Monday, April 30, 2012

Somerset Street Reconstruction Part 13: O-Train Pathway — Cantilevered Boardwalk

This is part 13 in the 15-part series on last year's reconstruction of Somerset Street West. Last time, I showed the construction of the tunnel that was built under the Somerset Street viaduct for the O-Train pathway.

In order to retain pedestrian connectivity while Somerset was completely dug up, a temporary boardwalk was installed off the side of the viaduct.

The bridge's railings were temporarily removed to provide access. You can see the oval-shaped railings sitting on the sidewalk here, with some connecting pieces standing on their ends in a couple of piles:

The mere removal of the railings—in another context—was a significant behind-the-scenes controversy in its own right, which I'll cover in the next post in the series.

While the boardwalk was being prepared, and before the hole was excavated, pedestrians crossing the bridge were directed by two rows of fencing to the middle of the roadway, which was closed to cars.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Somerset Street Reconstruction Part 12: Buliding the O-Train Pathway Tunnel

This is part 12 in the 15-part series on last year's reconstruction of Somerset Street West. In the previous post I described the planning behind the pathway that will go along the O-Train corridor (to be called the Champagne Pathway, I've just learned). Today I'll show the construction of the tunnel that had to be installed under Somerset to make this pathway happen. Eric Darwin of West Side Action blogged frequently during this construction process and I've included links to his relevant posts at the appropriate points.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Peds on Weds: Footpath of dreams

When the Rink of Dreams was built—hastily—last fall, the work naturally disrupted the flow of pedestrians around Marion Dewar Plaza between heading north and east from the Laurier street entrance of Ottawa City Hall. The early thaw highlighted this disruption even further, but workers are now restoring the pathways, as seen in this panoramic view from earlier this month (click to view full size):

Since the boards around the rink are removed in the off-season, it will be possible to walk on it unobstructed. Indeed, one of the former paths is restored, directing pedestrians right over the surface. It will also be used for events in the summertime, such as the upcoming second annual Capital Vélo Fest in early June.

For more Pedestrians On Wednesday reading, I recommend The Invention of Jaywalking, published yesterday in The Atlantic. The article is acommpanied by a 1909 editorial cartoon which depicts a motorist speeding through newspaper headlines of pedestrians struck by cars. Eric Darwin has also posted this morning a review of recent research conducted on walkability and socio-economic status in different neighbourhoods in Ottawa over at West Side Action.

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

Monday, April 23, 2012

Two towers

About ten days ago, something happened in downtown Ottawa that hasn't been seen in quite a while: a second tower crane was installed on a single construction site. Located at 90 Elgin (the Lorne building), this new "building" will actually be two connected office towers (that seem to read as one in the various renderings).

I mused about this two-crane phenomenon, and wondered when the last time there have been two cranes in one hole in downtown Ottawa. So far, 240 Sparks is the leader, built during a previous growth spurt in downtown office space. The Midcentury Modernist slipped me a mid-'70s rooftop photo of the C.D. Howe building (i.e. 240 Sparks) construction site with two tower cranes in the mostly-empty block-sized construction hole, with the Bank of Canada building and the 255 Albert office tower both nearing completion in view, three of a number of buildings erected during a previous growth spurt in the downtown office space market.

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

Friday, April 20, 2012

Mags & Fags, 254 Elgin

I stopped by Mags & Fags, on Elgin Street, to pick up some of the free papers off the racks in the entranceway, and noticed that they've been relocated.

The racks used to take up half of the entrance foyer, rendering the left side door unusable. It's now much more open and inviting, and from the store's perspective the people who are there just to pick up free papers are brought further inside, and thus more likely to buy something.

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

Monday, April 16, 2012

Somerset Street Reconstruction Part 11: Planning the O-Train Pathway

In the previous part of the 15-part series on the reconstruction of Somerset Street West, we looked at the City Centre complex, shown here with one of the many piles of garbage scattered behind the building.

The City Centre's connection to the Somerset Street reconstruction has to do with the tunnel built under Somerset last year, which will connect a new pathway in an existing corridor between the City Centre building and the O-Train tracks. Here's that corridor from the Somerset Street bridge, looking North to Albert and Bayview station.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Cooper Street jump

These are two houses on Cooper Street, between Lyon and Bay. The house on the right is Whelan Funeral Home at 515 Cooper. The house on the left is a house numbered 611 Cooper. Across the street, 514 Cooper and 610 Cooper are also neighbours.

While many people lament the inconsistency of Centretown's house numbering from block to block (at least there's a reason for that—namely, that some streets start at the Canal or Elgin, while others start at Bank), this big jump in numbers must surely cause some confusion for people searching for these addresses. It probably doesn't help that Cooper is one way in descending numerical order.

The direcitons that Whelan Funeral Home gives on its website avoid mention of the numbering, and probably for good reason (though they may want to adjust their suggested route now that Bronson is closed for construction).

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

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Peds on Weds: No Pedetsrian Crossing... yet

It's the second Wednesday of the month, which means two things: a Walk Ottawa meeting (7pm at Jack Purcell Community Centre room 101, also noted on, and the weekly Peds on Weds post.

This week's post features a jogger trying to cross the car-dominated junction of Wellington Street, the Ottawa River Parkway, and the Portage Bridge. Facing our intrepid pedestrian is a sign that reads "NO PEDESTRIAN CROSSING". Pedestrians and cyclists are expected to navigate the labyrinth of pathways under the bridge to get to the side they want to be on.

Luckily all those pylons aren't there to make an obstacle course of the surface also; it's because the intersection is being reworked. Segregated bicycle lanes will be added to Wellington in both directions, and at-grade crosswalks will be added to allow pedestrians to cross in all directions.

Construction is expected to be finished by the end of June, following which it will be much easier to walk to the Mill Street Brewpub at the old mill.

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

Monday, April 9, 2012

Somerset Street Reconstruction Part 10: City Centre

In the previous part of the 15-part series on the 2011 reconstruction of Somerset Street West, I rounded out the reconstruction of the roads and sidewalks. But there is another project tied into it, the north-south pathway along the O-Train corridor. Much of this corridor goes along the City Centre complex and it's worthwhile to take a minute to make a brief tour around the complex before talking about the pathway in the next post.

The complex, officially 250 City Centre Avenue, is comprised of an office tower and industrial bays that span from Albert Street to Somerset Street West along the O-Train line. For many years its dingy white sides and illuminated red lettering were a familiar eyesore to residents of Ottawa, as seen here in a photo from September 2008:

Friday, April 6, 2012


A couple months ago I caught this photo of a poster collar with its posters partially removed. According to the notice on the collar, all posters are removed twice a month. This means that in just a couple of weeks, this collar had amassed about ten layers of posters for various events!

Just imagine how many layers it would have been if not for the expanded surface area of the collar!

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

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Peds on Weds: A walk to the garage

While many parking garages can be accessed from inside the building, an often overlooked aspect the design is pedestrian access from the street level. In the CCOC's recent Beaver Barracks development, steps down to the parking garage are physically separated from the curved car ramp to give pedestrians a safe access.

This is useful for people who live in one of the other buildings in the development, or for people walking down to get their bike, and I'm sure many others.

[Look for more one-photo posts under the label Singles and Pedestrian-related posts under the label Pedestrians

Monday, April 2, 2012

Somerset Street Reconstruction Part 9: Bridge Sidewalks B

In this, part 9 of the 15-part series on last year's reconstruction of Somerset Street West, we continue along the sidewalks of the bridge over the O-Train tracks.

Unlike the precast paver sidewalks further east on Somerset described in part 3, on the bridge the sidewalks are poured concrete with a red band along the edge (as described in the previous post).

In 2009, some of the bridge's expansion joints were repaired and the sidewalk was expanded with the new red band on that section. Here's a closeup from June 2010 showing how that red band weathered the year.