Comment 92472

By JustinJones (registered) - website | Posted September 22, 2013 at 17:13:57

First off, ScreenCarp, when you call Ryan out for not knowing what the current best practices of the engineers are, you're quite erroneous. Those leading the way in traffic engineering have figured out the law of induced demand - that is, people will do whatever is easiest, and have also learned that trying to deal with traffic congestion by building bigger roads is like trying to deal with an obesity problem by buying a bigger belt.

As I mentioned, we've had some of the leading voices on City building here in Hamilton in the past 10 years, and all of them have told us the same thing - the one-way streets have got to go in order for us to achieve economic vitality in our downtown core.

I lived in Toronto for 4 years, and yes I know what the DVP and the Gardiner are, but I'll echo the points that have already been made - these don't run right through the hear of the city. What we have would be akin to converting King and Queen Streets in Toronto into 5-lane, one-way thoroughfares with timed lights to ensure that traffic would move quickly through, but nobody in their right mind would recommend that because all evidence shows that making a street less welcoming to pedestrians has disastrous impacts on the businesses and the vitality of the area.

I agree with your point that "...most world class cities in North America have large arterial roads that move traffic in and out of the downtown core", but what we have in Hamilton is large arterial roads that move traffic DIRECTLY THROUGH our downtown core - and that is not a feature of any world-class city that I know of.

btw - I do own a car, I try to use it as infrequently as possible, which I feel is likely the case with most of the people on this forum who advocate for the same kinds of things that I do. To say that International Village is frequently backed up seems to me to be quite the exaggeration - I've been there at rush hour several times, and never had to wait more than 1 light cycle to move through. And I saw you reference Cannon, but I will reiterate the point that I've been trying to make over and over again, which is that even with removing a lane on Cannon, and even if King and Main were converted to 2-way, there is ABSOLUTELY NO SCENARIO where this causes gridlock. The traffic counts just aren't there to make that argument - you're making your case based on speculation and "gut feeling", but I'm making mine based on the city's traffic counts, global best practices with regard to lane capacity (where the target for a lane should be 8-10,000 vehicles per lane per day in an urban centre) and the other fact that when you start to make the roads feel safer for other people to ride their bikes or walk to their destinations, they tend to leave the car at home more often, thus even further reducing the demands on our road network.

As for your comment mocking it being a "nightmare" to walk bike or take transit downtown, I challenge you to get from Ottawa and Main to James and Barton on a bike. Just try it, and you will realize just how asinine that comment is. There really are no safe routes across the lower city that keep you off of high-speed streets like King, Main or Cannon, unless you want to contend with narrow lanes, high-traffic volumes, bump-outs and opening car doors on Barton street. More than 50% of the trips taken in our cars are under 5km - those are the trips where we could be getting people on bikes. 30% of our trips are under 2 km - those are easily walkable. But going back to my earlier point, people will do what is easiest, and as long as it feels safer to hop in your car and drive down to the corner store than to walk or ride your bike, people will do it.

And I have to address one last point, going back to something you said that echoed of a comment I received on a CBC article. You said that "Some folks who write for this site have an agenda based on their ideological beliefs and love of cycling." That kind of rings similar to someone saying I had a vested interest in the Cannon street Bike Lane project that I helped with, so let me take a second to address this.

I have an agenda based on my love of HAMILTON. I have seen the benefits that building a more walkable, bikeable city can bring, and I feel that it is the single most important step that Hamilton can take towards becoming one of Canada's most liveable, desireable cities. My vested interest in bike lanes, which caused me to volunteer about 400 hours of my time and sink several hundred of my own dollars into a campaign to get new lanes on Cannon, is that I want to live in a city where my future children can walk or bike to school, like I did as a kid. I want to live somewhere where I know my neighbours, where I say "hi" to my fellow commuters rather than honk at them and flip them off. My wife will be finishing medical school this year, and she wants to start a practice where she doesn't need to drive to work. We've fallen so in love with Hamilton that we're very strongly considering trying to make that happen here. So yes, I have a vested interest in it - I'm trying to build the kind of community where I can work and pay my property taxes, where my wife can practice community-based family medicine, and where we can settle down and raise our family. So there you have it - full disclosure of my agenda. What's yours?

Permalink | Context

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds