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  #1  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2009, 5:10 AM
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Rideau-Sussex Redesign/Public Square | Proposed

here's a news article to get things started


NCC planning local version of Times Square
Thursday, 05 February 2009
By Nina Soboczynski and Philip Ling
Centretown News


The eastern gateway to Centretown is set to receive a multi-million dollar facelift under a strategic plan steered by the NCC to enhance the national capital’s commemorative attractions.

A series of preliminary sketches unveiled at a National Capital Commission public meeting on Jan. 22 offers the first glimpse of development ideas for the Sussex Drive/Rideau Street/Colonel By Drive intersection.

The redesign of the intersection is part of a two-gateway revamp that will also see major changes to the Portage Bridge approach on the downtown’s west side.

The changes are meant to enhance the city’s attractions and create an urban environment that’s more friendly to tourists and pedestrians.

“It’s the missing piece to make this puzzle beautiful,” says NCC chief executive Marie Lemay.

With an estimated 20,000 pedestrians passing through the Sussex-Rideau intersection each day, the goals of the redevelopment are to create a destination for people to stop while improving the movement of pedestrians and traffic.

Officials have listed Times Square in New York City, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and London’s Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus as examples of what they are trying to achieve in Ottawa’s downtown core.

Creating a gathering place to promote and support human interaction is a central goal, NCC officials says. The aim is that citizens will use the space to meet for lunch and incorporate it into other daily activities.

“The sketches are based on a number of scenarios,” says the NCC’s Diane Irwin. “In order to create a wonderful space, what might it look like?”

The plans are far from complete and only represent the beginning stages of the project, officials says, adding that many planning obstacles need to be overcome and consultations held before any work begins to take place.

One issue already raised by some NCC board members is the substantial grade problem at the site – sloping ground with streets converging at awkward angles.

“Our next step is to talk to the City of Ottawa and Public Works, since they own the Conference Centre,” says Irwin, “(then) hammer out an agreement and define timelines.”

A planning document discussed at the meeting referred to “potential construction within the next five years.”

The brief report noted that the intersection is “an important entry point into the capital core” and that the proposed redesign will be reviewed as part of a consultation among NCC, federal and municipal officials, area property owners, BIA representatives and citizen groups.

The intersection is one of the prime locations identified in a 2006 study of Confederation Boulevard as being an “eminent landmark” in the capital’s development and deserving of a major public commemoration.

The finished project will join the Canadian War Museum on LeBreton Flats and the Peacekeeping Monument near the U.S. Embassy as examples of notable downtown attractions enhancing the tourist experience along Confederation Boulevard, the ceremonial route straddling the Ottawa River and encompassing several major streets in downtown Ottawa and Gatineau.

NCC officials have tentatively discussed a “dominant vertical element” to be built at the intersection and a water feature as another desirable component, noting that the site should be “celebratory, interactive and educational.”

“Everyone is unanimous that there’s change needed at this location,” says Lemay.

Local residents and tourism officials are voicing general support for the planned redesign.

Shawn Menard, president of the Centretown Citizens’ Community Association, says a number of his members have been following the project.

He says that it would be nice if the corners were transformed to a public space that will attract tourists while also promoting walking and alternative forms of transportation.

While the redesign should accomplish those goals, he says the preliminary sketches “come across a tad tacky.”

Ottawa Tourism, meanwhile, says the NCC’s plan to redevelop the intersection is “definitely welcomed.”

“I think it’s a great idea to improve that intersection,” says communications director Jantine Van Kregten. “It doesn’t work particularly well for pedestrians as it is currently designed.”

The tourism organization works closely with the NCC on a number of projects annually to market the capital, she says.

Transforming that section of Confederation Boulevard into a “destination point or a landmark space,” she says, is something Ottawa Tourism looks forward to promoting.



Here are some images...




here's the NCC's site
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  #2  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2009, 6:51 AM
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I don't really understand the connection to Times Square at all.
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  #3  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2009, 7:20 AM
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If they really wanted to liven up the area, they need to turn the conference centre into a public and pedestrian friendly meeting place with shops, retail, food vendors etc... I wonder how many people walk by that and wonder what exactly it is or what goes on inside. It's probably the coldest and most uninviting building we have downtown. It's on a setback as if to warn people to stay away and to ignore it as well. Open this building up and maybe the mini park thing will work.
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  #4  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2009, 12:50 PM
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While I think the renders look quite nice, is it any surprise that when the NCC tries to emulate Times Square, they produce a park? I think that's about the only thing they do well.
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  #5  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2009, 1:16 PM
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"Officials have listed Times Square in New York City, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and London’s Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus as examples of what they are trying to achieve in Ottawa’s downtown core."

Um...how exactly? It appears that they are taking out the underpass, and slap on a small piece of land with grass and trees.

Very NCC-like, as jeremy_haak says.
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  #6  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2009, 1:31 PM
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They should incorporate this project with what will happen with the transit tunnel. This intersection could have a multi-level underground component to it, and with the grade differences, it could offer interesting access points from the sunken plaza at 700 Sussex, the lower level of the Rideau Centre, and the canal level of the conference centre, connecting all with a transit station.
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  #7  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2009, 1:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zach6668 View Post
I don't really understand the connection to Times Square at all.
Obviously, the person who said that has never been to Times Square!
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  #8  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2009, 3:00 PM
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Not that anyone would even want something akin to Times Square at that corner. The statement is pretty flabbergasting.
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  #9  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2009, 3:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Kitchissippi View Post
They should incorporate this project with what will happen with the transit tunnel. This intersection could have a multi-level underground component to it, and with the grade differences, it could offer interesting access points from the sunken plaza at 700 Sussex, the lower level of the Rideau Centre, and the canal level of the conference centre, connecting all with a transit station.
I agree to something of this sort. The old Union Station should be resurrected as a transit hub along with other uses.
For now, the NCC should concentrate their efforts on developing some of their other sites.
In my opinion, those images are terrible.
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Old Posted Feb 11, 2009, 5:20 PM
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The only good thing about the images is that they widen the sidewalk on the east side of Colonel By and they remove the pedestrian underpass to provide a real sidewalk all the way through.

When I think Times Square, I think big jumbotrons and neon advertisement, big Virgin Megastore music store, big Toys R Us, big Hard Rock, big crowds, big noise, big bustle.

How in the name of Jesus H. Christ can those pastoral images ever purport to reprsent Times Square, is beyond me. It's like taking a picture of a New Edinburgh back alley and saying it's inspired on the Champs Élysées.

It's intellectual dishonesty at its worst.

Last edited by Mille Sabords; Feb 11, 2009 at 8:07 PM.
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  #11  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2009, 5:39 PM
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Direct your outrage at Centretown News, not the NCC! The only thing drawing a direct comparison between Times Square and this specific site is the article's headline.

The only mention of Times Square within the article itself is the sentence: "Officials have listed Times Square in New York City, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and London’s Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus as examples of what they are trying to achieve in Ottawa’s downtown core."

Anyway, of those "examples" listed, Trafalgar Square actually offers a rather good model of what Confederation Square could become: symbolic heart of the city, major monument, Charing Cross station, embassies, art gallery, proximity to Parliament, the embankment, etc.

And I agree that the plans for this area absolutely must incorporate Union Station as a transportation hub.
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  #12  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2009, 5:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fireicedog View Post
If they really wanted to liven up the area, they need to turn the conference centre into a public and pedestrian friendly meeting place with shops, retail, food vendors etc... I wonder how many people walk by that and wonder what exactly it is or what goes on inside. It's probably the coldest and most uninviting building we have downtown. It's on a setback as if to warn people to stay away and to ignore it as well. Open this building up and maybe the mini park thing will work.
I agree, while the park idea is nice- it would already be across the street from the war memorial another park like setting. Re-working the conference centre into a big people / tourist draw and designing the outside available area accordingly would be neat. Just get rid of that damn underpass walkway is all I care!!
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  #13  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2009, 5:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mille Sabords View Post
The only good thing about the images is that they widen the sidewalk on the east side of Colonel By and they remove the pedestrian underpass to provide a real sidewalk all the way through.

When I think Times Square, I think big jombotrons and neon advertisement, big Virgin Megastore music store, big Toys R Us, big Hard Rock, big crowds, big noise, big bustle.

How in the name of Jesus H. Christ can those pastoral images ever purport to reprsent Times Square, is beyond me. It's like taking a picture of a New Edinburgh back alley and saying it's inspired on the Champs Élysées.

It's intellectual dishonesty at its worst.
Sounds like someone just wanted to dazzle the audience with irrelevant references to famous urban carrefours from around the world by pulling them out of a hat.

So while we’re at it, I guess they also forgot Ginza in Tokyo...
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  #14  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2009, 8:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tor2Ott View Post
"Officials have listed Times Square in New York City, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and London’s Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus as examples of what they are trying to achieve in Ottawa’s downtown core."
Having been to the three I have bolded, I can categorically state that Ottawa drivers could not handle the turning movements and traffic flows that occur at the places listed....hell, the roundabout at the Central Experimental Farm throws people in Ottawa...ditto for the new ones in Hull. (note: The Central Experimental Farm roundabout has the wrong priority...it gives the priority to cars wanting to get on the roundabout).
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  #15  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2009, 8:25 PM
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Any work done on this intersection before the transit tunnel is built, or at least the route is decided is a waste of time.

This intersection should be redeveloped in conjunction with the transit station and the conference centre....

And, yeah, the NCC can't help but see parks everywhere. They seem to have missed the idea that cities are about people, not plants.

The ideal use for this corner would be to develop a six to ten story high end building with retail on the first two floors, and office on the higher stories. In a perfect world, the first two floors would be something along the lines of an expanded Holt Renfrew, with AAA office space on the upper floors.

Lose the curved on ramp to Colonel By. Less lanes of traffic. Make the corner more urban.
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  #16  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2009, 8:38 PM
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Originally Posted by OttawaSteve View Post
And I agree that the plans for this area absolutely must incorporate Union Station as a transportation hub.
I also agree that the old Union Station must be returned to public usage and act as a transit station entrance. It would complement this gateway proposal very well.

The good news is that the City has already pencilled this in on their cross-country alignment of the Downtown Transit Tunnel. Hopefully the NCC agrees.



see: http://www.ottawa.ca/residents/publi...el/dott_en.pdf

Last edited by rocketphish; Jun 27, 2009 at 2:34 PM. Reason: reupped the images
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  #17  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2009, 10:33 PM
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I kind of like it, actually. Nothing spectacular but very tasteful (I agree the Times Square comparison was ridicules).

Pretty much ANYTHING would be an improvement over what we have now.
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  #18  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2009, 10:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OttawaSteve View Post
Direct your outrage at Centretown News, not the NCC! The only thing drawing a direct comparison between Times Square and this specific site is the article's headline.

The only mention of Times Square within the article itself is the sentence: "Officials have listed Times Square in New York City, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and London’s Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus as examples of what they are trying to achieve in Ottawa’s downtown core."

Anyway, of those "examples" listed, Trafalgar Square actually offers a rather good model of what Confederation Square could become: symbolic heart of the city, major monument, Charing Cross station, embassies, art gallery, proximity to Parliament, the embankment, etc.

And I agree that the plans for this area absolutely must incorporate Union Station as a transportation hub.
Yeah, I have a feeling that the NCC just gave examples of important public squares and the Centretown News decided to use Times Square for their headline...
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  #19  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2009, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by highdensitysprawl View Post
Having been to the three I have bolded, I can categorically state that Ottawa drivers could not handle the turning movements and traffic flows that occur at the places listed....hell, the roundabout at the Central Experimental Farm throws people in Ottawa...ditto for the new ones in Hull. (note: The Central Experimental Farm roundabout has the wrong priority...it gives the priority to cars wanting to get on the roundabout).
this is one of the scenarios they were considering at an earlier stage... it didn't do very well in their evaluation matrix

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  #20  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2009, 10:46 PM
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Ummm... yeah.
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