Posts tagged ‘London’

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

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

High Speed Rail Symposium

Earlier this evening I had attended the London High Speed Rail(HSR) Symposium, which was an interesting mini conference with 3 industry experts,each representing their respective rail manufacturing company (Alstom, Siemens and Bombardier) along with a former federal transportation minister, David Collenette. Basically all the experts along with the former minister agree that HSR is a viable alternative to transportation within the Windsor – Quebec Corridor, however the only way we can make it happen is if we get a high power champion to move the cause along and bring it to the forefront. Personally I believe that if there was a HSR system in the Windsor-Quebec corridor and London was a stop it would create great opportunities for our city to grow as well be a major boost to our downtowns’ redevelopment. We could essentially become a Toronto bedroom community- but before we do that we need to raise the standards of design and quality of life by enhancing our public realm. With the transportation technology available to us, these days, people are able to live in cities just because they enjoy the character and life style it offers and commute to work in a city 200km’s away in just under an hour. London really needs to step up to the plate and play ball if we want to continue to grow and flourish, I do believe we are on the right track especially with what is going on in our Downtown.

Here is an article from the London Free Press about the Symposium;

Next economy: High-speed rail plugged in London

By PATRICK MALONEY , SUN MEDIA

A high-speed rail line would change London into a flourishing Toronto bedroom community, an industry expert says.

Chuck Wochele, a vice-president with international rail manufacturer Alstom, told a London symposium tonight such rail lines — which carry passenger trains as fast as 170miles an hour — are successful across Europe and could spur enormous growth in London.

“It changes the dynamics of cities,” said Wochele, who called London a “perfect” stopping point on a high-speed line. “You would get people moving away from Toronto to live here and commute to work every day.

“It would be a breeze commute.”

Wochele was one of several industry veterans who were to discuss the merits of high-speed rail, which proponents say should run from Windsor to Quebec.

The issue has been discussed for decades, but prohibitive construction costs have stood in the way.

The event was run by Paul Langan of High Speed Rail Canada — a group he says gets no funding from industry heavyweights such as Bombardier. He’s speaking in cities nationwide, promoting what he says was “neglected in Canada for 50 years.”

Coun. Judy Bryant and city planner John Fleming pushed for Langan to bring his presentation here.

“We need to work very fast if we’re going to be relevant in the 21st century,” Bryant said.

As if to prove the benefits of high-speed rail, the main speaker, a former federal transportation minister, David Collenette, was late — stuck in traffic on the Hwy. 401.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Paul Langan urged everyone in attendance to sign up to the High Speed Rail Canada advocate group on his website: Highspeedrail.ca
He also told everyone it is important to write letters to our MP’s and MPP’s and show them our interest in the subject. It is important that we get a political champion in order for HSR to happen!

*JrUD

May 28, 2009 at 9:42 pm Leave a comment

Dundas-King Pedestrian Mid-block Connection: A Downtown Public Space Concept

Last semester we were asked by our professor to create an independent project that would be one of the key pieces in our portfolios. As I am interested in Urban Design, urban renewal and I am active in the revival of downtown London, naturally I chose to do a concept project for the downtown.

I realized that the downtown lacks in quality urban spaces to entertain those who live in the core and those who are there to shop and visit.

DowntownMapFull

I looked at the available spaces to create an interesting public space and narrowed it down to two, the parking lots between Dundas Street and King Street, and King Street and York Street [Site 1]. This would create an direct pedestrian mid-block connection between Dundas Street and the VIA train station on York Street; and the other site was the parking lots at Richmond Street and Carling Street [Site 2].

DowntownMapcloseup

Listing the pro’s and con’s of each site I chose to do the midblock connection, however because of time constraints I could only do the portion between Dundas and King.

Realizing that this is an existing parking lot, that is usually full on weekdays, it would be important to re allocate the parking somehow. My solution to this is that there would be a public private partnership to build a mix use parkade between the midblock connection and Clarence and King and the existing buildings along clearance. My Concept poster shows the new building having retail at grade with a false second floor or it could be office space or apartments.

Existing Amenities

(Click for larger images)

Proposal

Check out the 3D walkthrough of the space..

let me know what you think? Would you use this space? Is this something that would attract people to the downtown?

*JrUD

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May 14, 2009 at 5:27 am 6 comments

Westmount Shopping Center – Progress on Redevelopment – Theater Now Open

Previous Posts on this Topic:

 

The day has come for all those wanting to have a  “new movie going experience”, as of today ( May 8th, 2009), the new Cineplex Odeon Theater is now open! –  Within this post there are a few pictures of the completed exterior of the new Cineplex Odeonmovie theater which features 8 screens and 3 VIP screens, a Licensed Lounge, and an Interactive Gaming Area. I still feel that it is unfortunate for the tenants of the shopping center that their newest attraction, expected to draw large crowds, is actually located outside of the mall with no internal connection.

The New free standing TD Canada Trust has also been opened.

It seems like Westmount is already taking the next steps and continuing their revival by demolishing the old Cineplex/TD building on the corner of Viscount and Wonderland. The plans call for two restaraunts at this location with a pedestrian square coming off the corner, between the two restaurants. One of the restaurants, that has been named by Westmount management, is to be Shoeless Joe’s a sport-themed restaurant, new to the London market.

 

*JrUD

May 8, 2009 at 12:59 pm Leave a comment

Galleria Redevelopment Well Underway

Taking the bus down Wellington last week i couldn’t help but stop at Galleria to check up on the construction that has been on going there for the past year.

While most of the chain stores have left over a decade ago, Galleria has seen a huge transformation. From an Urban Design point of view, I think having a retail mall in the downtown of a city the size of London is a bad idea, as it usually creates empty storefront and quiet streetscapes. However Galleria has transformed itself away from the traditional mall and become a true mixed use center with the new Library, Office spaces, Post Secondary satellite campuses- . Sure many improvements could still be made- such as making whats left of the perimeter of the building, more pedestrian friendly maybe by adding more windows and entrances to get rid of the solid brick walls- but I think they are on the right track.  The new atrium glass entrance is almost complete( they have now taken out concrete barriers placed on Wellington), all that is left is the installation of the architectural panels, new doors and the new sign “Citi Plaza”. Personally I am still on the fence on whether or not I like the design of the new entrance. It seems like it was a quick fix and not much thought was actually put into it. What I mean is that the section between the former Eatons store and King St has so much more potential and it is too bad that all they did was add a  3 storey glass structure and replaced the old glass with new glass adding a metallic gray stripping between them instead of the old green metal. None the less at least they are trying to renovate and create a new identity. The inside looks awesome; it boasts some interesting contemporary ceramic tile floor patterns,  a Stainless steel/ Dark Hardwood look through out the first level, colour changing L.E.D. lighting on the ceilings, new modern washrooms, and a great new foodcourt, which is now downstaires, with 5 food establishments – Arbys, Subway, Golden Wok, Taco Del Mar, Sushi (the name escapes me) and 1 more on the way- soon to open will be a Country Style Bistro Deli which will occupy the space between the Suzy Sheer and the food court.

Fox and Fiddle

Another welcoming addition to the Galleria that will hopefully bring some life to the patio scene on Wellington St. is Fox &  Fiddle which is a pub.  F&F will occupy the space of the former, very dated, Elephant Caslte- that space is also going through a total remodel to fit with the F&F franchise look.

Here are a few pictures of the new entrance to the soon to be CitiPlaza, more pictures will follow when it is complete.

 

**JrUD

March 27, 2009 at 11:42 am 2 comments

Wonderland & Southdale Power Center Grows

We try to dedicate this site to Good urban design, however it is hard to show good examples when so many bad developments are currently being constructed. The Southside Group “Empire” is growing once again this time on west side of Wonderland south of Southdale just south of the Home Depot in the big box power center uniquely called Westwood – there are no woods, hardly any trees, in fact, just huge stores (pushed as far back as they can go on the property) along with vast parking between Wonderland Rd and the stores. I must say this this development(both east and west sides of Wonderland south of Southdale) along with the Hyde Park development have to be the least pedestrian friendly commercial developments in the city! With side walks starting in random places (usually between rows of parked cars) going zig zag all over and then finishing in another random place. I believe this development lacks vision it seems just like someone is out to make a quick buck not giving a care in the world as to what it will look like and about the end user. Often I wonder why developers of these big box centers don’t give some character to their developments to differentiate them from the other bland big box centers all around town. For example why not place the front row of buildings (the ones along the west side of wonderland south of southdale) right up to the lot line – up to the sidewalk – and create a street wall leaving an openning every few stores to allow access to the parking lot. Maybe adding a central park space or a public square, which could have a splash pad in the summer and a skating rink in the winter- adding these type of amenities could attract more people which equals more business which could mean the developer makes a premium on this site because the activities bring a lot more people to the area who will stay longer and this means they could buy more in stores. 

Anyway, back to Westwood Power Center (Phase 2 of 3)- there is currently the steel frame of a giant building going up which will house 5 stores; given that none of these stores have backed out because of the state of the economy, they are –

Location MapWinners – I believe this is their 5 store in London 

HomeSense – From what I understand this store would be moving from its Wellington location 

Jysk – Second store in London

Dollarama – x number store in London (soo many popping up everywhere)

 and TigerDirect.com – This would be the second London location announced (the fist was in Hyde Park next to Sam’s Club- however it seems like this one will be built first)

All the store (if everything goes as planned) should be opened by July 2009-

Here are a few pictures of the on going construction:

 

*JrUD

March 21, 2009 at 8:11 am 1 comment

New Goodlife Fitness Gym- North London

Map of Location - 116 North Centre Rd.

Map of Location - 116 North Centre Rd.

Anyone driving down Fanshawe Park Rd going East or West around Masonville mall has surely noticed a fair sized 2 storey building going up on North Centre Road just north of Fanshawe Park Rd. This is the location of  a new Goodlife Fitness gym, at first glance one can tell that this Goodlife will be different then others in the city- first off because it is one of the few freestanding Goodlife buildings (meaning its not in a Loblaws, Superstore, Stip Plaza, or mall.) From what I could tell during construction I was pleasantly surprised at the orientation of the building and the location of what seems to be the front entrance- the building is oriented and brought right up to the street with no parking lot in the front, rather the parking is located in the back. Since I have been unable to get my hands on any renderings, as of yet, of what the gym will look like I will reserve my judgment for the final product, however so far so good, except for what seems to be a lack of windows on the wall fronting NorthCenter Rd.-

March 2, 2009 at 10:31 pm 5 comments

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