Comment 12761

By Cinnamint (registered) | Posted October 11, 2007 at 20:57:43

European cities have sucessful pedestrian malls because they already have the density to support them and while I support the vision of a pedestrian friendly downtown where such malls are common, a pedestrian mall will not bring that density. This is the same type of logic that led to the development of things like Jackson Square. Build it and they will come. Well yes, if the demand is there that works, but it has to be there first to build on.

Currently it seems to me that a large portion of the pedestrian traffic around Gore Park is a direct result of the transit centre there. Part of the plan as I understand it is to move this to another location. This will erode the demand which I am not convinced is high enough to begin with. A second thing to keep in mind is how much more intergrated the neighbourhoods of these European Cities. There is not alot of housing stock in the immediate vicinity. There is some, but nothing like a core neighbourhood in Europe. Buffalo is a good example to take heed of and closer to home Ottawa's sparks street mall. The pedestrian only sunday's work in Kensington Market because of the immediate density of housing stock and the markets large base of established customers. This is simply not the situation in Gore Park.

A weekend closure throughout the summer would be much more effective I feel than a permanent closure at bringing people to the downtown and revitalizing the businesess along those three blocks.

Cities in North America where pedestrian malls have worked such as Madison Wisconsin have tend to have large pedestrian anchors such as Universities (in the case of Madison) which attract people there already. In other words, the mall serves the pedestrian presence, it does not create it. This is a critical difference.

Using one of the lanes to increase sidewalk space and adding more crosswalks along King and Main would be far more effective ways of making the downtown more pedestrian friendly.

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