Scott Street interim alignment meeting Dec 11

Albert-Scott Interim alignment, west from Champagne Avenue Open house 11 Dec 2017 at Tom Brown arena, 6pm to 8.30pm This story is mostly aimed at those citizens who are keen on city planning and the details of what is planned … Continue reading Scott Street interim alignment meeting Dec 11

Buses in the downtown in LRT era, part ii, OC Transpo

So, having seen in Part i, what is planned (subject to change) for STO buses in downtown Ottawa once the Confederation Line LRT opens in or around August 2018 … let’s look at the OC Transpo routes. These OC Transpo … Continue reading Buses in the downtown in LRT era, part ii, OC Transpo

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

About those not-quite-bike-lanes on Booth Freeway

There are certain facts of life we have to deal with today, even if we regret how things came to be that way. I wont rehash how Booth Street north of Albert, going through LeBreton Flats, came to be designed … Continue reading About those not-quite-bike-lanes on Booth Freeway

Bit of new west side Trillium MUP opens

The existing Trillium multi user pathway (MUP) on the EAST side of the OTrain tracks has been a hit with the commuting and recreational public. Its popularity grows weekly. Less well known is the planning “win” when the community obliged … Continue reading Bit of new west side Trillium MUP opens

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

Contempt for Pedestrians at Transit Station and some Unworthy thoughts as to how it came to be that way

The temporary LeBreton transit station requires many transferring people and station walk-ins to cross one or more intersections. Some of the crossings, or repeated crossings, are because the city was too cheap to provide sidewalks  even paved shoulders on both … Continue reading Contempt for Pedestrians at Transit Station and some Unworthy thoughts as to how it came to be that way

Coventry Bridge, Tremblay LRT Station Underachievers (part ii)

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)

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)

Fostering transit by catering to cars (part 1)

Too often I cringe in dismay at the 99% motorist-focus of our planning and engineering staff. Do [m]any of the staff and consultants working on the LRT stations actually use transit? I have been known to cause moments of embarrassment by asking at an OTrain planning meeting if any staff present have actually ridden the train. [answer: rarely]. It’s quite easy to tell the station planners don’t walk to stations. Ever. Or take transit to work anywhere else, for that matter. Here’s a small example of how even when building and designing a state-of-the-art rapid transit system (ie, the Confederation … Continue reading Fostering transit by catering to cars (part 1)

Traffic splitting in the Glebe

Rescue Bronson was born a few years ago when the City decided to “improve” [for through motor traffic] Bronson north of the Queensway. Their plans did not include landscaping, traffic calming, fixing the jack rabbit stop-and-start flow or the frequent rapid lane changes. Pedestrians? Never heard of ’em. Cyclists — run ’em over til they go somewhere else. Rescue Bronson had limited success in correcting the City’s mania to facilitate commuting to Pointe Gatineau. We got better landscaping. A signalized intersection at Arlington where the unmarked crossing was heavily used by cyclists and pedestrians. Cost of relocating the utility poles … Continue reading Traffic splitting in the Glebe

Public transit isn’t just for cities

We hear a lot about LRT, subways, big city transit systems. But public transit isn’t just for big metro areas. They get the most attention because the big media lives in big cities, because the dollar price tags are bigger for big transit, and many Canadians live in big cities. But not all do. I confess to a certain occasional fondness for rural inter-town public transportation. I once spent considerable time on the topic. This was rekindled during a visit to Cape Cod last year. Previously featured here were posts on the multi-modal transit centre in Hyannis; and the real … Continue reading Public transit isn’t just for cities

New-style traffic lights

In passing the city’s signals yard on Gladstone near the OTrain track, I noticed that an intersection’s worth of signals were up and running, but with signal heads I have previously not seen in Ottawa.   Cities with streetcars or surface rail use signals with different size heads or the ‘straight bar’ of light to signal transit drivers when to stop and go. Motorists continue to obey signal heads with the standard roundish light that we are familiar with. But Ottawa doesn’t have a surface rail system, and we junked our streetcars half a century ago. So I found myself … Continue reading New-style traffic lights

Toronto Now — Ottawa Later

Toronto has new subway trains, now. Ottawa will have its new LRT trains sometime in the future. What Toronto has now has certain similarities with what Ottawa will have in 2017 or 2018. Unlike earlier subway cars that were individual cars hooked together into trains, without any means for passengers to switch cars, the new train cars have open gangways. This is similar to how the articulated OC Transpo buses work. It means passengers can get on any car but then as passengers shift around, the load evens out throughout the train. Passengers feel safer, less “trapped” in one car. It … Continue reading Toronto Now — Ottawa Later

Down from the Summit

Yes, I attended the Mayor’s Summit. Nothing totally earth-shaking. Everyone — including developers — singing the same tune of vibrant street level facades. Even Diane Deans, of Gloucester Ward, emphasizing how much she opposes road widenings (in her ward) (beyond four lanes). The afternoon speaker, Jeffrey Tumlin, was on transportation. He maintains that transportation planning is urban planning, since one shapes the other, twins locked in an embrace (to the death?). He explained the futility of road widening to fix congestion. The widened road fixes the problem for a short time, then traffic volumes grow. Some of the growth is because … Continue reading Down from the Summit

How to make a train out of a bus

As home to one of the few extensive bus rapid transit (BRT) networks in North America, we tend to forget what a marvellous system we have. Cities such as New York, which we yearn to emulate for its pedestrianizing activities, and its new bike ways, struggles to get bus lanes on regular streets let alone a bus-only road network such as we have in Ottawa. Our BRT is closer to a rail-transit network than the typical bus-on-streets-in-mixed-traffic that most urban transit systems are still stuck in. Our largely grade-separated transitway makes it frequently faster to take the bus than to drive a car, … Continue reading How to make a train out of a bus

Sim-City model: Bayview-carling CDP

The City has been sporadically doing up a CDP (Community Design Plan) (which is a plan of dubious effectiveness under the Official Plan) for the O-Train corridor running from Bayview Station to Carling Avenue. Residents frequently ascribe its tardiness to a desire on the part of the City to see all the developable land purchased and rezoned before the plan is drawn up. In that way, the city won’t have to continually amend it. The City is committed to having CDPs done for all the stations along the OLRT. Having seen some of the in-progress ones I’d have to say they are better than nothing.  At least they … Continue reading Sim-City model: Bayview-carling CDP

Park and Ride, here and there

There have been several stories in the media lately about park and ride lots here in Ottawa. The lots seem popular, and mostly over-used with late arrivals not being able to find a parking space. The first-come policy favours regular early morning commuters. The Ottawa lots are free. Well, not exactly free. They cost a lot of money to build, maintain, and patrol. But our municipal government doesn’t charge the users anything. It is therefore not surprising that they are full, as they are being sold (given away) wa-a-a-y below cost and wa-a-a-a-y below value. Things that are free are of course … Continue reading Park and Ride, here and there