We talked a bit about these things:
- overall ambience of a place - traffic noise, two-way vs. one-way traffic, number of people walking by (there were lots! the assumption is that many of them live in the area as there is lots of higher density residential on all sides of Tomkins Park)
- differences in sidewalk widths - we measured the sidewalk on the 16th Avenue store frontage as a bit wider than 4 meters - lots of space for people!!
- that side of the street also has a positive “street wall” - more or less continuous setbacks, but with enough variability and lots of entries to make it an active frontage
- the large building on the west end of 16th avenue still has the active frontages, due to the subdivision of commercial units within the block - one big building but lots of smaller businesses, all with different degrees of activity, people going in and out, and visual permeability through large windows or even a completely open facade!
- contrasting this is the large block on the other side of 17th Avenue where Shoppers Drug Mart is located. One big building, much of it occupied by one fairly generic business (drug store) that does not seem to make much of an effort to appeal to shoppers along the street through its big windows.
- we had a bit of discussion about street trees - how important they are for shade, shelter, space definition - the south side of the street has many trees missing (we could see the tree grates that indicate where trees used to be), but the north side of the street (getting more sun, and maybe less impact from traffic and salt pollution) is doing much better and has more regular street tree plantings.
- the video that is posted on line picks up on our discussion of some other points, such as the experience along the street, the kinds of things that make for a good street (people living in the area are important), and a few other personal experiences. All good listening and viewing.
This was all very informal, a great way to connect for those who could be there, and hopefully we can find a way to loop in everyone else who is not in Calgary. Also hopefully we will have a chance to drill deeper into all of these qualities in each of the streets that you study.