Friday, 25 November 2011

Holland in Montreal: A Woofnerf in St. Henri

Elin spent three years at The Hague, living just off a canal on a street that ended with -laan: neither she nor I can remember the complete name but the -laan referred to the canal. Then she moved to St. Henri, just off the Lachine canal, and I used to joke that she went from one -laan to another.

Today the Montreal Mirror has a story about another Dutch touch to the neighborhood. The former St. Pierre River, now converted into a buried storm sewer, has been a heat island, since the asphalt paving on top traps the sun's rays. But the arrondissement plans to convert it into a peculiarly Dutch invention, a space that is open to local traffic for people whose garages open onto it, but which will essentially a pedestrian walkway and park. There will be small parks at either end with exercise space. The Mirror story also notes that good street lighting is proposed to "dissuade nefarious activities."

To that end, the planners might include playground and exercise equipment in the middle, to encourage foot traffic. As Jane Jacobs noted, the more people passing on foot, the safer a street is, and that applies to woonerfs too.

Another version of the story with more about the St. Pierre River can be found in Alanah Heffez's post on SpacingMontreal from last May

Photo: Montreal Mirror

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