Landscaping for NCL and Beyond


There are lots of great landscaping ideas and gathering places around the New Central Library. CMLC Project Manager Nicholas Dykstra is bringing those ideas to life beyond the library with the 3rd Street SE Streetscape Improvement Project. Encompassing about five city blocks from 9th Avenue SE to Riverfront Avenue along the Bow River, the project will dramatically reshape a space currently dominated by vehicles and LRT lines, creating a pedestrian-oriented streetscape that weaves together the landscaping of the New Central Library with Jack & Jean Leslie RiverWalk™ and the Bow River.

CMLC saw an opportunity to narrow 3rd Street’s four lanes in order to slow traffic and allow for the creation of a 15-metre sidewalk in front of the planned Loblaws grocery store. That made room for what Nicholas calls an inviting “spillout space” in front of the Loblaws and the other street-level retail bays—one of which will be the patio of the new café that’s coming to the library.

The space will offer library visitors, grocery shoppers, students from Bow Valley College, City Hall employees and East Villagers a comfortable, natural space to sit, with benches surrounded by the Aspen trees, native grasses and pavers that are also part of the NCL landscaping. With the sun warming the area in three seasons, it’ll be a great place to sit and enjoy coffee or a grab-and-go lunch.

“When you walk out of the New Central Library it’ll feel more like a park than a sidewalk,” says Nicholas. Indeed, the organic shape of the seating areas was inspired by the islands in the Bow River, intimate pieces of landscape that have been shaped by the water around them. Turns out that people, too, will have room to relax in the flow of village life around them.