Enter The Driven
Regina’s plaza project braces for vehicular impact
by Paul Dechene
There's still a ways to go before the City Square Plaza downtown is complete. But as of Tuesday's prairie dog press time, rows of plastic planters have been set out and a wavy line of orange reflectors have been affixed to the paving stones.
They seem to be marking out lanes for cars to travel along. Could it be that the city is gearing up to open the plaza to automobile traffic?
According to Max Zasada, co-project manager for the plaza construction, that's exactly what's going on. In fact, he says you should be able to drive over those paving stones sometime during the two-week shelf life of this edition of PD.
"An exact date hasn't been finalized yet," says Zasada. "We're pretty close to getting everything in place. We have the traffic planters in place. We've got the reflectors in place. We're just getting the signage in place right now.
"We're also working on a public information strategy to instruct people on how to drive through the site," adds Zasada. "The public service announcements will have the date when that will occur."
So will there be a ribbon-cutting ceremony of some sort to mark the event?
"Nothing's been finalized," says Zasada. "We'll have a grand opening [in] the spring. We were expecting it to be a lot colder at this time. We were thinking that having it in the spring would allow more people to come out, and have an official grand opening at that time."
As for the planters and reflectors, he says they're just temporary additions to the site to help show people how to drive through the plaza.
Still, there are people concerned about how Regina's drivers will respond to their new plaza. (Count me among those "people.") The plaza's pedestrian-focused design is quite common in Europe but not so much here.
"Because this is so brand new to this area of, I guess, the planet, we just wanted to add visual reminders to help ease people into it," says Zasada. "But the overall goal is indeed that it's a pedestrian-first place. Cars are invited into it but unlike roads - roads are just devoted to cars period - this is taking a different approach"
"Cars are invited but they don't necessarily have the right of way," he says.