Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A different climate

This is the centre boulevard of Carling Avenue. The section from the Otrain to Bronson is to be reconstructed in 2011. This section will NOT be dug up  should the city decide to run an LRT along the Carling median. Also note that the city plows streets to the side only, so the centre boulevard is not used for snow storage. So what is put down in the 2011 reconstruction is what we will see for the next half century or more.

At the open house, I suggested the median be landscaped properly. I suggested there be a 18" setback from the curb, then a 2' wall be constructed and the centre filled with great dirt or structural soil and planted with trees, shrubs, or even decorative grass. The City planners wagged their heads The stuff wouldn't survive. It couldn't possibly work. Besides, there's already a nice park to the south ... as if the NCC facilities obviate the city from ever bothering to do something nice to their lands.

Here is Allumettes in Hull Gatineau. Remember when Hull was the poor cousin to Ottawa? Well, the story is different now. Note the decorative centre light standards, the lush planting, the close row of trees, all apparently thriving in their hostile climate north of Ottawa.

The centre plantings are so lush they partially obscure the cars on the other side, thus reducing the apparent width of the road and ameliorating its impact on the urban environment. Gatineau can do it ...

Close up of plantings and two rows of curbs. Plantings included rose buses, lavender, shrubs, and trees.

A maintenance crew doing a summer weeding. They told me its once a year.

After weeding, a watering (fertilizer?). The resultant lush attractive streetscape shows the results of the manicuring work.

Another section, planted solely in tall grasses.

Thick planting of attractive greenery makes a rich boulevard -- only in Gatineau you say, pitty.

An older section, with higher planter walls making a clearer separation of the roads on each side of the centre boulevard.

Carling Avenue boulevard. Other than the car models, its exactly the same as 1955. Will it look the same in 2055??


  1. Keep up the fight.

    I can't think of a single street in Ottawa that shows the care and attention that streets like Maisonneuve gets in Gatineau.

  2. How old are these City planners/engineers, anyway? I'm starting to wonder if they've been working in their profession since 1955! The stunted perspectives that abound at the City of Ottawa continue to astound (and depress) me. Kudos to Gatineau for showing the way.

  3. thus reducing the apparent width of the road

    Not judging by the automotive speed.

    That blank wall of green gives drivers a visual cue to floor it.

  4. Planters in centertown are a disgrace. There's one on McLaren that blocks through traffic across O'connor. It looks like it was meant to hold flowers. Just weeds now.

  5. I moved to Gatineau in 2001 from Ottawa and haven't regretted it once.