Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Metcalfe stop, park, don't pass

The Transitway stop at Metcalfe Street on Albert Street is under construction, so a temporary one was installed on the West side of Albert Street, outside the World Exchange Centre. A waiting platform was built out into the curb lane with asphalt and temporary curbs.

What really struck me in this picture, though, was the little sign on the far right. It's a "no passing" sign, necessary due to the lane restrictions (in fact, I'm surprised parking is still allowed in the left lane). This photo was taken during mid-day, but I can guess that that sign wouldn't be visible to its intended audience--presumably, people in the lane that's on the left of the bus lane. If there isn't a truck parked in front of the sign, the rush-hour bus convoy will certainly block it.

What's more, it looks like this sign was installed specifically for this temporary bus stop, as it doesn't show up on Google Street View (photo below links to the location on Google Street View) from when the lanes were in their regular configuration:

Weird, eh?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Scratch that

A week or so ago, I was heading down Bank Street in the Glebe, taking some photos of the construction, when out of the corner of my eye I saw this kid tap the recently-poured curb with his skateboard. I figured he was trying to tell if it was hard enough for him to step on it to get to his friends. Then he picked up a piece of gravel, which I figured he was going to toss, as boys do.

Instead, he bent down and started scratching something into the not-yet-hardened curb. Since I was taking photos anyway, I conspicuously aimed my camera at him and took his photo (as you can tell, I've blurred his face). That got him to stop, and hopefully he's learned his lesson and won't do it again.

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

Friday, September 23, 2011

Centretown flyover

Small planes over Centretown aren't that uncommon; there is a regular route by a historic biplane that does tours from the Aviation museum and for $100 they'll take you all the way downtown (I'll have to try that myself some day).

This one was flying behind the crane at the demolition site of the Lorne building on Elgin street.

I wrote a post on the context and history of the Lorne Building in October 2009.

There are also three articles on the Lorne Building at URBSite:
[Look for more one-photo posts under the label Singles]

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A safer crossing for pedestrians on Somerset

Well, the City of Ottawa has been on a roll, fixing up a number of problems that have been on my list for a while, including fixing the potholes on Lewis and the sign at McLeod and Bank, as I blogged recently.

Those were both nuisance issues, but one true safety problem has been fixed: the lack of crosswalk lines at Somerset Street West and The Driveway.

To recap, this was perhaps the only stop sign in Centretown that wasn't accompanied by a stop bar and crosswalk lines, depriving motorists of an important cue to give right-of-way to cross traffic (including pedestrians and cyclists). I'd been nearly hit on my bike by a motorist who stopped at the stop sign, but blindly started again without registering that I had the right of way along Somerset (thanks to my yell, he braked hard and his bumper just tapped my front fork).

In this photo, it looks more like a laneway to motorists coming from the right.

I'd noticed this past spring that the lines at the nearby intersection of the Queen Elizabeth Driveway and Somerset West were faded, suggesting that the city would be repainting soon. A prime opportunity to add crosswalk lines to The Driveway (the near intersection in the photo below). And this was the gist of my April post on the subject, which I forwarded to City Hall.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Reflections on the Crowne

Both URBSite and West Side Action covered the renovations to the entrance to the Delta Ottawa City Centre hotel (previously the Crowne Plaza hotel and originally the Skyline), on September 5 and 7, respectively. WSA also has a post from February showing renderings of the new entrance displayed in the lobby. [Sep 2013: updated WSA links, both originals were broken]

Well, I've taken a few photos of the hotel over the years myself, and a couple days after the other two did, I went down to get my own shots of the renovations. I tried to get some angles that weren't covered in the other blogs, like this one of the hotel reflected in the glass of Constitution Square:

You can sorta make it out in that picture, but it's much clearer in this crop of a photo from August: the door on the 24th floor coming out the side of the building, which Eric refers to in one of his above-referenced WSA posts. As he mentions, it was used to access the inside of a former illuminated sign on the side of the building, in order to replace the bulbs without having to hoist a crane.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Centretown Events and Updates for September 2011

The following message was sent to the CCCA's e-mail announcement list early this morning, announcing upcoming events. Contact to be among the first to receive CCCA e-mail updates a couple times per month.

Dear CCCA members and followers,

I hope you did a lot of resting up over the summer, because September is starting up at full speed!

Here's a summary of 25 upcoming events and issues in Centretown:

Friday, September 9, 2011

Top of the Rideau '77

While visiting family overseas at the end of August*, I digitally scanned the photo albums so I could have a copy. Since my grandparents had been stationed in Ottawa in the mid 1970s, some prominent Ottawa landmarks made their way into the background of some of the photos.

This small set of photos depicts a boat parade on the Rideau Canal in May of 1977, presumably for the tulip festival. The photos were taken from alongside the Rideau Canal by the NAC, looking across the canal to the east side. Here, for example, is Union Station (now the Government Conference Centre):

A less prominent building was also photographed that day: Canada Post's Ottawa Station A (Station B is at Sparks & Elgin), located on a part of Besserer Street that's now buried under the Rideau Centre:

Monday, September 5, 2011

Give me a sign

In my September 2009 post about bike cutouts at traffic diverters, I finished the post with a description of the then-incomplete bike cutout on McLeod at Bank.

In February 2010 it was still incomplete because the space was needed for the cranes to temporarily remove the facade of the Metropolitan Bible Church:

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Shape of Fog

Hey weather geeks! Remember when we had that stretch of rain in the middle of last winter? (I know, I wish I didn't either) It left us with lots of big puddles in the street, like this one in front of 307 Lisgar. I'm not usually so precise, but this photo was taken at 16:34

I mention the time because a mere 57 seconds later, a cloud of fog is pushing between the previously-visible Esplanade Laurier twin white towers. (I tweeted a similar photo taken from my Blackberry, though it's too old to show up in my Twitter photo archives.)

Normally when I think of fog in the city, it's just around. This image really shows that fog isn't necessarily shapeless.

And in case you're thinking I might have had a cloudy smudge on my lens, this one seals it, taken two and a half minutes on. The left tower now looks cloudy and the right one clear, suggesting the fog didn't expand much after passing through the gap between the buildings. In other words, whichever side I'm standing on, the nearer tower is clear and the further tower is obscured by the wall of fog. You can also (not) see the Mondrian at Bank and Laurier at the left.

It was quite serendipitous that I saw that house and decided to take a photo of it, because I obviously didn't realize the fog would roll in just a few seconds later. I was intrigued by the stark contrast of this little residential house sitting in the middle of parking lots, highrises and apartment buildings.

By the way... as I write up this post in early August, I don't know when I'll post it. Hopefully it's a hot day, and the reminder of the miserable winter helps you appreciate the heat.