Comment 109960

By Selway (registered) | Posted March 05, 2015 at 00:01:04 in reply to Comment 109957

Isn't the problem that there are functionally two cities? The lower city runs east west between the mountain and the bay and is traversed by Main, Cannon, and the underused Burlington St/Industrial Drive. The upper city is traversed by Fennel, Mohawk, the Linc, and Rymal Road. The lower city has a centre and a number of distinct destinations: Mac, Bayfront plants, etc. The upper city has no centre and one edge, the escarpment. The southern edge is beyond Rymal and will eventually extend to Caledonia once the "airport employment growth district" pretense is dropped. I don't think it is helpful to dismiss the concerns of the upper city with moralizing remarks of this sort

"This so-called silent majority of car culture in Hamilton seems content to live the vision of the 1950s city but also to be so wilfully ignorant or dismissive of the damage it has caused."

People in the upper city are almost entirely dependent on their motor vehicles, but they did not build the world which, yes, they have chosen to inhabit. The conflict at the moment is between car-dependent people who wish to in effect "suburbanize" the lower city, and less car-dependent lower city people who would like to leverage density and destinations to become still less car-dependent. There is not much point trying to install rapid transit in the upper city, because the area is dispersed but homogenous: there are no destinations. At present, City Hall is building a second Mississauga on the mountain. Presumably at some point there will be a call to establish a "downtown", probably at the intersection of Rymal and Upper James, under the banner of "sprawl repair". ( There is a YMCA, a library and a police station near that junction already.)

I have been saying "upper Hamilton" but I'm not sure that is even meaningful. The people between say Concession and Mohawk may regard themselves as Hamiltonians, but by the time you get south of Rymal and east of Paramount, the gravity is quite attenuated. Waterdown? Those people in the outer subdivisions may as well be in the farther reaches of Gatineau, Denver or Louisville. It's a commonplace but it has serious political consequences. And the more City Hall builds out, the more votes there are out there, and the less relevant transit discussions are to them -- unless you can make a taxation argument. Or offer them something else, but what do you give people who think that they already have everything in the way of municipal goods that they need?

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