Ottawa and Ontario consultations March – April, 2015

Monday March 30, 2015

Western LRT

opens at 5pm, presentation at 6:30pm
Ottawa City Hall

There is a somewhat-confusing diagram (PDF) on the consultation site.

Eric Darwin did four detailed blog posts: Westward Ho! One, Two, Three, Four (and uses a clearer diagram).

Twitter hashtag is #WLRT and the general hashtag is #ottLRT

Tuesday March 31, 2015


Starting at 7pm.

Consultation on a new Ottawa Central Public Library.

In-person at Ottawa City Hall is full.

You can still watch the live webcast though.

I will be using hashtag #ottlibrary

I would imagine the library will be tweeting, @opl_bpo

Capital Illumination


Space is limited. Please RSVP to by noon on Monday, March 30.

NCC Capital Urbanism Lab tweets @NCC_UrbanLab

Wednesday April 8, 2015

Complete Streets open house

opens at 5pm, presentation at 6:30pm
Ottawa City Hall

Unfortunately the city hasn’t provided any links to Complete Streets info.  And the presentation boards aren’t online (as usual).

The key item to know is that in Chapter 7 of the 2013 Transportation Master Plan, it says

Action 7-1: Adopt a “complete streets” policy for road design, operation and maintenance

The Toronto Centre for Active Transportation did an analysis, and I also found a presentation from May 27, 2013. (If you have other resources, please feel free to share them.

Thursday April 9, 2015

O’Connor Bikeway

opens at 6:30pm, presentation at 7pm
Ottawa City Hall

Ottawa has a Cycling Plan that includes separated lanes (Ottawa calls them “cycle tracks” running east-west and north-south).  The first major north-south route will be on O’Connor (although it turns into painted bike lanes in the Glebe).

(There is a larger issue, which is that cycling is still funded through a secondary “if we have money left” process, not as part of the main infrastructure in the budget.)

Ottawa Citizen article –
Segregated cycling lanes coming to O’Connor (sooner) and Wellington (later) – March 23, 2015

The general hashtag for cycling in Ottawa is #ottbike

More to come…

the driverless car

The driverless car will be wonderful because it will be tiny and plastic and people will share/rent cars rather than owning them and it will park itself away somewhere when not in use and etc. etc.

There is nothing, in fact, to say that the driverless car won’t be big. And metal. And that people will still want to own them. And that they won’t want to pay for parking. And that they will want to have more cars (one for every family member), not fewer.

So the driverless car may equally likely be some giant pseudo-limo, some rolling entertainment fortress, that spends half its time empty, going back to the “free” parking in the driveway of its home.

Given the choices actual people make now for cars, why would the removal of a driver make them less likely to choose an SUV… or a Hummer?

And if you think people enjoy automotive luxury for themselves now, imagine when the car is just for shuttling their kids around – how easy will it be for vendors to sell them on every-greater “security” (size, armor) and every-greater services for their kids? How long before it’s a bunch of giant driverless armoured RVs clanking around from school to soccer?

To quote William Gibson in Count Zero

“In a limo.”

Lucas’s car was an amazing stretch of gold-flecked black bodywork and mirror-finished brass, studded with a collection of baroque gadgets whose purpose Bobby only had time to guess at. One of the things was a dish antenna, he decided, but it looked more like one of those Aztec calendar wheels, and then he was inside, Lucas letting the wide door clunk gently shut behind them. The windows were tinted so dark, it looked like nighttime outside, a bustling nighttime where the Projects’ crowds went about their noonday business The interior of the vehicle was a single large compartment padded with bright rugs and pale leather cushions, although there seemed to be no particular place to sit. No steering wheel either, the dash was a padded expanse of leather unbroken by controls of any kind. He looked at Lucas, who was loosening his black tie. “How do you drive it?”

“Sit down somewhere. You drive it like this: Ahmed, get our asses to New York, lower east.”

The car slid smoothly away from the curb as Bobby dropped to his knees on a soft pile of rugs.

“Lunch will be served in thirty minutes, sir, unless you’d care for something sooner,” a voice said. It was soft, melodious, and seemed to come from nowhere in particular.

“Lucas,” Bobby said, his mouth half full of cold fried chicken, “how come it’s taking us an hour and a half to get to New York? We aren’t exactly crawling…”

“Because,” Lucas said, pausing for another sip of cold white wine, “that’s how long it’s taking us. Ahmed has all the factory options, including a first-rate counter-surveillance system. On the road, rolling, Ahmed provides a remarkable degree of privacy, more than I’m ordinarily willing to pay for in New York. Ahmed, you get the feeling anybody’s trying to get to us, listen in or anything?”

“No, sir,” the voice said. “Eight minutes ago our identification panel was infra-scanned by a Tactical helicopter. The helicopter’s number was MH-dash-3-dash-848, piloted by Corporal Roberto—”

Sparks Street at the turn of the 20th century

Thanks to a tweet from @ottawacity, a question from @bikelanes_ca and a response from @pastottawa, a photo of Sparks Street and a painting (a postcard?) of the photo (except with a car added).



The date is not clear.  The Past Ottawa link says view from Russell House, 1902.  So presumably the photo would have been from before that.  It’s definitely before 1928 because the Russell House hotel was demolished then.  It’s the corner of Sparks and Elgin, looking west. Before 1928 Sparks continued east from Elgin (the Federal government expropriated the land and replaced it with the wider split Elgin and Confederation Square).

It would be nice to get more info from the City of Ottawa Archives but they don’t appear to have an online catalogue or online images.


human decisionmaking

I’ve been thinking about how people make decisions.  It seems to me there are at least 5 ways:

  • from authority
  • from tradition
  • from peers
  • from emotion
  • from evidence

I find it interesting how much emphasis is placed in change debates (e.g. modal shift) on “from evidence”, where people pile on data points and charts, when it’s clear from modern marketing that other approaches are very compelling.

Stargate SG-1 movies

Spoilers below.  Many many spoilers.

There are three Stargate SG-1 direct-to-DVD “movies”:

The Ark of Truth (2008) – watch if you liked season 9 and season 10

This is the finale for the season 9-10 arc (Fargate: The Ori as I call it).  The end of the arc is an Ark filled with Truth that fixes everything, more or less.

See e.g. Wikipedia – The Ark of Truth

Stargate SG-1: Children of the Gods – Final Cut (2009) – skip

This is basically a money-grab after the end of the series.  It’s just the 2-part premiere recut with some new effects and bowdlerized a bit.

See Stargate Wikia for more info.

Stargate: Continuum (2008) – skip

This is a bit of an odd creation.  It’s after the end of the series.  It has almost all the original cast, including Don S. Davis and Richard Dean Anderson.  But it doesn’t work.

Whether consciously or not, the theme chosen for this movie is of a long difficult journey ending in disappointment.  Perhaps the reflects writer mood or writer disappointment, I don’t know.

The movie should be a funny celebratory reunion.  Without Jack as part of the main plot threads this is hard to do, but still they could have tried.  Basically Harriman gets the only funny line at the very beginning, celebrating finally getting a parking spot.  When they meet old friends in the Ba’Alternate Universe, those characters are angry and/or dismissive.  Where’s the fun in that?

Also Jackson swears, for no discernable reason.  This takes away from family-friendliness for the movie.

Anyway, off we go…

Journey 1: The expanded SG-1 team has been listening to the crimes of Ba’al being chanted by the Tok’ra for three hours.

Arc close for journey 1: The symbiote is removed and wriggles on the floor a bit.

It really diminishes the 10-year-struggle to a snake-thing helpless on the floor. The reaction of “that’s it?” pretty much sums up all of the journeys in this movie.

Journey 2: Jack is dead, Vala and Teal’c have disappeared.

Sam, Dr. Jackson and Ben Browder um Cameron Mitchell are stuck in a freezing dark ship, about to freeze to death.

The ship which had been sailing from Egypt to the USA rather improbably has drifted into the Arctic and been frozen there for 69 years despite having a giant near-waterline hole in its side

They improbably find extreme-cold-weather gear from the 1939 ship that is improbably in fine condition and fits perfectly.

They blow a hole in the hold, in the hole that was already there.

Journey 3: Dr. Jackson’s foot/leg is frozen so they leave him there on the ice to die.  Sam and Cameron walk south.  For a long time.

The thing is, they actually are in the Arctic – Stargate SG-1’s tradition of filming in real locations continues:

The cast of Stargate: Continuum headed north to film scenes for the movie in the Arctic. Ben Browder, Amanda Tapping, and Richard Dean Anderson shot in the sub-zero climate at the U.S. Navy’s Applied Physics Laboratory Ice Station (APLIS) from March 23 to 29, 2007. The station — a joint venture between the University of Washington and the U.S. Navy — is located approximately 200 nautical miles north of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.

from Gateworld – Stargate: Continuum

(Well, except for Dr. Jackson.)

Due to a scheduling conflict, actor Michael Shanks was unavailable to shoot the scenes in the Arctic. However Dr.Daniel Jackson was on the boat with ColonelCameron Mitchell and ColonelSamantha Carter in the preceding scenes. In order to make his disappearance plausible, writer Brad Wright decided that Jackson would develop frostbite after stepping in water and be unable to continue with the others.

from Stargate Wikia – Stargate: Continuum

But the sum total of this actual Arctic expedition is… they walk.  In the snow.  For a long time.  Until Sam wants to give up.

Seriously?  You go to the Arctic and the entire result of your filming is people in endurance gear walking in the snow?

But wait, there’s more.  When the submarine surfaces from under the ice, it’s an actual submarine actually surfacing – the U.S.S. Alexandria

Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2007, a joint U.S. Navy/Royal Navy training event on and under the Arctic ice turned Hollywood when Stargate SG-1 cast members headed north to film aboard USS Alexandria (SSN 757) after the nuclear-powered attack submarine punched through the polar ice pack March 28.

ICEX played the perfect part in the film “Stargate: Continuum,” serving as the backdrop for the movie as the 360-foot, 7,100-ton submarine surfaced from the frigid depths through the ice launching the conning tower under a giant “X,” right on cue. – Stargate Stars Film Movie Aboard USS Alexandria at the Polar Ice Pack

and when there are scenes on the sub, they are on the actual sub

on board the Los Angeles class submarine on loan from the Navy. Even the vessel’s real Captain and crew got in on the action, and were incorporated into the film.

The entire trip was made possible by A.P.L.I.S. commander Barry Campbell — himeself a big fan of Stargate — who approached Wood, Smith, and Stargate director Andy Mikita while they were signing autographs at the Vancouver Stargate convention in 2005.

from Gateworld.

This would all be supercool… except it just isn’t.

They abandon Daniel, they have a long walk in the (real) snow, they are rescued when a (real) submarine really surfaces from under the ice, and then… basically they meet cranky Ba’Alternate Reality Jack.

(Daniel has already been rescued by the sub.  Don’t think too much about how they could have rescued him quickly yet not just caught up with Sam and Cameron walking through the snow.)

I seriously got a bigger sense of drama and relief from Carter and O’Neill trapped in fake-Antarctica (Solitudes 1×17) than from them actually in the Arctic and in a real submarine.

Journey 4: A jumble of interrogation scenes ending with…

angry General Landry banishing them all to live in obscurity.

(Did I mention that every journey in this movie ends with disappointment?)

Journey 5: They all spend a year doing… basically… nothing.

Finally after a year Ba’al arrives and they are summoned to meet the President and General Hammond is there and… he doesn’t know them and reacts impassively and dismissively (in his very brief interaction).

Journey 6: They fly to Antarctica… but on their way there is it blown up, so they turn around and fly to Russia.

Did I mention this movie is all long journeys?

Yes, they are real jets, but again… it doesn’t do anything for the movie.

the U.S. Air Force delivered a pair of F-15 fighter jets (from the 173rd Operations Group out of Klamath Falls, Oregon) to be used in the movie. Browder, Tapping, and Shanks were joined in the cockpit for two days by executive producer and Continuum writer Brad Wright

from Gateworld

When they get to the Russia gate… there’s just an incompetent Russian guard.

Seriously, that’s our reward for this journey?  Not even a cameo for Marina Sirtis?

Journey 7: They go to the time machine (which is at least a cool idea) and…

all die.  Except for Cameron Mitchell.

Journey 8: Cameron Mitchell waits from 1929 to 1939 (mercifully we don’t have to endure this part) all to shoot people coming through the gate on the ship.  Then he presumably lives his life out in obscurity.

There’s some kinda “the Henderson’s” suggestion of him being on a farm that his future self visits but I can’t be bothered to sort out whether it’s a thread worth examining.

The end (after Journey 8 we close the arc on Journey 1 and we’re done).

(If you want, you can consider Journey 9 to be Ba’al spending 70 years building up his forces just to be stabbed at his moment of triumph, yet another long journey ending in disappointment.)

All in all, a flat, non-SG1 movie.  You get to see fan-fave secondary characters again (Apophis, Yu) but only briefly and without any entertainment value.  Although Apophis does at least get an ok line in before he gets the top of his head cut off.

For all their work with real locations and real military hardware, the plot just wasn’t any fun.

They really needed it to be more of a Goa’uld planet adventure to have any of the flavour of the original arc of the series.  And they would have needed a lot more Jack.  It just doesn’t work.

The Human Scale – free urbanism movie screening

WHAT: Free screening of The Human Scale, panel discussion, question & answer session
WHEN: January 29, 2015 at 6pm – 8:45pm
WHERE: The ByTowne Cinema, 325 Rideau Street

Disclaimer: I’m not an organiser for this event, unlike in 2013 – The Human Scale filled the Mayfair Theatre.