Transportation

Lane Closure and Driver Entitlement

By Jason Leach
Published November 09, 2012

CBC Hamilton has a piece about a lane closed "indefinitely" on the Claremont Access due to erosion of the escarpment retaining wall.

[Ward 7 Councillor Scott] Duvall said his office has received some complaints from both cyclists and motorists about the reduced lanes.

If it's true that there have been complaints from drivers about this lane closure, there is no greater evidence of the entitlement that drivers feel in Hamilton.

Why on earth would anyone think to actually call and complain about a lane closure that has had zero impact on traffic? Traffic used to go 100 km/h and still does.

It suggests that drivers feel entitled to all of these excess lanes that exist throughout the city.

This probably explains why there is so much resistance to calming and taming our over-capacity lower city streets - even though most of them carry less traffic than their two-way counterparts on the Mountain and in Ancaster.

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 reuben (registered) - website | Posted November 09, 2012 at 13:53:54

I've come down the Claremont a few times since the closure (I live in Central Hamilton, and don't find myself on the Mountain very much). As a cyclist, it does feel noticeably less safe since the right-side lanes are closed - forcing one out into what used to be the 'middle' lane, and riding against a barrier wall. As a driver I wouldn't think it makes much difference at all.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted November 09, 2012 at 17:36:40

Has anyone else considered the flawed logic in the blog entry?

The author asks why anyone would call to complain about a lane closure that doesn't affect traffic. He then assumes.. well actually he doesn't only assume, he states as a fact that this is evidence that driver's feel entitlement. Should I then assume that the author is a selfish person if he can not fathom the idea that people might be thinking of others when they voice their concerns?

The author then goes on to contradict them self. At first the complaints are the biggest evidence that drivers feel entitled and then they suggest that drivers may feel entitled.

Perhaps the drivers are complaining because they have come close to hitting a cyclist, or a cyclist hitting them. Who knows. What I do know is that some people on RTH will use just about any piece of information they can find to spin and make assumptions about in order to substantiate their own outlook.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted November 09, 2012 at 22:55:46 in reply to Comment 82712

Yeah, the drivers in Hamilton are motivated by their abiding concern for cyclists. Sure, that seems totally reasonable to assume.

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted November 09, 2012 at 18:27:30

If it's true that there have been complaints from cyclists about this lane closure, there is no greater evidence of the entitlement that cyclists feel in Hamilton.

Why on earth would anyone think to actually call and complain about a lane closure that has had zero impact on traffic? Traffic used to go 80 km/h and still does, due to the perpetual speed trap at the bottom of the access.

It suggests that cyclists feel entitled to all lanes that exist throughout the city.

This probably explains why there is so much resistance to keeping our at capacity during rush hour lower city streets - even though many of them carry more traffic than their two-way counterparts on the Mountain and in Ancaster.

See what I did there...don't claim driver arrogance when cyclists are also complaining about the situation as well.

Comment edited by -Hammer- on 2012-11-09 18:30:36

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 09, 2012 at 21:08:08 in reply to Comment 82713

it actually makes sense for cyclists to call about this closure. Their shoulder (note, they don't have a lane) is gone because of the closure. Cars aren't impacted in the slightest, hence the distinction.

The last group on earth to feel entitlement in Hamilton is cyclists. Lol. How about 1 lane into the downtown core before we worry about an entitled attitude.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted November 09, 2012 at 21:52:58

I don't drive the route myself, but I've called to complain because I think it's stupid that it's taking the city almost a year and the problem is still nowhere near being resolved.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted November 09, 2012 at 22:51:50 in reply to Comment 82716

No Robert, admit it, it's because you feel entitled... the author knows.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 10, 2012 at 09:58:56 in reply to Comment 82718

I realize I shouldn't respond to trolling, but go read the blog entry. I'm stunned at people 'complaining about the reduced lanes'.

Not someone complaining about the city seemingly doing nothing month after month to fix the problem. Reading the entry before commenting is usually quite helpful.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted November 09, 2012 at 23:27:55 in reply to Comment 82718

Well yes, entitled to a city that can figure out what to do in less than a year.

No wonder our infrastructure projects are late and lose out on federal funding...

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted November 10, 2012 at 18:22:01 in reply to Comment 82721

What if we just kept it closed and didn't have to pay for resurfacing, snow clearing etc. It's clearly not a necessary lane. We have too many lanes in this city and we can't afford it.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 10, 2012 at 19:41:54 in reply to Comment 82731

agreed....and even better, why don't we convert the curb lane of the unbound lanes (there are 4, yes 4 upbound lanes) into a physically separated, two-way bike lane? It would connect directly with Mohawk College at the top via the 2-lane wide ramp that runs along the brow from the Claremont to West 5th. We only need 1 lane there. At the bottom, the bike lanes can curl over to Wellington St and connect to Stinson/Hunter, and also head north on Wellington as a two-way, separated lane all the way to Burlington Street....Wellington is 5 lanes and carries far less traffic than streets like Concession st which are 2 lanes.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 10, 2012 at 19:51:23

Here it is. This entire route can support a separated, 2-way bike lane in the right curb lane:

http://goo.gl/maps/5qEkY

On Wellington, the lanes can be separated with tree pots adding more greenery and pleasant streetscape like this: http://thevillager.com/villager_387/peda...

On the Claremont Access the lanes can be separated with concrete barriers like this: http://www.bcliving.ca/sites/default/fil...

This can all be done very cheaply, with no reconstruction needed. We simply need council to approve a few projects like this to see a real shift happen in Hamilton. This one is a win-win since it can be done without impacting traffic in the slightest.

Comment edited by jason on 2012-11-10 19:52:26

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted November 13, 2012 at 19:28:08 in reply to Comment 82733

I would donate and volunteer time to help with a project like this, if things like this could be 'crowdsourced'.

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By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted November 11, 2012 at 11:51:46 in reply to Comment 82733

$120K for a block's worth of "durable, modular planter boxes and planting material for the Gore Pedestrianization Project."

http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/7EA06704-D040-4067-9253-E3127C0CE68E/0/Nov07EDRMS_n372182_v1_8_5__PED12206.pdf

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 11, 2012 at 19:21:27 in reply to Comment 82743

are those boxes plated with gold?? What a ridiculous price. My link above shows some basic tree pots from NYC. They would probably be cheaper than the block, rectangle ones we used in the Gore.

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By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted November 12, 2012 at 08:05:29 in reply to Comment 82749

The planters must be strong enough to fulfil a protective function as well… that is, be able to withstand a vehicle impact at posted speed limit.

In NYC, adjacent BIAs have agreed to agreed to cover the cost of plantings and maintenance.

The three blocks of Broadway adjacent to Madison Square Park apparently cost $700K in 2008 (~$800K in 2012 CAD).


NYC Sept 5, 2008 (via http://goo.gl/H9sFw):

"For bicyclists, the new, high-visibility bicycle lanes on both Broadway and Fifth Avenue will bridge former gaps. Pedestrian areas are protected by 170 planters weighing 600 or 1,000 pounds and also 43 roughly-hewn granite blocks.

Further uptown, along Broadway between Times Square and Herald Square, DOT recently completed another major pedestrian and plaza project, redesigning the geometry of Broadway from 42nd to 35th Streets and creating new plazas, a protected bike path running along the curbside, and abundant pedestrian space furnished with tables, chairs and benches, and protected by 173 planters."


New York Times, Aug 25 2008 (via http://goo.gl/K1Y2h):

The city Transportation Department, which created the esplanade, assured that it was safe.

“The plaza is protected by parked cars in some locations and in others by planters weighing 600 or 1,000 pounds and stationed in positions that prevent vehicles from passing in between,” said Seth Solomonow, a spokesman for the department. “We have used planters as a pedestrian safeguard in this way at numerous locations throughout the city.”

To create the esplanade, the city took away two of the four traffic lanes on Broadway from 42nd to 35th Streets. On the eastern portion of Broadway, it created the new pedestrian areas, which have a gravel coating glued to the pavement, and a bike lane that runs next to the sidewalk. And it bought the benches, tables, chairs and planters, which were set out last week. The project cost $700,000.

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By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted November 18, 2012 at 07:59:26 in reply to Comment 82753

Corrective detail:

The Madison Square space cost $1 million, and the plazas closest to Times Square, dubbed "Broadway Boulevard," cost $700,000, Sadik-Khan says.

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-09-22-broadway_N.htm

I interpret that pricing as a net cost for the "Broadway Boulevard" conversions between 42nd and 35th.

These revised numbers would give us:

Calgary's painted bike lanes: $25K/km = $25/m
Calgary's separated bike lanes: $100K/km = $100/m
Hamilton's Gore Park Pedestrianization: $110K/110m = ~$1,100/m
NYC's "Broadway Boulevard": $800K/644m = ~$1,200/m
NYC's Madison Square esplanade: $1m/322m = ~$3,100/m

https://raisethehammer.org/comment/82742
https://raisethehammer.org/comment/82753
https://raisethehammer.org/comment/82743

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By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted August 13, 2013 at 12:38:18 in reply to Comment 82997

Calgary's 7 Street S.W. Dedicated Cycling Track

Distance: 600m
Cost: $1 million
Value: Priceless

http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/calgary/Cyclists+welcome+opening+downtown+bike+track+never+felt+safer+downtown/8635266/story.html

http://www.calgary.ca/Transportation/TP/Documents/cycling/Cycling-Route-Improvements/7st-cycle-track-faq-final.pdf

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By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted November 12, 2012 at 08:27:40 in reply to Comment 82753

Calgary's painted bike lanes: $25K/km = $25/m
Calgary's separated bike lanes: $100K/km = $100/m
NYC's Broadway esplanade: $800K/322m = $2,484/m

https://raisethehammer.org/comment/82742
https://raisethehammer.org/comment/82753


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By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted November 12, 2012 at 08:32:02 in reply to Comment 82755

King East travels 110m from James to Hughson. So the Gore Pedestrianization Project would be ~ $1,090/m

https://raisethehammer.org/comment/82743

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted November 11, 2012 at 07:17:31

What's the estimated cost of installing a dedicated bike lane along this length of road?

Also: Burlington is preparing to roll out a "road diet" for Plains Road. Watch and learn, councillors.

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By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted November 11, 2012 at 11:47:53 in reply to Comment 82735

Separated makes more sense on an Escarpment access, so 2.1km from Main/Wellington & Upper James/Inverness would cost somewhere in the neighbourhood of $200,000 under Calgary's model.

http://www.calgaryherald.com/travel/Separated+bike+lanes+about+four+times+cost+ordinary+lanes/7371080/story.html

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 11, 2012 at 19:22:22 in reply to Comment 82742

I think it costs about $200,000 to fill in a few potholes around town too. Pretty good cost per km to add in a completely separate, two-way piece of transportation infrastructure.

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By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted November 12, 2012 at 09:15:23 in reply to Comment 82750

"$200,000 for sidewalk repair"

http://www.cbc.ca/hamilton/news/story/2012/09/18/hamilton-participatory-budgeting.html

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By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted November 12, 2012 at 09:13:18 in reply to Comment 82750

Perhaps a job for participatory budgeting?

According to CBC Hamilton coverage, Ward 1 has $1.6m/year, Ward 2 has $1m/year to spend on discretionary projects (an odd discrepancy considering Ward 2's population is about 25% higher than Ward 1's). What kind of support would there be for a separated bike lane from McMaster to the downtown?

http://www.cbc.ca/hamilton/news/story/2012/09/18/hamilton-participatory-budgeting.html

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By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted November 12, 2012 at 11:57:00 in reply to Comment 82759

Imagine two separated east-west lanes -- one going along Main from Cootes to Wellington, the other from King and Wellington to Sterling and Forsythe -- that form an imperfect loop.

That's about 10km of bike lane, so using Calgary's yardstick, $1 million construction cost (which could be split 63/35 between Wards 1 and 2 because of relative distance).

Consider the quality-of-life benefit from a secure east-west circuit dedicated to sustainable transportation and you're bound to wind up with a number far higher.

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By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted November 12, 2012 at 08:36:49

That is quite the imagination you have. To go from

"Duvall said his office has received some complaints from both cyclists and motorists about the reduced lanes.

“People are wondering why it's taking so long,” he said. “But right now, it's still unsafe.”"As stated in the article to

"If it's true that there have been complaints from drivers about this lane closure, there is no greater evidence of the entitlement that drivers feel in Hamilton."

Unless of course you hate cars and drivers and are looking for any reason to whine and complain about drivers. Keep whining and complaining. Drivers outnumber the likes of you thousands to one. Drivers decide who gets elected in this city and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. If any politician wants to commit political suicide all he or she needs to do is offend the drivers. Poof instant disappearing act in the next election.

No mention of numbers or what constitutes "upset."

The lanes have been shut down for over 8 months and people want to know what's taking so long. Not unreasonable if one does not know what is taking so long. I wonder how many complaints they received about the 403 overpasses having lane closures for years. Often without any sign of work for months on end.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted November 13, 2012 at 13:26:25 in reply to Comment 82757

"Drivers outnumber the likes of you thousands to one."

I doubt that ratio is even close to accurate. What is it going to take - one of your kids getting run over on the way to school for you to realize that not everyone drives? And that those CITIZENS deserve some kind of consideration and safety as well? Do you actually think that every single person in a city drives and those that don't are just trying to make trouble for the rest of you? That school kids, elderly, professionals who choose not to drive, low budget households who cannot drive - that these do not really exist? Where do you get your view of reality from? What kind of a society do you want to live in? Ask yourself some of these questions once you calm down and the gasoline high wears off.

Comment edited by mikeonthemountain on 2012-11-13 14:01:27

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted November 12, 2012 at 08:53:54

You guys still don't get it. You need to be reaching out and finding consensus with drivers not finding any and every (very weak) opportunity to point at them and say "SHAME!"

Maybe you should propose all drivers wear a scarlet D? I bet that would increase support for two-way street conversion, walkable streets and LRT.

SIGH and facepalm.

Comment edited by Kiely on 2012-11-12 08:54:45

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted November 13, 2012 at 14:29:14 in reply to Comment 82758

I don't recall a single person advocating a balanced transportation network saying they hate cars or those that drive them. Please link to such a comment if there is one (sarcasm does not count). Advocating a balanced transportation network is too often overreacted to with fear that somehow cars are being outlawed or that we want everyone driving sitting in gridlock as punishment. I do not believe this is true at all. This seems to often get reduced to a false dichotomy - either every possible lane must be for cars only, because the alternative is gridlock followed by banning cars outright. This is not logical, or accurate, or even honest. I wish people would stop freaking out because we want a bike lane or a pedestrian crossing or some beautification and streetscaping. It is not a conspiracy to shame and torture drivers. It is people wanting their city to be a pleasant and safe place to live. Honest.

I believe that reaction to be caused by a fear of increased congestion. Listen, I drive. Congestion sucks. I know it does. I wanted to boot around the mountain in my Mazda without stop and go traffic. I feign no hypocrisy - I am both a fast driver who went through a phase of 'entitlement' in my youth, and an urbanist who has seen his city from the outside of a windshield. I sat on the QEW with the rest of you commuting to Burlington. I gagged and choked on Main Street due to fumes from passing traffic while lameting the lack of open air patios on which to have a beer and a meal without puking up diesel exhaust. And then I travel somewhere and experience a pleasant urban environment and think 'oh, these people can have nice things, it works and works well, why can't we?' I have experience with both the motorized and non-motorized experience.

I sold my car a few years ago because I live and work close to the GO tracks and now invest and spend in the community disposable income that would otherwise pay for a car. But I still have a drivers license, I still rent a car whenever I have cargo to carry or a trip to the country, and I STILL want to boot around the mountain and downtown without stop and go. But I can recognize that other people live there too, and many do not drive, and deserve a nice clean walkable/bikeable city, deserve clearer air without the smog and asthma, and that people who live in a neighborhood should get precedence for the same reason you do not poop on someone's lawn. The people that live in a neighborhood take precedence over my privilege of driving fast without stopping. That is called respect and polite society. I am rudely cut off by cars and passed unsafely when biking mere meters from MY OWN HOME. I am not 'entitled and aristocratic' for pointing out that this is not a polite society and that in this situation drivers are indeed a little too entitled. Even driving - try backing out of your driveway if you live on Mohawk Road for example. Better time it right and hurry up! Because if the next wave of traffic starts catching up, instead of moving to the left lane, they will honk at you because they own the right lane! The fact that you live there and waited for the best possible break in traffic means nothing to them, you are an idiot who is in the way!

And then look at Toronto. Four lanes for cars and a bike lane? The right wingers spew hatred! "FIVE lanes for cars and NONE for bikes! That is the only reasonable solution!" they cry.

Ditto. Sigh and facepalm.

Now, I am in complete agreement that competing interests need to work together rather than antagonizing each other. People need to choose their arguments and words carefully. I'm not claiming to be good at this, that is why I try to stay quiet most of the time. My comment was meant to provide another viewpoint, not foment more argument. I don't think pedestrians and cyclists are about to become a totalitarian dictatorship with a monopoly over public space. That's like saying a hobo who wants a buck for a coffee is in reality demanding the deed to all public lands or something.

Comment edited by mikeonthemountain on 2012-11-13 14:47:39

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted November 13, 2012 at 14:54:06

comment from banned user deleted

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By Mal (anonymous) | Posted November 13, 2012 at 16:06:52 in reply to Comment 82867

My takeaway from the RTH discussion of late has been that there is demonstrable surplus capacity along numerous corridors, and that judicious infrastructure investments might open our streets to greater participation by all citizens, resulting in an urban ecosystem that is more lively, balanced and respectful as a result of the uptick in multi-modal usage. To wit: "The public life of the city is in its streets, or it's nowhere."

To each his own. Not everyone will cotton to RTH's world view, but they are certainly free to dissent (if at risk of down-vote). Although I'm not it's scholarly, sometimes smitten, sometimes solemn, sometimes angst-stung, sometimes a little rose-coloured, sometimes a bit Portlandian, occasionally outlandish. But always passionately debated. And passionate debate, at the end of the day, is not a blocked artery but a strong pulse.

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By Mal (anonymous) | Posted November 14, 2012 at 16:48:26

http://www.thesidewalkballet.com/2012/11/traffic-signals-removed-all-traffic.html

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted November 22, 2012 at 08:10:29

I might have spoken too soon on Burlington's "road diet".

I found the following in the Hamilton Spectator's October 4 edition:

Councillors voted Wednesday night to keep the idea of reducing the four lanes at the border with Hamilton to two lanes as a pilot project in a multimillion-dollar plan to redevelop the artery.

This comes after a stormy Sept. 19 open house in which city staff was berated by some residents over the lane reduction. They were upset that it would cause congestion and bring traffic chaos to Aldershot. The meeting at the Royal Botanical Gardens was attended by a few hundred people.

While councillors voted to keep the lane reduction on the table, staff made it clear they are not looking at bringing forward the pilot project immediately. Councillors made their decision after hearing from 10 delegations, the majority of whom supported redeveloping Plains Road and not dropping the idea of the road diet.

“Let’s keep the possibility open for a road test of the road diet,” said Doug Lintula, a Plains Road resident.
Cary Clark, manager of development and environmental engineering, said in a report to councillors staff were getting significant feedback from the public regarding the road diet project.

He said staff believes the community is not ready for the project, “albeit a very good concept,” and said staff will not pursue it any further at this time.
City engineer Tom Eichenbaum said he is looking at possibly implementing the pilot project in the fifth year of the proposed 20-year redevelopment scheme after intersections along Plains Road are improved and the city can analyze traffic flow.

“Some may think that’s a little too late; some may think that’s a little too fast,” he told the community services committee. “In my own mind, I can see it no later than five years.”

He said the open house was held to clarify the idea of the road diet and that staff was uneasy it would become the focus of the entire project, which also includes bike lanes, wider sidewalks, a roundabout and more pedestrian crossings. He noted “that has happened.”

Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven, who represents Aldershot, apologized to city staff for how they were treated at the open house.

“I was embarrassed at how staff was treated by my community at that meeting,” he said. “Aldershot is a much friendlier place than you experienced that night.”

The city hired MMM Group Ltd. last year to develop what is called a Functional Design and Implementation Strategy for the Plains Road Corridor. The corridor is between the Queen Elizabeth Way in the east and Highway 403 in the west. Plains Road was formerly part of Highway 2 and was the only major route connecting Burlington to Hamilton until Highway 403 was built in the 1960s.

Cost estimates have been pegged at between $14 million and $60 million. Staff will present a report to council next year containing recommendations and costs.

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/811833--road-diet-for-plains-road-way-off-but-still-on-the-table

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted November 22, 2012 at 09:41:52 in reply to Comment 83108

Still, there are subtle ways that Aldershot makes sure they're not just a throughway for Hamiltonians and Burlingtonians. Look at the way North Service Road just ends at Waterdown instead of marching on to Highway 6. In any other community you'd see that road developed all the way... its absense is a constant source of frustration when trapped in traffic on the 403 and watching the drivers just off the expressway travel swiftly.

Somebody there has been careful to make sure that the roads of Aldershot are for the people of Aldershot.

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