Comment 25983

By Chris (registered) | Posted July 17, 2008 at 21:14:33

While I applaud the good intentions of this article I do not believe the two way conversion offers any significant improvement to the vitality of downtown Hamilton. I have lived in the lower city for 35 years and patronize small business in the core when ever practical. The deterioration of the core began with urban sprawl and the tendency of people to frequent business convenient to where they live. The key word here is convenient. The late 70's and early 80's saw franchises and specialty chain stores sap the strength of business in the core. Hamilton politicians did precious little to remedy the flight of capital out of the core and in to beautiful Upper James St. Sometimes when I am driving in Mississauga or London I am momentarily disoriented as for a few seconds the landscape of faceless franchise after franchise all blends together and I think I am on Upper James. Or a visit to some shopping mall has me wondering is this the Mapleridge Galleria or have all malls finally become interchangeable; universal in their bland sameness. Too many people with long commutes and multiple incomes have been robbed of the luxury of more relaxed downtown shopping time. When time is in short supply many opt for the convenience of the nearest shopping mall. Two way streets in the core are not going to entice these people back, particularly when there is a view of parking enforcement as a cash cow. I have had people complain of excessive parking fines for example a $50 ticket that turned into more than $80 less than 3 weeks from the infraction date. Note to City of Hamilton Parking Authority; people do not get parking tickets at shopping malls. Reserve the fines for serious traffic matters unless you want to send the more adventurous packing yet again. Two way streets provide a temporary captive audience at best. With James and John both two way I avoid sections of these streets like the plague. It is not relaxing or opening me up to the downtown sights to be stuck in traffic and I avoid placing myself in that situation unless it is unavoidable or it is my destination. I would like to see all sorts of new destination spots open downtown. Destinations and cost effective residential and commercial conversion are the only route to reinvigorating downtown. Encouraging investment in a substantially is the only way to achieve this. This will not happen anytime soon as Hamilton council is not capable of anything more substantive than tinkering. Anyone who doubts this has only to look at their garbage. Specifically their "blue box" and ask themselves; is this a marvel of Zen like simplicity and utility or is it a pathetic and wholly unimaginative attempt to con the public. Until the advent of that technological marvel the "green bin" this was the apex of recycling in this city. I can hear the rush to divert recyclables now. At least I won't worry about being swept away in the rush; it is coming at us down a two way street.

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