A letter published in today's Mountain News caught my eye. The topic is a proposed pedestrian bridge crossing the Linc in the Dartnall area.
In it, the writer asks a couple of questions:
Since newspapers don't write back, I thought I'd throw out some answers for the letter writer to consider.
First, infrastructure involves a whole host of various projects. For the sake of argument, let's just talk about physical infrastructure needs in the transportation sector as it relates to this topic.
From personal experience having walked/biked in that part of the city, I can assure you that there is a great need for this crossing. I suppose I could hop the sound barrier with my bike and try to run across the freeway to link up with the rest of the recreational/commuter trail, but something in my brain continually advises against that option.
Infrastructure certainly involves roads (such as the highway we are now trying to safely cross) and sewers, but it also involves pedestrian, cycling and transit projects.
There are tens of thousands of residents in Hamilton who don't own a car, yet they still pay taxes for all the highway and road repairs. Why? Because that's how society works. We all pay into a fund and out of that fund the needs of the citizens are met. All of the citizens.
Granted, if you're a Hamilton resident who doesn't live downtown but relies on transit to move around the city, you could be forgiven for strongly disagreeing that all citizens are taken care of equally.
Based on my experience as a car driver, cyclist, pedestrian and transit user, it is easy to see that cars are given a much higher priority than all other modes of transportation in Hamilton.
Councillor Tom Jackson mentioned that this $2 million bridge will be paid for out of a total pool of $48 million that is earmarked for infrastructure. That sounds like a drop in the bucket to me. I wonder how much of the remaining $46 million will go towards car-related projects?If we're ever going to become a vibrant, livable city, we need to get past this mentality that I'm the only one who matters and everyone else's tax money should be spent on me.
Every great city has excellent transportation options available, whether you want to drive, walk, bike or use transit. Hamilton, by contrast, has the highest lane capacity per person in Canada.
With all due respect, this is the last city in the country where we should be asking "what value is there?" in an infrastructure project that isn't car related.
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