Revitalization

Mayor Mulls Car-Free Day Downtown

By Ryan McGreal
Published July 04, 2007

I'm not sure how I missed this.

Kevin Werner of the Brabant papers reported on June 8 that Mayor Fred Eisenberger would like to host a car-free day in the downtown core to get people out of their cars and start to transform the community.

"We can create more pedestrian-friendly streets, create a pedestrian downtown mall, build more cycling-friendly roads. We can reinvent the downtown."

Noting exciting developments in other cities, the Mayor believes such an event can help to change people's attitudes.

"There are positive things we can do to get people out of their cars," said Mr. Eisenberger.

For example, 1.5 million people in Bogota, Columbia take part in what is called Ciclovia, where 113 kms of roads are closed to cars every Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Of course, Transportation for Liveable Communities has hosted unofficial car-free events in recent years and the city closed some streets to traffic in the summer and autumn of 2003 to host cycling championship races; but it would be great if the city started to recognize the value - economic and social - of giving streets back to the people, even if only for one day a week.

(Thanks to Eric Britton from the Open Society Sustainability Initiative for forwarding this article to me.)

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted July 04, 2007 at 15:20:44

Don't feel bad, I don't recall the Spec picking up on this either...

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By peter (anonymous) | Posted July 04, 2007 at 22:22:45

sweet jebus, i must be dreaming! i don't think we're in hamilton anymore, todo.

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