Comment 26146

By Whereabouts (anonymous) | Posted July 31, 2008 at 15:21:45

St. Laurent Ave. in Montreal, The Main of Mordecai Richler's many Jewish ghetto novels, has been an urban renewal hotspot for at least a couple of years now, previously the location for artists, behemians, students and anyone who likes a festival. It is one-way, as are most of the streets in the vicinity, but none of them could be called urban expressways. Streetlights are not co-ordinated for traffic to race from one end to the other. It is the ability to get to go from Dundurn to Sherman, or the other way about, without stopping, that has made so many downtown streets unliveable, and put the lie to people from beyond who say they would stop if the downtown were more to their liking. Most who moved to he suburbs went there because they like getting in their cars to go to the mall, and won't be back.

The notion of a central downtown that serves the suburbs providing the goods and services they cannot find in their own environs, is demonstrably false. It simply does not hold water, but it is still the model for most of city council and downtown businesses, who constantly talk of driving away people in the neighbourhood to make room "for people to come downtown." They're not coming. Ever. Those that like living in the downtown are there, and need access to local services and goods as in any other district, without crossing 4-6 lane expressways.

The successful downtown neighbourhoods in Hamilton serve their own communities first (Locke St., Ottawa St. N., Dundas, Westdale) and develop specialties that attract outsiders to the area secondarily. Or they develop these two things together, but the local community must thrive as a basis for the specialty shops.

For better or worse, Hamilton's downtown, along with all other area municipalities, moved to Toronto about three decades ago.

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