This debate was on Twitter last night, and it should pick up steam.
If City planners and Council didn’t treat people as if they were some abstraction, and designed downtown to be friendly to people and families, we’d have a much more lively downtown, and a better economy.
(Note the Nico, Zoes sign in the way, on the door mat.)
I’m pretty disappointed with the problem solving skills displayed by the people interviewed. The Student’s Union installed a Transit Live TV above the Riddell Centre door to let students know how far away their buses were, so they could more easily plan trips outdoors to meet bus arrivals. Such an enhancement to the Scarth St. “Old City Hall Mall” would improve the appearance of the building inside I think, and I’d actually venture inside it to use that screen.
The larger issue is that Transit has been underfunded by City Council for decades to the point that the only heated shelter downtown was not repaired when it broke in the 1990s! A Winter City like Regina needs to accommodate people downtown until at least buses stop running at 12:20AM. We can’t keep planning the city in such a way that we don’t add a human amenity out of fear that it might help a homeless person, someone who is poor, or someone who just enjoys using Transit.
Heated shelters should be built into the Cornwall Centre up to the street at Scarth, and elsewhere (e.g. Hamilton St. at Conexus). Same for the Scarth St. Mall. Stop locking it up at 5:30 so people can’t walk around indoors to access the restaurants open until late at night. Regina is a Winter City for cripes sake (a point made frequently by Councillor O’Donnell). How is someone supposed to survive an hour long wait downtown for a bus if everywhere for blocks around the bus transfer point is locked up tight, without even public washrooms to be found at 10pm?
Bonus challenge: Find a public washroom within a two minute walk of the bus stops on 11th Ave. at any time of the day. Try to find one two minutes from Victoria Park at any time of the day. Regina has to stop being afraid to accomodate people who need to pee. (Hint: That’s everyone.)
A better solution may be on the table.
Shelters with a heat option on 11th Avenue will be recommended to city council, but that won’t be until the new year.
Not soon enough, say business owners.
“This isn’t a problem we created, it’s a problem they created,” said Hanwell. “They should take responsibility for it.”
On that, I can agree completely with the business owners. City Council needs to fund Regina Transit in such a way that it can proactively prevent these conflicts around downtown space.