Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tim capsule

Here's looking inside a brick wall being built at 151 Bay Street:

In late June the local media covered the conflict among the residents. As I recall (I can't find any articles online), the parking garage had to be repaired, and there wasn't enough money for the condo board to completely reinstate the gardens above them, which were the only greenspace of such a size right in the downtown core, particularly for a condo. I tweeted a photo of the gardens after they'd been marked for demolition back in July.

Well, they've cleared out the gardens, done the various repairs, and are starting to rebuild the brickwork, including some four- to five-foot high walls that demarcate the pedestrian access to the building. The walls are thick, but evidently hollow. The wide stones to cap them off hadn't been installed on this section when I went by.

If you've ever wondered what was inside those walls, now you know!

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

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bronson Avenue Open House audio and transcript

Last Thursday was the City's public open house for the reconstruction of Bronson Avenue. Well over 100 people attended, but information is wanting for people who couldn't attend. The project website is supposed to have information up today (Edit Tuesday: has posted the English slides), but even so, they say they want comments in by Thursday, so that they can issue an RFP in three weeks, and begin construction as early as February 2012. Clearly, there are little or no plans to change the scope of the project based on the "consultation".

So Rescue Bronson—again—is picking up the slack. We've published a collection of links to coverage of the Bronson open house, which includes some information on the project plans itself. Eric Darwin features in much of it, and his dedication is much appreciated.

I also recorded the entire staff presentation and Q&A session of the open house, and you can download the mp3 here (99 MB) (Edit: sorry, the upload wasn't working. It's an hour and 48 minutes long, and a very large file; hopefully someone can find a way to embed or stream it so you don't have to wait to download the whole thing.

I've also typed up a transcript that you can access as a Google Doc, or view it below. It isn't verbatim, and there is some interpretation, but gives a good idea of most of the discussion. There are timestamps so you can skip to the part of the mp3 that you want to hear.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Skateboard Lane

Someone spray-painted this in the Laurier Segregated Bike Lane.

I knew the cycling lobby was getting ahead, but the skateboarders too now? (Uphill, no less) The pedestrians really ought to catch up soon!

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

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bronson reconstruction public open house Thurs Nov 24, 6:30pm at Centennial

After a handful of meetings of the Public Advisory Committee (PAC) for the imminent Bronson Avenue reconstruction, the city's project managers and engineers will be presenting their plans to the public next Thursday evening at Centennial public school, 6:30 pm. All are welcome to come and share their feedback. More details are here on the City's website.

Much has been done behind the scenes by community representatives on the PAC to squeeze out every last bit of improvement in the plans, and you can help increase the pressure by signing the Rescue Bronson Avenue petition.

As you will recall, community groups united under the banner of Rescue Bronson Avenue to fight back at the engineers' assumption that the road should go back exactly as it is, except with wider lanes.

Rescue Bronson is made up of representatives from the CCCA, DCA, CCOC and Diane Holmes (I'm formally involved with all but the CCOC), and was previously pushing for the more northerly parts of Bronson to be put on a "Road Diet". North of Gladstone Avenue, the traffic volumes drop considerably, and again at Somerset. By reclaiming some space for pedestrians on Bronson, there would be shorter crossing distances, a less hostile walking environment, slower (though not necessarily less) traffic, and shorter crossing distances--altogether a safer street. In the last week or so, Scott Street got such treatment:

Monday, November 14, 2011

A little to the left

Here's a sign in Chinatown on Somerset West just east of Booth Street. I think it had a companion that has been removed. The post itself is metal. It looks like it might be an old streetcar post.

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

Friday, November 11, 2011

Monument to Canadian Fallen in Korean War

It's quite easy to walk all around Centretown and not pass by this monument on the Mackenzie-King Bridge to Canada's fallen in the Korea between 1950 and 1957. On the front of the statue is written "We will never forget you brave sons of Canada," and inscribed around it are the names of the 516 Canadians who died in that conflict.

The monument was opened in September 2003 by then-Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and Korean ambassador Chang Hi-Ko. It was designed by Vincent R. Courtenay, a Canadian Korean War veteran, and sculpted by Yoo Young Mun.

In front of the monument is a plaque describing the significance of the imagery (click to view full size). The children are carrying maple leaves (symbolizing Canada) and roses of Sharon, the national flower of Korea.

The edges of the plaque and the monument are connected by two rows of pavers that meet at a point. According to the plaque, the resulting angle points in the direction of Busan, South Korea, where an identical monument sits at the site of a United Nations memorial cemetary that contains the graves of 378 Canadians.

The names wrap around to the back of the monument, where additional relief repeats the English moto banded around the front, and an inscription on the stone indicates that the Korean Granite plinth was provided by the Government of the Republic of Korea.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Sidewalk Too Far

You'd think it would be easy enough to get from point A to point B, but sometimes in Ottawa you have to go through point C to get there.

I don't mean this metaphorically, but literally. In the diagram below, desire lines (a.k.a. "cowpaths") indicate that pedestrians want to get from A to B, but the sidewalk directs them to go from A to C to B. It's actually worse than this, which is why I'm showcasing it as an example for Diane Holmes' Sidewalk Summit, this Tuesday at 7pm at City Hall.

The story starts at Tom Brown arena in Hintonburg, where Albert and Scott Streets meet on the west side of the O-Train tracks. Last Tuesday, Citizens for Safe Cycling had its Annual General Meeting there and bike parking was at a premium (many had already left by the time I took this photo. At one point, every bench, tree, and signpost had a bike locked to it).

Friday, November 4, 2011

Ottawa's Chinatown Arch Lights Up

A bit over a year ago, the Chinatown Gateway Arch was officially opened, and around that time I wrote a post chronicling the construction process for the arch.

Since then, there has been a bit more change.

In early Spring 2011, four new lampposts were installed around the arch. These will eventually run all the way along Chinatown's sidewalks, replacing the old ones which are getting, well, old (despite being painted red from the former green)

These four lampposts, however, are slightly different in that they each has two spotlights attached to it to illuminate the arch at nighttime: