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

Yes you can, Mr Mayor

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

Westward Ho ! (part iii) the curse of stations and transit users

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

Westward ho ! (part i)

So the NCC and the City came to an understanding for routing the western LRT beyond Dominion Station. It’s time to go beyond the headline coverage. Let’s parse that agreement, and see what’s there and what isn’t. The basic concept: the LRT will extend west from Dominion along the Ottawa River Parkway (ORP) to Cleary Avenue where it will transition southwards to follow the Richmond Road corridor. Instead of being pushed up close to the southern edge of the parkway lands, close to some developed parcels, the LRT will now run roughly down the centre of the space, halfway between … Continue reading Westward ho ! (part i)

More exciting drainage swales, in industrial parks

Seattle and its suburbs had an abundance of drainage swales. That might reflect the high seasonal rainfall. In a suburban industrial park (in Redmond or Bellevue, I’m not sure) , about half populated with businesses and the other half being vacant lots, the existing roads had been retrofitted to accommodate swales. The existing infrastructure looked to me to be about a decade old. At each half block, a pair of bulbouts had created a “neckdown” or pinch in the road. A crosswalk was installed, simply marked with a zebra stripe and fluorescent sign (Ottawa traffic engineers are horrified at this … Continue reading More exciting drainage swales, in industrial parks

Exciting drainage swales in urban areas

Traditional engineering tries to remove as much rainwater as fast as possible. Rain falls, pavement directs it into storm sewers. Outa sight, outa mind. More recent storm water management for Ottawa streets reduces the permeability of the catch basin grate so water self-stores on the street (that’s  “puddles” to the rest of us) and runs off over time. Preston has this feature. Unfortunately, it makes walking the sidewalks within an hour or two of rainfalls a drenching experience. Some puddles remain for 24 hours. It rains a lot in the pacific northwest.  They have installed a lot of “drainage swales” in … Continue reading Exciting drainage swales in urban areas

More west side nature news

The opening picture is looking up into my backyard Sour Cherry tree. This was the “off year” so there were fewer bushels of cherries. We make little ramekin pies. Since the tree overhangs the yard into my neighbours, they pick some and make jam. For many years, I have found my west side neighbourhood rather shortchanged in the bird variety department. But lately, more varieties have been coming. There is now a cardinal pair nesting near Gladstone/Preston (see what a family-suggestive sculpture can accomplish?). And a pair of beautiful yellow grosbeaks had been visiting my cherry supply. Alas, last week … Continue reading More west side nature news

Community Gardeners carry on …

Community Gardeners, sometimes called guerilla gardeners, inspired by a love of plants, work to beautify their neighbourhood through planting things. Sometimes this is into otherwise empty planters the city leaves scattered around. Other times it is in less-expected places, ie real guerilla planting. Here is the community garden planted outside the Plant Rec Centre:   In the Plant case, gardeners worked with the city to install the garden. The city provided a truckload of topsoil as part of the Somerset reconstruction project. Volunteers spread the soil and did the planting with material from other sites and private gardens. A passing … Continue reading Community Gardeners carry on …

Paying Attention to Benjamin / Franklin

Innocently cycling along the Macdonald Parkway pathway, I came across this: Upon closer inspection, s/he proved to be alive, kicking, and ready to move. As s/he was headed towards the Macdonald Commuter Expressway, I took it instead down the slope to the shoreline and left it a few feet from the water. For those gentle readers suffering from pathetic fallacy * , do not read on. “Rescuing” Benjamin (or Franklin, depending in which language you read kids books) made up a bit for something that has bothered me for months. Driving on the freeway out of Boston, we saw a giant turtle on … Continue reading Paying Attention to Benjamin / Franklin

Chinatown Art Installation

The City sets aside a certain small percentage of its major capital projects budget (such as road reconstruction) for art installations. West Siders know the ones: Preston Street granite postcards from the piazzas, West Wellie’s marble veggies, the red chairs in the Glebe. The just-getting-completed reconstruction of Somerset between the OTrain tracks and Booth had a very small art budget. One that had to cope with three distinct areas: Chinatown, the bit of Little Italy around Preston, and the OTrain viaduct-bridge. With public consultation, the decision was made to have two installations: one on the Chinatown hill, and one on the viaduct … Continue reading Chinatown Art Installation

Controlling creepy car lots

One of my pet grievances is parking lots on the edge of the sidewalk. Too often motorists or the lot owner “creep” all the time onto the sidewalk. In the streetscaping treatment of West Wellington the City employed portable planter boxes, planted with currant bushes, to keep the cars back. They didn’t do this for every parking lot. But now, a few years on, I saw these planters being installed in front of yet another used car lot. Bravo! When the lot is redeveloped for urban purposes, the planters can be redeployed. I delighted in noticing that the lot owner was not moving his cars … Continue reading Controlling creepy car lots

City promotes tree growth

I’ll forgive you if the above pic is hard to figure out. Here’s what’s happening. Read on to find out why it is important. This tree is planted along Somerset Street. It was planted there sometime in the last 30 years. The curb, now removed, ran right close along the far side of the trunk. There was a four foot x four foot opening the concrete sidewalk, to let the tree breathe and obtain water. This opening was slightly constricted by being paved over in concrete cobbles, and packed down firmly. The four foot square opening was the minimum size tree hole as determined by the City … Continue reading City promotes tree growth