revisit Portland’s South waterfront new urban neighbourhood. While the details of what gets built and how, may vary, new urban neighbourhoods are tending to look more and more the same. After all, architects and planners read the same world-circulation magazines and journals, attend conferences, and share ideas (sometimes better, sometimes worse). It’s part of that world homogenization that sometimes makes it hard to tell just where one is. Yes, there is a loss of sense of place. Portland is interesting because it was a strong influence on … Continue reading The view from Portland

West Side Transportation Cornucopia, part viii – Albert-Slater alert

The City is hosting an “open house” on Tuesday (Nov 28, 5.30pm  onwards  ) to show their plans for the future Albert and Slater Streets between Empress (the Good Companions) and Waller (Rideau Centre, UOttawa U). Here are some things … Continue reading West Side Transportation Cornucopia, part viii – Albert-Slater alert

When Opportunity knocks …

Am I paranormal? Do I see opportunities where others (for eg, the City) see nothing? Are the skeptics about government right when they charge it cannot miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity? In the three short weeks since I … Continue reading When Opportunity knocks …

Trillium MUP Phase 3, aka OTrain path extension

The recently constructed paved Trillium Pathway currently terminates as it crosses Carling Avenue, in the top left corner of the above aerial view. Those who persevere can follow the worn out remainders of the NCC’s 1963 stonedust pathway along the … Continue reading Trillium MUP Phase 3, aka OTrain path extension

Construction Updates – Bayview Station, Trillium Line

These are exciting days for sidewalk superintendents as the big beams for the new Bayview LRT Station were put in place. The beams are precast concrete: The design of the structure is the same as Booth Street overpass / Pimisi … Continue reading Construction Updates – Bayview Station, Trillium Line

About those not-quite-bike-lanes on Booth Freeway

There are certain facts of life we have to deal with today, even if we regret how things came to be that way. I wont rehash how Booth Street north of Albert, going through LeBreton Flats, came to be designed … Continue reading About those not-quite-bike-lanes on Booth Freeway

Bit of new west side Trillium MUP opens

The existing Trillium multi user pathway (MUP) on the EAST side of the OTrain tracks has been a hit with the commuting and recreational public. Its popularity grows weekly. Less well known is the planning “win” when the community obliged … Continue reading Bit of new west side Trillium MUP opens

Bus Stop Bus Stop

  Take a good close look at this bus stop. It is the closest thing you find in Ottawa to a eye catching roadside transit amenity. It is a bit strange when you actually look at it. I guess the poster picture on the right hand end panel has been cut in half to allow patrons to see approaching buses. And of course it is advertising. I know Ottawans love to hate private businesses, and their advertising, wanting some sort of ART installation, with an explanatory plaque for those dummies out there that aren’t so enlightened. But really, this IS … Continue reading Bus Stop Bus Stop

Building a Better Street, an example from Milan

Let’s go back to Milan. As part of their transformation project towards a Green City, they have recently reconstructed a multi-block street to make it more urban, less car-dominated. They got mostly good results, but with a number of caveats. … Continue reading Building a Better Street, an example from Milan

Trillium Path Extended to Carling Avenue

As promised by the City, the extension of the Trillium (OTrain) pathway from Young to Carling Avenue is essentially complete. I think it is wonderful. Multi-user pathways (MUP’s) get better with every new build. The most significant new feature for a MUP is a physical separation of people who cycle from people who walk, or animals who walk their humans. The bike path portion remains full width; the pedestrian portion is additional, bonus width. There is a very low curb between the two paths to separate them. The lowness of the curb prevents a pedal from getting caught. The separated … Continue reading Trillium Path Extended to Carling Avenue

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)

Coventry Active Transportation Bridge (part i)

I do occasionally get out of my WestSide stomping grounds. A recent trip took me to the near East Side where I had the opportunity to use the new Coventry  bridge for people who walk and people who cycle, over the Queensway. It’s also useful to look at it in light of the similar proposed Queensview bridge. I took the transitway to the Tremblay Station (in the hole in front of VIA Rail Station). The formerly landscaped slopes around it have been clearcut for construction starting later this year of the realigned roadbed and new Confederation LRT Line station location … Continue reading Coventry Active Transportation Bridge (part i)

City not interested in path under Qway

The City has pronounced itself regarding the replacement of the Queensway overpass at the OTrain / Trillium corridor. The existing east side pathway will get an underpass for people who walk or cycle. As for the west side, the City says:  It is deemed to be a longer-term project (post 2031) and therefore is not included in the City’s current affordable plan.  It should be noted that this west-side MUP could provide localized circulation benefits even if there were not to be a direct connection beneath the Queensway bridge.  Communities on the west side can still conveniently access the east-side … Continue reading City not interested in path under Qway

Ottawa’s LRT: Sifting Commercials for Info

  The City has decided some time ago not to engage transit users for feedback on the design and use of its new LRT vehicles and stations.   Instead, users are stuck until they can “try out” a PR model of the new trains, or watch PR Videos cheerleading the project. At Lansdowne Park, a mock-up LRT vehicle reveals numerous shortcomings, from entanglement points, very hard seats, to the lack of footroom at some seats that will make winter riding uncomfortable  and exiting the window seats acrobatic enough to challenge cirque de soleil performers. It’s a shame these details are coming … Continue reading Ottawa’s LRT: Sifting Commercials for Info

Westward Ho ! (part iv) in which Fantasies come to the fore …

  In the previous three stories I’ve tried to review what is planned, what some of the tradeoffs were, what the consequences area, and slip in just a teensey tiny wee bit of my opinion. So what would Eric do if faced with the same starting situation,  of the City insisting its Western LRT had to go down the parkway space; and the NCC insisting that people using transit is incompatible with their revised greenspace plan? (note I am not considering other completely different route options). The physical plan My goal going into the conflict would be to keep rail on … Continue reading Westward Ho ! (part iv) in which Fantasies come to the fore …