Comment 19292

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted February 25, 2008 at 20:07:18

Gump said: "If your downtown isn't a destination, (or even close to becoming one), creating slow moving/idling traffic with confusing configurations only convinces more people to avoid the area completely."

No one is advocating "slow moving/idling traffic with confusing configurations". We simply want the one way traffic converted back to the way it was: two way with left turn lanes as necessary. The speeds that people reach on King and Main are absolutely absurd and unsafe. We aren't talking about slowing a street down from 50 to 30. We are talking about making it difficult to go more than 50 through downtown where right now people can and do go 70 or more as the norm.

Gump, you keep talking about major corridors that need to bring you from one end of the city to the other. We have SO many that aren't King or Main. We have a full ring of highways around the city now. We also have the mountain accesses which will always be fast moving east-west corridors.

Think about Toronto... their "main" streets in the heart of downtown(yonge, dundas, etc) are not built for speed. Instead they offer a ring of highways and one or two alternative city streets that are wider. Meanwhile in Hamilton, we have much less demanding traffic yet we offer DOZENS of fast moving accesses right through town IN ADDITION to our ring highways that, i must add, are an absolute breeze to navigate in comparison with Toronto's. Our network of accesses that you want to protect is already seriously overbuilt.

And my final point is simply that I believe you are thinking about this in the wrong way. The goal of slowing down traffic and building a people-friendly core is not to bring more visitors driving in and parking to shop. It is to make a city that is comfortable for urban-minded citizens to live in every day.

We are talking about attracting full time permanent downtown residents. This is the number one key to downtown revitalization.

Everyone talks about revitalization as if it's chicken or egg - businesses won't open without vibrant life, but vibrant life won't build unless businesses exsist. But guess what... there IS a first step. Create a livable place at the fundamental civic infrastructure level -- a comfortable physical space for people who do not necessarily drive every day. People will come to permanently live in such a space (especially with housing prices as low as they are now). Those people will attract businesses. Businesses will attract more residents. More residents will attract more businesses. And the end result of the snowball effect will be a vibrant downtown that does in fact attract visitors and external shoppers despite any traffic problems!

If we continue to pander to those that just want to drive through town as fast as they can, guess what: that is the kind of downtown we'll have forever.

We need to build a livable city so that people will want to live in it. That is the absolute first step and the key to revitalization. Slowing down traffic to reasonable levels is just one of many many steps that need to be taken. But it is an important one -- and it is probably one of the cheapest to boot!

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