The fence is starting to move Eastward, giving Reginans the first opportunity to experience the new city square along 12th Avenue.
On Thursday, July 28th, I left the Regina Public Library around 8:30pm and noticed people wandering along 12th Avenue. I came back Friday night to capture some images of the square, at roughly the same time in the evening.
The best observation about the Plaza wasn’t my own, but one I over heard: A couple came walking through the plaza as I was taking pictures and commented about the predominance of “hard elements.”
There are a lot of right angles and hard surfaces. The curvilinear pieces are mostly in the shade tree cross beams and concrete along the park side.
There was a fellow enjoying his book in the park grass, under one of the remnant trees, just at the park-plaza boundary. Clearly not too spare and industrial for some.
It was on the park side concrete that a skateboarder was touring around, building speed along the freshly smooth road. In fact, like the renovations in the 90s to Victoria Park, the new Plaza has many pleasing ramps, grind paths and lots of approach space.
Can one blame the designers for the inevitable conflict of use? Or, do we just recognize the resourcefulness of street skateboarders utilizing urban arrangements of concrete and pavement?
The picture below illustrates a long time concern with curbless sidewalks, now realized. At a meeting of some sort many months ago, someone commented that the sidewalks would be curbless and that would be a detriment to those with impaired vision.
Well, the proof is in the pavement. Only ‘I’ beams and lightsabers, several meters apart, separate pedestrian and vehicle realms.
The paving stones were still warm when I sat down to take the last picture of the setting sun. The feel of the speckled grey and grey-blue stones is smooth in concert but individually rough.
With the Plaza now partially open and I am fairly positive with what’s on display. There are little spots to that allow people to move away from the throng, but still linger, watch and relax. There are a few prime trees that will be popular, with grass and shade overlooking the promenade.
The main problem is the size of the space especially the main, area still fenced in, along the Cornwall axis. Along the road one can imagine, like during the Cathedral Village Arts Festival Street Fair, cozy quarters with a many people and venders along the sides. The central section, however, is too large for the adjacent 3 story buildings.
I think the size anticipates, and would fit, a Hill Tower 4. Just as the QE 2 plaza helps soften City Hall, this centre section could be the Hill Tower 4’s patio space in ten years time. The girder like elements will fit in much better with whatever modernist scraper they come up with.
PS, there was a violent, but brief, thunder storm at about midnight Friday. Hopefully there isn’t any further delay in Plaza construction because of it.