NYC Takes Lead on People-Friendly Streets

By Jason Leach
Published May 25, 2009

On Monday, while Toronto city council spent an entire day debating whether or not to add bike lanes to a single street in that city, the largest metropolis on the continent officially closed major portions of Broadway to vehicle traffic.

Free performances were put on, plenty of tables and chairs were made available for people to relax and enjoy Times Square, and the world didn't come to an end.

Toronto is far from a world class city, and is several decades behind the true world leaders such as New York.

Here in Hamilton, we're taking years to slowly get ourselves ready to close a measly two-blocks of King on the south side of the Gore that most people don't even know is available to vehicles. And even at that, it's only going to be a 'trial-period'.

Lead or lag.

Kudos to the mayor and city leadership in New York City who are choosing to lead in many different ways in an effort to make that city more livable, vibrant and enjoyable than it already is.

I'm sure they'll gladly take Hess Village off our hands if we ever decide to chain it shut and board it up.

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 street festivals are great (anonymous) | Posted May 25, 2009 at 23:52:46

Sort of like the May Day festival held on King William, which was great event, as many people were in the area.

It would be great if we could more of these events downtown, people do gather and come to see what is going on and you have the chance to meet and greet people who share the same ideals and thoughts as others.

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 26, 2009 at 07:27:40

yes, that would be great. If Toronto lags behind places like NYC, Hamilton lags behind TO by the same distance. We hardly have any street festivals downtown here. The Around the Bay race was even pushed up to Cannon Street from the much more scenic Main St route it used for years, all just to keep from having to close Main to traffic for a few hours each year.

The street festivals we do have are hit and miss. Locke is a great event, as is Concession. Westdale's event needs a major overhaul, and we need some of these events on James North and other downtown streets. Hopefully someday we'll allow the Mustard Festival to spread along King East and bring some of it's magic to that stretch for Labour Day weekend.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted May 26, 2009 at 11:23:48

Fantastic Idea! And although I'm all for Gore Park being pedestrianized, I don't think it's quite ready yet.

WHY ON EARTH did Infusions turn into an Italian eatery? Since the conversion, this section has turned into a ghost town. Sadly, there's never anyone on that patio (or inside for that matter) :(

Gore Park needs to be lined with Cafes & Patios. The ones they have now are almost always empty, despite how beautiful Gore Park is right now (lush greenery, flowing historic fountain).

I'm going to guess that 75% (if not more) of the current Gore Park ped traffic is HSR-oriented (meaning these people in this park are waiting for a bus). How can we make sure most of these people stick around even once the new terminal(s) are open?

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By Gored (anonymous) | Posted June 01, 2009 at 14:23:00

On this I have to agree with Mr. Smith. Comments about businesses opening and closing are more or less irrelevant unless you're willing to open a business yourself. Risks all around, and most fail fairly quickly. We do seem to blog more about what "they" ought to do, than about what "we" are willing to do. I do not exclude myself from this criticism, btw. Nor am I going to start another business in Hamilton, so I admire those who do. Doesn't mean I'm going to buy something I don't want or need however. You can see my point.

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