Comment 64213

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted May 30, 2011 at 10:15:12

I am very disappointed, but not surprised by this decision.

This is the sort of anti-pedestrian bias that we've had to deal with in the Durand for the past 12 years. Despite the fact that local residents rally, petition and organize for the most minor pedestrian improvements, the City's traffic department ignores, delays and then finally rejects by pointing to their own auto-centric policies.

They also refuse to even test out new ideas using pilot projects, which would at least allow decisions to based on real evidence. Pilot projects have transformed New York and dozens of other cities around the world, but apparently they are too scary for Hamilton. How do we know how much a crossing would be used until it is installed? We do know that hundreds of residents want one, but this democratic rationale is apparently not enough.

Nevertheless, the sheer illogic of this particular decision is laughable. Let's look again at the circular and inconsistent reasoning:

  1. Determine that the crossing point is dangerous for pedestrians.

  2. Install signs advising pedestrians to walk up to 400m out of their way because of the danger. (Must be pretty bad to be worth walking so far out of one's way.)

  3. Hundreds of local residents petition for a safe crossing because they would like to be able to cross there.

  4. Measure how many people cross despite the signs and the danger.

  5. Surprise, surprise, not many people are crossing. Therefore there is not enough demand for a crossing (what about 3?).

  6. Despite the previous assessment that the crossing is dangerous (signs), add a comment in your report implying that the crossing actually is safe because pedestrians only have to wait "for about 18 seconds before finding a suitable gap in the traffic to cross in."

  7. Breathe a sigh of relief because another pesky resident lead and councillor supported request for more pedestrian friendly streets has been brushed off.

At least Kirkendall didn't help the City organize a workshop on pedestrian improvements (at the City's request), after being assured that the recommendations would be taken seriously, and then have to wait over a year for the brushoff response from the Traffic Department. This was the the Durand's recent experience.

The most galling part is that the City actually claims that it is putting pedestrian safety and convenience as a top priority when designing its streets and repeatedly organizes workshops, forums and invites public speakers promoting walkability.

It would save everyone a lot of time and money to be straightforward about the policy:

"Hamilton would like to make its neighbourhoods safe and convenient for pedestrians, but unfortunately our policies and priorities do not allow it at the present time. Please do not expect any meaningful improvements in the foreseeable future."

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