Comment 6959

By davidcohen (registered) | Posted June 15, 2007 at 17:58:55

I agree. It's hard to understand the logic in the report. Let me offer a possible explanation: in the planning dept's thinking, they are just being fair to the applicant.

The house to be demolished is a small worker's cottage, now in poor condition. The applicant has evidently made a calculation that the property is more valuable as a parking lot than as a rental property.

He's right. Who wants to live on Main St. West? Not many of us. Certainly not many who'd be willing to pay a decent rent.

The reason for this is, of course, Main St. W., itself. It is a street -- like virtually all of Main St.-- devoted to moving cars and trucks -- and NOTHING ELSE! This is due to its one-way, traffic-sewer character. Few people walk on this stretch of Main St. W; certainly no parent wants their child to play there; few businesses locate there (even though the zoning allows it). The applicant has likely concluded that nothing is going to change on Main St. He/she is probably right. 327 Main St. W. is more valuable to him/her as a parking lot. NOTHING will change on Main St. (and for that matter all other one-way streets in Hamilton) until something is done to change the street. On Main, the quickest and cheapest way to change the street would be to make traffic two way (all day and night), allow parking on both sides of the street, providing a buffer for pedestrians and a convenience for motorists. (This is the architect Bill Curran's idea.) That would give the street two lanes of traffic each way. Later, of course, if the city has the means, it could consider widening the sdiewalks along Main and restrricting traffic to one way each way.

A two-way RE-conversion (don't forget Main used to be two-way before 1956) will begin the transformation of Main from traffic sewer to a people street-- a street of human exchange in every sense.

With people on the sidewalks and parking available along the curb, life will return to Main St. West -- as it is on James St. South and North. Properties like 327 Main St. West will increase in value -- as residences or as businesses. Owners (or others) will see them as possibilities for investment -- and thus redevelopment and intensification. That, in a better world along Main St. W., would be the fate of 327.

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