Comment 12801

By rusty (registered) - website | Posted October 12, 2007 at 12:12:18

Hi Cinnamint,

While I agree with your comments (in fact nobody at RTH has ever advocated for any city building initiative to be undertaken in isolation - if only things were that simple :) ) I disagree with your assertion that the pedestrianization of Gore Park should be scaled back - the suggestion that downtown Hamilton is not quite ready.

You are right to suggest that density, 'reasons to go there' and effective transit are key success factors for pedestrianization. We have advocated for these components repeatedly on the pages of RTH and directly to our city councilors.

However, I would caution - don't get too hung up on density. Even places like downtown Toronto are less dense than many European downtowns. And if you think of downtown Toronto a few years back, before all the condos sprung up, there really weren't that many folks living in the central core. And yet it has always thrived. That's because Toronto has always had a. an abundance of reasons to go there and b. an easy way to get there (good transit).

Density IS key though. A German friend of mine recently complained that Toronto's downtown was 'not dense at all' and that he had to get the subway to meet them for a drink. He was used to walking or biking to their houses. North American cities are not as dense as their successful European counterparts and yet many of their downtowns 'thrive' (by North American standards at least, you should see some of the European thoroughfares on an 'ordinary' day...) all the same.

It's complicated. You are right to suggest that several cogs need to move at the same time for re-vitalization to work. But I don't think the pedestrianization of downtown Hamilton is fraught with the same risks as some of the other cities mentioned in this discussion, and it will not - certainly if we at RTH can help it - be completed without the necessary push to create more downtown housing, more downtown destinations and better transit.

Cheers

Ben

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