OC Transpo provides better bike parking

Users of the main transitway stations will have noticed that some bike parking racks have been shoved aside from their usual locations. Then concrete pads have been poured. Only at Baseline Station did I notice a sign identifying what is going on: new bike racks. Kudos to OC for providing better bike parking. In the pic below notice the new shelter, the moderately strong bike racks, and in the distance, the numerous bikes attached to the shoved-aside racks that are no longer bolted to the ground (and the background, the free employee parking lot attached our municipal office building). And here is a … Continue reading OC Transpo provides better bike parking

Bike Parking at New LRT Stations

I sit on the public advisory committee for pedestrian and cyclist access to and design of the new LRT stations. Sometimes my comments are welcome there, and sometimes I feel like the skunk at a garden party. After last week, I was a stunned bunny. The subject was (again) cyclist and pedestrian access to the new stations. There was some useful stuff, like the likely walk-in catchment zone, the cycle-in catchment zone, and the zone where it is just too much effort to get out the bike so someone might walk; and zone where someone might decide, since they were already … Continue reading Bike Parking at New LRT Stations

Preventive maintenance vs replacement

The Bayview O-train station is only “temporary”, but like many temporary things in the City, it has a long “temporary” life. Constructed in 2001, there are long sloping pedestrian walkways connecting the O-Train and Bus platforms. The asphalt paths were laid on gravel base, but with no “shoulder” of gravel. Instead, the gravel slopes away right from the edge of the asphalt. I am sure someone dutifully looked up the correct slope in some engineering table, and that the gravel would be stable and not erode. Except … Except the stability of gravel on a slope depends on there being no load … Continue reading Preventive maintenance vs replacement

Air rights over the transitway/LRT

Councilor Katherine Hobbs is in the news for asking the City to examine developing the air rights over the west side part of the transitway/LRT line. I have a bunch of mutually contradictory thoughts on this. 1. The City should sell air rights to help pay for the transitway. Taxpayers are forking out a bundle of money for a transit line, we can recoup some of that expenditure by selling prime access to the most-accessible locations in the city. Otherwise, many of the development benefits go to the builders on adjacent lands. In some cases, these are private developers; in the case … Continue reading Air rights over the transitway/LRT

Development charges and misleading headlines

Today’s Citizen has a story on development charges. The headline, picture,  and first part of the story emphasizes how much of the development charges will pay for transit. Buried deeper in the story, and not all that easy to spot, is this bit: But in general, fees for new roads are far and away the biggest chunk of any of the charges: for a new house inside the Greenbelt,You can read the whole story here: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/City+Ottawa+boosting+development+charges+transit+costs/5167823/story.html#ixzz1TPDX3NqW         Do you notice that the headline doesn’t read “rampant road construction boosts housing costs?”  There is no picture of Terry … Continue reading Development charges and misleading headlines

March of the High Rises

The City has recently seen a spate of high rise applications and project announcements. Claridge has a number of downtown high rises in the high 20- storey range: beside Bell Canada, on Nepean and Gloucester, and on Queen at Lyon (currently Barbarella’s and a parking lot). There are taller applications too. The first out of the gate* was Soho Italia, proposed for 500 Preston Street near Dow’s Lake. The Soho Italia structure is notable for several features: most of the parking garage is above grade (about 7 stories of it) clad in a perforated black metal screen; the building rises straight up occupying all of … Continue reading March of the High Rises

The devil rides Watson’s new LRT route

Warning: long post. Go pee or get your coffee before you start reading. After so much huffing and puffing, the City has detailed its final LRT route and station locations, and their costs, to Council and the Public. The most noteworthy change has been to move the tunnel from the “cross country” deep alignment under Albert Street, then Queen Street … to one that traverses the downtown always under Queen. I have read the available material from the City justifying the move. It is a very political document, light on the technical stuff. It’s way more PR oriented than the previous reports. … Continue reading The devil rides Watson’s new LRT route

O-Train fast track

After years of ignoring the O-Train (as Chiarelli’s baby it was “thrown out” with the Mayor who drew the bath water); it is finally back on Council’s agenda. Council is looking at some significant service improvements: 8 minute frequency (starting in 2014) rather than 15-minute headway now. This comes with a significant cost: buying six new train sets and selling off the existing Talent train sets in 2014 that would be nearly half-way through their lifespan. The City can make a business case for doing the upgrade, based on several factors: the  current O-train is at- or over-capacity and apparently cannot be made to run faster; … Continue reading O-Train fast track

LRT Stations (part v) Rideau Centre

The Rideau Centre station isn’t really on the west side, but it interesting, so here is a quickie overview: the underground station is outlined in red oval, the route of the underground tracks is in dotted red. The west entry is beside the NAC, facing onto Confederation Square and War Memorial. The west entry may include a weather sheltered or indoor connection to the NAC. The east entry is marked as “future east entry” but as it is the only east entry, presumably it is built at the same time as the station opens. The aerial photo below shows the key entry points … Continue reading LRT Stations (part v) Rideau Centre

LRT Stations (part iv) LeBreton

There is currently a bus transitway station at LeBreton Flats. The proposed LRT station is essentially at the same location, except it extends further west under Booth Street and is a few feet south of the current station, allowing room for landscaping and breathing space between it and the aqueduct. On the aerial photo above, note also the pedestrian crossing of the aqueduct off to the left side of the picture, this is the old Broad Street right of way and ped bridge. The site analysis drawing, above, shows the proximity of the current LeBreton residential neighborhood. Blue arrows show view planes, but both are rather curiously … Continue reading LRT Stations (part iv) LeBreton

LRT Stations: (part iii) Bayview Station

The Bayview Station is quite complex to describe compared to Tunney’s or Hurdman. Basically, it is a long thin platform built atop an earthen embankment, pretty much where the bus shelters are now. But rather than have sloping pedestrian paths connect to the O-train platform about 16′ lower down, under the overpasses, the City proposes to build an escalator connection at the west end of the new platform that takes users directly down to the O-Train platform. This is a great development for users that transfer.  What complicates the Bayview Station is that it is in the middle of an … Continue reading LRT Stations: (part iii) Bayview Station

LRT Stations Revealled (part ii) Tunney’s Pasture

Tunney’s Pasture is the interm western end of the initial LRT system. At Tunney’s, riders will transfer from bus rapid transit on the transitway to LRT to go through the downtown and then on to Blair Road in the East. Tunney’s is the second largest employment node in the City, and will triple in size over the next few decades. At some point the LRT service will extend west of Tunney’s to Lincoln Fields and then out to College Square. The new LRT station will replace the existing bus station at Tunney’s, down in the cut. The train track will extend a few meters west … Continue reading LRT Stations Revealled (part ii) Tunney’s Pasture

LRT Stations Revealled (part i)

The design for the Ottawa LRT stations will be shown below. In this post, there will be the inspiration for the Ottawa design, then some initial Ottawa designs both at the surface and in the tunnel sections. In following posts, there will be the detailed station design and layout and approaches to the Tunney’s, Bayview, and LeBreton Stations. Finally, there will be the Rideau Station and Hurdman. So stow your tables, put your seat backs upright, buckle up, here we go: Interior decorators call it the “inspiration shot”, the picture of some other project that captures some of what we want to emulate. The above … Continue reading LRT Stations Revealled (part i)