I am happy to see the City of Brampton has added a “Road Closed” option to its study of Four Corners streetscaping options. While I am perpetually enraged at the disproportionate number of dollars that get spent on, effectively, government welfare for the select few businesses that call Four Corners home, I cannot disagree that the area would be well suited for a “Historical Downtown” not unlike the one I explored in my piece on Markham, Ontario.
So how do we make a “Historic Downtown” work? Well, for starters, you have to focus on the Historic part. As in, get rid of the cars. Taking back the streets is the only way to make Four Corners function as a Historic Downtown in the long run. It needs to be done for the same reasons that there are no cars in Toronto’s Distillery District. They interfere with the area being a “Place” in any urban sense of the word.
The biggest impediment to this vision is, as I have written elsewhere on Twitter and Facebook, there is no way to get AROUND the Four Corners, and Main Street is an Arterial Road. It is beyond the scope of reason to suggest that you could just stop the high volume of traffic that uses Main Street as the main artery to travel north and south through Brampton. The rail line effectively prevents any relief lines, so what is the city to do.
Well, thanks to the miracle of Microsoft Paint, and the problem solving powers of European Cities who are literally hundreds of years ahead of us on solving very type of traffic problem, I have drawn out the solution in the header image, above. We surround the Four Corners with a Roundabout. Ya, I said it.
As illustrated (crudely): we literally tear out the part of Main between Wellington and Nelson, and the part of Queen Street between Chapel/Theatre Lane and George Street. Gone. Goodbye. Thanks for the memories. No more cars in Four Corners.
The resulting “Ring Road” would be a One Way, Three Lane street where cars would simply merge into the Roundabout and exit the roundabout at or to their desired destination. Rose Theatre? Parking on the left. Going North, exit to the right onto Main Street North. Headed to City Hall, there are two parking garages, on your left and your right, just after the Queen Street West cutoff. Traffic will keep moving, instead of stopping at three signalized intersections. All through routes are preserved. The biggest wrinkle, buildings on John Street, is corrected by restoring two way traffic to the underground parking lot located there.
Is it radical? Yes.
Is it time to embrace big decisions to upset the status quo? Yes.
Our current mayor says she was elected to upset the status quo. Well, putting a little sugar in our tea isn’t gonna cut it, cause here we are, still stuck at the same old tea party. I say its time we do more than sweeten our bitter brew, it’s time that we actually blow this pop stand altogether.
Oh and yes, the LRT would be the only vehicle that can pass through the centre of this otherwise pedestrian only zone, all other vehicles would have to go around. I said the LRT, because with a pedestrian only outdoor mall like the one that gets created by this project, the area would actually be a unique urban space … and an actual tourist destination that justifies the LRT.