OC Transpo bus routes in the downtown, 2018 version

This is part iii   of a series on downtown bus routes once the Confederation Line opens in 2018. Part i was on STO routes. Part ii was aimed at understanding what OC Transpo is trying to achieve with the new bus … Continue reading OC Transpo bus routes in the downtown, 2018 version

Buses in the downtown in LRT era, part ii, OC Transpo

So, having seen in Part i, what is planned (subject to change) for STO buses in downtown Ottawa once the Confederation Line LRT opens in or around August 2018 … let’s look at the OC Transpo routes. These OC Transpo … Continue reading Buses in the downtown in LRT era, part ii, OC Transpo

West Side Transportation Cornucopia, part viii – Albert-Slater alert

The City is hosting an “open house” on Tuesday (Nov 28, 5.30pm  onwards  ) to show their plans for the future Albert and Slater Streets between Empress (the Good Companions) and Waller (Rideau Centre, UOttawa U). Here are some things … Continue reading West Side Transportation Cornucopia, part viii – Albert-Slater alert

City sleeps while mystery bridge decays

When the Ottawa Humane Society left Champagne Avenue there was some sort of contractual agreement they had to offer the land to the city. For parkland. Nothing said the city had to buy it. So they didn’t. And as a … Continue reading City sleeps while mystery bridge decays

Queen Street wrap-up : for people who walk

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

VIA Rail, Climate Change, and Naiomi on a streetcar

Every time there is a new Liberal government in Ottawa, VIA Rail appears, exactly on schedule, to promote spending money   investing on a dedicated passenger rail network in The Corridor (Windsor-Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal-Quebec City, or some subset thereof). While the “solution” is always … Continue reading VIA Rail, Climate Change, and Naiomi on a streetcar

Gotta go pee ! (again)

So, the CBC this morning was featuring another story on our lack of public washrooms. So I thought it worthwhile reprinting this Feb.2015 story about public toilets. I think the potty solution from Portland would fit very nicely in Dundonald Park. As a society, we have a major aversion to acknowledging that people gotta go pee. Or poo. And that this happens when people are outside of the home. Like at transit stations. Or touristing in a city. In lieu of public WC signage, we are reduced to looking for the Golden Arches of M, where there is always a … Continue reading Gotta go pee ! (again)

Spring Craning

An interesting demonstration of evolving design came to west siders this week courtesy of our high rise developers. Better design is everywhere these days. For that we can credit the popularity of industrial design schools, increased awareness of graphic design elements, and the popularity of design-centric programs on TV and the ‘net. Now we can see it on our skyline by craning our necks. Up on Cathedral Hill, Windmill developments installed their crane for their new condo tower. It is the conventional design. Dare we call it the ‘old fashioned’ design? Notice the complicated support wires, the heavy concrete block … Continue reading Spring Craning

Confederation matters (i)

The new Confederation LRT line stations for downtown Ottawa — as proposed by the winning consortium — are very different from the previous designs worked out by the City. The City’s previous designs were very big on safety through environmental design. To that end, the downtown tunnel stations had a upper level mezzanine with the ticketing functions, that was then open to the track level one floor below. In quiet hours, someone on the mezzanine could eyeball the trackside waiting areas. People waiting on the platforms could be confident that someone could see them easily from the mezzanine. All that … Continue reading Confederation matters (i)

Playing Pedestrian in the Middle

It’s easy to make excuses why sidewalks so often don’t meet pedestrians’ basic needs. And sometimes there are genuine instances of “falling between the gaps” Like this one Here the view westwards, along Lisgar: .Do you see it? Try this view, looking eastwards on the same sidewalk: In the foreground of pic two is Hudson Park, condo by Charlesfort. It has a wider-than-normal sidewalk, about 6′ instead of the regulated 5′. Which is good, because the walk is busy. The brick condo is by Domicile. The Domicile condo widened the walk in front of their building with cobbles and a … Continue reading Playing Pedestrian in the Middle

Digging up the Laurier SBL

Cyclists on the Laurier separated bike lane (SBL) should have noticed some discrete trenching going on in the lane. Apparently using a saw blade, a narrow trench is being cut along the curb that separates the lane from other traffic: The work is being done at night, so trench itself constitutes the evidence. Every so often, there is another cut at right angles, going towards an adjacent building. To keep debris out of the trench until the cables can be installed, a plastic cap is put on: The  fibre optics cable that is being installed by Globility (Primus) and they have pretty much  finished their work on Laurier … Continue reading Digging up the Laurier SBL

When condos replace offices …

Vancouver has been “enjoying” a condo tower boom for some years. Early on in the boom, the demand for condos was so hot that existing office buildings were converted to condos. For example, the iconic BC Hydro building (the highrise with no ground floor) was converted. Critics began to speculate that residences would drive commercial uses right off the prime peninsula space, an interesting reversal of the usual community activist nightmare of expanding commercial uses driving out the residential uses around the core. Apartment towers differ from townhouse developments in Barrhaven and Riverside South in that the towers stick up in … Continue reading When condos replace offices …

The City is monitoring much more than cycle traffic on Laurier

The Citizen reports today * that the City and Carleton U are monitoring cyclist and motorist behaviour along the Laurier separated bike lane (SBL). They are using video equipment to record behaviour of individual users and interactions amongst users. The citizen story doesn’t tell us HOW they are doing this, or give us the larger picture. Here is a photo overview of one video camera installation. The camera set up was used to record 100 hours of the intersection, then moved to the next, til all 8 Laurier intersections were monitored. (above): the recording device consists of some equipment boxes at the base, a … Continue reading The City is monitoring much more than cycle traffic on Laurier

Doing something about the lack of trees downtown

and and stepping back a few feet, here is a view of the whole installation, on top of one of the select few parking meters posts that got turned into a bike rack. Hey, it could be worse. Mayor Watson might have added a pole with tin leaves to make fake plastic trees, as were proposed for Bronson Avenue.      Continue reading Doing something about the lack of trees downtown

Civic Gateways (absence of)

Ottawa is nicer than many other cities. Despite the criticisms of the NCC, they do engage in long term planning and city building that generates a sense of grandeur or pride. Without them, Ottawa would be vastly impoverished, just another short-sighted mid-sized city planned with short term expediency the governing rule. Ottawa is engaged in a worthwhile planning exercise for the downtown core, called Downtown Moves (DOMO). The removal of the bus lanes by 2017-18 creates the opportunity to remake the surface streets in a more livable and pleasant way. And not just replace the bus lanes with parking lanes. For this strategic thinking … Continue reading Civic Gateways (absence of)

Life’s a Beach, even downtown

The NCC is responsible for most of what is good and attractive in Ottawa. In the process of delivering the nice stuff, the NCC relies on government ownership of the property. Alas, the Law of Unintended Consequences comes into play. Measures intended to promote access to the waterfronts end up cutting them off, “public” space is too often “dead” space. The introduction of a new urban beach in downtown Ottawa might go a long way to rectifying this. The beach, between Ottawa U and the canal, on the east side of the Corktown Bridge (not to be confused with Corkstown Road, which is … Continue reading Life’s a Beach, even downtown