The power to take through trucks off city streets is in Council's hands. Will you become part of the solution, or continue to hold our city back?
By Jason Leach
Published June 08, 2010
Sound familiar? These quotes are taken from a 1950s page of the Hamilton Spectator and were uttered by business owners along King, James and York in opposition to the downtown-killing one-way street plan implemented in 1956.
As a proud Hamiltonian, I've never felt more let down or more disgusted to live here upon reading a recent news report outlining the continued refusal from City Hall to make the necessary changes to our truck route system that will help breath life into our downtown business districts and neighbourhoods.
Many in my neighbourhood chatted about this yesterday and were disappointed, yet unsurprised by the sad fact that we are paying people to hold our neighbourhood and downtown core back.
Every consultant that has been brought into our city for the past number of decades has said the same thing that business owners were saying in the '50s and still saying last week - our downtown streets need to be fixed!
There is a groundswell of associations and business groups aiming to make this a major issue in the upcoming election. Enough is enough. If council is satisfied with using downtown Hamilton as a shortcut to somewhere else, then I recommend we convert King St in Dundas or Wilson St in Ancaster to four-lane, one-way highways.
If it's such great policy for my neighbourhood, surely it's great policy for yours.
Every excuse Hamilton has ever had to maintain this outdated, antiquated network of one-way highways and truck routes is gone. Highways now ring our city and industrial jobs in the north end have almost all but disappeared.
I regularly follow transport trucks to and from my neighbourhood in the York/Locke area and have never seen one pull into Fortinos or any local destination.
I know it's a random sampling, but all of them have originated or headed to the northeast industrial district within spitting distance of Burlington St or the QEW.
Several years ago, I began voting in municipal elections based on this single issue, and have encouraged every person I've spoken with to do the same. Market renovations, Lister renovations, tree planting and park improvements are all nice and welcome investments in our city, but won't make up for this fundamental failure to turn downtown streets back into hubs of commerce, life, employment and vibrancy.
Who wants to raise kids on the shoulder of the QEW?
When you vote to maintain a truck route system that was already anti-business in the '50s, you're simply becoming part of the problem - five decades later.
I humbly ask that each of you think of your role as a public official and the potential to leave a legacy for decades to come that will result in a massive revitalization of downtown Hamilton.
The power is in your hands. Will you become part of the solution, or continue to hold our city back?
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