above: people wishing to walk to the Amway Center from the downtown must use several widely-spaced apart streets that go under the elevator i4 freeway, its access ramps, and interchange with another freeway. The space is humanized in a select high traffic areas, such as where South Street goes under the freeways, with fountains, planters, and lighting. Other areas were parking spaces and much less open as there were not available “skylighting” gaps.
above: the entire block(s) of South Street opposite the arena were occupied by low rise parking structures. The street itself was nicely done in pavers. It is a naked street on the arena side, with no curb. Bollards and different colours of pavers separate the people walking from the people driving.
above: the garage side of the street had curbs. Functionally, people exiting the arena or gathering before entering, could spill out over the entire street without tripping on a curb. The street functioned as an extension of the pedestrian forecourt. This was well done. It addresses the problem of the intermittent use of an arena where there are many days with no crowds, during which time South Street functions as a typical downtown street with curbside parking for cars and bikes.
above: looking south on South Street, towards the i4 elevated freeway and the downtown immediately beyond. The street is closed but empty as the crowds are inside watching the circus. I didn’t stick around to see how the area functioned between the matinee and next show.
above: the street / plaza space was closeable off with bollards. Obviously they were mislocated when put on the inside of the crosswalk area. Vehicles turn onto the street and only then are confronted by the bollards. They should have been located where the temporary orange barricades are put up along the travelled edge of the adjacent street.
above: At the “other end” of the street, the same problem. Notice the urban renewal project continuing down the block, which we will see more of tomorrow.
above: the older residential neighbourhood north of the Amway Center converted yards and vacant lots into event parking. That is always a problem when parking competes with other residential uses. Fortunately for residents near the Flats, NoiseFest only lasts two weeks each summer and there isn’t enough revenue to be made from converting lawns and backyards into event parking. That could easily change with a new Senator’s Arena as there are many more event dates that could justify [to some minds…] converting the yard to paid parking.
Certainly the neighbourhood experience around the NRCan offices is that our City isn’t interested in enforcing green front yards or preventing the conversion of entire greenspaces to parking lots.
Parking lot blight is a real risk from major parking generators.
To one side of the Center is the large Geico parking garage, a structure half as big as the Amway Center itself. It is partially clad in a compatible design to the Amway Center itself, but uses much cheaper materials and the slot “windows” are cutouts. The large sculptural element on the corner wall is interesting: it is 3D brightly coloured people climbing up ladders on the side of the building.
above: it is connected to the Center by an overhead bridge, advertised for its “safety” (I guess from the neighbouring residents) and all-weather connection. There is no signage on it from the north side as there is on the south side, which is visible from the freeway and to arriving patrons:
The photo below shows it is a pretty basic parkade structure with some more finished cladding over the top of some facade areas to dress it up.
Conclusion: the South Street side of Amway Center is attractive, and is an interesting dual use of space by being convertible from street to plaza, depending on the crowds. The other adjacent land uses are basically parking garages, either high or low. These do not create interesting urban spaces. The residential neighbourhood to the north is blighted by surface parking.
Next: adjacent neighbourhoods, crossing into the downtown