Last night I attended the open house for the bidirectional MUP on Brookfield in the Brookfield High school cafeteria. Some of my friends went to this 1962 school in the seventies and eighties and it was interesting for me to see this heritage school from the inside. Here are a few pics for the fun of it including the heritage bike rack I tweeted out earlier.
Itsy bitsy teeny weenie very much preliminary
The City of Ottawa plan was shown on one board. It is a very preliminary plan and the city is open to all suggestions. Sam Roberts collected all of our questions. Basically the idea is to widen the south side sidewalk with about a meter and turn it into a 3 meter wide MUP (multi use pathway). The project will also address the south west corner of Riverside and Brookfield, which is only a side walk now. This will be widened too.
The project stops just before the roundabout, currently there is no intention to address the roundabout. This is unfortunate. The reason is that the Highway Traffic Act doesn’t give any direction regarding cycling in roundabouts so you will have to either walk your bike across the cross overs (there are pedestrian crossover signals installed now, known as PXO’s) or move to the driving lanes and merge into traffic as you saw in my previous post.
No improvements near Hog’s Back
There is also no plan to improve the stretch between Prince of Wales and Riverside. We suggested to officially dedicate the sidewalk in front of the Rideau Canoe club as a MUP, so it becomes legal to cycle there. A member of the public mentioned that the heritage swing bridge has continuous problems although it is only 30 years old (and as he mentioned, the Alexandra bridge is 100 years old) and we learned Parks Canada is looking into improving/replacing the other bridge (the one over the Rideau River). That would be a good opportunity to widen the bridge.
The slip lanes at Riverside were not addressed in the new plan (more walking your bike across the cross overs). Brookfield will remain a 4 lane road. However, when buildings go up, on street parking will be introduced, increasing the chance of dooring on the left for vehicular cyclists and on the right for MUP cyclists.
Student housing on Brookfield
We were also presented with very preliminary ideas about a student rental apartment building complex at 770 Brookfield. Designed by Barry Hobin, it consists of a collection of buildings in the 6-9 storey range. It will be built in two phases –if ever. Earlier ideas of developing the site fell through apparently.
It may sound odd to put student housing out there, but it is not far from the O-train and bike paths will lead students both to an LRT station, grocery stores and university. It is only 700 meters to the Heron LRT stop and 1.5 km to Carleton U if the bridge over the Rideau River would ever be built. Cycling along the new MUP on Brookfield and following the canal pathways would be around 2.5 km (30 minute walk). That is closer than I lived to high school (7 km) and university (11 km) in the Netherlands.
Parking on Brookfield
One of the attendees was concerned about not having enough parking on the proposed building property: “because every student has a car”. I mentioned that I wasn’t so sure about that. I briefly met with Barry Hobin who informed me that there will be bike parking at ground level. I think though the details haven’t been worked out.
I don’t know parking minimums and maximums by heart, but Barry told me the suggested car parking space numbers are somewhere inbetween. Phase 1 will show how much parking will be needed in Phase 2.
Note the investors in the project, Atlantis Investments. The only Atlantis Investments I could find on the internet is a company originating in London but taken over in 2009 by a Chinese investor, Ms Yang Liu with headquarters in Hong Kong now.
If it is the same company, it looks like they are focusing on Asian equity strategies. This appears to be a first step into North American real estate from what I gather. Is Ottawa next after Vancouver and Toronto?
I suggest you express your excitement or improvement suggestions to councillor Riley Brockington: Riley.Brockington@Ottawa.ca or leave comments underneath.