Transportation

Double Standard in City Willingness to Modify Pilot Projects

By Nicholas Kevlahan
Published December 05, 2013

An article in today's Spectator notes that some North End residents are upset about "traffic chokers" at intersections, which they say is taking away parking spots. But this jumped out at me:

"The point we are saying is everything is not set in stone," said Steve Molloy, project manager of Hamilton's transport master plan. "We're listening. We're not saying 'This is what we're going to do ...' At the end of the day we can arrive at something we can all be happy with."

So, the message is that if motorists are upset - especially about their supposed "right" to park for free on public land - the City will accommodate them, even a few months after a five-year pilot project has started.

Contrast the transit lane pilot project on King Street, in which cyclists were told that the project is set in stone and they have to be happy with no accommodation at all on King Street, not just fewer parking spots.

Indeed, no solution - not even as meagre as painted sharrows in the automobile lane to remind drivers that cyclists are also allowed to be there - will be entertained until the end of the pilot.

But that didn't stop the City from almost immediately changing rush-hour parking restrictions on King Street west of Locke to cater to motorists.

This double standard really highlights how far we still need to go in changing the city's transportation culture. The concerns of motorists who feel entitled to park for free on public land for as many vehicles as they like are treated with respect and promises to make changes quickly, while the concerns of cyclists are dismissed out of hand.

More broadly, we can note that Council accepted the 30 km/h speed limit on most North End streets (excluding James North and Burlington), but stipulated that any other neighbourhood that wants to set a 30 km/h speed limit must wait until after the end of the five-year pilot.

This past October, a police officer speaking to residents at the Durand Neighbourhood Association Annual General Meeting recommended a similar move to lower speed limits in Durand. Unfortunately, thanks to the five-year moratorium, this option won't even be available for consideration until 2018.

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 durander (registered) | Posted December 05, 2013 at 14:14:31

"This past October, a police officer speaking to residents at the Durand Neighbourhood Association Annual General Meeting recommended a similar move to lower speed limits in Durand. Unfortunately, thanks to the five-year moratorium, this option won't even be available for consideration until 2018." Being at the meeting, I would disagree slightly with this comment. The Sgt. said that if residents wanted to lower the speed limit to 30 km/h as in the North End, that they would have to go through the City. He did acknowledge that the reduced speed seemed to be working, but fell short of 'recommending' a similar implementation in Durand. As a Durander, I'm curious though...which streets would not be lowered to 30 km/h? Queen St? James St? Herkimer? Charlton?

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted December 05, 2013 at 14:44:57 in reply to Comment 95558

I guess we have slightly different recollections of exactly what the officer said (and its implications).

As far as I recall, he said that if we were concerned about traffic safety and speed we should consider asking for a 30km/h zone, like they have in the North End. He said it was already reducing speed and seemed to be working well. I would interpret this as "recommending" 30km/h zones for neighbourhoods who are concerned about traffic. (And "recommending" is not the same as saying "you should definitely do this", it just means that it is a put forward as a possible solution to the problem of fast, dangerous traffic.)

He was not aware of the five-year moratorium on 30km/h zones, which is why I raised this at the meeting. We cannot "go through the City" if the city will not entertain any requests for the next five years.

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By Selway (registered) | Posted December 06, 2013 at 11:31:25 in reply to Comment 95559

Ask council to lift the moratorium. The likely response will be to refer the request to staff, who will likely say that 30K posted limits must be accompanied by physical changes in the roadway to be effective, and that these should be planned on a neighbourhood wide basis. But who knows? Ask.

That meeting in the North End was arranged by the councillor primarily to get resident response on the issue of whether to declare the green space at the corner of Strachan and Bay surplus to city needs and put it up for sale, for development as low-density residential. The traffic plan got added so that he could hear comments on those parts of the plan that have been put in place so far. Those include 30 K signage, conversion of MacNab to two way, temporary markings for bump outs and chokers on Bay, Strachan and MacNab, a no right turn sign at Wellington and Simcoe, and, two days ago, closure of Burlington to west bound traffic at James.

Parking is the number one issue in the City of Hamilton with which people will actually engage. Nothing else even comes close. Installation of bump outs and chokers was accompanied by some new parking restrictions. People on MacNab and Bay are not happy about them. Hopefully Public Works will respond to that, but contrary to what you are assuming, no promises on specifics were made. This is a large project with many components to be implemented over a five year period, and is a learning process for everybody. Presumably Public Works will recognize that rigidity endangers acceptance of the plan as a whole.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted December 06, 2013 at 12:13:46 in reply to Comment 95594

I imagine that the Durand Neighbourhood Association will seriously consider asking Council to lift the moratorium. I really can't see any good justification for a five-year timeline on a pilot project, accompanied by a moratorium on something as simple and widespread (in Canada and internationally) as a 30km/h speed limit in a residential urban area.

The "right" to park on public streets does get people riled up, but that doesn't mean that it must be a universal rule that street parking can never be decreased and that the City must allow residents and visitors to store their private vehicles (often for free) on public land wherever and whenever they want.

I was very disappointed back in 2002 to learn that the only ironclad rule in the Durand Traffic Study was that no change could be considered that reduced street parking, even locally in one block. This really limited the number of solutions to make streets safer and more convenient for all residents and made it very difficult to experiment or make large or even small changes.

I could see a guideline like "street parking overall in Durand should not decrease by more than 5%" or even "the total number of parking spots in Durand should not decrease", but to say that no spot could be removed anywhere was just over the top.

Street parking is important for many residents, but it can't trump every other concern.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2013-12-06 12:14:44

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By Kevin Love (anonymous) | Posted December 05, 2013 at 22:41:58 in reply to Comment 95559

I was also at this meeting. I believe that the police representative was Sgt. Geoff Burbidge. I am the rather tall gentleman who asked Sgt Burbidge when the Hamilton Police are going to start enforcing the Criminal Code of Canada laws concerning Dangerous Driving. This makes punishable by up to 5 years in prison violent, dangerous criminal car drivers who engage in reckless, negligent driving.

Needless to say, I did not exactly get reassurance that Hamilton Police are going to start enforcing the law against these violent, dangerous criminals.

My recollection of events agrees with kevlahan on the issue of the 30 km/hr zones.

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By RobF (registered) | Posted December 05, 2013 at 16:42:58

There were some suggestions of tactical urbanism mentioned at the meeting ... it was inferred by a few speakers that the traffic sticks might disappear in the night if the city didn't remove them. Also lots of suggestions from nay-sayers, mostly long-time area residents, that the whole thing was cooked up by "elites" which I inferred were planners and new residents, people under 40 and presumably recently arrived from Toronto. Given that the traffic management plan was pushed for by the North End Neighbours and the process started almost a decade ago it is hard to say that people like me (new arrivals) are behind it. Many of us with young children certainly support it, however.

Haven't read the Spec article, but if they didn't mention it ... at the end of the meeting a show of hands indicated that those in audience were split down the middle on the traffic calming features ... chokers and bump-outs ... but there seemed to be general support for reducing thru-traffic on side streets and the new 30km/h speed limit.

Comment edited by RobF on 2013-12-05 16:47:09

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By Selway (registered) | Posted December 06, 2013 at 11:53:17 in reply to Comment 95561

Yes, almost everyone supports the 30K, but because many don't pay attention until the end (after all, how many city projects get studied and never realized, how many big announcements are followed with nothing for years) they haven't followed along and haven't been thinking about what's required to change driver's habits. A sign won't do it. Many people say,we have the 30K just enforce it, without wondering if the police would ever devote the necessary resources to it. They for sure can't and won't. It remains the case also that there will always be a small percentage of drivers who speed no matter what. No amount of traffic calming or policing stops them.

To the end of October, police, using a "Problem Oriented Policing approach" ( wonder what they call the alternative approaches) issued 400 warnings to drivers exceeding 30 K., and issued 70 provincial offense notices.

This information is from a Public Works staff report on implementation so far which was to be delivered at GIC on Wednesday, but which was tabled.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted December 05, 2013 at 18:02:38 in reply to Comment 95561

The problem is that just posting 30km/h signs without making engineering changes to make it uncomfortable to drive faster than 30km/h is unlikely to be effective. The traffic chokers are a necessary part of the whole 30km/h zone changes that were strongly supported by the neighbourhood.

It is disappointing that after years of community outreach and engaged residents stepping up and promoting the plan, some residents are just "waking up" and objecting to the changes.

We saw this in Durand when, after lots of public meetings and engagement as a result of the 2002 traffic study, the City built "bump outs" to slow traffic along Aberdeen. One resident tried to get the City to remove them and restart the whole process because she hit one with her car while driving home one night! The city did not make any changes, but this kind of thing happens when less engaged residents who have not taken advantage of opportunities to get involved and informed about the issues are surprised by changes that seem to suddenly appear.

I hope the City only makes changes to the North End pilot that further the main goal of the pilot: slowing traffic and working towards streets that are comfortable and safe for all users. The City should respect the grass roots engagement of this process over many years and not cave to residents who now want to undo the changes for narrow personal benefit.

If the residents and city wanted to properly address parking concerns, they could start with a survey of how many spots are available and how many spots are required (i.e. vehicles owned by residents minus number of residential parking places) in the North End. It is not reasonable to expect to always park on your own block in an urban area, but they could use a reasonable walking distance (say 200m). A reasonable parking requirement could be what is used for multi-residential buildings: 0.8 times the number of residences minus the number of residential parking spots. It would be interesting to see what the results of such a calculation are ... right now we don't actually know that there is a real shortage, just that some people are complaining. Maybe they want to always find a free spot within 50m of their house.

The idea that residents would remove the knock down sticks to make themselves a parking spot is very selfish, but similar vandalism of traffic meters led the city to remove them in some suburban neighbourhoods.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2013-12-05 18:49:17

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By Anyonamous (anonymous) | Posted December 09, 2013 at 16:50:24 in reply to Comment 95563

City Garbage trucks can't even turn the corners over the "traffic calming" on Aberdeen and the residents are personally paying to landscape them repeatedly. With all due respect they were not well thought out. Little impact for large costs and inconvenience (not horrible inconvenience just belatedly unnecessary inconvenience - like if you pull a trailer.)

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By Selway (registered) | Posted December 06, 2013 at 12:06:25 in reply to Comment 95563

There is a great deal of detail in a neighbourhood-wide plan like this one. The bump-outs and chokers at present are temporary, and consist in pavement markings and knock down bollards, very reflective. The eventual final configuration of these measures will be hardened, mostly with curbs around planting beds, which enhance the streetscape when they are well maintained. But at the beginning the temporary measures have to be very conspicuous, because most driving occurs on auto-pilot. People point their cars down the habitual route and then start thinking about everything except driving. If you make changes in the route, they have to be highly visible, to retrain the driver. And then there are all the infrequent or first time visitors, heading for the waterfront, that have to be guided not only by signage but by measures in the street to take the route that is best for them and for the residents of the neighbourhood.

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By RobF (registered) | Posted December 05, 2013 at 19:14:47 in reply to Comment 95563

I get the overall traffic management plan and support the chokers and bump outs ... i live off John St, so i'm well aware that the 30km/h doesn't mean much without street design changes. The people who spoke the loudest at the meeting attacked the chokers and bump-outs, but there was a wider concern about loss of parking from people who were generally supportive of the plan. It isn't an issue on my street, which has parking on both sides and some off-street parking. Most households seem to have only one car. I think most of the opposition and complaints about parking were from people on Burlington, Bay St, and the North-East section of the North End. The idea of doing a parking census or survey was suggested after the meeting ... i would be curious to know whether the problem is as acute as some suggested or whether they were just railing against something new. I've been to enough public meetings not to find what i heard unusual. Meetings to create the plans attract a different crowd than those called to discuss a finished plan or its implementation. People who don't like or agree with changes being made always say they haven't been adequately consulted. Sometimes that's true, but it really doesn't matter whether the process has been grass-roots or top-down ... some people won't know what's happening and others will be unhappy with the results. I'm a relative newcomer to the North End, i've been aware of the traffic management plan for a while and support it, but i can't do much to counter the accusations that it is "elites" and people moving in from Toronto that are behind it ... other longer-term residents who fought for it need to take the lead on defending it.

Comment edited by RobF on 2013-12-05 19:16:18

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By Selway (registered) | Posted December 06, 2013 at 12:36:53 in reply to Comment 95565

As twenty-seven year residents of the North End we are relative newcomers. The guy next door has been here more than sixty,there are lots of older people who were born here. A number of people at the meeting said that newcomers were trying to change the neighbourhood with the traffic plan. This is true, but it is changing in terms of who lives here anyway. There have been a lot of home sales over the last two-three years.

This neighbourhood is still bitter over the urban renewal attack that occurred in the sixties. People were forced out of their homes and about 400 buildings were cleared, most of them houses. Every time we have a well attended meeting down here, this comes up. And that's why I have trouble with the "common good" argument that comes up when change is proposed, and why I despise arguments that dismiss resistance to change as "NIMBY ism". The point of the traffic plan is to protect the neighbourhood from high volumes going to planned new development at the water - not stop that traffic, but moderate it. But I understand how people can be very suspicious of anything coming out of City Hall. Consider this: Setting Sail, the secondary plan for the area, which included Barton Ferguson and Barton Tiffany, states that there will be no expropriation. The City put people out of their houses on Barton and Tiffany, and then halted the project for which they were sacrificed. This is not good planning.

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By Serendipity (registered) | Posted December 05, 2013 at 17:28:04

As a North End resident who has lived here for 19 1/2 years, and was a member of the original City/resident/consultant traffic team initiated in 2006 it is odd that "mostly long-time area residents" have anything to say that knocks the pilot project for they had countless opportunities to be involved, and volunteer their time and efforts, any time during the years-long process that finally culminated in Council approval and, this year, implementation of our pilot project. It was mentioned in The Spec several times over the years. CHML did a show about it. Volunteers went door to door throughout the entire 5,000 people-plus North End to talk of the plan and hear their thoughts and invite them to join in. Our local paper, North End Breezes, had write-ups. The North End Neighbours association proper committed themselves in late 2007 and carried the 30k ball through to the finish at an OMB hearing.

For any person or group in the North End who has just awoken to this long overdue planning process and voicing their wrath now is just plain irresponsible...and silly. For the six-plus years it took to formulate and then execute the traffic plan one might think it mature and responsible that the nay-sayers hush now and give us the five years of peace and quiet and safety that residents, City staffers, and consultants fought so bloody hard for. To come in at the end of the game and shout foul is just so un-North End-ish.

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By GabrielN (registered) | Posted December 05, 2013 at 19:49:59

I think the elites used to go by the name 'West Harbour Association' and their small group co-opted the whole of the North End to advance their 'we don't want people from Ancaster/Dundas driving in our neighborhoods.

The elites are not the planners or consultants. The problem with this plan is that it was devised 11 years ago and then fought tooth and nail by the aforementioned elites to ensure they only have access to the beautiful Bay.

If not for their opposition, the pilot project would have ended May 2014, and not the now estimated 2018.

As for the Molloy quote, that was off the cuff. There is so many hurdles to changing things in this plan that it may as well be set in stone. But now that I see it in the Spectator, maybe that's some ammo.

North End residents are not part of the NEN group. They represent 100 people and dance to the tune of the elites. An association should represent all, but a membership fee discourages that.

Chokers on side streets where there are no traffic issues is Just wasting taxpayers money. No Right turn on Simcoe is a disaster for Picton residents who now endure cut through traffic. Bay street bows looks like a go cart track. As a 40 year resident who raised 4 kids who are still alive alluded to '30km is great, but the rest is not necessary'.

Keep the 1.2 million and apply it to more pressing projects and one day, when the finances are good we can window dress this city. If the residents want.

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By Selway (registered) | Posted December 06, 2013 at 13:46:52 in reply to Comment 95566

There used to be a West Harbour Neighbours group and a North End Neighbourhood Association. At some point during the secondary plan study process ( I don't remember when exactly, but I was at the meeting) it was suggested that the two groups should merge so that we could deliver one message to Council. Also, it would counter the perception of a class divide between West of James and East of James. Thus we have one organization, North End Neighbours.

I don't know who these elites are supposed to be. The traffic management plan was developed by IBI group at the request of the City and the neighbourhood reps on the Community Liaison Committee was formed to work on Setting Sail. NEN liked most of the plan, which was designed to deal primarily with traffic induced by growth at the waterfront. The fear was that James and John and Burlington would become like Cannon is today. Because of all the research that had been done by north enders and by IBI, the north enders wanted to have James and Burlington made 30 K in the plan as well. We went door to door on James and Burlington to ask people about this, and they favoured it. To make a very long story short, the resolution of this at OMB was delayed twice for long periods at the city's request, not ours.

"An association should represent all, but a membership fee discourages that."

As you know, the membership fee to join NEN is two dollars ($2.00.)

"Chokers on side streets where there are no traffic issues is Just wasting taxpayers money."

Maybe. NEN and Public Works are in the process of trying to figure that out. There was discussion at the outset of implementation as to whether to do large features first and smaller ones later. Large features include two-way conversions,partial closures and some sort of island or roundabout at James and Strachan. These take comparatively large amounts of time to design and install, so it was decided to get on with the smaller measures, for those and other reasons.

" No Right turn on Simcoe is a disaster for Picton residents who now endure cut through traffic."

The right turn prohibition was put in place because of the Wellington street traffic that takes Simcoe to Ferguson when Wellington is closed for a train to pass. Wellington is a truck route, and trucks going up Strachan and then trying to turn onto Ferguson may or may not make it. Some just go right on west on Simcoe. Obviously pitting Picton residents against Simcoe residents is not helpful long term, since as a neighbourhood we face many other challenges down the road. Public Works is looking into the possibility of technically linking the No right turn signage to the track signage, maybe even with an arm ( I forget what they're called) just as at the tracks. No idea if that will happen.

Bay street bows looks like a go cart track.

Yes it does kinda. These are temporary, and good for getting drivers' attention.

As a 40 year resident who raised 4 kids who are still alive alluded to '30km is great, but the rest is not necessary'.

The rest is what will make 30 K work. Posted signage is not enough.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 06, 2013 at 00:52:16 in reply to Comment 95566

I was in your neighbourhood two nights ago and was extremely impressed AND extremely jealous of the chokers, the dead ending of Burlington St at James, the bumpouts etc.... this is exactly what world class cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Portland and Montreal do all through their walkable, dense neighbourhoods. Hamiltonians need to get over themselves. The safety of children and seniors walking and biking on their own neighbourhood streets is far more important than a few parking spots or the odd dead-end forcing drivers to go a whopping one block out of their way to go home (and that's only true of the folks who live immediately on Burlington, west of James).

It won't be easy, but it's absolutely necessary for Hamilton to go through these growing pains back into a real city after decades of no vision and freeway-only planning principles ruining our city.

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By RobF (registered) | Posted December 05, 2013 at 20:35:52 in reply to Comment 95566

I don't care whether people from Ancaster/Dundas drive in the North End. I just think the street design should discourage thru traffic from using side streets as a short-cut. As has already been mentioned posting new 30km/h signs alone is wishful thinking. I pay taxes and don't think "the rest" is a waste of money. For those of us that walk, cycle, and so forth in the North End (in addition to driving when need be) the bump-outs and chokers are functional, not window dressing. I do think that we need to work with city staff to ensure that the traffic plan (final street configuration, new signage (no stopping and turning signs), bump-outs, and chokers) works as intended without causing undue hardship on specific residents or blocks. No right turn on Simcoe hasn't been a disaster for residents on Simcoe East, which runs from Wellington to James North. I get that some cut-thru traffic may be using Picton ... they can put a no right turn sign on Picton too if that's the case. That would be preferable to turning Simcoe back into a race-track.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted December 05, 2013 at 22:16:36 in reply to Comment 95567

I was wondering about that no-right-turn... were drivers bombing through Simcoe after coming off Wellington? That's sad. Simcoe was really handy just to get to the next block to take the bridge at Ferguson when a slow-moving train blocks Wellington. Unfortunate that a few jerks had to ruin it for everybody. Hopefully Simcoe can get some traffic calming and that detour could be resurrected at some point.

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By GabrielN (registered) | Posted December 05, 2013 at 22:31:47 in reply to Comment 95569

HAHA!! you're the jerk. It was implemented to discourage that exact activity. Except now people are turning thru at Picton when they see a train, doubling and tripling the time in the neighbourhood. It's not a detour Pxtl. Sit for five minutes and wait for the train to clear so you can stay on Wellington.

And Rob, there are people in this neighbourhood who are against people from outside driving through to get to the waterfront. We may be for it, but they are steadfast against it.

More and more people have cars. 1 car, 2 cars. It's the way of life. Not everyone has the luxury of a life where they can 'walk downtown' for all their needs. The neighbourhood has experienced an influx of people from all over. The North End, as it is welcomes them all. Nobody like the chokers and bumpouts, they are not necessities. They are expensive. 400 people signed a petition to that effect, so it's not just my words. Priorities.

The North End was child and family friendly long before the wasteful expenditure to put up signs stating this fact. What neighbourhoods in Hamilton are not?

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By Selway (registered) | Posted December 06, 2013 at 13:58:39 in reply to Comment 95571

I believe that 400 people signed a petition regarding bump outs at Macauley.

The Child and Family Friendly signs are intended as a signal to drivers from elsewhere. Cannon street is not child (or senior) friendly. Neither is James in the North End, nor Burlington East in the North End, both residential streets. Cannon and Wellington are actually hostile to everybody, including drivers who have to contend with double trailer truck traffic.

Thank you for this opportunity to respond to your concerns.

But the other neighbourhoods will have to speak for themselves as to how child and family friendly they are.

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted December 07, 2013 at 13:30:06 in reply to Comment 95610

Unfortunately, I have to agree with Shawn (or is it Sheri?) on this point. The North End is fairly child and family friendly whereas many other lower-city neighbourhoods are not. In particular Beasley, Landsdale, Gibson, and Keith are especially child and family unfriendly. The City didn't bother to put up "You are now entering a child and family unfriendly neighbourhood" signs facing in the opposite direction but they might as well have done that.

These signs aren't aspirational -- they're descriptive. As a Beasley resident they speak to the failure of the City to make all neighbourhoods child and family friendly. Had the City achieved that goal, there would be no need for such signs. I don't intend this as sour grapes towards the NEN, but rather as a criticism of City Hall.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted December 06, 2013 at 01:22:05 in reply to Comment 95571

... now I'm confused why they went to all the trouble to build a full automotive highway-looking bridge at Ferguson in the first place. I honestly figured that's what it was for - those things aren't cheap, and every single crossing east of Ferguson all the way to Centennial is at grade. There isn't even a stoplight light at Barton. I've biked Ferguson a bunch of times, and it's like a ghost town.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2013-12-06 01:59:18

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By Selway (registered) | Posted December 06, 2013 at 14:16:33 in reply to Comment 95578

There is a stoplight now at Barton and Ferguson, and some provision for cyclists that I don't understand.

Ferguson vehicular bridge and Mary Street pedestrian bridge over the tracks were designed as one project, meant to replace the vehicular bridge at Mary. During the EA, we asked the City people why they were building this enormous thing, and in particular, if they intended to widen Ferguson north of Barton. Since Ferguson runs from King all the way to Dock Service Road, a couple of blocks from Williams on the water, it seemed obvious to us that someone had an idea about getting a big new route down to the Harbour. Remember, a large residential development plus who knows what commercial is hoped for down there at piers 7 and 8. The City has always denied that it intends to change the Ferguson roadway north of Barton.

After the EA, and during the Detailed Design phase, a small stakeholder group was formed to work with the architects, including citizen reps. This went fairly well, but there was a breakdown at the construction phrase with regard to the Mary Street structure, as what was built was not the original design, and it was changed without any further consultation with the stakeholder group.

The built result is ugly by comparison with the design, but I guess the City saved a few bucks. As you point out, this thriftiness was not in evidence when the Ferguson enormity was built.

And so it goes...

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted December 06, 2013 at 15:12:04 in reply to Comment 95612

Oh, there was no access at all at Ferguson before? I'd assumed the bridge was an upgrade of an at-grade crossing. After all, every crossing to the east of Ferguson is an at-grade crossing. I guess they don't build those anymore for obvious safety reasons.

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By TomL (anonymous) | Posted December 07, 2013 at 19:28:13 in reply to Comment 95619

(reposting, for some reason this got dumped at the bottom)
Ferguson Ave used to have a set of railway tracks that ran down the middle of the street, from the main tracks north of Barton up the escarpment on what's now the Escarpment Rail Trail. Because of the junction between the Ferguson tracks and the main line, Ferguson Ave had a gap between Barton and Simcoe. The tracks were lifted in the early 1990s, the bridge was built to fill in the gap shortly after.

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By TomL (anonymous) | Posted December 07, 2013 at 19:30:02 in reply to Comment 95684

Should read

"from the main tracks north of Barton, AND THEN up the escarpment on what's now the Escarpment Rail Trail."

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By RobF (registered) | Posted December 06, 2013 at 10:24:16 in reply to Comment 95578

I can't speak to the logic behind the Ferguson Bridge. I wasn't here when it was built. I also can't comment on how much of a problem it is when people cut over from Wellington to use the Ferguson bridge when slow trains pass. I think the notion, which i've also heard, that the no-right turn was to stop that practice is a bit misleading. I live further down Simcoe East and the difference in traffic volume after the signs went up was noticeable (I don't know if the city ever put a strip down to count traffic volumes before or after, so that is just my impression and not empirical fact). IMHO, people were using Simcoe to go from Wellington to James North and generally moving faster than 30km/h. Some of it might have related to trains, but it seemed more steady than that ... perhaps people seeking to avoid lights on Barton or other east-west streets. I really don't know the logic.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted December 06, 2013 at 10:50:50 in reply to Comment 95591

I did some digging - the no-right-turn was floated during the planning for the bridge to prevent exactly my usage but wasn't implemented until the recent 30kph pilot thing. Which I'm fine with, if that's what the locals need - I would've preferred traffic calming past the one block it takes me to get to the bridge, but it's their neighborhood.

I also found out that this bridge cost $4.6 million dollars, and involved buying and demolishing a half-dozen houses.

So NorthEndWard2 isn't wrong... he's just kind of obnoxious.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2013-12-06 11:00:25

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By RobF (registered) | Posted December 06, 2013 at 12:24:43 in reply to Comment 95593

Point well taken. It would be interesting to know why they built the Ferguson bridge given that Wellington is just a couple blocks over.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 06, 2013 at 18:40:00 in reply to Comment 95602

my understanding is that it was built as part of the harbour-escarpment bike route along Ferguson. The speed humps/traffic calming on the residential portions of Ferguson never materialized, but at least it's now a nice bike route from Pier 8 to the escarpment. The original plans also called for bike friendly stairs (or even a cable car) up to Sam Lawrence Park from the south end of Ferguson. But let's be real. We won't spend the kind of money necessary to do that unless it involves the capability to lift cars up and down the Mountain.

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By RobF (registered) | Posted December 06, 2013 at 00:39:25 in reply to Comment 95571

We have a car in our household and one of us travels to the GTA west for work. Still, I don't see the logic in your argument. In the warmer months of the year I use my bike to get around. I walk my daughter to and from school. When I can I walk to Food Basics for groceries. I don't expect you or anyone else to do that, but why shouldn't i be able to without worrying about being hit by a car. Many drivers are careful, but a portion are concerned about nothing more than making "good time". It is about priorities, as you say. Mine are on the side of safety for all users of the street. Where are yours?

The big welcome signs are hideous and unnecessary, but i don't agree that "nobody" likes the chokers and bump-outs. You don't and perhaps 400 other people. There are 5000 of us. Half the audience yesterday indicated they supported the concept of the chokers and bump-outs. The temporary traffic sticks are ugly, but are slated to be replaced with something more visually appealing once their final design and placement is determined by the pilot. The same goes for the loss of parking spots, and the new no-turn signs. If the plan's creating unforeseen and unnecessary problems then some changes should be looked into.

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By beesplease (registered) | Posted December 06, 2013 at 01:46:01

It is kind of unfortunate that the new lane blockage on Burlington westbound at James is forcing traffic destined to the apartment building and office building on that block to curl around back INTO the neighbourhood (north on MacNab).

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By Selway (registered) | Posted December 06, 2013 at 15:20:24 in reply to Comment 95579

According to the traffic count that was done before parts of the North End traffic plan were put in place, the average daily volume on Bay in 2013 was 5,754. In 2006 it was 5,110. The count on Wellington in 2013 was 3,696. No 2006 number is available for Wellington, I don't know why. In short, the local street has more traffic than the arterial.

The intention of the partial closure at Burlington and James is to relieve the pressure on Burlington East and on Bay. The exact placing of the closure is a problem.

If it were moved west to MacNab, one block off James, then through traffic would simply proceed up MacNab, now two way,turn south and continue all the way to Barton Cannon or wherever, instead of on Bay.

But the Port Authority building is at the corner of James and Burlington, and this contains the offices of two physicians and a dentist. Patients coming from the east now must circle around a block to get into the parking lot --though they go straight onto Burlington on the way out.

So lets see, the residents matter more than the visitors but then again the medical professionals have been there who knows how long but majority rules but then again the people on one block of Wood and one short block of MacNab may see more cars so should we count them as half... and what about the patients, maybe a time weighted average of number of annual visits plus time vehicle stands on parking lot...

It doesn't work. In this situation, everyone affected has to give some leeway.

It is the case, however, that residents of Burlington East have been giving a lot of leeway to the automobile for a very long time. Apart from the volume and the speeds, residents on Burlington East now have no parking either side. They (and their visitors) would very much like to have on street parking, preferably both sides, which also calms traffic.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 06, 2013 at 09:43:46

When will they make john two way through the north end?

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By RobF (registered) | Posted December 06, 2013 at 10:27:02 in reply to Comment 95589

Supposed to be in the works as part of the plan ... i think soon was the best answer i could ascertain at the meeting.

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By Selway (registered) | Posted December 06, 2013 at 15:39:27 in reply to Comment 95592

Design for John Street conversion to two-way is scheduled for fall, 2014. Construction is to be in the spring of 2015. A key item is the provision of a parking layby in front of the school at John and Simcoe. Complicating the picture is the pending reconstruction of the John Street bridge over the tracks.

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By a real problem (anonymous) | Posted December 06, 2013 at 17:55:03 in reply to Comment 95626

There is a real problem in this city if converting that few block stretch of a residential street requires "construction". For $1000 I could convert it overnight

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By GabrielN (registered) | Posted December 06, 2013 at 13:49:31

Ryan, I would like to see those numbers correlated against job losses in the last decade. If wellpaying jobs increased in those cities, that could confirm your point. If the jobs decreased, well that says something altogether.

Rob, you're a North Ender. Doesn't matter when. That's how it works. Comment on any and all issues affecting us. The chokers on the blocks between Mary/Wellington and Wood/Simcoe are unwanted by a majority of those residents, which is where the 400 signers came from. Add in a new 300 employee medical building in the future off Wellington and a bike lane down Ferguson and there will be a definite parking crunch, but I guess the 70 year olds should walk 200m+ to get to their homes.

They built the Ferguson bridge as a replacement to the Mary St bridge that used to exist. It was like a skateboard ramp; going fast enough you could get all 4 tires off the ground, and that happened frequently. Without building at Ferguson, there would be no northbound access from the east side to the neighbourhood. All the traffic would have funneled in at John/James creating more load as people made their way to the NE corner.

Pxtl, sorry that I am obnoxious.

Educate Drivers, Stop Blaming Cars.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 06, 2013 at 18:41:30 in reply to Comment 95607

educating drivers never works. We need to engineer our streets for safety. Period.

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By arienc (registered) | Posted December 06, 2013 at 15:18:19 in reply to Comment 95607

To add to Ryan's point, some of the cities that showed the highest declines in auto share were cities that did relatively well in terms of jobs (i.e. Washington DC).

Variations in the economy do not appear to be responsible for variations in the trends in driving among urbanized areas. In fact, the economies of urbanized areas with large declines in driving have been less affected by the recession according to unemployment and poverty indicators.

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By Rimshot (anonymous) | Posted December 06, 2013 at 15:38:12

Double standard is the new two-way.

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By TomL (anonymous) | Posted December 07, 2013 at 19:26:53

Ferguson Ave used to have a set of railway tracks that ran down the middle of the street, from the main tracks north of Barton up the escarpment on what's now the Escarpment Rail Trail. Because of the junction between the Ferguson tracks and the main line, Ferguson Ave had a gap between Barton and Simcoe. The tracks were lifted in the early 1990s, the bridge was built to fill in the gap shortly after.

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