Monday, June 7, 2010

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, walking.

The LRT station design each will have 2 entrances, opportunities for additional access points do exist for some of the stations, these extra exits could be paid by private sector.

The next segment to be built will be to Lincoln Fields - dates not sure yet, then would go Baseline, where a station is under construction as part of the Algonquin expansion. The city is currently doing an EA, it will be at least 2 yrs before we see recommendations of for an extended route beyond Tunneys (3 currently considered).Once the OTrain N/S is fully electrified (start working on this in about 10 years) then that could allow for direct link to downtown from the airport and points south.

For more info, go to http://www.ottawalightrail.ca/

Charles' presentation on biking and public transport in Montreal

Charles spent a recent Saturday travelling the Montreal metro, riding bixibikes, and observing the bike lanes in the urban area. He had numerous slides of the features, which makes dealing with the proposed LRT, station designs, and segregated bike lane issues clearer for all of us.

Other business

Concern was expressed regarding the health of trees along Preston and West Wellington. Some of last year’s trees have very few leaves this year, and some of the ones planted this year dried out quickly and lost their initial leaves. Will they be strong enough to survive and thrive?

The Preston Street BIA is already ensuring that its members understand that the BIA will replace any and all trees, whether they die naturally or are vandalized. There were some concerns expressed about some merchants not wanting trees as they obstruct the view of their signage. On Wellington the inspection hasn't happened yet so if the pavers around the trunks are not up to specs then the contractor have to replace them and deal with any damage to the trees.

June 8th, there will be a walk about with the planning consultants regarding the cycling path along the OTrain corridor, if any board member wants to attend, please let Eric know.

The DCA was previously asked to review the guidelines being developed for LRT station design. Eric read the report, attended the PAC, circulated his comments, incorporating comments from DCA board members made in the last few days, and will send them to the city.

Splash pad at Plant Rec Centre: even during heat advisory days recently, the splash pad water was not on. Currently someone has to phone 311to have someone from the city come to turn on the water. Laura Bergen from the Councilor’s office agreed to find out if decentralization would help, with the Plant staff having the ability to turn on the water park. Members agreed that there should be one management running both the indoor facility and the park.

Heritage study for Dalhousie part of Somerset Ward: Sean spoke to this topic. He feels this area should have a heritage study to assess the building stock, there has not been one done for this neighbourhood. There are a many buildings abandoned, vacant, or awaiting development, so a heritage study would help us identify what's the intrinsic heritage value of the area that you want to maintained during development. Sean to write a letter on behalf of DCA to councilor, asking for a heritage study on the Bronson, Otrain, Queensway, Albert area.

Conversation continued on the fate of the many empty buildings and businesses along Somerset, as well as burnt out buildings which become vacant lots, or worse, unregulated parking lots and dumping zones for TV’s and monitors the city garbage dept no longer collects.

Closely related is the problem of residential side street parking for loading purposes at businesses. The Lorne intersection is a major problem, due to the volume of large trucks calling at a wholesale operation there. The city has not been helpful, BIAs are not successfully educating their members, the city bylaw shows up late or gives out only warning. Loading zones in front of the business should be better marked and reinforced. Laura to check with community police officer if he will go and discuss with the business owner. MPP could also be contacted to discuss changing legislation to allow private use of a city street ie reserved on-street parking for residents.

The discussion continued via email exchanges after the meeting.

CAFES: next meeting June 26, a volunteer is needed who wishes to attend.

Preston Street will have its street “pay and display” meters starting up south of the Queensway June 3rd and within the week for the rest of the street.

Follow ups:

Letters were sent to the city Re parking meters being converted to bike racks; we also objected to the Bell street apartment renovation signs as too big.

With respect to 73 Aberdeen, we sent a lengthy objection after a long discussion with the city planner. We have since learned the proponent also wants to turn the front porch into a commercial storefront with large display windows, etc. We continue to be dismayed that this proposal is even being considered it is so much at variance with the neighborhood plans.

Some months ago, we made the first moves towards getting more affordable housing in the neighborhood. Recently, Eric met with Catherine Boucher, and this planning initiative will get going.

853 Carling (Arnon’s site just west of the OTrain station) successfully applied for rezoning for a larger, higher office tower use. They are now allowed to build 15 floors, but if they convert the project to residential (and there are rumors of that) then it can be about18 floors high as the height limit is set in meters not floor count.

There was also to be a motion to freeze development on corner of Hickory and Champagne (the Starwood Mastercraft site) but Christine Leadman withdrew her proposal for freeze, we not sure why.

Phoenix site at 801 Albert (other side of Albert from the Bayview station) : city is developing a strategy to deal with the application as Phoenix is taking it to the OMB.

The Western Corridor LRT study is starting up. It deals with potential lines west of Tunney's Pasture. On June 21 is first PAC, as agreed previously Eric to attend.

Bronson reconstruction: we still do not have a community strategy to deal with this misguided project that seems focused on catering to commuter car traffic at the expense of every other interest. The DCA should meet with CCCA (David, Eric, Charles) prior to the next PAC meeting on June 15. Eric to circulate an alternative scheme for Bronson, for inclusion in the next edition of the Buzz.

Councillor's report

Next week is cycling open house June 7-8, Minto park garage sale is on the 12th; June 8 Centretown CDP meeting; the proposed reconstruction of Carling Avenue between Bronson and Preston will have an open house June 22, 5-8PM, and there will be four open houses in the next week on the segregated bike lane project.

Concern was raised that there are no stops for the Number 2 bus while on detour along Albert between Bronson and Preston. Laura to look into it. The No 2 will be subject to lengthy and changing detours all summer. This can be quite inconvenient for bus users, businesses, and those who use the bus to shop at Loblaws in Westboro.

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