Broad Street Crossing and the Green Wall of Shame, Part 1

This week’s posts are dedicated to Broad Street Crossing – a development I have been thinking about for quite awhile.  Today I will share some background information on this project, and in a few days I will focus on one aspect of it (the “Green Wall of Shame”) and present a few ideas on how to improve it – a hypothetical before and after.

For those unfamiliar with this development, here is a little bit of context: The corner or 11th avenue and Broad Street in Regina used to be home to a large Army and Navy store (built sometime around the 1920-30s).

View of 11th Avenue looking east, towards Broad Street (date: 2006)

While I personally think it was a cool building and loved shopping there as a child, over time it lost popularity and was not making much of a profit.  The Army and Navy store closed in the early 2000s, and in the mid-late 2000s the building was slated for demolition, along with, the Army, Navy, and Airforce Hall just north of it on Broad Street (unfortunately, I don’t have a photo of this).

The developments that subsequently replaced these two buildings were 1) Wingate hotel to the North and 2) Broad Street Crossing to the South.  Broad Street Crossing’s claim to fame was that it would house the largest Tim Horton’s in Canada… which… I suppose is great, if that is what you are into.

A contributor to this blog remembers this space being the topic for a university geography class project.  Groups of students had to come up with proposals for what this corner could look like.  His recollection was that most designs included higher density developments and were pedestrian friendly, some even included a small greenspace as part of the plan.  Anthony Marquart, one of the developers of the proposed development was present at these presentations and seemed interested in the student’s perspectives.  However, this was just a class project and in the end, this is what the developers proposed for the space.

Front view of proposed development, looking northward on Broad Street
One of the praises for this development was that it would include “significant streetscape enhancements” (i.e. some trees and shrubs).  In addition, around the time the building was being constructed, Tracy Fahlman, the executive director of the Regina Downtown business improvement district at the time, had this to say about Broad Street Crossing, Wingate Inn and the new STC bus station across the street: “We’re anticipating this is going to be a significant pedestrian hub. I really believe it’s going to transform that block into a pedestrian environment.’’
While it is pretty obvious that this design is not particularly pedestrian friendly (with 89 parking spots for Broad Street Crossing: 32 of which were surface parking), it is probably safe to say that if this development were proposed after the wheels were in motion for creating and implementing our new downtown plan (which strongly advocates actual pedestrian friendly developments, active streetscapes and building facades, a reduction in surface parking, etc) it would not exist as it does today.
So far, this development doesn’t actually live up to even what the proposal showed… which is to say, it became more un-walkable.  There are no “significant streetscape enhancements”, and after doing a quick visual check this weekend, there really isn’t any space that could become “streetscape enhancement” without either removing parking spots or making the sidewalk narrower. In addition, the underground parking garage (not pictured in the proposed design above) resulted in a large concrete wall along Broad street.  My experience as a pedestrian is that it feels quite isolating.
Front of development looking North on Broad Street (2009)
Looking west across Broad Street towards Broad Street Crossing

Unfortunately, this corner has not become the “pedestrian hub” that was hoped for, and realistically it has a long way to go if it will ever get there.  Perhaps to try and make up for this attack on the pedestrian realm, the developers hired a local artist to paint a mural on the parking garage… and whether the result was the idea of the owner or painter, what we have now is affectionatley referred to by some Reginans as the “Green Wall of Shame”.

The "Green Wall of Shame"

In a few days, I will take a closer look at the “Green Wall of Shame”, and propose a few ways to improve it!

Advertisements
Broad Street Crossing and the Green Wall of Shame, Part 1

2 thoughts on “Broad Street Crossing and the Green Wall of Shame, Part 1

  1. Amy_L says:

    Oh the Green Wall of Shame!

    When I was walking home from the bus depot a few weeks back I saw that mural. I thought… why? why? why?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s