Comment 113391

By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted August 11, 2015 at 13:06:46 in reply to Comment 113294

I agree we can never be a Dutch city, but Main/King status quo has definitely got to go.

  • Minneapolis, big-time American car-friendly city, is far more pedestrian-friendly and cycle-friendly than Hamilton.
  • There are beautiful, very popular, mostly-pedestrianized (car-discouraged) "districts" like the gaslight district of Boston. And even Vancouvers' Gastown. And many other USA cities.

A very good example is the upcoming (eventually to be highly popular) International Village-and-Gore combined pedestrian district:

  • For example, we have an ongoing work-in-progress called the International Village, and the slightly-too-early pedestrianized road next to Gore Park. The pedestrian area is almost worthless right now because Gore Park is an island in the middle of urban expressways, and the condos (new area residents) are not built yet.
  • Once the LRT arrives through King, then Main is converted to 2-way out of sheer necessity (if and when the LRT arrives), then it is probable that the International Village becomes pedestrianized for a few blocks (From Wentworth to Catherine Street or John Street).
  • With a pedestrian-only International Village, this frees lots of space for wonderful contiguous sidewalks and cycle paths from Wellington St to James Street. (pedestrian routes currently interrupted by the Royal Connaught project)
  • There is a planned higher-order pedestrian path to GO station, an access being built on Hughson, to connect between Hamilton Downtown GO station and the B-Line LRT. This would integrate into all of this. It's part of the LRT announcement.
  • Currently ongoing condo boom. Far more residents will be living downtown Hamilton in 10 years, given the numerous condo developments under construction (and not yet started). This installs a core base of residents to enjoy the area, making it more friendly looking for people passing through, and even myself who still rarely visit Gore Park except by car (Because I bike Cannon/Stinson/Hunter/etc) and other people who don't bother.
  • New condo residents enjoying area, will make the area more appealing and safer. The area will finally be reasonably safe enough that parents elsewhere (e.g. nearer) Gage Park can let their (old-enough) kids go by themselves to, considering by then there's now several safer routes through there & there'll be more segments of planned cycle paths and LRT available.
  • Gore Park LRT station becomes the main interchange station. With the LRT becoming the main crosstown transit route (more north-south HSR bus routes will connect to the LRT, to speed up crosstown journeys and greatly increase number of passengers through this area), and operating 365 days and evenings, not just daytimes with current B-Line express -- more people will mill out this area -- transferring from B-Line and A-Line -- improving general pedestrian density of the Gore Park area, and greatly increasing business vitality rather always staying within the secluded MacNab bus station. This is above-and-beyond new condo dwellers.
  • I even sent a suggestion to segment (or remove) the Gore Park fence, once the small cycle path segment and LRT arrives, people can flow to the south from whatever non-car traffic passes the south edge of King. This amplifies Gore Park usefulness as a pedestrian throughfare to various downtown destinations, including condos, businesses, offices, etc.
  • Again, Gore Park finally ceases to be a secluded island of oasis in the middle of urban expressways; further amplifying its own popularity because of easier accessibility and better desirability, due to above.

This is how the currently-still-mostly-useless Gore Park pedestrian road, that was probably built slightly too early -- finally actually becomes really useful and finally touristy (in 10-15 years), in combination with a pedestrianized International Village (with only LRT/sidewalks/cycle paths/median trees/fancy steeltown ironwork benches/etc), and now that the area would be no longer an expressway island with Main 2-way, with all the new condo residents, it kickstarts a calm crowd with baby strollers and enjoyment, attracting more people (like me) who lives 20-30 minutes walk away closer to Gage Park, who otherwise take Stinson/Cannon bike lanes, but would end up liking to ride a bikepath route that intersects the beautiful International Village-to-Gore Park cycle path (on the pedestrianized road), and businesses in this BIA will boom as a result.

Apparently, segments of this micro-utopia are already in Hamilton's master plan, the Hamilton LRT plan, the funding for higher-order pedestrians. The shuttered storefronts will completely disappear from Gore Park. So, you see, the Gore Park pedestrian road was built approximately 10-to-15-years too early.

This is still far smaller than even Minneapolis and Boston's still-tiny pedestrianized districts, but this is a great area to begin one because of the bullet list of simultaneous converging factors. Considering we're almost certainly going to end up having to do Main 2-way in the LRT era, anyway -- might as well also make it people-friendly and sieze this amazing opportunity of this grand confluence of condo-LRT-IV-Gore-etc revitalization opportunity.

This is a massive improvement for Hamilton Downtown, and a genesis of a massive explosion of employment opportunities in the next 20 years too, when the Downtown finally is over the hill of its depressed Detroit-style look of not too long ago.

The City started the Gore transition (and, YES, it looks like a aborted transition given the shuttered storefronts at Gore), and there is a lot of inertia, but the critical mass of people-friendliness will finally hit this specific area once the LRT/condos/paths/etc are complete. The bullet list above points this out.

Momentum is strong; the brand new war memorial is totally amazing and I appreciated it now covers recent war history including Corporal Nathan Frank Cirillo (RIP -- 2014). Along with this, the SoBi bikeshare rack has also made me visit Gore a bare tad more often, and as long as the city keeps it up, I am pretty confident this area is a big-time pedestrian draw 15 years from now, like specific districts in American cities. My Lower City neighbours who visited Gore Park for the first time 5 years are amazed what an underutilized resource we have in the center of our city! The same stick of dynamite that lit James St N (it took time there, too...) and their arts crawls, will finally light IV+Gore. We started already, let's finish it properly, rather than a Hamilton-aborted-revitalization legacy (of which there's many), Hamilton finally succeeded in completing a bunch of revitalizations (making James Street Supercrawl possible), let's not make Gore/IV a failed statistic instead of a work-in-progress. The dynamite fuse is the above bullet list at the top, look at the list of converging simultaneous plans!.

Yes, yes, we still will be a very automobile-optimized city, maybe an expanded 6-lane RHVP/LINC, and whatnot to partially make up for the loss of King capacity for longer-distance commuters in the era of 2-way Main and pedestrianized King segment -- but International Village + Gore will be a very popular touristy pedestrian-friendly cycle-friendly area in 15 years, thanks to the bullet list above.

Comment edited by mdrejhon on 2015-08-11 13:47:35

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