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  #81  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 2:58 PM
badrunner badrunner is offline
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Originally Posted by Commentariat View Post
So if Australian, European and Canadian downtowns got rid of all their shops and all the pesky shoppers they could be as vibrant as US downtowns. Yet strangely none of them have adopted this approach to urban development.
??? No one is suggesting such a silly thing.
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  #82  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 3:07 PM
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Originally Posted by jd3189 View Post
Adds to the hustle and bustle to city life in my opinion. Makes me feel like I'm in a happening place.
Agreed. Pedestrian malls can be strangely quiet places. They also tend to be filled with chain stores. I prefer street front mom-and-pop retail corridors. Even if there's less foot traffic, it feels more urban and authentic.
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  #83  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 4:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
There is no Philly version of "Yonge and Dundas" and that has nothing to do with anything.

Downtown Toronto isn't like "Yonge and Dundas". That's one intersection, with a fake Times Square and a giant shopping mall, so obviously very congested. Most of downtown Toronto doesn't have unusually heavy pedestrian traffic.

If you're asking "where is the Eaton Centre of core Philly" (where are the global chain stores) it would be around Walnut, Chestnut and Sansom north of Rittenhouse Square. There is no Times Square-ish block.
Once again, I know that it's only one intersection..I was probably in the wrong area of Philly's core..I was looking for some sort of epicenter. Electricity, pulse and energy at it's heart.The buskers playing drums, the street musicians, the street artists, jammed sidewalks. etc.I just got the impression when we were there that Philly was kinda chill and doesn't roll that way, and it's all about neighbourhoods which is fine. I was looking for blocks of (see below).


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Originally Posted by softee View Post
The downtown Yonge Strip (with Yonge-Dundas at it epicentre), Queen St. West (stretching for kms), Dundas and Spadina (Chinatown), Kensington Market, Bloor-Yorkville, The Bloor strip in the Annex, St. Lawrence Market area, The Union Station area, The Gay village, the Harbourfront area and parts of the Entertainment District are the downtown areas that have heavy pedestrian traffic. The sidewalks can indeed be jammed with people in these areas, often times moreso on the weekends in the tourist season. I think (excluding NYC) only SF and Chicago are at this level of downtown vibrancy among U.S. cities.

Last edited by Razor; Jul 11, 2018 at 4:23 PM.
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  #84  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 4:21 PM
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Originally Posted by dc_denizen View Post
It's not boring but the core of the cbd is very office centric. Most of the new housing development is in cbd-adjacent areas
I love DC, but I find its core (north of the National Mall, south of N Street) to be quite sterile, austere, and (for lack of a better term) bureaucratic. Although grand and polished, it lacks the vitality of NYC, Chicago, SF, Boston, and Philly. The streets are quite wide in comparison to the building heights and the buildings themselves are largely post-war monoliths. There isn’t even a clear shopping street/district for pedestrian traffic to gain critical mass.

What saves core DC, besides being the center of the world’s most important government, is size, cleanliness, subway coverage, and close proximity to an unparalleled combination of iconic landmarks and institutions (outside of Europe at least).
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  #85  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 5:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Razor View Post
Once again, I know that it's only one intersection..I was probably in the wrong area of Philly's core..I was looking for some sort of epicenter. Electricity, pulse and energy at it's heart.The buskers playing drums, the street musicians, the street artists, jammed sidewalks. etc.I just got the impression when we were there that Philly was kinda chill and doesn't roll that way, and it's all about neighbourhoods which is fine. I was looking for blocks of (see below).
Younge and Dundas is a bit like Times Square, Bourbon Street, Piccadilly Circus, etc. I don't know of many cities that have spaces with this ultra high level of pedestrian activity and the street artists, musicians, etc. all day, everyday. The closest Philadelphia has is Rittenhouse Square and that's something more or less on par with most US major cities' most vibrant spaces. And while this may not apply to Younge and Dundas, the other really crowded places I mentioned are mostly overrun by tourists.

If you're using Younge and Dundas as your measuring stick, you'll probably visit many US cities and come away disappointed.
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  #86  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 5:15 PM
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Originally Posted by McBane View Post
If you're using Younge and Dundas as your measuring stick, you'll probably visit many US cities and come away disappointed.
It's silly, because it's like the least representative intersection in Toronto. It's like measuring typical NYC pedestrian activity from the heart of Times Square, or right in front of Penn Station.
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  #87  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 5:23 PM
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Visiting Times Sq. in the middle of a Saturday afternoon in July will make you swear off ever visiting NY again.
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  #88  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 5:25 PM
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Originally Posted by JManc View Post
Visiting Times Sq. in the middle of a Saturday afternoon in July will make you swear off ever visiting NY again.
I avoid Times Square at any time of day, unless traveling underneath.
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  #89  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 5:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
I avoid Times Square at any time of day, unless traveling underneath.
Wise decision.
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  #90  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 5:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Commentariat View Post
So if Australian, European and Canadian downtowns got rid of all their shops and all the pesky shoppers they could be as vibrant as US downtowns. Yet strangely none of them have adopted this approach to urban development.
You really think that grass is green over on that other side of the fence, don't you?

FYI, some American downtowns are busier than most European ones ever thought of being--with as many or more shops too. NY is one and I live in another. Europeans and others visit both to shop. Check out NY during the post-holiday sales if you like watching battling Europeans.
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  #91  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 5:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
I avoid Times Square at any time of day, unless traveling underneath.
Depends on your purpose, I imagine. I wouldn't go there for most reasons either, just as I rarely go anywhere near Fisherman's Wharf, but sometimes I like an afternoon of watching my fellow man (tourist variety).
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  #92  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 5:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
A good analogue to State Street would be Fulton Street in downtown Brooklyn. Both were department store laden high streets that went into deep postwar decline, and converted to pedestrian malls in the late 70's. Both were kinda honky tonk and particularly popular with African American shoppers (which, frankly, probably drove some white shoppers away).

But Fulton Street never removed its pedestrian mall, and it, like State Street, is healthier than 20 years ago, and, in particular, more upscale and different demographic.

Downtown Crossing in Boston would be another example, and followed similar trajectory. Still a pedestrian mall, and improved/upscaled from past years.
perhaps state street would have rebounded on its own had its pedestrian mall been left intact, but we'll never know.

another aspect to consider here is street-scale. the building-to-building street-wall widths of boston crossing vary between 40' - 60'. fulton street in brooklyn is ~75'. but state street in chicago is a a much grander-scaled ~120' wide.

one of the most common complaints of the state street ped mall was that it typically felt too wide-open and empty and desolate. maybe it wasn't as appropriately human-scaled as those east coast examples (where, across the board, street ROW's are noticeably tighter than chicago)? maybe state street as a 3/4 mile-long ped mall was too wide and too long and generally too over-scaled to ever get enough critical mass in any one spot to get the fire started? maybe it just felt too quiet and dead without the commotion of cars going up and down the street? i don't know, just thinking out loud......

either way, the state street ped mall is long gone, and it ain't ever coming back (not in any of our lifetimes, anyway), and the street is doing much better today than at any point during its ped mall days.
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Last edited by Steely Dan; Jul 11, 2018 at 5:53 PM.
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  #93  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 5:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Pedestrian View Post
You really think that grass is green over on that other side of the fence, don't you?

FYI, some American downtowns are busier than most European ones ever thought of being--with as many or more shops too. NY is one and I live in another. Europeans and others visit both to shop. Check out NY during the post-holiday sales if you like watching battling Europeans.
Yep. Some American cities are far more vibrant than some over there and vice versa.

Again, Australia's two largest downtowns combined cannot hold a candle to America's single largest downtown in New York in terms of vibrancy, let alone all the other options here like: D.C. Boston, Phila., Chicago, S.F. and multi-nodal L.A. and perhaps a few more heavily vibrant areas. Let's not forget about all the other small, but vibrant areas around the nation too like New Orleans, Portland, Denver, Miami Beach, Key West, Santa Monica [that falls into L.A.], Charleston and then the dozens of vibrant college towns all over the place.
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  #94  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 7:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
perhaps.

here in chicago, back in the late 70s when the state street retail corridor was really hurting, city planners took a 9 block stretch of it and turned it into a big giant pedestrian mall (with buses) in an effort to revitalize state street.

it didn't work, state street retail continued to decline. in 1996, after 17 years of being pedestrianized, the change was deemed to be a colossal failure, so state street was once again opened back up to automobile traffic and the street came back to life as one of chicago's great shopping streets (though still in the shadow of the mag mile).

so maybe american really do prefer walking along a big busy traffic-clogged city street
Streets that were pedestrianized in this era often did it for the wrong reasons. Pedestrian streets work best when they're a response to sidewalks that are too crowded and can't handle the pedestrian traffic. What you're describing is the opposite, trying to save a dying street by pedestrianizing it. That rarely works but was, unfortunately, all too common in the 70s.
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  #95  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 8:45 PM
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Originally Posted by McBane View Post
Younge and Dundas is a bit like Times Square, Bourbon Street, Piccadilly Circus, etc. I don't know of many cities that have spaces with this ultra high level of pedestrian activity and the street artists, musicians, etc. all day, everyday. The closest Philadelphia has is Rittenhouse Square and that's something more or less on par with most US major cities' most vibrant spaces. And while this may not apply to Younge and Dundas, the other really crowded places I mentioned are mostly overrun by tourists.

If you're using Younge and Dundas as your measuring stick, you'll probably visit many US cities and come away disappointed.

There!..Somebody from Philly who knew what I meant.Thanks for the info.
Okay thanks..I just googled it, and we were close to that square, but never toured around there..Looks like a great spot though.

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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
It's silly, because it's like the least representative intersection in Toronto. It's like measuring typical NYC pedestrian activity from the heart of Times Square, or right in front of Penn Station.
Now for the third time, I know Dundas square is not representative of all of DT Toronto..Ya..I get it..There's also more to Yonge street then that intersection.That street.and it's heavy pedestrian level goes on for a fair bit past that intersection.Softee earlier explained DT Toronto real well..McBane above also got what I meant. I was more or less wondering if we missed a similiar hyped up corner in Philly when we went Truth be told I really enjoyed our Philadelphia trip , and would love to go back to explore. I just didn't notice a real ramped up epicenter when we were there s'all..Not a bad thing..Just an observation..I actually like how laid back, yet NOT dead vibe when we were there. Next time, that Rittenhouse square area will be on our list.

Last edited by Razor; Jul 11, 2018 at 9:05 PM.
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  #96  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 8:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Razor View Post
There!..Thanks for the info.
Okay thanks..I just googled it, and we were close to that square, but never toured around there..Looks like a great spot though.
Rittenhouse Square area, in terms of high density street level urbanism, may be the best neighborhood in North America outside of NYC. At the least, it's in the running.
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  #97  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 9:05 PM
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Actually this topic is sort of stupid. Is the op saying that sf, Boston, dc, Austin, portland, Seattle, Madison, chicago, philly, baltimore, New Orleans, Denver, are not vibrant compared to Adelaide?
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  #98  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 9:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
Rittenhouse Square area, in terms of high density street level urbanism, may be the best neighborhood in North America outside of NYC. At the least, it's in the running.
Rittenhouse Square and Boston's Beacon Hill, North End are as good as any place, period. I personally don't think that NYC has that that many more neighborhoods of comparable human scale and beauty.
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  #99  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 9:52 PM
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Boston's urban neighborhoods are really the best human-scaled, pedestrian-friendly we have in the country. New York has nothing like Beacon Hill or the North End.
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  #100  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by The North One View Post
Boston's urban neighborhoods are really the best human-scaled, pedestrian-friendly we have in the country. New York has nothing like Beacon Hill or the North End.
Manhattan might not, though I could make an argument for the West Village, but neighborhoods in other boroughs - Brooklyn in particular - very much do at that scale: Ft. Greene/Clinton Hill, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, Heights, Prospect Heights, the Slope, etc.
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