Comment 28736

By jason (registered) | Posted February 16, 2009 at 18:07:43

moseby and LL, great posts and great observations.

It's important to remember that the urban neighbourhoods in both Hamilton and Toronto were built at the same time and designed in a similar, walkable manner. We used to have streetcars in Hamilton that ran down the centre of major lower city streets like Toronto's streetcars do today. Just the simple act of tearing up our tracks and replacing them with buses was a huge leap towards becoming a car-centric city. In Toronto, cars all wait as streetcars stop and load/unload. Queen/King in Toronto have parking along both sides with one lane of traffic each way, and that single lane of traffic has streetcars that have right of way. Hamilton has destroyed that design and now, even as we move forward with good plans such as two-way conversions on York, James, John etc.... we refuse to simply go back to a 4-lane cross section with street parking and a single traffic lane in each direction (other than rush hours). We keep doing these two-way conversions that are overloaded in the direction of the current one way traffic. But at least it's a step in the right direction. I believe future generations will go the rest of the way and be done with these un-balanced two-way conversions. In Hamilton, car drivers consider buses, annoyances in the curb lanes that are there to be passed whenever possible. Just that one mistake of tearing up our streetcar tracks set transit WAY back and elevated the status of the private car WAY forward in people's minds. I love sitting on a patio on College St in Toronto and being able to talk to my dinner partner without yelling or waiting for waves of traffic to roar by. Traffic is slow, steady and best of all, quiet.
I'm hopeful that in the future we'll reclaim one of the extra eastbound traffic lanes proposed for the York Blvd two-way conversion for street parking and that LRT will appear on King and Main. Moseby, you want to hear the Mountain folks scream, watch what's going to happen when they hear about plans for an on-street rail system that has right of way and control over stoplights on King and Main. Many of them love to visit Toronto, but they're going to fight tooth and nail against any attempt to bring some of that Toronto (and former Hamilton) street success here.

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