Dry water fountain

Out on LeBreton Flats, at the corner of Booth and Wellington / Sir John A Parkway, the NCC has reinstalled the Fleck fountain, as part of its Bold Drive By Experience temporary landscaping project. While the landscaping looks a little thin on plant material, maybe it will grow on us over time. Temporary could mean anything at all when it comes to the NCC. The trees might well die of old age. There is an explanatory panel on site: The landscaping and fountain does add some attraction to the otherwise bleakness of the Flats. For some years, the NCC apparently … Continue reading Dry water fountain

Some real ped improvements, and some not

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

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

Trillium Path Extended to Carling Avenue

As promised by the City, the extension of the Trillium (OTrain) pathway from Young to Carling Avenue is essentially complete. I think it is wonderful. Multi-user pathways (MUP’s) get better with every new build. The most significant new feature for a MUP is a physical separation of people who cycle from people who walk, or animals who walk their humans. The bike path portion remains full width; the pedestrian portion is additional, bonus width. There is a very low curb between the two paths to separate them. The lowness of the curb prevents a pedal from getting caught. The separated … Continue reading Trillium Path Extended to Carling Avenue

Westward Ho ! (part iv) in which Fantasies come to the fore …

  In the previous three stories I’ve tried to review what is planned, what some of the tradeoffs were, what the consequences area, and slip in just a teensey tiny wee bit of my opinion. So what would Eric do if faced with the same starting situation,  of the City insisting its Western LRT had to go down the parkway space; and the NCC insisting that people using transit is incompatible with their revised greenspace plan? (note I am not considering other completely different route options). The physical plan My goal going into the conflict would be to keep rail on … Continue reading Westward Ho ! (part iv) in which Fantasies come to the fore …

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 ii) Western LRT along the parkway

  Rochester Field, now to be a condo development site with a green corridor to the parkway along its western (left) edge, is shown on the above map just above the word Richmond [Road]. The new LRT line, in a shallow cut-and-cover tunnel, with the eastbound traffic lanes of the Ottawa River parkway piggybacking on top, is shown as a thick orangey line extending straight along the parkland. This kilometer-long straight section I find very alarming. The “Parkway” is already derisively known as the Ottawa River Commuter Expressway because of its current high volumes and speeds that rarely descend to the posted … Continue reading Westward ho ! (part ii) Western LRT along the parkway

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)

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

LeBetter Flats (part 3): when the Senators go marching in …

I hear that the NCC’s proposal call for the next phase of building the Flats was carefully worded to not exclude a major stadium as a land use*. While we may think the current Canadian Tire Place is still “new”, it is ageing. Apparently major arenas and rinks often only have a 30 year or so lifespan before they are functionally obsolete suboptimal. Built in 1993 as the Palladium, it will be 30 years old in 2023. So its not too soon (according to stadium aficionados) to be investigating a new stadium. And that requires a site. The Flats are … Continue reading LeBetter Flats (part 3): when the Senators go marching in …

LeBetter Flats (part 2) Some obvious misses …

The existing development of the Flats now underway, could have been better. Today, let’s look at a number of obvious “misses”. Then, in subsequent days, we’ll look at Windmill’s The Isles.ca project; then what could go on the next phase of the Flats; and then what another city, somewhat renowed for its planning, did with their urban industrial conversion to new urbanist mecca (with lots of pictures….). The NCC and City actually get along, sometimes. Other times, they are competitive. Even spiteful. The City was not in a good mood when it hammered out a development deal with the NCC … Continue reading LeBetter Flats (part 2) Some obvious misses …

Three temporary landscapes on the Flats

Last night the NCC held an open house to unveil 3 concepts for landscaping the Beirut  Bagdad  Syrian war zone post-apocalyptic landscape in downtown Ottawa on the south side of the Parkway between Vimy Private (the War Museum entrance road) and Claridge’s condos on LeBreton Flats. It has long been a puzzle to WSA regulars as to why bureaucrats think people would rush to buy homes with such dismal surroundings. So the new NCC, with new Leadership, responding to criticism (not least of which came from their bosses up on the Hill) of the desolate lands, announced a few weeks ago … Continue reading Three temporary landscapes on the Flats

Planning for something

While trotting out to Bayview Station recently I noticed these tread tracks in the snow, leading out toward the Macdonald Commuter Expressway. Barely visible in the distance is one of those soil sample hole drillers that we have seen so frequently in past years along the LRT route. These aren’t cheap engineering exercises, which lead me to wonder what someone might be planning out there beside the popular new OTrain bike path.   Continue reading Planning for something

Tunney’s Pasture new Master Plan (Concept Plan)

Here are some illustrations of what the Feds are proposing to do to Ottawa’s third largest employment centre, Tunney’s Pasture. Here’s the current view, looking south towards Scott, from Brooke Claxton tower. The centre boulevard space remains. Disappointingly, there were no sketches of anything to enliven that strip that Greber insisted on so we can all admire the International Style architecture of the Claxton Building. In my mind, that strip desperately needs Landscaping and People.   Most employees in the new mixed Government and private sector office buildings will arrive on the LRT. In addition to the current 10,000 employees, … Continue reading Tunney’s Pasture new Master Plan (Concept Plan)

Slow progress, but progress nonetheless

The wheels of local government grind slowly. Very slowly. Very very slowly. But they do grind along, and in the spirit of better late than never, both the NCC and City are currently engaged in pedestrian improvement actions that I heartily approve of. First, consider Lincoln Fields transit station. [I note the City wants to drop the word Pasture from the Tunney’s moniker; can Fields be next?].  When the transitway was built thirty-odd years ago, pedestrian access was out to Carling Avenue. Pedestrians, after all, are only accessories to vehicular design. In the City’s and NCC fantasy world, peds were … Continue reading Slow progress, but progress nonetheless

How intrusive will WLRT wiring be along the parkway?

On a recent visit to Toronto, I made a point of noticing overhead electric wiring for streetcars. My general memory of streetcar wiring was situations like the one pictured above, a spagetti heap of wiring over an intersection. Of course, such situations occur when different streetcar lines meet. And for the Ottawa case, the LRT is a single line with no branches or loops or turnoffs, so wiring situations like the above just won’t be here [yes, there will be a spur line off to the maintenance yard, and in a few cases parallel tracks to store trains, but these … Continue reading How intrusive will WLRT wiring be along the parkway?

Preston “extension” bike path going, going … gone

  The Preston Extension (shown above),  the leftover bit of pavement that runs north from the Preston-Albert intersection, that takes cyclists out to the Aqueduct bike path (now remediated into a pit) and eventually the  Sir John A Mcdonald (JAM?)  Path, is due to be closed this spring. It won’t reopen in a hurry. The surrounding brownfields will be remediated. For a clue as to what that will look like, examine the Damascas-like terrain out by the War Museum. Then the Confederation Line LRT track will replace the transitway. It will be bordered on both sides with six-foot chain link … Continue reading Preston “extension” bike path going, going … gone

High rises: Gladstone southwards

Yesterday’s post covered high rise intensification — on an east-west axis — along the north edge — the Carling Avenue line — of our  community. Today’s post covers a north-south line drawn roughly along the OTrain cut from Gladstone to Carling. It is not clear if the drawing (second pic, below) puts the line along the OTrain cut or Preston Street itself. This post is somewhat speculative. Here is the area in Google Maps: Recall that there is a proposed LRT station on the OTrain corridor near Gladstone. Generally, the station is drawn running from Gladstone to the Queensway, with its north exit … Continue reading High rises: Gladstone southwards