When dogs count more than peeps

I was standing on the Booth Street Freeway overpass at Pimisi Station looking east towards the downtown. The Rideau Transportation Group — RTG — is constructing the western portal to the downtown tunnel.

This spot is right behind the new Ottawa Public Library site, and roughly aligns with Lett Street in front of the yellow and brown apartments to the left, and the Good Companions / Empress St to the south (those two streets will be sorta connected with a MUP that goes over the top of the portal entrance and completes a much longer north-south walking and cycling network).

It’s a pretty simple tunnel portal, but nonetheless exciting to most mortals to transition from daylight to a tunnel. Or from a dark tunnel into daylight …

And I found myself wondering, that if the city could have a very shallow cut-and-cover segment of tunnel here …

Wouldn’t it have been useful to have covered the tracks in at least some blocks of the Scott Street transitway trench, to keep the tracks and the crossovers out of the weather … and cover it with a few feetĀ of dirt to make a linear park?

Of course, I don’t think RTG nor transit users should pay for the “extra park” detailing, but the money could have come out of the downtown park funds which seem to be accumulating surpluses.

And, of course, that is cut and cover operation is exactly what is being done along the JAMacdonald Parkway and Byron linear park. Why couldn’t it have been done here?

Oh, of course, look who lives adjacent. The Scott folks are rich(er) and have abundant parks and attractive dog walk zones, while the folks further west live in (more) modest houses with family crisis shelters scattered throughout.

No wait! I think I got that backwards.


4 thoughts on “When dogs count more than peeps

  1. I am gobsmacked! This is the first I’ve seen of this. I walk past the south side of the RTG Yard on Albert several times a day, but I can’t really see to the tracks, and the last time I saw this it was still all dug out.

    All I can say is “Yippee!”

    Before the LRT started this was a route I used all the time (despite being kinda sketchy, legally), and I had given up hope of ever being able to use this shortcut ever again.

    As to the influence of money, I think you’re severely out of touch with where the money is being spent, and where rich people live in Ottawa. In my little neighborhood (Empress Ave N, and Perkins), there are a grand total of about 20 houses that are affected by this, most of which are rental units. They’re all very nice neighbours, but, like me none of them have anywhere near the money of people who now live in Hintonburg. Sure there are some condos on the North side of the tracks, but I’m not sure how covering this over benefits them vs just leaving a trench. Better views maybe?

    Hintonburg on the other hand has exploded. All the money that used to be flowing into Westboro has moved closer to downtown. Have you walked through that section of Hintonburg lately? Most of what’s left of the few older unrenovated houses have some placard out front announcing a new infill development.

    Sure, 20 years ago, or even 10, the properties between the Transitway and Richmond were not valuable, but those properties that were barely worth 6 figures 20 years ago are now being snapped up for between 500K to over a million. [650K for a SHED][1]

    Far more than some awful condos that are being sold mostly for less than 400K.

    If your logic were true, the city would be racing to cover the transitway tracks down near Scott, and leave the transitway tracks uncovered between booth and the cliff.

    One more thing: What do dogs have to do with this? Are they planning a dog park there? That would be awesome, I also know of like 10 dogs in my neighborhood.

    [1] https://www.point2homes.com/CA/Home-For-Sale/ON/Ottawa/Hintonburg-Mechanicsville/184-FORWARD-AVENUE/28247146.html

    1. Matt: there is some satire in my recounting. The folks in McKeller area and along the river are way richer than the average mechanicsville resident. McKeller is also waaaaay greener than the scott neighbourhood. But we are all paying to bury the tracks in a tunnel in part to preserve the dog walk park along Byron tramway right of way. Them that has parks get to keep them, and expand them. Them that don’t, tough.

      1. Are you sure the covered LRT tracks to the west are not there to protect the tracks from the bottles of 20 year single malt scotch being tossed by the McKeller dog walkers? Just a wee dram of Lagavulin can cause a heap of serious transit problems.

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