I went to the North Bridge/Attridge upgrades/Swale how-de-do/University Heights area plan changes open house tonight. If you think that’s a lot to cram in one hall, I agree with you. I left feeling dissatisfied, although I’m not sure if that’s due to the lack of pandering or the lack of cookies. There was definitely a lack of information. Here is the link to all of the things that were on display. Well, not all of the things. It’d be nice to have the actual display boards they had up.

When I started reading Sean Shaw’s post on the bridges, I was worried that here was another thing that I was going to get all het up about. I was not wrong. Many people at the open house were not aware that there are two proposed bridges – a north commuter bridge connecting Central and 71st/Marquis (roughly) and a north perimeter bridge connecting the highway with the highway. These proposed bridges are a little over 1 km apart. Here is a mappy:

You could totally hit the other bridge from the first with a pneumatic pumpkin cannon.

I wonder just how much of the electorate was under the impression that the perimeter bridge and the north bridge were one and the same. I wonder how many politicians knew or suspected this and exploited it. Anyway. $141 million for the bridge and its attendant infrastructure upgrades. To open 2016. I think both the date and figure quoted may be subject to change without notice.

To complain about the bridge contact the Transportation Branch by March 13th. 975-2454 or david.leboutillier at saskatoon.ca. (Or you can go to saskatoon.ca and click on “N” for …well, you get the idea.)

Contact information for the University Heights Sector Plan Amendment – I can’t remember what this one was about. Sorry guys. Maybe if you ask Terry Fusco politely (975-7946, terry.fusco at saskatoon.ca) he will explain it.

Contact information for University Heights Neighbourhood #2 proposed changes: Tyson McShane, 975-3291 (phone) or tyson.mcshane at saskatoon.ca. I can’t find any of this information online, and all they had for this was four measly posters, one of which was a collage of other cities. The main idea is to have a 3m sidewalk, trees, a parking lane, a service lane, a 1.75 m bike lane, more trees, two lanes of thoroughfare traffic and then the inverse on the other side. My only concern with this idea is what it looks like when you get to an intersection –  you have conflicts from the bike lanes, service lanes, and main traffic lanes all mangled together. Also, the bigger the intersection, the less safe it is for people afoot and persons on bikes to traverse. Not to mention the screening caused by the trees. Anyways, that was what I took away from that presentation, that and the fact that there will be some higher density (3-5 storey buildings) along the main drag. Frankly at this point I can’t be bothered.

The last bit of business was the Central and Attridge intersection mitigation. They’ve abandoned the overpass, all ye who enter there, and are widening the intersection to allow for two left hand turning lanes. Also, the ramp from Circle northbound onto Attridge eastbound will be sucked in, so that it joins up at Attridge, uh, just after the overpass. This is nice since you’ll have more time to get your urban assault vehicle over four lanes to go north on Central. This is bad if they’re not going to mitigate the sight lines on the Attridge overpass. Contact Lee Thomas by March 29th at 975-3110 or lee.thomas at saskatoon.ca. Or click on “C” for “contrived” etc etc. It’s still hell for a cyclist or pedestrian there. Active transportation only counts within neighbourhoods, it seems.

One thing that struck me was the difference between this open house and the downtown forums/workshops I had attended. The open houses I have been to on Central concerning Sutherland, University Heights etc. have been very much one–sided – while there are visuals to look at and some brief Powerpointy bullet notes, it’s up to you to interpret the information. There was a lot of city employees – planners, engineers – on hand, but it’s not the same. Even I don’t like to always stalk and interrogate city employees. (It may come as a surprise to you that sometimes I can be rather shy in public. And I used to be very, very shy in high school.)  The requirement of these open houses is for “feedback” not civic education, and it shows.

This all reminds me of when I found out we were getting a new Safeway in the University Heights area. We already have a Sobey’s, an Extra Foods and a Co-op along Attridge. Sure, the Safeway is nice – I was just there this evening – but was it needed? There are two other decent grocery stores within 700 metres. (You can’t walk from one store to another unless you’re willing to function as a meat pylon in an endless sea of asphalt parking spots). Meanwhile, other areas of Saskatoon greatly in need of any grocery store go underserved. There’s a myopia present in the northeast end that’s not very appealing.