West Side Transportation Cornucopia, part vi – Bayview Station overpass

Let’s look at that confusing stretch of road between Bayview Avenue and City Centre Avenue. Legally known as Albert Street, many folks persist in calling it Scott Street (which only runs west of Bayview). It’s a bleak and uninviting bit … Continue reading West Side Transportation Cornucopia, part vi – Bayview Station overpass

West Side Transportation Cornucopia, part iii – NRCan

There is yet a third segment of Booth Street to consider. That’s the portion running from the Queensway south to Carling Avenue. That segment is not residential, it is mostly government offices, ranging from heritage Mineral and Mines brick buildings … Continue reading West Side Transportation Cornucopia, part iii – NRCan

Fixing the Booth Freeway fiasco

Recall that Booth Street between Albert Street and Wellington Street (out by the War Museum) was rebuilt with a grand overpass over the new LRT line. Before it was built, the design was hotly contested by local communities and advocacy … Continue reading Fixing the Booth Freeway fiasco

Wandering around the west side (ii) the historic aqueduct

Wandering around the west side by foot and by bike reveals new wonders perhaps missed because the summer heat made me slothful. Here’s the stone walls along most of the aqueduct through LeBreton Flats. They were restored / rebuilt about 20 years ago, but the City sorta benignly neglected to maintain the bank sides and landscaping ever since. Many of the trees have died (for lack of water, since they were planted in giant “pockets” underlain with impermeable fabric so the roots can’t get to the water table). The view below is from the new Booth Freeway overpass, which offers never-before-seen … Continue reading Wandering around the west side (ii) the historic aqueduct

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

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

Building LeBetter Flats, part 5, The Isles

The projected build out of Albert and Chaudiere Islands * starts with the material already at hand, ie the existing buildings. The former brick and stone mill buildings will be converted to commercial uses, starting in 2015. These offer the quickest revenue opportunity for the developer, Windmill, and I imagine it is much easier to attract firms rather than condo residents. Particularly hi-tech-y firms which show a propensity to edgy industrial sites in other cities in part due to their often young employee age group and non-conventional self-image. The first buildings to be converted will most likely be on Albert … Continue reading Building LeBetter Flats, part 5, The Isles

Bike Path, Walkway, Bus Stop: all together now

The City of Ottawa claims it cannot possibly design the new section of Booth Street running north from Albert, serving Pimisi Station and the LeBreton Flats area, to include motorists, buses, transit, and bikes. The cyclists just don’t fit. So they are being thrown under the bus. As for their partner in crime, the NCC’s vision for their new urban downtown showpiece doesn’t seem to include complete streets or cyclists. Dusk a few weeks ago, I noticed this lovely bike path – walkway – bus stop combo in Montreal, on the side of Park Lafontaine. Everyone approaching the place gets ample visual … Continue reading Bike Path, Walkway, Bus Stop: all together now

Churchill Cycle Track takes shape

  Churchill Avenue running north from Carling Avenue towards Westboro is being rebuilt today as a complete street. In addition to the regular car / truck traffic lanes on the street, there will be concrete walks and at the same level as the walkway, a cycle track. A cycle track differs from a bike lane, which is a painted zone on the street just off to the side of the car traffic. Road traffic can readily intrude into the bike lane (hello FedEx). The cycle track is separated from other vehicular traffic by a curb and buffer zone. The opening … Continue reading Churchill Cycle Track takes shape

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

Community Gardeners carry on …

Community Gardeners, sometimes called guerilla gardeners, inspired by a love of plants, work to beautify their neighbourhood through planting things. Sometimes this is into otherwise empty planters the city leaves scattered around. Other times it is in less-expected places, ie real guerilla planting. Here is the community garden planted outside the Plant Rec Centre:   In the Plant case, gardeners worked with the city to install the garden. The city provided a truckload of topsoil as part of the Somerset reconstruction project. Volunteers spread the soil and did the planting with material from other sites and private gardens. A passing … Continue reading Community Gardeners carry on …

Three temporary landscapes on the Flats

Last night the NCC held an open house to unveil 3 concepts for landscaping the Beirut  Bagdad  Syrian war zone post-apocalyptic landscape in downtown Ottawa on the south side of the Parkway between Vimy Private (the War Museum entrance road) and Claridge’s condos on LeBreton Flats. It has long been a puzzle to WSA regulars as to why bureaucrats think people would rush to buy homes with such dismal surroundings. So the new NCC, with new Leadership, responding to criticism (not least of which came from their bosses up on the Hill) of the desolate lands, announced a few weeks ago … Continue reading Three temporary landscapes on the Flats

Yet another Scott Street > transitway option

Recall that the current transitway, running in an open cut through the west side, will be replaced by rail tracks for the new Confederation Line LRT. There is a construction lead time to construct the tracks and the new stations at Tunney’s and Bayview and LeBreton, so the buses now on the transitway will have to be detoured during the construction period. Others are busy working on detours that do not involve Scott and Albert Streets. This is the second exploration  of how the detour could occur on Scott-Albert. (for the first option, see:       http:/www.westsideaction.ca/putting-the-buses-onto-scott-albert/ ; the comments … Continue reading Yet another Scott Street > transitway option

Demolition and new construction, Booth at Somerset

    Demolition has come near the corner of Booth and Somerset, in Chinatown. For once, it is deliberate and not by fire. An elderly three storey apartment building has been demolished.   The site owner has approval to build two new triplexes on the site. The style will be modern, with lots of exposed metal bits. Here’s a view of the project circulated last year:   Locals suggested that he incorporate some of the typical neighbourhood red brick to the front façades, and possibly make some on-site use of the dressed limestone blocks from the old foundation. We also … Continue reading Demolition and new construction, Booth at Somerset

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?

Miracle on Booth Street

The previous post looked at some really tough plants. This post focusses on the more tender, biological ones. Recall that in the spring, volunteer gardeners from the neighborhood planted a few curbside openings along Booth Street. * The plants we used were tough ditch lilies. Native species like these are best for the awful conditions we subjected the plants to. First there is the foot and vehicular traffic along Booth. The pollution. The strange soil, 50% gravel, that we had to plant in. Followed by the driest summer on recent record, with no tap to water these plants. Given the dry … Continue reading Miracle on Booth Street

Getting under the skin

There is a c1902 house at the corner of Primrose and Booth. It’s actually a semi-detached, with one door facing Primrose and the other Booth. For as long as I can remember it has been sagging at the front corner. This is probably due to the line of peat that traces the foot of the escarpment / Nanny Goat Hill that runs from parliament, Cathedral Hill, Bronson Hill, and eventually peters out somewhere mid-Dalhousie neighborhood near Gladstone, interrupted by the syncline of the Nepean-Gloucester fault line. All along the foot of the escarpment you can spot houses that sag (these must be … Continue reading Getting under the skin

Just how fast do they go?

Residents frequently complain about speeding traffic.  Signs are only marginally effective, if the engineers design the roads to invite higher speeds. And make no doubt road design is not some innocent bystander in this. For years we have been making our roads wider, flatter, smoother, better lit, and pretending innocence when traffic goes faster. It is faster by design. The first step in fixing the problem is to measure the problem. You can’t fix what you didn’t measure. Some Councillors are buying Speed Boards for their Wards. These boards tell motorists what speed they are doing. There is  evidence that motorists slow down when … Continue reading Just how fast do they go?