If you have travelled around you will have seen buildings in other communities that look just like the Moose Jaw City Hall. There is one in Regina; one in Edmonton and one in Lethbridge. They were part of an “Urban Planner’s” shared vision.
Downtown Lethbridge and downtown Moose Jaw share similarities beyond having the same building. Both have wide streets and the back alleys are ‘utility corridors’, meaning the power lines are out of sight.
The streets were really wide. I measured High Street West, past 2nd Avenue West. You could land a 747 on High West.
So was High Street West designed for a Boeing 747?
Not really, but High Street and Main Street were designed to make the downtown easily accessible for services, such as fire vehicles and fire prevention. As automobiles became common, wide Main Street and High Street made Angle Parking possible. Compared to parallel parking, angle parking allows twice as many vehicles to park on Main Street and High Street.
I have no idea who came up with the idea, but someone in City Hall must have said, “Change is good. Let’s make the City beautiful during our short Saskatchewan summer by putting a median down the centre of Main Street and planting flowers.”
A median and angle parking didn’t work, so parking was changed to parallel parking, reducing downtown parking by 50%. But hey, it does look beautiful in the short summer, even if parking was reduced and snow removal is a pain.
What started out as having a wide Main Street was changed.
Since a median worked on Main Street, they also did it to the first block of High Street West and also introduced parallel parking.
In the midst of fervent planning an anonymous voice must have said, “Let’s do parallel parking on High Street West all the way to 9th West!” A cheer would have gone up! The decision was made. Even though High Street West could be used for angle parking, it was changed to parallel parking because change was fun and exciting.
I think there was one hold out. He or she hid the City Map for High Street East. Nobody thought to check. It was overlooked. Thanks to that mysterious person in the planning department, angle parking continues to this day in the first block of High East – but not the remainder.
Is change always good?
The City is stuck with Main Street. No councillor will vote to remove the flowers. But when I suggested High Street West beyond 2nd Avenue be converted back to the original angle parking to double the parking, folks wanted an assessment – of me. After all, it would be going back in time to the original, notorious design of the City of Moose Jaw, and who wanted that?
Angle Parking on High Street West starting at 2nd Avenue and going west would double parking for the Events Centre.
Old ideas, and occasionally old people, make sense.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.