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

1871 Railway turntable uncovered on LeBreton Flats

In addition to a 1871 roundhouse turntable, parts of a 1883 roundhouse have also been uncovered on LeBreton Flats near Bayview Station. The archaeological dig covers some city land where the Trillium OTrain line and Trillium multi-user pathway is located, and … Continue reading 1871 Railway turntable uncovered on LeBreton Flats

Lonely house on the parking lot

The area along the O-Train corridor has undergone lots of changes from its original industrial beginnings. Occasionally, an old building survives. Notice that it has a real slate roof, there are few houses or buildings left in our neighborhood with slate roofs. In this case, it probably was to provide additional fire proofing from the sparks that flew out of the many steam engines in the area. David Jeanes tells me this may have been the home of Ottawa Stair Works. Probably built right after the Great Fire in 1902, the building then faced Somerset Street which was not yet elevated up on the … Continue reading Lonely house on the parking lot

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

The Secret West Side

Everyone knows the traditional main streets: West Wellie, Preston, Chinatown, Bank Street … The very success of these streets ensure they attract popular businesses with enough clientele to afford the rents. But where are the retailers that cannot afford main street? Ottawa lacks many low-value retail spaces, where specialty niche businesses, startups, and some just-plain marginal businesses can locate. Gentrification and the revival of main streets are desirable, but have the effect of squeezing out these small firms. So they slip into little-noticed spots unattractive to mainstream, main street retailers. I previously mentioned the hotbed of nifty niche novelty firms on the west side*. … Continue reading The Secret West Side

Rising Action

Steer your footsteps towards the City Centre complex on City Centre Avenue. At the southern end of the ground floor (near the Somerset end) there is a new bakery. A big one. Artisin Bakery has until recently been primarily a wholesale bakery, with about 70 high-end hotels and restaurants as clients. Now, from their new premises at City Centre, they have opened a new retail outlet for breads, cookies, pastries, tarts, cakes, and sandwiches. Kevin Mathieson is the owner. A Winnipegger, he has had his hands in flour forever. He apprenticed with the best in New York, Paris, Monaco, and Zürich. He uses organic grains, … Continue reading Rising Action

Ugly Betty Building Better Brown?

The City Centre warehouse/office complex on City Centre Avenue near the Bayview Otrain station is often derided as the ugliest (commercial) building in the city. Actually, there are other contenders. And a frequently mentioned ugliest (residential) building is not so far away. The owners — Equity International — have recently made some changes to the building. About a year ago, the huge Citv Centre red neon signs were removed from the top of the building. Then earlier this year, the building was washed. Now it’s undergoing a brownwash. The horizontal concrete stripes around the building are being painted black. While I give thanks that the building … Continue reading Ugly Betty Building Better Brown?

DOTT plans affect west side residents (vii): Bayview Rapibus Station?

The City has been evaluating the structural soundness of the historic Prince of Wales Railway Bridge over the Ottawa River to Gatineau. The City bought it a number of years ago for transit. Friends of the OTrain and  LRT transit proponents have long viewed the POW bridge as a great solution for taking transit across the River. The interprovincial transit study offered renewed hopes for extending LRT service from downtown Ottawa to Gatineau over the POW as the first phase of a loop system serving the two downtown employment centres and to alleviate bridge congestion. Alas, logic may be loosing … Continue reading DOTT plans affect west side residents (vii): Bayview Rapibus Station?

Bayview re-landscaped

Looking east on Albert as it goes over the OTrain Boulevard trees, west side of Bayview seen from Scott Curious curb jogs, seen from Somerset looking north Field of Trees, between TomBrown Arena and Albert Sometimes the City makes me very happy. Like when I see the amount of generous landscaping going in along Bayview Avenue between Somerset and Albert/Scott. For several years the City waterworks people have been burying high pressure water mains in the area. Approx.where the sidewalk is shown in picture 4 & 5 is the route of the pipeline. There was a bare grassy lawn running from Tom … Continue reading Bayview re-landscaped

Bore Hole Drilling at City Centre Complex

The City Centre complex is a combo office tower and industrial bays located on City Centre Avenue just east of and south of Bayview Station. Built in 1960 as part of the federal-funded railway relocation project, it was a intermodal terminal for offloading rail cars onto delivery trucks. Now it is industrial bays, with a surprisingly large number of printers located there. The largest tennant in the whole complex is my old company, Cielo Print. – All last week there were two drilling rigs working the parking lot, drilling bore holes around the perimeter of the parking lot along City … Continue reading Bore Hole Drilling at City Centre Complex

Urban Planning Nostalgia

Over at the blog The Ottawa Project is a story of visiting Lorne Ave and the not-unreasonable assumption that what is visible on Lorne represents that which was demolished on the Flats in the early 1960’s. I think that overview is overly sympathetic to the demolished areas. I do not wish to take the view that it was right to demolish whole neighborhoods/built up areas in favor of total rebuilding, which was the big government view of urban renewal then (note to today’s amateur city rebuilders and commentators who too often wish for bigger govt action – be careful of … Continue reading Urban Planning Nostalgia

LRT – the 1950’s version

This video of the former streetcar service in Ottawa is certainly interesting. At minute 4.19 there are shots of streetcars on Elm St running up to Preston (Elm street was the exit from the Champagne Streetcar Barn. The entrances were from Champagne [now City Centre Ave] In the background is a large structure the predates the City Centre complex, which is now nearing the end of its lifespan). Most of the houses filmed on Elm are 100% recognizable today. My house abuts the Champagne Barn, I enjoy a great westward view over its rooftop. The roof used to be mostly … Continue reading LRT – the 1950’s version

Somerset Viaduct (Bridge) over the OTrain Line

Somerset west of Preston rises up and over the OTrain Tracks, near the City Centre Building. At the height of the crest, the bridge itself is only about 20′ long; the rest of the road is simply a fill between retaining walls. The road was designed long ago and the angle of the slope means that motorists cannot see what’s on the road (for eg, a parked car) over the crest. This creates a stopping-in-time problem. The solution selected by the City is to narrow the road to two lanes for vehicle traffic. The road is wide enough for a … Continue reading Somerset Viaduct (Bridge) over the OTrain Line

City Centre Tower

The City Centre Tower, constructed about 1965, lost its red letters around the roof line last week. Nothing was left but the dirt on the brickwork. Yesterday and today workers on scaffolding were cleaning the brick. In the photo, the north wall to the right has already been cleaned; and work continues on the east wall. Double click on the picture to see it up close. Continue reading City Centre Tower

For Lack of a CDP – Community Development Plan

There is a deliberately vague planning environment for the two 30-storey condo towers proposed by Phoenix DCR for 801 Albert Street (the vacant lot beside the City Centre tower and opposite Tom Brown Arena and the Bayview OTrain Station ). The City has signalled that it wants development to be significantly better than the industrial zoning common along the Bayview to Carling rail corridor. Yet it lacks a comprehensive plan for developing the area. A Community Development Plan (CDP) was begun several years ago, and considerable progress was made. The Phoenix development in a number of respects honours the incomplete … Continue reading For Lack of a CDP – Community Development Plan

City Centre Office Tower Loses Roof Sign

The City Centre office and warehouse complex, 250 City Centre Avenue, opposite the Bayview OTrain station and Tom Brown Arena, is often referred to as the ugliest in the city. While not pretty, its not so bad either. I should know, I look at it from my house, and until I sold my business a few years ago, was/is the largest tennant in the industrial bays. The night time picture was taken at 2am a few weeks ago from a window on the third floor of my house, looking across the roof of the Just Rite Storage building, aka the … Continue reading City Centre Office Tower Loses Roof Sign

801 Albert St Condo Towers – Bayview Station area

There is a vacant triangular plot of land at the corner of City Centre Avenue at Albert, just across from the Bayview OTrain Station and Tom Brown Arena, and beside the existing 8 storey City Centre office tower. The land has been owned by Phoenix development for some years. They have applied for rezoning for two 31-storey condo towers and a four storey office building. Each tower would be similar in height and size to the Metropole tower built further west on Scott near Westboro Station. The Metropole development, with townhouses clustered at its base, turned out well, despite its … Continue reading 801 Albert St Condo Towers – Bayview Station area