Comment 52727

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 07, 2010 at 08:52:45

Mr Meister, I'm sorry but I have to call you out on some of your misguided opinions.

we had a thriving bustling growing downtown core 40 years ago complete with one way streets and no LRT. Then things changed not the streets not transit but society.

You may recall that our "thriving bustling growing downtown" was built on two way streets with good public transit. Nobody is claiming that the one way conversions (and removal of electric trolleys) were a switch that immediately turned the bustle off, but they were certainly a part of the problem. Why are The Keg and other chains so attractive compared to downtown establishments? Is it because our infrastructure spending has (for the past 50 or 60 years) favoured moving cars around faster and faster, with focus on the spacious fringes of the city? Maybe it's time we invested in a decent transportation network downtown in order to give the downtown businesses a fighting chance. Peoples' decisions are guided by external factors, including the nature of the transportation infrastructure surrounding them. Let's level the playing field.

Only through necessity do most people decide to live in the smaller houses downtown or in apartments or condominiums.

Downtown homes are too small? Let me present some for your consideration (From MLS):

house1house2

house3house4

house5house6

Want more? Look at the downtown neighbourhood photo tours here

Additionally, lots of people choose to live in compact, efficient housing: condos, smaller homes, apartments and the like. So thanks, but there's no need to talk as if all the housing downtown is (a) small and (b) lived in by downtrodden residents who have no other choice. Yes, some people choose to live in a large house on a large lawn in the suburbs but many, MANY do not (as evidenced in any city in the world.)

was that because of the conversion? If it was then why has the same thing not happened on John St? A parallel street only a few yards away?

John has not seen the revitalization to the extent that James has. Why? Because it simply does not have the built streetwall that James does. Have you been down John? John south is sparsely built, with most of the old lots turned either to plazas or to apartment buildings (which face the side streets and turn away from John). Despite that, new and old businesses are thriving (Gallagher's, Lion's head). John north was ravaged in the past and is almost all parking lots. Not sure exactly what buildings you are hoping to see revitalized there. But despite the challenges on John, it has been singled out for development (most notably in Stinson's plan). Of course it's not built yet, but simply being chosen at a conceptual stage is a better situation than 10 years ago. I am not claiming that this is because of John being two way, nor am I claiming that all downtown development is due to two way conversion. But to claim that John has seen no development is not entirely accurate.

If you can attract desirable housing people will move there and the increase in density will take care of everything else.

Exactly. But there is much more to "desirable housing" than you seem to think. It is not solely about the size of the houses. Or the quality of renovations. Or the beauty of the gardens. It's cliche, but the old adage "location, location..." rings true.

So what is it about the location matters? Getting in and out quickly? Sure, that comes into play for many. Especially those who have to commute by car. But what about people who choose to live without a car? They would also like to get in and out quickly - via foot, bike or transit. Should we just cut them off? We need to build our transportation network to attract ALL people, not just car-commuters.

But even the people who do use a car. Isn't there more that they may care about? Aren't there some other things about "location" that matter more than getting in and out? Namely, what makes it a good place to be ONCE YOU ARE IN. This means livability. Safety. Access to amenities. Even the view out your front window (how about a choice between roaring trucks or wide sidewalks and trees?)

The bottom line is that we need to give all of our citizens choices. If we continue to build solely for movement of cars, that is what we will get. People will continue to drive further and faster because they do not have a choice. We will never reach the density that will "take care of everything else" if we do not build a city that accommodates everyone - not just car commuters.

We need to build top notch transit, not only for those who are forced to use it. Not only for those who already want to use it. But to give everyone in the city the choice to use it.

Comment edited by seancb on 2010-12-07 07:53:28

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