Comment 41444

By Robert N. James (anonymous) | Posted June 01, 2010 at 22:16:25

That comment was mainly directed at james north's "if the york two way conversion is half as successful as the james north two way conversion was, we should be in for some real changes."

I know that RTH's regulars aren't simplifying it, and maybe james north wasn't entirely, but the notion that the James North two-way experience is replicable across the city simply by rerouting traffic to create a "friendly pedestrian street" is over-reaching. It's not as if artists had been driving one way down James for generations and simply failed to see the potential in the area until they were able to do a 180. For one thing, creative workers are theoretically more able than most to perceive unexplored potential in their surroundings. And it's not as if the critical mass an buzz built up through media profile (maybe you've seen an article on the neighbourhood) was entirely secondary in entrepreneurial decisions to locate on James North.

Anyway, that's just another detour. We agree that being pedestrian-friendly is important but just the beginning. And as I've said, York doesn't have a streetwall that will accommodate much commercial transformation; Wilson barely has streetwall until you get in a few blocks, and then it’s primarily residential... or parking lots. Cannon, should it ever be so lucky, is possibly in much the same predicament. And if we approach this holistically, the lack of direct commercial spinoff isn't a problem.

Two-way is a good thing. York will benefit from these revisions. These are welcome and important changes, and they have a net positive effect. I see the expert marketing of neighbourhoods as a separate matter and selectively applicable. But that's just me.

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