Comment 36441

By d.knox (registered) | Posted December 18, 2009 at 09:40:16

What an interesting debate.
I'll speak as one of the middle classes who doesn't like coming downtown. There are two reasons: parking and ickiness. I too had a gym in Jackson Square, but canceled the membership after a year. Granted I wasn't crazy about the panhandlers hitting me up for change, or having to run the gauntlet of smokers outside the mall entrance, but the real reason I moved gyms was because I didn't want to pay for parking. I don't have a bus pass and buying one just to go to the gym was absurd, so I got a membership where there is a free parking lot and no gauntlet. Philosophically, I agree with paid parking, but I pay it willingly only when I'm visiting a specific shop that I need to go downtown for. Otherwise, I'll stay in the suburbs. I don't know how to resolve this, but I'm wondering if the rain tax on paved parking that the city is talking about might not force a reconsideration of asphalt wastelands, and then I'll have to pay for parking.

I still go downtown, and I'm not really afraid, but apart from James Street, it's not enjoyable. The buildings are beautiful (and often not run down), there are some interesting things to do (art gallery, some restaurants...) but the unrelieved misery of the people is depressing. If I'm looking to treat myself, I'm not going to surround myself with misery. I think there is a pent-up demand for an appealing downtown, as seen in the popularity of the Art Crawl. I used to hate going to James Street but we had to for a few specific destinations. I hated walking past all the groups of men gathered outside the restaurants. But the Art Crawl has done for James Street exactly what people are advocating - adding "diversity". The groups of men are still there, but so are many other people, so it's not so bad. As most people seem to agree, give people a reason to come downtown, and they will. If Meredith is still reading, I agree with everything you write, including the other post that people were disapproving of. I visited your blog and then read that. $700.00 per month for food for 4 people is ridiculous. You sound wonderful and I will beg your menus off you via email. Grassroots: you are even worse here that you are on The Spec's Poverty Blog. Wishing bad karma on people is nasty and hilarious. Don't you see the irony?
A. Smith: Progressive property taxes seem reasonable, and so would development fees that actually cover the cost of new developments as Halton has recently insisted upon. Sadly, many of our politicians make choices that can only be explained by corruption.

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