Searching for a balance: will ‘pocket park’ off-set parking lot?
By Tom Wolf
Tom is a long-time City Park resident, and former president of the City Park Community Association. In this article he presents an alternative for the FNUC property redevelopment, and hopes to spark discussion throughout the community on the issue raised.
In 2010, Meridian Developments purchased the FNUC property on Duke and 7th. They acted on behalf of Affinity Credit Union, for whom the site will soon become corporate headquarters with roughly 200 employees.
One of the reasons Affinity chose this building was the availability of surface parking. Although they encourage their employees to bus, bike or walk to work, about 170 parking spaces will be created on what is currently an open grass area. Affinity has offered to keep and improve the skating rink on the site.
Some residents are concerned about the impact of 170 additional cars entering the residential heart of our neighbourhood. For example, additional traffic on Duke St. will affect pedestrians, especially our kids waiting for the school busses in the morning and returning in the afternoon. Another problem are the poor aesthetics of having a busy parking lot facing a residential corner and the associated noise and congestion on an already busy street.
For residents of City Park, the question is how these negative effects can be lessened.
One solution may be to eliminate parking lot access from Duke and establish a ‘pocket park’ in the south-east corner of the property.
The size of the park would be equivalent to the area taken by the rink (which, according the City of Saskatoon, can’t be relocated to the corner), so the number of parking spaces would not be affected.
In that scenario, the rink would need to be moved to another location in the Collegiate grounds, or Wilson Park. The addition of a pocket park with trees, shrubs, tables, and benches would serve residents who use Duke to get to Spadina or 2nd Ave, and would also be very nice for kids or Affinity staff.
Meridian and Affinity have already been made aware of these concerns and we look forward to working with them to sort things out.
In the meantime, these ideas should be discussed amongst ‘City Parkers’ to see if they have merit and should be pursued.