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Downtown Connectors

The underground connector between Best Western on Grafton Street and their addition across the street was estimated to cost in the vicinity of $500,000. The Plus 15 from Royal Trust Tower to Confederation Court Mall cost somewhere around $300,000. All that was a number of years ago. The proposal on the table now will cost somewhere between $3M and $5M with which we could buy everyone in the city at least an umbrella and a pair of rubber boots. In cities like Calgary, Minneapolis and even Toronto and Montreal where major commitments have been made to connectors, are first of all connecting high rise buildings - high density stuff. They still kill the life on the street in a big way. Someone said, about them, that it is a sign we have given up on the street and that is certainly what followed in Calgary. The retail moves up stairs and at street level things become dead. If you go underground you take the street with you. Street life is the vitality of downtown. Policing of these spaces is not the responsibility of city police - that is a serious issue. The fact they only connect certain places in the city is negative and controlling. Jane Jacobs the guru of cities and the author of Death and Life of Great American Cities - a classic - writes and speaks strongly against this approach as do many other important urban landscapers. To take such a step in this city - at a cost of 3-5 million dollars - will do nothing to increase activity in the downtown and must be very seriously debated.

Written Sunday, July 14, 2002 at 09:29 PM

(c) 2000 by Catherine Hennessey. Questions or comments? Email me@catherinehennessey.com

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