Six In The Morning

1 THE WORK WEEK DAWNS ON THE BIG TRAFFIC SWITCHEROO Joe Couture’s Leader-Post story is here. Go read now, then come back. Thank you.

2 WIKILEAKS FOUNDER HIDING FROM AMERICA Apparently when your (excellent) whistle-blowing organization releases a horrific video of asshole American soldiers slaughtering Iraqis, it lands you in trouble. Who knew? (The Guardian)

3 HATE CRIMES WENT UP IN AUGHT-EIGHT They did, it’s true. By one-third. Blacks and Jews got the most attention from the bigots and nutters.  Sixteen per cent of hate crimes were committed against gays and lesbians. It’s always good to be reminded that even in Canada, disturbed, frightened and angry whack-jobs walk among us. (Globe And Mail)

4 FIRST MINISTERS MEET TO TALK PENSION PLANS Read all about it. (CP/Winnipeg Free Press)

5 ABOUT A BOOB’S BOOBS Evil and dangerous teabag politician Palin’s robust bosom draws creepy mediainterest to which I have succumbed — to my shame. (Huffington Post)

6 THE BIG SWITCHEROO, PART TWO  My only source so far is CBC radio, and judging from callers the mood about the excellent new two-way downtown is “suspicious”. Well, give it some time, you negative nellies. It’ll get much better.

The City changed things up because the past traffic system encouraged reckless driving and an anti-downtown mentality. The old downtown one-ways trained drivers to think of our beautiful city centre neighbourhood as a freeway to speed through as fast as possible. The ONLY REASON for one-ways in a downtown is to herd people out of it as fast as possible. That is not what we want. Downtown is NOT a freeway. It is a place of business, shopping, entertainment and, yes, residential living. Regina doesn’t need drivers treating our beautiful city centre like the Lewvan.

There’s a story on CBC’s website here. And, arrrrgh. The manager of the Tiki Room, a supposedly cool downtown business, says “We had basically zero consultation.” Well, respectfully, no. Over the last number of years there have been town hall meetings and information sessions, and media — especially us — have done a reasonably thorough job of covering this. So if this businesses manager was asleep at the wheel he needs to take some responsibility for that rather than  implying the City pulled a fast one on his business. If you bury your head in the sand, don’t complain about not knowing what’s going on.

(In this manager’s defence: sometimes you just don’t know what to say when a reporter’s bugging you for a quote, so he might not actually mean to be so negative. Reporters want drama and there’s not as much drama in good news. And in his further defence, the City did an okay job getting the word out but could’ve done more. I blame being under-resourced.)

Also, parking keeps coming up. “There’s not enough parking and this will make it worse, whiiine!” Well, first, no, it’ll make parking slightly better, long-term. But you can’t have this fantasy  downtown parking people always talk about. These expectations that everybody should be able to park right in front of wherever they’re going are asinine. Scratch that–they’re delusional. If you want easy parking, move to a town with 5000 people. If you want to live in a city — which you seem to, because you’re here — don’t talk like a spoiled child. You can’t have your urban cake and eat it too.

If you’ve travelled, you’ll remember that most cities have two-way downtowns. The reason? They WORK. Embrace the change, Regina. Get excited and don’t be such a wet blanket. Our city just took a big step to a better future.

Rant ends. Oh, and PLEASE drive, walk and bike extra safely while people adapt to the new excellence.

Author: Stephen Whitworth

Prairie Dog editor Stephen Whitworth was carried to Regina in a swarm of bees. He's been with Prairie Dog since May 1999 and will die at his keyboard before admitting his career a terrible, terrible mistake.

5 thoughts on “Six In The Morning”

  1. Good post, Stephen. It’s not like the proposed changes (and now realized changes) haven’t been in the public forum for ages. There are 2 major problems in this city: the culture of complaint, and the culture of non-engagement – and much of the latter is voluntary. Once I get through with the garden today, I may just bus downtown and check out what’s happening.

  2. As far as “revitalizing downtown” is concerned, I feel like two-way streets is a neutral idea, except for how it will affect the bus routes — the busses will waste less time looping around downtown and should get you into and out of downtown much more quickly now…. Once you understand which one you want to take and where to catch it, which is kind of hard to do at the moment, since the routes have all changed downtown but the new schedules weren’t posted online until June 13. Guh. Oh well, it’ll get better.
    I am seeing the new “bulb-outs” under construction and hating them before they even exist; they are taking up space where a turning lane should be, on streets where the busses need to turn. Yikes, congestion city. As for parking, a few of the things already done are interesting. Hopefully we will be seeing more buildings with above-ground parking soon.
    I really wish we’d see an expressway that spills into downtown though (maybe where the train tracks are right now), like in Saskatoon. Saskatoon’s downtown is a really lively place, and I think that is one of the reasons: it is a really quick destination from just about anywhere in the city. I think part of what deters many people from going downtown here is the fact that, from many areas of the city, it takes less time to get to the box stores and other shopping and hanging-out options than it does to get downtown.

  3. This is a gong show. This will not make people who already don’t want to come downtown now come. Do you really think that the 2 parent, 3 child suberb family, knowing parking sucks, is going to take the bus downtown with all their child supplies and strollers? Not likely. And I don’t think everyone needs to park right in front of where they want to go, they just want to be able to find a reasonable parking spot in the shortest amount of time. I work downtown right on 12th by the park and see no need for this “plaza”.

  4. Two-way avenues: good.
    Conversion to two-way while half of the downtown is torn apart and hard enough to navigate without the change: not so good.
    The fact that all of the transition should be over by the end of the summer: really good.
    End result: remains to be seen. Ideas like making downtown “more legible” to navigate for people not from here, and creating a single transfer point for the bus system will be realized…. but some of the side-effects may not be so good. The location of the new transfer point is not so great (especially until some kind of indoor facilities are built where drivers and riders can grab coffee and/or hit the potty… will there be something in place by winter, please?). Overall I think things will be slightly better than they were but not by that much.

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