Monday, April 7, 2014

Albert St. Reconstruction Open House: What you need to know

Albert St. will begin it's (long!) reconstruction process in early May. This will involve a total replacement of sewers and water mains, construction of a temporary transitway for during the LRT construction (though we are working to minimize this!), and ultimately a final reconstruction in after 2018 for a permanent design.

The city will be holding an open house on April 8th from 5-7 PM at the Dalhousie Community Centre to highlight what will be happening during the sewer reconstruction and the post-2018 design. 2018 may seem like a long ways away, but the decisions for what will be built then are being made today. It's important that you make your voice heard.

The DCA has been participating in the consultations on this project for sometime. We've put together a handy sheet of our key thoughts that will hopefully help frame yours.

Please let us know what you think!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Community Rallies to Stop the Buses on Albert/Scott Streets

Ottawa- (January 22nd, 2014) Today, residents who live near Albert and Scott streets rallied to demand that the city revisit a plan to divert as many as 2500 buses a day onto a widened roadway. They called on the city to find creative solutions that would divert fewer buses through their neighbourhood.

“Today’s rally, particularly on such a cold day, reinforces how the community has been frozen out of the decision making process for Confederation Line bus diversions,” said Dalhousie Community Association (DCA) president Michael Powell. “The current plans for diverting all Transitway bus traffic through our neighbourhood will cause a nightmare of safety, health and liveability issues. It is simply not acceptable.”

The construction of the Confederation Line will require that the Transitway between Lebreton Flats and Tunney’s Pasture be closed to bus traffic beginning in 2016. The current plan is for Albert and Scott Streets to absorb the entirety of Transitway traffic for the duration of LRT construction. The Dalhousie Community Association, along with other community groups, has pushed the city to consider diverting as many buses as possible along alternate routes, such as the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway and the Queensway.

“Our community has been trying to work with the city to find a solution that allows for Transitway operations to function as normally as possible with as minimal a disruption to our community as possible,” continued Powell. “In fact, all indications that we had received were that no final decisions had been made. We were very upset to find out in December that the city, without consultation, had opted for a final plan that is the worst possible outcome for our neighbourhood.”

“The LRT is a major city building exercise and Ottawa will be better off when it is completed. We hope to work with the city and RTG to find a solution that meets all of our needs,” concluded Powell. “Nothing about the LRT means that the city can abrogate its responsibility to minimize harms during the process.”

-30-
The Dalhousie Community Association is the volunteer organization that represents the interests of residents of Ottawa’s Chinatown, Little Italy and Lebreton Flats. For more information, visit www.ottawadalhousie.ca.

For more information:

Michael Powell, President
president@ottawadalhousie.ca

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

“2500 Buses a Day? NO WAY!”

It is not too late to change the City’s plan to widen Albert Street to 6 and 7 lanes and to run ALL of the Transitway buses down Albert during light rail construction.

Your voice is already making a difference - the City is now looking seriously at alternatives such as the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway for some of the buses.
However, concerns remain about air and noise pollution, cyclist and pedestrian safety, and traffic management. There are also fears that Albert will remain widened even after light rail opens in 2018.

We need to ensure that we get a liveable street, now and in 2018.


Here are 4 ways you can help:

1.   Attend the community rally on Wednesday, January 22, 7am to 8am

Let’s show first-hand just how unworkable the City’s plans are.

“Stop 2500 Buses” Community Rally
7am to 8 am, Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Albert @ Preston (east side)

“Stop 2500 buses” and “HELP US” signs will be available, or bring your own!

2.   Attend a community information session on January 18 or 19
View the current plans for Albert Street during and after the detour, sign a postcard to the Mayor, and chat with your neighbours about a liveable Albert Street. Light refreshments will be served.   

Saturday, January 18, 10am to 12 noon
Centretown Citizens’ Ottawa Corporation
170 Booth @ Albert (storefront on Booth)


Saturday, January 18, 2pm to 4pm
The Good Companions Seniors’ Centre 670 Albert @ Empress

Sunday, January 19, 2pm to 4pm
Plant Recreation Centre (lobby)
Preston @ Somerset



3.   Send a postcard to the Mayor today
Let’s make it clear to Mayor Watson that this issue is not going away. Send a “No to 2500 buses” postcard to the Mayor (below and hereand sign a printed postcard at the community event, the community drop-ins and local shops until January 31.


4.   Spread the word
Talk to your friends and neighbours, join our Facebook page, tweet, blog, comment online, write a letter to the editor.
Consider talking and writing about:
·      What the widening of Albert to 6 and 7 lanes and the introduction of 2500 buses a day will mean for you and your family
·      Your concerns about pedestrian and cyclist safety, noise and air pollution, and traffic management
·      Your vision of a liveable Albert Street (both during the detour and after light rail is running in 2018)






Saturday, December 7, 2013

Help keep the buses off Albert St.: ACTION NEEDED

As you may know, the city is planning on using Albert St. as a replacement for the Transitway for the duration of LRT construction. This plan will see Albert St. widened to have as many as 7 lanes to allow hundreds of buses an hour move through our neighbourhood. All this behind our homes, alongside narrow and decrepit sidewalks with no efforts to mitigate noise or emissions.
Our Hintonburg friends have a very good break down with the documents the city didn't want you to see. You can read them all here

I've posted a flyer below that outlines how you can take action to change this plan. This diversion will have devastating effects on the health, safety and liveability of our neighbourhood. There are obvious alternatives (the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway, Carling, and the Queensway).

The plans for the Transitway diversion show what little regard the City bureaucracy has for our neighbourhood. They were developed in secret with no consultation with the community. Other alternative routes, even for just some of the buses, were rejected without real consideration.

Just take a look at this photo:

A Child's view of the future Albert Transitway

It's the view from a child's window onto Albert Street. As many as 300 buses per hour will be passing by this window for nearly 3 years. Was any attempt made to mitigate the effects of this, for example, by rebuilding the sidewalk and adding a green buffer between the sidewalk and the bus lane? No. They will simply add a bus lane directly beside a narrow, crumbling sidewalk.

This gives us a clear idea of the future of Albert Street.

We would like to see Albert transformed from a dangerous, high-speed corridor catering to rush-hour commuter traffic into a "complete street" that serves our neighbourhood. It makes no sense to have a highway running along the LRT.

The city's original plan was to rebuild Albert St. after the LRT is complete. However, the disingenuousness of the last few weeks brings this into serious doubt. I have real concern that once Albert is widened to 6 and 7 lanes, it will remain that way.
The City's Transit Commission will be meeting on Monday to consider this plan. 
Please email and tell them how this concerns you. If you are able, please attend the meeting. It takes place Monday at 1:30 at City Hall
Email addresses are as follows:
Mayor Jim Watson (jim.watson@ottawa.ca)
Marianne Wilkinson (marianne.wilkinson@ottawa.ca)
Councillors:
Public members
Katherine Hobbs (katherine.hobbs@ottawa.ca)
Blair Crew (blair.crew@ottawa.ca)
Diane Holmes (diane.holmes@ottawa.ca)
Justin Ferrabee (Justin.ferrabee@ottawa.ca)
Diane Deans (diane.deans@ottawa.ca)
Mark Johnson (mark.johnson3@ottawa.ca)
Shad Qadri (shad.qadri@ottawa.ca)
Emily Rahn (emily.rahn@ottawa.ca)
Stephen Blais (stephen.blais@ottawa.ca)

Rainer Bloess (rainer.bloess@ottawa.ca)
Dalhousie Community Association
Keith Egli (ward9@ottawa.ca)
president@ottawadalhousie.com
Tim Tierney (tim.tierney@ottawa.ca)



Thursday, November 28, 2013

Albert St. - The New Transitway?

Construction of the new LRT is barrelling ahead, with boring machines already working their way below downtown.

When they are done, the city will have to take the transitway offline to allow for construction of new stations and the rail line. All those busses have to go somewhere.

The current proposal seems to be to move them all to Albert St., right in our backyards. Fortunately, there's still time to make our concerns heard.

A public meeting is being held on December 3rd (Tuesday!!) at Tom Brown arena to discuss this. Bring your questions and concerns and make sure that the Rail Office and Rideau Transit Group know that we must be consulted before they make major changes to our neighbourhood.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

DCA Supports Creating New Park on OCDSB Ottawa Technical High School Lands

Tonight, the Ottawa Carleton District School Board wil consider a motion tonight that effectively confirms 2008's Escarpment Area Plan. In that plan, the OCDSB would pass over the former playing fields to the city to create a new park and would be given permission to redevelop the rest of the site for mixed-use.

The DCA supports this. Below is our letter to the OCDSB board to that effect.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Claridge "Icon" (505 Preston St) Planning Committee Comments


The condo boom in Little Italy continues! On Tuesday, Ottawa City Planning Committee will consider an application for a tall tower at the corner of Preston and Carling. Claridge's "Icon" would be, at least for a little while, the tallest building in the city.

You can read the staff report recommending approving the development here. As you can read below, the DCA has a number of concerns about the implementation of the building, how funds used to improve the community ("Section 37") are being apportioned, and the need for a more comprehensive strategy to improve the neighbourhoods public realm.


DCA "Icon" (505 Preston St) Planning Committee Comments

Sunday, October 7, 2012

It's too damn big !

No doubt you have seen the youtube clips of the guy running for office in the US of A whose tag line is "the rent's too damn high".  That is the way we feel about the proposed church worship hall aka gym aka community centre proposed for Bell Street. The Chinese Alliance Church has bought two narrow house lots running at right angles to their current Eccles & LeBreton Street property. They propose to demolish the houses and put in a honkin' big box building. They are asking, and no doubt the planning committee will give them, exemptions from all residential and commercial setbacks. In addition to being too damn big, it will have its handicapped entrance on Bell, which is little more than a lane, which means a single para transpo van making a winter pick up or delivery will block the entire street. I remain amazed that the fire marshall has signed off on this mega building, given its negligable side access.

The community association previously asked the church to at least build some shallow residential units on the Bell Street end, to preserve the residential nature of the street. They did this by adding an additional floor to the front of the building, making it even larger. In the interests of reducing the mass of the building, we conceeded that the housing could be foregone, but then the church apparently expanded the hall to fill up the previous residential space. Can't win ...

DALHOUSIE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION

755 Somerset Street West, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 6R1

5 October 2012

Councillor Peter Hume and members of Planning Committee
City of Ottawa

Gentlemen,

Re: Proposed Re-Zoning, 50 and 54 Bell Street (9 Oct ’12)

This proposal shoe-horns an oversized high-school-sized gym/500 seat hall into a tiny plot of land in a small fragile residential neighbourhood. Such a large a facility needs sufficient ‘elbow room’ to interface with the adjacent residential use, and sufficient ‘elbow room’ to accommodate the large numbers of people and vehicles coming and going. This proposal has neither.

The proposal disregards the setback standards of both the Institutional and Residential zones’ which are intended to provide space, air and light between buildings. (Both Institutional zoning’s 7.5m sideyard and 4.5m rearyard setbacks, and Residential zoning’s 7.5m rearyard setback are ignored.) The result is a devastating to the abutting residential rearyards. By-laws are to some extent a covenant between a community and the municipality. In this case, one in which residences benefit from a contiguous shared open space created by abutting rearyards. This proposal, by filling in that open space, breaks that covenant.

The planning report neglects to review the effect of a single Para-Transpo vehicle stopping at the accessible entrance on Bell St. Also missing is any analysis of the effect of persons being dropped off or picked up on Bell Street. Bell St. is basically a laneway with no room for anything except pedestrians to pass a stopped vehicle.

The planning report, despite considerable discussion about the height, neglects to include a height limit. Based on the planning report, and the by-law definition, the proposal has a height of 9.7m. The I1A zone has a truly an inappropriate 15m height limit. Please amend this!

This proposal is basically much too large for the two small lots on Bell Street to accommodate. The hall is an inappropriate, overdevelopment of the site, the street, and the neighbourhood.

We recommend this proposal be turned down.

Yours truly,


David Seaborn

Chair, Planning & Development Committee
DALHOUSIE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION

cc: Councillor Diane Holmes

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Hickory street ped and cyclist bridge

DALHOUSIE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION

755 Somerset Street West, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 6R1
Eric Darwin VP & chair, transportation committee


5 Oct 2012



Robert Grimwood, P.Eng.
City of Ottawa

Cc: Diane Holmes, Katherine Hobbs

Re: Hickory crossing

Thank you for coming to our recent meeting to review the Hickory crossing.

We think the right location has been chosen, and will lobby to have the bridge built in the next year.

We do have a big problem with the proposed design.

The proposed bridge width – same as a MUP plus 1’ additional – would be fine if it was simple structure along the length of a single pathway crossing a culvert or cut.

But this is not the case here. The bridge is short, and is at right angles to the east side of the OTrain MUP now under construction. It is at right angles to the proposed path on the west side, due for construction within the next two years. It will also function as a straight-through east-west path connecting two neighborhoods. And it will be on busy paths, carrying dozens, possibly hundreds of rush hour pedestrians to the adjacent OTrain station.

You would NEVER design a motor vehicle structure in such close proximity to an intersection, let alone two intersections, without giving some allowance for turning movements, stopping movements, queuing, varying speeds of different users, etc.

This structure, as currently designed, is inadequate for the purpose and location, and will be congested, possibly dangerously so, right from installation. It will be the direct cause of conflict amongst its users and passers by on the MUPs.

At a minimum, it needs to be at least twice as wide as currently proposed to offer an adequate level of service to the users. We suggest you also re-examine the merits of separating peds from cyclists by way of a raised sidewalk for peds. If the City is to achieve its desired modal split shares for this area, if the condo builders are to offer their clients easy connection to the businesses of Preston Street, then the new infrastructure needs to be not barely adequate to the task, but encouraging more cycling and walking in a livable neighborhood.

For the above reasons, the bridge needs to be at least 7m wide.

We are always available and willing to discuss this structure with you.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Tulips for 2013

The DCA is fortunate in having good relations with the two Business Improvement Areas (BIA's) in our catchement area. Working with both, we partnered to improve the appearance of our mainstreets in 2013 by planting thousands of tulip bulbs on Somerset Street and Preston Street.

The partnership consisted of the BIA's paying for the tulips, and community members planting them.

It is not always easy to find suitable spots where large clumps of tulips can be planted, but we were successful this year in getting about 2000 bulbs placed. In the pic below are some of the  bulbs (90 per bag) for Preston.


To keep our good lines of communication open, and for future projects, here is the letter sent by the DCA to the Chinatown BIA. A similar letter went to Preston BIA.




DALHOUSIE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION

755 Somerset Street West, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 6R1
Eric Darwin, VP

5 Oct 2012

Grace Xuexin
Chinatown / Somerset BIA

Dear Grace

On behalf of the Dalhousie Community Association I want to extend to you our thanks for your recent purchase of tulip bulbs for Somerset Street.

This is a great partnership: you have the funds, we have the labour. Together, we are making for a better main street focus for our community and visitors.

Next May, when the Tulip Festival is in full swing, Somerset will look glorious with several large masses of blooms.


Eric Darwin

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Benches for Gladstone?

6 Sept 2012


Diane Holmes
Councillor, Somerset Ward

Re: Recycling the Bank Street Promenade Street Furniture

We have noticed that the former furniture used on the Bank Street Promenade is now enjoying outdoor storage at the Bayview Yards (photo attached).

This furniture has minor cosmetic wear and tear and appears to only need repainting in order to be reused.

Given the significant cost of benches, we would like to suggest it be reused in our Ward. For example, Gladstone Avenue has no BIA but is an important residential and commercial “mainstreet” . We suggest that a number of places can be identified along the street where benches would be suitable, eg near bus stops, seniors’ residences, schools, and corner stores.

Concerns were expressed before benches were installed along Preston and Somerset that these might attract undesirable activities and loitering. However, these fears proved unfounded, and the benches on these streets are always busy with people. Making the street a people place in turn discourages undesirable activities. And we all know Gladstone could use some further upgrades to be a more livable street, a better people place.

Please ascertain the feasibility of reusing this abundant inventory of sturdy street furniture in our Ward.

Thank you,

Eric Darwin.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Hickory Street Ped-Cyclist Bridge

The City is conducting an environmental assessment towards building a new pedestrian & cyclist bridge over the OTrain cut at Hickory Street. This will greatly improve access to the OTrain station at Carling, facilitate access from the east side to the Preston mainstreet, and help sell condos along Champagne. To this end, the developers are contributing a significant chunk of the money for the bridge. Here is the DCA letter to the city study team on the location and design of the bridge:

Hickory Street Crossing


The Dalhousie Community Association supports the prompt construction of ped-cyclist crossing of the OTrain cut in the vicinity of Hickory Street.

Alignment: the Hickory – Adeline Street alignment is our preferred option. It is the most useful location for recreational, commuting, and other uses.

We want to note that in addition to the north-south MUP on the east side of the OTrain cut, another one is proposed on the west side of the cut. The proposed developments at 125 Hickory and 101 Champagne both are providing segments of the western MUP as part of their site plans; and the Bayview-carling CDP is incorporating a western side MUP into its plans.

Related projects: We also feel there is still a great deal of merit in extending the park at Beech/Champagne over the OTrain cut, given the high cost of acquiring additional parkland in inner-city neighborhoods. While decking is expensive, other options seem even more expensive. This option should not be discarded just because the space is not used for the east-west ped-cyclist crossing of the OTrain in this EA.

We also feel strongly that a great deal more consideration needs to be given to reallocating the Champagne road allowance north of 101 Champagne into additional park area, with appropriate emergency vehicle access. This will also reduce the infiltration of vehicles north of the intensification target zone.

Carling overpass: while we feel that the EA option of widening the existing Carling overpass over the OTrain cut to improve ped-cyclist access, is not as meritorious as the Hickory-Adeline crossing, we are not suggesting that the widening of the Carling overpass be forgotten. The sidewalk width here is minimal, and cyclists on Carling feel squeezed. The addition of a cycling lane and wider sidewalk would be fully in accord with the city’s policies toward encouraging active transportation and transit usage. The wider space would be well used given the plethora of new high rises proposed on each side of the OTrain cut.

Given that the developers of Soho Champagne and Domicile are contributing funds towards the Hickory ped-cyclist bridge, there may well be sufficient monies from these developments plus the Soho Italia and Dow Honda projects to pay for BOTH the new bridge and widening the Carling bridge.

We also note that a half light is required where the MUP meets Carling Avenue. The City has approved this light conceptually, but not funded it. Again, this is an appropriate related use for the developer funds from adjacent projects. It may be most convenient to roll all three closely related projects into one contract.

Design Criteria for the new ped-cyclist bridge: given the short bridge length, and the need for side railings in any case, and the intention to landscape with shrubs along the east and west side MUPs, we see no significant benefit in a “enhanced bridge” design over a “standard bridge”. Standard truss bridge designs are used on other sections of the bike and pedestrian network with satisfactory function and acceptable aesthetic results.

We do however have concern about the recommended width of the bridge. A 3m width is barely enough for two cyclists to pass. The close spaces makes it uncomfortable for a pedestrian passing a cyclist. The Hickory bridge should generate a significant pedestrian and cyclist volume, given its proximity to a major transit station, many high rises, and connecting two major employment and residential areas, and linking two MUPs. Therefore we strongly recommend that a wider bridge be considered. This is economically feasible given the developer contributions and acceptability of a standard bridge design rather than a “enchanced” more expensive design. In short, we prefer a wider standard bridge over a narrower enhanced bridge. It might also be useful to consider half the width being a raised sidewalk and half a cycle track.

Railings: other truss bridges in the city are painted a rust-red or are finished with a rusty-red surface. This is acceptable. Otherwise, a black railing, bright red, or silver metal finish is acceptable.

We notice that the Young Street bridge has an overhead wire mesh to prevent objects from being thrown onto the tracks below. We notice that the Beech Street ped overpass also has high mesh fences to prevent throwing objects. The provision of safety fences should be designed at the same time as the bridge, rather than as an add-on, so they look decent.

Connection to Hickory Street and Adeline: the EA handouts do not address the intersection of the bridge traffic with the MUP’s on each side of the OTrain cut nor the east-west traffic proceeding to Hickory or Adeline Streets. Given the very poor connectivity of the Young Street overpass (lack of curb cuts, in particular) we strongly recommend that the appropriate connections be designed for pedestrians, and for cyclists, and circulated for comment, so as to ensure that both groups separate design and functional criteria are met. The last thing we want is a bridge that contributes to conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists.







Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Soho Italia Letter

Planning Committee is considering the rezoning of 486 and 500 Preston St, better (and perhaps inevitably) known as SoHo Italia.

As we have expressed previously, the association remains extremely concerned that important decisions on the major developable lots are happening in advance of the completion of the area's community design plan, which has now been ongoing for half a decade.


DCA Soho Italia Planning Committee Letter June 24

Monday, May 7, 2012

DCA Minutes 2 May 2012 [ draft ]

DCA Minutes, 2 May 2012


Present: Michael Hatfield, Charles Akben-Marchand, Ida Henderson, David Seaborn, Pat Snair, Stephanie Strudwick, Don Smith, Heather Hossie, Wendy Hunter, Michael Powell, Grant Holly, Samantha McGavin, Sean Darcy, Rob Bryce, Pam Connolly, Eric Darwin, Jon Svazas

Minutes of April: with minor corrections, minutes were approved

Development Committee report:

• the basics of the Claridge proposal for 505 Preston (at Carling) were reviewed, ie 45 stories, on a three to six floor podium, no comment as yet as it is still very preliminary proposal.

• Planning Committee at the City has passed the infill zoning guidelines, to which we had input, we are pleased to see the new rules passed

72 Cambridge went to the Committee of Adjustment to approve the 7 apartments now built, but the Committee turned it down, citing complaints about the landlord’s previous lack of attention to the property. Landlord agreed to abide by the Committee’s decision to allow only five units. From the street, it appears all units are still occupied. Members agreed Eric should contact Property Standards and inquire if the building is now compliant.

• Eric reviewed a discussion he had with the Councillor, proposing a more detailed planning study be undertaken in a short time frame for the Rochester Heights , NRCan, and Carling Avenue fronting properties. Suggested consultant, George Dark. After some discussion, the board decided a CDP for the whole Dalhousie Ward area west of Bronson (and not included in the LeBreton or Bayview CDP) was overdue. Eric to consult with Councillor.

Abolishing the OMB. A motion will be going to council, copied from a Toronto motion, to abolish the OMB. The motion is very hard to follow, some readers think it abolishes the OMB entirely, some think it replaces it with an Ottawa-based panel, some thought it reduced the appealable actions to the Committee of Adjustment decisions only and excluded Council decisions. Several members questioned what sort of appeal mechanism beyond Council would be desirable – the courts? No appeals at all? There were expressions of distrust that Council could make long term planning decisions separate from short-term electoral considerations. We decided to table the motion until it becomes clearer what is meant. No motion was passed, Mike Powell to follow up the issue esp regarding appeals.

Matt Eason from the Rail Office at the City made a PPT presentation on the process leading up the current state of the OLRT project. A contractor is expected to be selected by the end of the year. The trains will run at 3 minute 15 second intervals (at peak hours). There are incentives in the contract to complete it earlier than the 2018 current schedule. Several questions were directed at Matt regarding consultation about the station designs (insufficient). Matt assured us there would not be an additional Confederation Square station. Members remain unconvinced the City will get the best project without more community review of the final plan.

Election of Officers. This being the first meeting after the AGM, elected board members had to select some officers. President is to be Michael Powell; Vice President Eric Darwin. Treasurer is David Seaborn; Secretary is Zsofia Oroz. Michael Hatfield will continue to chair the meetings.

Committee structure. The board decided to have the following committees:

Development – for building issues, site plans, infills, rezoning, neighborhood plans, parks, etc. A major concern is pushing the Bayview-Carling CDP forward, which has once again slipped badly in its timeline. [David, Eric, Charles, Rob, Grant, Jon, Heather, Mike, Catherine]

Transportation – road, transit, and related issues. There are a number of transportation studies and projects throughout the neighborhood to be monitored. Some, such as Somerset, and the O-Train MultiUserPath, are a pleasure. Others, such as Bronson and Carling, are regrettably adversarial. Albert Street is a major concern, and we are frozen out by City Hall. It appears the OLRT consultation may be ending, which frustrates us, as there are many issues yet to resolve to make the OLRT a better project. [Charles, Ida, Michael, David, Michelle Perry, Don S., Eric]

Safety – for building standards, problem addresses, prostitution, slumlords, bad neighbours, etc. There was some discussion of the problems around the St Luke’s soup kitchen and the Bell-Gladstone area. [Pam, Stephanie, Jon, Paul, Rob, Pat]

• Heritage – a new committee, to investigate Heritage designation for specific properties or trees or environments within the neighborhood [Wendy, Pam,Sean, Eric]

Community gardening – this committee basically means Ida, who maintains the community gardens at Empress and Upper Lorne and Plant Pool. Additional volunteers are needed as there are new gardening opportunities, eg moving plants from Elm to Plant Pool, planting around the trees in bulbouts just installed on Booth, planting along the OTrain MUP, etc. [Ida, Eric, ?; Wendy to be the contact with the city’s greenspace committee]

Communications – group email, web site, contact lists, minutes, DCA report [Charles, Michael, Zsofia]. David and Archie will cointue to be DCA reps on the BUZZ board. As president, Michael is entitled to participate as well.

The transportation and planning committees meet once per month between the regular meetings of the whole board. Development will meet May 14th at 8pm at Pubwells and, if suitable, the second Wedn. of the month thereafter. Each committee is to select its chair, and come up with a hot list of what it is to do/influence over the next year.

The board as a whole passed a motion directing the Heritage Committee to work on getting a heritage study conducted by the City for the whole area west of Bronson, while there is still some heritage to preserve.

Speed Board. Several councilors are purchasing speed boards for use within their wards. Costing about $3500 each, they record the speed of approaching traffic and display it on a digital readout. These are proven effective at reducing speeds for some weeks after the board has left, ie it changes habits. The transportation committee to approach the Councillor about buying one or more. Eric will also be meeting with the Civic Hospital Assoc about 30kmh and 40kmh speed limits.

Bronson continues to plague the neighborhood, even while closed to traffic. Businesses along the street are absolutely dead with no traffic on the street. We agreed the City should facilitate more vehicles to filter along the street during the closure. Detouring traffic is “maze running” all the adjacent streets, often at high speeds, often the wrong way down one-way streets, ignoring stop signs, and generally behaving badly. Prostitutes and panhandlers have also appeared to solicit queued up cars on Gladstone. The Safety Committee (ie Pam) has already brought this to the attention of the local constable, and the police are planning additional enforcement. We will need to continue to push for safe streets.

Neighborhood safety: several members expressed concerned that the neighborhood was seeing a slight backsliding in neighborhood safety. In addition to prostitution, pimps, and panhandlers on Gladstone (particularly around Bell), there are more people rough sleeping in the Searson-Clarke public parking garage beside St Luke’s, with concomitant crime, car theft, break-ins, and debris. A mini-crime wave continues to plague the Elm/Rochester area. The Chinatown area continues to have too many vacancies and run-down premises. On the other hand, new infill projects at Balsam/Rochester, Booth/Balsam, and Cambridge/Gladstone will introduce new residents and improve stability.

Next Meeting: June 6 at the Dalhousie Community Centre, 7pm.