Front Street Redesign Open House (Updated)

The display panels from the Front Street Redesign Project Open House are now available online at the project website.  Here is an overview together with my comments.

The introduction at page 4 shows the overall process and also reveals a major flaw.  We have reached the point of selecting a “preferred alternative” on which all future detailed design and discussion will be based, but I am not convinced that only a single option should be carried forward.  I am quite certain that feedback from many regular users of this area — pedestrians, businesses, transportation service operators, cyclists, even a few motorists — will suggest that more than one option has its advantages.  At this point, we don’t have enough information to pick one, and doing so risks compromising the project’s credibility when it comes before the new, 2011 Council for further approvals.

The objectives listed on page 6 include:

  • Accommodate increased development and passenger growth associated with Union Station, and …
  • Prioritize the role of pedestrian activity.

However, as we will see later, much analysis reflects the need to accommodate auto traffic even though pedestrian volumes will more than double in coming decades.  The premise should be turned on its head — what design is needed to handle the pedestrians, and what, if anything, is left over for other uses.  Some quite attractive pedestrian areas from other cities are shown on page 7, but these are notably devoid of traffic on anywhere near the level now on Front Street.

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