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

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

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

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

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?

On a Clear Day, (Dead) Councillors can see forever …

Back a few months ago when there was snow on the ground, I typically played around with it a bit when sent out to conduct my onerous shovelling obligations. For the first pass, I would make my six-foot-short sidewalk have perfectly vertical snowbanks on each side. Nice straight sides, looking like the whole bank was sculpted at once. A mini Corinthian Canal: Later, when the crisp edges started to blur, I would convert the sliced-through snowbanks into a gentle glaciated valley, with the sidewalk at the bottom and then the parabolic sides. This is a useful metaphor for Ottawa’s sight lines and view cones. There are a number … Continue reading On a Clear Day, (Dead) Councillors can see forever …

Noble residents

The modest house shown above on Elm Street is typical for the neighborhood. West Side homes have seen many stories played out. But this story is far from typical. This is the home Joseph Guillaume Laurent “Larry” Robillard and his brothers grew up in. On Nov 8, 1941, 70 years ago, Sgt. Robillard of the Royal Canadian Air Force was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal. He downed two enemy aircraft while protecting a descending parachutist. Then just 20 years old, the resident of 15 Elm Street had already shot down a Messerschmitt 109 on 22 June . During a patrol over Lille, France, on 2 July 1941, then a … Continue reading Noble residents

Bixi Bike Service Expanding in Ottawa

  The experimental bike share/rental system in Ottawa-Gatineau will expand next year. There are currently 4 stations – including the NAC, Musee de Civilization, and ByWard Market. The sleek bikes have 3 speeds in an internal hub (protected), an internal chain (no greasy stains on your pants or sox), adjustable seats, head and tail lights, and of course a distinctive shape. The system will be expanded to 50 sites, but whether this is all next year or over several years is not yet clear. Sites have to be reasonably close together to be useful, frequent, and at desired destinations. Presumably the operators want … Continue reading Bixi Bike Service Expanding in Ottawa

Greenroofs – CWM

The bottom photo shows the lower roof of the Cdn War Museum green roof. The grass is green. Further up the slope, beyond the admin offices with the gorgeous views of the River, the green roof is decidedly brown. – There is a N/S bicycle and foot path up the centre point of the museum which takes you to the roof and down the other side. The views are interesting. The path is supposedly open whenever the museum is open (there is a locked gate other times) but I often see it locked mid-day. If you are lucky and see … Continue reading Greenroofs – CWM