Comment 116630

By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted February 25, 2016 at 14:04:37

Speaking of parking lots, I've noticed that these parking lots (in purple) are ripe for development within 10 years:


  • Purple -- the parking lots ripe for development
  • Yellow -- a proposed 21-storey student residence
  • City Centre -- A place ripe for revitalization opportunity with nearby increased residential densities
  • 26 Storey -- The nearest tall building to the new height-puncturing development.
  • A-Line LRT is reported to possibly not go on James -- might go past these parking lots

The student residence looks a bit of a standout. Some concern there by some people initially. But looking closely -- there is ground floor retail. The facades will be kept. It's it's south of Wilson (away from the good part of James), and across from City Centre (which could use nearby residential density to permit revitalization).

This L shape also happens to be correctly located for a good potential migration path towards dense developments (with appropriately-priced underground parking, preferably) replacing the large parking lots. It sounds like a well-placed location for student residences after all, when I rough-napkin-sketch things out like this. Hopefully a good medium to medium-high density commercial/office/residential mix.

It's not far from the A-Line and B-Line LRT routes (and we also see A-Line LRT being potentially relocated closer to the parking lots. Which some of us don't like (some of us even prefer James LRT with mixed traffic north of Wilson -- the only part where mixed traffic is acceptable in order to save James heritage while keeping future A-Line mountain-to-downtown travellers express when it's eventually extended to the south). On the other hand an A-Line LRT passing by the parking lots, dramatically increases likelihood of a major redevelopment along this corridor.

I wonder what the city has in mind... (A-Line relocation 1 block eastwards + mega-redevelopment of purple parking lots). From a business perspective it kinda makes sense. (I can imagine some would say: do we trust the city to do this all properly?).

But other than that, it seems a sensible long-term path to densification while avoiding destroying James heritage (It could be done properly, but there's so many ways to bungle ramming an LRT through James Street North). Personally, I prefer either LRT-only or mixed traffic north of downtown (cars+LRT north of Wilson), that way, we can keep all the light standards and artwork along James, (and just simply stop running the LRT north of King during Supercrawl).

They're talking about not sending the LRT down James. What if the city/Metrolinx relocates A-Line north of King slightly west to a Hughson transit-only LRT corridor that neatly turns westwards on Hunter right in front of the GO station! It'd just go on James St South, south of Hunter. This will dramatically increase the value of the parking lots. This would allow them to be redeveloped all those parking lots as mixed-income transit-friendly developments. There would be a situation of figuring out how to bring the LRT to the GO station from Hughson, but assuming that was solved.

I'm not sure if I even agree with myself (James vs non-James LRT)... But it's important to be my own Devil's Advocate -- and understand the scenarios that's going to make the parking lots privatized (as new underground garages to major new developments).

EDIT: For those who can't believe it can happen by 2025 -- look at what happened in just 8 years in Toronto. I'm mixed on the loss of foilage, but in our specific case, we don't even have any foilage in the parking lots, so almost anything is a net gain.

2007-2015 (Google Street View archaeology -- Regent Park revitalization -- same view -- just look at the identical streetlamp pole at left edge of both!)

If Toronto can pull this off in just a few years -- we can have transit oriented developments in those old parking lots by 2025 along the Hughson corridor for a Hughson LRT -- burying those massive parking lots pictured earlier above -- more taxpayer revenue.

This was the ugly Regent Park lowrises, widely derided by other people as the "slums" of Toronto. Most of it has now been replaced by mixed income condos with additional low-income housing units resuming existing rents many of the people there had. If all of this can happen in 8 years -- creation of more mixed income developments in Hamilton -- and the increase in low-income housing here. Now I see business suits mingling with immigrants in the new Regent Park and I must say I'm fairly impressed at how it turned out, despite some initial issues (e.g. temporary relocation of low income residents). But in our case, we have no low-income-resident-relocation issue, because it's a mixed-income development from scratch!

Not saying I exactly like the idea of a Hughson LRT instead of the James LRT (e.g. mixed traffic north of Wilson to keep heritage). But one gotta think why a Hughson LRT might work. I don't mind mixed traffic north of Wilson for James LRT because it won't slow down Mountain residents for a future express A-Line to Hamilton downtown -- it's only mixed traffic towards waterfront. The B-Line would be express right-of-way in my opinion (though admittedly, not everyone agrees) but I see no harm in letting the James LRT go mixed-traffic north of Wilson to keep James heritage.

But if that's not the route -- and Hughson LRT happens, what about spinning those parking lots into a large mixed-income development megaproject?

We have a severe local shortage of low-income housing. Long waiting list. Why not hit three or four birds with one stone? That'd be a condition for a lot of people tolerating a Hughson LRT (north of Hunter) instead of a James LRT. Developers can still get profit (so they can still buy these lots from the City at a price worth to the city) -- while we get more low-income housing, parking lots become more valuable as mixed income developments, and city earns more taxpayer revenue from all new mixed-income developments along Hughson/John in those depressed areas.

Am I crazy for imagining this...

...or is redevelopment of these parking lots the reason why a Hughson LRT might make sense?

Comment edited by mdrejhon on 2016-02-25 14:49:36

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