Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bayview re-landscaped

Looking east on Albert as it goes over the OTrain

Boulevard trees, west side of Bayview seen from Scott

Curious curb jogs, seen from Somerset looking north

Field of Trees, between TomBrown Arena and Albert

Sometimes the City makes me very happy. Like when I see the amount of generous landscaping going in along Bayview Avenue between Somerset and Albert/Scott.

For several years the City waterworks people have been burying high pressure water mains in the area. Approx.where the sidewalk is shown in picture 4 & 5 is the route of the pipeline. There was a bare grassy lawn running from Tom Brown arena's bright orange roof over to the intersection of Scott/Bayview/Bayview/Albert (that's right - all four streets at this intersection have different names, possibly a record for Ottawa). The area was used for staging construction supplies and got all chopped up. Now there is topsoil and a host of new trees. My only regret here is that once again the City cannot bear to actually pave the desire lines that pedestrians wear into the grass showing where they really want to go, but the city makes the sidewalk follow the street line as if pedestrians are just slow cars. By next year, the grass will be worn into a few popular walking lines, diagonally over to Albert Street.

At least the sidewalks here are not glued firmly to the curbline, but are set back generously from the curb, with trees planted in the boulevard, as shown in picture 2. I do hope all these trees survive.

It is always difficult to picture the final layout and appearance of the streetscape before it is all put in place. Certainly I have been fooled before by what something looks like in isolation, but makes more sense as more elements are put in place. But looking down the Bayview the curb line from Somerset the jogs do not make much sense. Bayview is wide at Somerset, to allow for three lanes of traffic and to align with Bayswater on the south side of the interesection. As Bayview goes downhill from Somerset, the street narrows to a two lane road. But notice in picture 3 that the road then becomes much wider again where the new pavement starts, and over the next 40m or so goes back to a narrower roadway. The widening cannot be used for parking, as it is a row of townhouse driveways (and the sidewalk in front of them stays depressed, it doesn't roller-coaster every driveway!). I'll keep an eye on this, but it looks bizarre now.

Picture 1 is looking uphill along Albert as it ascends to go over the OTrain tracks. There used to be a lengthy "merge" lane here. When the City help public meetings on these roadwords, they had kept the merge lane in place, and I had a lengthy debate with the engineers as to why they shouldn't have one (it isn't a Qway merge lane, after all!) and that City policy required they remove it. They insisted it stay. Now its gone, and that is good news. I hope some trees appear in the boulevard.

BTW, the sidewalk running up the hill is brand new concrete squares. The City actually took out and replaced all those squares just last year. Maybe second time lucky ...

This wouldn't be my blog if it didn't contain a beef about the City, and here it is. The high pressure water pipe project runs from Bronson to Bayview. The portion from Bronson to Empress is beautifully landscaped with path and trees and pedestrian lighting, even though the area along the path is subject to redevelopment in the near future and Albert Street is to be reconstructed. Then, there is no landscaping from Empress to Preston to City Centre Avenue, and the City refuses to plant trees because it would be only "temporary" until developments come along the street. But these new buildings are not scheduled to come for another 20-plus years! Then, once the pipeline crosses the OTrain, the lush landscaping resumes. Did our neighborhood do something wrong that we can't get trees from Empress to City Centre?


  1. Thanks for the photos, Eric. I'm glad to see they got rid of that useless merge lane on the bridge. Cyclists crossing Scott would hug the curb, then merge in with traffic on the through lane--often without checking for traffic behind them first!

  2. It was a bizarre arrangement for sure, from the era when engineers thought every street was a potential freeway with no-stopping intersections!

  3. I'm interested in the jogs as well - I don't think there's supposed to be parking there (I live around the block), and it would have been great for them to just remove that lane of traffic entirely, and make the sidewalk wider or extend the park(!).

  4. it's actually called Bayview Rd between Scott and Wellington


  5. I believe that the "jogs" are traffic calming measures, and not used for parking. Cars come flying down from Somerset around the bend, and these jogs simply force traffic to slow down. In my opinion, they are just as effective (and less harmful to cars/bicycles) than speed bumps.