While I appreciate Mr. Locke’s concerns about renting his properties on Martin St. (Western News, July 17), I find his objections to the planned changes to that area as a start to the downtown revitalization plan to be backward looking.
Aside from all the other reasons for the changes, as a society we should be looking for ways to reduce the number of cars and trucks in the downtown area, not continue to cater to those who feel the need to drive, to or park, within yards of where they are going. Also, the thought of a big-box store downtown activates my gag reflex.
On the other hand, I applaud his suggestion for more downtown residential spaces. I recall that there was to be such a building at Wade and Martin to house a small grocery store and other retail outlets with apartments/condos above. Instead, we have yet another parking lot.
Perhaps the city needs to look more closely at that situation; I’m sure it’s not simple, but I do wonder why a developer can get permission to build what could be an excellent addition to the downtown along the lines of Mr. Locke’s idea, yet not follow through.
As to the parking issue, there must be creative alternatives to, for example, the Saturday morning spectacle of vehicles going round and round trying to find parking near the markets and finally parking at random, legally or not. Why not shut off the core of downtown to parking on such days at least and have shuttle buses from outlying lots such as the barely used one west of the Events Centre?
It would be much better for air quality, people’s tempers, and I venture to say everyone’s enjoyment. More bike racks would be helpful too (though I know these are in the revitalization plan).
Some more imaginative thinking about our unhealthy dependence on motorized vehicles is needed. The new downtown plan certainly qualifies as a step forward in that regard. I look forward to the Martin Street. transformation as an important start.