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 the city's maximum. A residential development located close to a major transit facility should not enable universal individual car ownership. To this end, on site parking should be significantly less than 100%; and the developer should be required to provide a number of prime spots for VirtuCar or similar services. It is our understanding from the literature that each shared car location reduces the need for 17 private parking spaces.

  • the proposed development is adjacent the City's north-south cycling arterial to be constructed on the east side of the Otrain cut in 2011-12. It is therefore important that cycling facilities in the building be extensive (in the range of 2 spaces per apartment) and very convenient, to encourage the use of cycling and transit instead of cars.

  • at a public meeting earlier this year, the developer stated that they were willing to contribute financially to the construction of a pedestrian link extending Hickory over the Otrain cut. The City should take this up with the developer, and get a committment in writing and establish a timeline. Such a link will reduce complaints that the building is isolated from commercial services, as it will have access to Preston Street. We know it is feasible from an engineering viewpoint to build the Hickory overpass, as identified in the Carling-Bayview CDP, even before the Otrain cut is widened.

  • the developer's site plans should include a multipurpose path along the west side of the Otrain cut, eventually to be connected to adjacent properties.

We appreciate if you would ensure we are mailing lists and kept informed of developments for this site.

Eric Darwin.
President, Dalhousie Community Association