The Calgary Herald had this story today
about making a better winter city, with a large focus on the +15 system. One of the arguments put forward towards the end:
If you were to extend the money that went into the Plus-15 . . . and created friendly environments that were better landscaped . . . and that kind of thing, we'd be better off
Personally, I don't agree with this opinion. The +15 allows me to effectively get around downtown, without worrying about cars, weather, or waits at lights. It is more of a transportation network rather than a vibrant environment. Developments like The Core help offset the lack of vibrancy, and more of those should be supported - green spaces connected right into the +15, more retail, etc.
If you're a proponent of street life, I can see why you'd be anti +15. Street life doesn't exist if everyone is in the +15. Personally, I think the CBD is too far along in +15 development, and really street life is dead beyond Stephen Ave and Barclay walk; perhaps a future additional street or two. Work needs to be done where the +15 ends on building better street life south of 9th Ave.
Are we better off hiding from winter in the +15 network? I think the answer to that depends on what you want out of a downtown. As an effective means of commuting between buildings, it certainly made my life easier working downtown. As a means of bringing together a bunch of cultural and recreational venues to create a night time destination it totally fails, mostly because it isn't designed for that. But I still wouldn't trade the +15 network for a more vibrant street life downtown.