Why Yonge Street experiment is going to fail
I took a bike ride down Yonge Street on Tuesday to check out the changes the BIA has made in an effort to make it more pedestrian friendly. I'm a big fan of building spaces that welcome people to walk and sit but this isn't one of them.
Architecture and design are about appealing both to the eye and to our subconscious. We walk into a space and it gives us a certain feeling. Sometimes the sensation is based on pure instinct. And that's the problem with what they've done on Yonge. The barriers they've put up to establish space for tables and chairs are flimsy. There's no real separation from the street and you get the feeling that at any moment a car could punch through and send you flying. A genuinely relaxing space would require something like cement planters and elevated platforms that would completely seal people away from traffic but clearly the business people can't afford something as expensive as that when they're just tinkering around with new ideas.
Maybe the real problem is that Yonge Street is just too narrow to begin with. And with grid lock the way it is there's no way for walkers to comfortably share the space with traffic.
Kudos for trying but this just isn't going to work.