The Plaza: It’s Aliiive

And judging from what I saw this weekend, it appears… to be working. More photos after the jump. All photos can be embiggened by clicking on them.

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.

19 thoughts on “The Plaza: It’s Aliiive”

  1. You know, I still have no idea how cars are going to work on this, though.

    Not that I’m complaining. Not having a car and all….

  2. I’m fairly sure all the photos show the pedestrian-only space so I don’t think any conclusions about driver-pedestrian interaction can be drawn from these shots.

  3. The same number of pedestrians walked on 12th avenue pre-rusted lynch poles during the folkfest. The litmus test will be how the thing works during the winter. The consultants the City paid to meet with “stakeholders” assured my office that the project was designed to work year-round.

    So let’s wait for the -40 with a 60kph wind to judge the success of the project.

  4. Post-plaza, it’s a longer trek to and from the Twin Towers for transit users. That is something that will not please the winter bus riders.

    The plaza looks nice, but I am wondering how long it will be before those light poles are broken.

  5. The “plaza” doesn’t give people any reason to go downtown. I can’t imagine someone saying “hey guys, it’s minus 40 outside, and I’d like to stay warm and go for a drink, but heck, let’s walk along an avenue where there are no restaurants and freeze”.

    If the plaza could have been successful, it would have been on the notion of extending it along Scarth, where restaurants and bars exist already. The Bank of Canada building, the Credit Foncier building, and the old Novia buildings are not going to be changing formats any time soon.

  6. Good point, Tuco. I was just thinking Mr. Spuds would make a nice year ’round alternative to the 93-year-old Novia Cafe.

  7. Re Tuco:

    If people don’t run to 12th avenue when its -40 the plaza is a failure?

    Show me the number of people who use the skating rinks, sliding hills and cross-country ski trials at -40. Should we write off Wascana Centre if its empty on the very cold days of winter?
    People I know stay inside when it’s that cold unless they must leave their home.

    It’s also minus 40 or colder what, a handful of times a year if at all? Maybe we can give the plaza a break on the very cold days?

    Re Not all that anonymous:
    When I worked in the Cornwall Centre I would have loved to catch the bus on 11th instead of walking through the wind tunnel, created by the twin towers, on Scarth Mall to 12th. Some gain, some lose.

  8. Things I find a little surprising:
    1. Scarth seems to be a permanent dead end at 12th now.
    2. Cornwall too.
    3. Only one lane for automobile traffic on 12th. I thought it was going to be two-way all the way through downtown.
    Yes this makes the area friendlier for pedestrians (good thing). And how badly do people really need to drive down 12th Avenue? But one of the plusses to the New Downtown was supposed to be that it was “more legible” for “how do I get from A to B” for tourists, etc. I don’t think this is acheived by creating two dead ends.
    4. Well, not really surprising, but… DANG, The New 12th Avenue sure is hot in the summer sun, being all open and without shading. I imagine it will also be really cold in the winter due to the same. I sure hope the “ugly orange things” work for reducing the winds…. but I am not optimistic, given the amount of open space there now.
    I was optimistic, hell, even excited about the Plaza before… now I am a little nervous. It sure is pretty though.

  9. @anonymous – Aug. 08 – 2:41 pm:
    Both Scarth St and Cornwall St will have access onto 12th Ave. There is still a lot of work left this summer to finish the project.

    There will be a single lane of traffic in both directions along 12th Ave, through the plaza.

    Having seen a sneak peek (!) of some of the ideas for winter activation of the plaza, I’m looking forward to seeing which ones “make the cut” for winter 2011!

  10. Sure lots of Ceader Ikea chairs.. No tables, No garbage recepticles, No Water fountains, no toilets ,No Heated Bus Stops. FN Awesome.

    A shady thing to shade the BoCan bldg?
    350,000 Imported stones? WTF is buy local? a useless phrase

    A Peer review of Regina city hall and its modis operandi is needed, right away.
    Cap salaries and benefits.

    you can’t sweep 1/4 billion, debt under the carpet for much longer Pat.

  11. I’m surprised nobody else but Ron on this blog mentioned the imported German bricks. It is a sad statement that Saskatchewan, which used to export bricks produced in Claybank, has no manufacturing capacity for same anymore.

    Maybe I’m too pessimistic. I just happen to think that at a time when our water treatment plant is constantly on the fritz, our municipal pension plan has been underfunded by the civic administration, and we have a housing crisis, that a multi million dollar tearing out of 12th avenue project might have been better placed a little further down the priority scale.,

  12. Forget weather, Tuco’s valid point is that the plaza isn’t “leveraging” anything to the north, no synergies are happening in terms of getting something useful going in the Gordon Block. It’s all office space or it’s vacant. Imagine how great if some pub or lunch place was in the Novia space…stumble out onto the plaza–at the moment, it’s just some stand alone public space, tho at least it’s sunny.

  13. @#12 anonymous:
    At Lorne Street it appears there is only room for one lane of traffic due to the Wooden Shack in the eastbound lane. Also there appear to be new trees planted in the intersection of Scarth & 12th. I am curious to see how this will work. And isn’t there supposed to be a stage at Cornwall & 12th? How will this work for traffic? I am thoroughly confused. Once the whole thing is open I guess I’ll see. I like what I’m seeing so far, though. Well, except for the empty storefronts on 12th and the other buildings there with NO storefronts. Part of why our downtown isn’t quite so great is the lack of storefronts on 12th there, and on Lorne Street between 11th and 12th. I wonder if this might ever change.

  14. As a commercial tenant of the old Credit Foncier building (12th and Cornwall), I can assure anon that there is little that could be done to create a storefront in this particular building, save tearing the thing down – which of course would be destroy our city’s heritage.

  15. (I’m also #12 anonymous – I figured I should have a *real* name! )

    @#16 anonymous
    I’m very interested in the plaza, and have gone over the plans numerous times. The intersection at 12th & Scarth is a single northbound lane; Scarth St is returning to one way traffic. It looks tight, but a full-sized single lane looks very small compared to the rest of the plaza!

    The intersection at Cornwall will be “interesting” with single lanes on either side of the stage. The northbound lane to the east of the stage, and the southbound lane to the west.

    Reuse of the Credit Foncier building depends *how* attractive the area becomes. In cities with old, vibrant neighbourhoods I’ve seen all kinds of uses put into old buildings. One of the best restaurants (fine dining) I’ve been at in Ottawa was on the 2nd floor of an old building, with a non-descript “hole in the wall” door on the main street. It works, if the product is good and the clientele exists.

  16. tentento- hehe, I suppose if someone hooked water up into the first floor – spent a couple of million to take out the safe that occupies 2/3rds of the first floor, you might have a point. A better scenario would be to have the Hills use some of their taxpayer funded rent money to put a real restaurant in one of the twin towers.

    There’s also the bit about the Bank of Canada building.

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