No leaning on shovels at this city construction project

A short while ago I mocked a City transit project on the west side that I described as “lollygagging along”.  *

So it’s only fair we look at one that is moving with the (relative) speed of light. Yes, it’s back to the (in)famous Albert Street bus detour.

Construction only began last week: IMG_0262

The city originally just wanted to remove the multi-use path on the north side of Albert, never to replace it. Community input caused it to be (temporarily **) saved, relocated. Then the same pressure got the City to replace it first with the new path, before digging up the street, so cyclists and pedestrians have a safe and dry route around all the construction.

This is a huge improvement over other sections, such as the Belfast area where the detours are convoluted, poorly marked, and inadequate.

Working rain and shine along Albert, the grass was removed, and paving base put down:


The path (photo above) is being extended up the hill towards the Bayview Station. Next year, it will connect with the asphalt path down to the OTrain platform, then jog around the platform to the right (north) and go through Zorro Field * to come out where Bayview Road goes under the transitway (near Merkley Supply). Users can then continue along the (to be widened and fixed) Scott Street path westwards.

Here’s the Friday view from Bayview Station looking back towards the downtown:



Less than a week after scraping off the grass, the new path is laid and asphalted:


Why can’t all multi-use pathways be built as quickly as this?

But wait, it gets even more amazing.

The old path depended on “spill-over” lighting from streetlights on the south side of Albert. The new path is too far from the lights, and with hulking construction equipment and supplies alongside the path, the City nicely agreed to provide a little illumination to keep us from falling into a rut.

Here’s a hole being dug for a wooden light post:



What truly astounded me is that the previous post, just a few hundred feet in the distance, already has the electrical wiring strung to it. And the post before that, already has the lamp fixture on it.


I simply never have seen a city project move so quickly. The post hole diggers are literally being chased along the path by the electricians. On the portion heading up towards Bayview Station, the lamppost is in situ and ready to go. IMG_0308

The picture shown scraping the grass was taken last Friday; as of Wednesday, the asphalt is laid down.

Maybe we will actually get to see the LRT running by 2018, if not the summer before.

The rapid construction over-ran some slower politicans:



And the NCC slipped in to permanently fence off the old Preston extension, that bit of leftover 1970’s busway, that provided such a convenient connection out the river parklands. No more commemorative gate.



*   The lolligagging project is here:

**   The pathway along the north side of Albert is being replaced, but only temporarily. After the detour is finished with, in 2018, Albert is supposed to be dug up again, and the lanes shifted around a lot, and when finished there will be a cycle track on each side of the road. The multi use pathway will then be dug out and returned to grass. The proposed Albert Street complete street layout (post-2018) is excellent and enjoys community support. The proposed layout for Booth, though, is disastrous.

6 thoughts on “No leaning on shovels at this city construction project

  1. I wonder if the celerity is due to the fact that it’s RTG that is doing the work, rather than the city. I can’t believe that it’s already paved.

  2. Are the Booth St. reconstruction plans available somewhere online? The city site has the notice of the open house for Albert Street (which I could not attend), but no documents. I don’t see anything for Booth street…

    1. The Booth Street project doesn’t seem to have — yet — a public opinion component. I suspect they are waiting until it is “final” and no changes permitted, then they’ll show it off. Having seen it, though, a few weeks ago (courtesy of a nosy councillor who makes it her business to check out the details), it is awful. Another Bronson Avenue, straight out of the 1950’s. No bike tracks, no complete street. No bike lanes. No room for any sharrows either as they can’t find a safe route for cyclists. The big obstacle in that project seems to be OC Transpo, which feels cyclists will be a mortal threat to bus passengers boarding the buses to Hull. We know civil servants are supposed to be som…sombul…. sleepy at work, but en route too?

  3. I found it funny that the post-2018 plans have been around for at least a year, (an open house at the Dalhousie CC last winter IIRC), but the plans for the 7-lane busway were just released.

    It seems insane that they can’t find room on Booth north of Albert for proper bike lanes. Are they worried about encroaching on the moonscape?

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