On June 6th of this year the City of Hamilton joined a growing number of cities in an event to ‘open the streets’ to pedestrians, cyclists and community. The street of James North was closed to all automobiles for five hours.
The Open Streets Hamilton event will return September 26th from 10am to 3pm. James North will be closed to all automobile traffic between Cannon St and Burlington St. The event creates a pedestrian mall of sorts for the afternoon where, without the intrusion of cars, the community can walk about freely. Shopping, interaction between neighbors and attracting visitors to the area are all benefits of the event.
As I mentioned before this is something that has been done in many cities in Canada and the United States recently. New York, Portland, Winnipeg and Barrie have all ‘opened streets’ to pedestrians. With the success of the Open Streets campaign this year, what other areas of the city could be opened up next year?
Strong candidates for open streets would likely be the areas that are BIAs. Barton Village, Concession Street, Ancaster, Downtown (International Village / King St E), Ottawa Street or Westdale and more. All of these areas could support the initiative next year for this campaign. All of these communtites have centralized shopping areas and a high population base. I think they would fit with the concept nicely.
The only detail that would have to be worked out, much as with the James North event this year, is temporary detours of city transit as all of these areas have transit routes that pass through them.
For more information on the upcoming Open Streets Hamilton please visit the official website.