Downtown Bureau

Downtown Update

Jason trawls the core for juicy morsels of news.

By Jason Leach
Published March 18, 2006

Spot Updates

Citizens Oppose Redevelopment

Trevor Shaw drew my attention to a recent report on CHML that residents living near the corner of Main St. E. and Sherman St. are voicing opposition to the planned repairs at three notorious buildings on the corner that were magnets for crime before a fire two years ago destroyed them. Apparently the plan to create 59 rental housing units with few parking spots is at issue.

I go by this project everyday as it's a few blocks from our office. The new roof is up and the buildings are beautiful. I'm planning a piece for one of these issues discussing the insane parking bylaws in Hamilton. Any new condo, loft or apartment building must have the same number of parking spaces as units.

Spallacci, for example, initially proposed 123 units with 90 parking spaces, but the city made them do 123 parking spaces. Same with the 200 unit condo on King William: 200 parking spots. How stupid!

Here we are trying to sell urban intensification by saying it won't increase traffic as much as sprawl since some folks will walk, bike and take the bus. Then the city won't even put bike lanes on downtown streets or improve transit, but they force developers to provide hundreds of parking spots. Is our city run by GM and Imperial Oil or what?

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.

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By I Beleive (anonymous) | Posted March 21, 2006 at 07:39:45

That news regarding the Parking spaces having to match up with the living unit is interesting thought to me. Hopefully someone will come to there sense at city hall

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By carl (anonymous) | Posted March 21, 2006 at 08:03:04

it is to bad that people making comments on here would not really check out what is being talked about before making rediculas comments! If they did they would know that the problem for the neibourhood is that when these building inquestion when running suck up all the parking in the area, and why should we have to deal with that?

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 21, 2006 at 05:26:33

Why do you think you're entitled to "free" parking? It's something many people living in the lower city are used to (myself included), but that "free" parking comes at a price, and if the person using it isn't paying, then someone else is.

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 21, 2006 at 09:20:37

I realize that neighbourhood parking concerns are the reason for city hall to have these parking laws in place, but I think a developer should have the right to say "I'm building a trendy, walk-up loft and don't want any parking. If a prospective buyer needs parking, he's looking at the wrong project." Currently, there are times where the city will make an exception and not force a developer to have parking in their project, but they then force them to 'buy' spaces from surrounding lots for the use of their tenants. Again, if a developer wants to do that, then go ahead. I just don't think it's the city's place to say "you're having parking whether you want it or not." After all, a vibrant, successful city will be one with several condo/loft/apartment projects where the residents live just fine without cars. If we keep mandating that parking spaces must be provided then we are shooting ourselves in the foot. A retailer will say "heck, I don't need to open a store downtown. They all have cars and Main and King are highways. They can make the 10 minute drive to the Meadowlands." Yea, the 10 minute drive. The hour bus ride and impossible bike ride. End result? Folks say "gee, I need a car if I'm going to live in this city" and we undermine all the hard work at downtown revitalization by maintaining our poor treatment of people who use any other form of transportation than the almighty car.

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By steeltown (registered) | Posted March 22, 2006 at 08:30:04

A nine storey building at Bay and Hunter? At Bay/Hunter there's that old school, city hall parking lot, an apartment and than an old abandon church. So is this building going at the old church spot? I'm pretty sure that church is listed as an endangered building.

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 22, 2006 at 10:28:19

nope...across the street from that church....there are some homes on the north side of Hunter just west of the current highrise at the northwest corner of Bay and Hunter...3 or 4 of those homes are coming down to make way for the building.

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By I beleive (anonymous) | Posted March 23, 2006 at 03:54:37

I am one of the people who rely on public transportation. I Don't mind majority of the streets downtown. I do however hate main st. Especially from Macnabb to just past Landmark place. Its like walking through a canyon that had dried up and been turned into a road. They Something needs to be done here. Taking some cars out of the picture would be a great start.

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By Comment (anonymous) | Posted March 25, 2006 at 10:16:41

I think there is is a point being missed in the parking/no parking debate being waged concerning the buildings at Main and Sherman. They are not trendy condos or lofts being proposed and there are limitted services in the immediate area to support car-free living for the "average" person (ie. a variety of shops, libraries, services, within easy walking distance, etc.). I believe that intensification and reduced emphasis on automobles are crucial for urban spaces but believe also that the infrastructure to support it needs to be in place before it cna really thrive. Maybe insisitng on mixed-use development (ie. commercial / residential) versus parking spots would be a way to go.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 30, 2006 at 07:15:18

"Comment" wrote: "Maybe insisitng on mixed-use development (ie. commercial / residential) versus parking spots would be a way to go." You've got it. That's the only way Hamilton can bootstrap itself into a truly sustainable city.

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