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

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

Champlain (de-)forest realities

I went on a walking tour Sunday morning in the Champlain Park neighborhood. This west side group of streets runs north of the transitway, from the Mosque at Northwestern to Island Park Drive. The neighborhood began as a cottage area on the floodplain of the River (the railway tracks, now transitway trench, marked the high water mark of the floodplain). Later, small houses were built in the 1940’s followed by some 2-storey homes. My grandparents lived in one on Cowley. The neighborhood had its quirks, including a lack of storm sewers and inconsistent rear yard grading, which led to frequent basement … Continue reading Champlain (de-)forest realities

Green green grass of Dalhousie

This little patch of lawn on Balsam caught my eye. It is greener than its neighbours, and obviously recently raked as it is so clean compared to the foreground bit of turf. A closer inspection revealed its secret. It is synthetic. Fake. Manufactured. I wonder how many times I have gone past it and not noticed; it did not look recently laid. It stood out now because it doesn’t change with the seasons. It is an effective bit of private streetscaping along the public boulevard. Continue reading Green green grass of Dalhousie

Green green grass of Dalhousie

This little patch of lawn on Balsam caught my eye. It is greener than its neighbours, and obviously recently raked as it is so clean compared to the foreground bit of turf. A closer inspection revealed its secret. It is synthetic. Fake. Manufactured. I wonder how many times I have gone past it and not noticed; it did not look recently laid. It stood out now because it doesn’t change with the seasons. It is an effective bit of private streetscaping along the public boulevard. Continue reading Green green grass of Dalhousie

Twilight on the Aquaduct and the … come out to play

A number of earlier posts show damage caused to large trees in the LeBreton Flats area. The Dalhousie neighborhood hosts a surprising number of animals and birds. These two twilights shots show the local vampires, err, beaver out to prey on unsuspecting urbanites. In the photo with a fine stone-arch bridge in the background, the beaver can be jut seen in the right foreground. Click picture to enlarge. The second picture shows him up close … he was about 20 feet away from me and curious about the flash on my camera. After several shots, he dove leaving only a … Continue reading Twilight on the Aquaduct and the … come out to play

Last traces of former rail line

What may at first glance seem to be a jersey barrier*  in the woods is really one abutment of a culvert crossing on the former CPR (?) tracks that ran west along the Ottawa River where the Ottawa River Commuter Expressway is now. The rail right of way was expanded and converted into a car road allowance in the early 1960’s following Greber’s plans for scenic drives throughout Ottawa. Many of these drives were never completed, but the NCC still holds numerous rights of way undeveloped, waiting for LRT, other transit, or a serious non-recreational cycling network. Toronto, not blessed with the NCC … Continue reading Last traces of former rail line