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Keith P.
Sep 22, 2014, 8:43 PM
The Heritage Trust, at both the Provincial and National level have offered to have heritage experts assess the building and give recommendations; the province refuses, they've made up their mind, and stubbornly refuse to listen to alternatives. Nice leadership.

Those "experts" would have no credibility, like the convention "experts" the HT shuffled in to harangue us.

The problem here is far simpler than many would think. The province needs new office space near Province House. They own the property upon which the useless Dennis Bldg sits. They want to convert that property into provincial offices. It really is that simple.

OldDartmouthMark
Sep 22, 2014, 11:04 PM
Those "experts" would have no credibility, like the convention "experts" the HT shuffled in to harangue us.

The problem here is far simpler than many would think. The province needs new office space near Province House. They own the property upon which the useless Dennis Bldg sits. They want to convert that property into provincial offices. It really is that simple.

Why don't they make it simpler and rip down Province House to make better use of that land? I'm sure a new building would be much more efficient than that old stone mausoleum... :shrug: :haha:

Empire
Sep 22, 2014, 11:09 PM
So gut the Dennis and renovate with the latest amenities. Perhaps someone will have to suffer with 8' ceilings. The air conditioning could be run in vertical columns in office corners. The building is far to important to demolish and replace with something that looks like One Government Place. The rest of the lot can be built to the viewplane max and tied in to the Dennis on the ground, fifth floor and roof.

One Government Place:
https://www.google.com/maps/@44.6474619,-63.5733089,3a,75y,289.1h,104.03t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1snjVOHnvquKWXhA720szFSQ!2e0

Keith P.
Sep 23, 2014, 12:08 AM
So gut the Dennis and renovate with the latest amenities. Perhaps someone will have to suffer with 8' ceilings. The air conditioning could be run in vertical columns in office corners. The building is far to important to demolish and replace with something that looks like One Government Place. The rest of the lot can be built to the viewplane max and tied in to the Dennis on the ground, fifth floor and roof.

One Government Place:
https://www.google.com/maps/@44.6474619,-63.5733089,3a,75y,289.1h,104.03t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1snjVOHnvquKWXhA720szFSQ!2e0


I think I mentioned before seeing a rendering of having the Dennis site and the adjacent parking lot redeveloped with an extension of One Govt Place, with an integral "bridge" section connecting the existing one to the new one. It looked quite good. No reason to have to live with low ceilings or other compromises in a new building. It is easy to do impractical things when you are spending someone else's money. But if I am the custodian of the taxpayer dollar I want the best, most functional building possible for the dollars spent.

Colin May
Sep 23, 2014, 12:47 AM
Those "experts" would have no credibility, like the convention "experts" the HT shuffled in to harangue us.

The problem here is far simpler than many would think. The province needs new office space near Province House. They own the property upon which the useless Dennis Bldg sits. They want to convert that property into provincial offices. It really is that simple.

The offices don't need to be downtown.
Ease congestion and have them in Dartmouth or Bedford and more yuppies can live in small apartments in DT Halifax.

hokus83
Sep 23, 2014, 1:38 AM
The offices don't need to be downtown.
Ease congestion and have them in Dartmouth or Bedford and more yuppies can live in small apartments in DT Halifax.

Wrong

Empire
Sep 23, 2014, 2:42 AM
I think I mentioned before seeing a rendering of having the Dennis site and the adjacent parking lot redeveloped with an extension of One Govt Place, with an integral "bridge" section connecting the existing one to the new one. It looked quite good. No reason to have to live with low ceilings or other compromises in a new building. It is easy to do impractical things when you are spending someone else's money. But if I am the custodian of the taxpayer dollar I want the best, most functional building possible for the dollars spent.

The Dennis building could be residential..."Dennis Hall" or a Boutique hotel "Dennis Hall" and 8' ceilings would be fine.

Keep the Dennis Building and repurpose:
https://www.google.com/maps/@44.6484444,-63.5737283,3a,75y,235.86h,101.3t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sFlOAmR2IFnKke-X3BkZ2Og!2e0

Keith P.
Sep 23, 2014, 2:47 AM
The Dennis building could be residential..."Dennis Hall" or a Boutique hotel "Dennis Hall" and 8' ceilings would be fine.

Keep the Dennis Building and repurpose:
https://www.google.com/maps/@44.6484444,-63.5737283,3a,75y,235.86h,101.3t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sFlOAmR2IFnKke-X3BkZ2Og!2e0

The govt is not in the apartment or hotel business. They want offices.

Empire
Sep 23, 2014, 2:51 AM
The govt is not in the apartment or hotel business. They want offices.

Maybe it could be a residence for the Premier "Premier Suites" or "Premier's Suite"

Colin May
Sep 23, 2014, 3:00 AM
Wrong
Your response is terse and without substance. Try to explain yourself.

Drybrain
Sep 23, 2014, 12:25 PM
I think I mentioned before seeing a rendering of having the Dennis site and the adjacent parking lot redeveloped with an extension of One Govt Place, with an integral "bridge" section connecting the existing one to the new one. It looked quite good. No reason to have to live with low ceilings or other compromises in a new building. It is easy to do impractical things when you are spending someone else's money. But if I am the custodian of the taxpayer dollar I want the best, most functional building possible for the dollars spent.

I respect that. And I, as a taxpayer, want our various levels of government to build the best (and most beautiful) city and province possible. Tearing down the Dennis doesn't square with that goal.

As well, given that the government has been kicking office to the suburbs for years, it feels pretty odd that they're so attached to this site as office space, thereby negating any other use for the building.

JET
Sep 23, 2014, 1:00 PM
"But if I am the custodian of the taxpayer dollar I want the best, most functional building possible for the dollars spent." Keith, I might have missed that, probably happened when I was out of town on vacation. I had always thought that we are all custodians of the taxpayer dollar, and we all had input to how our tax dollars are spent; but I've been wrong before.

Keith P.
Sep 23, 2014, 1:11 PM
"But if I am the custodian of the taxpayer dollar I want the best, most functional building possible for the dollars spent." Keith, I might have missed that, probably happened when I was out of town on vacation. I had always thought that we are all custodians of the taxpayer dollar, and we all had input to how our tax dollars are spent; but I've been wrong before.

As individual citizens you get to have your say every 4 years during elections. In between that cycle you may or may not get listened to on individual spending decisions. You should not have any expectation that will occur. That is why we elect representatives.

Keith P.
Sep 23, 2014, 1:13 PM
Tearing down the Dennis doesn't square with that goal.

In your opinion. Many people find it ugly and unremarkable and think something better could replace it. We cannot be held hostage to the past. Look at how that attitude has stifled development downtown for decades.

Drybrain
Sep 23, 2014, 1:22 PM
In your opinion. Many people find it ugly and unremarkable and think something better could replace it. We cannot be held hostage to the past. Look at how that attitude has stifled development downtown for decades.

A: The economy and wonky planning rules stifled downtown development. We've torn down loads of buildings in the past 30 years, including the buildings that faced Barrington directly to the west of the Dennis. Halifax has totally played fast and loose with its heritage, so I aggressively reject the idea that we're "held hostage" by history, or that it's "stifled" anything,

That's just a popular but totally fake narrative that has no traction in fact.

B: I think, Keith, you have to accept that your perception of what's ugly vs. what's attractive, architecturally, isn't reflective the majority opinion.

Ziobrop
Sep 23, 2014, 1:28 PM
spreading the government around town is a huge cost, to government and needs to be stopped.

There are many reasons why the province needs to put things in regions - so that cant be avoided, but all Halifax based workers should be downtown. it will save on transportation costs, require less infrastructure and in some cases possibly fewer fte's

the province also needs to do away with paper records. there is significant square footage devoted to storing paper in very expensive real-estate.

JET
Sep 23, 2014, 1:46 PM
As individual citizens you get to have your say every 4 years during elections. In between that cycle you may or may not get listened to on individual spending decisions. You should not have any expectation that will occur. That is why we elect representatives.

My expectation is that elected representatives have phones and email adresses so that they can be contacted about my concerns; it worked very well regarding the Khyber being revisited. :tup:

Empire
Sep 23, 2014, 3:51 PM
In your opinion. Many people find it ugly and unremarkable and think something better could replace it. We cannot be held hostage to the past. Look at how that attitude has stifled development downtown for decades.

Maybe we can have something like this piece of work as "new"?

Piece of work:
https://maps.google.ca/maps?q=halifax&hl=en&ll=44.647197,-63.57486&spn=0.000004,0.00317&sll=51.013117,-114.074156&sspn=0.851036,1.62323&t=h&hnear=Halifax,+Halifax+Regional+Municipality,+Nova+Scotia&z=19&layer=c&cbll=44.647197,-63.57486&panoid=aToUOuhARK52jycXqdQUig&cbp=12,320.29,,0,-22.5

Keith P.
Sep 23, 2014, 11:13 PM
My expectation is that elected representatives have phones and email adresses so that they can be contacted about my concerns; it worked very well regarding the Khyber being revisited. :tup:

That issue is not dead yet, and many fiscal realists are working behind the scenes to unload it from the backs of HRM's overburdened ratepayers. The KAS does not have support within City Hall beyond Mason, so if he can be isolated there is considerable hope it can be cut loose.

Keith P.
Sep 23, 2014, 11:17 PM
Maybe we can have something like this piece of work as "new"?

Piece of work:
https://maps.google.ca/maps?q=halifax&hl=en&ll=44.647197,-63.57486&spn=0.000004,0.00317&sll=51.013117,-114.074156&sspn=0.851036,1.62323&t=h&hnear=Halifax,+Halifax+Regional+Municipality,+Nova+Scotia&z=19&layer=c&cbll=44.647197,-63.57486&panoid=aToUOuhARK52jycXqdQUig&cbp=12,320.29,,0,-22.5


I spent considerable time in there when it was new and it is a good building. The angle you show was a compromise forced upon the designer by an expectation at the time that the lots adjacent would be developed. Of course no such development occurred thanks to Halifax's virulent anti-development climate in the early '90s and beyond. You may also remember that the designers were forced to incorporate the facade of the old church that once occupied the lot as an interior feature behind the front curtain wall in an attempt to appease the HT, then at the height of their influence. It looks ridiculous but that is what you get when you allow heritage advocates to call the shots.

Empire
Sep 23, 2014, 11:48 PM
I spent considerable time in there when it was new and it is a good building. The angle you show was a compromise forced upon the designer by an expectation at the time that the lots adjacent would be developed. Of course no such development occurred thanks to Halifax's virulent anti-development climate in the early '90s and beyond. You may also remember that the designers were forced to incorporate the facade of the old church that once occupied the lot as an interior feature behind the front curtain wall in an attempt to appease the HT, then at the height of their influence. It looks ridiculous but that is what you get when you allow heritage advocates to call the shots.

If the developer was smart the stone arches would have been exposed and the building would reflect the architecture. Instead, the ridiculous entry is nothing but a urinal for Argyle St. weekend drunks.

The concept of building ugly blank walls because the lot next door might get developed someday has been proven a very bad policy time after ugly time.

Keith P.
Sep 24, 2014, 1:14 AM
If the developer was smart the stone arches would have been exposed and the building would reflect the architecture. Instead, the ridiculous entry is nothing but a urinal for Argyle St. weekend drunks.

As I recall the original design incorporated none of the church facade and was a typical glass curtain wall front. After tantrums by the usual suspects the developer offered up what is there now. I agree it does not make sense.

The concept of building ugly blank walls because the lot next door might get developed someday has been proven a very bad policy time after ugly time.

As it is, the minimal windowing there was forced to have thermostatic metal fire shutters installed on them thanks to the building code. To provide full fenestration there given that and the expectation of a future building would have been a waste.

counterfactual
Sep 24, 2014, 5:09 AM
The offices don't need to be downtown.
Ease congestion and have them in Dartmouth or Bedford and more yuppies can live in small apartments in DT Halifax.

Yes, yes, because moving offices out to suburban business parks, that are poorly service both by roads *and* by public transit will "ease" congestion.

Come on. This is city planning 101. There's a reason why traffic congestion is a nightmare out in business parks like Bayers Lake despite having a comparatively far smaller percentage of office space than downtown.

Also, I also find the arrogant dismissal of people living downtown as "yuppies" to be the usual hair-brained faux populist clap trap that better belongs in the loony toon comments to online Chronicle Herald stories, than SSP.

counterfactual
Sep 24, 2014, 5:15 AM
A: The economy and wonky planning rules stifled downtown development. We've torn down loads of buildings in the past 30 years, including the buildings that faced Barrington directly to the west of the Dennis. Halifax has totally played fast and loose with its heritage, so I aggressively reject the idea that we're "held hostage" by history, or that it's "stifled" anything,

That's just a popular but totally fake narrative that has no traction in fact.

B: I think, Keith, you have to accept that your perception of what's ugly vs. what's attractive, architecturally, isn't reflective the majority opinion.

I think you're both right, to an extent.

Dry, you're right that Heritage rules or the Anti-Development Trust did nothing to restrain heritage demolition in the last several decades.

But Keith is also right that viewplanes, ramparts, and other bad planning/development rules-- and a litigation happy Anti-Development Trust-- *did* play a role in chilling or deterring development, particularly on those very empty sites, parking lots, brown sites, etc, where heritage buildings once stood.

Result? All kinds of empty lots on prime land downtown, growing over with long grass or providing ugly surface parking. They are slowly being filled in, but we lost decades and could be much further ahead.

OldDartmouthMark
Sep 24, 2014, 1:26 PM
I think you're both right, to an extent.

Dry, you're right that Heritage rules or the Anti-Development Trust did nothing to restrain heritage demolition in the last several decades.

But Keith is also right that viewplanes, ramparts, and other bad planning/development rules-- and a litigation happy Anti-Development Trust-- *did* play a role in chilling or deterring development, particularly on those very empty sites, parking lots, brown sites, etc, where heritage buildings once stood.

Result? All kinds of empty lots on prime land downtown, growing over with long grass or providing ugly surface parking. They are slowly being filled in, but we lost decades and could be much further ahead.

That's a good argument that there should be no need to tear down any more historic buildings to build new ones: empty lots - and there are many of them. I now think we have passed the time when tearing down 19th century buildings that have significant history attached to them should ever be considered acceptable.

I understand Keith's assertion that as is, it would not be a good candidate for a functional office building, and I appreciate his concern for how our tax dollars are spent. However, there are many citizens who will prefer to maintain a certain aesthetic to our downtown that involves historic buildings. There are those who have an appreciation for our history, those who appreciate the contrast of the old standing proudly next to the new. It's not all about pure function all the time, we need a balance and many of us want to have an interesting downtown that includes more than that.

I will present the idea that if you want to experience an area where pure function takes priority over history and aesthetics, then go to any one of our lovely industrial parks... not a pretty site, is it? That's pure function at minimal cost, not what we want for our downtown.

Somehow our government needs to be able to look beyond pure dollars and cents, and pick the route that may not be the easiest but the best overall for the long term. Right now I'm sorely disappointed that they don't seem to have that vision. :2cents:

OldDartmouthMark
Sep 24, 2014, 2:03 PM
Yes, yes, because moving offices out to suburban business parks, that are poorly service both by roads *and* by public transit will "ease" congestion.


That said, I think idea of moving them to downtown Dartmouth could be an interesting one. My vision would be to have downtown Halifax and Dartmouth (which is really Halifax now) function as one downtown area, made more functional by a bolstered transit system. Right now, the downtown Dartmouth area is still largely untouched and there are many areas where prime office space could be built. This would also have the spin-off effect of increased residential and retail building in the area and yes, there could be some positive effects on traffic.

OldDartmouthMark
Sep 24, 2014, 3:00 PM
As I recall the original design incorporated none of the church facade and was a typical glass curtain wall front. After tantrums by the usual suspects the developer offered up what is there now. I agree it does not make sense.

Let's look at this for what it is.

The idea of maintaining the façade was to incorporate design elements of the original building into the new building to maintain some flavour of the original stone building (which I believe was a residence for the clergy of St. Paul's church, but not much info out there on it to confirm).

The actual result makes it appear that the builder begrudgingly attempted to satisfy the minimum standard of maintaining the historic building, by building around the façade rather than attempting to incorporate it into the design. This ended up all but concealing what was there before. Really they just built what they wanted to while leaving a small piece of the façade standing - giving the appearance of a featureless box eating a stone building.

I can't help but think if they had followed the spirit of the requirement and highlighted the original design elements of the building, we would have been left with a really interesting and significant building that would attract attention and add visual interest to the street to this day.

What was there:
http://i62.tinypic.com/orkv7m.jpg
(source NS archives)

What is there now:
http://i58.tinypic.com/zj72mh.jpg
(source Google Maps)

Too bad, it could have been so much better. :2cents:

JET
Sep 24, 2014, 3:20 PM
Mark, you certainly have a knack for finding some nice old photos;
pretty soon I expect you'll have to pony up a nickel for your posts.

Drybrain
Sep 24, 2014, 3:43 PM
Holy hell, I had no idea that was such a great building back in the day. Dramatically better than what's there now—the current building doesn't even have the benefit of adding much more density, being only marginally larger.

A tremendous fail on every level.

Keith P.
Sep 24, 2014, 3:48 PM
What was there:
http://i62.tinypic.com/orkv7m.jpg
(source NS archives)


I had no idea there was a street with nose-in parking in front of St Paul's! Imagine that. It would be much more useful than the unused space there now.

While the old building was likely non-functional in the interior, I agree that the exterior appears to have been worth reusing.

JET
Sep 24, 2014, 4:35 PM
"I agree that the exterior appears to have been worth reusing. "
I'm glad that I'm sitting down; here I was thinking that you disliked almost all old buildings, interesting.

OldDartmouthMark
Sep 24, 2014, 5:59 PM
I had no idea there was a street with nose-in parking in front of St Paul's! Imagine that. It would be much more useful than the unused space there now.

While the old building was likely non-functional in the interior, I agree that the exterior appears to have been worth reusing.

I don't have a personal recollection of that parking area, but I did find this atlas page from 1878 on the NS archives site that shows a clear divide between St. Paul's and the Grand Parade. I assume that this area was city-owned and probably evolved from hitching-post to parking area over the decades. I don't remember when it was changed to its current configuration.

http://novascotia.ca/archives/share.asp?url=/archives/images/hopkins&path=201111232&title=H.W.%20Hopkins%20Nova%20Scotia%20Archives%20Library%20O/S%20G%201129%20H3%20H67%201878%20%20%20%20%20novascotia.ca/archives/%20%20%20%20%20c%202014

Source: NS Public Archives

http://novascotia.ca/archives/virtual/maps/hopkins.asp

Dmajackson
Sep 24, 2014, 6:18 PM
Demolition is beginning at 3138 Isleville to make way for this project;

http://41.media.tumblr.com/80b0bda8ae316b227767d6782efff120/tumblr_nakokynNJD1tvjdq8o1_1280.jpg
Source: Halifax Developments Blog (Photo by David Jackson) (http://urbanhalifax.tumblr.com/)

Since this is on my walking route I will be blogging the progress: Halifax Developments Blog - 3138 Isleville (http://urbanhalifax.tumblr.com/tagged/3138Isleville)

Colin May
Sep 24, 2014, 6:26 PM
Yes, yes, because moving offices out to suburban business parks, that are poorly service both by roads *and* by public transit will "ease" congestion.

Come on. This is city planning 101. There's a reason why traffic congestion is a nightmare out in business parks like Bayers Lake despite having a comparatively far smaller percentage of office space than downtown.

Also, I also find the arrogant dismissal of people living downtown as "yuppies" to be the usual hair-brained faux populist clap trap that better belongs in the loony toon comments to online Chronicle Herald stories, than SSP.

[edited]
Moving civil servants to Dartmouth or Bedford is not moving them to 'suburban business parks'
Lots of development opportunities in downtown Dartmouth and Wyse Road. Several empty acres at the MacDonald bridgehead, more than enough for residential and office development and then people can live close to work a concept that really is 'city planning 101'. The location is next to the bridge, shopping mall, grocery stores, transit terminal, park space, schools, and the Sportsplex.

Do any families live in downtown Halifax ? Are the condos full of families and is the Spatz development being marketed to families, or yuppies or seniors ?

Several weeks ago the Globe and Mail had an excellent article re condo living and the quandary faced by young couple who buy a condo and some years later start a family. The key to attracting couples with kids to condo living is to have lots of park space, according to Toronto planner Keesmat. A similar article can be found here :
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2014/08/16/in_complete_communities_pedestrians_take_precedence.html
Peninsula Halifax does not have 'lots of park space'.

hokus83
Sep 24, 2014, 7:37 PM
[edited]

Peninsula Halifax does not have 'lots of park space'.

Haha have you ever been to this city.

Drybrain
Sep 24, 2014, 9:26 PM
Haha have you ever been to this city.

Indeed, peninsular Halifax is absolutely LOADED with park space. Point Pleasant, Fort Needham, the Commons, Gorsebrook, Public Gardens, Conrose Field, Flinn Park, and all kinds of pocket parks. It's easily the most park-endowed city I've ever lived in, in terms of the central part of town.

(That Keesmaat article is interesting, too, though a bit self-serving to her as a planner—makes it seem like young Torontonians are throwing away their drivers's licences and emrbacing the condo lifestyle. In fact, Torontonians lvoe to loathe condos, and the vast majority of young people in that city who I know are desperate for a house—which is why the GTA's biggest growth areas is still still the belt of 905 greenfield sprawl where young people are buying cheap houses.)

worldlyhaligonian
Sep 25, 2014, 12:36 AM
Haha have you ever been to this city.

Apparently this guy hasn't... and apparently Halifax is going to implode due to development according to him.

Halifax might even have too many parks...

Adding to the list mentioned by Drybrain in one area: Larry O'Connell, Westmount Park, Ardmore Park.

This whole green space thing has been used as a false argument against height... the Bayer's road development LOST park space when it was reduced from 16 to 8 stories.

Keith P.
Sep 25, 2014, 1:05 AM
Never thought it was possible, but it seems Mr. May is more cantankerous and grumpy than I am. :shrug:

Colin May
Sep 25, 2014, 1:45 AM
Indeed, peninsular Halifax is absolutely LOADED with park space. Point Pleasant, Fort Needham, the Commons, Gorsebrook, Public Gardens, Conrose Field, Flinn Park, and all kinds of pocket parks. It's easily the most park-endowed city I've ever lived in, in terms of the central part of town.

(That Keesmaat article is interesting, too, though a bit self-serving to her as a planner—makes it seem like young Torontonians are throwing away their drivers's licences and emrbacing the condo lifestyle. In fact, Torontonians lvoe to loathe condos, and the vast majority of young people in that city who I know are desperate for a house—which is why the GTA's biggest growth areas is still still the belt of 905 greenfield sprawl where young people are buying cheap houses.)
I spent the first week of September in a private home on the 0-100 block of Crawford Street about 150 yards from Trinity Bellwoods Park.
I won't tell you the house number but google 66 Crawford Street and look at all the parks within a 200 yards or more. Compare that with downtown Halifax or compare it with peninsula.
I had condos at the top and bottom of the block, the former York Knitting Mills building is all condos, and on King St W the Massey Harris building is condos with an adjacent park (Massey Harris Park) Walk a little further south and it is the Garrison Common and new condos about to go up on the north side of the Gardiner.
I admit that Toronto is nice and flat and therefore much easier for families in condos to quickly get into a park.
Keesmat makes the point that neighbourhood parks are the main requirement for younger condo dwellers who are contemplating a family. In Toronto the area councillor has a great deal of influence on the development approval process and the negotiations generally centre around impact upon adjacent neighbourhoods and extraction of cash for local public amenities. The cash is spent at the discretion of the residents and the councillor. The now Liberal MP Adam Vaughan was a master at ensuring residents had a voice in how their area was developed.
Public Gardens is closed for 5-6 months of the year.
Overlaying peninsula Halifax on top of Toronto will prove my point. East of Citadel Hill and in the heart of downtown Halifax there is almost no green space other than the legislature and the small area in Grand Parade. Family oriented condos downtown will require residents to take small kids uphill.

Colin May
Sep 25, 2014, 2:04 AM
Never thought it was possible, but it seems Mr. May is more cantankerous and grumpy than I am. :shrug:

A week in the heart of Toronto will do that to you !
Vogue magazine calls the area I stayed in as the 2nd hippest place in the world.
I walked around a lot, took photos of residential properties and my impression was a cosmopolitan city loaded with young people, a lot of whom had dogs. Never seen so many dogs in a big city - dogs must be the new 'babies' considering all the pet pampering salons I saw.
A lot of local businesses and when you get closer to the city centre you see the chain stores proliferating.
What used to be a working class area is now very desirable, some streets still have homes which would be ticketed in Halifax as ' dangerous and unsightly premises' and would sell for at least $500,000 and in need of significant renovation.
Condos in Toronto were easy on the eye because they don't seem to intrude upon the public space. King & Queen W are about 5 lanes wide and the sidewalks are wider than in Halifax by a factor of at least 3.
Parks all over the place. The house we stayed in was a complete reno and just 18 feet wide internally but about 40 feet deep.
Our Mayor and council would be wise to go and take a look at how the Toronto neighbourhoods work ;they may even break down and use TTC.

someone123
Sep 25, 2014, 2:26 AM
Your comparison seems a little wonky. The area between the Citadel and waterfront is small, as you point out it's got public space in the middle and on both sides (about a 5 minute walk end-to-end), and it's analogous to a business district in Toronto that doesn't have very much public space and is probably home to a relatively small concentration of families.

The Trinity-Bellwoods type areas meanwhile are just like the North End neighbourhoods centred around the Commons.

Ziobrop
Sep 25, 2014, 12:02 PM
I spent the first week of September in a private home on the 0-100 block of Crawford Street about 150 yards from Trinity Bellwoods Park.
I won't tell you the house number but google 66 Crawford Street and look at all the parks within a 200 yards or more. Compare that with downtown Halifax or compare it with peninsula.
I had condos at the top and bottom of the block, the former York Knitting Mills building is all condos, and on King St W the Massey Harris building is condos with an adjacent park (Massey Harris Park) Walk a little further south and it is the Garrison Common and new condos about to go up on the north side of the Gardiner.
I admit that Toronto is nice and flat and therefore much easier for families in condos to quickly get into a park.
Keesmat makes the point that neighbourhood parks are the main requirement for younger condo dwellers who are contemplating a family. In Toronto the area councillor has a great deal of influence on the development approval process and the negotiations generally centre around impact upon adjacent neighbourhoods and extraction of cash for local public amenities. The cash is spent at the discretion of the residents and the councillor. The now Liberal MP Adam Vaughan was a master at ensuring residents had a voice in how their area was developed.
Public Gardens is closed for 5-6 months of the year.
Overlaying peninsula Halifax on top of Toronto will prove my point. East of Citadel Hill and in the heart of downtown Halifax there is almost no green space other than the legislature and the small area in Grand Parade. Family oriented condos downtown will require residents to take small kids uphill.

you have a point - but your comparisons arnt quite the same. Toronto's financial district is devoid of parkland. - much like halifaxes core.
the Bulk of torontos waterfront condo's are former industrial brownfield sites - these would be more comparable to Halifax's WDC properties and Cogswell lands, which plans call to have more green space.

Drybrain
Sep 25, 2014, 12:54 PM
I spent the first week of September in a private home on the 0-100 block of Crawford Street about 150 yards from Trinity Bellwoods Park.
I won't tell you the house number but google 66 Crawford Street and look at all the parks within a 200 yards or more. Compare that with downtown Halifax or compare it with peninsula.
I had condos at the top and bottom of the block, the former York Knitting Mills building is all condos, and on King St W the Massey Harris building is condos with an adjacent park (Massey Harris Park) Walk a little further south and it is the Garrison Common and new condos about to go up on the north side of the Gardiner.
I admit that Toronto is nice and flat and therefore much easier for families in condos to quickly get into a park.
Keesmat makes the point that neighbourhood parks are the main requirement for younger condo dwellers who are contemplating a family. In Toronto the area councillor has a great deal of influence on the development approval process and the negotiations generally centre around impact upon adjacent neighbourhoods and extraction of cash for local public amenities. The cash is spent at the discretion of the residents and the councillor. The now Liberal MP Adam Vaughan was a master at ensuring residents had a voice in how their area was developed.
Public Gardens is closed for 5-6 months of the year.
Overlaying peninsula Halifax on top of Toronto will prove my point. East of Citadel Hill and in the heart of downtown Halifax there is almost no green space other than the legislature and the small area in Grand Parade. Family oriented condos downtown will require residents to take small kids uphill.

To echo Someone123 and Ziobrop, yeah, it's apples and oranges to compare Halifax's downtown with an area like Trinity Bellwoods, which is more like the South/North End. A better comparison would be other parts of the peninsula.

So to do that: In Trinity Bellwoods—where I lived for two years, after a year in nearby Kensington, so I'm familiar with the area—most of the parks are little neighbourhood parks and parkettes, which peninsular Halifax also has in abundance. Trinity Bellwoods is a GREAT park, no doubt, and Toronto has a fantastic park system, from Bellwoods to Christie Pits to High Park to Don Valley East Park and all the little parks all over.

But Halifax has that too, from the Commons to the Mainland Common to the Dartmouth Common to Fort Needham to Point Pleasant. Probably a good one-fifth of the city's land area below Sackville Street is green space of various kinds.

It's funny that you noticed the proliferation of dogs in Bellwoods, along with ridiculously expensive rundown houses. (In Bellwoods, the price for a tiny attached fixer upper is closer to 1 million than 500,000, though.) My hunch is that the dogs are temporary kid substitutes for people who can't afford to start a family in the area. Most of the young people in that nabe who don't work in finance or law are renting or living in wee condos, few of which are suitable for families. (Adam Vaughan has been a big and somewhat effective advocate for three-bedroom units, but there still aren't enough. The area is becoming a bit of a monoculture of rich people and young singles, while young families move up to somewhat less desirable areas, or even Etobicoke and North York.)

Condos are better designed than in Halifax too, by and large, though in the last two/three years, Halifax has started to catch up fast. (The Roy will look as good or better than anything in TO, I think.)

OldDartmouthMark
Sep 25, 2014, 1:25 PM
Mark, you certainly have a knack for finding some nice old photos;
pretty soon I expect you'll have to pony up a nickel for your posts.

Thanks! Finding old photos of this area is an interest of mine (it hasn't developed into a hobby yet... lol).

My understanding from reading the archives' terms of use, is that it is OK to share their images as long as it's not done for profit or business use. Do you have information that differs from that? I don't want to violate their terms.

JET
Sep 25, 2014, 1:53 PM
Thanks! Finding old photos of this area is an interest of mine (it hasn't developed into a hobby yet... lol).

My understanding from reading the archives' terms of use, is that it is OK to share their images as long as it's not done for profit or business use. Do you have information that differs from that? I don't want to violate their terms.

Mark, sorry for my lack of clarity, you often end your posts with :2cents:
given that the penny is mostly out of circulation, I was suggesting (none too clearly) that you might have to switch to nickels. Again, nice job with the old photos.

OldDartmouthMark
Sep 25, 2014, 11:27 PM
Mark, sorry for my lack of clarity, you often end your posts with :2cents:
given that the penny is mostly out of circulation, I was suggesting (none too clearly) that you might have to switch to nickels. Again, nice job with the old photos.

:haha: I get it!

If I had thought about it a little I would have clued in... Maybe we should ask the mods for a "two nickels" smiley to keep up with the times. :D

And thanks for the compliment... :)

counterfactual
Sep 26, 2014, 3:27 AM
That said, I think idea of moving them to downtown Dartmouth could be an interesting one. My vision would be to have downtown Halifax and Dartmouth (which is really Halifax now) function as one downtown area, made more functional by a bolstered transit system. Right now, the downtown Dartmouth area is still largely untouched and there are many areas where prime office space could be built. This would also have the spin-off effect of increased residential and retail building in the area and yes, there could be some positive effects on traffic.

I could buy into that!

counterfactual
Sep 26, 2014, 3:29 AM
I will present the idea that if you want to experience an area where pure function takes priority over history and aesthetics, then go to any one of our lovely industrial parks... not a pretty site, is it? That's pure function at minimal cost, not what we want for our downtown.

Somehow our government needs to be able to look beyond pure dollars and cents, and pick the route that may not be the easiest but the best overall for the long term. Right now I'm sorely disappointed that they don't seem to have that vision. :2cents:

Also strongly support this suggestion; pure function and dollars and cents, can certainly lead to ugly buildings. Heritage requires investment, but it's well worth it.

counterfactual
Sep 26, 2014, 4:37 AM
Never thought it was possible, but it seems Mr. May is more cantankerous and grumpy than I am. :shrug:

I literally laughed out loud a this post.

counterfactual
Sep 26, 2014, 4:43 AM
Indeed, peninsular Halifax is absolutely LOADED with park space. Point Pleasant, Fort Needham, the Commons, Gorsebrook, Public Gardens, Conrose Field, Flinn Park, and all kinds of pocket parks. It's easily the most park-endowed city I've ever lived in, in terms of the central part of town.

(That Keesmaat article is interesting, too, though a bit self-serving to her as a planner—makes it seem like young Torontonians are throwing away their drivers's licences and emrbacing the condo lifestyle. In fact, Torontonians lvoe to loathe condos, and the vast majority of young people in that city who I know are desperate for a house—which is why the GTA's biggest growth areas is still still the belt of 905 greenfield sprawl where young people are buying cheap houses.)

I agree, people still prefer houses, but I have several friends (young families) raising children in condos. Also, I find among other friends, while some have bought up further out of the city, I find most are clamouring for old fixer-uppers around the core; there are still a few of those around, if you're willing to stake out a neighborhood that is a bit run down, but likely improving.

counterfactual
Sep 26, 2014, 4:57 AM
I spent the first week of September in a private home on the 0-100 block of Crawford Street about 150 yards from Trinity Bellwoods Park.
I won't tell you the house number but google 66 Crawford Street and look at all the parks within a 200 yards or more. Compare that with downtown Halifax or compare it with peninsula.
I had condos at the top and bottom of the block, the former York Knitting Mills building is all condos, and on King St W the Massey Harris building is condos with an adjacent park (Massey Harris Park) Walk a little further south and it is the Garrison Common and new condos about to go up on the north side of the Gardiner.
I admit that Toronto is nice and flat and therefore much easier for families in condos to quickly get into a park.
Keesmat makes the point that neighbourhood parks are the main requirement for younger condo dwellers who are contemplating a family. In Toronto the area councillor has a great deal of influence on the development approval process and the negotiations generally centre around impact upon adjacent neighbourhoods and extraction of cash for local public amenities. The cash is spent at the discretion of the residents and the councillor. The now Liberal MP Adam Vaughan was a master at ensuring residents had a voice in how their area was developed.
Public Gardens is closed for 5-6 months of the year.
Overlaying peninsula Halifax on top of Toronto will prove my point. East of Citadel Hill and in the heart of downtown Halifax there is almost no green space other than the legislature and the small area in Grand Parade. Family oriented condos downtown will require residents to take small kids uphill.

I think Toronto is a great city. We could certainly learn a lot from how they do some planning and development there, especially on intense density, height, heritage/community signage, and the value of mass public transit. On the latter point, just for a sense of the difference, the most conservative candidates in the mayoral race (the "cost cutters") are out there pitching subway expansion while lefties are pitching surface subways. I mean, that's the frame of the debate; subways or LRT. Pick one.

In Halifax, we just keep doing studies over and over and on mass transit options never get around to actually doing anything. Or we get bold statements from Transit authorities (WE ARE GOING TO COMPLETELY RE-WRITE OUR TRANSIT ROUTES FROM SCRATCH BASED ON NEW RAPID PRINCIPLES) that fizzle when they realize it actually means more work to do this (BREAKING: METRO TRANSIT SAYS WE'RE ALSO TOO SMALL TO RE-DO OUR BUS ROUTES. ZZ..Zzzzz).

That all being said, Toronto could also learn a thing or two from us too. For example, our waterfront absolutely kills the Toronto waterfront. I mean, it's not even close. The ugly Gardiner and then a bunch of ugly condos that block off access to most of the waterfront, save for some areas around Queens Quay.

And on green spaces, come on. Downtown Toronto has absolutely nothing to compare to Point Pleasant Park, or our Public Gardens. The closest is Sunnybrook park, but that is way outside of the core of the city and very hard to access without a car (I used to play summer soccer leagues there, and hated having to walk into the park from Leslie/Eglington E; it was an extra 30min tacked onto a subway + bus ride).

Drybrain
Sep 26, 2014, 12:10 PM
I agree, people still prefer houses, but I have several friends (young families) raising children in condos. Also, I find among other friends, while some have bought up further out of the city, I find most are clamouring for old fixer-uppers around the core; there are still a few of those around, if you're willing to stake out a neighborhood that is a bit run down, but likely improving.

Yeah, the old central fixer-uppers are what most of my Toronto friends are desperate for as well (not to impugn their motives--I'd love an old Halifax Victorian).

I think condo living for families will become more popular, but the price point for centrally located houses will have to become a lot higher, so much so that people can no longer see themselves ever being able to afford it (Toronto may be a this tipping point).

JET
Sep 26, 2014, 12:51 PM
Yeah, the old central fixer-uppers are what most of my Toronto friends are desperate for as well (not to impugn their motives--I'd love an old Halifax Victorian).

I think condo living for families will become more popular, but the price point for centrally located houses will have to become a lot higher, so much so that people can no longer see themselves ever being able to afford it (Toronto may be a this tipping point).

Maybe you should consider an Old Dartmouth Victorian, they used to be about 1/2 of a similar house in Halifax. Bought mine in '92 and a similar house in Halifax was twice the selling price, and had less yard.

Drybrain
Sep 26, 2014, 1:07 PM
I think Toronto is a great city. We could certainly learn a lot from how they do some planning and development there, especially on intense density, height, heritage/community signage, and the value of mass public transit. On the latter point, just for a sense of the difference, the most conservative candidates in the mayoral race (the "cost cutters") are out there pitching subway expansion while lefties are pitching surface subways. I mean, that's the frame of the debate; subways or LRT. Pick one.


Agreed on all points. Except, allow me to rant about transit in Toronto:

After spending five years in Toronto, there probably isn't a city in Canada with a more frustrating discussion around public transit, and it is almost guaranteed that none of the plans being discussed by current mayoral contenders will ever be substantially built, and certainly not any time soon. I think Halifax needs to back very far away from the TO model on transit.

Background: When Rob Ford came in back in 2010, he cancelled a fully funded, far-reaching LRT called Transit City that would've gone a long way toward making up for the fact that the city's transit infrastructure is about two-three decades behind where it should be, for that population and land area.

Instead, Ford pitted suburbs vs. downtown and promised a Scarborough subway, which would end up eating up all the Transit City funding for a few measly stops in an area of low population density (because subways are vastly more expensive than LRT). His whole thing was "downtown has subways, so should the suburbs" which is absurd given the difference in density, cost, etc., but cost-benefit analysis is not Ford's strong suit.

Anyway, the city's single best transit hope was destroyed and will probably never come back, since Ford totally changed the conversation: It's now all about what the suburbs "deserve" vs what downtown "deserves", and the sense of anger and bitterness and entitlement between the two have complete driven the political discussion about transit ever since, and into this election, drowning out rationality—which is why David Soknacki, the only candidate with a rational transit plan, was polling around 6% and dropped out of the race.

Chow's plan is second best, but even she's pandering somewhat, and she's almost certain to lose the race. John Tory's Smart Track plan won't work at all, given that he has no viable funding plan and the details feel, as columnist John Barber wrote, like "back of the napkin improvisation (http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2014/08/30/john_torys_smarttrack_doesnt_live_up_to_its_name.html)." Ford's plan exist only in Ford's head, since it hinges upon the private sector magically paying for the many billions of dollars it will cost, just for the right to build some condos nearby.

The most important single piece of infrastructure, the downtown relief line, is still controversial, still not firmly planned, and won't be carrying passengers for well over a decade, even as the Yonge and Bloor-Danforth lines are well beyond rush-hour capacity and plagued by constant breakdowns, making commuting a constant frustration, to put it mildly. And many citizens and more than a few of the debaters in the political sphere still don't even understand the difference between LRT and streetcars. (Or, like the Fords, pretend not to.)

The political discussion is not driven by vision or by a genuine sense of what the city or region needs, but by transparent vote-grabbing and pandering to various NIMBY interests. It is a profoundly depressing vision of non-cooperation and self-interest, and it's actually becoming a real threat to the city's long-term viability. It's horrible.

Transit in Toronto is totally screwed and will probably get a lot worse before it gets better. I actually feel it's possible Halifax might have a meaningful rapid-transit expansion before another line even opens in Toronto (save the under-construction and three-decades delayed Eglinton LRT, killed my Mike Harris for exactly the same pandering political reasons).

bluenoser
Sep 26, 2014, 2:53 PM
Nice little article:

A love letter to Halifax
ALLISON GERTRIDGE
Published September 25, 2014 - 4:43pm
Last Updated September 25, 2014 - 4:53pm

EDITOR'S NOTE: Allison Gertridge penned this love letter to Halifax, and sent it to our newsroom, after spending a month in the city with her dying mother. In it, the Ontario-based fundraising consultant, whose family owns a cottage in Wolfville, writes about 15 aspects of the city that made the trying time a little bit easier.

http://thechronicleherald.ca/metro/1239046-a-love-letter-to-halifax

Keith P.
Sep 26, 2014, 2:59 PM
That said, I think idea of moving them to downtown Dartmouth could be an interesting one. My vision would be to have downtown Halifax and Dartmouth (which is really Halifax now) function as one downtown area, made more functional by a bolstered transit system. Right now, the downtown Dartmouth area is still largely untouched and there are many areas where prime office space could be built. This would also have the spin-off effect of increased residential and retail building in the area and yes, there could be some positive effects on traffic.

If only that pesky harbour wasn't in the way!

That is a pretty major obstacle to your vision. I can see no viable way to overcome that. Ferries are by nature slow and cumbersome, and to provide enough of them to make the two downtown areas seamless would be financially impossible. We would need a third bridge with dedicated transit - not buses but something else - and our spineless Council and Mayor refuse to even consider that possibility.

Colin May
Sep 26, 2014, 3:16 PM
If only that pesky harbour wasn't in the way!

That is a pretty major obstacle to your vision. I can see no viable way to overcome that. Ferries are by nature slow and cumbersome, and to provide enough of them to make the two downtown areas seamless would be financially impossible. We would need a third bridge with dedicated transit - not buses but something else - and our spineless Council and Mayor refuse to even consider that possibility.

Halifax has the hospitals, the government offices, the universities and almost all on the peninsula. No reason to not consider moving some provincial offices out of the Halifax core and move them to the bridgehead on the Dartmouth side or in downtown Dartmouth
If HRM wants more people on the peninsula they have to determine the demographics of those they want to attract and what public amenities are available. Families in the burbs have nice new schools, and families in the core of face regular battles over school closures. RP+5 ignores schools.
The bridges to Halifax are packed during weekday morning commute and many of the people would be happy to work in Dartmouth or Bedford.

JET
Sep 26, 2014, 3:31 PM
If only that pesky harbour wasn't in the way!

That is a pretty major obstacle to your vision. I can see no viable way to overcome that. Ferries are by nature slow and cumbersome, and to provide enough of them to make the two downtown areas seamless would be financially impossible. We would need a third bridge with dedicated transit - not buses but something else - and our spineless Council and Mayor refuse to even consider that possibility.

But Keith, it's a nine minute ferry crossing; it's not you have to get to Home Depot in Dartmouth Crossing, or anything near that onerous. :yes:

Keith P.
Sep 26, 2014, 4:09 PM
But Keith, it's a nine minute ferry crossing; it's not you have to get to Home Depot in Dartmouth Crossing, or anything near that onerous. :yes:

Every 30 minutes, so you are likely talking a 45-minute transit should you just miss the previous one. Unacceptable.

JET
Sep 26, 2014, 4:35 PM
Every 30 minutes, so you are likely talking a 45-minute transit should you just miss the previous one. Unacceptable.

It's really quite simple, a bit like driving through Dartmouth Crossing. The ferrys leave on time, it's easy to follow the schedule and arrive in time for the next departure, I never wait and I don't miss the ferry. In Downtown Dartmouth I only have an eight minute walk to the ferry, if there's a train I just use the pedestrian bridge.

mcmcclassic
Sep 26, 2014, 6:05 PM
Every 30 minutes, so you are likely talking a 45-minute transit should you just miss the previous one. Unacceptable.

It runs every 15 mins during peak times (which includes rush hour). I work at Scotia Square and live in downtown Dartmouth. If I miss the 8am ferry, I can grab a bus instead and be there like 5-10 minutes later.

People in bigger cities spend longer times on public transit, how come people here have such a big problem with it? My solution is if you hate your commute time, move closer to where you work.

Keith P.
Sep 26, 2014, 6:21 PM
It runs every 15 mins during peak times (which includes rush hour). I work at Scotia Square and live in downtown Dartmouth. If I miss the 8am ferry, I can grab a bus instead and be there like 5-10 minutes later.

Unless the house of cards that is rush hour traffic has an incident and the bridge clogs as it does with more and more frequency of late.

People in bigger cities spend longer times on public transit, how come people here have such a big problem with it? My solution is if you hate your commute time, move closer to where you work.

We are not talking commutes here. We are discussing the concept of making the 2 downtowns seamless for work, shopping, etc all day long.

halifaxboyns
Sep 26, 2014, 10:12 PM
Maybe I'm just different; but I like the idea of two downtowns in Halifax. Dartmouth downtown has such great potential to grow - Halifax has been growing and is eventually going to run out of opportunity spaces (there are only so many parking lots!).

I'd love to see more mixed use (not totally office) developments show up in Dartmouth and boost the population so that the ferry has a good balance of people going both ways during rush hours. I think it would be great for people from Halifax to enjoy the view of dt Dartmouth as it grows up. So the next few years will be quite interesting.

Hali87
Sep 26, 2014, 11:24 PM
I agree, and it seems like downtown Dartmouth is slowly (re)-developing in this way already. It could end up looking dramatically different than downtown Halifax, since the scale, character, and prevalence of heritage buildings is quite different, as is the topography (and there are no viewplanes). The street system is also quite different and there are interesting features like the canal, the peace pavillion and all of the lakes. There's also the view of downtown Halifax, better access to McNab's Island, and the completely untapped Lawlor's Island. By virtue of the fact that dt Dartmouth will probably follow dt Halifax in terms of development, it will also probably end up looking more "futuristic" (since the buildings will be designed further into the future). Concentrating more employment in Dartmouth could also ease congestion on the bridges (since people from Cole Harbour etc. are more likely to be able to work on their side of the bridge) and could ease congestion on the Bedford Highway and Bi-Hi/Bayers as some commuters from Bedford/Sackville etc. are diverted to the east side of the harbour via Magazine Hill. I can picture dt Dartmouth looking a lot like Gatineau in a decade or two.

Keith P.
Sep 27, 2014, 12:32 AM
DT Dartmouth has such a messed-up street network that I think it will require some significant work to make it viable should growth occur. In fact I think the street/traffic patterns are a real impediment to its growth. The Dartmouth Common blocks the main Wyse Rd entryway to the downtown from the MacD bridge. The other N-S main drag, Victoria Rd, ends just before it connects to the DT and you are forced to travel in a convoluted pattern to get DT. Victoria could be fixed more easily than the Wyse connection. But neither is easy.

someone123
Sep 27, 2014, 3:58 AM
Transit in Toronto is totally screwed and will probably get a lot worse before it gets better. I actually feel it's possible Halifax might have a meaningful rapid-transit expansion before another line even opens in Toronto (save the under-construction and three-decades delayed Eglinton LRT, killed my Mike Harris for exactly the same pandering political reasons).

It is sad to think of the public infrastructure that was built in Toronto in the 1950's-70's and compare that to what is being planned and built now. The subway there first opened in 1954, before Montreal, even though Toronto was the smaller city and was less than a quarter the size it is today. When people say the transit system there is good, they are really talking about what was inherited from that era, not what is being built today. It's much like how some of the best parts of Halifax are inherited from about 1860. I genuinely like Toronto but I have a hard time seeing it as a model for transit development or planning and politics in general.

Vancouver on the other hand has seen a huge amount of active transit development over the last 3 decades (Canada Line completed 2010, Evergreen Line well underway now), and transit here works well. Your train or bus comes every few minutes at rush hour, you can take transit to the airport, out to the ferry, up a mountain to go hiking, or one of the night buses at 4 a.m. The automated SkyTrain and Canada Line systems are also much more modern than Toronto's subway, and much closer to something that might be built in Halifax someday. The geography here is more like Halifax too.

someone123
Sep 27, 2014, 4:00 AM
I can picture dt Dartmouth looking a lot like Gatineau in a decade or two.

This makes me imagine the Dartmouth of today but with a couple of dreary 2 million square foot federal government office complexes and a museum.

hokus83
Sep 27, 2014, 2:07 PM
I personally would have preferred some of the north end development boom happening in downtown Dartmouth and wyse road, I'm kind of hopping thats the next area of focus. Those parking lots in downtown dartmouth are massive and there are so many of them. More than anything I think Dartmouth Crossing should have filled up those areas, it would have made it a really amazing place.

Drybrain
Sep 27, 2014, 6:43 PM
It is sad to think of the public infrastructure that was built in Toronto in the 1950's-70's and compare that to what is being planned and built now.

Vancouver on the other hand has seen a huge amount of active transit development over the last 3 decades (Canada Line completed 2010, Evergreen Line well underway now), and transit here works well. Your train or bus comes every few minutes at rush hour, you can take transit to the airport, out to the ferry, up a mountain to go hiking, or one of the night buses at 4 a.m. The automated SkyTrain and Canada Line systems are also much more modern than Toronto's subway, and much closer to something that might be built in Halifax someday. The geography here is more like Halifax too.

I moved from Calgary to Vancouver and lived there for a while just as the Millennium line was being finished, and even back then it was pretty good. It became my defacto notion of a big city transit system for a while. Moving to Toronto a few years later, I was initially impressed with the subway (felt very 'big city') but as I became more familiar with just how huge the city's land area was, the more rinky dink the TTC came to feel. Vancouver has very clearly outpaced Toronto in transit, to the point that it will be enormously financially painful for Toronto to catch up, if it even can.

Halifax's system, while problematic in a lot of ways (no true rapid transit, too many windey and indirect routes, completely pitiful Sunday service) doesn't actually feel like a huge step down from TO. Which seems like a crazy statement, but you probably have to live with the TTC a while to appreciate how terribly inefficient and inadequate it is.

someone123
Sep 27, 2014, 7:06 PM
Part of it for visitors at least is that when you're staying downtown and taking the subway to the ROM or whatever on a Wednesday afternoon it seems pretty great. Toronto transit is not good when you're trying to get downtown from Scarborough, let alone if you are trying to get to work in, say, Mississauga. I doubt the average experience of a rush hour commuter in Toronto is any better than Halifax, even though parts of Toronto's system are nicer and more developed. I had a somewhat miserable commute for a while in Toronto and that involved travelling a short 10 km or so in the city (TTC only) back in 2005.

That being said, I do find the city comparisons misguided sometimes. People in Halifax should really be looking at what their commutes could be like and how much it would cost to make them so. Other cities might provide inspiration but whether or not they're better or worse doesn't really matter. To use a far-fetched example, if it were possible to take Halifax's commutes down to 2 minutes from 10 minutes by paying $500M* it would absolutely be worthwhile, regardless of the fact that the starting point is already better than other places. The goal in Halifax should be the best possible quality of life for locals, not beating some other city!

Toronto's subway does feel more "big city" than Vancouver but a lot of those same characteristics are actually bad in terms of efficiency of service. For example, Toronto's subway cars are much heavier so they take more energy to move around and accelerate more slowly than newer, lighter vehicles. As I pointed out, they also have drivers and attendants, which might seem interesting but is more expensive and less reliable than an automated system.

* I am deliberately picking $500M here because this is the scale of investment that should be on the table for a transit overhaul. Part of why transit isn't getting anywhere in Halifax is that little money is being spent on it.

counterfactual
Sep 28, 2014, 12:03 AM
I personally would have preferred some of the north end development boom happening in downtown Dartmouth and wyse road, I'm kind of hopping thats the next area of focus. Those parking lots in downtown dartmouth are massive and there are so many of them. More than anything I think Dartmouth Crossing should have filled up those areas, it would have made it a really amazing place.

Yep, and other parts of the brown sites near Alderney Gates could have been used as a new transit "hub", rather than that stupid parking lot behind the Sportsplex.

This would have increased fairy use, and made much more sense, logistically, in every way.

Of course, Tim Bousquet opposed this idea, but only because it would have extended his own personal bus ride by about 5-10min a day.

counterfactual
Sep 28, 2014, 12:18 AM
Halifax's system, while problematic in a lot of ways (no true rapid transit, too many windey and indirect routes, completely pitiful Sunday service) doesn't actually feel like a huge step down from TO. Which seems like a crazy statement, but you probably have to live with the TTC a while to appreciate how terribly inefficient and inadequate it is.

I have to stop you right there, Dry, because there is no way in hell that our transit system is anywhere near Toronto's, even if TTC hasn't been properly expanded since the 1950's, and is pretty terrible and inefficient.

As bad as the TTC is, and its future expansion plans, you can easily live in Toronto without a car; and use a combination of subways, streetcars, and buses, to get to pretty much anything of need or interest in and around the. I mean, on any given weekend, you can ride the TTC and there would be tonnes of people, particularly families riding the subway, to a Leafs or Jay's game or some other city event.

You'd *never* see that in Halifax, and it's why our existing transit won't ameliorate our congestion problems until we build something that is fast and relatively efficient enough such that regular, middle class families, will use. Unless you get families out of cars, you won't ease traffic. Of course, Toronto has serious congestion problems, but it's one of the largest cities in North America. We're "Halifax is small" as every keeps saying over and over.

In other words, I think Halifax Transit is most definitely a big step down from the TTC. There is so much in and around the city that is just not properly serviced, that unless you have all the time in the world to drive buses for hours, you'd probably never see or visit.

One example, is Halifax Transit's pitiful connection to the airport-- a case in point. We have a pathetic single bus, that isn't even meant for passengers for God sakes, and it takes forever and for some reason makes these bizarre, windy stops along the way in low density areas like Fall River (?)., to make sure the two airport employees living out there have a lift. In Toronto, the subway + 192 airport rocket ain't bad at all, even during rush hour. And even this, they're fixing with a better link.

Part of the problem is we decided to build the Halifax airport in Truro for some idiotic reason, rendering any sensible transit option incredibly expensive beyond incredibly expensive cabs. But still.

ILoveHalifax
Sep 28, 2014, 5:46 AM
Part of the problem is we decided to build the Halifax airport in Truro for some idiotic reason,

It was built where it is because studies indicated that location was much less likely to have fog.

counterfactual
Sep 28, 2014, 6:38 AM
It was built where it is because studies indicated that location was much less likely to have fog.


I know this is the standard account, that I've always heard.

But I'm skeptical. The "official history" to the Halifax Airport (on the airport website) suggests it took a while to get a proper site approved, but there is no mention of weather pattern concerns in the search. Instead, it suggest NIMBY concerns went into the site selection, noting explicitly that the land near the "Airport boundary is sparsely settled", with the closest communities notably being 8km (Enfield) and 12km (Waverly) away:

http://hiaa.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/History-in-English1.pdf

Our airport is the furthest from the city it serves than any other airport/city pairing in Canada, at 38 km away from the city centre, according to that history. That is ridiculous; you'd think we were the only province that experiences fog or weather disturbances...

In fact, I wouldn't at all be surprised if the "weather/fog" thing, if legit, was only part of the story, with the usual Halifax NIMBY concerns also at play: put it out in the middle of nowhere, away from anyone who might complain about it.

ILoveHalifax
Sep 28, 2014, 11:18 AM
I'm just repeating what I heard at the time.
Shearwater was our airport before Stanfield and there were lots of fog problems there. Again just repeating what I heard at the time. Of course fog might have been a bigger problem than it is today with better technology.

Keith P.
Sep 28, 2014, 1:01 PM
It was built where it is because studies indicated that location was much less likely to have fog.

The legend is that once the trees were cut down out there to build it, that it suddenly developed a fog problem. ;)

When you think back to the late 1950s there were all sorts of closer locations possible given the lack of development nearer to the city. I wonder what the other short-listed locations were at the time.

Drybrain
Sep 28, 2014, 1:58 PM
I have to stop you right there, Dry, because there is no way in hell that our transit system is anywhere near Toronto's, even if TTC hasn't been properly expanded since the 1950's, and is pretty terrible and inefficient.

As bad as the TTC is, and its future expansion plans, you can easily live in Toronto without a car; and use a combination of subways, streetcars, and buses, to get to pretty much anything of need or interest in and around the. I mean, on any given weekend, you can ride the TTC and there would be tonnes of people, particularly families riding the subway, to a Leafs or Jay's game or some other city event.

You'd *never* see that in Halifax, and it's why our existing transit won't ameliorate our congestion problems until we build something that is fast and relatively efficient enough such that regular, middle class families, will use. Unless you get families out of cars, you won't ease traffic. Of course, Toronto has serious congestion problems, but it's one of the largest cities in North America. We're "Halifax is small" as every keeps saying over and over.

In other words, I think Halifax Transit is most definitely a big step down from the TTC. There is so much in and around the city that is just not properly serviced, that unless you have all the time in the world to drive buses for hours, you'd probably never see or visit.

One example, is Halifax Transit's pitiful connection to the airport-- a case in point. We have a pathetic single bus, that isn't even meant for passengers for God sakes, and it takes forever and for some reason makes these bizarre, windy stops along the way in low density areas like Fall River (?)., to make sure the two airport employees living out there have a lift. In Toronto, the subway + 192 airport rocket ain't bad at all, even during rush hour. And even this, they're fixing with a better link.

Part of the problem is we decided to build the Halifax airport in Truro for some idiotic reason, rendering any sensible transit option incredibly expensive beyond incredibly expensive cabs. But still.

Let me lob this ball right back at you!

No doubt, TTC is an improvement--having the subway service attractions like the museum district and Rogers Centre is a big deal. That's when you really see families on the subway, because to drive downtown would be hellish--so they park at a suburban station and subway in.

But I would say it's actually not that easy to live in Toronto without a car, unless you live centrally. No one in North York or Scarborough or Etobicoke (the equivalents of say, Bedford, Dartmouth, or Clayton Park) has decent transit access, except for the extremely small minority adjacent to a subway station, and even then the only place it goes is straight downtown and back out again. Likewise, it's pretty easy to live in central Halifax without a car.

Here's one way Toronto's system is clearly better: the streetcar routes are extremely straight and predictable--none of Halifax's loop routes all up, down, and around. So even though they're slow and smelly and break down all the time, they offer ease of use and predictability, which is crucial. It's easy for a newcomer to figure out the system since the main routes just go back and forth on the main streets. But that's also partly a factor of the city's rigid and unbroken grid.

Anyway, there's lots of interest in Toronto that isn't served by rapid transit, from zoo to the science centre to York University, even (though soon that will be fixed). I'd say the airport service is a draw. We have that one awful bus, but in TO you have to haul yourself and your baggage out to Kipling Station, then transfer to the 192 "Rocket", which is the most inaptly named route in the universe.

Anyway, yeah, definitely the TTC is better than our system, but I guess my point was just that it's not by nearly as much as it should be. In TO, the system served me reasonably effectively in getting around the central part of town, and getting anywhere else was usually slow, cumbersome, and frustrating. Halifax is basically the same: Easy to get around the peninsula, frustrating outside that.

Spire
Sep 28, 2014, 3:29 PM
Yep, and other parts of the brown sites near Alderney Gates could have been used as a new transit "hub", rather than that stupid parking lot behind the Sportsplex.

This would have increased fairy use, and made much more sense, logistically, in every way.

Of course, Tim Bousquet opposed this idea, but only because it would have extended his own personal bus ride by about 5-10min a day.

I hate to disagree with you, but a "Bridge Terminal" located near the ferry terminal would be a bad idea. For starters, it's not just Bousquet's commute that would have been extended, but the sizable number of people who live in North Dartmouth, not to mention many people working in Burnside, who would have to deal with an extra 5-10 minutes in their commute - do that every day, and it starts to add up. It would be a pointless detour for people who have no use for the ferry, which is essentially anyone who doesn't work in downtown Halifax. Also, the increased running time that the (now longer) routes would need would result in tens of thousands of dollars of additional expenses over the course of a year for transit.

When building a transit terminal, the most logical place to locate it is generally at the point where the most routes converge. The bridge creates a choke point, so the Bridge Terminal is really an ideal location. Unfortunately, Halifax Transit wasn't thinking this way when they chose the location of the new Lacewood Terminal...

Keith P.
Sep 28, 2014, 4:24 PM
I hate to disagree with you, but a "Bridge Terminal" located near the ferry terminal would be a bad idea. For starters, it's not just Bousquet's commute that would have been extended, but the sizable number of people who live in North Dartmouth, not to mention many people working in Burnside, who would have to deal with an extra 5-10 minutes in their commute - do that every day, and it starts to add up. It would be a pointless detour for people who have no use for the ferry, which is essentially anyone who doesn't work in downtown Halifax. Also, the increased running time that the (now longer) routes would need would result in tens of thousands of dollars of additional expenses over the course of a year for transit.

When building a transit terminal, the most logical place to locate it is generally at the point where the most routes converge. The bridge creates a choke point, so the Bridge Terminal is really an ideal location. Unfortunately, Halifax Transit wasn't thinking this way when they chose the location of the new Lacewood Terminal...

The thing is, those two locations really are not that far apart. But they are separated by a steep hill and made even further isolated from each other by the illogical Downtown Dartmouth street layout. The ferry is made an unattractive option for anyone north of its location due to the location of the terminal, the terrain and the street layout. It is just very hard to get to and from the ferry and hence it is underutilized.

It would have never happened of course but the Dartmouth Common, located about equidistant between the two sites, would have been an ideal location for the new terminal if a few street upgrades were included. But that would be impossible for the traditionalists. Now they have installed an absurd clay oven thing there at significant cost to let a few crazies cook pizza once every few weeks, and next they are planting much of it as an "orchard" to grow fruit. Insanity. The lefty loons are taking over.

JET
Sep 29, 2014, 12:03 PM
The legend is that once the trees were cut down out there to build it, that it suddenly developed a fog problem. ;)

When you think back to the late 1950s there were all sorts of closer locations possible given the lack of development nearer to the city. I wonder what the other short-listed locations were at the time.

Dartmouth Crossing area would have been a very central location for an airport.

counterfactual
Sep 29, 2014, 6:32 PM
Dartmouth Crossing area would have been a very central location for an airport.

Still is. Bull doze the place now, and put an airport there.

Finally, a version of Dartmouth Crossing I can support.

hokus83
Sep 29, 2014, 6:44 PM
Still is. Bull doze the place now, and put an airport there.

Finally, a version of Dartmouth Crossing I can support.

and move all the retail to downtown Dartmouth where it should have been put, for fu ck sake that would have made it a vibrant community and propelled residential development

Drybrain
Sep 29, 2014, 7:04 PM
Still is. Bull doze the place now, and put an airport there.

Finally, a version of Dartmouth Crossing I can support.

Turn Hector Gate into a runway and the faux-olde-timey facades of the shops into terminal gates. That's adaptive re-use for you.

OldDartmouthMark
Sep 29, 2014, 7:13 PM
and move all the retail to downtown Dartmouth where it should have been put, for fu ck sake that would have made it a vibrant community and propelled residential development

You mean like it was before Mic Mac Mall opened?

JET
Sep 29, 2014, 7:33 PM
You mean like it was before Mic Mac Mall opened?

"into the 'wayback machine' Sherman!" It would be interesting to see if the airport had been located where Dartmouth Crossing is, and Kings Wharf had been built at the same time, and all the shops at micmall mall had located downtown, and the raillines in Dartmouth were long gone. The one thing I know, I would never have been able to afford my house in Downtown Dartmouth. :shrug:

Keith P.
Sep 29, 2014, 8:19 PM
You guys are more delusional than the Heritage Trust! :koko:

counterfactual
Sep 29, 2014, 8:54 PM
Turn Hector Gate into a runway and the faux-olde-timey facades of the shops into terminal gates. That's adaptive re-use for you.

Brilliant.

counterfactual
Sep 29, 2014, 9:12 PM
"into the 'wayback machine' Sherman!" It would be interesting to see if the airport had been located where Dartmouth Crossing is, and Kings Wharf had been built at the same time, and all the shops at micmall mall had located downtown, and the raillines in Dartmouth were long gone. The one thing I know, I would never have been able to afford my house in Downtown Dartmouth. :shrug:

:cheers:

counterfactual
Sep 29, 2014, 9:12 PM
You guys are more delusional than the Heritage Trust! :koko:

We can dream, can't we? :yes:

JET
Sep 29, 2014, 10:49 PM
We can dream, can't we? :yes:

You gotta have a dream, if you don't have a dream,
How you gonna have a dream come true?

scooby074
Sep 30, 2014, 12:10 AM
Dartmouth Crossing area would have been a very central location for an airport.

You think the NIMBYs around the airport considering the low population are bad now... Could you imagine if the airport was where DC is with its neighbouring population?

HIA's phones would absolutely melt down from the call volume a DC located airport would create.

While a bit inconvenient to get to, the airport is in a good place, for an airport. Actually encroachment is starting to be a concern.. There are already Nimby stirrings regarding noise, hours of operations and flight paths.

http://www.thelaker.ca/stories.asp?id=3100

counterfactual
Sep 30, 2014, 3:05 AM
You think the NIMBYs around the airport considering the low population are bad now... Could you imagine if the airport was where DC is with its neighbouring population?

HIA's phones would absolutely melt down from the call volume a DC located airport would create.

While a bit inconvenient to get to, the airport is in a good place, for an airport. Actually encroachment is starting to be a concern.. There are already Nimby stirrings regarding noise, hours of operations and flight paths.

http://www.thelaker.ca/stories.asp?id=3100

If you don't like noise, then don't live in the middle of nowhere.... beside the airport. Morons.

Ziobrop
Sep 30, 2014, 12:28 PM
You think the NIMBYs around the airport considering the low population are bad now... Could you imagine if the airport was where DC is with its neighbouring population?

HIA's phones would absolutely melt down from the call volume a DC located airport would create.

While a bit inconvenient to get to, the airport is in a good place, for an airport. Actually encroachment is starting to be a concern.. There are already Nimby stirrings regarding noise, hours of operations and flight paths.

http://www.thelaker.ca/stories.asp?id=3100

i skim read the article - its quite the opposite of what you said - its not residents encroaching, its HRM getting pushback trying to prevent future noise complaints by restricting building. Land owners are naturally upset, since it limits what they can build, thus reduces the value of their land, and they don't care about noise in a future sub division.

<RANT> it also quotes the NS Home Builders Assoc. who in one breath tells us how good its members are at producing a quality product, not shoddy etc, but then goes on advocating for subdivisions within the noise envelope of an airport. Ugh </rant>

OldDartmouthMark
Sep 30, 2014, 3:12 PM
I think they should have kept it at the old Chebucto Field site...

http://www.halifaxhistory.ca/HalifaxMunicipalAirport.htm

:D

OldDartmouthMark
Sep 30, 2014, 3:29 PM
DT Dartmouth has such a messed-up street network that I think it will require some significant work to make it viable should growth occur. In fact I think the street/traffic patterns are a real impediment to its growth. The Dartmouth Common blocks the main Wyse Rd entryway to the downtown from the MacD bridge. The other N-S main drag, Victoria Rd, ends just before it connects to the DT and you are forced to travel in a convoluted pattern to get DT. Victoria could be fixed more easily than the Wyse connection. But neither is easy.

If all we're talking about is increased traffic to DT Dartmouth, I don't think it's as messed up as it seems, really.

-The route from the bridge to Wyse Rd. and Alderney Dr. is all 4-lane. IMHO, it would just need a little tweaking around the Wyse/Windmill/Alderney intersection to make a 2-lane left turn with "smart" signals to make it more functional.

-Windmill is actually quite wide all the way to the Victoria Rd. extension and thus could be made multiple-lane if needed.

-The tricky routes would be Portland or Pleasant as the more-downtown areas of those run through older parts where it would be difficult to widen - however, 3-lane with reversing center lane might be possible in most of those sections with some creative reconfiguration.

However, as I mentioned in a previous post, combining office and residential, plus express transit to DT Halifax would alleviate a good chunk of the traffic. Ramped-up ferry service as required and potential LRT (if possible to run it over the bridge somehow) could really go a long way towards that. Ideally, a third crossing incorporating LRT would be the best method to my way of thinking. If the third crossing came at the end of Hwy 111, you could actually hook up the LRT to the existing rail lines that run from Eastern Passage right into the core of DT Dartmouth.

Of course, all this would require significant investment, and that would be the sticking point I'm sure as the current thinking in government is to just get through the next 4 years unscathed so that re-election is possible...

Not to mention that all levels of government would have to buy into the vision or it would likely end up as the scenario that someone123 alluded to.
:2cents:

Keith P.
Sep 30, 2014, 4:26 PM
Most N-S traffic in Dartmouth is on Victoria Rd. Imagine if, heading south, instead of having to turn down Boland or Nantucket and trying somehow to get onto Wyse; that you just went down a modified Victoria Rd all the way to Portland and Alderney. It really would not take all that much in the way of changes. A few expropriations and some proper street design would totally open up the downtown. Instead it is very hard to find your way around.

mcmcclassic
Sep 30, 2014, 5:10 PM
Most N-S traffic in Dartmouth is on Victoria Rd. Imagine if, heading south, instead of having to turn down Boland or Nantucket and trying somehow to get onto Wyse; that you just went down a modified Victoria Rd all the way to Portland and Alderney. It really would not take all that much in the way of changes. A few expropriations and some proper street design would totally open up the downtown. Instead it is very hard to find your way around.

Living downtown you are right about the Victoria Rd. problems as you head south towards downtown. Having to essentially back track a few blocks because of that tiny one way part needs to be changed to a two day flow for sure. My bigger issue though is with the northbound flow from Portland St. to where it becomes two ways again. At the intersection of Ochterloney and Victoria, you can't see around the corner - meaning you have to pray and gun it across (this could be fixed by banning parking so close to the intersection).

The intersection at Alderney/Portland/Prince Albert Rd needs tweaking too - I would honestly put a roundabout here (sorry Keith) as it wouldn't take too much re-configuration and traffic volumes would benefit from it.

OldDartmouthMark
Sep 30, 2014, 6:35 PM
Living downtown you are right about the Victoria Rd. problems as you head south towards downtown. Having to essentially back track a few blocks because of that tiny one way part needs to be changed to a two day flow for sure. My bigger issue though is with the northbound flow from Portland St. to where it becomes two ways again. At the intersection of Ochterloney and Victoria, you can't see around the corner - meaning you have to pray and gun it across (this could be fixed by banning parking so close to the intersection).

The intersection at Alderney/Portland/Prince Albert Rd needs tweaking too - I would honestly put a roundabout here (sorry Keith) as it wouldn't take too much re-configuration and traffic volumes would benefit from it.

Probably be more practical to divert traffic from Victoria to Thistle towards the harbour, with priority signaling to facilitate. That whole section of Victoria from Portland to Thistle has never been a good choice for heavy traffic volumes. Not to mention the slope of the hill as it comes down by the park makes for a hell of a trip in a snow/ice storm - best to leave it to local traffic and divert the main flow around that area IMHO.

As much as I hate to admit it, a roundabout would probably work quite well in the area you described - might work well for five corners as well.

Keith P.
Sep 30, 2014, 7:25 PM
Probably be more practical to divert traffic from Victoria to Thistle towards the harbour, with priority signaling to facilitate. That whole section of Victoria from Portland to Thistle has never been a good choice for heavy traffic volumes. Not to mention the slope of the hill as it comes down by the park makes for a hell of a trip in a snow/ice storm - best to leave it to local traffic and divert the main flow around that area IMHO.

As much as I hate to admit it, a roundabout would probably work quite well in the area you described - might work well for five corners as well.


The slope from the top of Thistle to down to Alderney is even worse. Your suggested routing also takes people away from where they want to go and adds significant distance also. Fixing Victoria would be much easier. It should have been done in the '70s. It is difficult to understand how the city allowed the existing mess to carry on for so long. Dartmouth has never been a place that embraces change, and actually fights progress quite often. But this is really a no-brainer.

As much as I hate roundabouts, Downtown Dartmouth is a place where these abominations might make some sense - only because the street network is so bad they cannot actually impede flow, the way they normally do. Five Corners would be a logical spot but would require demolition of some historic homes so that is right out. The Portland/Alderney/Prince Albert intersection has the room and makes some sense as that is currently a disaster that even a roundabout cannot possibly make worse.

Dmajackson
Sep 30, 2014, 7:30 PM
Public Information Meeting - Case 19516
Mon, 20 October, 19:00 – 21:00
1841 Argyle Street, Halifax, NS, Canada (Halifax Hall) (map)

Case 19516 Application by 3278915 Nova Scotia Limited, on behalf of the Presbyterian Church of St. David, to amend the Downtown Halifax Land Use By-law for the western portion of the St. David's church property at 1537 Brunswick Street and 1544 Grafton Street to rezone from ICO (Institutional, Cultural & Open Space) Zone to the DH-1 (Downtown Halifax) Zone and to amend the streetwall setback on Brunswick Street, Halifax, to allow for the replacement of the church hall with a new mixed-use addition.

Google Streetview (https://www.google.ca/maps/@44.6441362,-63.5751924,3a,75y,14.53h,93.15t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1s6Xd2SL7CkFrO7U-PTvkUew!2e0)