A City of Pedestrians

By Ben Bull
Published October 01, 2007

Christopher Hume's column in today's Star highlights the ongoing foot traffic frustrations that plague this town, frustrations I myself experienced as I toured the Nuit Blanche festivities this past weekend.

I started my tour along Cumberland Ave. in Yorkville. The street was packed - with pedestrians of course - but also with cars! Why the hell was everybody driving? News about the street closures had been broadcast all week, so where was everybody going, and why couldn't they use transit or, God forbid, their feet?

And why didn't the city just close the road? Cars were creeping along Cumberland at barely two miles an hour.

Toronto, like Hamilton, has an abundance of driving options in its downtown, so it's not a big deal to block a street off now and again.

In fact, it would not be a significant inconvenience to block some streets off permanently (a little thing they call 'pedestrianization' in Europe).

As Hume contends, "Toronto is a city of pedestrians." I would go one further and say that every city - every neighbourhood that achieves a critical mass of population density, is a city of pedestrians.

One thing Nuit Blanch demonstrates is that it's time we gave our cities back to the pedestrian.

Ben Bull lives in downtown Toronto. He's been working on a book of short stories for about 10 years now and hopes to be finished tomorrow. He also has a movie blog.


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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted October 01, 2007 at 10:39:57

Regarding the drivers who ignored the announcements of upcoming street closures, I remember observing the same thing in Hamilton during the National and World cycling championships:

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By Frank (registered) | Posted October 01, 2007 at 13:35:49

I just heard something about the Mayor mentioning closing downtown to traffic except buses. Anyone going to write about it???

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted October 01, 2007 at 15:04:23

Hi Frank,

I just posted a blog entry about it here:

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted October 01, 2007 at 16:18:07

thats GREAT news! now if only we can get the road-worshippers at public works to see the light....

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