Comment 78963

By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted June 27, 2012 at 15:25:44

Main Street Hamilton, a deeper look:

In order to develop relevant solutions for Main Street, it is imperative that one studies the various neighbourhoods that it passes thru in order to discover unique strengths, challenges and critical problems across its length.

Here is a slide show of this artery from the 403 east exit to Sherman Avenue. It may help in getting re-acquainted with what is really at play here. What this tells me is that a 'quaint village' can be created, very cost effectively, from the already existing growth pattern between Wentworth and Sherman - which will most definitely be embraced by the local neighbourhood residents to its immediate north and south. This small move has the power of taming the speed of the immense Main without much conflict. Similar strengths can be leveraged across the Main in incremental steps at various critical points, such as between Dundurn and Locke; and John and Ferguson. - (view above slides in 'slide show' mode for a drive thru experience: http://goo.gl/KMpjp )

The more critical issue however is the lack of a definitive street wall (resulting from various setbacks over the years) which has resulted in the very ugly street texture.

If this issue is not challenged head on with the planning dept, the new developments in the coming years will only make this street utterly and totally un-urban.

The City of Niagara Falls has taken the lead on developing zoning laws which allows street walls to form, we can only learn from them:

"R3-B Urban: This sub-district is intended primarily for more urban-style developments or combination of residential building types, orientated to the street.

R4 HERITAGE DISTRICT: On any lot in this district: reconstruction and/or construction of an interpretation of a structure/building that previously existed on the subject lot prior to the effective date of this ordinance (see Section 1301.3) is permitted, without regard to density and square foot limits listed above. Application of this standard is subject to site plan approval and design district standards under Section 1319.2, provided that strict application of these design district standards does not impair the intent to restore overall form of such previously existing structure. In such cases, evidence of the previous structure/building must be documented through verifiable sources that adequately outline the scale and features of the previously existing structure (including, but not limited to: historic maps, photographs, architectural drawings, etc.). The reconstructed structure/building shall be designed to interpret the scale, form, and materials of the previously existing structure to the greatest extent feasible and may only contain permitted uses in the district.

City of Niagara Falls Zoning Ordinance,

City of Niagara Falls Zoning Map

If this city-defining critical issue is not taken seriously now, and dealt with appropriately, new project rendering such as on James Street or Main & John, will remain just that - renderings in our imagination.

There are very creative and innovative ways in which we can rebuild the lost street walls on Main Street and other parts of our downtown - which have nothing to do with the direction of the traffic. We need to focus on that. If we continue to be occupied with less critical issues, the damage that will be done on account of the lack of a contiguous street wall on Main, King or James will be enormous.

“The Principle of Priority states (a) you must know the difference between what is urgent and what is important, and (b) you must do what’s important first.” ~ Steven Pressfield

Mahesh P. Butani

Comment edited by Mahesh_P_Butani on 2012-06-27 15:41:10

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