Maple Tree Square

 

Under the watchful gaze of Gassy Jack social mixing is underway. Erected on Carrall Street, the statue of Gassy Jack looks east towards the site of the original Hastings Mill Townsite home to his first patrons. Gastown is filling up with people on a summer night arriving to hear bands setting up on the sidewalks, and in Maple Tree Square. Everyone is welcome.

Most people are partaking of the most ancient of urban pleasure: the promenade (french) or passegiato (italian)—or just plain strolling. The point is to get nowhere soon, and people watch along the way.

To the left of the picture we see evidence of what’s awry on this warm summer’s eve: The presence of traffic on Vancouver’s best urban space kills its sense of place, and diminishes its ability to function as an urban room. This is no small problem since Powell-Water, and Cordova  Streets have been engineered as a one-way coupling that together deliver 30,000 daily trips to the central business district. BRT/LRT on Hastings would bring that number down to zero, and return to the people of Vancouver it’s most memorable urban experience.

© Lewis N. Villegas, Vancouver, January 2012.

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