Comment 52646

By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted December 03, 2010 at 22:36:08

I think Jillian did a wonderful job of explaining the decision and I think it makes good sense.

Ryan, I'm not trolling here. I have to strongly disagree with most of what you wrote though, as well as how you wrote it. I think Ryan is really pushing it to suggest that LRT 'needs' two way Main and Cannon. I think it hurts his credibility and suggests ulterior motives to the facts he presents. Those are my thoughts, I'm not trolling. I would completely agree with you Ryan if you said something like "LRT needs to consider pedestrian safety", but when you say it needs two way streets, it sounds like heavy spin to promote your personal biases.

There is definitely a NEED for traffic to move eastbound. It doesn't have to be at freeway speeds as so many of you try to wrongly exaggerate things, but there is a need for Main to carry a lot of easterly vehicular traffic. There are not many lanes to carry high levels of traffic in our city. We must make the best and most efficient use of our roadways. For cars that means one way. It can also mean one way for pedestrians. As I've pointed out in other threads, most of the most successful cities in the world are dominate by one way streets. Especially pedestrian cities such as Paris and Amsterdam. In fact, in that thread of cities that I listed which are dominated by one way streets, they rank #6,7,8,9 as the safest cities for pedestrians (fatalities per capita) in the world

If we had streets wide enough to accommodate something like this (a street view of Stockholm - the safest pedestrian city in the world, which has many, but is not dominated by, one way streets) then I would whole heartedly back a two way conversion. But, we don't and we are forced to work with what we have. And, given what we have, the best use of our space from an altruistic perspective is to maintain the one way streets and improve them to the best of their potential.

Now, as to the specifics of what I really take issue with in your writing Ryan is when you say things like "It retards the capability of these streets to attract new investment in dense, mixed-use facilities" and "the streets are still inhospitable to non-drivers".

That's just not true. Our streets aren't perfect, but it's not like there is some massive flaw with them that will be instantly and drastically changed by converting to two way. Are the predominately one way streets of Paris and Amsterdam inhospitable to non-drivers? People might counter by saying "they are hospitable to non-drivers, but they don't have 'freeways' running through them like Hamilton". My point is that the direction of a car's travel is much less important than the speed at which the car is traveling. We can keep the streets one way, reduce their speed using various methods (light synching is my favourite), and help to ensure that we don't create unnecessary grid lock while also increasing pedestrian safety.

It's also not like converting to two way will magically attract new investments that wouldn't have been there with the one way set up either. Whether or not new investment comes to downtown Hamilton has more to do with a lot of things other than which way the traffic flows.

I can't help but wonder if this article is about making things better for pedestrians, or if it's really about making things worse for drivers. I believe, as noted before, that both parties can be accommodated using one way streets where consideration is given to taking steps in order to maximize pedestrian safety. This would include things like speed reduction measures and many cross walks. Conversion to two way is very costly and I don't see an overwhelming benefit compared to a well thought out one way street.

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