Design of future park at Lansdowne unveiled at groundbreaking

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City of Ottawa on Monday displayed renderings of what the future park at Lansdowne will look like

CBC News

Renderings of the future park at Lansdowne were unveiled during a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday.

Mayor Jim Watson said it's ironic that the current park mostly consists of concrete and very little green space.

The new park will include a large lawn, courtyards, a heritage orchard, an outdoor skating rink and a children's play area.

In total there will be about seven hectares of green space, and the park will have four times the amount of trees it currently has.

There will be parking underground at the site, but Coun. David Chernushenko, who was on hand today, said he hopes people will use other ways to get to the park than personal vehicles.

The park should be ready for use in the spring, the city said.

Lansdowne Park 'almost ready' for CFL kickoff in 2014

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By Jon Willing, Ottawa Sun

Most of the $42-million urban park at the redeveloped Lansdowne Park will be ready for public use when the CFL kicks off in 2014, the construction manager of the historic project said Monday.

Marco Manconi said workers will begin installing the underground utilities this summer and building Aberdeen Square, the future home of the farmers market.

A bus shuttle loop, courtyards, a children's playground and the refrigerated ice rink will follow.

Planting work will continue into 2015, but the city is expecting people will be enjoying most of the amenities by this time next year.

Greely firm wins $16M Lansdowne contract

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Ottawa firm D&G Landscaping has beat out three other qualified bidders to win the right to build the urban park that’s part of the City of Ottawa’s Lansdowne Park redevelopment project.

The Greely-based company will receive $16.28 million for its contribution to the project, which will include installing underground utilities and building a shuttle bus loop.

D&G submitted the lowest bid among the four companies who qualified, according to the City of Ottawa’s media relations department. That beat out Carillion Canada Inc., Doran Contractors Ltd. and the Ottawa Greenbelt Construction Co.

Elsewhere on the Glebe property, Frank Clair Stadium is currently being renovated and in some places rebuilt.

Local developer Minto is constructing new condo towers at the site while Trinity Development Group is getting ready to add close to 400,000 square feet of retail to the space. However news about one of the tenant’s exit from the movie industry has left one of the largest components of that space up in the air.

The firm is set to begin construction later this month, with a lot of the work will be done by spring 2014. D&G’s work is scheduled to be completed by summer of 2015, according to a City of Ottawa news release.

‘Complete street’ vision for Main Street squeaks through transportation committee

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By David Reevely, Ottawa Citizen

OTTAWA — Local residents came out ahead of car commuters in a vote by city council's transportation committee Friday, but just barely.

In a 6-4 vote, the committee approved a plan to narrow the driving lanes on 800 metres of Main Street in Old Ottawa East from four to two and to use the new-found space to build elevated bike lanes, widen the sidewalks, plant trees and add bus shelters. Nearby residents love it, because it'll turn a wide arterial road that's mostly empty at least 20 hours a day into a more walkable neighbourhood main street.

But at rush hours, driving along Main Street between the Rideau River and Rideau Canal will take three minutes longer, the city's transportation planners say, because it'll reduce the street's capacity from 1,200 motor vehicles an hour to 900. Traffic counts say the number of cars on the street now only exceeds 900 an hour briefly in the morning and for slightly longer in the afternoon, but it will definitely slow some of those drivers down.

And that led to the most rancorous committee meeting city council has seen in months.

Gloucester-Southgate Coun. Diane Deans, whose ward to the south includes many people who drive through Old Ottawa East to get downtown, said she believes the city's staff planners presented bogus data to make their case and more than a few hundred will be inconvenienced. "Where do all these cars go?" she wanted to know.

The city is making massive investments in transit and smaller ones in cycling, explained deputy city manager Nancy Schepers. The idea is that more people will choose other ways of getting around besides driving, which is in keeping with the city's policies, and the evidence from projects like the Laurier bike lanes is that reducing car capacity somewhat to make way for other means of transportation can be done without creating traffic jams. The planners don't think that would work further north on Main, which is why the critical (and busy) intersection of Main Street and Lees Avenue is keeping four lanes in all directions, but they believe there just won't be a significant problem in the area farther south.

Coun. Allan Hubley worried about the wisdom of building bike lanes at sidewalk level, where pedestrians could wander into them. ""Do we have any suggestion of what these numbers are going to be?" he asked. "Are we going to see an increase in bikes nailing children as they're walking down the sidewalk?"

The planners don't think that'll happen. Hubley also objected to Schepers' claim that drivers will respond to a little more congestion by either adjusting their commute times or finding other ways to get where they're going. "To me, that's social engineering. I get very nervous about us getting into it," he said.

The "complete street" plan the committee eventually voted for is actually cheaper than one with four car lanes would be: car lanes need to be built atop deep beds to handle the weight, whereas bike tracks are about as cheap to build as sidewalks.

Deans tried a motion to get the planners to go look again at a Main Street plan they'd already rejected, which would have kept four car lanes on Main Street and include bike lanes at street level. It failed on a 5-5 tie, after provoking the ire of the area's councillor, David Chernushenko. Deans had suggested that maybe the "complete street" idea could wait until the traffic chaos of five years of light-rail and highway construction is concluded. However, because this $26.5-million project is being driven by the need to replace 100-year-old sewers under Main Street, which should be good for a lifetime once the new ones are in, that won't likely happen.

"If we pick a design now that's right for the next five years but wrong for the next 98, then we will rue that day," Chernushenko warned.