Comment 92393

By BillCurran (registered) | Posted September 20, 2013 at 16:31:44

Jason,

We have to get past what is perceived as best by the Strathcona Community Council just for Strathcona 'needs' and remember that planning and urban design decisions have broader implications for all of us.

If you look to Setting Sail, Vision 2010, Places to Grow and other foundation planning tools we all long ago adopted, we need to make our communities more sustainable by increasing density, and doing it well.

Transit is simply not viable nor sustainable in a neighbourhood of houses with a few 4 storey apartment bldgs. on one edge, but one example. Four storey apartments are not appropriate on a major Boulevard, and are not likely economically viable so they won't happen. York Boulevard 2067 will likely look much as it does today, which is a sad prospect, if the plan changes as you would prefer.

We all have an obligation to look past our personal interests/beliefs/fears to ensure that the overall city community's needs are addressed. For Strathcona residents this means accepting that York Boulevard must be drastically improved, for the good of the entire City. I believe that this will also benefit Strathcona by making a better key street in your neighbourhood, by adding vitality, pedestrian safety and walkability, add retail and commercial uses, etc.. You really should be the ones demanding this !!!!! (Not fighting it and seeking almost status quo). York Boulevard sucks. And that diminishes Strathcona.

I think that York BOULEVARD needs to have Boulevard density, as should all main streets, it is a no-brainer from an urban design and planning perspective. Main streets and boulevards should be densest and highest, decreasing as you move further into residential neighbourhoods.

Please think past the present and please think about what York Boulevard could and should be for all Hamiltonians. Adding a bike lane will not be transformative.

PS: I'm very cool with getting increased density on the James Street North corridor; I'm desperate to see a plan to build a high density, high building node around the new GO Station at Macnab/Strachan; I'm very supportive of a high density replacement for the City housing at James/Simcoe; I've very supportive of high density development on Pier 8; I'm definitely supportive of an intense medium density redevelopment at Bay/Strachan replacing the weedlot (and tomorrow please); and we donated a lot of our time and sweat equity to develop a plan for the West Harbour that balances public/private needs and builds positive density and height. All within blocks of my home, bring it on tomorrow. But we are saddled with a sadly NIMBY North End Neighbourhood Association that is very backward, riddled with self-interest and against change. Seems to be a common theme with Neighbourhood Associations, no ??

Let's organize a series of workshops/discussions about density, height and good urban design principles for neighbourhoods, I'd gladly volunteer to hold them in our studio on James North if you like. Let's get out some drawings and maps and talk urbanity. Let's look at some good examples from elsewhere. I can bring in planners and urban designers of note to talk about what is being done in progressive communities elsewhere. We need to embrace density and height, and get past the fear and find out how to do it well.

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