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Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Regional Sections > Canada > Ontario > SSP: Local Ottawa-Gatineau > General Discussion

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  #21  
Old Posted Aug 22, 2011, 5:40 AM
S-Man S-Man is offline
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I'd say i agree on 80%, too.
The previous council was a lesson in stagnation and inactivity. They couldn't agree on what to order for lunch, let alone on how to proceed on any given project.
Planning committee would spend hours and countless delegates for a f***ing three storey building on a narrow lot in Lowertown. Four wasted years. Now, in the past number of months they've approved light rail - and actually adapted theplan instead of scrapping it and starting over...again...and there is more willingness to approve high density. Examples being the Nepean/Gloucester towers of 27 floors each.
Community outrage will remain a constant thing, however - that's a given. As such, we're on he 487th lawsuit over Lansdowne

But yes, rail can't be built soon enough, same with an east end bridge. The latter issue needs movement, because people's attitudes towards a bridge being built anywhere near their homes won't change. Just do it - it's ridiculous having logging trucks driving through downtown.
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  #22  
Old Posted Aug 22, 2011, 8:33 AM
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Originally Posted by S-Man View Post

But yes, rail can't be built soon enough, same with an east end bridge. The latter issue needs movement, because people's attitudes towards a bridge being built anywhere near their homes won't change. Just do it - it's ridiculous having logging trucks driving through downtown.
I'm given a 5-10% chance that the east bridge will be built outside the city limits
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  #23  
Old Posted Aug 22, 2011, 1:42 PM
Acajack Acajack is online now
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Originally Posted by kwoldtimer View Post
IMO, Tyler Brule is a pretentious gasbag, but Ottawa is indeed bleak and grey on those dreary days in March and April. .
True, but this is true of almost any cold winter city that has snow on the ground for several months, once the white stuff melts. So basically any city in Canada except Vancouver and Victoria, and many others around the world as well.
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  #24  
Old Posted Aug 22, 2011, 1:50 PM
Acajack Acajack is online now
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I read both the Cohen and Brûlé articles. Both make some valid points, although Brûlé's is very mean-spirited and nasty, in addition to being full of inaccuracies. For example, central Ottawa is hardly full of vacant lots (every second one?), empty shops and offices for rent. At least not compared with your average city in the western developed world. I will agree that a lot of central Ottawa retail is unbecoming of the main street(s) - Rideau and Bank -of the capital city of a G8 country, but it is simply not true that a significant portion of commercial space in Ottawa is not occupied.

As for Cohen, he is less nasty and makes some valid points. Although his article is a bit bizarre - he says "Ottawa does this badly and this badly, but it also does this well, and also does this well. But it still sucks."
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  #25  
Old Posted Aug 22, 2011, 4:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Acajack View Post

As for Cohen, he is less nasty and makes some valid points. Although his article is a bit bizarre - he says "Ottawa does this badly and this badly, but it also does this well, and also does this well. But it still sucks."
That's what's hard to explain about Ottawa. There are a lot of good things, and a lot of things done well in Ottawa (trust me, coming from Hamilton) but the overall effect is somehow disappointing. It seems like there should be something more.
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  #26  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2011, 1:12 AM
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Jamaican-Phoenix Jamaican-Phoenix is offline
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Andrew Cohen has another article up:

http://blogs.ottawacitizen.com/2011/...-andrew-cohen/

And it's so full of bad ideas I headdesked.
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  #27  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2011, 1:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Jamaican-Phoenix View Post
And it's so full of bad ideas I headdesked.
may be that's why it was already removed... article is "Not Found"
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  #28  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2011, 7:28 PM
Richard Eade Richard Eade is offline
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I expect Cohen's article with his suggestions simply got moved.
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/travel/...571/story.html
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  #29  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2011, 8:49 PM
adam-machiavelli adam-machiavelli is offline
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I will respond briefly to his suggestions to demonstrate how little he understands municipal planning in Ottawa and human psychology:

"First, strike a commission on the future of Ottawa. Invite a panel of informed Ottawans to consult the public, hold hearings, commission studies and study good practices everywhere."

We did this already just after amalgamation; it was called Ottawa 20/20. We got lots of great ideas from it. However Larry O'Brien threw them out.

"Second, find a way to build institutions, such as a concert hall and a new central library. Stop dawdling on this. Regina, Halifax and Calgary are the latest cities in Canada committing to new libraries, as are Helsinki, Oslo and Berlin internationally."

You can't just say "find a way" without offering suggestions. Otherwise, you're passing the responsibility off to other people, reinforcing the reasons why there haven't been many new public institutions built recently in Ottawa area.

"Third, re-examine our waterways. Stop thinking of the Rideau Canal as sacrosanct. One reader suggests licensing gondolas, another a water taxi. Why not small waterside cafés? Look differently at the Ottawa River. Create that aboriginal centre on Victoria Island. See what other cities have done with their riverfronts, including Austin and Chattanooga."

The Rideau Canal corridor is protected from development under the UNESCO plan. If you develop its shorelines, the canal will lose its world heritage status. The Ottawa River is a major waterway with unscalable cliffs. Developing those cliffs would be expensive and undermine provincial guidelines protecting river ecosystems from human pollution.

"Fourth, think transportation beyond light-rail. Return intercity-rail to downtown from its suburban redoubt. Extend the O-Train to the airport."

Anyone who knows my writing for Spacing Ottawa would know and hopefully agree that we should plan beyond our current light rail phase and bring intercity rail back to downtown. However, let's not forget that the O-Train is a pilot project. No more resources should be spent on that train which should've been replaced with permanent LRT in 2009.

"Fifth, build national cultural institutions, such as a new science museum and a national portrait gallery. One idea the Conservatives might embrace is creating a place on Wellington Street to display Canada's founding documents, including the British North America Act, now in London."

Building more national museums is a good idea. However we already have a space to potentially display (and properly preserve!) our founding documents at the National Library, which exists and is already on Wellington. However, revering founding documents would not be a wise political move for the Conservatives because it would inspire more criticism that they are "Americanizing" Canada.

"Sixth, rethink the ByWard Market. Cover it and expand it. Invite more vendors, favouring local organic farmers (as they do in the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco) and local artisans selling their own wares, not imports."

I agree with his idea to discourage imported goods from the market. At the same time, Ottawa does not have any spare space in the Byward Market area for more market buildings. Keeping the stalls outside saves energy costs and keeps the area from being overrun by parking lots. By the way, as someone who has been to the Saturday organic market at San Francisco's Ferry Building, I can assure you that the vast majority of stalls are outside.

"Seventh, commit to bicycles. Cycling lanes do not need barriers costing $1 million; a painted line and public education and enforcement will do."

Plenty of studies have shown "a painted line and public education and enforcement" WILL NOT do. Car drivers all think they own the roads and are not afraid to ignore painted lines and most cyclists (and by that I mean anyone who wants to bike) are too afraid of cars to go out and use bikes as a genuine mode of transport. Cycling routes need barriers that cost $1 million dollars because it's cheaper than building roads that cost tens of millions of dollars, and treating cancer from vehicle emissions and obesity from sedentary lifestyles, which costs hundreds of millions of dollars.

"Eighth, demand beauty in public spaces. Make developers build esthetically; don't accept less. (In Lewiston, Maine, parking garages mimic the brick and wrought iron of their old industrial mills). Encourage public art. Bury power lines."

Municipal development approval planners are now including design critiques in their reports to Planning Committee. However, without rules, there's no way for Ottawa to enforce good design. Encouraging public art and burying power lines would be good ideas. However, Cohen has no implementation plan.

"Ninth, reconsider the Sparks Street Mall. It's a failure. Rethink the Green Belt. Is it still useful?"

By "re-think" I assume you mean "get rid of" (speak clearly man!). Any change to Sparks Street should make it more pedestrian-friendly. If allowing vehicular traffic makes it a more inviting space for people, then I'd support that. If adding vehicular traffic makes it less people friendly, then I'd oppose re-opening it to vehicles. I haven't seen any studies with clear conclusions that it would lead to either result. With regards to the Greenbelt, I generally hear support for developing the Greenbelt coming from....wait for it, developers (surprise). The Greenbelt has a lot of ecologically sensitive areas and can still act as a good buffer against additional sprawl. The truth is, Ottawa has A LOT of vacant land still inside the Greenbelt and if the City increased maximum lot coverage rules, we could fit hundreds of thousands more people in the urban area. What we should be doing is expanding the Greenbelt to every rural area in the City of Ottawa beyond the current Greenbelt. That would definitely make commutes from the closest suburb undesirable.

"Think boldly about developing the old Rockcliffe Air Base. And heavens, have the courage to reopen the discussion on Lansdowne Park, the great lost opportunity."

All I'll say about Lansdowne is whatever happens there, it must have a direct connection to rapid transit. Otherwise, every major event will lead to vehicular chaos and more mad Glebites (god help this City).

"Tenth, do compare our city with others. Then ask yourself: Do you want to be a great city, in your own way, or just think you are?"

This is vague and sounds nice but lacks substance so I won't critique.
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  #30  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2011, 10:35 PM
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The bit about the library and concert hall is interesting since he originally claimed that Ottawa should focus on building a world-class database rather than a library. He suggested that "hopefully architectural libraries are on the way out". I wish I were joking.

As for the concert hall, he said "Ottawa already has the NAC".
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  #31  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2011, 10:55 PM
Uhuniau Uhuniau is offline
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Since the O-Train *Wasn't* replaced in 2009, and we are going to be stuck with it for a while longer, I'd say start expanding the damn thing now, starting with improvements to Carleton, extension to Hull, and additional stations at Gladstone and Walkley.
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  #32  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2011, 10:57 PM
Uhuniau Uhuniau is offline
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The sensitive areas of the Greenbelt should be conserved.

The rest should not. They are cornfields that are not distinguishable from the cornfields on the outer edges of Farrhaven and Shittsville that are getting ploughed under for more sprawl.

The Greenbelt is a major failure. Pave the damn thing and build urbs (not suburbs) on the ecologically non-sensititive parts.
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  #33  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2011, 11:28 PM
adam-machiavelli adam-machiavelli is offline
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The Greenbelt is a reminder that we need to contain sprawl. We have enough land within the urban area inside the Greenbelt to comfortably accommodate hundreds of thousands of new residents. We don't need to pave over any new lands anywhere. Not in the Greenbelt, not in Kanata, not in Munster Hamlet. Not anywhere.
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  #34  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2011, 11:54 PM
Uhuniau Uhuniau is offline
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Originally Posted by adam-machiavelli View Post
The Greenbelt is a reminder that we need to contain sprawl. We have enough land within the urban area inside the Greenbelt to comfortably accommodate hundreds of thousands of new residents.
Not in detached or semi-detached houses, we don't.
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  #35  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2011, 12:13 AM
adam-machiavelli adam-machiavelli is offline
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Yes because everyone wants to live in a detached. ;p

Even if everyone did want to live in a detached house, I've done the calculations and found that if every suburban wide lot inside the Greenbelt was subdivided for another detached or semi-detached house, you could accommodate another quarter million people.
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  #36  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2011, 3:01 AM
bradnixon bradnixon is offline
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Originally Posted by adam-machiavelli View Post
I will respond briefly to his suggestions to demonstrate how little he understands municipal planning in Ottawa and human psychology:

...

"Third, re-examine our waterways. Stop thinking of the Rideau Canal as sacrosanct. One reader suggests licensing gondolas, another a water taxi. Why not small waterside cafés? Look differently at the Ottawa River. Create that aboriginal centre on Victoria Island. See what other cities have done with their riverfronts, including Austin and Chattanooga."

The Rideau Canal corridor is protected from development under the UNESCO plan. If you develop its shorelines, the canal will lose its world heritage status. The Ottawa River is a major waterway with unscalable cliffs. Developing those cliffs would be expensive and undermine provincial guidelines protecting river ecosystems from human pollution.
This is probably the one point he makes that I wholeheartedly agree with. I don't buy that UNESCO prevents us from developing restaurants and cafes along the river. We certainly do need more of them. There have been lots of ideas posted on this forum for how this could be done, especially in the area of the old Union Station/Contemporary Photography museum.
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  #37  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2011, 3:04 AM
Uhuniau Uhuniau is offline
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Originally Posted by adam-machiavelli View Post
Yes because everyone wants to live in a detached. ;p
Not everyone, but certainly enough that the demand for new builds can't be met on green- or brown-field sites within the Greenbelt.

Quote:
Even if everyone did want to live in a detached house, I've done the calculations and found that if every suburban wide lot inside the Greenbelt was subdivided for another detached or semi-detached house, you could accommodate another quarter million people.
Well, then; get right on that subdividing then.

I'm all for it, and it should be both permitted and encouraged, but the natural rate of such subdivision isn't enough to meet the demand for new builds.
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  #38  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2011, 3:05 AM
Uhuniau Uhuniau is offline
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Originally Posted by bradnixon View Post
This is probably the one point he makes that I wholeheartedly agree with. I don't buy that UNESCO prevents us from developing restaurants and cafes along the river. We certainly do need more of them. There have been lots of ideas posted on this forum for how this could be done, especially in the area of the old Union Station/Contemporary Photography museum.
I seriously don't, either, and I'd like for someone to point to whatever it is that does prohibit anyone building or painting or farting or burping anywhere near the canal, because it's at the point of sheer stupidity, the list of things that supposedly Can't Be Done because of that stupid UNESCO designation.
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  #39  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2011, 5:50 AM
adam-machiavelli adam-machiavelli is offline
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Don't mock world engineering heritage. Not every point of interest has to be Disneyfied and built with the single purpose of getting people to spend all their money. I think having some seasonal stalls in a few nodes along the canal and creating a water taxi network are pretty reasonable ideas. However I'm sure many Ottawans would condemn (and rightly so) any effort to turn the canal into another shopping district.
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  #40  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2011, 8:26 PM
Uhuniau Uhuniau is offline
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Originally Posted by adam-machiavelli View Post
Don't mock world engineering heritage. Not every point of interest has to be Disneyfied and built with the single purpose of getting people to spend all their money.
Who was suggesting that?

Quote:
I think having some seasonal stalls in a few nodes along the canal and creating a water taxi network are pretty reasonable ideas. However I'm sure many Ottawans would condemn (and rightly so) any effort to turn the canal into another shopping district.
Ditto?

Next thing, I'll find that I proposed extremifying the canal into perpetual shade.
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