Category Archives: redesign needed

Dual purpose summer/winter playgrounds?

Having children gives you a new view on the world, for sure.

On the way back from the Communauto parking lot, a block and a half from home, we stopped at our favourite close park, the Parc des compagnons, that little park on Mont Royal Ave, just East of Papineau (with a concrete banquet table. More on that in a future post.)

The tots wanted to play in the playground, in the middle of winter. They don’t care that it’s minus 20 with the windchill. Aged 6 and 7 now, they decided they wanted to build a snow fort. So we did, around the legs of one of the slides. It was the perfect size and a pre-made roof to boot. Then it dawned on me that really, playgrounds ought to be designed for both summer AND winter play. We finished the fort in a half an hour, but there was no other structure nearby to build another fort under. Just the one. But you need two snow forts to have a snowball fight, no? (Nod to the pacifists here.)

That got me thinking. Why not rethink the park, with winter functions in mind?

We got to chatting, the tots and I. Nibs said: What about just piling the snow up in the playground, for building tunnel forts? (That was my favourite winter past-time, into (huge) snow-dumps from clearing the back alleyway.) Why not snow slides? (Why not?)

Are any playgrounds getting real use in the winter, in Montreal? or are they pretty much dead wastelands, like the Parc des compagnons, until the spring brings the children back? Can anything be done? Would it really be all that costly or dangerous?

Heated sidewalks….?

How many heated sidewalks are there in Montreal?

You know, walkways that just don’t accumulate snow? Maybe they have coils under them. Maybe waste heat from the building.

The only one I know of was in Westmount, on Redfern, in the Reader’s Digest building.

Are there any others?

Should we have more? Are any other cities using them? Could they ever make sense on a large scale? Solar panel heated bike paths?

Bike/People conflict zones

There are so many little places to improve our bike network. Where to start?

One example is found at the corner of Parc Lafontaine/Amhearst and Cherrier. At rush hour, this place is clotted with bikes and in the afternoon, we add joggers, walkers, baby strollers and cars all vying for speedy access to “the other side”.

Eventually we will have the money to find solutions to these hot spots.

What are your favorites?