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There’s vibrant community behind the foot traffic at Downtown Crossing

 Summer crowds strolled by restaurants and bars near the Paramount Center in Downtown Crossing.

BARRY CHIN/GLOBE STAFF/FILE 2012

Summer crowds strolled by restaurants and bars near the Paramount Center in Downtown Crossing.

A few weekends ago, my sister and I walked around downtown on a Saturday evening and, like Paul McMorrow (“The buzz is back at Downtown Crossing,” Op-ed, Oct. 2), were impressed by the “buzz” in the neighborhood. McMorrow attributes the liveliness to plans for new projects and towers. But these projects are under construction or in the planning stage. They aren’t completed or occupied yet, so why should there be so much street activity?

I would cite two other factors. One is the presence of Emerson College and Suffolk University, whose students animate the streets and patronize nearby stores. The bright, colorful marquees of Emerson’s Paramount Center and Cutler Majestic Theatre add a huge degree of vibrancy.

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The other is the abutting neighborhood of Chinatown, with its many varied restaurants and stores that attract visitors to the area. Residents of Chinatown, and of the new Hostelling International facility, also add considerable foot traffic and thus contribute to an aura of safety and security.

I hope that city planners will note the role that the local neighborhood and colleges play in creating the buzz, and will support enhancing the lives of their residents.

While tall towers appear to house a large number of units, it’s important to ask how many of these units are fully occupied throughout the year and whether the occupants take to the streets or just jump in their limos.

Stephanie Fan

Brookline

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