A fantastic project called Redraw London visually depicts solutions to some of London's problems (see also: Kevin Van Lierop's 100 Ways to Improve London project). One example is making Dundas Street car-free where it passes through downtown—a proposition that people have been talking about for years. Brian Frank addresses this in a a recent blog post. He sees Dundas as a sort of canary in a coalmine; if Dundas is healthy, London is (at least perceived to be) healthy. However, he has doubts that getting rid of cars will suddenly rejuvenate it.
So do I. I wouldn't complain about a quirky car-free street in London, but the problem I see is that it's a boring idea. Support for a pedestrian Dundas usually ends in "just like street [X] in [city Y]!" That is, it's been done before. Yawn. We're already named after another city, so let's try to do something else to stand out, eh? We can do better than imitation, because London is full of creative geniuses. I am a creative genius. Here is how to save London:
1. Screw a car-free Dundas; how about a bumper-car-only Dundas? It's transportation! It's an amusement park! It's both! Since crashing is part of the fun, this also solves that pesky drunk driving problem once and for all.
2. How about a street where graffiti is not only allowed, but encouraged? Think of that great new work on Clarence near Dundas, except times twenty, constantly changing and showcasing local talent.
3. How about being the best at something? The world's largest [awesome thing]. The best [awesome food] in the country. We probably already have something like this and just don't know it. It would be nice to have a feature that makes London unique in the world—a symbol other than trees that we can put on our posters and logos.
4. More seriously, how about a waterfront? We've got this beautiful river splashing straight through the heart of the city, and the only place we can see it from is Museum London
5. How about a permanent beaver tail stand?
6. How about the world's best beaver tails?
I've got like infinity more ideas, only half of which involve deep-fried dough, but the ones here already involve a lot of bulldozing so maybe I should stop. If you live in London (and sorry for the boring post if you don't), think of your own ideas. Put them out there. Even the crappy ones can inspire better ones, and the best ones may become reality.
P.S. I already wrote some of these ideas in a drunken comment over on London Fuse.