Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Wider Sidewalks Needed to Enhance the Pedestrian Experience in Toronto

I don't know if you've been downtown lately, but you will likely realize, maybe not today in the midst of a serious deep freeze, but when the weather is more moderate that the sidewalks in Toronto can barely handle the pedestrian crush that happens during the heights of tourist season, or the heights of rush hour. Or during the most busy holiday seasons.

We are on the right track but a vibrant and exciting city will draw the tourist in a way like New York City has the handle on the most exciting city in North America. If Toronto can build more appealing streetscapes, trees and interlocking stoneways with wider sidewalks, to handle the pedestrian crush that if it has not already occur, with each new skyscraper that is completed in the city.

Skyscrapers and then the streetscape has to be upgraded to meet the additional demands which are brought, such as new streetcars/subways, landscaping and wider sidewalks not to mention a higher level of street retail then you will see Toronto move up on the travel chart.

Of course Toronto will be a huge international travel destination, 4 million people in the radius of Pearson International Airport were born in a country that is not Canada or the United States. Toronto's growth has largely been fueled by wealthy immigrants from Asia, Europe, South America and the Caribbean coupled with the dividends of a commodity linked economy and a dynamic real estate industry with the willingness to invest in expensive highrise properties at a greater rate than other developed countries at the moment.

 As I see it dynamism and growing pains seems to have a lot to do with construction and real estate investment, and that the city is in the midst of creating a new kind of more fulsome urban experience in North America that is the dividend of all of this construction, good planning, and immigration including hyperdensity and colors of Benetton-streetscapes.

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