THE RISE AND SPRAWL

Density and complexity

Metropolitan Corporation of Greater Winnipeg document, 1963. Surprisingly bang-on, given the times

Metropolitan Corporation of Greater Winnipeg document, 1963. Surprisingly bang-on, given the times

1 year ago

It’s just so easy… Yesterday’s plan for the Downtown Winnipeg of tomorrow, rendering the blocks south of Portage Avenue as some kind of Ville Radieuse-on-a-shoestring.
Thanks to Graham MacFarlane for finding this great vestige of late Modernist, uh, “optimism.”

It’s just so easy… Yesterday’s plan for the Downtown Winnipeg of tomorrow, rendering the blocks south of Portage Avenue as some kind of Ville Radieuse-on-a-shoestring.

Thanks to Graham MacFarlane for finding this great vestige of late Modernist, uh, “optimism.”

1 year ago

Guest Post: Breaking out of the parking structure cycle

By Steve Snyder
Winnipeg’s East Exchange neighbourhood is being hailed as the city’s next big thing – developers, non-profit organizations, and city councilors all touting its recent improvements and rapid growth, citing the likes of the Waterfront Drive condos and Streetside’s new James Avenue re-development.  This is a great first step for centralization of population in this section of downtown, but much more is needed and the current plans don’t address some major issues.
All evidence from City Council indicates that the government-owned surface parking lot at James Avenue and Amy Street – behind the Warehouse Theatre – will become the site of the new James Avenue Parkade.  On March 23rd, 2011 City Council approved the distribution of $23.6 million dollars from the sale of the Winnipeg Square parkade; including $8.3 million to develop the streetscaping in the James Avenue/North Portage areas and $5.0 million for the city to become an equity partner in the James Avenue Parkade  The Free Press article "Change in the East Exchange" quotes Bill Coady, GM for Sunstone Development, “the province has already agreed to make the property available for a parkade for the East Exchange area… (it) will include parking and office or retail on the bottom five floors” and an undisclosed amount of residential above. 
These sorts of funding initiatives, and statements from both the province and developers show a massive bias toward the automobile being citizens’ transportation of choice.  In their book, Sustainability and Cities: Overcoming Automobile Dependency, Peter Newman and Jeff Kenworthy define automobile dependency as:

“… when a city or area of a city assumes automobile use as the dominant imperative in its decisions on transportation, infrastructure and land use. Other modes thus become increasingly peripheral, marginal or non-existent until there are no real options for passenger travel other than automobile.”

The Cycle Continues

Council, the Legislature, and developers need to think differently!  Perhaps the reason why developers are so slow build in the Exchange District without more parking isn’t because more people want to drive, but because more people HAVE to drive.  Further to the quote from Bill Coady, the Free Press article states “Several developers… are counting on the City to come through with a parking structure.” further showing the biases towards automobile transportation.

In an opinion piece published in the Free Press"A Downtown for transients doesn’t work," Ross Dobson dwells on the idea that land use which promotes commuter and transient populations don’t positively affect the neighbourhood. Although his piece focused on the new SHED district, the same can be said for the East Exchange.  Building a parking structure does nothing but promotes commuterism and creates a culture of exodus.

What if some of this public money – $5.0 million plus – went to incentives for the development of land uses that would keep people in the East Exchange?  What if the James Avenue Parkade wasn’t in the picture and instead the money went to entice developers to make the East Exchange a complete neighbourhood? Think of the impact a grocery store, pharmacy, small professional practises or firms, or a hardware store would have. The city can create incentives for things so much better than a parking garage. 


Steve Snyder is an urban design and municipal affairs enthusiast who writes on Winnipeg issues. Follow him on Twitter @steveosnyder 

The mark of at great city isn’t how it treats its special places – everybody does that right – but how it treats its ordinary ones. Aaron M. Renn, on urban planning and why he doesn’t live in Indianapolis. (via milwaukeestat)

(Source: urbanophile.com, via urbnist)

You can’t rely on bringing people downtown, you have to put them there. ― Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (via mainelyplanning)