Monday, July 30, 2012

384 MacLaren, before and after the June 2012 fire

One night back in early June (I'm catching up on my backlog!) there was a fire in a walkup apartment at the southwest corner of Bank and Maclaren. OpenFile ran some photos of the fire from Twitter user CasualMr who had a vantage point of the action from Bank Street. A couple of days later, signs of the fire were still there, and the building was cordoned off with a security guard keeping watch in the lobby:

There was a heroic story on CBC about a man who rescued his girlfriend and her pets from her fourth-floor apartment.

The ground floor of this building includes a few retail units, including the "Dirty Oak" and a Thai restaurant. Here's a photo of the building from a similar angle back in October 2009. Between the two photos, you can see that the fire did some damage to the cornice.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The last signs of urban rail in Centretown

[Sorry about the lack of posts. The Bluesfest Bike Park, while fun, is always a big interruption, and I'm just now starting to catch up on things. Hopefully I'll be back up to three posts again soon!]
Previous streetcar references on this blog have either been historical (such as the 50th anniversary of the last streetcar in Ottawa, or dealing with wooden streetcar rail ties dug up as part of major road reconstructions.

Streetcars were, of course, a part of daily life in Centretown from the 1890s up to April 20, 1959. this Canadian Encyclopedia article gives a concise overview of the history of streetcar technology.

Along with the streetcars are their less-celebrated accompanying infrastructure, including wires and the poles that held them up. These were all removed in the months and years after the streetcars stopped rolling. Here's a photo from the end of July, 1959, of workers removing the trolley poles at Confederation Square in the shadow of the Parliament buildings:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Seeing green (#ottbike box Bay/Wellington)

Sorry for the lack of blog posts; I've been spending all my time and energy on the Bluesfest bike parking, which is Citizens for Safe Cycling's biggest fundraiser of the year. (By the way, we have not filled up yet, and the 'lineups' at the end of the night are rare, five minutes tops, so ride your bike and leave it securely with us!)

On my way back last night from the Blesfest office at 2:30am, I saw the City crews installing the thermoplastic green coating for the bike box at Bay and Wellington. This helps cyclists turn left, and avoids cyclists getting the 'right hook' from right-turning motorists. The thick plastic surface—the same stuff used in the intersections along the Laurier bike lanes—is melted on with torches and is pretty resilient. You can seee the workers melting on the final touches at the far end of the lane here, just in time for the one-year anniversary of the Laurier Segregated Bicycle Lane!

I chatted with the guy who was responsible for finalizing the design of the bike box. He also worked on the Laurier bike lanes and is working on the lane configuration for Rideau Street.

The bike box is to connect to the new segregated bicycle lane along Wellington street, which in turn connets to the pre-existing segregated bike lane on the NCC's Portage Bridge.

That whole intersection was completely redone in the last couple of months, adding crosswalks and bike lanes to the previously pedestrian-free intersection (pedestrians and bikes were expected to navigate a confusing route of paths and tunnels under the various corners of Wellington Street).

When you get to the Wellington/Portage intersection westbound, there's another new road device: since cyclists coming from Hull/Gatineau off the Portage bridge are on the wrong side of the street, they'll have to get to the south side of Wellington. This little drop-off area lets them pull away from the northbound cyclists and dismount to cross the intersection. Northbound cyclists (in the direction from which this photo was taken) can also dismount:

Dismounting is required because the Ontario Highway Traffic Act (rightly) prohibits cycling in the crosswalk. The City's cycling department wanted to install a "cross-ride" here—essentially a channel alongside the crosswalk in which you can cycle—but since the provincial law doesn't have provisions for such a facility, they couldn't. (psst: Ottawa—Centre's MPP is Yasir Naqvi, I'm sure he'll love to hear from you!)

Until it is, you'll have to get off your bike and walk. The paths and tunnels that weave under the intersection are unchanged, and still very much useable if you'd rather stay out of the intersection.

The next "missing link" in the cycling network on the City's list is the jog in the east-west Byron-Gladstone cycling route at Tyndall between Parkdale and Holland. Not in Centretown, or even in Somerset ward, but you're probably interested nonetheless.

Alright, back to Bluesfest for me! Once the festival's over, I'll have to get back through my considerable backlog in sorting my photos! Blogging will continue to be sporadic until the end of the month.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Capital Day

While we're still coming off yesterday's Canada Day high, I figured a photo of Capital symbols was appropriate for today.

I was over at the War Museum the other day having a look at the set up for Bluesfest and CfSC's free Bluesfest bike parking compounds when this photo opportunity presented itself:

Three symbols of Canada's capital, the Canadian War Museum, a Capital Bixi bike share station, and an OC Transpo bus.

The fenced field area in the foreground is one of the two bike parking compounds I'll be in charge of during this year's Bluesfest. It's free, and anyone can use it, whether you're a Bluesfest patron, volunteer, or not even coming to see Bluesfest!

In addition to the bike parking service, we'll have lots of free safety information available, as well as maps and lights for sale. More information on the Citizens for Safe Cycling website.

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

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day, everyone! Don't forget to check out the fireworks; there are plenty of great places to see them from.

One year I was in front of the Confederation building on Canada Day during the fireworks. (It wasn't a great place to see the fireworks from).

I'll be off working at CfSC's Bike Park during the upcoming Bluesfest, which will take up all of my time for the next two weeks or so. So apologies in advance if my blogging falls behind.

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