If you have big really, really long blocks and people can’t get through, it really isolates neighbourhoods,” said Vivian, who has lived in the Johnson Street building for 10 years.
The Chard development replaced a parking lot, where residents could easily cut through, Vivian said.
Post-1945 Victorians were being very sensitive & considerate when they were knocking down buildings and inserting strategically-placed surface parking lots all over downtown. It really enhanced the pedestrian realm. But now that pleasant atmosphere is being eroded.
Seriously though, why oh why does nobody ever hold the CoV accountable for how they've managed this program? It makes no sense to be arbitrarily advocating for mid-block passages if there are no clear standards re: how the passages should look and feel or how they're going to be managed. And it makes no sense to stubbornly refuse to learn lessons from past examples. This controversy was 100% predictable:
Posted 09 June 2017
I hate to be such a stinker about this project but doesn't it seem like they phoned in the design of those townhouses? It's as if the city has advocated for these mid-block passages while never really coming to terms with why they're doing it. What's the point If there are no meaningful standards for the environments within? Shortcuts for the sake of shortcuts?
The passages need to be attractive (dare I say it, "hidden gems") so that they get a regular flow of traffic, so that the user gets rewarded for entering, and so that residential and/or commercial uses might actually be able to succeed within them. I'm making a distinction here between mid-block passages as merely serviceable shortcuts as versus mid-block passages as instruments for enhancing the downtown environment. The "serviceable shortcut" aspect should be way down on the list of concerns. Heck, it shouldn't even be a concern at all.
Era and the Hudson did it right. The passages need to have personality or else they're pointless. If a passage lacks personality then all you've done is accommodated that small number of people who used to cut through the parking lot. Accommodating such people should be a concern for city planners? Give me a break. Anyway, I'll be surprised if these passages on the 800-block aren't duds.
On this very board we've been talking about the fundamental issues for years. Suffice it to say, the inviting & activated commercial/residential lane tends to work, whereas the narrow & isolated sinister shortcut tends to have problems. It's as if somebody in officialdom is determined to prove that the narrow & isolated sinister shortcut can work. "See? This particular narrow & isolated sinister shortcut has turned out to be a roaring success! Despite all of its very obvious issues and shortcomings!"