There are hundreds of empty storefronts along that depressing ghost town of a street. If you want to talk about improving the city, there’s a major disaster zone that needs seeing to, and fast.
There is a stigma, one I fall prey to myself at times - but more in relation to the bus route that runs along Barton, than in relation to the street itself. I’ve learned, where possible, to avoid the Barton bus (and the King route also) by taking the Cannon.
So what do you do to improve an area inhabited (in part) by people who can’t necessarily afford to shop frequently, other than gentrify it? By which I mean force all the poor out, and entice the more lucrative in. Improvement to a city must include accommodating the economically disenfranchised as much as it means accommodating everyone else. Not that there’s anything wrong with certain aspects of gentrification. It’s just hard to use that word without feeling dirty doing so, because that word also has a stigma to me.
I had a few further comments on my definition of economically disenfranchised, but it might get a bit hairy, so I left them out. Let’s leave it with: people who try, despite circumstances, to improve their lives - not the ones who don’t.
It would be nice to see that area, as well as the rest of the city, thrive. I think getting rid of the sometime “us and them” attitude might go a long way towards helping. (Us and Them: moutain vs. lower city; east vs. west end; downtown vs. not downtown, etc.) We’re all in it together, and what helps one part of the city will help the rest.