Third Street Improvements
Location: Medicine Hat, Canada
Program: Public space, Public furniture, Landscaping, Traffic calming
Size: 6750 m2
Exhibition: Thinking Hat
Team: Jessie Andjelic, Philip Vandermey
The Street is the living room of a city, connecting spaces while providing a forum for interaction and activity. As part of the Thinking Hat exhibition, 3rd Street Improvements proposes changes to the street and urban realm as part of comprehensive strategy for downtown revitalization.
Medicine Hat’s downtown streets lack appropriate public furniture for meeting up and enjoying the sunshine. Such furniture could be custom made to reflect local ideas and / or motifs, and perhaps designed locally and built by local artisans. Bulletin boards could provide a place to share opinions and advertise upcoming events. Paving patterns could reflect the ceramics and masonry history of Medicine Hat while enlivening public surfaces. Wider sidewalks could support larger trees, by providing sufficient root space and breathing room around the canopy, and these larger trees could provide a continuous leafy archway for public enjoyment.
Further, the existing pedestrian spaces are separated and narrowed by traffic lanes that are far too wide for a pedestrian oriented zone. How many times have you seen someone lose their temper, and then hit the gas to pass someone who has pulled over to park or drop someone off? Extra wide lanes allow motorists to behave more as though they are driving on a highway or feeder road. Narrower vehicle lanes, with well marked pedestrian crossings (perhaps with a change in material, to extend the sidewalk across the road) will allow the sidewalks to widen and also encourage motorists to slow down and watch out for pedestrians. Traffic calming “bump outs” at intersections would essentially reduce the width of crossings for pedestrians while eliminating the confusion for motorists.