Comment 77736

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted June 01, 2012 at 09:47:17

We can't afford NOT to calm our streets (and convert them to two way).

Anyone who did not spend their formative driving years in Hamilton (late teens for most) can attest to the fact that as a visitor or newcomer, the one way system is a nightmare. The fast moving thoroughfares are intimidating and even the smaller side one-ways make it much more difficult to reach a final destination. For those of us who have grown accustomed to the network, the one ways are quick and reasonably easy to navigate. Unfortunately this takes time.

The problem is, we have infrastructure costs that are skyrocketing and our taxes are already ludicrously high.

Our taxes will only continue to climb unless we attract new residents who are willing to live in areas that already have infrastructure. This means intensifying our existing neighbourhoods (which is most easily done in the lower city).

In order to grow our tax base we need to do several things. First is to encourage adaptive reuse for multi unit residential. We have some incentive programs, but we need to fundamentally change the restrictive zoning so that every building owner can benefit from converting vacant spaces into apartments. The current programs only benefit big developers, and it's clear that relying on them has not been working.

And we need to build livable streets, so that we are treating every visitor to this city as a potential resident.

First impressions are everything. We have to stop thinking of livable streets as a transportation compromise - we need to consider them a sales pitch to future citizens about how great it is to live here.

If we don't sell this city, we'll lose what little we have left, and become a ghetto suburb of Toronto.

So are we going to be a city? Or are we going to be a commuter 'burb?

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