Comment 63330

By Rebecca Doll (anonymous) | Posted May 10, 2011 at 13:44:13

As a small-business owner at King/Sherman, I think your article has framed the problem well. Two way streets are a great first step that will encourage revitalization of the commercial strip.
Folks here talk about density being an issue in making the strip commercially sustainable and often compare it to Roncesvalles in Toronto. I happen to think that we do have the density but maybe not the disposable income to be found in the once-low-rent-now-flourishing Roncesvalles area. I think it is a bit of a closed loop; density/walkability leads to customers for businesses; thriving small businesses lead to jobs (yes, they do, I could employ five more people if I could afford it); jobs lead to disposable income leads to thriving businesses etc. Something has to start the cycle and I think two-way streets are a good place to start, far less complex than tackling jobs or drugs for instance.
In the year and a half that we have been open, several businesses have opened and closed to the east and west of us, often in the same spaces. It is to the credit of the entrepreneurs and the property owners that everyone keeps trying and I cringe when I read suggestions in the comments that punitive measures might help. That is a bit like tormenting attendees about the absentees. There are bad apples everywhere but I believe they are a minority and it would be a shame to devise measures around them at the expense of everyone else. Great neighbourhoods can't be legislated. It takes the involvement of everyone.
I am aware of quite a few community-led revitalization projects on this stretch of King. None of them are flashy, all of them are slow and all promise to integrate residents, businesses, government, investors, customers etc. If any of you are keen get your hands dirty on the King St Renaissance we will put your skills to use whatever they may be.
All that being said, yay for two-way streets. They are a great vote-of-confidence in the community.

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