Downtown Troubles

The core of our city is dying, some might even say that it is actually dead. If you are not employed by a bank, a level of government, are a lawyer or in health care there really is not any compelling reason to go there.

downtown

The downtown core of our city is dying, some might even say that it is actually dead.  If you are not employed by a bank, a level of government, are a lawyer or in health care there really is not any compelling reason to go there.

The downtown lacks an adequate shopping area.  Have a need to shop? Go to the New Sudbury Shopping Mall, or head on over to one of the Walmarts. So there is no draw to downtown for the citizens. Oh sure we have the Farmer’s Market that is open during the summer but otherwise most have zero reason to go there.

However, if we do find ourselves going to the bank, a doctors appointment or renewing our fishing licenses, good luck finding a) parking anywhere near where you want to be and b) affordable parking.  Driving downtown is also a horrendous experience to say the least.   The roads are bad and there has been constant construction as of late.  Sure, compared to other cities it isn’t all that bad I guess.  Yet this is not Toronto or Ottawa, or Hamilton or Kitchener, or even North Bay or Sault Ste. Marie.  This is the city Greater of Sudbury.  We should set the example not follow it.

Going Forward

In the past the big question has been what to do with the downtown. How can we as a city get that part of town out of the gutters.  Should we just walk away from it? Perhaps just bulldoze it all and start fresh?  Some people want to excise the train depot and move it.  Well here is my two cents on this.

Let us start building up and stop building out.  What I mean is we need to slow the urban sprawl to the Valley and other outlying areas before the housing costs become way to expensive.  We also need to draw people to live in the downtown core.  

My suggestion are:

  1. That the city find some developer to build a nice modern, brand new Condo facility.  A few hundred units just to get the ball rolling.  
  2. The mall needs to be revamped.  Actually leveled would be a good idea, and built completely new. Give the people of downtown a reason to stay and shop there.  Give people who have come to visit our city and are staying downtown a place to shop.  A real place not the 30 seconds of browsing currently available.  
  3. Fix the parking problem. It is time that either the city
    1. Gets out of the parking business or
    2. Actually gets serious about it. By getting serious I mean building multi-level parking facilities that we are familiar with when we go visit other cities. When I need to see my doctor or go to City Hall or the Provincial Building I do not want to have to park 3 or 4 blocks away at a place that has only 2 hours of parking. If I wanted to park in an actual lot, I have to go even further away especially if I need more than 2 hours. It’s that or race the clock to put more loonies in.
  4. It is time for the Downtown Arena, make that past time, to be demolished and leveled. Then put a proper, modern arena/conference center with an appropriate sized, multi-level parking garage. Who cares how much it is going to cost. The city should get out of the arena business. Sell the land off to Rogers or Scotiabank or whoever on condition they build the new facility. Then it no longer becomes a city problem. Sky-dome aka Rogers Centre, private. Scotiabank Centre in Niagra falls…private too cannot forget the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa as well and they are nice modern facilities.
  5. Get ride of that transit station or at least re-purpose it.  It is too small to be the main hub and all those buses are part of the traffic problem. Build an appropriate sized main terminal somewhere else and just leave the downtown station as just another stop.  Not every bus needs to go downtown. Ottawa is a great example on how to design a transit system with appropriate links to the outlying Urban areas.

Conclusion

The above are my five suggestions that will probably go a long way to re-vitalizing# our downtown core and helping to make this city great. But hey, what do I know I am just Local Boy, born and raised who just happened to travel a l bit.

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