Comment 41485

By Robert N. James (anonymous) | Posted June 02, 2010 at 16:02:32

Softening traffic will make the street-level experience more pedestrian friendly, but what comes of it is unwritten. Hamilton is its own ecosystem and has its own personalities (and personality disorders). I've always compared Barton to the Danforth, though to my mind it has a more polychromatic cultural fabric. Here again, the profile and identity of the neighbourhoods mentioned (Greektown, Little Italy, the Beaches and College) is somewhat anchored in the moxy and muscle of savvy BIAs. Success begets success, and shops often want to be around other popular shops because it creates a kind of synergy. I'm not well-versed enough to explain the psychology of why this happens aside from the "popular kids" schoolyard theory, but it's real enough. (It might even explain the Locke S and James N dynamics to a point.) Jackson Square has cheaper rents than Lime Ridge but LRM has the retail pedigree and an owner that invests in property upgrades and polished marketing. JS has had stores like Jacob, Club Monaco, Eddie Bauer, The Gap, HMV etc but has lost them one by one. (Meredith: Moda Classica moved from James North near Harvest Moon into the City Centre several years ago.) And that's okay. I like the "mutant mall" identity. Having a downtown mall with a suburban persona strikes me as a little weird, at least in Hamilton, but it’s possible. On that count, residential density that provides a tide of disposable income would be as compelling as cafe-ready promenades. Hopefully the latter begets the former.

Sort of related to all of this, I'm intrigued by the detente in the Beaches, which coexists to a certain extent with a people mover like Lakeshore East. Coming back to the original topic, Lakeshore strikes me as kind of York-like in some ways. Maybe it's that Hwy 2 DNA?

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