Today from 3-8PM at the Rideau St Library (377 Rideau) is the Open House for the Rideau St re-design. Cllr Fleury’s office explains this is a pop-in Open House to inform the public of aspects of the 2005 Community Design Plan (CDP) that are to be reviewed and revised in the next edition “to provide clear direction for future development.” Read more on the reasons for reopening the CDP and the items affected (e.g., Building height, traffic management, etc) here.
Today is the first opportunity for the community to get their vision across for this stretch of Rideau St that runs from King Edward to the Cummings Bridge. The whole Ward is affected by this section of Rideau. A “destination” visionary design rather than one that simply supports short-term developer gains could bolster the desirability of the whole area from Montreal Road by creating a shopping corridor to the Market generating a diversity of clients allowing businesses to flourish.
The 2005 CDP limited height to 6 stories so an important aspect to review will be if this height limitation is preserved as sunlight is an important aspect to any shopping district- witness the demise of Spark Street’s dark corridor or the lack of patios and foot fall on Queen & Slater at the weekend.
Equally it would be nice to see if there is any room for mini-parks to encourage residents to gather or street furniture to take a break.
Rideau st affects the entire Ward – if it becomes a dark speedy wind tunnel of high-rises it will forever cut off Vanier from Lowertown/SandyHill and the Byward Market bringing down the tone of each and every neighbourhood in Ward 12. If however Rideau is designed with a strong vision in mind- and I for one see it as a strolling, shopping, low-rise patio-friendly destination that draws visitors and residents alike – it has the location and bordering neighbourhoods to become a true destination with shopping, a cinema, great history and restaurants all a joined up in a walkable distance. Upper Rideau is without a doubt the vital link between Ward 12 neighbours from Vanier through the shops on Cumberland, Dalhousie and the Market.
Hopefully today’s open house is a step in ensuring a traditional low-rise strolling- and-shopping,district that reinforces our Ward as a desirable, liveable destination that all of Ottawa deserves.