Posts tagged ‘Good Urban Design’

London: “We need to have pilot projects up and running. We want to be leaders, not followers.”

The city is moving ahead as quickly as possible to get a solar panel pilot project started on public buildings.

The city’s investment and economic prosperity committee will on Monday ask an outside company, Ameresco Canada, to put together a plan that will give green energy companies a framework to bid on solar panel projects.

In July, London-based solar energy company German Solar Corp. told the committee they were ready to mount panels on 10 city rooftops as part of a pilot project.

The project would create 337 jobs in eight years, 219 skilled-labour jobs and 108 operations and maintenance positions in 20 years, the company president predicted.

Another 1,200 jobs would be created indirectly, the company said.

“We’ve had two or three companies that are interested in putting panels on public property,” said Joe Swan, chair of the investment and economic prosperity committee.

“We need to come up with a licensing fee to lease the space, figure out the cost of installation and the return on investment.

“The marketplace is ready to implement these and the city hasn’t developed a framework.”

Ameresco Canada will develop the framework so the project gets off the ground, Swan said.

“This got support from council to move as quickly as possible,” Swan said.

“We need to have pilot projects up and running. We want to be leaders, not followers, in this.”

Source: The London Free Press

September 9, 2012 at 5:38 pm Leave a comment

Rediscovering Dickson Street

These days there are few if any stores available on Dickson Street, as more businesses flock to the Galt core.

Ben Schmalz and Emily Pederson are the latest entrepreneurs to establish themselves on Dickson, opening One Rebellion just last week. It’s an upscale clothing store catering to people over the age of 30.

“We’ve had so much traffic this week and people are so happy to see the store because there is nothing else quite like it down here,” said manager Pederson.

“We grew up in Galt, and I was looking to expand the business,” said Schmalz, who also operates a store in Dundas. “I took a look around and I was impressed with the revitalization that’s taking place in downtown. I loved the architecture and the ambiance. It was the perfect fit for us.”

Merryn Edgar, Patricia Cooley and Jennifer Gralec all opened their businesses the same day two years ago and became known as the “Dickson chicks”, following a television story on their enterprises.

Edgar runs Gallery M, an art shop that features works of many local artists.

“We’ve been doing really well since we opened and today I just sold two paintings, so it’s a big day for us,” she said.

In each area of the shop, Edgar has worked to bring together pieces of art that complement each other. In a similar way, she said each of the new businesses on Dickson Street does the same thing.

“There is a good mix of businesses down here. We do a lot of cross promoting and a lot of scratching each others’ backs when we can,” she said.

When Jennifer Gralec returned to work after having children, she decided that if she had to be away from her girls it would be to do something she loved. Baking is her passion and Tiny Cakes, her baking boutique, is a labour of love.

Since opening in December 2010, Tiny Cakes has become a regular stop for many people working on Dickson Street.

Gralec, like many of the other new businesses on Dickson Street, has used social media to get the word out on their businesses.

“I religiously post on Facebook, so people know what’s going on.”

Re New owner Patricia Cooley knew she had the right place when she walked into the office.

“This is a great space and with that big front window, it just called to me,” she said.

Re New is a medical laser and skin care aesthetics business, operating on the second floor of 65 Dickson St., across from city hall.

When Edit Kasza decided to move from St. Catharines and open her new business, she looked no further than Cambridge.

“I came for a visit and I absolutely love it here, especially Galt. I love all the architecture. It’s like a tiny, tiny version of Budapest.”

Kasza opened Edit Design Inc. in November and says the outdoor/indoor kitchen studio is slowly getting going.

“It’s taken time, but people are discovering I’m here,” she said. “You really have to see my studio to understand what I do.”

Eighty per cent of her business comes from outside of Cambridge, so her studio is becoming a destination for clients.

Baldeep Duggal can say the same thing of Phildon Pens.

“We’re one of a handful of pen shops in the country. We have local clients, but we are a destination for people who love pens and paper.”

Phildon Pens has been on Dickson Street for four years and Duggal sees a difference with the new businesses arriving.

“They are all small business owners who all  have good business plans. They all try to offer unique products and good services. When you have small businesses there is a certain sense of pride that you don’t see in big box stores.”

Decorators Kim Turner and Michelle Jones, who met at the Cambridge Centre for the Arts, opened The Relique Studio on Dickson Street. After teaming up to refinish a dining room suite, the pair went for coffee at Tiny Cakes and their concept of opening a shop evolved.

“As we were talking we were watching people come into the shop and realized these people could all be our customers. That’s when we started looking for a shop,” Jones said.

The shop opened eight months ago and there is no lack of business.

Bill Schwarz has been practicing law and painting in the Galt core since 1969.

“We used to have our law office on Dickson Street and things are really changing. I think the work that David (Gibson) is doing on Main Street has brought a lot of attention to the downtown.

“I think we’ve seen more change in the last 18 months than we’ve seen in the last 40 years. It’s really great to see.”

Source: The Cambridge Times

September 6, 2012 at 11:18 pm Leave a comment

Revamping A Galt Downtown Heritage Building

Remember the ‘Right House’? Which was then cladded in metal and became a Big V Drugmart, then a Shoppers Drugmart… and it is now being rejuvenated! The makeover is part of a large-scale revitalization project of the Galt core by developer David Gibson.

I can’t wait to see the end result!

September 6, 2012 at 11:12 pm 1 comment

Gearing Up For Roundabout Battle

Coun. Nicholas Ermeta is ready to fight to keep roundabouts like this one on the Can-Amera Parkway from being built along the length of Franklin Boulevard in just two years. He plans to launch his battle at Tuesday’s council meeting.

I’M BACK!

What this councilor needs to do is his research regarding signalized roundabouts, and roundabout history in general. It’s time to move forward, not sit in traffic… I’ll even give him a little push. Amazing how Google can sometimes be your best friend. I personally drive roundabouts on a daily basis as I am a delivery driver and wish there were more of them in the region. The amount of time I sit at red lights in this Region is disheartening.

The only part I don’t agree with regarding the installation of these roundabouts is the cost factor. I’m sorry to hear that the Region has put a price tag on human lives, all in the name of saving money.

Traffic signals are much more costly than is commonly realized, even though they represent a sound public investment when justified. A modern signal can cost taxpayers between $80,000 and $100,000 [U.S. $] to install – depending on the complexity of the intersection and the characteristics of the traffic using it. On top of this, there is a perpetual cost which is almost never considered – the cost of the electrical power consumed in operating a signalized intersection 24 hours a day. This now averages about $1,400 per year.

Arizona Department of Transportation

Why not pay a little bit more to save a life? This way we don’t have to repeat the tragedy that happened near St. Mary’s high school, at the intersection of Homer Watson Boulevard and Block Line Road.

Coun. Nicholas Ermeta is mad as hell and is demanding that Waterloo Region listen to the wishes of people in Cambridge.

As council resumes after its summer hiatus, Ermeta will be bringing forward a motion to Cambridge council calling on it to condemn the region’s decision to set aside previously approved plans to gradually install roundabouts at 11 intersections on Franklin Boulevard in favour of completing all of them within two years.

“It’s very important that we fight for what’s right for Cambridge. People aren’t ready for this,” he said. “We’ve got to send a strong message to the region that we don’t want this.”

Since posting his notice of motion in July, Ermeta says he has been deluged with phone calls from people upset about the region’s plans.

“I’ve gotten overwhelming positive feedback from people in Cambridge,” he said. “I’ve even had calls from people in Kitchener and Waterloo supporting me. They aren’t fond of what’s happened with Ira Needles Boulevard.”

Another concern raised is that the volume of traffic on Franklin Boulevard may make it impossible for drivers to safely enter roundabouts from the sidestreets.

Ermeta also vehemently objects to plans to install a roundabout in front of St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School.

“They installed a roundabout near St. Mary’s (High School) in Kitchener and it’s been a disaster,” Ermeta said. “I’m in favour of the status quo at Franklin and Saginaw. If anything, the lights should be extended there to give people more time to cross the street.”

Ideally, Ermeta wants Waterloo Region to go back to its original plan to install the first three roundabouts at the top of Franklin Boulevard and then take a year to evaluate.

The region initially supported that plan until transportation planning staff filed a report recommending all 11 roundabouts be installed over a two-year period to minimize disruption to traffic and cut costs. That recommendation was accepted, but the decision was far from unanimous.

“All three (Cambridge) representatives voted against the change. So did the mayors of North Dumfries, Woolwich and one of the other townships. It’s the K-W councillors that are telling Cambridge what to do.”

Ermeta’s motion calls on “Cambridge City Council to condemn the (May 16) decision made by the Council of the Regional Municipality of Waterloo”.

It further asks council to request that the regional council reconsider and approve a new motion similar to the original recommendation previously passed.”

rmartin@cambridgetimes.ca

Source: The Cambridge Times

September 6, 2012 at 10:54 pm Leave a comment

Proposed Commercial Building Represents an Important Milestone in London’s Downtown Revival

A Windsor developer plans to build a three-storey, 30,000-square-foot building at Richmond and Carling streets on what is 15,000 square feet of parking space and a Sammy’s Souvlaki stand, next to Moxie’s restaurant. The new space will feature a “funky” exterior design and just may be a new home to a new Shoppers Drug Mart in the core. If the tenant is a new Shoppers, that will help the downtown as the existing store on Dundas St. is small, old and does not have the larger grocery line found in new stores. It is not a grocery store, but along with the market, will offer a good lineup of foods for downtown residents.

“This is excellent news,” beamed Janette MacDonald, manager of Downtown London, formerly MainStreet. “It will be well built. The builder has an eye for urban design.”

The builder is Rocco Tullio, who owns Rock Developments in Windsor. “London is a good market. It is somewhat insulated from the economy,” he said. “That is a good corner, in the heart of downtown. It’s a great site and we are looking forward to building a first-class office building.” He would not comment on rumours a Shoppers may locate there, but said a major tenant is interested. “I am confident we will make this go.”

Construction could begin this year or in spring 2011, depending on how fast the development moves. The land, about one-third of an acre, was sold by Dennis Dimitrakopoulous who operates several parking lots in the city. The space behind the new building will remain parking.

I just hope it looks helluva lot better than all of Rock’s boring big-box designs.

Source: LFPress.com

March 24, 2010 at 2:23 pm Leave a comment

Fanshawe College to Move to London’s Downtown? YES PLEASE!

A downtown Fanshawe College campus could produce greater economic spinoffs than the John Labatt Centre, arguably the highest-profile piece of the city’s core-revitalization efforts. That’s the reaction of Bob Usher, chairperson of Downtown London, to the proposed Fanshawe campus that could become the heart of a potential education and arts district. “I think it’s as important as the JLC, or more so,” Usher, who runs Covent Garden Market, said Tuesday. “This is every day — students and staff and people coming in to participate.” He also added that, “JLC is hit and miss, some days we have it, some days we don’t. You’re not at the whim of ‘what’s the next big rock band (coming in).’ ”

London is working with Fanshawe College on a downtown campus housed in heritage buildings, a plan that’s potentially the final major piece of city hall’s effort to revitalize the core. The proposed plan, which would be rolled out during the next decade with $10 million in city subsidies, is the backbone of a hoped-for education and arts district city officials want to turn into a tourism hub. Because it would cost Fanshawe more to renovate old downtown buildings than to build new structures elsewhere, the city has proposed a subsidy of up to $10 million to help cover those extra costs.

The proposed district, focused on Dundas and Richmond streets, would be bounded by Talbot, Kent, Clarence streets and just of south Dundas St. to Market Lane. “We’re not looking for one big, contiguous block,” said Bernice Hull, the college’s vice-president of administration. “We’re really focusing on the district concept.” Fanshawe, looking for as much as 100,000 sq. ft. for an eventual 1,000 students in a so-called School for Applied and Performance Arts, is interested in underused or empty “heritage-type” buildings to buy and renovate.

Fanshawe now offers its theatre arts program in the former Galleria mall, now CitiPlaza, where its lease lasts another five years, but needs additional space to offer new theatre-related programs. Fanshawe also is eager to partner with professional arts groups, specifically the Grand Theatre and Orchestra London, to create mentoring and other opportunities for its students. The city proposal, heading to council’s board of control Wednesday, would see those Fanshawe spaces also used on nights and weekends for youth-focused arts events, creating a potential tourism magnet.

Personally, I think the district should be bound by Dundas, Wellington, York and Richmond Streets. There are so many derelict and under utilized buildings in this area than for the area they are proposing… Bring some life back to other parts of the downtown!

Source(s): LFPress.com and LFPress.com

February 11, 2010 at 1:11 pm Leave a comment

A Call to Design: Dunbar Collective

Dunbar Collective: Site Location

Dunbar Collective: Site Location

I want to ask you the readers if you have a design solution for this location?

I want to create a green technology showcase property for City of Cambridge and hopefully this can be a catalyst project for the rest of Hespeler Road. Maybe this project could be included in the Mayor’s new “green” agenda?!

This project will create some much needed infill and intensification development as well as showcase new technologies through building design, energy systems and sustainability.

Perhaps work towards a LEED certified building(s)?

Site Details

Size: Unknown (I do not have the proper tools at home to calculate it!)

Current Zoning: Commercial, I’m assuming “automotive related”

Potential Zoning: Live/Work units

Transit: iXpress and GRT transit stops already in place at Cambridge Centre Mall, located relatively close to the 401

Other Details:

  • More than likely a low-level brownfield site
  • Gas station used to be located on corner of Dunbar Road and Hespeler Road
  • Several automotive related services were located on properties south of Dunbar, but before the recently closed Galt Chrysler Car Dealership
  • “Junky” flea market located at corner of Can-Amera Parkway and Hespeler Road
  • YMCA is across the street
  • Dumfries Conservation Area located across the street, approximate size of 75 hectares
  • New residential towers built at Dunbar and Conestoga Boulevard
  • Regional Shopping Centre (Cambridge Centre Mall) located across the street

I’m going to work on drafting some concepts, but I would also love to see your work too!

October 7, 2009 at 6:16 pm 3 comments

Older Posts


We are an urban design blog featuring news stories and ideas from London, Waterloo Region, and surrounding areas.
streetsblog.net

archives

blog information

  • 69,711 hits