Special Report: Walkable Streets

Commit Fully to Two-Way Complete Streets on Wentworth, Sanford and Victoria

I hope we can see this conversation happen soon in Hamilton, as it would be of huge benefit to this entire neighbourhood from the escarpment right to the north end.

By Jason Leach
Published August 12, 2014

This Thursday's Public Works Committee meeting includes two items related to two-way conversions: on Wentworth Street and Sanford Avenue, and on Victoria Avenue.

I wanted to share a couple of thoughts as I work in that area and see these streets function every day.

Convert Full Length

First, I would strongly urge that we simply convert them both to two-way traffic along their entire length, instead of debating whether to do only the portion between Delaware and Main, or possibly King.

The City's list of approved two-way conversions that have not been completed includes Wentworth and Sanford from Delaware to Barton, not from Delaware to Main.

Wentworth and Cannon (RTH file photo)
Wentworth and Cannon (RTH file photo)

These streets carry such little traffic that they can easily become one lane in each direction overnight with no impacts on traffic flow. For example, Wentworth south of Barton carries just 5,400 cars a day on three lanes and carries the same volume north of King; Victoria south of Barton carries just 8,900 cars on four lanes.

Include Traffic Calming

Second, the report for Wentworth mentions removing the bumpout at Wentworth and Delaware to make room for the northbound traffic, but the suggestion is for curbside parking on the east curb of Wentworth with the entire centre lane for northbound traffic and the western lane for southbound traffic.

There is no need to remove the bumpout. Here is a view looking north on Wentworth at Delaware:

Wentworth Street looking north from Delaware (RTH file photo)
Wentworth Street looking north from Delaware (RTH file photo)

Two full lanes already exist. Not only should we not remove the bumpout, but we should also look at adding similar treatments at King, Barton and other potentially high-conflict streets.

This type of traffic calming is an integral part of complete streets: by narrowing the distance pedestrians have to walk to cross the street, by forcing drivers to slow down to turn corners, and by permanently bookending the curbside parking so drivers can't use it to fly past other cars.

Here's how Lansdowne Avenue in Toronto, a street that actually does have traffic volumes to contend with, looks after a recent complete-streets renovation there:

Lansdowne Avenue in Toronto (Image Credit: Joe at Biking Toronto/Flickr)
Lansdowne Avenue in Toronto (Image Credit: Joe at Biking Toronto/Flickr)

I hope we can see this conversation happen soon in Hamilton, as it would be of huge benefit to this entire neighbourhood from the escarpment right to the north end.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.

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By MattM (registered) | Posted August 12, 2014 at 11:34:50

Given the massive pointless gap that they incorporated into the Hunter Street bike lanes, it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if they cut this down to just Delaware to Main. Although the traffic planning department at the city is starting to wise up, they still seem to be a huge fan of pointless baby steps that defy common sense and taking shortcuts when things get even slightly complicated or might inconvenience motorists slightly.

We might see the rest of the street from Main to Barton by 2025 though, in time for the LRT.

Comment edited by MattM on 2014-08-12 11:35:20

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By No to LRT (anonymous) | Posted August 12, 2014 at 16:43:31 in reply to Comment 103892

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted August 13, 2014 at 10:34:14

I love how Victoria only gets considered for 2-way conversion after a potential developer requested it. Constituents like the DNA want their streets converted two-way? Nobody cares. Industrial developer asks? Sir yes sir!

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 13, 2014 at 11:12:28 in reply to Comment 103914

Ditto for Caroline St N. And in that case, another horrible conversion. We could have widened sidewalks, planted trees and added more future patio space for future developments and current Vranich developments. Instead we make it 2-lanes one way and 1-lane the other. For hardly any traffic.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted August 13, 2014 at 11:36:29 in reply to Comment 103917

Carolines' a particular stinker for me because as a driver it's demonstrated how easier it would be to get around these city side-streets with 2-way conversion. I used to have to do crazy Hamilton loops to get to Vida la Pita (I have a weakness for their felafel pitas). Now I just go the "wrong" way up Caroline from Main.

The only downside for the conversion of every side-street in the city would be the short-term cost of adding the facing traffic signals, and the upside would be better wayfinding and safety for the whole city. It wouldn't put a scratch in traffic on streets like Hughson and Caroline (streets that barely have any traffic) and yet city staff treat this issue like something the cat left on the front porch.

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By j.servus (registered) | Posted August 13, 2014 at 11:21:01

Hear, hear! Wentworth is a pointless one way--perhaps not as ridiculous as, say, Hughson, but quite pointless all the same--, and it has the (unintended) byproduct of diverting a lot of northbound through traffic onto residential side streets like Grant Avenue.

But let's be realistic. I have an eleven year old son. Wentworth has been "scheduled" for two-way conversion HIS ENTIRE LIFE. And now they are talking about possibly considering a discussion of the potential merits of possibly thinking about maybe weighing the pros and cons of some day thinking about eventually considering the possibility of marshaling the evidence in favor of converting two blocks of the street. Ambitious City, indeed!

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted August 13, 2014 at 15:30:18

Wentworth? Sanford?

How about King and Main? At night these one-way streets resemble a ghost town.

Lets get rid of all these one way streets (with a few exceptions) as they make the dt look dark and desolate at night.

And I'm talking full conversion to two-way. Not three lanes going east and one lane going west for two blocks like it is on York street. What purpose does that serve? It only adds to the confusion.

The era of Hamilton needing one way streets to get people to and from the steel mills is over, especially now that the RHVP has been built. But we have too many councilors still living in that era (like Bob Bratina and Bob Morrow, can't they find somebody younger with new ideas than this antique?) who think that the steel mills will employ 50K people again.

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 13, 2014 at 16:08:57 in reply to Comment 103930

Everyone knows this. Just a few dinosaurs at city hall who want to roar back to the burbs everyday after work holding back the entire prosperity and safety of the city.

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By tin foil hat (anonymous) | Posted August 14, 2014 at 22:13:32 in reply to Comment 103932

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By DissenterOfThings (registered) | Posted August 15, 2014 at 07:24:05 in reply to Comment 103968

Just a few dinosaurs

...reading comprehension...

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By Bees are on the what now? (anonymous) | Posted August 21, 2014 at 18:18:03 in reply to Comment 103978

Where's the lack of comprehension? The response does not imply that all of them are dinosaurs, or that it's just one. Thanks for your time though. It was totally worth it.

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By Chris Spark (anonymous) | Posted August 20, 2014 at 22:20:07

I live on Victoria Ave North. Three months ago my fiancé was hit by a truck while crossing at Wilson Street. A few month prior a car ended up on my front lawn here too. Countless occasions over and over there have been SERIOUS and OBVIOUS safety problems with this layout. I would LOVE to speak my mind at the next community meeting about this.

My fiancée suffered a head injury and internal bleeding. She had a skull fracture among other concerns and we now are helping her through rehabilitation. Feel free to contact me in regards to this concern christopherspark@gmail.com . I would love to change this area for the better before more issues occur.

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