The Big Dig has finally begun downtown. We’re tearing up the old roads to replace ancient plumbing, and it’s hypothetically an opportunity to tear up downtown and put it back together better than ever. So … what would you change about downtown if you could?
“Step 1: Close Water Street to traffic; The Parallel nature Duckworth Water and Harbour Drive means there’s no reason for traffic on Water Street, so Water Street could be a wonderland of pedestrian space: outdoor vendors and events, outdoor restaurant seating, green nooks to laze about in. A real sense of community, with street performers, kids playing hacky sac and hopscotch, moms and dads shopping locally. A killer cultural hub like famous pedestrian streets a la La Plaka in Greece or something. Step 2: Build the current city hall parking lot up 10 storeys so everyone and their uncle knows where to park. And ka-boom, locals and tourists alike have a downtown St. John’s worth raving about, the way people fall for pedestrian streets in Montreal, say, where everyone’s both downtown and outside at the same time. Because, why be inside? We’re never outside these days.”
– SOMEONE WHO HAS SEEN THE WORLD
“We need a MUN or CNA campus building downtown to bring in more people during the day, there is plenty of available real estate so no need for a new building. A Shoppers Drug Mart for anyone living or working downtown. The idea of a pedestrian only Water street is a non-starter as everyone likes to drive too much here. Get the owners of the bars on George Street to clean it up; this street is advertised all over Canada, and while it looks fine in the dark it’s filthy during the day.” – ANON
“Make Water Street a Pedestrian Street, and erect a sign to the naysayers that reads, ‘Just Because Our Weather Sucks Doesn’t Mean Water Street Should Too.’ No, we don’t have a lot of nice days, but that’s all the more reason to build great outdoor spaces to enjoy the sun when we can I say!” – GEORGY
“It’s 2018. The future is here. But we’re a capital city without bike lanes downtown. It’s a joke that makes us a joke. Don’t roll your eyes at me, non-bikers! Find me another capital city in Canada that doesn’t have bike lanes! If we’re tearing the roads up, rebuild them with wider sidewalks and a bike lane on Water Street. Would be the perfect time to modernize St. John’s!” – BICYCLE BOI
“I know councillors are not magicians, but since this is a hypothetical poll, what I’d love to see is for city council and staff to find some way to compromise between making money and giving downtown businesses a break on taxes, so they can flourish, so downtown can flourish. Also, it’s probably out of council’s hands, but, keeping landlords in check with their utterly absurd rent would help.” – CHRISTINE
“Beautify it with more trees, potted trees, flowers, mural art, and not allow buildings that look like they belong in an industrial park … More places to hang outside and stroll with a view. More colour.” – DEANNE ELMS
“Never mind all this talk about outdoor space, that’s silly, our weather sucks. Let’s talk instead of indoor spaces, and how there’s a glaring absence of great, NON-commercial indoor spaces downtown, to make it a cultural hub.
The amazing library in Halifax is not there to rent books, people. It’s to bring community activity to the neighbourhood, in the form of panels, conferences, award shows, etc.” – INDOOR ENTHUSIAST
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned about downtown since this vandal has been banging the tops off all the parking meters, it is that the city can clearly get by without the revenue from downtown meters, so, maybe we should? Free parking downtown would make it more accessible to lower income families and penny-pinchers alike. Plus, the City would save the money it pays meter maids to be out ticketing us.” – STINGEY STEVE
“The fence on the waterfront has been an abomination from the start. Apart from putting a literal barrier between Newfoundlanders and a vital part of their cultural heritage – access to the water – it is an inconvenience for tourists, and an eyesore. The very reason for its existence is fraudulent, and it should never have gone up in the first place.” – EMMY
“People are resistant to making Water Street and Harbour Drive One Ways, but it would actually make traffic flow better which is why other cities do this, and, it would allow us to widen Water Street, for bike lanes and pedestrian perks, like stores spilling their wares onto streets. Would be a wasted opportunity not to transform downtown now while we can.” – ANON
“Free short term parking to encourage daytime shopping. Allowing and encouraging different stores, a mix of boutique and chain stores. Hold more festivals like an iceberg ally tent style along the waterfront. Bring the smaller fishing boats and tall ships to the harbour drive side and move the industrial to the south side road side of the harbour.” – ERIN WINDSOR