Monday, October 29, 2012

Garbage in Centretown

If you're wondering why your garbage hasn't been picked up today, it's because the City has changed the garbage collection dates in coordination with the switch to collecting curbside garbage only every other week (green bin is still collected every week, and black and blue box pickups are still on alternating weeks). The best I can tell is Centretown east of Bank is on Wednesday and west of Bank (to Bronson) is on Thursday. Homeowners should have gotten letters by now, but if you're a renter like me, you can use the City's online tool to find out your new collection date.

On a less disruptive note, the CCCA recently heard back from Ontario Electronic Stewardship about the e-Waste dropoff site fundraiser we had earlier this month. As the CCCA tweeted this past weekend,

People came from across Centretown and beyond (one person said he was from Manotick!). The tracking form they give you only asks you to list the number of cars that pull up, but since only a quarter of Centretowners use a car as their primary mode of transportation, we had just as many walk-ups.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Five years since Somerset House collapse

While a petition and articles in both the Centretown News and Centretown Buzz have recently suggested that it happened in November 2007, the collapse of the wall at Somerset House in fact happened exactly five years ago, on Friday, October 19, 2007. In this post, which is the longest so far on this blog with 30 photos, I'll go over some of the highlights on and since that day that mark the ongoing saga of the historic building. Given the milestone, I'm publishing at 9am instead of noon.

As the Citizen reported the day after the collapse (I can't link directly to archived Citizen articles; you'll have to log in to the Proquest database with your Ottawa Public Library card and PIN and search for them), a 44-year old Bobcat operator was stuck under rubble for about two hours when the southeast part of the building collapsed on him just before 3pm.

When I got there around 7:30pm, the whole area was taped off by the fire department, and it was raining hard. The Fire Department had connected tethers from the north sidewalk across the street into the building.

An hour later, a large crane arrived on scene. I didn't stay around for much longer, since it looked like work would continue all night.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Peds on Weds: Juliana sidewalk replacement

This hill on Bronson Avenue is looking south from Queen Street to Albert (where the bus is going), across to Slater and up Nanny Goat Hill to Laurier. In the immediate foreground on the right is 100 Bronson, the Juilana Apartments, built on the site of Henry Bronson's mansion in the 1960s by Douglass and Ross, as described in the latter part of this URBSite post.

I'm more interested in the sidewalk in front of the luxury apartment building. The little white arrows are telltale signs that those broken concrete squares of sidewalk will soon be replaced.

Looking north from Albert Street, back in the other direction, we see the other end of the imminent repairs. The white arrows were added in early August.

In late September, the City replaced the concrete sidewalk. It wasn't done all in one pour, there was some left at the Albert Street end of the stretch when I stopped by:

The stretch of sidewalk that was replaced only extended as far as the stairs to the apartment building.

That black patch of asphalt was actually put there not by the City but by Enbridge, which also put down that square of asphalt across the street after some work they did in the roadway. Since Enbridge dug it up, it's up to Enbridge—not the City—to replace it.

On the one hand, it's unfortunate that the sidewalk couldn't have all been replaced in one go by whomever got there first, but all told this is probably the simplest way. An alternative would have the City paying to reinstall the sidewalk that Enbridge dug up, and either footing the bill (at the expense of other needed sidewalk projects) or administering the paperwork to pass the bill along to Enbridge.

In the end, the broken section of sidewalk will have been replaced and that's what really matters.

[Tune in on Wednesdays at noon for a new pedestrian-themed blog post. View the Pedestrians label for previous Peds on Weds posts]

Monday, October 15, 2012

Prince of Wales rail bridge

I've been out of town working at a conference, and am even further behind in my blogging and photo-sorting than when I left. So here's a quick blog post to get me started again:

Here is the Prince of Wales railway bridge, silhouetted by a recent sunset with the Ottawa River rippling in the foreground. It connects Ottawa and Gatineau, Ontario and Québec, with Lemieux Island partway along.

As you probably know, this is at the north end of the O-Train line. There is a pathway currently under construction that will run along the O-Train line to connect the Ottawa River Parkway to Dow's Lake, effectively closing the pathway loop for pedestrians and cyclists. When complete, the pathway will have the Prince of Wales bridge on the north end, and Prince of Wales drive at the other end.

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

Friday, October 5, 2012

Crescent Moonset

As I was heading to meet friends for dinner in Somerset Village, a giant red crescent moon made itself apparent right in my path. I diligently got my tripod out and took photos from the middle of the street.

As I was fiddling with the camera settings, a party of twelve came out of Mama Theresa's and watched me while they tried to figure out what I was doing. When I returned to the sidewalk and saw they were still watching me as I put away my tripod, I pointed to the end of the street and said "look, the moon!"

One ventured hesitantly into the street, saw it, and was soon followed by the rest of the group to admire the spectacle. After a minute or two, they figured it was time they got out of the road. There's a certain bemusing thrill to stand in the middle of the street to admire a sight, especially when traffic is so sparse.

Generally the moon illusion is associated with a full moon, but clarly it works just as well with a crescent moon.

Back in May, I tweeted a similar photo of the moon over the Plaza Bridge by the NAC, Parliament Hill, Rideau Canal, and former Union Station. That was a cropped version of this one, which is a stunning and classic Ottawa nighttime shot even without the moon:

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Peds on Weds: Why don't you have a seat?

This is under the entrance canopy of the Canadian Real Estate Association's national headquarters at 200 Catherine (to help locate it, you can see the nearby intersection of Bank and Catherine reflected in the building's mirror finish). The lot has plenty of landscaping at the fringes (like at Bank Street between Catherine and the 417), but the building itself is surrounded by parking and hard surfaces. This concrete planter box was installed at the entrance, perhaps to break up all the concrete, brick and glass.

But the flower planter seems to provide too much excitement, necessitating this hand-made sign shooing away people who might sit on it. The people who want to sit on the flower box are likely not doing so to spite the flowers, but because they want a place to sit. As the population ages, it's important to provide frequent seating opportunities around town to allow seniors to remain active but give them a place to rest (I know of many older adults who will walk to Hartman's and rest on the bench before going in to shop).

Considering that this is the only building on the block bounded by O'Connor, Catherine, Bank and the 417, my suspicion is that anybody who might want to sit there either works in the building or is visiting it (perhaps on a smoke break or waiting for a ride).

So why don't they just add a bench?

[Tune in on Wednesdays at noon for a new pedestrian-themed blog post. View the Pedestrians label for previous Peds on Weds posts]

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

Monday, October 1, 2012

Winter & Summer across from Snider

Entirely by accident, I managed to take the exact same photo twice, six months apart. Just the tiniest amount of cropping and rotating was needed on these two photos of 353-355-357 Bank Street, on the east side between Laurier and Slater, across from Snider Plaza. Having done that, making an animated GIF of the two images was just irresistible:

From left to right, the stores are BabyFace, Bowitch, Jade Spa, and Kiddytown. It's interesting to see what changes and what doesn't. For example, unchanging are the "Summer Discount" signs in Kiddytown's windows, even in February. Under the 'change' heading, it is possible to see how the weight of the leaves weighs down the branches of the smaller tree.

Since the GIF reduces the image quality, here are the two source photos as JPGs (after rotation and cropping) in case you wanted to play with them. (Picasa 3.8 lets you view two photos side-by-side and zoom in, which is perfect for this). Click them to view/download larger. If you're sufficiently nerdy to want them, you'd probably also like to know that the summer photo was taken in August around 6:30pm, and the winter one in February around 3:30pm.

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