SSW logo Blog - Michael's Musings

Wed, 16 Dec 2015

Westgate Mall renovations

I went to the Westgate Reconstruction "meeting" shortly after 6pm on Dec. 16.

It was in the basement of the Macy Hotel in a smallish meeting room. It was not a presentation, but rather a poster-board meeting modelled after the worst methods of the city of Ottawa. I THOUGHT we were done with having such a stupid meeting format, but then I realized that this wasn't a city meeting at all.

There is a time and place for a well done PowerPoint presentation followed by an open mic and questions from the floor, and this is actually one of them.

If you missed it, you missed nothing. The posters are all online at:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/westgate-shopping-centre-development-riocan-1.3368082 and http://rileybrockington.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Westgate-Rio-Can-Proposal.pdf

There was really nothing that isn't in these pictures, except a few ridiculous claims on two posters which aren't that in that deck.

  1. that the development will be sustainable.
  2. that the development will be a transit node.
  3. The "Transportation Considerations", which failed to mention walking or cycling, and whose only mention of transit is that the developer thinks the city might build LRT on Carling. (If only the city was that clueful)

The plan is basically:

  1. in ~5 years: knock down Monkey Joe's, put up a tower.
  2. a few years later: knock down Shopper's Drug Mart end of mall, put up another tower.
  3. a few years later: do something with the rest of the mall, and add greenspace.

I skipped out after ten minutes, there weren't enough Rio-Can people there. My friend and neighbour Sharon Body said that there might be a "talk" at some point, but I took off to Rockin' Johnny's for a hotdog. Just before leaving, I checked google maps to see if I could catch a 151 home. Only 1x 151 per hour goes through Westgate now, and low and behold, at 7:08pm I could catch the bus, and it was just short of 7pm now. I went outside, and caught the 151. It seemed early, beacuse, well... it was. It was the 151 that goes in the other direction at 7:04pm, I realized this after we got to Kirkwood and turned the wrong way. I walked home, as it was faster than waiting another 5 minutes. (It's not a long walk anyway)

Why do I mention the 151? Because the real problem that westgate and the community has is that between OC-Transpo and Rio-Can they have basically written off all transit use at and through Westgate. It COULD be a significant TRANSFER hub if the mall and OC-Transpo would pay attention to it. It has the 101, the 151, the 176 and the 85 there. But, it's all mis-designed, the shelters are in the wrong places, and the buses simply do not connect.

Were I trying to make Westgate more valuable, I'd want to massively increase the pedestrian traffic in and out. That would involve some kind of walkway between Westgate and Hampton park. I'd prefer an at-grade tunnel under the 417, but some might feel that could be hard to keep secure. I'd go for a third storey walkway over it, but that won't be easily useable by cyclists. We could work something out though, I think, if we had a decent meeting.