Thursday, December 31, 2009

Winter Cycling Path Maintenance

Alright, I admit that the multipurpose path on the north side of Albert between Bronson and Bayview is not really an official cycling path. If it were, it wouldn't be plowed in the winter, because the City and NCC do not maintain cycle paths in the winter. But since this is officially a sidewalk  ... it just happens to look like and function like and get used like a bike path ... it gets plowed and winter maintained.

I thought this path provided some insight into the feasibility of winter cycling in Ottawa.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Pattern Under Foot

Picture 1 shows sidewalk pavers laid on West Wellington in 2009. The pattern repeats often, with the joint lines lining up in long straight lines. The manufacturer's instructions caution against this pattern, as the eye sees the long lines.

Almost the same pattern, laid along West Wellington in 2008 contracts. The pattern is very similar to the top picture, but there are no long lines. Every few meters, the blocks jog a bit to break up the distracting line pattern. I find this a much more pleasing pattern.

Does anyone think this matters?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Boring Job

Whilst walking along Somerset Street just west of the OTrain track, at Breezehill, I came across these gents taking bore-hole samples from the street. Little painted notations every few meters along the street indicate that they will be doing this for weeks.

I will nag the Somerset street planners for one bore hole result in particular. It will be the hole bored just a few meters east of the OTrain underpass. Eventually, a segregated bike route (CycloPiste de Preston?)  will be finished along the OTrain corridor, and to be useful it will likely have to pass under Somerset Street. Will it be possible to carve out a cycling tunnel along side the Otrain underpass?

If the viaduct (raised road surface that is Somerset Street) is composed of gravel and rock, it could be possible to pump that space just east of the Otrain underpass with grout (liquid cement) until it is solid, then carve out a bike route underpass parallel to the Otrain underpass. This would avoid digging up the road and building a cycling underpass in a cut and cover operation.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Transit Tunnel is no Turkey

The usual suspects are carping about the transit tunnel, again. Did the province provide funding? Apparently no good news is good enough -- they didn't provide 15-25% more than was asked for ... so it's disaster time. Ring-a-ling. Ding-a-ling. It's disaster time in the city ...

So what might happen if the tunnel portion was cancelled? Critics are quick to attach huge price tags to the tunnel portion. But these won't disappear if the tunnel is cancelled. After all the tunnel includes tracks (won't these be needed for the surface rail?); it includes stations and platforms (which will be needed at the surface too, and may have to be located on what is now private property that may have to be acquired by the city); signalling (which will be way more complex and expensive on the surface as it will have to accomodate private cars, trucks, and bus movements too), etc.

Surface rail brings its own unique costs too - streets will have to be dug up for years beforehand to relocate all access hatches (wo/manholes) outside of the track right of way, etc. Anyone visiting Toronto knows how slow the streetcars are and what chaos results in repairs to utilities crossing streetcar tracks or repairing the tracks themselves.

The last numbers I saw showed that cancelling the tunnel in favour of surface rail would result in a construction saving of about $300 million.

However, the system would suffer severe traffic flow impairment when it snows, or the streets are congested, or some bozo from upper lower Pointe Gatineau decides to block the track in order to squeeze through the intersection on his yellow light ....

And this doesn't even count the delays caused every day by north-south streets having a regular green light (which means the surface rail track is closed to train movements 60% of the time so the north-south motorist enjoys its green-yellow cycle). Let's throw in some Tamils or other protestors ... or striking civil servants who every few years close down the transitway by picketing at Place de Ville and a few other key spots that "accidentally" block the transitway.

What surface rail gets us in the downtown is a vulnerable transit system. Reliable it won't be. It will be  a very expensive rapid transit emulation system, aka a streetcar pretending to be a rapid transit system.

Transit committee received estimates that going for a surface rail option will, on a daily basis, result in sufficient impairment of service that a number of additional trainsets and operators will be required. How many? Well I saw estimates/calculations of about $100 million dollars per year of capital and operating cost for the additional equipment. [ Readers should see the comments received on this blog, which contest the dollars, time period and payback period for the operating savings. Once I receive the transit committee submission I'll post it on the blog ]  The "savings" in not building a tunnel would be eaten up  ...  by increased costs of surface rail in the core.

We can spend the money to build a tunnel that gives us a fast, reliable service in all weathers. Or we can spend the money operating a congested, grid-locked surface streetcar system. I know which one I choose.

For more on this same subject, including the source doucment, go to : Indeed, readers might want to scan several other entries in the last few weeks on the tunnel and station design.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

CBC Interview on BikeWest

Last Monday, CBC afternoon show interviewed Eric Darwin about progress BikeWest apparently made at transit committee. You can hear the short interview by clicking here:

The text of the BikeWest proposal (downloadable) can be found at this coordinate: However, note that I do intend to update this document in the next two weeks to reflect newer information. The report is rather fat, because it has a lot of pictures in it.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Chinatown Arch

double click to enlarge

The seriously-ornate royal arch to be constructed over Somerset Street near Cambridge in Ottawa's Chinatown district. Fundraising is going well, and a crew will be coming from China in Spring 2010 to install the arch.

Friday, December 25, 2009

More Christmas Lights at Upper Canada Village

Alight at night ... click to enlarge

gingerbread house and UCV Church  

Photos by Michelle LaFontaine. 

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Lights at Upper Canada Village

These photos are of the light festival "Alight at Night" held every evening at Upper Canada Village throughout December.

Photos by Michelle LaFontaine.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New Scott Street Condo

Shown above is the first elevations of a six storey condo proposed for Scott Street. Small buildings like this are called boutique buildings. It will have about 30 units, with one commercial space on the ground floor. Since the lot has access only on the Scott frontage, the building face has the storefront, main entrance, then parking garage ramp, all in a row. Exterior is brick and stucco with glass balcony railings.

The building is proposed for the vacant lot immediately west of West Village Private, which joins Scott at the same intersection as does Lanark Avenue, near the Metropole condo tower. This condo is on the southwest side of Scott. When the West Village was being pre-sold about 4 years ago, the initial sales office was on this lot, and I vaguely recall that even then it was proposed as an apartment site. I also vaguely recall that Larco (the WestVillage developer) also owned the bank note printing plant behind the West Village that also faces Richmond Road at Kirkwood. I like the idea of condos there better than the original suggested new Cdn Tire which relocated to Carling in any case.

Condos in the area seem to sell like hotcakes. The Thieberge Homes building on Richmond between Island Park Dr and the Metro store are 80% sold in just the few weeks since they opened their sales office. Most units are smallish one bedrooms (500-600 sq ft @ $425+/sq ft). Buyers fall into two main groups: first timer DINKs; and older Empty Nesters.

Scott Street will be undergoing a community design plan (CDP) in the next year or two. Apparently some decisions have already been made, since the builder has been instructed by the City to move it right up to the lot front. Apparently when Scott is redone it is to be in the "traditional main street" format (like Preston, West Wellington, Bank Street)? This building is considerably shorter than the one facing Scott as proposed for the Westboro Collection, the McRae Avenue site behind and across from Trailhead.

It will be very interesting to see if the City can manage to develop Scott as a traditional main street format when it is presently a mish-mash of houses and commercial, some old, some new. They deserve credit for the attempt, in my opinion, since considerable redevelopment is expected all the street in the next decade and it is better to plan before development than after.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Future of No 3 bus route

The City is busy paring back bus services. Residents in the Preston area are probably glad to get back to having the No 3 on Preston again. And in the spring, the bus stops will again have shelters, benches, and trees for shade.

Once the bus transitway is converted to LRT service (sheduled for 2017 or so) then the no 3 bus route will follow Preston to Albert to Booth Street and the LeBreton LRT station, then over to Gatineau. It will no longer go to downtown Ottawa. Riders on the north-south routes will be taken to rapid transit stations where they will transfer to the LRT vehicles for the east-west portion of the trip.

Monday, December 21, 2009

BikeWest on CBC radio Monday

The route, from downtown to westboro

Possible intersection-free alignment along the LRT through LeBreton flats.

The CBC afternoon show will do a live segment on the BikeWest project Monday just after the 5pm news. If you can't listen in, I'll post a MP3 of the interview in a few days.

Mailbox heaven

At this location on Preston, the mailboxes used to be sitting on the grassy area beyond the sidewalk. When the corner sidewalks were laid, this little paved area appeared offering splendid access to boxes. Civilized.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Let it snow

I have a number of neighbors that manage to avoid shovelling snow as much as possible. Options include just driving over the snow bank and packing the snow down with your four wheel drive SUV, hiring neighbors or plowing services, etc.

This house on Rochester always has its porch plastic wrapped to break the wind and keep the snow off. Last year, and this, it has its steps covered too, in a dropsheet version of those canopied entrances to elegant hotels and really ritzy apartments we see in the movies set in NYC.

I am not tall. I walked up to this cover, and discovered the roof of it hit me at nose level. Hmm. What happens if we have a non-midget lettercarrier?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A tale of two houses ...

Both houses are on Primrose Street. The top one had its second floor stucco exterior wrapped in "house wrap", which prevents air infiltration but allows the passage of vapour (usually out of the walls). I am disappointed they did not put any additional insulation between the wooden strapping that has been applied for the new exterior cladding. I am a strong believer in insulation, but probably like for the City Living houses "renovated" along Albert, the person doing the renovation doesn't pay the utility bill, the tennant does, so additional insulation is not installed.

Next door is the green house subject of earlier posts, because of its sagging rear addition and the reveal of old signs on the wooden exterior. This house is also getting wooden strapping and new exterior cladding ... but is also getting some foamboard insulation AND housewrap too
In a few days, I'll post pix of the different exteriors.

Friday, December 18, 2009

No Toys for Us

One of the biggest toy hits of Christmas 2009 is the Zhu Zhu Hamster.

It's cheap ($8-$12), small, has zillions of reactions to human stimulus. Zhu Zhu is Chinese for Pig. So it's a PigPig Pet or PigPig Hamster.

So I went looking for it. Not at Zellers. They said it was only at ToysR-us. So onto the 95 to St Laurent. Nope, they don't have them. The staff cheerily told me the toys are all being reserved for the Toronto market. If you live in Ottawa, you can't get the top selling Christmas toy because the retailer has decided to cater to the Centre of the Universe (TM) .

I tried to get it online from; but the site tells me its in-store shopping only. It doesn't bother to tell me its instore-only-in-Toronto.

I had thought it was only fancy transit systems that Toronto got.

Transit woes worse than Ottawa ?

Metropolis Magazine has a short article about how badly Las Vegas botched its monorail system. Burried in the article the careful listener might hear some warning sounds about the joys of un-amalgamated cities or urban planning districts that fail to include major sectors (who knew the Las Vegas strip is not part of Las Vegas City and is in fact unincorporated?).

The double-decker buses on the strip are a success though. I last rode them a few years ago, and there were crowds of people at every stop. Most of them had never ridden a bus in their adult lives, and fumbled the fare cards, etc. Frquently overheard comments were "hadn't been on a bus since 7th grade" or "seats aren't as nice as my Lincoln". The buses are similar the one that Ottawa is test driving on the 94 route. Perhaps because of the novelty, the strip bus is a big success; the off-strip monorail (refurbished Disney older-generation trains, I think) is not.

Metropolis concludes that Vegas is now looking  for " a ride from the Strip to downtown via a “train-emulation system.” While this sounds even more 21st century than a monorail, it’s more commonly known as “bus rapid transit,” planningspeak for a bus with a dedicated lane and sophisticated stops that work like transit stations."

Keep in mind that the Strip is crowded with people who by and large are visitors, and thus millions do not have their own cars with them. All urban planning lessons from Vegas come with huge caveats because of its unusual economics. What works in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Elevator added

For many months work has been under way to install an exterior elevator shaft and new entry porch on the north (Lisgar St) side of McPhail Baptist church.

I rather expected a ultra-mod addition -- you know, glass box, exposed steel frame -- and am pleasantly surprised to see how well the contractor blended the old brick and new, kept the same foundation materials, etc.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wayfinding in Little Italy

The city continues to upgrade the streetscaping along Preston. All new street signs are being installed at the intersections. While each cross street got its sign (one on the west side, one on the east side) not all of the intersections got the Preston Street sign, as shown here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

BikeWest motion passes Transit Committee

Faithful readers of this blog will recall I promote a cycling project called BikeWest.

It calls for a off-road bi-directional cycle route parallel to Scott and Albert Street between Westboro and the downtown. The city owns the land all along the streets, on the north side.

I am concerned that the DOTT  LRT project could block BikeWest at two key points, Bayview Station and Tunney's Station. Since transit committee was considering the LRT project, I spoke at the meeting, and asked friendly councillors to present a motion. But I got more than my minimal goal. Transit Committee passed a motion instructed staff to consider
- attaching the BikeWest path to the south side of the LRT route from Empress to Bayview, which if built would give Ottawan's a grade-separated no-intersection bike route for the first kilometer of so out of the downtown core
- what options we have for the Otrain overpass (more on this in a subsequent post)
- how BikeWest can safely pass the Tunney's station.

Before the motion was voted on, Councillor Legendre demanded of staff where BikeEast was as his consitituents deserved similar facilities.

I am delighted. Here is the key part of the motion that was passed:

Be it resolved that the subsequent design phases of the DOTT project include examing the possibility of including space for a segregated off-road bi-directional cycling path along the south side of the LRT alignment from Empress St to Bayview, and

Be it further resolved that staff evaluate options for including a bike route overpass over the Otrain cut at Bayview as part of the Bayview Station planning; and

Be it further resolved that staff explore options to ensure that there is room for the BikeWest project to safely pass the Tunney's Station on the south side between the station and Scott Street.

Of course, this does not mean BikeWest will be implemented. But the idea now has training wheels and is going foreward.

Sewer lids, access hatches, etc

It probably reflects some deep psychological disturbance in my early childhood potty training ... but I find I notice sewer lids, (wo)manhole lids, catch basins, access hatches, etc on our streets and sidewalks. They do add interest to our quotidian walkabouts ... at least to those who notice them.

The photo above is of a new fancy sidewalk made of interlocks. The stones are cut in an even square around the access hatch, and the perimeter filled in with cement. There may well be practical reasons for this, but it does somewhat spoil the look. I notice that on Wellington Street in front of the Parliament buildings the stones are cut very carefully in curved edges to abut tightly to the (wo)manhole -- this may reflect or Parliamentarians keener interest in matters sewage. The solution on plebian streets is simple: after pouring the cement, a grooving tool should have been used to continue the joint lines onto the cement.

But alas, probably few people will notice and this improvement will be lost underfoot, like my suggestions to the Preston BIA that they get from Rome a donation of a few sewer lids for the street that say SPQR*, these would have been a real treat when the street is closed for Italian Festival, as would a few Beijing sewer lids in Chinatown.

*SPQR: latin, "by the senate, for the people of rome"

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cornerstone Project launched

the Cornerstone women's housing apartment building (42units) will be built at the corner of Booth and Eccles, on the site of the former Desjardins/IGA/Loeb grocery store

Diane Holmes, Royal Galipeau, Jim Watson, Sue Garvey, and Yasir Naqvi

Sue Garvey speaks to the large turnout that came to launch the project

Sidewalks by Design

Our fair city continues to insist that it is pedestrian friendly. Of course, this friendliness comes second to being very friendly to motorists.

At first glance the above photo is so typical of Ottawa surely it is nothing worthwhile noting? But consider the engineering and design effort that goes into designing a road and sidewalk system that consistently delivers a slushy puddle at hundreds of thousands of sidewalk dips all across our city for four or five months of the year. Consider the thought and effort that goes into ensuring pedestrians are directed onto steeply sloping sidewalks at exactly the same geographical point as the slush and ice and muck is put onto that same sidewalk!

I used to think this was part of a scheme to reduce pension obligations, since a high percentage of elderly falls result in a broken hip that results in death within six months. But I no longer believe that, since the downtown neighborhoods are increasingly bereft of elderly persons and the puddles remain. I do however remain impressed at the consistency and frequency at which the city can deliver these sidewalk features throughout our west side neighborhoods.

Monday, December 14, 2009

"Elegant, Romantic" and Christmasy

These photos on Preston Street south of the Qway overpass were taken by Rachel Pereira. They highlight what a huge change has come over this street as it has been renovated by the City and the BIA and individual merchants.

In case you missed the pun, the Elegant Romatic terms come from Sunday's Citizen story by Maria Cook on the rejuvenation of Preston. Here's the photo link:; and here's the story link:; which is to Maria Cook's on-line edition.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Casulties of the reno

When reconstructing Preston, some of the dead-end side streets (and there are many) were temporarily opened up to resident access by removing street closures or temporary easements over private properties.

The above posts are on the street closure on Elm Street. All the posts were damaged removing them from the ground in the spring. Crews reinserted the posts this fall. Neighbors will be watching to ensure they are replaced with unbroken ones in spring 2010.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Corso Italia

One of the delights of the Preston Street rehabilitation has been the Preston BIA's remaking of the Queensway underpass into an interesting highlight of the street. Instead of the former dark and dreary underpass, the framed murals and background murals are great eye candy. The west side is Preston Street yesterday and today; the east side is the immigration story.

In the spring, the east side sidewalk will be further developed into a place to linger, with special sidewalk light fixtures and paving. The north end of this zone opens onto the parking lot at 301 Preston, which is converted into a festival plaza during special events like Italian Week. Recall too that large signs have been posted on both sides of the overpass, which in the next few days will be backlit at night.

The wall-mounted light fixtures in the underpass are being replaced now with fewer fixtures, presumably brighter. This will necessitate touching up the mural paintings.

Who would have thought an underpass could be made into a neighborhood focus?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Yucca Yuk

This picture is taken along the city parking structure on Laurier Avenue. Along the south-facing side is a pleasant-but-thin garden. The perennials have been cut back flush to the earth. Notice the hole in the centre. There was a matching hole at the other end of the garden. These were homes to spectacular Yucca plants. Looking straight out of the Arizona & New Mexico deserts, these exotic looking perennials are hardy in Ottawa and send out tall bloom spires.

Alas, the mature plants are gone -- victims of city maintenance crews or theft? I collected some seeds off this plant in the fall, which I will attempt to germinate this spring.

For more on the yucca, go to

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

More Cycling Advice

I attended a small group meeting of cycling advocates with Inge Molenaar, cycling honcho from Den Hague, the bureaucratic capital of The Netherlands, who was brought to Ottawa by the NCC to share cycle planning lessons. The instructing was made more pleasant by the Embassy treating attendees to hospitality afterwords.

Some observations:

The Hague will have 6 to 9000 indoor bike parking spaces in their new central rail station. I wonder if there will be any safe or secure bike parking facilities at Ottawa's new LRT stations, or will there be a bent-paperclip rack stuck on the lawn? I also wondered how many indoor spaces there currently are in downtown Ottawa office buildings. I know the indoor bike parking facility in Constitution Square is huge, and wonder how many other such facilities there are.

The Hague has a grid-like network of designated bicycle routes criss-crossing the city. Most of these have no special facilities for cyclists, like Ottawa they consist of signs posted along car-cluttered streets. However, The Hague has indentified a smaller number (coarser grid) of key arterial cycling routes they call the Star Network, on which they are focussing their efforts to improve the cycling environment. These measures include painted lanes, counter-flow lanes, cycle signals at intersections, and some cycle priority measures.

A number of years ago the national government in The Netherlands passed laws requiring dynamo-operated front and rear lights on all bicycles. The fines are stiff, and police (wo)man checkpoints to issue tickets. The result: almost all bikes now have working lights. Older bikes have clip-on lights, which are subject to theft. On newer bikes, lights are permanently affixed so theft (of the lights) is not a problem.

At the same time, they issued regulations requiring all bike tires to be constructed with reflective white material on the sides. This results in every bike wheel glowing brightly in the dark when illuminated by street lights or car lights or the working lights on other cycles. These reflective strips have been very effective in Canada on school bags, running shoes, casual jackets, etc and the benefits seem high to me compared to the rather modest cost imposed on buyers.       [I have some  flashing lights that screw onto the inflating thingy on the tires that is supposed to flash and glow when cycling, but of a dozen such gizmos only one or two work, intermittently at best.]

Many new bikes come with radio frequency identifying tags (RFIDs), which are cheap tags like the UPC bar codes on everything we buy, but they respond electronically to monitoring devices. It was unclear at the meeting if these are national, compulsory, or what, but they should aid in recovering stolen bikes. At popular bike parking areas, like schools or transit stations, police can scan the lot for stolen cycles. 

In Holland cycling is so popular they need huge bike parking facilities. Like car parks, they take up valuable urban space (even if there are more bikes per sq m than the equivalent number of cars). I wondered if a bixibike or rental system mightn't reduce the need for every cyclist to own multiple bikes.

I talked to Inge about the value of her trip, compared to conferences, tourism, or blogging. She thinks blogging is amazingly effective at reaching people, citing a number of blogs including one of my favorites,  David Hembrow's AView from the Cycle Path.

The visit of Inge was definitely worthwhile. The program of the NCC to bring in experienced people for other places is good. I hope the city officials and politicians that met with her learned something that will be applied here. The single biggest point I learned was that on-street cycling is good when the speed limit is 30km/hr or below; if above that, go for segregated facilities.

Lisgar street condo coming

Canus Plastics,  on Lisgar, half block east of Bank Street, is slated to become another condo tower as residential infill and intensification continues in the downtown. The building is by Starwood Mastercraft, who are also building condos on Parkdale and 125 Champagne (the latter being the Acquerelo site) near Carling OTrain station.

Click on the map to enlarge for readability, or go to their site

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sk8ers UnStoned on grass ...

Plouffe Park can be found behind the Plant Recreation Complex. Part of it runs along Preston street. Part of it used to run along Somerset street too, but the City found it convenient to convert the kiddie playground into a parking lot so motorists don't have far to walk so far to the Complex to get their exercise ....

Along the Preston side, pedestrians parambulating the Little Italy wide landscaped sidewalks are presented with numerous opportunities to rest their derrieres on benches. There are also several planter sections that double as benches along the sidewalk. Naturally, skateboarders will sometime discover these concrete edges and make entertaining use of them. To prevent this, the City and property owners add small metal clips to the leading edge, which discourages said playing activity.

The City installed these anti-sk8er devices on the park side of the planters, keeping sk8ers off the stones and on the grass. The sidewalk side of the planters, where sk8ers are more likely to avail themselves of the stonework, were left vulnerable. So the street side is stoned off grass, while the park side is unstoned on grass.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Den Hague experience

The NCC invited Inge Molenaar, chief cyclist of the Den Hague city bureaucracy, to tell the NCC what it should do to make the National Capital Region cycling friendly. As part of that visit, she gave a public presentation Monday night.

A few of her points stood out to me:

-- ebikes will extend the comfortable cycling range from 8km now to 16km. The Hague will continue to let ebikes mix with pedal bikes on bike paths. Mopeds, on the other hand, being faster, are kept on the roads.

-- they have a practical policy guideline for where segregated bike paths should be built. If the speed limit is 50km/h or higher, there should be a segregated parallel bike path. If the speed limit is 30km/hr or lower, bikes can mix with cars or have painted bike lanes. (their common speed limit postings are 15, 30, 50, 60, 80, 100, 120 km/hr). In the Ottawa context, this means the City would not expect cyclists to play with trucks, buses, and cars on Scott-Albert but would build a segregated safe facility a la BikeWest.

-- in some locations, it is possible to switch roads to being cyclist priority with cars the guest vehicle that must travel slowly and yielding always to cyclists.

-- merchants will stop complaining about losing car parking spots for cycling facilities (lanes or parking spaces) when they appreciate the purchasing power of cyclists more than that of motorists. This is somewhat similar to what Geller said of Portland: when cycling hits a tipping point, merchants switch to catering for cyclists rather than cars as its cheaper (10+ bikes per single car parking spot).

Writ Big

Signs appeared recently on the Queensway overpass over Preston Street. On both sides -- facing north, facing south -- have appeared these large channel letter signs. While not lit up when I saw them, they look like they could be lit up.

Real estate speculators and condo buyers will have no problem knowing when they are in trendy (according to Ken Gray at the Ottawa Citizen)  Little Italy.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

West Siders can get involved to get the city they want ...

The first meeting of the Bayview-Carling CDP group will be this week...while intended primarily for those who were in the prior process to reacquaint themselves and review the previously identified issues and recommendations, I would think anyone else keen to get involved should contact .  The study area is from Bayview along the Otrain track to Carling, and includes the undeveloped/underdeveloped/industrial lands along the route.

The initial Public Advisory Committee meeting on Thursday, December 10th, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m., at Room 4102E/4103E, City Hall. The rooms are located on the fourth floor at City Hall.

A public advisory group is also getting going for the Somerset reconstruction and streetscaping project. In 2010, the section of Somerset from Spadina over the Otrain to Preston will be dug up and rebuilt, with streetscaping. Then in 2011 the section of Somerset from Preston to Booth will be dug up and reconstructed with streetscaping. These projects will set the tone and style for the eventual restyling of Somerset through the rest of Chinatown. Contact BTW, the Somerset projects will include some more (hopefully innovative) on-street cycling features.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Dutch twins

These two houses on Hollard are fraternal twins. I find it interesting how differently each looks after some renovation. While I am a fan of brick and generally not a fan of plastic siding, the right one scores higher on the curb appeal.

I wonder how it will age.