Comment 95751

By JustinJones (registered) - website | Posted December 09, 2013 at 16:40:04

So I had a good phone conversation with Lloyd, and we agree, as always, to disagree on this. Lloyd's main points are that interest in the North End will come back, and we'll see traffic counts go back up getting people and goods to and from the busy harbour lands and new potential employment opportunities there. I can't argue those points - they're very valid. What I CAN argue is that when they do need to get those goods there, they don't need to be driving through the middle of neighbourhoods to get there. I raised the point about how in Toronto you wouldn't drive a truck loaded with sugar from the Redpath factory on the lake up to the 401 via Yonge Street - you'd divert the extra 10-11 km to take the Don Valley, because that's what those types of roads are for. He argued that the lower city ring-road option was killed, so that's not an option, I told him that from where most of the factories are it's a 10-11 km detour to take Burlington St. to the QEW and go from there.

The hardest point to counter, in my mind, is that we're not talking about reducing lane capacity downtown. Nowhere in the conversation about 1-way to 2-way are we talking about removing lanes, unless it's for something like an LRT - we're talking about making the lanes that are there more flexible, making the pedestrian environment friendlier and fostering increased development along the routes that should be the heart of our downtown economy.

Interestingly, I also told him that a parade of experts have come to Hamilton, and not one has said that it's a good thing to have our streets the way they're built. Lloyd argues that perhaps we haven't looked for those experts, which I actually have to agree with. We do tend to have a selection bias when choosing speakers to come to Hamilton and give us inspiration, so I put the challenge to him to find someone that thinks that they're a good thing to come and present us with an argument as to why. I'd be interested to actually see this as a debate rather than the 2-way side constantly just telling the 1-way side that they're wrong. (for the record, I think that they are)

As it was bound to, Cannon came up. I want to let everyone know that with a cycle track on Cannon, a 2-way option is pretty much off the table. The blocks are too short and there are too many potential movement conflicts, so if Cannon goes ahead as it's looking like it's going to (protected south side 2-way cycle track), then Cannon, to my mind, gets take out of the 2-way conversion discussion. With all-day parking on the North side, the cycle track on the South and 2 narrower lanes of traffic, Cannon will be much more complete than any other arterial in the lower city. This might not sit well with some folks, but it's the reality of the situation, and it's a much better option, to my mind, than trying to make it 2-way and just installing plain old bike lanes.

My opinion about 1-ways and 2-ways is that it's never been about which direction the traffic flows, it's always been about how it flows. When we have high-speed, 5 lane wide, narrow sidewalked thoroughfares running through our downtown, that's a problem. Switching Main and King to 2-way would solve a lot of those problems, but there's other treatments that could work as well. Those other treatments are too expensive and too outside the norm to be instituted, however, so I'll continue to push Councillors on this and to provide evidence, logic and respectful dialogue as we keep trying to move forward.

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