A NEW GUIDE TO BALANCING MOBILITY AND HUMANITY ON MAIN STREET
Case Studies 

Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.

*Nominee 

Lombard Square

Winnipeg

Manitoba

Canada

Contributed by 
Lee Haber
Project for Public Spaces
 on 
July 14, 2005
December 14, 2017

This intersection of the most famous streets in Winnipeg is completed blockaded by concrete barriers that force pedestrians into a dark underground concourse.

What makes it Great?

Why it doesn't work?

The biggest knock on Lombard Square is that the intersection was blockaded to prevent pedestrians from crossing at street level in order to speed up car traffic. Pedestrians are then funneled underground in an unimaginative walkway network. What is even worse is that a legally binding agreement was signed in which the blockades can only be removed if all four corner business owners unanimously agree to remove them. The agreement expires in 2016. The place is a dead zone, puts cars before people and certainly deserves to be in the Hall of Shame.

Former Mayor Glen Murray had a design competition to revitalize the intersection and remove the barriers. Unfortunately, this idea was shelved by current Mayor Sam Katz. There are now plans to implement parts of the winning design such as towers of light to the underground concourse. Unfortunately, removing the barriers seems to be the last thing on their minds.

I think that it is essential that the barriers are removed. The place needs to be reclaimed by the people. I would also suggest that there be diagonal crosswalks like in Tokyo where all traffic stops. Also, adding a streetcar would slow traffic even further while also adding some charm. If traffic moves slowly, people feel safer.

There also needs to be more shops and amenities at ground level at the four corners. Right now there is nothing but an empty lobby. For instance, the CanWest Global Tower has a windscreen which could be a good place for a cafe. Right now it is empty and the place has little life. There could also be more hot dog stands and other food vendors.

As for the underground concourse, it would still be open and could be used as a way of accessing an underground rapid transit station. The only time people have actually been on the intersection has been for parades and street parties which there need to be more of.

Access & Linkages

Pedestrians cannot even cross the intersection because of the concrete barricades. Instead they are forced to go underground in an ugly and unimaginative underground concourse. The entrances are ugly and dark making people feel unsafe.

Comfort & Image

The concrete barricades at all four corners do little to make people feel comfortable. Also, the dark and dilapidated entrances to the underground concourse do little to make people feel safe. There is quite a bit of graffiti and vandalism. Because pedestrians are barricaded from crossing the street, the vehicle does dominate.

Uses & Activities

Lombard Square is an office ghetto. Since very few people live downtown, this area is deserted after 5:00 pm. There are no benches and the place is a traffic funnel, as opposed to a meeting of Winnipeg's most famous streets. Occasionally there may be a hot dog stand at one of the corners in the summer.

Sociability

The only thing you see at Portage and Main is people walking to get out of there. It is not a friendly place to hang around and there aren't any amenities.

How Light?

How Quick?

How Cheap?

History & Background

Related Links & Sources

Lombard Square
A cold and unfriendly place.
Lombard Square
Concrete barriers prevent pedestrians from crossing the street.
Lombard Square
Pedestrians are funneled into dark and depressing underground concourses.
Lombard Square
An overhead view of the intersection, with no pedestrians in sight.
Lombard Square
In its heyday, Lombard Square was a lively intersection of WinnipegÍs most popular streets.
Lombard Square
Lombard Square used to be a place for people.
Lombard Square
Lombard Square

*Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.

NOMINATE A PLACE

Corrections or additions? Email info@pps.org
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A NEW GUIDE TO BALANCING MOBILITY AND HUMANITY ON MAIN STREET