Portland OR is now building a new light rail line from one suburban area to another.
(When I lived out there, I used the Gateway/99th station shown on this map.)
The end of the line (Clackamas Town Centre) was much like a Scarborough Town Centre or Meadowlands type of area - big malls, box stores, and sprawl.
It's amazing that they're doing LRT now across this entire strip of suburban residential Upper James-type neighbourhoods.
We still can't even get Hamilton to do LRT through the dense lower city. Meanwhile, Portland is running a line that would be equivalent to us doing LRT from Hwy20/Rymal over to Meadowlands.
This is the same city that is planning to build a canal in a major redevelopment of an under-used block of land north of Lovejoy.
Every time I read a proposal like this in a North American city I have two reactions.
The first is to be impressed and realize that there is a lot of talented folks who can develop great projects in our cities.
The second, of course, is to despair that Hamilton is falling further and further behind. I mean, we still have a Council that won't budge on the one-way mega highways tearing the life out of our urban city.
Other cities are building light rail, attracting new economy firms such as streetcar manufacturers, renewable energy firms and proposing European-style canals in downtown districts.
We're still knocking down buildings [PDF] for the almighty purpose of more parking lots.
Hardly a week goes by where I don't hear local politicians, "experts" and radio hosts talk about how downtown will never come back to be as vibrant as it once was.
Why on earth not? Other cities are seeing their downtowns enter the greatest period of development and vibrancy in their modern history.
Sadly, it's quite simple – other cities care.
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