Lightsabers Ignite!

Wandered through the new 12th Ave Plaza this evening. First time I’ve been there around sundown now that the lights have been working.

So, what’s with all the red? A Grove of Lightsabers is one thing. But a Grove of SITH Lightsabers?!?! Who down at city hall is so strong with the Dark Side that they’d think this was a good idea??*

Could it be the guy who decided that they’d decorate this brand new plaza — with its imported cobblestones, cutting edge design, and grabillions spent on rusty steel fixtures — that they’d accent all that with Cheep-O Brand™ Plastic Planters (in a delightful shade of not-quite terra cotta).

Plastic: ever the classy choice.

Apparently, back in the original plans for the plaza, along the edges of where the cars could drive, there were two rows of bollards.

(Oh, sorry. What’s a bollard? Those are those low, concrete, cylindrical, penissy stump-things that you see at corners or along streets sometimes. They’re useful for keeping cars from escaping their laneway. And they’d be great in this plaza seeing as there are no curbs to keep the cars and pedestrians from careening into one another.)

Well, the bollards are gone. And we’re getting big plastic bowls instead to mark out where the “roadway” will be.

And if you’re wondering how they’ll delineate the lanes, well, they’ve stuck a curvy line of plastic reflectors down the middle of the plaza. And they’ve affixed those reflectors to the cobblestones — imported cobblestones — with splooges of epoxy goop.

Because nothing says “elegant plaza” like plastic bowls, orange reflectors and splooges of goop.

Ah well, at least it’s not just the graffiti kids shitting the place up anymore.

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*Note: Okay, okay. The lightsaber pillars actually change colour from Sith red to Jedi blue. Like maybe the plaza is conflicted about it allegiance.

Author: Paul Dechene

Paul Dechene is 5’10” tall and he was born in a place. He’s not there now. He’s sitting in front of his computer writing his bio for this blog. He has a song stuck in his head. It’s “Girl From Ipanema”, thanks for asking.

You can follow Paul on Twitter at @pauldechene and get live updates during city council meetings and other city events at @PDcityhall.

21 thoughts on “Lightsabers Ignite!”

  1. I don’t want to hate on this project because i think it is great that the city is trying to spruce up our downtown. However, I am worried about what will happen when it is open to traffic, and I hope that drivers will just make the decision to avoid to road (i know i will!. I am worried about the pedestrian flow across Scarth since, it seems like the lights are gone. In my experience, Regina drivers are not adept enough to avoid pedestrians crossing without lights to tell them not to hit them.

  2. Dechene, sometimes I wonder if you think a “grove of lightsabers” is a bad thing. Some of us LIKE lightsabers.

  3. Anonymous: I agree. I too think it’s great the city is trying to spruce up the downtown. And I think the prairie dog, on the whole, has been more than fair to this project. But cheap-looking plastic planters? They’re ugly and they shit up the plaza right at the moment when they really have to sell this thing to plaza-skeptics like myself.

  4. Having been down there several times in the last week, I happen think it is looking rather spiffy. Sue me, I even like the little orange reflectors, the “ugly orange things”, and the crazy “steel trees”.
    I am a little confused by the lack of lights at Lorne street. There ought to be a four-way stop there or SOMETHING. The lights are back up at Scarth, and that intersection is looking really cool….. hopefully people navigate it OK. As for 12th Avenue itself, it LOOKS great, but I just know that a lot of motorists are going to be FREAKING OUT. But here’s a crazy idea: why do you need to drive down that stretch of 12th anyway?
    I think I understand the planters too, and the reason they are there is simple: they expect drivers to hit them. If you had big concrete things there and people hit THOSE, boy would you hear the loud complaints – from the people who hit them.
    The one thing that bothers me is the “green wall / mural” on Gordon Block that says words like “sustainable downtown” …. because nothing says that like three adjacent empty storefronts.
    You know, it just occurred to me that I remember hearing about Novia and Canadiana complaining about the metal tree concept and how it would wreck their view. Meaning, at the time, they were expecting to still be there when the plaza was open. But now they are gone, and within a rather short timeframe of each other. This makes me wonder if something changed really recently, regarding their leases, and if they have non-disclosure agreements so they aren’t supposed to talk about it.

  5. anonymous #5: “I think I understand the planters too, and the reason they are there is simple: they expect drivers to hit them.”

    You win. That’s hilarious.

    And I agree about the green mural. Rather that spruce things up it just reinforces the fact that the owners of the Gordon Block are letting some prime retail space molder.

  6. Oh, also… We’ll have more on this in the upcoming issue (which comes out Thursday and will be awesome) but I just got off the phone with one of the project managers for the plaza and he says the planters and the reflectors are temporary.

    If only I’d read anon #5’s quip about the planters being hitable before I did the interview. I’d have totally asked about that. Maybe in a follow up.

  7. If there are no curbs, lanes or street lights, is it really a street? Will pedestrians continue to walk willy-nilly across the cobblestones? Will some poor pedestrian get hit by a stray car who doesn’t see them because there aren’t street lights but red/blue lightsabers?

  8. It makes no sense to have vehicular traffic running through this plaza.
    I do like the lightsabres, though I haven’t yet had the opportunity to see them alight.

  9. A lot of cities have projects where you let people and cars mix more organically – it actually tends to slow traffic down because people are being extra cautious. It may be a learning curve but I’m sure things will come to a new balance.

  10. Might I also mention that there are major problems now that all bus traffic has been diverted to 11th Ave (ppl are missing buses – especially those with mobility issues, no shelters, nowhere to sit, etc). Not re-opening 12th to bus traffic is a major defect.

  11. All bus traffic has not been “diverted to 11th Ave.”; 11th was always a transfer point. There are shelters and seats on both sides of 12th beside the City Hall parkade and across the avenue as well. There are shelters and places to sit on 11th in front of The Bay and across the avenue, and I take the bus often enough to observe that people with mobility issues can catch the buses they need to catch easily at both transfer points. If people are missing buses, it’s because they aren’t informing themselves about where to go, and when, and that was a problem long before the recent relocations.

  12. Sorry Barb, I take the bus daily across from the Bay. No shelter, no seats, and ppl are missing buses because 5 pull in at once and ppl don’t know if they should run down the block or wait for the bus to pull up (sometimes they pull up in back and don’t pull up before driving away). I thought this was a temp. bus situation. I’m disappointed to find it’s not.

  13. There is a shelter and seat across from The Bay. And when buses pull in, it’s smart to go to the one you want, rather than wait for it to pull forward if the bus in front departs. Practice makes perfect.

  14. There’s a new sign posted in the alley between Cornwall and Scarth St. It sets a speed limit of 30 k.p.h. for the plaza. It’s also got warning symbols about pedestrians and no stopping.

  15. I’m fond of a number of things in the new area. Nice sitting areas and active with people walking around during the day. The lights, I feel, will eventually be replaced with something that fits the environment a little more… and I am really confused by the splooges of goop for the reflectors.

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