The City of Paris decided some time ago it could not meet its climate change objectives by staying with the Haussman plan for six storey buildings. More and more mid and high rise buildings are appearing in Paris, not just … Continue reading Clichy-Batignolles, Paris, the plan
Ottawa has an Official Plan (OP), and multiple levels of various sub plans, including many — the CDP or Community Design Plans — which aim at intensification. Indeed, CDP’s could be called City Densification Plans. So, over on Somerset Street … Continue reading Not What the Plan envisioned, part 2, Somerset edition
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
There is yet a third segment of Booth Street to consider. That’s the portion running from the Queensway south to Carling Avenue. That segment is not residential, it is mostly government offices, ranging from heritage Mineral and Mines brick buildings … Continue reading West Side Transportation Cornucopia, part iii – NRCan
I like to tell my wife — a mathematician — there are three types of people. Those who can count, and those who can’t. I am among the mathematically challenged. Arithmetic I’m OK with. And I like facts and figures … Continue reading Model apartments and parking
More people want to live in walkable neighbourhoods, which our Planning Gods have decided in their wisdom to keep in limited supply. Housing suppliers can be tempted to “game” the rules that no longer reflect reality, in order to meet popular demand. … Continue reading Planning Games
If my (fallible) memory serves me correctly, all the Confederation Line LRT Stations are freestanding, at ground level, in a ditch, or underground. Only at three downtown stations are the stations under the street but exiting up partially through existing … Continue reading First high rise LRT station?
I surprised and pleased to hear Hizzoner Jim Watson actually mention the Prince of Wales railway bridge on Thursday. And in the same breath, to mention rail transit on it. Of course, you and I and everyone else knows it … Continue reading Watson lets Prince of Wales slip his tongue
Bayview Station was built on the transitway for the 2001 experiment of having a rail service to the south. That station was only ever a collection of bus shelters on a hillside, with ramps down to the Otrain Trillium platforms at the … Continue reading Bayview Station
I used to be just as scornful as many when it came to synthetic grass. Fake. Artificial. Faux, to be snobby about it. I’ve changed my mind. I’m tired of seeing public playing fields beat to sh__ mud by over-use. … Continue reading The green green grass of … synthetics
So, the CBC this morning was featuring another story on our lack of public washrooms. So I thought it worthwhile reprinting this Feb.2015 story about public toilets. I think the potty solution from Portland would fit very nicely in Dundonald Park. As a society, we have a major aversion to acknowledging that people gotta go pee. Or poo. And that this happens when people are outside of the home. Like at transit stations. Or touristing in a city. In lieu of public WC signage, we are reduced to looking for the Golden Arches of M, where there is always a … Continue reading Gotta go pee ! (again)
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)
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)
I do occasionally get out of my WestSide stomping grounds. A recent trip took me to the near East Side where I had the opportunity to use the new Coventry bridge for people who walk and people who cycle, over the Queensway. It’s also useful to look at it in light of the similar proposed Queensview bridge. I took the transitway to the Tremblay Station (in the hole in front of VIA Rail Station). The formerly landscaped slopes around it have been clearcut for construction starting later this year of the realigned roadbed and new Confederation LRT Line station location … Continue reading Coventry Active Transportation Bridge (part i)
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 …
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)
There is an enormous bridge structure just west of Preston, where the Queensway spans the OTrain cut. It is enormous because it spans not only the cut, but allows for a 2 – 4 lane freeway on each side of the cut, the defunct Champagne Freeway, that would have connected the airport parkway at Confederation Heights to the Fairy Lake Parkway in Gatineau. (*diagram below) A few years back the space on the east side was improved to make the OTrain multi user path. We had to dragoon the city into building it, and much to their surprise (but not … Continue reading Qway Overpass Replacements, part ii, the (N)oTrain and Pathway
Readers of yesterday’s story might get the impression I was unenthused about the design of the Preston extension and LeBreton temporary transit station. You’d be right. Now we all know it snows in Ottawa. Sometimes a lot. So I am sure the planning boffins ran their fingers over the paved road shoulder “sidewalks” and the platforms at LeBreton Station and the walking required to get from platform to platform, or neighbourhood to platform. And then imagined how they could be plowed. And then coordinated with the snow plow folks to ensure the stations and their access were plowed early, plowed … Continue reading Rare unplanned-for-event at the transit station …
The City of Ottawa claims it cannot possibly design the new section of Booth Street running north from Albert, serving Pimisi Station and the LeBreton Flats area, to include motorists, buses, transit, and bikes. The cyclists just don’t fit. So they are being thrown under the bus. As for their partner in crime, the NCC’s vision for their new urban downtown showpiece doesn’t seem to include complete streets or cyclists. Dusk a few weeks ago, I noticed this lovely bike path – walkway – bus stop combo in Montreal, on the side of Park Lafontaine. Everyone approaching the place gets ample visual … Continue reading Bike Path, Walkway, Bus Stop: all together now
Churchill Avenue running north from Carling Avenue towards Westboro is being rebuilt today as a complete street. In addition to the regular car / truck traffic lanes on the street, there will be concrete walks and at the same level as the walkway, a cycle track. A cycle track differs from a bike lane, which is a painted zone on the street just off to the side of the car traffic. Road traffic can readily intrude into the bike lane (hello FedEx). The cycle track is separated from other vehicular traffic by a curb and buffer zone. The opening … Continue reading Churchill Cycle Track takes shape
The Bayview-Carling CDP has been going on for six years now. Or is it seven? It lurches forward just enough to permit some significant upzonings, then subsides back into limbo. The latest attempt by the city to resolve its indecision at the Carling-Preston end of the study zone saw them import their favourite big gun Toronto planner George Dark, and divide the study zone into 3 smaller study zones (the Bayview end, the Gladstone middle, and the Carling end). Gerrymandering, as mentioned in the title of this story, is the political art of redrawing boundaries so as to achieve a … Continue reading Why Gerrymander a CDP?
So, on Tuesday night I trotted off to the City’s launch of its OP (official plan) and TMP (Transportation master plan) tweaks. My, so many fine words. So many nice drawings. Lots of display boards. Mind you, there are some pretty fine words in the last plan too, like the promise that public spaces would be designed for pedestrians first, cyclists, transit, then motorists. To those fine words, every neighbourhood has their own response. Ours is: Bronson Avenue ! Some observations: the traditional traffic analysis uses “level or service”, rated A thru F, for motorists. No measure of pedestrians, cyclists. New measure … Continue reading Building a liveable Ottawa
There is a development application for the vacant lot / parking lot at the corner of Somerset (in Chinatown) and LeBreton Street, opposite the Dalhousie Community Centre and beside St Luke’s Church and its associated social housing building: On initial inspection, I think there’s a lot to like about it. The proponent, DCR Phoenix, who also built the mixed use building at Rochester and Somerset, and who are proposing the twin tower office building at Bayview Station, are asking for the usual reduced setbacks and increased height to build a nine storey building (nine when viewed from Somerset; it will … Continue reading Proposed multi-use building 770 Somerset St W.
We’ve all had someone at the workplace that knew the rule book frontwards and backwards. And in my experience, it wasn’t the person who was cheerful, helpful, and a great team player. Usually, it was the Eeyore of the workplace, always seeing things negatively. When rules get complex, like they do in City planning, Eeyores run amuck. Consider zoning. Originally designed to separate incompatible land uses (keep the cement plant away from the primary school sort of thing) it got adopted by the bureaucracy. Which accreted additional rules, terms, categories, and subcategories until it was an impenetrable code, a language interpretable … Continue reading Zoning is dead; long live zoning