Funnels, parking lots & the SHED

So lots of news about the new downtown SHED plans came out yesterday! We’ve been getting news bit by bit (the ALT hotel, Met theatre, Bell Hotel) but this is the first time I’ve gotten to take a peek and some of the big image of what they envision the area looking like! A couple of early thoughts:

First, the funnels – I’m really excited to hear that the SHED vision is looking at street-level décor. Like any bold design, some people love them, some hate them, and some aren’t sure what to think just yet. Me? I’m firmly in the like camp on this one.

Obviously, looks aren’t everything, but attractive architecture does make a difference to the feeling you get in an area. Think about the Esplanade Riel, which now shows up at the centre of almost every picture of our city’s skyline. Would it be nearly as inspiring a walk over that bridge without that ship-like design soaring above you?

From the drawings, the funnels look like they give off light, and adding more of that to the street level is great when you’re a pedestrian. Creating a warm glow and bright streets definitely helps create a welcoming atmosphere. I like that they’re not JUST decorative too – you can never have too many coffee kiosks in my opinion. 🙂

Second – the development of surface parking lots. This was right at the bottom of the article, so I think it got lost a bit behind all the funnel pictures, but I’m really excited that there are plans to open the two big surface parking lots by MPI to development. I’m not a fan of big swaths of concrete, and I can’t wait to hear what happens here!

On a related note – want to see more and talk more about downtown housing and safety? Come to the Downtown Roundup forums, or see some of the great residential developments going up on a free tour.

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