Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Uptown Centre

We are now about a year away from the opening of phase 1 of the new Uptown Centre, the former Town and Country. The website has a nice new feature, a fly through of the whole site.

I viewed the video and got a much better idea of how the whole thing will look, but I also have some concerns:

  • I am amazed to see how much surface parking there will be on the site.
  • I can not see what is happening with the large building at the north corner - the one with the big flat green roof. It seems to be a big chunk of nothing at the moment.
  • It would have been nice if some short (8-10 storey) residential towers had been included in the site. Getting more people living on site would have improved site usage day and night.
  • I also thought that there was going to transit integration - I can see nothing like that in the fly through. I do not see how the buses could function as a transit hub on the site.
  • I also do not see any integration with the Galloping Goose/Lochside trail. In fact the northern end looks like it will shut out that as a possibility. The site is located at the nexus of the busiest bike routes in the region and remains apart.
  • The stretch along Blanshard is going to make that street almost tunnel like with the large high walls from the development along the street. I had hoped for more improvement along that side.
  • The whole site feels like it is going to encourage people to drive around it. It does not look and feel like it would encourage more walking.
  • The site could have also been a better entrance to Victoria for tourists if there had been the inclusion of a hotel on the site. Ideally one that would have conference space as well.
Some other ideas that could be interesting:
  • Have the Greater Victoria School District move their offices to this site and then sell off the old Mount Tolmie school site for redevelopment.
  • Build a pedestrian overpass from the Save-on-Foods plaza to the site.
  • Build a pedestrian overpass to the Galloping Goose
  • Encourage a live music venue at the site
  • Encourage a movie theatre at the site.
  • Get some post secondary education located on the site - an in town Royals Road site, a UVic Extension site, or University Canada West.
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