Posts

Showing posts from 2010

DCA Report, December 2010

Image
Holiday Greetings to all our loyal readers. The next meeting of the DCA  will be an abreviated meeting  on Wedn. Dec 8th at 6pm. Please let me know if you are interested in coming as there will be a location change for this meeting only: EricDarwin1@gmail.com.

 By knowing what is going on in your neighborhood, you are better placed to influence change. We welcome your comments.


The biggest issue in the past month as been the Rescue Bronson project, a coordinated effort with Centretown Community Association, and with CCOC (who are downtown landlords with lots of community spirit).

Rescue Bronson: Readers will recall the City's plan first revealed in the Spring of 2010 was to widen Bronson at the expense of narrower sidewalks, later revised to some widening but still four lanes.

Bronson today demonstrates the inadequacies of 1950’s road planning, for both motorists and the neighborhood suffer the effects daily. We want something better, and the best time to do better is when the r…

November Report

Dalhousie Report, November 2010


The Dalhousie Community Association met on 2 November, 2010, at the Dalhousie Community Centre at the corner of Empress and Somerset. Meetings are held the first Wednesday of most months, everyone is welcome. NOTE: Dec. meeting will be held Dec 8th at 6pm. Call for details: 613.238.1030 or email EricDarwin1@gmail.com

Cathedral lands: First up was a presentation by Scott Demark. Christ Church (Anglican) Cathedral is located on Sparks Street near Bronson. The church owns the west half of the block between Sparks and Queen. Big stone cathedrals are expensive to maintain. The Church wants to develop much of the block with a new condo tower, an office tower, and some smaller structures. The idea is that the revenue from the development will be enough to pay for the maintenance of the church and some of its programs for two hundred years.

Readers with a sense of history will recall that it was traditional for churches and other institutions to be given large …

Rescue Bronson !

Image
This flyer is making the rounds of the west side neighborhoods abutting Bronson Avenue. The above photoshopped illustration shows just ONE potential way to improve Bronson so that it meets the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, transit users, adjacent businesses and residents, as well as motorists and commuters.


There are alternative ways to improve Bronson so that it makes more people happy. Anyone who travels on or across that blighted street knows that the 1950′s thinking that gave us the current “four lane” urban arterial didn’t work. Yet Ottawa seems on the way to fifty more years of a disfunctional road and urban blight.

There are other ways to design streets, better ways. Other cities all across North America are implementing “road diets” aimed at four lane urban arterials. They have had great success in implementing roads that make motorists and adjacent neighborhoods happier and safer places. Ottawa is late to this strategy, and has had to be dragged in kicking and screaming. T…

Letter to City of Ottawa arts program

Oct 15, 2010

Dear Ms Nesbitt


It has come to our attention that there are granite column pieces available that might be used to create two additional art columns along Preston Street, complementing the 15 pieces already installed, to wide acclaim, by c j fleury.

The Dalhousie Community Association thinks this is a worthwhile arts endeavor and encourages the City to work with the Preston BIA and cj fleury to come up with an appropriate Preston Street location and get these installed in the spring of 2011.



Sincerely,

Eric Darwin.
President, Dalhousie Community Assoc.
http://www.ottawadalhousie.ca/

Dalhousie report, October 2010

Image
DCA Report


The October meeting of the Dalhousie Community Association was jam-packed with sixteen agenda items. This follows the hyper-busy September meeting … which indicates just how many things are happening in the western half of Somerset Ward. But your Association is not really complaining … that busy agenda means we are having lots of input into what is going on in our neighborhood!

The first item up was the little neglected parkette on Norman Street, off the south end of Preston. It comes complete with a little stage, but with uncertain pedigree. Is it really an official city park at all? The board decided to inventory all public greenspaces in the neighborhood and then request confirmation from the councilor’s office and city staff as to which are city parks. Then we can establish a providence and maintenance and renewal plan. The mostly-paved park in front of St Anthony church will be rebuilt in the next year or two (plans have been approved), but Norman Street parkette is no…

All candidates meeting

Centretown Citizens Community Association
& Dalhousie Community Association

invite you to an
all candidates meeting

Tuesday, October 19, 2010
(7 pm – 9 pm)

Andrew Haydon Hall - Ottawa City Hall
110 Laurier Ave West (at Elgin)

Join the CCCA, the DCA and candidates
Don Fex, Diane Holmes and Barkley Pollock
and hear what they have to say.

Some refreshments will be served

125 Hickory Street

The DCA was represented by its president at the Tuesday session with the City's Planning and Environment Committee (PEC) when it dealt with the proposal by Starwood-Mastercraft for a 16 and 20 storey condo towers at the corner of Champagne and Hickory.

The small area around this intersection is a hotbed of condomania, with Domicile constructing  8 and 13 storey buildings, Arnon 14-19 storey structures, and eventually the Humane Society site will sprout condos too.

Our purpose at the meeting was to emphasize the proposed pedestrian and cycling bridge over the OTrain cut at Hickory. The bridge greatly improves a whole bunch of neighorhood connectivity possibilities. At our request, our Councillor put forward a motion tieing the rezoning of the site to the building of a bridge (with developer/condo buyers putting up part of the money) and also requiring the bridge to be finished before the units are occupied.

The first part was passed, the money from the developers is now part of …

Bambinos project

Image
At its September meeting, the DCA discussed the Bambinos project proposed for the corner of Gladstone and Preston.


The Association is firmly in favour of a gateway feature at this location. We appreciate the work of the BIA and its funding of the gateway. Other innovative projects of the BIA have worked out well. While we regret the loss of some trees at this location, their loss is mitigated by the additional landscaping along the street and improved pedestrian environment proposed for the corners of Preston/Gladstone.

The Bambinos project is innovative in that it is not part of the 1% art program, and is privately funded. It will have a high neighborhood profile.

The Association encourages the City and BIA to hold a public opportunity for residents, visitors, and business people to see the proposed Bambinos before construction.

Eric Darwin.
President, Dalhousie Community Assoc.
http://www.ottawadalhousie.ca/

DCA writes re 125 Hickory Street

Starwood Mastercraft is proposing a condo development for the corner of Hickory and Champagne, consisting of two towers (20, 16 floors) and a podium of townhouse units and one commercial unit. The DCA supports intensification, supports transit oriented development, and supports less parking units and improved cycling facilities. Here is our letter to the City regarding the proposal: (we twice ask to be kept informed because the City has not been doing that to date)


The Dalhousie Community Association represents the area immediately east of the proposed development at 125 Hickory Street. We have attended public meetings on this project and are aware of what the developer is proposing.


We wish to be kept informed of the progress of this project.

We have the following comments:

we are concerned that the City's maximum parking restrictions for transit oriented development are unrealistically high. A clue to this comes from the wish of the developers to provide even less parking than …

DCA raises concerns about Claridge proposal

Claridge is proposing three condo towers for the parking lot bounded by Queen, Lyon, and Albert. This parcel is directly west of the Crowne Plaza hotel, behind Barabarella's strip club. It is also directly over the west station of the new downtown transit tunnel. Will this site offer access to the station? It should. The DCA wrote to the Committee of Adjustment hearing on the height of the proposed development, arguing we want depth regulated too:

to: Committee of Adjustment

The Dalhousie Community Association traditionally represents residents on the western portion of downtown Ottawa extending over to Bayview and from the Ottawa River to Carling Avenue. As such, the Claridge proposal interests us.


We have several concerns:

there appears to be insufficient landscaped space or amenity space for the residentswe have been unable to determine if an arrangement has been made with the city for access to the proposed downtown Ottawa transit tunnel station immediately under this site. Su…

DCA Requests consultation on new bike path

From a letter sent by the DCA to Councilor Holmes:

The Dalhousie Community Assoc. discussed the O-train corridor bike path at its last meeting. We are delighted that the City has given the go ahead to this cycling and pedestrian route. The path route has its challenges: isolated or less-visible sections, connections to other infrastructure, satisfying a variety of potential users, etc. While the members of the Association have numerous concerns about the path, we wish it to be as successful as possible, and our concerns are all about making the path work.


We are mindful that meaninful consultation with various stakeholders has resulted in significant improvements to other public projects in the neighborhood.

We therefore request that the City hold a stakeholders' consultation sometime shortly after the first draft plan for this facility is devised by the City, but before it becomes too late to make meaningful improvements.

Eric Darwin.
President, Dalhousie Community Association

DCA Minutes (draft) Sept 1, 2010

Minutes, 1 Sept 2010

The first fall meeting of the DCA, on 1 Sept 2010, started with a review of ongoing neighborhood issues, so everyone can be aware of what has transpired, gets up to date, and can give input going forward. The Association meets the first Wednesday of every month at the Dalhousie Community Centre, corner of Empress and Somerset, everyone is welcome.

Present: Eric Darwin, Maija Kagis, Zsofia Orosz, Catherine Boucher, Charles Akben-Marchand, Archie Campbell, Michael Hatfield, David Seaborn, Laura Bergen, Jessica Scallen, Craig Haines.

Minutes of June, 2010: approved as amended by board members and shown on our website www.OttawaDalhousie.ca. Moved by David, seconded by Craig.

Mainstreets:

Bambinos project, corner Gladstone/Preston: as part of the landscaping project, a colonnade gateway has been approved for this location and foundations will be installed probably this fall. Condolences were made for the five pine trees at the corner that will be removed. The form of …

Shopping for retailers

Image
Some time ago I went to a city seminar on vitalizing main streets. Speaker was David Engwicht. He gave us many examples of techniques that work. He cited the case of one Australian small city with a less-than-active main street, suffering from too many vacant storefronts. With business people, local residents, academics, landlords, merchants, they walked the street and identified each store front and envisioned what might succeed in that vacancy. Large posters were then put up in the vacant windows, showing people eating ice cream, buying magazines, looking at travel brochures ... the sort of activities the locals thought might work. It was a great example of crowd sourcing, since within 18 months there were no vacancies left on the street, and to everyone's amazement many of the storefronts were occupied by the businesses portrayed in the posters. Thus was reborn a happy mainstreet.


The Preston Business Improvement Assoc (PBIA) is doing something similar. They have engaged exper…

More on sidewalk and boulevard patio applications

Sidewalk and boulevard patios are a great part of living in the City. Unfortunately, some are noisy and bothersome to residential neighbors. The city has a policy for circulating requests. In addition, the local councillor may choose to survey adjacent residents.

Without going into great detail ... a regular patio application at the corner of McLaren and Elgin has been turned down due to strong neighborhood opposition. Our association does not get involved in that particular request as its adjacent to but not in 'our territory'. An unusual motion is now going to transportation committee to approve the patio (it would be on city boulevard property).

The Association in the following letter added our opposition to this particular application and supports a review of the approval process so that the policy is known and reinforced:


 To: Transportation Committee, 1 Sept 2010 meeting:


For the Sept 1, 2010 Transportation Committee meeting we wish to express our support for item 8, a…

Otrain bike path approved

Image
the 1963 segment between Young and Carling
Transportation Committee met at City Hall today to plan some significant cycling infrastruction projects.

The DCA wrote to each of the Committee members to draw attention to our strong support for the bike path along the east side of the Otrain corridor. We also asked neighboring associations to support the path, and the CHNA sent in a letter. The DCA president also appeared at the Committee to give the Association opinion:

we pointed out that there is a gap in north-south cycling infrastructurethe route is important for commuters as it takes them from various southerly origins to the downtownthe route is important for recreational and tourist cyclists as it makes a "loop" from the downtown-LeBreton-WarMuseum-Preston-DowsLake-QE Driveway paththis segment of path connects many other paths and will extend the off-road cycling experience right from the Ottawa River to Hogs Back, with side connections to an extensive set of other path s…

Interprovincial transit study

The DCA sent the following letter to Marie Lemay, head of the NCC, regarding the interprovincial transit study now underway. These are our oft-repeated views on the transit strategy, we take each opportunity to reiterate them to the planners:

The Dalhousie Community Association represents an area from Bay Street to Bayview, from the Ottawa River to Dows Lake. As such, we are the neighborhood with three of the DOTT stations, and three north/south LRT stations, and three interprovincial bridges. We are constantly involved in transportation planning studies with the city and NCC.


With respect the current round of consultation regarding the Interprovincial Transit Study,

we like the following:

LRT service for the loop connecting Ottawa and Gatineauuse the Prince of Wales bridge in the west, in order to help ensure the success of the transit oriented development on the west side of the downtownuse the Alexandra Bridge on the east. It will be good to reverse the earlier conversion of rail to…

More on Bronson road diet

This morning the CBC did a follow up interview on the problem with Bronson. They interviewed Dan Burden, who is a leading proponent of road diets. I have used his materials in suggesting to the city that Bronson needs to be put on a diet, and their answer, without any justification, is always ... "no".


You can listen to his interview here: http://www.cbc.ca/ottawamorning/


Select the story called "road diet". He points out that some cities are already up to their thirty-third road being put on a "diet" and dear old Ottawa won't even consider putting one road on a diet. Sigh.

Bronson Road Diet

As part of our association's ongoing efforts to get the City to look at alternative improvements to Bronson, here is a link to a CBC interview with the association president: http://www.cbc.ca/ottawamorning/

You then have to select "fake trees" from their menu. Good luck in finding it!

First meeting of Caring Ave PAC

Caring about Carling


Last night was the first Public Advisory Committee (PAC) meeting for the Carling Avenue reconstruction project from the O-Train to Bronson Avenue. Scheduled for 2011, its for a complete rebuild of the street: new sewers, water mains, dozens of cable and gas pipes, curbs, sidewalks, lighting...everything.

The handout emphasized the following priorities in this order: pedestrian, cycling, transit, vehicle. Of course, the the Technical Adisory Committee (TAC) had first whack at the project and they specified two through lanes in each direction, a bus lane, a cycling lane,very generous turn lanes, etc etc all of which exceeds the available right of way. Now, which elements do we guess might get dropped? No points for the correct answer: car lanes, bus lane, bike lane if room, "2m sidewalk (where feasible)". So much for ped priority. And for streetscaping ... to be added in at the end on the leftover spaces.

So, I spent the evening in plesant dialogue with…

DCA draft Minutes June 2, 2010

DCA minutes June 2, 2010 (draft)




Present: Ida Henderson, Sean Darcy, David Seaborn, Eric Darwin, Michael Hatfield, Charles Akben-Marchand, Lisa-Marie Inman ,Zsofia Orosz, Phil Robinson, Stephen Bolton, Anne Cavlovic, Maija Kagis, Jessica Scallen, Archie Campbell, Laura Bergen from the councilors office.

Adoption of May minutes: Charles and Michael

Presentation by City staff on light rail plans, Dennis Gratton and Matt Easton

Currently at borehole state, drilling is to complete our geological understanding of tunnel route and conditions.The current plan – with conservative assumptions – would see the tunnel open in 2019 for first travelers.

Downtown LRT service in the tunnel is expected to eliminate 2000 buses per day downtown. OCTranspo developing a plan to redirect away routes from Albert/Slater.

DCA members emphasized that pathways and bike routes should not be cut if funds are tight, unlike was the case during N/S plans. Denis said a mobility study is ongoing, including cycling, walki…

DCA Comments on LRT Station design guidelines

The DCA is keenly interested in how the LRT project will affect or neighborhood and indeed all of Ottawa. We recently reviewed the proposed station design guidelines and provided extensive verbal commentary to the City at a recent PAC meeting. Here are our written comments:

Ottawa Light Rail Design Guidelines for LRT Stations

2 June 2010

The Dalhousie Community Association represents the area from Bay Street to Bayview, from the Ottawa River to Carling Avenue. As such, our area of interest includes two major LRT stations: LeBreton and Bayview. We have a number of comments on the draft guidelines for station design.

On the report as a whole: we are unclear as to a couple of key issues. The report calls for stations to be unique (3.2), and to have common elements. It is unclear if the idea is to have stations unique from each other or a signature design common to all stations. We prefer the each-one-unique approach. There needs to be greater clarity as to what elements could or should be…

DCA opposes rezoning 73 Aberdeen

Image
The Community Association reviews all rezoning and Committee of Adjustment applications in the former Dalhousie Ward. We comment on many, and oppose some. Many of our letters are short and not reported here. This case is more interesting and involved. After some correspondence back and forth with the city planner, we sent in this letter:




14 May 2010


Douglas James

Re 73 Aberdeen Street, D02-02-10-0018

The Dalhousie Community Association opposes the application for rezoning 73 Aberdeen Street.

The property is currently residential zoned. Like on all the short dead-end streets running west off Preston, there are the occasional non-conforming uses adjacent to houses. It is good planning to reinforce the residential fabric of the neighborhood and not facilitate its erosion by primarily non-residential uses.

All the prior neighborhood plans and the currently underway CDP call for continued residential uses on these streets, and for reinforcing the residential nature of the side streets and f…

DCA Minutes, May 5, 2010

Image
May 5, 2010

Present: Eric Darwin, chair; Ida Henderson; Archie Campbell; Catherine Boucher; Charles Akben-Marchand; Craig Haynes; David Seaborn; Maija Kagis, secretary; Phil Robinson; Sean Darcy; Laura Bergen; Michael Hatfield; Stephen Bolton

Guests: City staffer Colin Simpson from the cycling group, and consultants from McCormick- Rankin: Kimberley Hunton; Meghan Whitehead.

1. Presentation re: segregated bike lanes. Colin Simpson, City of Ottawa; See power point attached. They are open to receiving comments to the end of June. www.ottawa.ca/bikelane.

Members had questions re: effects on business; on neighbourhoods; parking losses.



2. Adoption of minutes, with corrections to spelling of Michael and Charles’ names. Adoption: moved by Charles A., seconded Ida H.

3. Elections for the board: David Seaborn reviewed task of each position.

President: Eric Darwin, acclaimed

Vice President: Charles Akben-Marchand, volunteered, acclaimed.

Secretary: Sophie Z. and Maija K. sharing (acclaimed)

Tre…

Cleaned up

Image
Craig #1, Ida, Eric working on the Primrose staircase on spring cleanup day. Photo by Craig #2.
Ida is THE neighborhood gardener. Eric got promoted to garbage bag carrier.
We left calling cards this time ... which will compost in time...
I noticed on the Empress staircase that someone is tossing perennials onto the foot of the slope. Not planting them, just tossing them. I tried to stick several in the stoney ground by scooping out hollows and adding some dirt. I wonder if the donor taught his kids to swim by tossing them off the deep end of the pier on a stormy night.