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SASKATOON TRANSIT TRANSFER TERMINAL

The 23rd Street Saskatoon Transit Transfer Terminal, or “bus mall”, currently occupies a typical downtown street between 2nd Avenue and 3rd Avenue, across from both City Hall and the Francis Morrison Library in downtown Saskatoon.  The bus mall has, for years, been the location where transit riders would gather to obtain bus transportation from downtown, switch buses through downtown, and to arrive in downtown from outlying areas.  The block has been closed to all traffic but Saskatoon Transit buses, and it is plagued by lack of activity on the streets after business hours, shuttered windows, and higher crime rates than in other areas of downtown.  Two large drugstores turn their backs on the street, leaving only offices for Saskatoon Transit, and the City’s Land Branch overlooking the area.  

As part of Saskatoon Transit’s expansion plans to increase ridership to and from downtown, additional transfer stops were required.  The City of Saskatoon offered an existing surface parking lot to Transit in an effort to add more land to accommodate the additional bus stops, and simultaneously requested that a new indoor transfer terminal be created, to serve as a climate controlled waiting area for passengers, to accommodate Saskatoon Transit’s Customer Service Centre, to house a new coffee shop which would be open as long as the bus service was in operation and to act as a rest area for bus drivers.  It was felt that a new structure that would serve the neighborhood  - not just Transit’s ridership - might encourage business owners on the block to put more emphasis on addressing the street, thereby increasing the perceived level of security for passengers.  It was also hoped that by increasing the number of stops and frequency of the stops, the increased volume of passengers may encourage businesses catering to those passengers to relocate along this somewhat forgotten block of downtown.  Automobile traffic was still to be restricted, but the redesign for the bus mall was to encourage pedestrians on 2nd Avenue and 3rd Avenue to use the zone as a safe, attractive link between City Hall and the office district on 3rd Avenue to 2nd Avenue shopping and restaurants - and vice versa.

Although many options for perimeter enhancement were reviewed, Saskatoon Transit and the City of Saskatoon felt that the “island” concept best suited their needs for the number of additional stops, and bus circulation through the site.  

After SEPW Architecture’s completion of the design development for the project, the City of Saskatoon changed the focus of transit service delivery to downtown from “centralized delivery” at a single transfer node to “decentralized delivery” through various stops distributed throughout downtown.   Unfortunately the project has been postponed until a decision on the best method to service downtown is made.

Saskatoon Transit Transfer Terminal
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Client: Saskatoon Transit

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