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Old Posted Oct 2, 2019, 3:53 PM
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Location: Vancouver
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Originally Posted by Keith P. View Post
The fundamental problem with commercial space in this area is that HRM continues to do things that make DT more and more inaccessible and uninviting to those who do not live there. As they continue to choke off access from outside the DT core (an issue that will become acute once they begin demolition and reconstruction of Cogswell) most commercial space will have to rely upon only those who live DT as their customer base, with perhaps also some support from those who work there 9-5 (although as traffic worsens one suspects those people will want to get out of DT as quickly as they can). Few who live on outlying parts of the peninsula or in the suburbs will bother to try to get DT to patronize the latest trendy restaurant or boutique given the pain of trying to get there and park. Will that be enough to support all of the new space? Only time will tell, but I suspect not.
I am not sure this theory matches the reality of what's been happening downtown over the past 20 years though. I don't think it had more successful shops and restaurants in the past than it has today. In recent years we've seen major retailers like Urban Outfitters and Lululemon move in. There was nothing like that downtown in 2000.

The circa 2000 strategy of building facilities like the MetroPark to encourage people to drive downtown and shop didn't work at all. Maybe free parking and wide open streets would, but I don't see how that could be viable downtown or what the point of that would be, particularly in this era of declining bricks and mortar retail. The area has a 1700's street grid and lots of historic buildings. It doesn't make sense to try to reconfigure it to work like Bayers Lake. It's designed for pedestrians.

It also makes sense to have some parts of the city that are designed for pedestrians and transit and some for cars. Not everybody can or wants to drive everywhere and some people like to drive and don't care about boutique stores or historic buildings. If you hate busy areas you can move to Tantallon or something, get a suburban job, and never set foot downtown.
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