Comment 34795

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted October 14, 2009 at 17:25:49

King St. makes the most sense in terms of areas which could make use of the pedestrian traffic, it has several times as many street-level retail outlets (The International Villiage, Westdale Villiage, or virtually any part east to at least Sherman). Main Street could really use the densification, I agree, but much of it would be very prohibitive because very little of it exists, and development in this city tends to be slow, hair-brained and always a gamble. Additionally, since so many of the buildings along King are independantly owned, the benefits would spread out and the potential for experimentation and creativity would be much greater - think Queen St. in Toronto or St.Laurent in Montreal. Along Main many of the developments would require substantial capital investments, which would price a lot of the more creative members of our community out of the market (think "Effort Square", and then ask yourself how successful the street-frontages they've built for businesses are). Read some Jane Jacobs if you need more info on that last part - private or public, large-scale urban planning is too often based on self-interest and flawed ideologies to create vibrant urban spaces. On the last note, Barton, also, due to it's cross-town straight-line nature, enormous ridership (as much, at least, as Main or King), ample unused sidewalk-fronting retail space (blocks after blocks at a time being used for nothing but apartments), would be an excellent choice.

And while I detest giving an inch to automobile traffic in terms of planning, we're going to have to pick our battles - two way streets, bike lanes, rapid transit lanes, pedestrian malls etc.. .this would all be a very major adjustment for a very large amount of traffic. While they're all great ideas in principle, city bureaucrats as a rule never implement things as well as they should. Those traffic-calming bump-outs on Barton, King and elsewhere are a deathrap for cyclists, and the International Villiage along King is one of the best examples of this - sure, traffic's slowed down, but it's also pissed off, and I've had about as many death threats along here as the rest of downtown combined. Traffic planning is a very complicated science, and we should be very careful what we do with the major east-west arteries for the south side of the lower city, or we'll risk dumping a lot of traffic onto Aberdeen, Deleware, Stinson and other largely family-based residential, arteries.

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