Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Union Station Revitalization...again

i was in the Great Hall of Union Station, listening to Toronto Mayor David Miller talk about "Canada's most important transportation building." the station is certainly the country's busiest...more people go through here in a single day than go through Pearson airport. and yes, the station really needs a facelift. the plan sounds great--all the hallmarks that were such a success in New York's revitalization of Grand Central or in the Paris revamp of Gare du Nord. Access points are supposed to be improved, the station is supposed to connect to the new condos towards the lake, retail space will be opened up in a brand new underground concourse, GO transit will get some access through the beautiful upper hall, and most important (from a historical point of view) the station itself will be brought back to its former grandeur.

But...much as i want to believe Miller when he says the new plan will "bring life back to Union Station...get people out of their cars...[and form] the natural gateway between downtown Toronto and the waterfront" I just don't know if the City can do it. Last year, the City was going to sell the whole kit & kaboodle to the private sector; now, the City says that it will somehow find 180 million dollars (or 190 million, depending on which bureaucrat you listen to) over 20 years to develop the station into a more functional, more beautiful, retail & transport hub.

i really want to believe him, but i feel a bit like he's asking us all to click our little red shoes together & make a wish...

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