Since its last failed attempts at this social engineering scheme in 1980, and then again in 2008, called a "pedestrian mall", the City of London in 2018 has succeeded in forcing through its $15.6 million Dundas Place "Flex Street" on Dundas Street that is only a few blocks away from the almost identical "busway mall" fiasco location of 1974. Changing the names does not change what it is.
In 1974, City Council approved the plan for a "bus mall" on Dundas Street. Dundas Street from Adelaide Street to Elizabeth Street was closed to car traffic that was diverted to King Street and Queens Avenue. This road closure destroyed the retail trade of this area within a couple of years. The disastrous "busway mall", that the City spent hundreds of thousands of dollars constructing, was removed in a few years, but the area's economy never recovered. Hudon's was an appreciable retail store put out of business. The Hudson's old store sign is still visible on its former building located a 609 Dundas Street East. Phase I of the London Urban Transportation Study published in 1974 had recommended that the Dundas Street busway plan be extended from downtown to Quebec Street.
Currently, an entire downtown section of Dundas Street is completely closed as the area undergoes
Watermain replacement / repair, Utility repair / upgrade, Removal and replacement of bus shelter, Asphalt replacement / repair, Sidewalk installation / repair
until November when the construction is completed.
I expect the merchants downtown to be hit hard financially as customers will not be able to access their stores during this construction, and the effects of this "Flex Street" will cause a devastating loss of business to the already failing downtown core.
I am most certain the City wants to drive all the merchants out of downtown London so the City planning administration can have full control over downtown to do with it as they like, and not what the people who live and work downtown want. Closing Dundas Street in the downtown core to vehicle traffic with this "Flex Street" plan will not "revitalize" or "renew" downtown it will kill it completely. Most people do not shop in areas without vehicle traffic because the area feels dead and deserted. Walk around the streets during the early morning of the weekend, or on a public holiday, of any area where shops are located to know this feeling. The part of Dundas Street that is not closed for construction is almost completely deserted of vehicles and people. This is a indication of the future of downtown London.
This “Flex Street”, when completed, will be like an atomic bomb dropped on the economy of the downtown core, and like what is now derided as “East of Adelaide” where the 1974 "busway mall" was, downtown will never recover from this impending socialist ruination.
© Trevor Dailey