Surface drainage appeals to politicians more than sewers

I am glad to see Federal funding for reducing the pollution of the Ottawa River. It is about time governments — Federal, Provincial, and Municipal — stopped giving themselves free passes to pollute public waterways. The City of Ottawa has on numerous occasions averted its eyes from the sewage it dumps in the river. I think it is because politicians don’t see much political value in underground sewers. Once built, you can’t see them.  Much better to spend money on visible projects, especially if they are visible around election time. As we reached “peak sewer” in the 1990’s and realized … Continue reading Surface drainage appeals to politicians more than sewers

Amway Center, part iii, is it a catalyst for urban neighbourhoods?

Thus far in this series we have walked around the Amway Center and checked out the streets and garages around the complex. Let’s go a bit further out, and see how an urban arena relates to the downtown and surrounding neighbourhoods. Is the glamorous new urban arena a spark for a downtown urban renaissance?   (above) Immediately south of the arena lies the downtown high rises. Orlando’s isn’t a big downtown, it is quite compact. There are a dozen or so highrise apartment buildings and office towers, then a much wider periphery of lower rise commercial buildings with short parking structures or … Continue reading Amway Center, part iii, is it a catalyst for urban neighbourhoods?

Proof People Who Cycle are Cheap Dates

People who walk or cycle want infrastructure improvements. Fortunately these improvements are cheap compared to facilities for people who drive motor cars. More cycling and pedestrian infrastructure isn’t an extravagance or luxury in a city budget, it’s a bargain. Repeat: people who walk or cycle are cheap dates. Pretty much all residential streets in the US and Canada built since the 1940’s lack facilities for people who walk. We just decided to ignore them and their needs in favour of people who drive cars. In the west side of Ottawa, this is generally true anywhere west of Churchill Avenue. Now look … Continue reading Proof People Who Cycle are Cheap Dates

Putting pedestrians first at intersections

Yesterday I self-indulged in a bit of bitch about how the City makes intersections safer for motor vehicles at the expense of pedestrians: Look at almost any intersection. The City locates the signal posts back from the curb line, for the safety of motorists. But then directs pedestrians to stand in the same spot where they deem it too dangerous to place a wooden or steel post.  Allright, the natural question is what could be done to make it better? My first response is Amsterdam, like many European cities, puts real bollards (set deep into cement bases, designed to repel … Continue reading Putting pedestrians first at intersections