City-provided sidewalk improvements

From time to time the City actually does spend some money for streetscaping projects. These projects are designed to “recover” the public space from adjacent property owners that have encroached on it over time, too often appropriating it for parking. Those property owners who have landscaped right out the sidewalk may not be affected at all. Adversely affected will be those who snuck in parking spaces on their front gardens.

There have been previous blog posts that show condo and apartment properties widening the sidewalk in front of their buildings as part of the landscaping. See for example this:

I think the project shown above is fine. The sidewalk got a bit wider, the fence responds to a need while looking good. I don’t expect it cost a quarter million dollars.

The City has granted additional height to a condo developer on Nepean in return for some funds for nearby street improvements. Two blocks are being improved, but I don’t know if this is two blocks Cooper and two on Nepean, or one block of each.

I find myself quite dismayed at the cost of these improvements, and the amount of overhead. Am I just being cheap? I do hope we get a significant visible and functional improvement for this money.

Nepean Street Right-of-Way Streetscaping Project:

 4 Trees (pits, tree stock, grate and guards) @ $2,000 ea                       $8,000

2 Benches @ $5,000 ea                                                                               $10,000

1 Garbage Receptacle @ $2,000 ea                                                            $2,000

Fencing                                                                                                           $10,000

Bollards/Bumper Guards                                                                             $20,000

Ground Cover/Mulch                                                                                   $10,000

Utility Relocation/Asphalt Removal/Encumbrance Relocations           $100,000

 Design and Project Management Fees (30%)                                          $55,000

Contingency (15%)                                                                                       $25,000

 TOTAL                                                                                                            $240,000

Cooper Street Right-of-Way Streetscaping Project:

 5 Trees (pits, tree stock, grate and guards) @ $2,000 ea                       $10,000

2 Benches @ $5,000 ea                                                                              $10,000

1 Garbage Receptacle @ $2,000 ea                                                           $2,000

Fencing                                                                                                          $10,000

Retaining Wall Stabilization                                                                           $20,000

Ground Cover/Mulch                                                                                    $20,000

Utility Relocation/Asphalt Removal/Encumbrance Relocations               $100,000

 Design and Project Management Fees (30%)                                          $60,000

Contingency (15%)                                                                                       $30,000

Total                               $262,000



4 thoughts on “City-provided sidewalk improvements

  1. It seems absurd. $30,000 for two blocks worth of mulch?? ($40,000 with overhead)
    Are they chipping the wood by hand? Gold leaf artisan mulch?? 🙂

  2. This is the first formal Section 37 type agreement in Ottawa (Toronto’s been doing them since the ’90s), and there are also funds to do a long-awaited reconstruction of Jack Purcell park.

    This is also the first standalone streetscaping project for the City of Ottawa. Thus far, they’ve only been done as part of major street reconstructions. By doing these, we’ll have taught the City’s engineers and project managers how to do this kind of project, so they can no longer plead ignorance to deny us more in the future (whether it’s funded by a Section 37 agreement or in the City’s annual budget).

    As for the cost, because it’s the first of its kind I suspect there’s some buffer space to avoid underfunding it. The prices for the landscaping may also include funds for maintaining it over a number of years, and contingency funds for replacing damaged benched, etc. Also you can’t just buy a $70 bench from the garden centre and expect it to take all the beating it’ll get from sitting in a public space. (Though the mulch thing is curious)

    Have you ever priced a Butt-Stop? The little steel boxes cost a few hundred dollars for the wall-mount kind, and a couple thousand for the ones with a stand! It’s like that copper pipe that Rick from Domicile showed us. It’s no bigger than your foot, yet it costs $700 retail.

  3. The biggest single cost in each case is the need to relocate underground utilities. If that comes up clean (that is, there’s nothing to move) the cost will be significantly less.

    And re: $2000 for a tree: you’re also paying for the hardware around it, installation… and you’re probably not getting a 1″ sapling for that price, either.

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