Transportation

Traffic Department Recommends Traffic Calming - in Suburban Neighbourhoods

By Nicholas Kevlahan
Published April 22, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, I noted that the $3.7 million reconstruction of Beckett Drive is going ahead without the need for residents to engage in a multi-year, councillor-supported campaign against the opposition of the traffic department.

Apparently, spending $743,000 for traffic calming in new sprawl developments is another thing the residents don't even need to campaign for: the traffic department just brings it forward as a recommendation.

Residents of the east Mountain, Stoney Creek and Glanbrook are about to see $743,000 in road work that should ease traffic in their neighbourhoods.

City staff are recommending road upgrades to Wards 6, 9 and 11. The proposal, which will be presented to councillors at Monday’s public works committee, includes closing Upper Mount Albion Road north of Rymal Road East; adding a cul-de-sac, traffic calming and sidewalks on Second Road West; and bike lanes and sidewalks for Highland Road.

I wonder how many kilometres of two-way street conversion in Wards 1-3 that $743,000 would pay for? Here's a hint: seven blocks on Hess and Caroline, i.e. 28 lane-blocks, were converted for about one-tenth that cost just ten years ago.

Nicholas Kevlahan was born and raised in Vancouver, and then spent eight years in England and France before returning to Canada in 1998. He has been a Hamiltonian since then, and is a strong believer in the potential of this city. Although he spends most of his time as a mathematician, he is also a passionate amateur urbanist and a fan of good design. You can often spot him strolling the streets of the downtown, shopping at the Market. Nicholas is the spokesperson for Hamilton Light Rail.

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By Duck! (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2013 at 17:37:19

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By read it again (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2013 at 19:04:57 in reply to Comment 88098

It's not IMBYism.

In lower hamilton, it takes years of rallying and protesting to get a crosswalk, with the traffic department saying that their hands are tied as they need to maintain flow.

While in other parts of the city, the exact same department is coming up with traffic calming and pedestrian infrastructure all on their own.

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By JM (registered) | Posted April 22, 2013 at 17:47:57 in reply to Comment 88098

the reason hes "balking" is because no one seems to value these improvements if they happen in the core...

but if the money is spent in the suburbs, there's never any objection

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By Traffic (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2013 at 17:58:27 in reply to Comment 88099

Not only isn't there an objection, the traffic dept are the ones suggesting it!

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By Hoot (anonymous) | Posted May 03, 2013 at 02:27:12 in reply to Comment 88100

The recommendation did not come from the 'traffic department'.

Due to recent restructuring, there isn't much of a traffic department even remaining. It appears to be fragmented between different City departments with managers and directors with opposing agendas.

This was previously on RTH in addition to the retirement of former Traffic Engineering Manager Hart Solomon.

It would be an interesting study into what has happened to Traffic Engineering (and traffic planning) since restructuring.

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By Binbrookian (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2013 at 20:09:37

This has been on the books for a number of years. It was initially recommended to be completed in 2008. There have been a number of public sessions regarding this area. It goes hand in hand with the Trinity Church corridor and Rymal Road improvements that are forthcoming. It just hasn't gotten the same air time that you would see downtown. The difference here is that the City is trying to be somewhat proactive in the planning, relatively speaking of course.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted April 22, 2013 at 22:47:19 in reply to Comment 88105

No one is begrudging suburbanites their traffic calming, but surely you can see there's a double standard here, whereby the traffic department is proactive in the suburbs while we can't even get them to be reactive in the lower city.

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By Binbrookian (anonymous) | Posted April 23, 2013 at 01:21:21 in reply to Comment 88108

In this instance no, I don't believe it's a double standard. It's taken the City an incredibly long time to address this issue that has been apparent since the development along Rymal which started in 2005. They're proactive in that thankfully the City is planning on doing something before someone gets hit by a car. The construction of the new high school at the top of Upper Mount Albion will only greatly increase this chance had the road remain opened. This is the natural corridor for the students to take to get to the Heritage Greene Shopping centre.

This specific area (Upper Mount Albion) is incredibly dangerous and not pedestrian/bicycle friendly. There are no sidewalks and the gravel shoulders are not standard width. There are severe grade changes so you have to be mindful of oncoming traffic in your lane trying to avoid a pedestrian brave enough to walk along the road.

Closing off Upper Mount Albion and diverting traffic is long overdue and I'm glad the City is addressing the issue. It will add a few more seconds to my commute which I'll gladly do.

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By huh? (anonymous) | Posted April 24, 2013 at 05:25:16 in reply to Comment 88112

omg! traffic problems for over 7 years!?!? how have you tolerated that for so long?!?! i can understand why you feel these improvements are so well deserved.

all the downtown babies have only have traffic problems for...carry the ...minus ummm...MORE THAN FIFTY YEARS!

nimbyism. alive and well in binbrook

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By z jones (registered) | Posted April 23, 2013 at 02:23:06 in reply to Comment 88112

It's a double standard because the traffic department may have been slow to get to it but at least they're getting to it. When it comes to downtown streets, they're adamantly opposed to getting to it, ever.

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted April 23, 2013 at 00:41:06

When do the burbs get their 4 and 5 lane one way expressways ala King and Main?

Even the RHVP and LINC are two lanes.

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By ScreamingViking (registered) | Posted April 23, 2013 at 17:43:07

Make it an election issue. Downtown redevelopment, suburban growth, and transit are surely going to be on the agenda anyway... force city politicians to consider this one as well since it's closely related.

And it's not "urban vs. suburban" - it's about safe streets, no matter where they're located.

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted April 24, 2013 at 20:15:51

"WalkScore, a Seattle-based mobile app company, ranked Toronto the second most walkable city in Canada in a recent survey. Toronto is sandwiched below Vancouver in first place and above Montreal. Toronto’s performance was dragged down by sprawling GTA neighbourhoods like Scarborough, according to WalkScore CEO Josh Herst."

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/01/23/toronto_ranked_second_most_pedestrianfriendly_city_by_walkscore.html

With a WalkScore of 50.9, Hamilton ties Edmonton as Canada's seventh most walkable large city -- tied with Oakville and Oshawa (50.9) in the overall rankings and ranking in the league of US cities like Atlanta (52.9) and Omaha (50.9).

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By ScreamingViking (registered) | Posted April 24, 2013 at 22:17:47 in reply to Comment 88168

I found it a bit odd that Mississauga scores so high - it does have very walkable areas just like many cities, and there are paved trails in many subdivisions, but it made me wonder how WalkScore develops their metric.

Details about their ranking methodology and algorithm: http://www.walkscore.com/rankings/rankin... http://www.walkscore.com/methodology.sht...

While they use municipal boundaries, it appears they do try to take neighbourhood density into account. But because the algorithm measures rural locations and their distance to amenities, it must bring down results for cities whose boundaries encompass large rural areas (like Windsor, Kingston, and Hamilton). This is evident by looking at the "heat map" for each city, e.g. - http://www.walkscore.com/CA-ON/Hamilton

I wonder how the scores would look if they just focused on the urban areas?

I'm not saying Hamilton is that walkable, but rankings like this need to be taken in context.

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