Monday, September 27, 2010

Langevin Block

The Langevin Block, located on Wellington from Elgin to Metcalfe, houses the Privy Council Office and Prime Minister's Office.

As part of the government's stimulus program, it's getting some renovations. You can see the sidewalk around the tree was recently redone.

This Wellington Street entrance was getting framed in mid-September for a temporary enclosure during the construction.

[Look for more one-photo posts under the label Singles]

Friday, September 24, 2010

Gladstone near Bank

In mid-August, I snapped this photo of the building that houses the Rama Lotus Yoga Centre, among other businesses. Next to it is Pierre Amelotte International, a more yellow former house. Behind that is the tower crane for the Central Phase 1 (site of the former Metropolitan Bible Church).

Behind the tower is a sky that gives off just the right amount of light to make for a nice photo.

By sheer coincidence, iKen posted a photo of this same building on his blog after I'd prepared this post but before it was scheduled to go up. I've had a lot of that lately!

[Look for more one-photo posts under the label Singles]

Monday, September 20, 2010

New post-and-ring bike racks: are there enough?

Back in July, an Ottawa Citizen article by Kate Jaimet announced that the City of Ottawa would be installing permanent post-and-ring racks on the posts formerly used by parking meters.

They're starting to appear on the streets now:

While the article makes it sound like the City came up with this idea on their own, it has been done in Toronto since 1984.

When the City issued a news release in April 2008 announcing that it was looking into replacing parking meters with a Pay & Display system, members of Citizens for Safe Cycling contacted the City to urge them to use the Toronto model to ensure that cyclists will continue to have a year-round place to lock their bikes. At the time, the City was hesitant to commit to this option.

Pay & Display procurement was again an agenda item on the City's Transportation Committee in December 2009, and report didn't mention bike racks. I e-mailed again to ask for them to confirm that enough replacement bike parking would be included in the budget for P&D. During the subsequent friendly e-mail exchange, I directed them to an article in Momentum Magazine, issue 43 (no longer availble online) on how other cities approached the problem of bicycle parking loss during P&D conversion. I also directed them to two articles on this blog, Bike Rack Blunders and Bike Rack Design for Aesthetic and Function.

City Staff assured me that they are "committed to effectively addressing cyclists' parking needs during the P&D implementation process and into the future."

I'm still worried that cyclists will end up having fewer places to lock their bikes, at a time when the numbers of cyclists are increasing.

Have a look at this stretch of Elgin between Laurier and Cooper.

That big grey thing is the new Pay & Display machine. There are four existing parking meters that will be removed, plus a blue Velocity bike rack that is only there between April and November.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Movie theatre with a view

Looking up from the ground floor of the World Exchange Centre's atrium, looking through the skylight to the tower along O'Connor:

Don't get too dizzy!

[Look for more one-photo posts under the label Singles]

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Slater forest gateway

Albert and Slater streets, which carry Ottawa's Transitway buses through the downtown core, are narrowed by a lane so that the City can overhaul the bus stops. The weaving of the lanes around the closed stops has required the installation of many temporary bollards like these to artificially reduce the number of lanes, so that it is consistent along the street. The work is scheduled to end September 20, according to OC Transpo's website.

This particular stretch, coming up Nanny Goat Hill on Slater from Albert to Bronson, is equally friendly to pretty much all modes of transportation: there are no sidewalks for pedestrians, cyclists must switch from riding on the right to riding on the left, some buses have to turn off their air conditioning to have enough power to get up the hill, and motorists... well, they have the joy of driving in downtown Ottawa to look forward to.

Still, there are times--like on this Monday evening in early July--when the light shining through the trees can make this entrance to Centretown look almost bearable.

[Look for more one-photo posts under the label Singles]

Monday, September 13, 2010

358 Arlington rescued

Back in November, the owner of 358 Arlington (behind Harvey's on the West side of Bronson) applied for a permit to demolish the house. The owner of the site was the Bank of Nova Scotia (presumably after having foreclosed on it), which wanted to demolish the house and sell it as a vacant lot.

When I took my photos of Bronson Avenue in early February, I visited the site to take some photos.

The house is rather dilapidated, and looks like a hodgepodge of additions and coverings.

At the rear of the site, there is no yard, only garage. Behind the lot is another building, the business Protocol Floral Express.

The City's demolition process requires concrete plans to be in place for a replacement building before existing housing stock can be demolished. This prevents old buildings from being demolished and turned into parking lots, when what we need is places for people to live. In the case for this building, a replacement building would have to conform to zoning regulations, and therefore wouldn't be able to occupy as much of the site as the current structure. The bank was applying to demolish the building without plans to do anything with the lot (aside from selling it).

The Dalhousie Community Association opposed the permit, and their response is at the end of the Staff report. Councillor Holmes opposed the demolition permit with similar reasons. Meanwhile, the City's planning department considered it to be a done deal and were discussing how to landscape the vacated lot.

The City's Planning & Environment Committee recommended to approve the demolition permit with strict conditions, including that the permit approval would expire if the conditions aren't met within six months. City Council approved this conditional permit later in February.

The house went up for sale as is this Summer, and the "Sold" sticker was added to the sign this past Friday.

I understand that the new owner plans to renovate the house--not demolish it.

Whoever the new owner is, welcome to the neighbourhood!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Centretown Art Tour tomorrow

The fourth annual Centretown Art Tour is this weekend, on Sunday, September 12, 2010 from 10am to 5pm. A list of artists is available at the event's website,

There has been some turnover in the artists and locations from last year.

I went last year, and had posted about it beforehand.

Since I didn't get around to posting my photos from last year, now's a good time to do so to drum up some interest.

Here's a photo of Ellen Sloan, whose art consists of pottery such as these bowls and cups. Ellen is back on this year's tour.

It's interesting to see how people decorate their homes. For example, one artist's postal code was written out in their front garden with stones:

Nicole Beaumont, also on the tour again this year, showed off the room she uses as her studio. Not only do the walls have boards for hanging paintings, but she has attached drop cloths to the lower part of the walls that fold up when not in use, as you can see behind her in this photo taken near the end of a long day for her:

The part that fascinates me most about the CATwalk is to be able to get into some of Centretown's beautiful homes. Here's a neat stairway:

And here's an emergency exit walkway that bridges the driveway between two houses:

It's free, fun, and local, so go check out the CATwalk!

In addition to this special Saturday post, this week's usual Monday and Friday posts will be joined by additional content. There's lots of stuff going on in Centretown!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Bank Street Bike Rack Detail

When I previously blogged about the Bank Street bike racks, I neglected to mention (because I didn't realize it at the time) that the racks are each engraved with the name of the artist at the lower-right corner:

This one, in front of Herb & Spice, is by Mana Rouholarnini.

Robin Kelsey posted some photos of the racks after I'd prepared this entry but before I posted it. See his excellent photos here

[Look for more one-photo posts under the label Singles]

Monday, September 6, 2010

Lyon Street Repaved - Cyclists get their sharrows?

Two years ago, in July 2008, I wrote a post on the terrible surface conditions on Lyon Street at the time.

Since then, a number of patches were put down on Lyon, which replaced a road covered in holes to a road covered in small bumps. This past March (2010), more patches were added. Most of them were about a foot in diameter.

More interestingly, they were numbered. In this photo at James (an intersection I hesitantly included in my commute) we see numbers 10, 11 and 12 in the foreground, with number 37 and others in the background. They went all the way up to the 50s.

It was evident that someone in the road department was making the same case I was: no more band-aids for Lyon, we need an overhaul!

At the start of June 2010, the long-awaited overhaul came. Here they're peeling off the first layer of asphalt along Lyon near Gladstone Avenue.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Bowling on Wellington

This is in Hintonburg, on Wellington Street West, but noteworthy nonetheless. On a June trip on the newly re-opened Wellington Street West, I noticed that the "G" on this sign has finally been replaced.

For quite a long time, West Park Bowling's large white-on-black letters spelled out only "B-O-W-L-I-N"--here's proof, from last August (this cropped image is the best photo of it I could find in my collection):

I believe this is the nearest place to Centretown to go bowling since the Kent Bowling Lanes on Catherine closed down and got converted to mini-storage. I remember they used to have disco bowling:

[Hm... I was going to give this post the label Singles, but there are two photos too many!]