Comment 39242

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 29, 2010 at 09:55:28

I've never argued that all Hamilton needs to do is install bike lanes (or bike lanes and LRT) and everything else will magically fix itself.

I've been arguing for years that we need an integrated, coherent urban policy including:

  • A property tax system that encourages investment, particularly in areas with existing infrastructure;
  • A zoning and land use system that encourages dense, mixed use development;
  • A street architecture that encourages walking, cycling and transit and de-emphasizes driving (essentially, a rebalancing of modes away from the current overwhelming preference for driving at the expense of everything else);
  • High quality public transit that will encourage dense development around transit nodes and attract more affluent riders;
  • A firm urban boundary to limit the false economy of building on inexpensive farmland;
  • An economic strategy based on forward-compatible business clusters, not chasing past performers.

Overall, we need to proceed with an acknowledgment that the combination of the emerging global energy situation and the demographic one-two punch of retiring Boomers and young adults looking for an urban experience is going to drive a large-scale migration back into cities - but that people will move into those cities that can provide opportunities and amenities and shun those cities that cannot.

I agree that we have to attract people-and-jobs back into the city; but the only proven way to do that is to provide the infrastructure and amenities that people-and-jobs need - both regulatory and physical.

Also, it's important to note that the lower city already has a very high density of people living and working there - as high as those cities that encouraged a sustained growth in cycling by building cycling infrastructure.

After all, it's not like bike lanes cost a lot. The total capital cost of city's cycling master plan is less than what the city pays every year just to maintain our roads.

If you're looking to pick the low-lying fruit first, this is it.

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