I love Bells Corners


Choosing our Future, an initiative of the City of Ottawa, the City of Gatineau and the National Capital Commission, chose to study Bells Corners as a “suburban archetype.”

Calling Bells Corners a “superb example of the 70s well-designed suburban community, virtually frozen in time” the report lists our strengths:

It is completely surrounded by the Greenbelt, and this makes rural and natural lands accessible and makes the urban boundaries clear and firm. The community also benefits from an excellent balance between number of jobs and number of residents — 9,925 jobs in 2006, and a population of 10,200 in 2008; exceptional heritage buildings including church and school; high-tech industrial base well-suited to the new economy; a very definite edge identity to the community; a great diversity of housing including some higher density residential development; some affordable housing; a strong sense of community even as the generations turnover; and a clear separation of land uses.
our weaknesses:

The entire community is designed around automobile use and is not really walkable. Although there are many internal green areas they are not well connected with each other or with the surrounding residential community. A Hydro corridor cuts through the neighbourhood. Land-use patterns are quite fragmented and specialized. The underpass and the community is poorly designed. The streams in the area have been buried. Residential streets back onto collector streets.
threats to our community:
Rapid development of commercial businesses in Kanata is undermining the sustainability of many of the commercial shops and services. The neighbourhood is almost frozen in time, and improving connectivity, adding green streets, and changing other land-use patterns is certain to provoke a not in my backyard reaction. Rapid and significant increases in the price of fossil fuels will make it difficult to retain land values for a neighbourhood which is designed around automobiles and requires that many people still commute.


opportunities:
The neighbourhood has easy access to the region both by the highway and railway. The neighbourhood is also surrounded by the Greenbelt which can be used as a major amenity. Many recreational opportunities nearby; a pleasant microclimate; agricultural land with food production right next door to residential neighbourhoods; access to waterways and trails in the green spaces; potential for daylighting streams and for using the large industrial park as an incubator for many small businesses and work near home opportunities; potential for at least three walkable nodes; potential for a heritage street in the center of the neighbourhood; and potential for mixed-use buildings that can face in multiple directions as infill. A number of niche locations can add value to the human scale experience of neighbourhood. The Hydro corridor could become a Green corridor, and the streets are wide enough they could become ‘green streets’ and very livable streets. Only small changes are required to achieve a real diversity of housing types in 10 years.


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4 Responses to I love Bells Corners

  1. Rich Littleton says:

    One positive point that’s missing is that street snow removal is fast and relatively easy.

    Load up the plow truck with the wing and with sand and salt, apply throttle getting a 100 horsepower to ground, rod up one side of the street 20 plus mph, down the other, lay some sand and salt on the curves and intersections: job done. D A Moodie knew his stuff. No pissing around for days on end with every known snow pushing device known to man, other than a plow truck, as is the case these days.

  2. Dave Mc says:

    Incorporate a palette of nodes? Insert “new energies” into centre of road right-of-ways?
    Courtyards as places of urban systems? What the hell’s an urban system?
    Daylighting of streams? Complex human scale mixed use development blocks?
    More shock resistance by incorporating increased windbreaks?
    And my favourite – storm water percolation features!

    Seriously, is this some sort of urban engineering-speak that we’re supposed to understand?

  3. margaret says:

    december 2008
    central heritage road
    sustainability threat
    frozen in time
    infill
    sounds familiar
    where have I heard this recently ?

  4. margaret says:

    just back from germany
    and read Bill Teron’s stance on infill … at long last a developer telling it as it is for the ‘people’ rather than the developers
    admittedly he wouldn’t want to see his dream design changed but city council has to look at what they are doing bit by bit
    when was it they did their new official plan ?? 3, 5, 7 years ago ?? and what did they do the day after it was passed …. rezoned something !
    when will they realize that zoning is there for a reason – minor variances can be tolerated but not major changes without it causing a domino effect …

    look at the situation with BC – new commercial and big box going up all over the place and council expects BC to remain sustainable

    – Bill Teron’s campaign has drawn a lot of attention – 61 comments on the Citizen site.

    I met him after the planning committee meeting on Apr. 12 – he was there to speak in favour of the Lloyd Francis Boulevard proposal and I was there to denounce it. I told him that I lived in one of his fantastic homes in Lynwood Village and how much I admired his work, but he looked at me askance – maybe he didn’t like what I said to the committee about how wrong it was to recognize his buddy Lloyd via Rick’s dumb idea.

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