European cities have livlier street life than we do. Much of this is due to deliberate design choices, like limiting car traffic. And providing benches: Our new Official Plan is to make Ottawa attractive for those new age employers and … Continue reading Urban Design (xiv) Benches, cafes in fine mixed use areas
So is the Sens-trinity et all plan for LeBreton Flats — called IllumiNation — really dead this time? Naah. There’s lots of opportunity to raise it from the mat one more time. There’s a high profile spat going on between … Continue reading Levisoa IlumiNation !
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
Claridge continues to construct the ICON condo tower at Preston / Carling. This will be the tallest residential tower in Ottawa. Some taller ones have been approved, but are a long way from construction, so for the foreseeable future, the … Continue reading Halfway Icon
Longfields Station is on the transitway. In Barrhaven. Someday, probably not in my lifetime, it may be a LRT station. But it works just fine now as a transitway station for buses. It is not a major hub. I dont … Continue reading Is this the best we can do at a transit station?
Two of the intensification projects we looked at in the last few days are on Traditional Main Streets. The City’s official plan for TMS calls for up to six story apartments, built lot line to lot line to create a … Continue reading Rules are for Others, part 3, Gladstone Avenue
Occasionally an intensification proposal comes along that seems to fit most of the rules (guidelines, really…). So let’s look at what Project1 Studio is proposing for 440 Bronson, just north of Gladstone. The site used to house Guytel Phones, and … Continue reading Intensification by the rules, part 1
Albert-Scott Interim alignment, west from Champagne Avenue Open house 11 Dec 2017 at Tom Brown arena, 6pm to 8.30pm This story is mostly aimed at those citizens who are keen on city planning and the details of what is planned … Continue reading Scott Street interim alignment meeting Dec 11
Back in 2012 I showed you the picture below. The first apartments on the current rebuild of LeBreton Flats (Claridgeland) had been occupied for a year or so, and baby toys were starting to appear in windows. I asked, how … Continue reading Tot Lot Not
Whatever is happening recently, we have a habit of extrapolating indefinitely into the future. But circumstances change, and what was true before is not necessarily true in the future. Consider the trope: “tiny condo”. If I had a dollar every … Continue reading Return of the large apartment
As more and more people live in apartment buildings, the role of the balcony needs more scrutiny. Many Ottawa builders, including luxury brands like Charlesfort, aim for the smallest sellable bit of concrete. Others, like Brocolinni, aim to provide exactly … Continue reading Extending the balcony season
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
Lots of people like to dump on LeBreton Flats current development as they drive by on the Commuter Expressways. This weeks OBJ has the latest. For variety, here’s the fish-eye view of the first two towers and mid rise apartments on … Continue reading Wandering around the Flats – Claridgeland
If my (fallible) memory serves me correctly, all the Confederation Line LRT Stations are freestanding, at ground level, in a ditch, or underground. Only at three downtown stations are the stations under the street but exiting up partially through existing … Continue reading First high rise LRT station?
The City and NCC have come up with a revised connection of the Western LRT and Richmond Road corridor. But I don’t think it is complete enough, yet. Just like a complete street is better than just a road, the Cleary … Continue reading I can see Cleary now …
I went to a public talk the other evening. It was soooo depressing. The speaker is an architect and town planner. And professor. And consultant. And urban design reviewer. The secret to better cities? Hire more architects. Not just any … Continue reading Depressing evening with an Architect.
There is lots of coverage about what is in the two proposals to rebuild LeBreton Flats. The Citizen, for example, offers good photo spreads and text. If you prefer original sources, here are the links to the two proposals. My … Continue reading LeBetter Flats (vii) see the details
My (short term rental) apartment in Milano was in the Porto Nuova district, a central city urban redevelopment area replacing Pirelli and other industrial factories. The redevelopment had been sputtering along since the 1950’s (hello, NCC) but picked up steam in 2009. A key showpiece of the urban redevelopment are the Bosco Verticale towers (bosco, woodlot or treed parkland; verticale, vertical) which graphed two hectares of woodlot onto the sides of 18 and 26 storey high rise condo towers. The taller building is 110m (360 ft); the shorter 76m (249 ft). These are similar size buildings to the ones presently built along … Continue reading Bosco Verticale – a high rise forest in the city (part 1)
Claridge’s Icon project at Preston and Carling has reached a new low. The 8 or 9 storey underground parking garage hole has been dug and I hear cement will be pouring before the year is out. The 45 storey, 485′ high condo tower includes several floors of office space in the podium with some retail at grade. This is about twice the height of the next tallest building in the area, Ashcroft’s yellow-brick rectangular student residence building on Champagne, located beside the first glass tower of SOHO Champagne. Ashcroft’s residence will be completed by August 2016, at which point they … Continue reading Claridge’s Icon going up
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
Rochester Field, now to be a condo development site with a green corridor to the parkway along its western (left) edge, is shown on the above map just above the word Richmond [Road]. The new LRT line, in a shallow cut-and-cover tunnel, with the eastbound traffic lanes of the Ottawa River parkway piggybacking on top, is shown as a thick orangey line extending straight along the parkland. This kilometer-long straight section I find very alarming. The “Parkway” is already derisively known as the Ottawa River Commuter Expressway because of its current high volumes and speeds that rarely descend to the posted … Continue reading Westward ho ! (part ii) Western LRT along the parkway
Portland, Oregon, is often referred to as a city that has gone further with “Smart Growth” than other cities. It promotes transit by train, streetcar, bike, and aerial tram. It has numerous award winning downtown parks and redevelopment sites. IMO, its planning reputation and branding sometimes exceeds its delivery. One site in particular is comparable to LeBreton Flats in terms of location (just outside the downtown core, on former industrial lands), although Portland’s South Waterfront is twice the area (402 acres vs NCC’s <200 acres). Portland’s has room to expand as it takes over adjacent industrial users; the NCC’s site … Continue reading Building LeBetter Flats, part 7, the view from Portland
If all that overindulgence in food and sweets still permits, recall the story a short while ago about the Senators moving to LeBreton Flats. https://www.westsideaction.ca/lebetter-flats-part-3-senators-go-marching/ As I pointed out then, it makes much more sense for a new hockey palace to go west of Preston rather than close to Booth. Reasons? It would be adjacent the major station (Bayview) where the east-west Confederation Line crosses the north-south Trillium line (formerly known as the OTrain). The Prince of Wales former railway bridge over to Gatineau is supposed to have a cantilevered bike and ped path on it by 2018, according to our … Continue reading Building LeBetter Flats, part 6, The Sens again, with Plan B
The NCC’s current LeBreton Flats project comes in for a lot of criticism. I think it’s mostly drive-by criticism, with all the scatter gun impreciseness and alienation implied by the term. For some time now I ask people criticizing the yellow brick buildings on the Flats if they have actually walked around them. Naah. Couldn’t bother. We even had a prominent real estate developer criticize them at at community planning meeting and He hadn’t actually been out there. Talk about shoot from the lip. Here’s some pictures that show the buildings from the street and the grounds, but not from … Continue reading LeBetter Flats (part 1) Yellow, Brown … silver too
The NCC recently held an education session on the glories of modern lighting techniques for buildings. Floodlighting is out; highlighting and story-telling is in. Opposite city hall is a very expensive condo building. Perhaps you’ve noticed it? The spotlights mounted around the base of the building, just above the dark podium level, shine up. Four or five floors up are a few more uplights. And if you look way way up, says the Friendly Giant, there’s yet another set. Except one of them shines down. Right into your eyes. The glare at sidewalk level, or from the lawn at city … Continue reading Illuminating thoughts