Walking Portland’s SouthWaterfront streets

Here’s part 2 of the Portland series, from 2015. They did an excellent job of creating lively streets. We haven’t done nearly as well here in Ottawa. Yet the formulas for success are out there. Do note that since this story was first written, Claridge’s Flats project has greatly improved, with benches and gardens and resident participation and involvement growing. (We might look at that in a future story). Alas, the city continues to shun the area, except to collect fees and taxes, but not providing so much as a tot lot for the scads of kids that live there. … Continue reading Walking Portland’s SouthWaterfront streets

The view from Portland

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

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

Bit of new west side Trillium MUP opens

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

Queensview Station Crossing (part iii)

In the West End, the Confederation Line LRT will eventually extend to Lincoln Fields, then along Pinecrest Creek (where the transitway is) and it will split into two directions from a point north of the Queensway. One leg will carry on to Algonquin College. The other leg vers westward under a city park and emerges from its underground tunnel between the Queensway and the west end bus garage on Queensview Drive. The in-an-open-cut  Queensview Station ( much like Westboro and Tunney’s Stations) will replace the lawn directly in front of The Brick. Directly opposite The Brick is The Ottawa Citizen plant, and … Continue reading Queensview Station Crossing (part iii)

Coventry Bridge, Tremblay LRT Station Underachievers (part ii)

Will the redeveloped Tremblay Station area be better than what is there today? Will there be a wonderful world of tomorrow, or just a bigger – higher – denser version of autotopia? Here’s a city-provided sketchup of the Tremblay LRT Station (formerly known as Train). Construction starts in December this year, for completion in July 2017. The ring road that services the train station is visible at the top; with the VIA Station at the top right. The parking lot shown is existing, but not for long. While the main LRT entrance is to the east, by the ring road, … Continue reading Coventry Bridge, Tremblay LRT Station Underachievers (part ii)

Building a Better LeBreton, part 9, Walking Portland’s SouthWaterfront streets

  The South Waterfront neighbourhood is very well landscaped. Intensively landscaped, with interesting bits of planters, plants, gardens, courtyards, and squares tucked into the smallest corners. The contrast to Ottawa’s LeBreton Flats couldn’t be stronger. Some of this may be due to a milder climate in Oregon. Or a project that has had vegetation in the ground and growing for longer. Or maybe a much more generous budget for greenery. The Flats look good on paper, and on the ground the “right elements” are laid out, but the execution makes me wince and thus far is poorly maintained. The City has … Continue reading Building a Better LeBreton, part 9, Walking Portland’s SouthWaterfront streets

Building LeBetter Flats, part 7, the view from Portland

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