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#1 amor de cosmos

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 12:37 PM

Harbour front walkway plan taking shape

Ambitious plans for a new waterfront pathway will give tourists and residents alike access to Victoria's harbour

Carolyn Heiman, Times Colonist
Published: Monday, November 05, 2007

Norm Hotson was a youthful 26 years old and working for the renowned architect Arthur Erickson when he put his thumbprint on an iconic piece of Victoria's landscape.

Looking back on the Inner Harbour Causeway he designed in 1974, Hotson says he wouldn't change much about the arced pathway walked millions of times every year.

"It has worked out beautifully. I've been down there on days when there were events and it's been jammed," the Vancouver architect said, adding he likes the mix of impromptu seating and art display areas that the space also creates.

Hotson is now putting his touch on Victoria's Inner Harbour waterfront as lead architect on a project that one day will result in a seven-metre-wide multi-use pathway winding from Ogden Point to Rock Bay.

The pathway will be like Vancouver's seawall but only "in a way," says Hotson. Talk is focused on keeping the diverse flavour evident in the parts of the route now in place, such as the wooden boardwalk portion at the foot of Fisgard Street and the meandering mixed surfaces that braid in and out around Laurel Point.

Victoria Coun. Pam Madoff, the council's parks liaison, wants the resulting path to still have a sense of happenstance.

"Vancouver's walkway (along Coal Bay) is considered to be a success. But it is so overly planned that it's sterilized. ... Perhaps because of our limitations there will be more a sense of discovering and meandering to our pathway, rather than a prescriptive experience."

*snip* (2 more pages!)

http://www.canada.co... ... 0b&k=24780



I don't know why anyone would want to walk to Rock Bay but this is a cool idea nonetheless. This would really be a waterfront walkway from Rock Bay to the eastern end of the Ross Bay Cemetary, not just Ogden point. They should do the same on the other side of the harbour also. I know about the plan to extend the westsong walkway past the West Bay marina to MacAuley Pt; they should go the other way also, towards the Selkirk Trestle & beyond, maybe all the way to Gorge Park. Well if they go all the way to Gorge Park, they might as well go all the way to the Craigflower Bridge, but if they go that far out they might as well build it around Portage Inlet to the other side & end at Rock Bay! :D

#2 aastra

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 01:31 PM

"Vancouver's walkway (along Coal Bay) is considered to be a success. But it is so overly planned that it's sterilized. ... Perhaps because of our limitations there will be more a sense of discovering and meandering to our pathway, rather than a prescriptive experience."



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#3 aastra

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 01:37 PM

I don't know why anyone would want to walk to Rock Bay but this is a cool idea nonetheless.


Why? For a sense of happenstance. Discovering, meandering.

I'm kidding, of course. There's actually no reason at all. Meanwhile, the causeway along Coal Harbour offers people all sorts of enticements: beautiful views, marinas, striking and interesting architecture, parks and green spaces, public art, playgrounds, places to eat and shop, people-watching... now if only it wasn't so darned sterilized.

#4 aastra

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 02:01 PM

The difficulty, of course, is that if you're from out of town you have little hope navigating the full length as it seems to come to an abrupt, discouraging dead end in many parts.


...one of the first and easiest parts of the trail development will be to put up signs and maps and improve the pieces of the path that are already in existence.


Signs and maps. Folks, if there's no reason to walk it, nobody will walk it. It doesn't matter how well marked it is. An otherwise inhospitable industrial area just isn't going to be a big draw.

"If you have a building open to the street and then a pathway behind it there's a whole new opportunity to open stores."


Right. Business will be booming.

The city expects that an additional 10,000 to 15,000 will live in the downtown over the next two decades.


Because...? Is anybody aware of a plan to build 100 new buildings the size of Corazon or the Juliet? News to me.

#5 aastra

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 02:06 PM

I'm sure I sound like a jerk. Fact is, I think Victoria has done a horrendous job with waterfront access. It's about time they got going on this, but I'm not impressed by this article. In my opinion, the causeway along Coal Harbour is terrific, and it bothers me because it's essentially just a new-and-improved version of Victoria's Government Street causeway. It's longer, it's better, it's nicer, it's honestly urban, it's half-decently practical (goes somewhere from somewhere) and there's much more to see and do on it.

#6 aastra

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 02:28 PM

...rather than a prescriptive experience.


Continuing my rant, I could argue at length about which walkway is more of a "prescriptive experience."

#7 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 02:53 PM

I'm sure I sound like a jerk.

Nope, not at all. I agree with everything you've said regarding the article, the quotes, the things, the aims. And especially the signs. As if more signs would make anyone use a place....

...Achtung!! You must use this place as follows...

Uh, sure...
When you buy a game, you buy the rules. Play happens in the space between the rules.

#8 amor de cosmos

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 03:02 PM

the causeway along Coal Harbour offers people all sorts of enticements: beautiful views, marinas, striking and interesting architecture, parks and green spaces, public art, playgrounds, places to eat and shop, people-watching...


is that a cause or an effect though? I think this walkway idea will do a lot to liven up the downtown area. other stuff has to happen also of course.

#9 G-Man

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 06:02 PM

I know you will hate me for saying this but I agree that there is something sterile about the Vancouver walkway perhaps it is just too new but it seems all too contrived to me. It is nice don't get me wrong but compared to say Battery Park in New York or Fisherman's Wharf in San Fran or even the walkway in Victoria along Dallas Road Coal Harbour is too perfect, too manicured. Of course in 20 years it will be much nicer it just needs to get that bit of urban decay and the buildings need to lose that built yesterday gleen.

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#10 Holden West

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 06:08 PM

Victoria's eclectic mix of wood planking or concrete and its meandering path makes it great for walking.

Vancouver's consistent surface, gentle turns and straightaways and width make it superior for biking, jogging and rollerblading.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#11 aastra

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 06:27 PM

is that a cause or an effect though?


I'm thinking most of the things I mentioned are by design rather than by accident. The marina and the Bayshore hotel were really the only things that were there at the start. Everything else has come along in the past 15 years or so, and most of the really interesting things have come since 2000. There's hardly been any time for spontaneous evolution.

...there is something sterile about the Vancouver walkway perhaps it is just too new but it seems all too contrived to me.


Good Lord, G-Man. Have you ever taken a stroll on the Songhees?? Contrivance to the umpteenth power!

Why do people have a problem with new? EVERYTHING was new when it was new.

#12 aastra

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 06:39 PM

Obviously the Coal Harbour community isn't a spontaneous thing that developed over a long time. It was born out of a master plan. There's going to be some artificiality (even if it's not nearly as artificial as the first phases of the Songhees). All in all, I regard it as an excellent example of a vision that was turned into reality in very short order.

http://www.city.vancouver.bc.ca/commsvcs/currentplanning/urbandesign/br2pdf/coalharbour.pdf

Consider these concepts (and imagine such concepts coming out of an official City of Victoria document...as if!):

A key strategy to achieving these principles was a layered site design approach: the city was extended towards the water (streets and built form); the park was extended into the city (gardens extending from Stanley Park); the water was extended up towards Georgia Street (lagoons, fountains, waterfalls). The street pattern extends the north-south streets towards the waterfront, connecting with a jogged cross street (Bayshore Drive) parallel to Georgia Street.


The new shoreline was shaped to create a series of focal points along the site’s continuous waterfront walkway, corresponding to the three precincts. The water fronting edge was designed to create a diverse urban waterfront experience,including park space, marina activity with related commercial use, a restaurant overthe water, a community centre, a publicly-accessible floating dock, a future convention centre, a one block long waterfront street, and other street-ends extending to the water as city-linking promenades.


Part of the residential strategy was the ‘domestication’ of certain streets through the introduction of townhouses which create a more neighbourly streetscape character and stronger sense of street enclosure and definition. Livability and view preservation were key aspects of the Triangle West plan. Slim residential towers are prescribed, with generous spacing between them to maximize views and a sense of openness.


Everything the Songhees did wrong, they did right.

I think my point is that it just isn't good enough to map out a disjointed walkway that skirts an industrial area and winds its way to...pretty much nowhere (almost to the Selkirk or maybe the Bay Street Bridge, but not quite).

We've already got sidewalks, right? What's this Rock Bay walkway going to contribute to the mix? And why would good things suddenly happen all along this hypothetical walkway if they still haven't happened along the various streets and sidewalks that are already there and have been there for decades? We've got to consider all of the elements that will make the walkway a success.

In fact, the walkway itself has no value on its own. What matters is how everything comes together. So exactly what are we hoping to trigger with this walkway? A new mixed-use neighbourhood with industrial activity on the shoreline? Great. Then let's plan it out. Let's extend the street grid into the "no man's land" areas. Let's envision the prevailing look and feel. It doesn't have to be modern glass towers. It can be a midrise district that feels like a natural extension of downtown. Buildings can be short (10 stories or less) but packed together like old Victorian warehouses, maybe even resembling old Victorian warehouses, but with strategic open spaces on the rooftops and in behind. No setbacks along the sidewalk. The nagging issue of vehicle access can be solved by deliberately building access lanes down the middle. (Can you imagine the planning and the consensus that would be required for something like that?) Maybe mandate a jarring modern building that contradicts the prevailing theme here and there.

Any plan would be better than no plan. Sometimes I get the impression the city is trying to convince people that it's doing something big and visionary while it's actually doing as little as possible.

#13 amor de cosmos

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 07:15 PM

In fact, the walkway itself has no value on its own. What matters is how everything comes together. So exactly what are we hoping to trigger with this walkway? A new mixed-use neighbourhood with industrial activity on the shoreline? Great. Then let's plan it out.


That's what I was trying to get at. The waterfront walkway is fine, but it should be just one part of a comprehensive plan.

#14 aastra

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 08:07 PM

Yeah, I realized later that you had already said that. So not only was I repeating myself, I was also repeating you.

#15 gumgum

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 03:25 PM

Agree with 100% of what you have said in this thread aastra.

#16 aastra

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 07:34 PM

Are you back now or what?

#17 Holden West

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 09:21 PM

I love when the City consults the public extensively on projects that apparently have no hope in hell.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#18 Barra

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Posted 04 September 2009 - 11:02 PM

What a bunch of miserable naysayers you guys are! Victoria's waterfront is great! - part of the fun is that you feel that you've only just discovered it. Like when you go down in front of the Canoe Club. The city actually has well embedded land use policy that requires new developments along the waterfront to include a waterfront walkway and they have to pay for it too. Each bit has its own flavour - for example the stretch from Laurel Point around past the Harbourside condos and in front of the (uck) Time share building. Beautiful. Eventually it will go over to Fisherman's Wharf (a bit tricky to get past the private waterfront homes there, but there is a plan to do it) and then through the re-vamped Fisherman's Wharf Park and on and on.
And as for who ever walks to Rock Bay? I did it just the other night when I wanted to go to a Fringe venue that was sold out and the only other show I wanted to see was at Pt. Ellice House (a great show, by the way) so I booted it up to Rock Bay and got there in half an hour. After the show the weather was so mild that I walked all the way back, past the hookers, through downtown and home to James Bay.
Pieta VanDyke

#19 gumgum

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Posted 05 September 2009 - 08:13 AM

Well one good thing about replacing the JS bridge is that hopefully a pathway will extend under the new bridge. Hopefully someone's talking about that.

#20 Caramia

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Posted 05 September 2009 - 06:48 PM

Yes, under both sides.
Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

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