Special Report: Walkable Streets

Councillors Balk at Implementing Two-Way Streets

Fear of change was the order of the day among mountain and suburban councillors, who backed away from a proposal to implement the 'Putting People First' agenda approved in 2001 and reaffirmed in 2008.

By Ryan McGreal
Published September 07, 2012

Hamilton City Councillors were so afraid of their shadow at yesterday's General Issues Committee that they balked at establishing a team to implement the downtown transportation plan that was approved in 2001 and reaffirmed in 2008.

Main Street cuts through the downtown core (RTH file photo)
Main Street cuts through the downtown core (RTH file photo)

Ward 1 Councillor Brian McHattie's motion to create an implementation team that would actually carry out the City's long-standing commitment to converting lower city one-way streets back to two-way was too much for Councillors to bear.

Instead, they timidly approved a revised motion to "study and report" on the two-way transportation agenda Council approved four years ago but never scheduled or funded. Instead of an "implementation team", we will get a "committee" - lest anyone get the idea that we're actually going to implement our transportation plan any time soon.

If the past eleven years of endlessly studying and reporting on Hamilton's "Putting People First" plan are any indication, this looks to be yet another instance of the near-total disconnect between the city's progressive approach to top-level planning and its regressive, fear avoidance-based approach to on-the-ground implementation.

The only committee members who really seemed to understand what is at stake represent the lower city - Councillor Jason Farr in Ward 2, whose impassioned support for livable streets in the downtown core was inspiring, Ward 3 Councillor Bernie Morelli, whose ward was added to the study area, and Ward 4 Councillor Sam Merulla.

Unfortunately, fear of change was the order of the day among the mountain and suburban councillors, who outnumbered the lower city councillors in a barrage of anecdotes and worries about constituent backlash.

Fear of Change

Ward 6 Councillor Tom Jackson said constituents ask him "if I've lost my marbles" whenever he supports a two-way street conversion. Yet none of the streets in Jackson's ward are one-way, either. Would those constituents ask if Jackson had "lost his marbles" if he were to propose converting Fennell or Upper Sherman to one-way?

Similarly, Stoney Creek Mountain Councillor Brad Clark, apparently the city's de facto spokesperson for "office CEOs", argued that they don't like two-way streets - except, presumably, on the streets where they live.

Just two months ago, Ancaster Councillor Lloyd Ferguson was "absolutely thrilled to unveil a newly-renovated Wilson Street, the main thoroughfare in Ancaster, which featured new bike lanes, sidewalks, pedestrian-friendly streetscaping, benches, trees, protected heritage buildings - and of course, two-way traffic flows along its full length.

Yet he could not bring himself to support the same kind of complete street design for the main thoroughfares of the old city of Hamilton, which have been sacrificed so that motorists can continue to flow through the city at high volumes and high speeds. Ferguson insisted that Main, King, Cannon and Queen be excluded from any talk of two-way conversions.

Perhaps the most ridiculous objection came from west mountain Councillor Terry Whitehead, who complained that the motion focuses on lower-city streets. "We should all be included in the discussion." Of course, as a member of the GIC, all the councillors are included in the discussion, as evidenced by Whitehead's vote on whether the downtown deserves livable streets.

As for the focus on the lower-city, that's where the one-way streets are - unlike the streets in Whitehead's ward, which are predominantly two-way.

Whitehead argued against two-way conversion back in 2008 when Council was considering the Downtown Transportation Master Plan Five-Year Review, citing studies from the 1930s and 1940s. After a cheeky campaign and a lot of public discussion, including references to more recent studies finding that one-way streets are more dangerous, Whitehead changed his mind and supported the Five Year Review.

Passionate Support

Despite short notice before yesterday's meeting and with a long weekend in the way, 84 Hamilton residents wrote letters to be included as correspondence to the Councillors. Of the 84, only three were opposed to McHattie's motion and one offered qualified support.

These were full letters, independently written, and not form letters or poll results. They reflected a passionate, well-informed citizenry, many of whom live, work and own businesses in the lower city and experience its one-way streets first-hand as drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and transit users, as residents, business owners and employees.

Several neighbourhood associations also expressed support for complete streets and two-way conversion, including Durand, Central, Beasley, Corktown, North End Neighbours and Stinson. The Downtown BIA has expressed support for two-way streets after the success of James and John North, and Susan Braithwaite, the executive director of the International Village BIA, also supports two-way conversion.

Evidence for Conversion

Notably absent from the objections of the mountain and suburban councillors was any indication that they had actually reviewed the arguments and evidence supporting two-way conversion before concluding that they oppose it.

Since at least 1996, a steady stream of transportation engineers, architects, planners, economists and urban experts has come to Hamilton year after year and told us the same message: we need to tame and convert our urban streets to make them more pedestrian-friendly, more business-friendly, and more community-friendly.

A study published in 2000 using Hamilton collision data found that children are 2.5 times more likely to be killed on a one-way street than a two-way street. This is consistent with broader research finding that one-way streets are more dangerous for pedestrians, mainly due to a deadly combination of higher vehicle speeds and driver inattention on streets designed to feel like highways.

Similarly, the general consensus is that street retail is more successful on two-way streets, due to a combination of factors: slower traffic means pedestrians feel safer, drivers can actually see business signs as they pass, and it is much easier to drive to a destination on a two-way street because it does not require overshooting and backtracking to approach from the right direction.

A study published just this summer from the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce concluded that walkable streets are "economic infrastructure that attract employment and should be invested in accordingly."

More generally, walkable two-way streets allow for more community cohesion than one-way streets, because they enable more interpersonal interactions between residents. In Hamilton, two-way conversion supports improved neighbourhood equity for the urban neighbourhoods that are home to most of our one-way streets.

Perhaps most important, dozens of other cities have already converted their streets back to two-way and are enjoying the benefits.

Those cities have not experienced the negative impacts that have suburban councillors so scared. This is due in part to the elastic nature of traffic: increased lane capacity induces more traffic, and reduced lane capacity causes some traffic to "disappear".

Transportation engineers clearly understand this phenomenon, but Hamilton's traffic modelling systems do not take it into account and our planners assume that traffic volumes will remain constant if lane capacity changes.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal.

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By James (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 08:26:06

Sack each and every one of them. Why don't we have mandatory term limits? They're a bunch of myopic children who prefer to grandstand instead of hauling this poor city out of the hole they threw it into years ago, and I'm sick and tired of waiting for them to stop bickering and planning and studying. Stop planning! Start acting!

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By Core-B (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 08:29:48

Good article Ryan and thank you to the other 83 who submitted comments to the GIC. I am so disappointed and shocked to the point of being angry. In spite of all the evidence staring them in the face, it appears that the only thing all of the non downtown area councillors care about is the driving experience. More committee discussions? Really? Other than starting a PH (Party Hamilton) and doing what is necessary to separate (tongue firmly planted) what do we do now? It seems hopeless to me. Even if we were lucky enough to have wholesale changes next election; I doubt the the new suburban councillors would view this issue any differently. Maybe if we could somehow get them to walk the wonderful streets, they would get a different perspective.

Comment edited by Core-B on 2012-09-07 08:55:50

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 08:39:50

Ok, lets go buy some paint... clearly we are going to have to do this ourselves!

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By whoisjohngalt (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 08:40:58

Realistically, did anyone expect a different result? The suburban/mountain councillors see the one-way streets to be in their interest because it makes driving easier, for the same reasons they saw building a huge four lane expressway through the mountain/red hill valley as being in their interest. All those deputations were amazing to see . . . but I feel like the only way to get an issue like this passed is to do a better job targetting individual councillors. Council works just like any other body in representative democracy - you can have the best thought out policy in the world but without the votes to back it up it will be DOA. A case needs to be made for two-way streets that will make sense to those suburban/mountain councillors.

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By JM (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 08:43:29

I love the comment (i saw in the spec this morning) about it "making life harder" for the residents on the mountain.... do the residents of wards 1-3 not deserve to live in a neighbourhood that "makes life easier" (and god forbid safer?)

by the way - what office CEO's do we have in Downtown Hamilton? why do they trump street-level local business??

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By JM (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 08:45:58 in reply to Comment 80675

the case has been presented to them many times.... by the local residents and even professionals.

do they ever listen?

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted September 07, 2012 at 08:47:24

Now we might as well flood the spectator with comments about the process we witnessed last night. The only way to get things done will be a continual display that the citizens who care enough to get engaged are in support of two way conversions. The naysayers don't appear to have enough energy to do much more than rant in the spec online comments and place an occasional phone call. Keep those letters flying!

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 08:51:09

I am a resident of the mountain and love to hang out downtown. I was growing disgusted with the leadership of this city before they got even worse. Do not let these suburban meatheads walk all over downtown like this. They can't build a sport stadium, LRT, can't fix a street, they literally cannot do ANYTHING good for this city. What a waste of potential. How are they 'ruling' with such impunity?

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 08:54:36 in reply to Comment 80677

Until downtown has some actual autonomy, or until these idiots are relieved of duty, this city cannot grow. The wonderful efforts of our communities results in incremental positive change, but it is stifled and retarded by people that must lose their jobs if we are to move forward.

edit:spellcheck

Comment edited by mikeonthemountain on 2012-09-07 08:55:04

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 09:07:23 in reply to Comment 80674

If these selfish idiots are this stubborn and have this much impunity to dictate, for the worse, the lives of residents in whose neighborhoods they do not even live, then I wholeheartedly endorse guerrilla neighborhood improvements. I wish there was activism in sufficient numbers to actually enable it to get done.

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By whoisjohngalt (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 09:11:36

It may be selfish, but everyone is guilty of that which is part of the challenge here. How do we compromise when something that makes my life easier makes your life harder? One might make the opposite tack on who is selfish when we're talking about a downtown LRT paid for in part with property taxes from Ancaster and the Mountain. The argument for two-way conversion shouldn't be that "downtown wants it," the other councillors will never vote for something like that out of the goodness of their hearts. I think the best way to approach this issue is from the perspective of health and safety. The hardest argument to counter is that one-way streets are dangerous because by voting to keep them, any councillor is effectively stating that convenience is more important than human lives.

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By djfern (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 09:17:25

So... When is the next Municipal election? Time for some new blood on council...

In the meantime, would it be helpful to put together a presentation on 2-way conversion and meet with these opponents one by one?

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By JonD (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 09:37:23

I like to think that these councillors are just so ignorant and deluded that they view all the other municipalities that have either reverted back to two way or have never implemented a Hamiltonian 1 Way street network, as being backward, anti-car and anti-business. Ferguson's lauding of his own wards livable streets makes it apparent that they're not in the slightest bit genuine. I think that they truly view the core with a level of distain that is off the charts. They know families live down here but are willing to make the streets unsafe for children, so they can get to their destination a few minutes sooner. It's disgusting!

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By Theo (anonymous) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 09:43:23

One-way streets that promote large drive-by traffic flows that bring business to the suburbs. Given some of the comments made by councillors, and who is opposing the movement towards two-way major traffic flow in the core, I wonder if this is more about councillors who are being told by business interests outside of the city core to oppose the proposed conversion movement. I can understand such concerns, but until amalgamation such positions over municipal infrastucture policy only served to protect suburban government jurisdictions and tax bases which used, but did not contribute, to the maintenance of Hamilton's inter-urban infrastructure, while assisting the former suburban jurisdictions to continue to operate on the financial margin. Further delays in creating a level infrastructural playing field for downtown businesses will only serve to further economically hollow out the downtown portion of the city.

I trust I am not the only person who sees quite a divisive fight potentially brewing over this issue.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted September 07, 2012 at 09:47:15 in reply to Comment 80683

The safety aspect has been studied and presented over and over.

Their counter argument was on full display last night - Clark "heard from a paramedic" that the two way streets slowed down an ambulance.

There are some people that try to claim that one-ways are safer for pedestrians because you only have to look one way before crossing the street. The councillors take their word as science.

Some studies show one way streets to be safer - but these studies are generally conducted on slower moving neighbourhood streets - or streets located out in the boonies where there are no pedestrians (i.e. they are only safer for fast moving vehicles). And our councillors blindly apply those results to Main, Cannon, Bay, Queen, etc.

It is not selfish to want to make positive changes in your own neighbourhood even if it means causing inconvenience to those who pass through it. This kind of thing is standard in every other ward - installing stop signs to slow down through traffic, restricting turns at some intersections, disallowing methadone clinics etc.

The only difference is that all of the rest of the city views downtown as a depository for their shit rather than a neighbourhood with the same rights as the rest of the city.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted September 07, 2012 at 09:47:54 in reply to Comment 80686

If these business people are writing letters, they should be presented at council just like ours were.

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By Chevron (anonymous) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 09:58:38

Remind me again why the jaded, cynical perspective of longtime and lifelong Hamiltonians is baseless negativity?

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By Jay Robb (anonymous) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 10:03:47

A couple thoughts...

1. Hamilton needs a new approach to citizen engagement & participatory democracy. 81 letters of support is great but we're a city of 500,000 residents. There's something to be said about the wisdom of crowds. Councillors are attuned to the needs of their constituents. And it's hard to believe the committee was proposed without first knowing exactly who'd support what around the council chambers.

2. Advocates of 2-way conversion need to reframe this issue and take the high road. If it continues to be positioned as a downtown core vs. the rest of Hamilton issue, there will never be Hamilton-wide buy-in and political support. Broad generalizations that people who don't live and work downtown don't care about the core are not helpful. I support 2-way streets and I'm one of the folks who lives in the much maligned west end of the city. Right now, more than a few advocates are playing to stereotype. Everyone wants to be part of a winning team. A whining team? Not so much. The rhetoric has been cringeworthy.

3. The pushback and doubts may not just be about the need to quickly drive from one end of the city to the other. When I worked in the industrial east end, I took Burlington Street from my West Hamilton home and avoided driving thru the core. A bigger issue may be the real / perceived cost of the conversions. Councillors may be wondering how to sell a multi-million dollar project to constituents for whom 2-way street conversions just aren't on their radar.

4. Two-way conversion advocates need a much cleaner & compelling message that will resonate with all of Hamilton. Personally, I'd go with economic development. I want a downtown core that's the cultural and economic hub of the city and one that puts lots of people to work and generates a ton of revenue. Street conversions will help fast-track the renewal and revitalization that's happening downtown. It's in all of our best interests to make downtown an even greater place to work, live, shop and play. One of the highlights from this year's economic summit was the suggestion that Hamilton could grab a share of the health sciences conference and convention business. A vibrant downtown would help seal the deal for conference organizers looking to give delegates a great experience. There's also the report just out that says walkable urban spaces will be the prime real estate market for the next generation. Once full-day GO service is in Hamilton, we should bank on young professionals / families putting down roots in the core. Developers should be advocating for two-way streets. If an investment in the core drives down tax bills in the rest of Hamilton, they'll be support for street conversions.

5. And what if the whole issue was taken up a level and two-way streets were positioned as part of an overall strategy to make downtown an even better place to live, work, shop and play? Two-way streets aren't a cure-all or silver bullet.I'd argue we need wider sidewalks, better lighting, physical barriers between bike lanes and roads, more public spaces (Gore Park as Hamilton's Front Porch, a park / bandshell on James North), parking on both sides of the street, better wayfinding and an end to the synchronized lights. How about a study group focused on making downtown Hamilton a revenue-generating powerhouse?

As for next steps, I'd suggest advocates invest the time to broaden and deepen their ranks beyond the usual suspects, develop a key message that would resonate with all of Hamilton (and pre-test it with groups before rolling out). And use two-way conversions and downtown renewal to test drive a new approach to citizen engagement and particpatory democracy on key community-building initiatives. Consult and listen widely and get as many folks as possible hammering out and buying into a vision for what the core could and should be. And then councillors will follow their constituents.

Cheers,

Jay

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By JM (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 10:15:39 in reply to Comment 80684

i make this comment over and over... the problem is all these "constituents" keep voting them back in

there needs to be some VERY strong voices in the next election to discourage voting back in the same councillors....

"vote for anyone but this guy!!!"

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 07, 2012 at 10:23:23 in reply to Comment 80690

Advocates of 2-way conversion need to reframe this issue and take the high road. If it continues to be positioned as a downtown core vs. the rest of Hamilton issue, there will never be Hamilton-wide buy-in and political support.

I keep hearing this, but it's the mountain and suburban councillors (and opponents) who keep framing this as a downtown vs. ROH issue. For people living and working downtown, it's a straightforward issue of equity, fairness and safety.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted September 07, 2012 at 10:46:24 in reply to Comment 80684

Doesn't matter - everyone who wants the downtown streets fixed already lives downtown and already voted for councillors that supported this action.

The only other seat we could get into the game with an election is the Mayor, and I suspect that Bob will have that spot for a long time.

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By joejoe (anonymous) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 11:01:08

Keep the faith folks. This change is coming, albeit slowly. McHattie and others need to keep the pressure on and keep educating. Alternatively it might be an idea for them to vent their fristrations by putting forward a motion to convert some of the mountain streets to one-way. Nothing like a finger in the eye...;)

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted September 07, 2012 at 11:03:18

While Queen and Cannon are a great start for a full conversion, I'm disappointed that the downtown councillors couldn't bargain down to getting an agressive 2-way conversion strategy for the secondary roads at least. I mean, as much as they kill their local neighborhoods you can at least see why Queen and Cannon are one-way... but there are a million smaller roads in the lower city that don't even have that minimal justification and screw things up for no apparent gain. Every North/South street from Queen to Wellington, every East/West street north of King or south of Main (except Cannon, sadly). 2-way conversion of that stuff should be completely uncontroversial and done, like, yesterday.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 11:03:48 in reply to Comment 80688

Exactly. It kills me that Clark can stand up there and claim that 'office CEO's' "don't like two-way streets", and use that as a basis for his argument without having to provide a shred of evidence.

Who are these 'office CEO's'? What kind of businesses do they run and where? What kind of expertise do they have? Why should their word be given more weight than the word of all the academics, planners, architects, and economists, not to mention downtown business people, who have been advocating reversion for years?

Comment edited by highwater on 2012-09-07 11:04:48

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted September 07, 2012 at 11:06:56 in reply to Comment 80694

Upper James should be One Way so that I can get to the LINC faster. I really like this idea.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted September 07, 2012 at 11:08:21 in reply to Comment 80696

It's his golf buddies.

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 11:11:46 in reply to Comment 80696

Last time I was in Bayview Village and the Bridle Path neighbourhoods in Toronto I didn't see a single 1-way street. And unlike Stoney Creek, That IS where all the CEO's live.

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 11:13:34 in reply to Comment 80690

All of this has been done for over 12 years. It's painfully obvious now that the Ward 6 Price is Right crowd will never change their mind. And that's fine. They aren't the future. Their councillors should be leaders and do the right thing. That's why they are elected. And before we brush off 81 letters, don't forget - Dundas residents only need to send in a few petitions and council bends at their every wish and sides with their councillor.
All of these councillors embarrassing themselves yesterday need to remember a couple things: 1. Nobody in their wards wants 1-way streets 2. Nobody has ever suggested that Main St be converted to 1-way between the Delta and Eastgate. Everyone talks about how easy it is to get the Eastgate, yet more than half the trip is on a two-way street. Traffic doesn't suddenly stop at the Delta. It's pure fear-mongering and lack of leadership, and they all know it.

Comment edited by jason on 2012-09-07 11:15:58

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By Borrelli (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 11:16:56 in reply to Comment 80690

As for next steps, I'd suggest advocates invest the time to broaden and deepen their ranks beyond the usual suspects, develop a key message that would resonate with all of Hamilton (and pre-test it with groups before rolling out).

Yeah, good point. I laughed when I read this because when skimming the 83 letters posted yesterday, I said the exact same thing to myself: "Usual suspects..." (and I'm one of 'em).

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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 11:18:01 in reply to Comment 80690

This is exactly the way that the countless experts who have come to this city have framed this issue. Clark et al have heard these arguments many times yet remain unmoved. If they won't listen to experts, what reason do we have to believe that they will listen to citizens?

Also, the idea of broadening the movement beyond the 'usual suspects' sounds great in theory, but it's a Catch 22. The minute you speak up about something in this town, even if you've never spoken up before, you are instantly branded a 'usual suspect' and summarily dismissed. You can't win.

Comment edited by highwater on 2012-09-07 11:23:14

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By Misc (anonymous) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 11:22:02 in reply to Comment 80671

I don't think this outcome has anything to do with term limits. It has to do with how a lot of Hamilton mountain and suburban residents passionately feel about the issue and the flack they would cause for future as well as incumbent Councilours in their areas. I don't think this is a dead wood at Council issue, it's an old idea mentality rampant in the City. More needs to be done to educate the citizenry, everywhere, about two-way's merits.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 11:22:04 in reply to Comment 80701

Really? I was actually cheered by the number of names I didn't recognize when I looked through them. But that's immaterial now. As per my comment above, if they weren't 'usual suspects' before, they are now. Assuming the councillors even read the letters.

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By Steve (anonymous) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 11:24:59 in reply to Comment 80691

Don't "vote for anyone but this guy", as that just splits the vote and allows them to get back in.

Throw support behind one strong challenger with good potential.

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By Borrelli (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 11:25:53

The minute you speak up about something in this town, even if you've never spoken up before, you are instantly branded a 'usual suspect' and summarily dismissed. You can't win.

Really? Even if that were true, it's no excuse to dismiss "broadening the movement". Even broadening things to Wards 1-3 residents that don't spend a lot of time on social media would be a start. Lots of people don't live their lives primarily online, but engaging them is harder than the "usual suspects" who read RTH daily, endlessly Facebook & Tweet, and are parts of activist web communities.

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By djfern (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 11:28:53

So... stupid question maybe, but why does council even have to vote on this? Can't the city planning department just do their job and implement a plan that's already approved? Why bog this down in more politics?

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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 11:31:02 in reply to Comment 80698

Maybe that's why he called them 'office' CEO's instead of just CEO's. They're more likely regional office/middle management.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 11:40:06 in reply to Comment 80707

I'm speaking from experience here - experience with offline community organization. But you're right. Sorry if it came off as dismissive.

Even though Jay's suggestions have been tried before, they are still the best tools we have at the moment and worth pursuing.

Comment edited by highwater on 2012-09-07 11:50:12

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 07, 2012 at 11:47:04 in reply to Comment 80708

Council approves the budget. Without a capital budget to make the changes, staff can't do anything.

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By Jay Robb (anonymous) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 11:48:51

There are 1,600 businesses downtown that employ 23,400 people. I'm guessing not all of these folks live where they work. Advocates need to engage with this group and have them serve as ambassadors back in their neighbourhoods. This group has a vested interest in making Hamilton an even better place to live, work, play and shop.

And how about the customers and clients of those 1,600 businesses?

Also need the developers on board (and this is a group that seem to have the ear of politicians). Walkable urban space is the next hot real estate market. Downtown has great bones and we'll likely see an influx of Toronto commuters once all-day GO starts up in Hamilton.

That's how I'd broaden support beyond the usual suspects and frame as an economic development opportunity.

Councillors will get behind this is if it's a win with their constituents.

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By brodiec (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 11:54:26

I have a hunch that more than a few councillors have significant conflict of interest given ties to businesses in Hamilton that use downtown as a highway. I find this oppression of citizens at the behest of our transportion industry awfully suspect. I actually suspect it's the lynchpin that keeps the suburbs growing and downtown continually stifled and at impasse. Gotta build them Wal[asterisk]marts.

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By brodiec (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 11:56:55 in reply to Comment 80713

I'd also like to point out that I realize lots good is going on Downtown. But by comparison the giant investment in the community-formerly-called-Elfrida and other areas comes with political interest far above us lowly downtowners. I think it's worth attacking that directly to get the attention that is required to move this city forward. I don't want to live in Atlanta. I'll move.

Comment edited by brodiec on 2012-09-07 11:57:20

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By Jay Robb (anonymous) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 11:58:22 in reply to Comment 80692

I'm hearing this rhetoric from both sides. We run the risk of becoming entrenched in our positions and losing sight of the goal (to make downtown Hamilton an even better place to live, work, play and shop). We do ourselves no favours with broad generalizations that anyone who doesn't work or live in the core doesn't care about downtown and shouldn't have a say in its future. We need to rise above that debate and engage the entire community in a grown-up discussion about what downtown could and should become. And from those connections and conversations, you'll start building support for 2-way streets.

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By kiely (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 12:10:06 in reply to Comment 80702

If they won't listen to experts, what reason do we have to believe that they will listen to citizens?

The experts don't get to vote Highwater. Enough about the experts, yes, yes, we've heard it all before. Apparently the average Hamiltonian doesn't give a crap about Richard Florida and the cadre of experts the city has hosted over the years.

We need to engage the citizens and specifically the constituents of those councilors who don't support this. And as Jay points out the message needs to be improved. The advocates or "usual suspects" are being called out for hyperbole on this subject. Dianni did it in the last issue of Hamilton magazine and Dreschel did it just the other day in the Spec. These aren't unreasonable people and if they are calling hyperbole on the message than, maybe that is something to consider.

You can't start the conversation with "We're all right and you all need to listen to us" that isn't going to work. Many people have come on this forum and attempted to point out the short comings in how this forum advocates change but they are often labeled "concern trolls" (how about losing that dismissive and condescending BS to start with) or simply voted down for difference of opinion.

If the "usual suspects" want to be advocates for change the tone and maybe even the message itself needs to change because it seems to me something just isn't working with the current approach.

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By ThisIsOurHamilton (registered) - website | Posted September 07, 2012 at 12:19:50 in reply to Comment 80671

Why don't we have mandatory term limits?

Mostly because this is a provincially-controlled issue. Which means that you'd have to get a massive groundswell across the province to get MPPs to do something that quite frankly, few are interested in doing: placing limits on political service. This isn't going to happen.

Besides; we have 'term limits'; they're called elections.

The problem is that over the past twenty-five years, the return rate on incumbents has been about 90%. http://thisisourhamilton.ca/?p=1493 So in the end, if you want to kvetch about who's continually being voted back in, talk to those who do so of the 40% who vote...the sixty percent of these who do so according to 'name recognition'...or the sixty percent who simply don't vote.

Here's the reality, given that the trend for re-election is on the rise: almost all councillors who run in 2014 will be returned. (Maybe one won't.) It is possible to sweep out a council, or a huge chunk of one; Guelph did it recently. But not within a community that's not 'aware-and-energized'. And despite how things may look around here...or amongst the people you hang with...the truth is that Hamilton is not such a community.

But look at it this way: we have nowhere to go but 'up'. Hopefully.

Comment edited by ThisIsOurHamilton on 2012-09-07 12:20:29

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted September 07, 2012 at 12:24:32 in reply to Comment 80704

Yeah, that. Realistically, the councillors are accurately representing the wills of their constituency. To most of the city, downtown is a hole that's good for nothing but driving across, and should be abandoned as such. Failed mega-projects don't really dissuade them of the notion that downtown is unsalvageable.

So now we talk about damaging their commute for the sake of another attempt to breathe life into downtown. And, because of the perverse nature of democracy, they get their say over it.

Two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for lunch.

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By Rimshot (anonymous) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 12:33:48 in reply to Comment 80701

Possibly two of 'em.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 12:33:58 in reply to Comment 80716

What about all the hyperbole around the howls of GRIDLOCK!! we hear every time this subject comes up. We cannot have a rational discussion about this issue as long as this delusional perception about the traffic situation in this city persists, and that's not the fault of the 'usual suspects'. I'm not about to get too exercized about what Dreschel and DiIanni have to say about two-way advocates. They are pundits who fancy themselves reasonable moderates, so of course they are going to try to create a false equivalency between the arguments of two-way proponents and the claims of gridlock coming from status quo supporters.

BTW, one of the folks kindly pointing out our 'short-comings' recently, made the claim that Toronto's "traffic doesn't move, the streetcars don't move, the buses don't move, the firetrucks don't move..." When called on it, s/he stated "Traffic moves some of the time, but one accident anywhere downtown and the system grinds to a halt."

Please, tell me again, who is engaging in hyperbole?

Comment edited by highwater on 2012-09-07 13:27:20

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By ThisIsOurHamilton (registered) - website | Posted September 07, 2012 at 12:34:10 in reply to Comment 80716

You can't start the conversation with "We're all right and you all need to listen to us" that isn't going to work.

Or as I said in an op-ed, 'Sometimes it's not enough to be right.'

Additionally, I can tell you that amongst the 'general population'...you know, the ones that most councillors don't want to offend...that the 'conversion' proponents are seen as zealots. And we know what generally happens to zealots. (They don't get their own bobbleheads or cable tv show.)

For me, the truth is that at some point, those of us who want specific change in the city are going to have to take the bull by the horns. And this isn't about being more forceful or getting angrier or hunkering down. Because quite frankly, even though I'm for thoughtful reversion, I can see this going nowhere. That in a decade, it'll still be an issue for some, while others will be shaking their heads at how truculent these people are.

I'm in the process of working on a proposition towards eventually seeing some degree of reversion, and would love to share when it's ready for deconstruction. This can be accomplished...but not by the means that have thus far been attempted.

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted September 07, 2012 at 13:03:06 in reply to Comment 80690

"Hamilton needs a new approach to citizen engagement & participatory democracy." - Jay Robb

Well maybe it is time to look at our council as "our customers... i.e. our corporate clients", and not as our elected officials.

5 Traps You Have To Avoid When Pitching Bold Ideas by Mark Rolston

A client’s resistance to an innovative idea has a lot to do with how you present it.

"Here, Frog’s Mark Rolston delivers tips on how to re-frame your pitch: My experience leading Frog, a 1,000-person global creative organization, for 18 years, has left me with a few key insights about how the creative industry needs to improve its communication with its corporate clients. If we do, the result will be a win-win situation for companies, innovation consultancies, and, most important, consumers. We will all see more innovation come to market."

"Seeing the Problem Through the Client’s Eyes: A group of young designers in a workshop recently came to me and complained that their clients were treating them as vendors. They expected more respect from the relationship. My answer was to ask them about the opposite situation: Were they treating their customers as “merely” clients? It turns out that’s too frequently the case. All basic qualities of customer service aside, the primary fault lies in designers’ failure to take the time to understand the full scope of a client’s specific challenge."

"Lately in design, it’s been very popular to speak of our work in terms of storytelling, but I believe that the story we tell is really made of (at least) three core lenses: narrative, parametric, and experiential. Through the narrative lens we describe our work through the sequential action of the user’s experience--often a day-in-the-life scenario for our target consumer. It’s the most basic form of storytelling. In our narrative, we illustrate how the proposed design will change something about the end user’s experience, or how they will behave. Second, the parametric lens is the physical description of your design. “It’s this big and has these features.” Lastly, the experiential lens is less about how we as designers describe the design but how we allow the artifact(s) of the design to tell their own story. It’s about how our customer, the client, takes in the qualities, the details, the story, through their own eyes at their own pace. As I often say, hand the model to your customers and then shut up."

On Wet Blankets and Reframing Failure - 4 Strategies For Winning Over Innovation Naysayers.

Comment edited by Mahesh_P_Butani on 2012-09-07 13:33:40

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 13:07:17 in reply to Comment 80720

I think we need to just keep hammering away. Dont' waste your time trying to convince Joe Blow in Ward 6 or 8.

I mean they have councillors sitting there with a straight face saying things like "James South hasn't improved being 2-way" and "If it's good for downtown it's probably good for all of us, but I'm opposed".

James Street could become the next Queen West and they'll all still say it sucks and is dead and they'll never come down. Our hope in seeing change doesn't lie with the 1950's crowd. Ignore them and move onto the ones who matter - city council AND staff. Despite being too swayed by the desire for re-election, they are all actually very smart and quite level-headed folks. Days like yesterday don't back up this view, but whatever. I'm sure being able to dialogue with them and show them the lack of disaster from a transportation perspective on John, James and York will help them to see past their constituent rhetoric.

Keep sending emails...thoughtful, smart emails like the first 83. Save the hyperbole for CHML and other dying media outlets. Council is responsible for the city, not a radio host or west mountain granny. Once we help council see that complete streets are actually good for all of us, they'll get on board. They always do.

Comment edited by jason on 2012-09-07 13:07:41

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By brendan (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 13:14:05

I'm really enjoying the serious conversation about how to change the message so that liveable streets resonate with the whole electorate, but

Two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for lunch.

that sir, is my new favourite bit of snark. Good show.

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By Conrad66 (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 13:25:04 in reply to Comment 80718

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted September 07, 2012 at 13:25:48 in reply to Comment 80724

Old people vote. Consistently. In large numbers.

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By Conrad66 (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 13:26:59 in reply to Comment 80718

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

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By JM (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 13:32:14 in reply to Comment 80697

it can easily be paired with West 5th to go the other way!

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted September 07, 2012 at 13:34:15 in reply to Comment 80726

... seriously? Slow down and re-read what I posted. I didn't say that downtown Hamilton is a hole, I'm saying that most of the city sees downtown as a hole. That's hard to deny, isn't it?

Also, take a pill, internet tough-guy.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2012-09-07 13:34:59

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By Conrad66 (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 13:42:05

Welll i have lots of friends in ward 3 .... were all sending e-mail to Bernie to opsse all the mountain counsels

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By Conrad66 (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 13:47:33 in reply to Comment 80712

@Jay Mewmans mens waer has said a few thing on RTH erlie last year you should take a look .... !

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By kettal (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 13:53:50 in reply to Comment 80720

BTW, one of the folks kindly pointing out our 'short-comings' recently, made the claim that Toronto's "traffic doesn't move, the streetcars don't move, the buses don't move, the firetrucks don't move..." When called on it, s/he stated "Traffic moves some of the time, but one accident anywhere downtown and the system grinds to a halt."

You won't find a single Torontonian who thinks traffic, gridlock, and transit is not the most pressing issue in the city.

Comment edited by kettal on 2012-09-07 14:04:37

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By Conrad66 (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 13:58:30 in reply to Comment 80730

Your prob wright but its counsels like the burbs and suburse are not making things better Oh i don`t need any pills and internet tough-guy .. lol

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By kettal (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 14:04:15 in reply to Comment 80697

I wonder why McHattie didn't put forward this amendment to the item?

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By whoisjohngalt (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 14:12:01 in reply to Comment 80700

Having spent 21 years living in Ward 6 . . . I can certainly say that there are many people on the East Mountain who support the idea of this conversion. I have elderly relatives living in Ward 6 who fondly remember two way downtown streets, the incline railway and when Slainte was a blacksmith shop that shod horses. They've been saying for 50 years that one way streets were a bad idea and they're still saying it today. Several friends and neighbours of our family in Ward 6 run downtown businesses and they all support the idea of two way streets. Please don't paint everyone with the same brush; I doubt you will succeed in getting many more mountain residents on board if you don't include them in your version of the future. Let's elevate the level of the debate instead of buying into Tom Jackson's "inner city vs suburbs" mentality.

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By whoisjohngalt (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 14:20:56 in reply to Comment 80687

Again, you're buying into the "downtown vs suburbs" false dichotomy that has bogged this debate down from day one. Without convincing more of the suburban councilors/residents that conversion is a good idea, there is just no way this will get through. Maybe safety isn't the best tack after all, but I have yet to hear of any other cohesive strategy for reaching out to residents outside the core to build consensus on this issue.

How do we make this a "wedge issue"? It needs to be clearly demonstrated why two-way streets will be better for EVERYONE in Hamilton including suburban voters.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 07, 2012 at 14:27:09 in reply to Comment 80737

Assuming basic fairness - would you want your street to be one-way? - isn't compelling enough, two-way streets downtown will:

  • Increase retail trade and property values, helping the city's tax assessment.

  • Make downtown more attractive to investors and new residents.

  • Make downtown streets safer for all users, not just pedestrians.

  • Encourage more business startups and help create new jobs.

  • Alleviate pressure to continue expanding the suburban boundary for new sprawl.

The real problem is that some people are afraid of change and reflexively oppose anything that upends the status quo. Evidence simply doesn't matter to someone who has dug in on not touching our one-way thoroughfares.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2012-09-07 14:30:10

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By hytre (anonymous) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 14:39:22 in reply to Comment 80694

I think you're right here to a point. We'll get Hunter and Herkimer and a few other conversions, but not Main, King, Cannon, or Queen without a big fight. To do that the city councillors need to make it a priority. They need to horsetrade that for something the mountain folks want, like maybe A line LRT as a priority over B line. Without parties, municipal politics is all about trading votes.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted September 07, 2012 at 14:44:48 in reply to Comment 80739

We'll get Hunter and Herkimer and a few other conversions

Even this is looking to be an obscenely hard, slow slog for something that should be completely uncontroversial.

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By Frankenrogers (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 14:49:08 in reply to Comment 80677

No b/c even experts is a derogatory term to them.

From CBC Hamilton “I have a little trouble with a 'plethora' of experts who want two-way street conversion because there are just as many people who like one-way streets,” (Coun. Brad Clark) said.

Sheesh, even as a teenager I saw in the early 90s that dt was dying. They can't see this?

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 15:00:02 in reply to Comment 80704

I'm a Hamilton Mountain Resident and I"m frustrated with one-way streets in the downtown. I support the conversion of all streets in downtown Hamilton that can realistically be converted to two-way (including King and Main).

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By Jay Robb (anonymous) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 15:02:02 in reply to Comment 80713

Or maybe the councillors know the majority of their constituents have little if any awareness or interest in the issue at this point in time. Councillors have nothing to lose by saying no to an implementation committee and possibly something to lose if their constituents question why their tax dollars are being spent on street conversions. It's up to 2-way advocates to make the case for conversions and influence the perceptions of Hamiltonians beyond the downtown core. Smart politicians listen to their voters, something our long-serving councillors are obviously very adept at doing.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted September 07, 2012 at 15:02:10 in reply to Comment 80741

Am I the only one who can't create a commenting account on CBC's website? Every time I see an article there I try to, and every time I get stumped.

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 15:28:17 in reply to Comment 80741

Honestly, some old grandma in his ward enjoying a cup of powdered milk deserves to have her opinion on these matters held higher than world-wide experts??

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 15:29:33 in reply to Comment 80709

Or ice cream shop and car wash owners.

Comment edited by jason on 2012-09-07 15:29:43

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By hytre (anonymous) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 15:40:26 in reply to Comment 80738

disagree about the real problem. The real problem is that a ten minute commute will turn into a 15 minute one for many people with two way streets. That's a lot more real for most voters than the more external health and safety, economic growth, or sprawl concerns. Sure those people are afraid of change, but I'd argue it's more rational than you think - they value their extra ten minutes a day more than they care about a downtown resident's quality of life.

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By mountaingoat (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 15:44:39 in reply to Comment 80679

Hey we need all you mountain residents and suburban folks who support 2 way conversion to contact your respective slack-jawed councillors and tell them so!! Thanks!

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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 16:26:41 in reply to Comment 80744

No trouble here. Maybe it's your gmail account. ;)

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By Core-B (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 16:29:37

I agree with you that change is slow. To illustrate that, I was somewhat surprised that Councillor Morelli wanted the original motion extended to include Ward 3. I've not thought of him as too engaged (except during the run up to the election). But Kudos to him for this. As for any notions of proposing Mountain one way streets is counter productive.

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By kiely (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 18:00:05 in reply to Comment 80716

I'm not saying his argument was very well constructed Ryan, just that it was there and it echoes similar comments. You can either absorb the criticism and use it to analyse, refine and improve your message to confront the criticisms and concerns, or not, that is up to you.

Sadly it doesn't matter that their arguments often lack the benefits of facts, analysis or even truth. It is simple inertia, you are the one that wants change, you are the one who has to do the most work, be on point with message and find a way to bridge the gap in opinions and priorities. The people who don’t want things to change have to do very little to keep it that way. The object at rest will stay at rest.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 18:05:39 in reply to Comment 80721

Or as I said in an op-ed, 'Sometimes it's not enough to be right.'

Yep, sucks but it is true.

Good post TIOH.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted September 07, 2012 at 18:25:18 in reply to Comment 80752

you, you, you!

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 18:54:59

If we make Main and King two-way, what are we supposed to do with the 403 highway ramps? The province has to be involved, and I don't think they will pay the millions of dollars needed to make new highway on/off ramps.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted September 07, 2012 at 19:58:45 in reply to Comment 80749

I deserved that.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted September 07, 2012 at 20:13:29 in reply to Comment 80755

The Main Street north-side offramp could probably be reconstructed into a T-intersection since the spot where it meets the road is all on the ground. The King onramp towards Brantford would be the really hard one... its possible that the freakishly-wide ramp could be done as an intersection, but that would still be tight and tricky. And of course, the other two ramps merge into the right-side of traffic.

In general it's a bad design to start with - cities that have proper T-intersections where the expressway ramps meet traffic are slower but don't have the mayhem of OMGGOTTAGETOVER that we have on King/Main, and are less deathtrappy at the pedestrian crossings... but it is what it is and you're right that we can't completely throw out the ramps and rebuild, especially now after they're just finishing off the OMG neverending maintenance rebuild.

King might have to remain one-way forever though if we get LRT anyhow (don't hold your breath), since the plan for LRT is to run it on the South side of King. Two ways plus LRT isn't really doable... heck, any ways plus LRT isn't really doable when you get into the International Village.

But obviously, 1-way on one bridge and 2-ways on the other bridge isn't exactly an ideal layout.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2012-09-07 20:13:58

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 20:29:58 in reply to Comment 80747

So they move out of the city for a variety of reasons...perhaps not 'family-friendly' enough for them. I wonder myself sometimes why I choose to raise my kids around roaring freeways. The stupid part of me always assumes that we live in a city that believes in safe roads for everyone.

Back to my point - they move out of the city, or get a job in the city, but instead of moving closer to work the rest of us have to suffer with a lower quality of life, while they live it up out in the exclusively two-way suburbs??

Nothing rational about that at all in my books. Selfish, yes. Not rational.

Comment edited by jason on 2012-09-07 20:30:15

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 20:31:39 in reply to Comment 80686

And guess what? Progressive urban-loving residents are generally younger. It might take us years or decades, but this fight will absolutely be won.

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 20:33:48 in reply to Comment 80739

How is Queen being lumped in with Main and Cannon?? It's 2-lanes, never slow and would make life a whole lot easier for a LOT of people, including those Mountain folks who refuse to use the freeway we built for them at Garth. Now, those who come down to Queen could just go up to Main or King to get where they need to go, or all the way to the waterfront and back without zig zagging all over the place. Shows how often folks in Whitehead's ward come downtown. THEY should be begging us to convert Queen.

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 20:38:18 in reply to Comment 80755

this was modelled on RTH previously. If you look at the Google maps image of those ramps you'll see that the land is already there to have both ramps angled to 90 degrees with Main and King very simply, and cheaply. Throw up a stop-light and that's it.

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By Fencesitter (anonymous) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 21:01:36 in reply to Comment 80700

Good Point.
Let us presume the one-way streets continued past the Delta and I wanted to get to Eastside Marios (opposite Eastgate on Queenston and Greenford).
My eastbound journey along Main would force me to continue onto King east past the Delta. I would then have to go all the way to Centennial, head northbound before heading west again on Queenston. Only 7.0km (from the Delta).
The current inconvenient two-way version - 4.8km.
I will not even start on the wonderful cut-through traffic the north/south streets would come to love.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted September 07, 2012 at 21:14:24 in reply to Comment 80760

I assume the sticking-point is Queen from Cannon to King... I mean, Westbound drivers from the Mountain being able to get all the way to Queen at King instead of going onto Aberdeen would be awesome, I'd agree. Cannon-Queen-King is the main westbound corridor to the 403 bridge.

And yes, Cannon-Queen-King is the westbound truck route (iirc, King isn't a truck route east of Bay or something), so converting the entire length of Queen and Cannon to one-way means butting heads with the city's obviously-influential trucking companies.

However, you're right that Queen south of King, (and especially south of Main) should be relatively straightforward. But again, we've a total lack of political will on the whole of council, and it seems like our downtown councilors are having trouble even extracting the simple stuff from them (the new traffic light on Aberdeen is great, but it's sad that it ended up being such a Herculean achievement on McHattie's part).

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2012-09-07 21:15:58

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 21:46:46 in reply to Comment 80761

I'm not saying it's impossible. But the Province has to be involved. And it will be expensive. So basically impossible.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 21:48:33 in reply to Comment 80696

Ron Foxcroft and his Fluke Transportation that's who.

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 21:52:10 in reply to Comment 80736

This is great stuff. PLEASE get your elderly relatives to contact their councillor. Honestly, this is the only way we'll see change happen - support showing up from around the city. An older couple who remembers how much better 2-way streets were really need to have their voice heard, even if it's just a phone call or email.

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 07, 2012 at 21:53:22 in reply to Comment 80764

It won't be that expensive. Literally just a slight jog on each ramp. New stoplights. That's it.

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By PearlStreet (registered) | Posted September 08, 2012 at 02:18:28

During this meeting councellor Brad Clark of Ward 9 argued against two-way traffic and uses Paris France as a comparison with Hamilton? That. Is. Laughable. This will be argued, but the argument is easy.... WELCOME THE NEW TWO-WAYS!

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By Ti Cats fan (anonymous) | Posted September 08, 2012 at 06:24:20

Maybe if we can point out to our council the the conversion of our downtown streets to two way will involve reconfiguring most of the intersections, which will involve lots of additional construction and concrete. They will then get onboard because after all is said and done they are the group that provides the most money to support their campaigns and vote buying.We are each only one vote, but donations and support workers can and do buy many more votes. We have all seen this time and again.Lets get onboard and remind council that votes are there to be had with the conversion to two way.

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By Public space Pete (anonymous) | Posted September 08, 2012 at 09:23:23 in reply to Comment 80678

Even if you talk to citizens in each councillors ward and persuade them to pressure their own elected officials.

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 08, 2012 at 09:46:14

I've been thinking of the best way to approach council with my next letter to them on the topic. After reading two pieces in today's Spec about school inequality and the closure of the Normanhurst rec centre, I'm going to appeal to council's mandate to do something about Code Red and Best Place to Raise a Child. Almost half the people in my neighbourhood don't own a car. Which means they, and their kids, rely on walking biking and transit to get everywhere including school, rec centres, parks etc.... SURELY, improving quality of life for our most disadvantaged residents is more important than a potential 3 or 4 minute slowdown for an Ancaster commuter headed to Eastgate Square who chooses to bypass the $200 million freeway we built that takes them right there without needing to use our one-way streets. I say 'potential 3 or 4 minute slowdown' because as we've seen with York Blvd, there's a good chance there will be no slowdown since Hamilton has a massive excess of un-needed lanes.
Do we care about Code Red, or does council really like hearing that lifespan inequality stat between Ancaster and central Hamilton?? I believe they really care, and will appeal to that sense of 'fellow human being' in my next dialogue with them. Terry Cooke's one-way quote in today's school article is bang on. We either care about improving quality of life in our poorest hoods, or we care more about suburban car shortcutting.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted September 08, 2012 at 10:37:09 in reply to Comment 80755

I believe you asked about this before and I replied directly to you including diagrams and satellite view mock ups. Yes it will cost money, but it is not as complex as you are making it out to be. Go back and read it again.

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By jeremy greenspan (anonymous) | Posted September 08, 2012 at 13:16:47

I wonder if it might be a good idea to focus attention on the benefits of converting Cannon Street in particular. I think a big part of the suburban reaction is the fear of changing King and Main immediately. I think a media campaign that was about Cannon could be both achievable and would highlight the broader issues. thoughts?

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By ThisIsOurHamilton (registered) - website | Posted September 08, 2012 at 15:52:36 in reply to Comment 80782

thoughts?

For what it's worth:

(And not putting too fine a point on it, the reason I believe the kind of resident-centric approach this proposal is founded on is necessary is because I don’t think we need to continue consistently putting faith in councillors to ‘do the right thing’, get outraged by them not following-through as hoped-for…and then watch them get re-elected. If you want your employees to do a particular task…then make it clear to them what that particular task is. Staying within this analogy, I don’t believe that email campaigns and op-eds and articles are going to accomplish this; not enough of the ‘employers’ are engaged in the process.)

From: http://thisisourhamilton.ca/?p=2376

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted September 08, 2012 at 17:30:05 in reply to Comment 80782

And finish making Wilson 2-way all the way to Sherman. I know Morelli is trying to convert Sherman North, it's forcing all the southbound traffic from Barton down narrow residential streets trying to get to Canon.

Canon, Wilson and Sherman conversions are probably the most bang for the dollar, hardly anything to do.

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By Rimshot (anonymous) | Posted September 08, 2012 at 18:41:55 in reply to Comment 80767

Just like we fixed those one way streets. Looking forward to seeing this!

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By Chevron (anonymous) | Posted September 09, 2012 at 09:49:39 in reply to Comment 80782

If you predicated two-way implementation of making the biggest difference to the quality of life of Hamiltonians, when focusing on Cannon you would start with the 1.7km from Sherman to Wellington. The population density in the neighbourhoods flanking that stretch is almost 30% higher than that flanking the 1.7km from Wellington to York.

http://www.raisethehammer.org/static/presentations/hamilton_cts.html

Starting conversion in Gibson/Landsdale might also be more achievable since it would not disturb freight transport's use of Wellington.

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By Chevron (anonymous) | Posted September 09, 2012 at 09:51:42 in reply to Comment 80781

Agreed. It's not exceptionally complex. It's simply a matter of timing.

http://raisethehammer.org/comment/80789

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By Steve (anonymous) | Posted September 09, 2012 at 20:22:03 in reply to Comment 80750

Kudo's??? Really, a statement like that shows why he's been able to survive for a generation while his Ward slipped into an abyss.

Don't lose sight that he's a 21 year councillor and as such he should be a leader who champions this sort of initiative, not jump on at the last minute when he knows it's doomed.

He's a zero friend to 2way conversionm except for perhaps a small portion of Victoria and that at the request of a favoured developer. For back-up to that statement go to King and Sanford and view the brand new 'bump-out' on northwest corner at Catholic CAS, which will make any 2way conversion of Sanford a no-go for years to come.

Kudos to him for his continued ability to have people buy what he's selling when it's rotten to the core.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 09, 2012 at 21:55:56 in reply to Comment 80733

So, you've gone from "Toronto traffic doesn't move", to "it moves some of the time", to "it's the most pressing issue". Well, I suppose that's progress, but you're still engaging in hyperbole. I used to live on Toronto and have friends and family there, all of whom drive. None of them consider traffic issues to be anything more than a minor inconvenience. Lack of investment in transit on the other hand, ...but that's another issue...

Comment edited by highwater on 2012-09-09 21:56:42

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted September 10, 2012 at 07:14:48 in reply to Comment 80724

Come live on John or James South for a week. See how well it works. You live farther west, so it's easy to point and say 'hey, when I was down in the area for a little while on one day it was perfect'.

Comment edited by DowntownInHamilton on 2012-09-10 07:15:09

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted September 10, 2012 at 07:19:38 in reply to Comment 80760

Did you see what Queen was like last Wednesday or Thursday when there was a collision at Queen and Aberdeen? Sure, the intersection was closed, but it was a zoo. Put in 2-way north of Aberdeen and it's going to be a madhouse. As well, the already nerve wracking turn from Herkimer across Queen is unsafe, adding 2-way beyond there makes it impossible to cross since it doesn't line up properly.

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By JM (registered) | Posted September 10, 2012 at 08:39:42 in reply to Comment 80772

so its okay to compare ourselves to Paris when we talk about one-way streets.... but when it comes to LRT, its not possible because "this is Hamilton!"

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 10, 2012 at 08:44:08 in reply to Comment 80802

It shouldn't surprise anyone at this point to learn that Paris is also converting its one-way streets back to two-way, and for the same reasons we want to convert Hamilton's one-way streets back to two-way.

The official justifications for the two-way conversion are similar to the arguments being made in Hamilton: to improve access to the centre of Paris (i.e. favour local destination rather than through traffic), improve the safety of pedestrians, and allow cyclists to travel in both directions.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted September 10, 2012 at 09:46:46 in reply to Comment 80802

See also bike lanes.

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By ORiTvOnline (registered) - website | Posted September 10, 2012 at 10:31:24

The one thing that everyone visiting me from out of Hamilton tell me is....'I almost got lost with all you one ways streets". And I reply by saying, 'Ya you have to live here to understand it". Just saying...

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted September 10, 2012 at 10:53:42 in reply to Comment 80801

So you are using a fringe case (a completely closed intersection) to argue against two way conversion as if the mayhem of an intersection closure is a regular occurrence? How does that make any sense?

When streets get shut down due to accidents, a two way network relieves the mayhem because there are far more alternatives allowing you to get around the incident.

A full closure at the bottom of a mountain access is not something we should be planning our entire transportation system to accommodate.

As for Herkimer and Queen, the crossing would be far less nerve wracking if Queen was not built for speed and we removed the freeway style turning ramps. If the volume requires a light, then one can be installed.

Why is it in Hamilton, these little "problems" are show stoppers but we somehow managed to cut two highways through our city and build all of that infrastructure without declaring an engineering emergency...

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted September 10, 2012 at 20:48:38

Keep Main, King, Wellington and Victoria out of it. Everything else convert.

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 10, 2012 at 21:20:03 in reply to Comment 80809

why don't residents of those streets deserve a better quality of life? Can we convert your street to one-way?? Sad to see the upper class ring around Hamilton dump on the poorest neighbourhoods once again, all so they can save a few minutes driving time. How does a person ever degrade to the point of believing their 3 minutes is more important than assisting the poorest by improving their every-day quality of life? 50% of people in my hood don't own a car. Clark and Fergusons 3 or 4 extra minutes in their warm, convenient car is really more important than giving these kids safer streets to walk and cycle on as their ONLY mode of transport?? We say we need mixed-income in these neighbourhoods to help break the curse of Code Red...why would a higher income person move to a dangerous, noisy, life-sucking freeway unless they have to?? And the only way they would have to is if a financial crisis hits them...taking them out of the upper income tier and down into lower level...thereby perpetuating the poverty cycle. Seems like a huge part of the city loves code red and wants to keep it that way. Sad

Comment edited by jason on 2012-09-10 21:22:34

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted September 10, 2012 at 21:53:07

Here is the link to an opinion piece by Andrew Dreschel titled "Council corrects giant misstep by McHattie and Farr" in today's Hamilton Spectator: http://www.thespec.com/opinion/columns/a...

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By PearlStreet (registered) | Posted September 11, 2012 at 16:30:55 in reply to Comment 80802

No its not, most streets in Paris have no choise to be one-way, they won't fit anything wider.

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted September 11, 2012 at 19:53:14 in reply to Comment 80810

My street is already one way, and I live downtown, but please continue to generalize.

Those streets should not be converted because not only are they major through fares, but you also are required to spend a LOT of money converting the nearby Clairmont access. One of the reasons I moved here is because I can go down Main easily when I drive and walk or bike down trails or side streets when I walk or bike. Hence why other conversions I support.

Seriously, trying to tie street conversion directly to code red is a lame argument at best. I'll agree two way streets can make an area more liveable, but not to the point of reversing abject poverty and magically resolving high amount of people in poverty because of drugs or disability. One needs only look at how much stable development is present surrounding the LINC to see that thoroughfares have benefits as well and that there is a need for them.

Instead of trying to find a workable compromise, and actually accomplish worthwhile conversions slowly (like a full conversion of York, Queen, Cathrine, Charlton, Herkimer, Wentworth, Sanford or Hunter) far too many just simply repeat the same mantra of Two Way Good, One Way Bad all must convert NOW!

Comment edited by -Hammer- on 2012-09-11 20:00:44

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By chris angel (registered) | Posted September 14, 2012 at 14:01:17 in reply to Comment 80702

The larger the group of 2-way advocates the more difficult it is to dismiss. You need to be able to establish that the number of people you represent could be a factor in elections. Until you can demonstrate this they have only pissed of 81 voters for certain plus the people they may influence. Worst or best case scenario at this point would be a few hundred votes lost or gained depending on the position taken. If you can show thousands of votes are potentially in the mix you are likely to prevail.

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By Chris Angel (registered) | Posted September 14, 2012 at 14:20:04 in reply to Comment 80716

Please allow me to second the thought that "Many people have come on this forum and attempted to point out the short comings in how this forum advocates change but they are often labelled "concern trolls" (how about losing that dismissive and condescending BS to start with) or simply voted down for difference of opinion." It totally pervades this publication and having experienced this first hand I too have drawn attention to it. The response was a systemic and rapid vote down by some who must live here and of course an endless barrage of dismissive and condescending responses. That will win over a person or is it drive them away? One seems as good as the other most of the time when one dast declare an opinion not in lock step with 2-way conversion or stadium location or ............

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