There are a lot of condos proposed for the corner of Sidney and Preston (and to think this used to be a city-owned site, sold in the 1970’s. I hope we got lots of use out of that money. ), Of course, there are a few more condos proposed around these ones, condos being such friendly sociable things.
In the drawing above, Sidney Street is the horizontal short street running from left to right, debouching onto Preston. Alas, it does so quite close to the Preston-Carling intersection, which might cause queueing at rush hours, so the traffic study recently posted on the city’s web site recommends installing new traffic signals at Adeline-Preston, and to make that a compleat intersection, adding in turn lanes too.
And that proposed lane way onto Carling, it’s a problem too. Too close to the Preston intersection. It might have to go too.
Now I give full credit to Richcraft, owners of the Dow site, and home to three proposed towers, plus one more on the north side of Adeline, who advocate continuing Sidney through their site as a quaint curvy (private) laneway, accessing one parking garage entrance for all three towers. (The City, in contrast, wants to own the Sidney extension, so it can’t be all curvy at all, but must be built to geometric city standards, with no parking garages underneath, so the remaining building ground floors will consist mainly of parking garage entrances, and probably no on-street parking anyway. This sterile environment would be a triumph of ‘ensuring public accessibility’ throughout the sites.
So, inspired by Richcraft, let’s think outside the box (or beyond the curbs…). What if the first part of Sidney Street was sold off to the developers? Then it could all be quaint and narrow and pedestrian friendly, since those things lie beyond the City’s vision. (Yes, there is an existing building, and the bank, to be serviced, but this shouldn’t be impossible to negotiate).
But underground … things could be dramatically different. The Richcraft garages could connect to the condo tower to be built on the CIBC site. And maybe to the Soho Italia site. Fewer garage entrances … connected garages (just like we do downtown when four towers share a garage like at Minto Place )… a livelier streetscape … Horrors!.
And what if they all had easy access to that proposed laneway debouching onto Carling? Now maybe that laneway would have to be moved west to the OTrain end of the site. And maybe there is more room now that we are further west for a signalized intersection allowing more than a right in-right out turn movement. This would mean users of the OTrain path would now be able to cross Carling at a signalized intersection. And that proposed laneway need not be a surface street for cars if it instead is a down ramp that accesses a connected series of underground garages.
With this Carling access, there would be less traffic on residential Adeline, and more directly onto the “arterial”. Soho traffic wouldn’t have to clog up the Preston-Carling intersection whilst waiting to turn onto Sidney. And all traffic could be routed onto Carling during Italian week, so maybe the Little Italy street closures could continue …
Will such thinking cross the City’s mind? Or will approvals be already granted for piecemeal development, uncoordinated, leaving potential on the table? Planning in Ottawa, I fear, consists of processing applications against a rule book, not planning for a better neighbourhood or city. It’s a vision thing.