Downtown (not so much) re-envisioned

I wasn’t able to attend the presentation at City Hall yesterday due to prior family commitments. So this picture is entirely without context, but I do want to use it to illustrate a specific point I have raised before. Its upside down because the original photo is disorienting when trying to figure out what roads are being referenced:

downtown by beasely

So that you can read the notes, here is the same photo right side up.

downtown by beasely 2

What is clear from this picture, the black dotted outline is no different than the current zoning for Downtown Brampton. Now, compare that footprint to one proposed by the Brampton Bruin in his post regarding how to rezone Downtown for Growth :

how to really rezone for growth

Or compare it to the image of an 800 meter radius around the GO Station, as observed by the Brampton Bruin in his post regarding Transit Hubs:the 800 meter radius myth

Do you notice a theme developing? Let me cut to the chase.

If the black dotted outline is any indication, the Downtown Re-imagined project isn’t actually re-imagining Downtown. It’s a glorified survey on make minor tweaks to maintain the status quo, on how to appease and give lip service to voters who want to build an urban core for our city, without making any of the substantial changes needed to foster any actual growth.

Labelling existing blocks as “arts district” or “heritage retail district” is nothing but the City Government playing at being a Marketing Agency. So yes, they seem to have pushed the development a little bit outward to the West (the orange shaded area between Main and McMurchy), but there appears to be no movement whatsoever to the North, East or South. There is no attempt whatsoever to define our Downtown in anything resembling a Radius Around the GO Station.  This is despite that almost every acadmic article on the subject of How Higher Order Transit affects neighbours talks about an 800 Meter, or Half Mile, Radius from the Transit Line or Transit Station. Which is to say, this picture, if it’s indicative of where this project is going, is more evidence that the powers that be have no real intention of upsetting the apple cart. No real intention of changing the proverbial game, or disrupting the status quo. All this is turning out to be is an exercise in Rebranding.

There are reasons that developers don’t build in Brampton. Until you address those reasons, you can rename every street “Super Awesome Everyone Wants to Live Here Street” and still, no one will come and redevelop the properties into anything but single family residences, maybe with some basement apartments to house a few of the 1,000 students (building to 5,000? we’ll see) in the mix.

I will maintain my optimism, as Mr. Beaseley is no amateur.  But unless he is given free reign to actually re-imagine, re-design and re-define our city, this exercise will be as useful as the Rust D’Eye and McCarter reports.

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