Statement by Justin Jones
I get around this City basically every way you possibly can short of riding a unicycle. I ride my bike, I walk, I take transit and I drive, so I think I have a pretty good understanding of how the City moves, especially downtown.
I find it incredibly interesting that people who drive through downtown refuse to see the wisdom in converting those streets to liveable, walkable, bikeable 2-way streets - after all, all the streets in the neighbourhoods outside the downtown core are 2-way. Why are they OK there, but not in the place that I choose to live, work and play in?
Modern cities aren't flourishing using the old models of city building anymore. The days of living in the suburbs, commuting to a job in a distant downtown, driving back home and then driving to get your groceries and entertainment are drawing to a close. The cities that are truly flourishing, that are growing, developing and expanding their tax base at a rapid pace, are the places that are giving people a reason to live downtown again. Here in Hamilton, we have a lot of reasons to live downtown - we have vibrant, diverse neighbourhoods, great local businesses, access to some of the most beautiful landscapes in Southern Ontario - we really have it all going for us. The one thing that constantly works against us, that every friend I have who comes to visit me comments on, that keeps them from moving here without a second thought, is our network of high-speed, one way streets turning every East-West corridor in the lower city into a thoroughfare. It's time Hamilton grows up by growing backwards, to getting rid of these urban highways and to making our downtown a place more people want to live in rather than a place that people can drive through.