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-   -   [Halifax] Queen's Marque | 30 m | 10 fl | U/C (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum//showthread.php?t=145372)

Nouvellecosse Sep 2, 2020 3:28 AM

I agree that city centres should be for the access and use of all residents across the entire metro area, but that access definitely has to be done in an efficient, respectful way that doesn't degrade its livability and attractiveness. There needs to be a balance, and currently the balance is in favour of those coming in from the outside. There are many people living in urban Halifax such as those attending university who are not wealthy or elite and for whom active transportation would be a great option if things were improved. Halifax is not gentrified nearly to the point where the central urban areas can be plausibly presented as a bastion of wealthy elites.

Also, the idea of cycle lanes being built to coax people to drive into town via bike is false as the majority of active transport occurs within the urban area itself across distances that are manageable for many people rather than from suburban to urban. I don't know if that talking point is an honest misunderstanding or an intentional strawman, but it needs to end.

Keith P. Sep 2, 2020 2:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nouvellecosse (Post 9029681)
I agree that city centres should be for the access and use of all residents across the entire metro area, but that access definitely has to be done in an efficient, respectful way that doesn't degrade its livability and attractiveness. There needs to be a balance, and currently the balance is in favour of those coming in from the outside. There are many people living in urban Halifax such as those attending university who are not wealthy or elite and for whom active transportation would be a great option if things were improved. Halifax is not gentrified nearly to the point where the central urban areas can be plausibly presented as a bastion of wealthy elites.

Also, the idea of cycle lanes being built to coax people to drive into town via bike is false as the majority of active transport occurs within the urban area itself across distances that are manageable for many people rather than from suburban to urban. I don't know if that talking point is an honest misunderstanding or an intentional strawman, but it needs to end.

But that is what is going on. Bike lanes on the Bedford Highway and Bay Road, the trail on the former rail line that ends at Ashburn, and of course the megabucks bike flyover lane off the Macdonald bridge. If you are saying those initiatives need to be cancelled then I am in full agreement.

It is interesting that the usual suspects on Council (Mason, Cleary and Austin) derailed the move yesterday to appoint a new traffic authority in HRM because they were not getting the decisions they wanted. Clearly was complaining in the press today that the authority made it impossible for Councillors to get traffic lights, directional signage and other street changes put in place as they wanted. I sure as heck hope so! The last thing anyone should want is having those jackwagons tinkering with things like that. It's bad enough that they have co-opted much of the planning dept in HRM to do their evil bidding.

I had a medical appt today that forced me onto SGR for the first time in months. There I saw the latest HRM Planning lunacy, the "slow streets" initiative as applied to the retail district part of SGR. Metal crown control barriers lined either side of the street several feet out from the curbs. Not only did that take away any on-street parking and loading areas but also bus stops were in the middle of the street. I am unsure but I think the cab stand is gone also. But the space is fairly useless for pedestrians and others to use as the legs of those barriers are perpendicular to the fences and thus jut into the space, leaving only a very narrow corridor. What is the cost of all this foolishness? Did HRM not get the memo that COVID requires financial prudence going forward? When their commercial tax revenue tanks next year as a result of business failures hopefully there can be a much-needed downsizing of the bureaucracy.

Summerville Sep 2, 2020 3:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Keith P. (Post 9029860)
But that is what is going on. Bike lanes on the Bedford Highway and Bay Road, the trail on the former rail line that ends at Ashburn, and of course the megabucks bike flyover lane off the Macdonald bridge. If you are saying those initiatives need to be cancelled then I am in full agreement.

It is interesting that the usual suspects on Council (Mason, Cleary and Austin) derailed the move yesterday to appoint a new traffic authority in HRM because they were not getting the decisions they wanted. Clearly was complaining in the press today that the authority made it impossible for Councillors to get traffic lights, directional signage and other street changes put in place as they wanted. I sure as heck hope so! The last thing anyone should want is having those jackwagons tinkering with things like that. It's bad enough that they have co-opted much of the planning dept in HRM to do their evil bidding.

I had a medical appt today that forced me onto SGR for the first time in months. There I saw the latest HRM Planning lunacy, the "slow streets" initiative as applied to the retail district part of SGR. Metal crown control barriers lined either side of the street several feet out from the curbs. Not only did that take away any on-street parking and loading areas but also bus stops were in the middle of the street. I am unsure but I think the cab stand is gone also. But the space is fairly useless for pedestrians and others to use as the legs of those barriers are perpendicular to the fences and thus jut into the space, leaving only a very narrow corridor. What is the cost of all this foolishness? Did HRM not get the memo that COVID requires financial prudence going forward? When their commercial tax revenue tanks next year as a result of business failures hopefully there can be a much-needed downsizing of the bureaucracy.


Speaking of cabals and conspiracy,...I understand that someone got on a plane and noticed a bunch of city planners dressed in black on their way to Halifax...to create trouble for cars and build bike lanes.

But in terms of Queens Marque, I believe that most of the exterior work has been completed around the perimeter of the building. I was there on the weekend. It looks great. Very tasteful.

They are currently in the process of laying the pavers within the interior courtyards. They had the same vacuum/machine that was used on Argyle to move the paver blocks into place.

Nouvellecosse Sep 2, 2020 3:57 PM

The urban parts of Dartmouth are part of the urban core and certainly part of the areas that are geographically accessible by active transport which the bridge is a key part of. Few of the people using the flyover are going to be coming from outer areas like Cole Harbour or Eastern Passage or even Westphal. It's one of - if not the - busiest cycle routes in town so it isn't related to such criticisms. In terms of the Bedford hwy, I'd have to see the actual data but I'd suspect most people biking on that stretch would be making shorter, more local trips rather than biking from Bedford to central hfx as the BH acts as the main street for a fairly large area. It would definitely be necessary to see the actual data before any higher level investments could be justified beyond something like a bit of line paint. Such investments are limited and should be spent where they have the greatest potential for benefit.

Colin May Sep 2, 2020 5:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Keith P. (Post 9029860)
I had a medical appt today that forced me onto SGR for the first time in months. There I saw the latest HRM Planning lunacy, the "slow streets" initiative as applied to the retail district part of SGR. Metal crown control barriers lined either side of the street several feet out from the curbs. Not only did that take away any on-street parking and loading areas but also bus stops were in the middle of the street. I am unsure but I think the cab stand is gone also. But the space is fairly useless for pedestrians and others to use as the legs of those barriers are perpendicular to the fences and thus jut into the space, leaving only a very narrow corridor. What is the cost of all this foolishness? Did HRM not get the memo that COVID requires financial prudence going forward? When their commercial tax revenue tanks next year as a result of business failures hopefully there can be a much-needed downsizing of the bureaucracy.

SGR is a great place if you want a coffee. If you want to make a retail purchase head over the Halifax Shopping Centre - SGR has seen a steady decline in retail activity for more than a decade and the streetscape has become a visual mess.

atbw Sep 2, 2020 6:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nouvellecosse (Post 9029953)
In terms of the Bedford hwy, I'd have to see the actual data but I'd suspect most people biking on that stretch would be making shorter, more local trips rather than biking from Bedford to central hfx as the BH acts as the main street for a fairly large area. It would definitely be necessary to see the actual data before any higher level investments could be justified beyond something like a bit of line paint. Such investments are limited and should be spent where they have the greatest potential for benefit.

Part of it is that there is painted lines right now, on both sides, and no sidewalks for many parts of the road. Accessing bus stops, businesses, or cycling for commute or for fun are all reserved for the brave. The suggested plan is a multi-use path, similar to the one along Barrington St. to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists more safely and remove them from the flow of traffic.

The problem with current bike infrastructure is its still piecemeal. The Barrington Greenway dumps you out at the South End onto a 4-lane road. At the North End, there's a light you have to wait 5 minutes for if you want to continue up Devonshire. Similar on Lower Water, the Queen's Marque lane dumps you into an intersection that narrows to a 1-maybe-2 lane road, and then into the Cogswell Interchange.

There's stretches that do work well, but the bits in between are still largely reserved for the brave.

pblaauw Sep 3, 2020 4:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Keith P. (Post 9028952)
Come on. Wake up and smell the coffee. Neither I nor anyone else have ever seen a motor vehicle do what this idiot did yesterday. First, because it could only do the first half of his stunt. The second half of veering onto the sidewalk and then blowing through an open gate into a park would be physically impossible.

...not if you REALLY try. O you accidentally step on the gas. :haha:

Haliburger Dec 27, 2020 8:57 PM

Dec 27, 2020

https://i.postimg.cc/y8bXTSRH/7-CAA8...-E7617-E35.jpg

Saul Goode Dec 28, 2020 6:09 PM

Does anyone else find this a hideously ugly building, monolithically forbidding streetside and a blight on the waterfront? To me it's about as inviting as a root canal.

What a disappointment. What a waste.

someone123 Dec 28, 2020 6:15 PM

It is not finished yet so I think it is a bit early to pass judgement. It seems to have a lot of nicer than average finishes already and integrates well with the Lower Water Street side. Hard to say what the water side will be like when that area is full of construction material, half built, and not yet open to the public.

The Crow Whisperer Dec 28, 2020 7:13 PM

Mason, Cleary and Austin would love Pyongyang North Korea because there is no car traffic on the road.

Mason, Cleary and Austin seem to believe that if we block the roads to traffic with metal barriers and call it "Slow Streets," then it will be a utopian fantasy where people will be dancing in the streets wearing top hats and drinking tea.

Drybrain Dec 28, 2020 7:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Saul Goode (Post 9143853)
Does anyone else find this a hideously ugly building, monolithically forbidding streetside and a blight on the waterfront? To me it's about as inviting as a root canal.

What a disappointment. What a waste.

I still have a few issues with the busy-ness of the facade in some respects, but overall I'm more impressed every time I see it.

Contrary to the "ugly and out-of-scale" commentary from some folks, it's clearly been designed with a lot of care for its location. The materials reflect the stone used on other nearby monumental buildings (AGNS and Dominion, mainly), its roofline reflects a graceful descent to the water from the those structures, and it seems to address the water beautifully (full judgement reserved until I experience it).

The Water Street side of things is also vastly improved. The new laneway between the MMA and the Marque is a nice pedestrian thoroughfare, and Water Street itself feels much more inviting with the broader sidewalk and bike path. Every time I was down there this autumn the space was active and busy despite being incomplete.

And while it IS imposing, the attention to street-level detail in the facade makes up for that, some of which is detailed here.

I think in five years, or less, everyone but the diehards will have embraced it as just part of the city.

Saul Goode Dec 28, 2020 8:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Drybrain (Post 9143934)

I think in five years, or less, everyone but the diehards will have embraced it as just part of the city.

I sure hope so.

I don't count myself among the diehards. I've been wanting to give this complex a chance since it was a hole on the ground (and the water) but it hasn't grown on me in the least as it's progressed.

Maybe it'll be more appealing from the water on a July day...

someone123 Dec 28, 2020 8:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Drybrain (Post 9143934)
I still have a few issues with the busy-ness of the facade in some respects, but overall I'm more impressed every time I see it.

There's a bit of a bias in these skyline-style shots (which I like, to be clear). When you're walking around in person you don't get a view 50 m up in the air floating over the water. You see the ground-level details first and foremost and then the upper floors have a noticeable but smaller impact.

The public aspect of Queen's Marque will be experienced mostly by people on foot in these different sub-areas like on that observation platform, on Lower Water Street, or walking along the boardwalk and through the passageways. One potential good aspect of the development is how, even though it's large, it has many distinct fine-grained public spaces. I think that is part of why it looks so busy from afar, but the fine-grained aspect is likely to outweigh the building's overall sculptural elegance.

On top of this of course there's the private interior space and the fact that this land is going to generate vastly more value than what was there before.

mleblanc Dec 28, 2020 8:59 PM

I spent quite a few days on the waterfront this summer and was always impressed by the development.
At least on waterfront level - the details are very nice, and will only improve once retail fills in and the boardwalk opens. The water street side is mixed for me - it feels fairly looming but the ground floor is well lit and the lobbies are mixed in design which breaks up the structure a bit.

someone123 Dec 28, 2020 9:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mleblanc (Post 9143989)
The water street side is mixed for me - it feels fairly looming but the ground floor is well lit and the lobbies are mixed in design which breaks up the structure a bit.

One thing you don't hear much about downtown Halifax is how there are functionally different areas packed into a small space. A lot of people do talk about needing to make everything friendly which is sort of good but a low resolution way of thinking about this. Another variant monoculturist view is the idea that more green space everywhere is always better, as if the ideal is to live in the woods and the city is always a kind of compromise.

My impression is that for the Province House and Hollis/George area, looming masonry buildings are part of the appeal. And I think the Lower Water side of Queen's Marque is a part of that. The water side is something different.

On Manhattan you've got say Greenwich Village and then Lower Manhattan. Two dramatically different feels, both with their own appeal. Something would be lost of the whole island were Greenwich-Village-ified or Lower-Manhattan-ified.

In Halifax I get the impression this has shifted a bit with more tolerance now for more urban and modern stuff while the small town stuff has dropped off a bit. In the 90's there were more people who conceived of say Spring Garden Road as a kind of pseudo small town main street where you'd drive up and park in behind on those Clyde lots. That's pretty much gone now. I hope appreciation of bona fide urban development, as part of an overall mix, not necessarily what you want everywhere, is increasing.

Good Baklava Dec 28, 2020 10:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by someone123 (Post 9144002)
Another variant monoculturist view is the idea that more green space everywhere is always better, as if the ideal is to live in the woods and the city is always a kind of compromise.

I think there’s a misunderstanding as to why green space is added to urban areas. Whenever new green space is added to an ongoing development, you see it denounced as bad judgement on the part of a landscape architect or as part of some greenie plot.

Really, the reasons are much more practical. The newly planted sedges along South Park st. strike me as more of a storm water management project than anything. Trees are more about shielding pedestrians from the urban heat island effect than air quality. In fact, if the forested canopy of a street is too dense it actually worsens local air quality because it prevents emissions from dissipating.

Simply describing green space as “eco-friendly” or “beautiful” excludes a lot from the picture, but those reasons are probably used because they’re more popular with the public. I’m sure the housing market could speak to that as well, since properties in “greener” urban areas tend to be worth more.

TrudeauSockPuppet427 Dec 29, 2020 7:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Saul Goode (Post 9143853)
Does anyone else find this a hideously ugly building, monolithically forbidding streetside and a blight on the waterfront? To me it's about as inviting as a root canal.

What a disappointment. What a waste.

I don't feel that strongly about it, but I feel a big opportunity was missed by making it so monolithic along the street. I would much prefer to see a large "gate" at the centre of the street-side section - maybe 3 or 4 stories tall and wide enough to give a nice line of sight to the street and beyond from many angles on the waterfront side.

OldDartmouthMark Dec 30, 2020 6:40 AM

Haven't been there in awhile, but I mostly like it. I like the fact that high quality materials are used as cladding and that its design is somewhat unified, unlike a lot of new buildings lately.

I actually like the way it creates a bit of a canyon effect on Lower Water with the Dominion Public Building as well.

Mostly, however, I will appreciate how it interacts with the waterfront boardwalk, which will be a vast improvement over what was (and wasn't) there before.

Still reserving final opinions until it's finished, this covid crap is over with, and everybody can experience the space as it's meant to be. :2cents:

Good Baklava Dec 30, 2020 2:10 PM

I’m waiting to see how the light beam turns out. The rendering makes it look like the unfinished framework of a building, but I’m hoping it will turn out nicer in person.


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