Friday, May 5, 2023

Wellington Street Part 11: The Portage Bridge

Part 11: Portage Bridge

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The Jane's Walks Ottawa walking tour festival takes place this weekend, with a launch event picnic dinner under the Booth Street bridge at Pimisi Station today from 6-8pm. This year's festival theme is Building Bridges, which fits in very well with the next section of my blog series on the many traces of Wellington Street: The Portage Bridge.

In the previous post, Part 10, we took a step back into the NCC's rearrangement of land and roads in LeBreton Flats in the 1960s. This resulted in the splitting of Wellington Street ending just west of Bay Street as it turns into the Ottawa River Parkway, and connecting to itself via offramps, as we can see here in this photo:1

Aerial view from above looking west in 1967. Centretown/Uppertown in the foreground including Place De Ville and Library and Archives Canada; LeBreton Flats in the midground; Ottawa River, Lemieux Island and Mechanicsville in the distance. Chaudière Island industry at work. West of Bay, Wellington Street becomes the Ottawa River Parkway with an offramp connection to Wellington Street through LeBreton Flats.

That arrangement would be relatively short-lived.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

The skinny on sidewalk design in Ottawa

Thanks to the Ottawa Lookout, I learned that today at the City's Transportation Committee meeting, Councillor Shawn Menard has a motion in relation to an ongoing review of sidewalk designs.

Since I currently have a cold, I can't present in person, so instead I wrote out a presentation to Transportation Committee. I'm reformatting it here, as a more concise rewrite of my 2014 blog series about Ramp style sidewalks (or "Toronto-style sidewalks", as they were called then).

Sidewalk with house porchsteps on the left and grassy lawn on the right, with trees providing canopy cover (west side of Queen Elizabeth Drive near McLeod Street)

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Wellington Street Part 10: Nepean Bay and the Ottawa River Parkway

Part 10: Nepean Bay and the Ottawa River Parkway

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In the previous post, we talked about the peripheral effects on Wellington street from the Garden of the Provinces construction, the LeBreton Flats expropriations, and the lowering of the C.P.R. Prescott Subdivision (all NCC projects).

Today's post will look at the Ottawa River Parkway, whose history is not well documented insofar as it affects Wellington Street. We're still in the 1960s, prior to the breakup of Wellington at the viaduct covered in part 8.

To get us situated, this colour photo from the early 1960s shows Wellington Street winding up from the bottom of the photo up across the viaduct, through LeBreton Flats, and into downtown:1

Colour aerial photo of LeBreton Flats, Bayview, and Nepean Bay before removal of railroad infrastructure and before expropriation of LeBreton Flats. Wellington Street viaduct, O'Keefe brewery, railyards tracks roundhouse, Chaudière Victoria Albert islands, Ottawa River. Somerset viaduct.

Friday, March 18, 2022

What to expect when you go Next Door in Ottawa

We interrupt the blog series about the history of Wellington Street to bring you this informational item.

In late January or early February, I got a letter in the mail (since discarded), addressed to "Dalhousie neighbour" (red flag #1), inviting me to something called "NextDoor Dalhousie", which claimed to be a social media site to "connect with neighbours". Sounds nice enough, but obviously somebody's making enough money off of of this "free" app to afford to mail out physical invitations. I've since discarded my letter, but here's a similar one received by a neighbour on Eccles Street in March, 2022:

A paper letter starting Hi Eccles St Neighbours, Our neighbourhood is now using a free app called Nextdoor Dalhousie and you should join us. There's a code that it says will expire in 7 days, and it's signed Your neighbour, [name and street name removed by me]

The top level takeaway—in case the reference to red flags wasn't clear enough—is don't bother signing up, but for the sake of others who, like me, wanted to know more about it before signing up, here's what I've observed after having been signed into the site for a month.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Wellington Street Part 9: The NCC's distractions (early-mid 1960s)

Part 9: The NCC's distractions (early-mid 1960s)

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In the previous part of this series about the renamings, connections, and disconnections of Wellington Street, we looked at the Ottawa Journal campaign leading up to the August 1969 viaduct transplant that broke Wellington Street apart over the tracks to connect with Scott. Today we'll skip back a few years now to look at what the NCC was up to around Wellington Street in the early 1960s.

December 2012. Looking from the park atop the cliff at Bronson and Sparks down to LeBreton Flats including old Wellington Street, Pooley's Bridge, and Fleet street. Water pumping station is undergoing repairs. Condos south of Fleet not yet started construction. Transitway, no Booth Street bridge yet. A light dusting of snow.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Wellington Street Part 8: Viaduct traffic, Journaled

Part 8: Viaduct traffic, Journaled

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Although I set out in October 2019 to write this Wellington Street blog series looking to learn about the street's various connections and disconnections, the last three parts, ending with a look at a 1950s traffic study were a bit of a sidetrack.

The last connection change was back in Part 4 when the Wellington Street Viaduct was built in 1909 (overtop an existing route). As it happens, the next major change to Wellington Street that we'll look at is when the viaduct was replaced.

The Viaduct gets an entire post thanks to the Ottawa Journal's obsession with its role as a bottleneck for afternoon rush-hour traffic.1

1940s Newspaper article with heading For Traffic Jams Try Wellington, with a bird's eye photo of a line of cars on the Wellington St Viaduct, captioned 5 O'Clock Jam Session.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Wellington Street Part 7: Dawn of "Modern" Transportation Planning in Ottawa

Part 7: Dawn of "Modern" Transportation Planning in Ottawa

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If A.E.K. Bunnell's 1946 report covered in Part 5 recommended a few tweaks to the road network, and the 1949 Gréber report we looked at in Part 6 reimagined large swathes of the City's buildings and transportation network, a January 1955 report report on traffic and transportaion in Ottawa by consultants Wilbur Smith & Associates came in somewhere in the middle. No renamings or disconnections of Wellington Street in this installment, this time we're going on full traffic nerd mode.

This 245-page report1 took a detailed snapshot of traffic in Ottawa, and made a number of specific recommendations, many of which involved Wellington Street. In today's part of the Wellington Street blog series, we'll dive into this report and see what it had to say about traffic in general, and Wellington in particular, in the mid-1950s.

Image of the blue cover of the spiral-bound report in the Ottawa Public Library's Ottawa Room

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Wellington Street Part 6: Postwar traffic on Wellington

Part 6: Postwar traffic on Wellington

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Back in January 2020, we left off with Part 5, in which we watched traffic get heavier on Wellington Street from the 1910s to the 1940s. After a hiatus to do more research and life getting in the way, we're now back to look at government interventions in and around Wellington Street in the ten years following the end of World War II.

The biggest change for the City of Ottawa was on January 1, 1950,1 when Ottawa annexed nearly all nearby developed area, including Westboro, Ottawa West, Hampton Park, Highland Park, Woodroffe, Laurentian View, McKellar, Britannia, etc. Thich comprised 7,420 acres (3,000 hectares or 30 square kilometres) of Nepean and Gloucester Townships,2 as seen in the two large sections on the map below.3 Much of this was burgeoning suburban development which fed a daily stream of workers into downtown Ottawa.

Map of City of Ottawa from 1955 showing annexations/expansions up to that point, starting with Town of Bytown 1850 City of Ottawa 1855 in the middle and the largest expansions reading Pt of Twp of Nepean 1950 and Pt of Twp of Gloucester 1950.

Although Richmond Road was thus brought into the City limits, it retained its name west of Western Avenue, where Wellington ends.4 Since there were no major physical changes to Wellington Street specifically in this period, today's post will look at traffic in general on Ottawa's Wellington Street.