In a story earlier this week I enthused about the McRae Avenue progressing from blah to an attractive Transit Oriented Development. Did I speak too soon? Is the city trying to thwart TOD before it can leave the cradle?? Here’s … Continue reading Shooting TOD in the cradle
John Turner and Jim Watson have lots in common. In a crisis, both claim they can’t do something. It didn’t work out well for Mr Turner. So people get killed moving about in Ottawa. Anyone looking at the traffic fatalities knows … Continue reading Yes you can, Mr Mayor
Mayor Watson came in for a huge dump of criticism for the design and rebuild of Lansdowne Park. But his vision was right, he withstood the onslaught, and the resulting urban fabric is quite nice. When I tell people I … Continue reading Revisiting Old Battles
Why did the City change it mind about converting the transitway overpasses to rail? Instead of re-using them for the Confederation Line tracks, a number of them are being demolished. Here’s the old transitway at Bayview (built, c1980), recently demolished: … Continue reading In Rust We Trust
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
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
There is a somewhat scenic aqueduct that runs through the low point of the LeBreton Flats. It has a lot of potential for creative place making. Here’s a pic of an uncovered / recovered Cheonggyecheon creek in Korea, famous for being … Continue reading Wandering around the Flats — LRT beside aqueduct
It is good to be (still) living, in a time when transportation is finally focusing on people who walk, people who cycle, and not just people who drive. Yet to come, of course, is any concern for the people living … Continue reading Some real ped improvements, and some not
I have a book by John Adams, entitled RISK, and it is all about … risk. * One risk is driving with or without a seatbelt. Or helmet. It is also about transferring risk, usually from one mode where something is … Continue reading Understanding traffic risk
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?
Ottawa City Council has approved speed cameras on roads and streets. But only near schools. Provided the streets fit certain other criteria. Jump through all the hoops and yup, there may be some speed cameras installed, someday, in some innocuous … Continue reading Not enthused about speed cameras
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.
Critics of Greber’s urban plans for Ottawa can always find things we regret, or sort of regret. Replacing the cross town tracks with the Queensway may not, in retrospect, have been the best course of action. If not, where would … Continue reading When railways ruled Ottawa
I used to be just as scornful as many when it came to synthetic grass. Fake. Artificial. Faux, to be snobby about it. I’ve changed my mind. I’m tired of seeing public playing fields beat to sh__ mud by over-use. … Continue reading The green green grass of … synthetics
The raison d’etre for the Queen Street reconstruction and streetscaping is to enlarge the sidewalks enough to carry all the people walking to and from the new subway entrances. All the entrances are on one street, the originally planned ones on other streets were value engineered out of existence. That there is some access from other streets is strictly courtesy of private-property access: through the Clarica Buildings lobby from Albert Street, or the underground concourse at Place de Ville (but not 240 Sparks or Constitution Square or Minto Place). A principle Lyon Station entrance is through the Podium Building, shown below. The … Continue reading Queen Street wrap-up : for people who walk
Road diets refer to over-sized streets being right-sized to a more fit form. At the Queen Street streetscaping plan unveiling last week, Queen was referred to going from four lanes to two. A first glance at some drawings confirms this: … Continue reading Did Queen Street really go on a diet?
Here’s the Lyon Street main Confed line station entrance in the Podium Building, which is sandwiched between Tower C Transport Canada and the Marriott Hotel. The building may still have the old movie theatres locked in its core. It also … Continue reading What Queen Street tells us of the Confed Line Stations
The City unveiled the final streetscaping plan for several blocks of Queen Street around the two downtown Confederation Line stations (Lyon, and Parliament). One detail I noticed was the graphic logo for the Stations, consisting of a bright red circle (donut?) on a stick. Here’s the one at Lyon Station: and another at Parliament Station by the old Zellers: and again at the link between the two towers of the Clarica /Sunlife Centre: Of course we need a graphic logo that can (eventually) instantly identify where the Station entrances are for locals and tourists alike. On the existing transitway, the bright … Continue reading New graphic identity for Confederation line?
I visited another Santiago Calatrava bridge, this time in Venice, but this time I was looking for it. The ped bridge crosses the Grand Canal at the main bus terminal, a bit southwest of the train station. The neighbourhood around it is … Continue reading Ped Bridge at Venice bus terminal
The City has decided that the architecturally-significant design for a bridge over the Canal at Fifth Avenue should be “value engineered” to a simpler, cheaper design. Fewer things to go wrong, etc. Which prompts me to recall seeing a Calatrava … Continue reading On Pedestrian bridges
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
IF one of the proponents in the NCC’s current game of Who Can Build the Flats constructs an Arena or similar multi-function space, could it be 100% accessed only by transit? It would of course be quite a risk to … Continue reading LeBetter Flats (v) – How Quickly can you Drain the Sens Arena?
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
The artist F Hundertwasser and architect J Krawina constructed a treed building in Vienna in 1985. It is public housing. That is not to say it is economic in normal terms. Hundertwasser advocated for apartment building that were highly individualized … Continue reading Hundertwasser Haus treed building
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)