Riding the Wal Mart Bus

Yesterday afternoon I took the Wal Mart Shuttle from the Southland across Lewvan to the Grasslands and the Wal Mart Supercentre.

When I transferred buses by the Cineplex Southland the Wal Mart shuttle was sitting waiting for its next run.  The bus was one of the small ones, purchased about two years ago, that’s almost half the size of a regular bus.

Upon entering the bus, there were seven people on board and the driver chatted with a few near the front while she waited.  The atmosphere was sort of energetic, similar to, as I recall, being on a school bus trip or tour bus in some ways.  There was just the slightest air of excitement.

So the bus went.  It was a brief, direct trip.  Once the shuttle crossed Pasqua St. it became clear why a direct bus would be necessary.  The sidewalks along Gordon Rd. were snow hills that only people able to scamper around could navigate.  Snow had been pushed just past the curb.  The north cross walk button, at the Lewvan and Gordon lights, was defended by barricades of piled snow as well.

The condition of the side-walk west of Lewvan was better until one neared the entrance to the Wal Mart parking lot.  The sidewalks once again started to disappear, putting potential pedestrians in amongst traffic.  The side-walks vanished entirely once in the parking lot and it’s a 100 yard walk to either front door.

The parking lot was almost full that late afternoon.  Adding any more stores around the lot would likely require even more parking since Wal Mart seemed to use every bit of its allotment.  Fortunately, the Grasslands looks like it has parking in mind as it expands.

The ride back was just the same as the ride there:  about half-a-dozen people were on the bus, this time with parcels.

As for my impression of the Wal Mart Supercentre at Grasslands? Well, I’m not sure how to describe my experience; so I’ll let Mick and Joe give you some idea of how I felt.

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Riding the Wal Mart Bus

7 thoughts on “Riding the Wal Mart Bus

    1. wourliem says:

      Hey thanks for the comment.

      That word ‘wasteland’ reminds me of something about winter when I was a child.

      1996 -97 I was in grade 6 band and we took the bus to practice once a week. On our route we went down Wascana Parkway to Elsie Dorsey School to pick up band folk. In those days, South West of the university the parking lot and some of the research park buildings were nothing but a dumping ground for snow. This snow area contained so many hills all piled close together to create a ragged, egg carton landscape I called ‘the wastelands.’ Every week I spent our half a minute along Wascana Parkway stuck to the window dreaming of the snow forts, adventures, and exploration of the lonely, empty, area.

      The Wal Mart has some connections to those cold, barren little hills; however, it doesn’t inspire, in me at least, nearly as much imagination.

      The Wal Mart’s popularity does interest me a great deal. I’ve heard of at least two people who think its the greatest place possible. I imagine a good number of Reginans think like this too. The one stop wonder; convenience and low pricing all in a neat package. It’s easy to critically dismiss the sprawl, the carbon, the mentality and the cheese (Grasslands? Really?). The question I have (and please feel free to add your input ) is for all the downtown plans, Victoria Park re-designs and Central Library Projects, do the majority of Reginans enjoy the Wal Mart more? If non of these plans and projects went underway or weren’t even discussed, would there be a 100 000 + people in this city who wouldn’t bat an eye as long as they had some ‘decent’ shopping options at the edge of town??

      I don’t know, but it sort of seems that way to me.

      1. At the moment, it does seem unlikely that anything built downtown could draw a yuppie to shop there instead of at the Walmart. We grew up on malls, of the indoor variety, and think outdoor malls just aren’t malls.

  1. But Harbour Landing is supposed to be a walkable community design. <>

    Harbour Landing is and will be a gigantic impediment to the revitalization of any commercial outside of coffee shops in the core for a long time coming.

    I do not like the Victoria Park redesign. Removing trees so the Folk Festival is centered more on concrete than the park, might be good for the grass, but terrible for the character of the Festival. I do like reintroducing two-way traffic on 11th and 12th, but it’s going to make transit difficult to incorporate easily in the core.

    It’s nice to make 12th more pedestrian friendly, but the streetscape itself is not condusive(sp) to making me want to walk on it. There’s no shops between Cornwall and Albert to browse through. Unless I am heading to the library, I am probably walking through Victoria Park towards Victoria Avenue or down 12th Avenue where there are some stores.

    Regina’s interesting streets to walk on in the core are few and far between. More efforts should be made on the East-West links between Scarth and Hamilton than to the facelift of 12th.

    1. wourliem says:

      Thanks for your thoughts HomeInMyShoes

      I’m not sure I agree that Harbour Landing will impede commercial in the core because the stores interested in Grasslands aren’t usually interested in Downtowns. Big stores like Wal Mart or Lowes don’t locate centrally in older neighbourhoods. Smaller stores, like Jones of New York could, but we’ve seen other clothing and design brands Old Navy, Reitmans and Home Outfiters chose stand-alone suburban locations. It seems to me some of these companies are not interested in central locations.

      What I would hope for Harbour Landing, what was initially planned for and what I feel has been reduced by small decisions over the last few years is walkability within that community. The people who live in that neighbourhood should feel comfortable walking to the commercial near them. The development is still being created and that may yet happen, but I’m not optimistic.

      I agree there are issues with the park redesign. Removing trees and grass does sound great, on the other hand, having a larger enhanced space for the farmer’s market does sound good. I have a feeling the park will become busier with scheduled events and wont be as relaxing on a weekday afternoon. The bonus is more users and a better public perception among people who probably rarely went to the park.

      What you say about 12 Ave not having shops/browsing opportunities is interesting. I agree that street is not currently much of an attraction but it is vital connecting other streets around it which are destinations. Walking around the construction this winter makes me long for the days of easy access.

      Two way traffic will require some adjustment time. Its made cycling downtown much slower and the heavy traffic doesn’t feel as comfortable riding in. Some of the traffic jams last summer were pretty bad along 12th that will effect transit as much as any vehicle.

  2. The traffic along 12th will get a little better when both roads are open. When I talk about the walkability of 12th. The street is nice to walk on, with landmark buildings both big and small, new and old. What it lacks is diversity in use. Outside of Novia and Canadian Barber Shop there is very little outside of government office. With Mosaic Tower and — shuddering at the thought of losing the buildings with Novia in it — McCallum’s tower number 4 rumoured, 12th will have even less usage diversity than it has now. 12th will only be as healthy as Lorne, Cornwall and Scarth are.

    I am not totally negative on 12th. There are good things that will come out of it, but I think a permanent home with indoor and outdoor facilities would have been great for the Farmer’s Market.

    Harbour Landing will limit retail in core just based on numbers and not type of store. There is a finite amount of money that Regina consumers have to spend which means ,outside of the North American penchant to live on debt, more dollars spent outside the core must mean less dollars spent inside the core. Harbour Landing effectively makes it the easiest to get to — by car — destination for shopping for much of the South and West ends of the city. That is the impediment. Less weekend traffic for the core, less after work traffic for the core, and less dollars being spent in the core. We have some great retail in the core. I hope we can maintain and grow it, but Harbour Landing is not going to help grow that.

    Many stores do not want core locations anymore. Why? Cheaper rents, more available parking, and the kicker for big places like Lowe’s and Home Depot is distribution. Why pay for distribution to two stores when you can build one larger near the outskirts? The corporation’s bottom line drives sameness in built style everywhere and fewer larger stores on the periphery of our cities. But councils and mayors keep approving them. It is the same pattern everywhere and, as Kunstler’s book is titled, “The Geography of Nowhere”.

    Harbour Landing will not be walkable outside of the wee hours of the morning. Try walking around Victoria Avenue East and it will have similar traffic volumes and difficulty in navigating. Not to mention the joy of attempting to cross Lewvan Drive as a pedestrian if you live just off Pasqua or 25th or Parliament.

    Walkable and diverse environments need one thing, okay more than one thing, but one thing they need is short blocks that lead to multiple routes. That is not part of the site plan of Harbour Landing and never had been.

  3. “Harbour Landing effectively makes it the easiest to get to — by car — destination for shopping for much of the South and West ends of the city. That is the impediment. Less weekend traffic for the core, less after work traffic for the core, and less dollars being spent in the core.”

    Absolutely. And let’s not forget the retail strip at Hill and Montague. And Cathedral. I suspect they’re already starting to feel some impacts. 13th, for instance, is turning into just another feeder for the Lewvan.

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