City councillor proposes closing street to traffic for upcoming Art Crawl events in Hamilton

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Published May 9, 2023 at 4:36 pm

dope chief studios hamilton jackson square art creative james street north
James St. North and all of its grit and resiliency has become synonymous with Hamilton's art scene

A city councillor is proposing closing part of James St. N. to vehicles to make a number of upcoming Art Crawl events more accessible to pedestrians. 

The motion, moved by Ward 2 Councillor Cameron Kroetsch and seconded by Ward 3 Councillor Nrinder Nann, will be presented at an upcoming May 10 council meeting. 

The motion calls on the city to launch a pilot project that will temporarily transform James St. N. between Barton St. W. and Cannon St. W. into a pedestrian-only area on the evenings of June 9, July 14 and Aug. 11. 

The closure would remain in place from 6 pm until 9 pm to accommodate Art Crawl attendees.

The Hamilton Art Crawl, which takes place the second Friday of every month, allows participants to explore galleries, shops, bars and restaurants along James St. N. The event also features street art, performances and craft markets. 

Calling the monthly event a “grass-roots and welcoming cultural experience,” the motion says the pilot project will align with the city’s Vision Zero and Complete Streets initiative, which aims to eliminate pedestrian injuries and fatalities on roadways. 

The motion says the closure, if approved, will be funded from the Ward 2 capital discretionary account and cost no more than $25,000.

Kroetsch said he proposed the motion after “years of conversations” with pedestrians, vendors, and businesses concerned about their safety.

“This is a pilot for 2023 and, if it goes well, we’ll consider expanding it in coming years. These art crawls are getting bigger and that means more people who need to be able to get around the area safely,” Kroetsch wrote on Twitter.

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