Comment 92375

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted September 20, 2013 at 13:57:59

The point is that good engineering should find optimal solutions for problems defined by society and use the scale of values of the society to help determine what "optimal" means.

Too often in Hamilton, the traffic engineers impose their own scale of values (a hierarchy that puts fast motor vehicle flow as the top priority) instead of adopting the explicit desires of residents, or even the publicly adopted goals of the city (e.g. doubling transit use, promoting cycling and walking, building dense pedestrian friendly neighbourhoods).

I agree that we should tell the engineers what outcome we want, what the transportation hierarchy is and then let them do their job. But they can't object that they don't agree with putting pedestrians convenience ahead of motorists, if that is the balance they are given.

Apparently, Hamilton has actually adopted an official transportation hierarchy that puts single occupant motor vehicles last (and pedestrians first), just like Vancouver, and that needs to be reflected in engineered solutions and trade-offs: wide sidewalks and bike lanes are a necessity, not a "nice to have". Slower traffic in the urban core is a necessity, not counter to policy. The engineers job is to find solutions to the problem of how to provide convenient, safe and comfortable pedestrian and cycling streets, not to tell us it can't be done!

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