Special Report: Walkable Streets

One-Way King Street Strikes Again

People make decisions at the margin, and small differences in accessibility produce big differences in behaviour.

By Ryan McGreal
Published March 18, 2013

On Friday night we met some friends and had dinner at the Black Forest Inn at King and Ferguson. We hadn't eaten there in years, and I'm happy to report that the food and service were every bit as excellent as we remembered it, and the house was jam-packed.

However, the trip also illustrated the inconvenience of paired one-way streets - even for drivers - for trying to reach a destination on the street itself rather than across town.

We drove east along Main to pass the restaurant and then double back on King. I can never remember where destinations are on King when I'm approaching them on Main, so I planned to take no chances: I'd pass Wellington and then make my first left. Luckily my wife, whose sense of direction is inerrant, told me to make a left on Spring so I didn't have to overshoot by three blocks.

Meanwhile, another couple meeting us turned too soon and undershot the restaurant. They had to make two more turns, get back onto Main and try again. A third couple decided to approach from the north, which presents its own challenges.

As we sat in the lounge waiting for our table, we all commented on how cumbersome it was to drive there. It comes no surprise that the International Village BIA, which encompasses 113 businesses (including the Black Forest Inn), formally and strongly supports two-way conversion:

The perpetuation of one-way streets has bred a culture in this city where the needs of the car outweigh those of the pedestrian, the cyclist and the community. Where businesses are allowed, even encouraged to fail in favour of high-speed traffic and timed lights. Where the safety of our citizens and our children are of lesser import than the perceived right of motorists to maintain highway speeds at all times.

We have allowed the economic and cultural destiny of the city's core to be subverted to serve the interests of those who want nothing from our downtown but to pass through it, and it is time for this to end.

The businesses represented by the International Village BIA understand better than anyone how our network of one-way streets hurt local business and community vitality. Last May, Aaron Newman of Newman's Menswear - also on King Street, but farther east - explained what's wrong with one-way traffic:

Try telling someone to find our store from the west end. It's a complex set of directions, wastes both time and gas, creates more travel and really thwarts our accessibility to customers. For a retailer, making it hard for a customer is never a good thing!

It might seem as though a one-way street is only a small inconvenience, a marginal irritant that shouldn't make a difference, but economists - and experienced business owners - know better. People make decisions at the margin, and small changes in accessibility can lead to big changes in behaviour.

The cost in convenience of trying to drive upstream toward a destination on a one-way street whose traffic flows the other way has been dragging on downtown retail businesses for decades - ever since the streets were first converted to one-way in 1956.

Within months, downtown retailers were already complaining about lost business and falling revenues. Here's Ben Wunder speaking to the Transportation Committee in 1957 about how fast one-way traffic flows scared away his customers.

Many of us spent a lot of money on new store fronts. It was futile. Our windows are no good nowadays, people have no time to stop and look. Nobody comes from the west end of the city any more. We would like to see King Street two-way once more.

You people are supposed to be working for the people ... [sic] well, we are the people, too, and of what good is King Street without merchants? It seems as if everything possible has been done to take people away from King Street East!

As we approach the 60th anniversary of our city's fateful decision to convert its downtown streets into paired one-way thoroughfares, we could do much worse than pay attention to those businesses that have struggled to survive these many decades:

There is no greater obstacle to the success of businesses within our core, and no single issue that could be fixed more easily.

We remain crippled by our fear of the unknown, but what really frightens me is that the known and predictable results of our current system might continue for a minute longer than they have to!

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. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and 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. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

76 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By Sweep (anonymous) | Posted March 18, 2013 at 13:39:45

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.

Permalink | Context

By Whaa? (anonymous) | Posted March 19, 2013 at 07:14:41 in reply to Comment 87280

Why do people need to get over it? Why not just make it easier for people to get where they want to go downtown? I don't understand your comment.

Permalink | Context

By jason (registered) | Posted March 18, 2013 at 13:46:56 in reply to Comment 87280

see my post below. To use your logic, "it isn't that hard to slide a quarter into a parking meter." Mapping and GPS? Really? This isn't a trip to Europe. It's a local resident heading out for dinner in their neighbourhood. Why don't we put parking meters back in downtown Stoney Creek and Waterdown, but place them 4 blocks away, down an alley and behind a big hedge.
Surely any resident with half a brain can download a city app or GPS and find the parking meters lickitty-split.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted March 18, 2013 at 13:42:36

It might seem as though a one-way street is only a small inconvenience, a marginal irritant that shouldn't make a difference, but economists - and experienced business owners - know better. People make decisions at the margin, and small changes in accessibility can lead to big changes in behaviour.

This point is absolutely right, and everyone outside of the core who constantly praise our one-way streets knows this point to be true. How do I know? Because they are always the ones freaking out and demanding instant change to any perceived slight inconvenience to their local businesses. Case in point - Waterdown and Stoney Creek going berserk to have parking meters removed.
So, on completely easy to navigate, safe, two-way, complete streets in downtown Stoney Creek and Waterdown the local reps and citizens felt that tossing a few quarters into a parking meter right next to ones car was a big enough deterrent to harm business. Yet they are quite often the same folks who dismiss concerns about the huge effects our one-way system has on businesses along King, Main, Cannon etc....
Let's trade. We'll take their parking meters, they can take our one-way streets. Oh wait, we already have both, and they have none. Just more proof of the double standard in this city that intentionally helps suburban neighbourhoods and intentionally harms urban ones.

Permalink | Context

By Conrad664 (registered) | Posted March 18, 2013 at 14:12:17 in reply to Comment 87281

OMG Jason you are soo wright on this one wtg

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted March 18, 2013 at 14:28:59

Hamilton’s streets should be for people — in cars, on bikes and on foot
Hamilton Spectator / Ryan McGreal / Mon Mar 18 2013 09:09:00

I’m prepared to accept the claim, made by Ron Johnson in this space last Wednesday, that “streets are for traffic” — with one important caveat: “Traffic” means people, not just people in cars.

A city whose streets are designed for people in cars, but not all the other ways people use to get around — like walking, cycling and public transit — is dysfunctional by design.

A good city street connects people to destinations, and to each other, in safe and productive ways. It achieves a balance in which people on foot, on bicycles and in cars can coexist peacefully.

Cities with more walkable streets have higher real estate values and stronger economies. They foster more innovation, create more jobs and generate more wealth. More walkable cities enjoy a “walkability dividend” in which money saved on cars fuels the local economy instead.

This is increasingly true as our culture shifts away from the car-dominated postwar era. Across North America, people are moving from suburbs and exurbs back into cities.

Among young adults, the rate of driving and even driver’s licences has been falling steadily since the 1990s, and surveys of young people increasingly find they would rather live in the city than pay for a car. (General Motors actually hired an MTV executive to try to woo young customers.)

Part of it is structural: one-way radio broadcast networks support driving, but two-way social networks interfere with it. Many youths would rather spend their discretionary money on a high-end smartphone than a car.

More generally, urban economists are converging on the conclusion that cities are most successful when they focus on cultivating high-quality neighbourhoods to attract people, instead of trying to lure people with jobs.

Healthy urban environments bring people into contact and create the conditions under which new ideas and new businesses emerge. Young, high-growth companies are net job creators while large, mature companies are busy shedding jobs.

Cities that are better at attracting people are also better at creating jobs for them — and cities with more walkable neighbourhoods do a better job of attracting people.

But balanced streets are also safer for all users, including drivers. For example, adding bike lanes to a city street reduces the number and severity of collisions while increasing the number of cyclists.

More walkable neighbourhoods also reduce obesity, diabetes and heart disease by getting more people walking and cycling. Even switching from car to transit drops five pounds on average.

Cities that make it easier to walk, cycle or take transit also have lower overall air pollution. More than half of Hamilton’s nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compound emissions come from tailpipes rather than smokestacks, so getting more people to choose active transportation means fewer hospital visits and fewer premature deaths.

One-way streets may be compatible with street life in midtown Manhattan, where most people don’t drive, sidewalks are very wide and automobile traffic moves slowly. But that’s not how Hamilton’s one-ways operate.

It’s not even how streets operate elsewhere in New York. A 2007 plan to convert several Brooklyn streets to one-way met strong community opposition, and other Brooklyn streets have been converted to two-way in the past few years.

In downtown Hamilton, our multi-lane thoroughfares are antithetical to walkability, which is why every urban planning expert who comes to Hamilton exhorts us to tame them.

In any case, the idea that two-way streets can’t support the city’s automobile traffic is just wrong. The city’s daily traffic-volume measurements from 2009-10 may surprise opponents of two-way conversion, as some of the highest traffic volumes are on two-way streets.

Concession near Upper Gage is one lane each way with curbside parking, but carries 9,400 cars per day. That’s slightly more than Cannon west of Sherman — a four-lane, one-way arterial.

Upper James at Mohawk carries a whopping 32,800 cars a day on two lanes each way. Compare King at Bay, which carries 24,900 cars on four one-way lanes.

Golf Links at Stonechurch carries 26,600 cars on two lanes each way, while Main at Bay carries 28,400 cars on five one-way lanes.

Garth at Fennell carries 19,700 cars on two lanes each way, while Main at Wellington carries 21,100 cars on five one-way lanes.

Not only can we convert our streets to two-way, but we can widen sidewalks and add dedicated bike lanes without even denting their current traffic load.

http://www.thespec.com/opinion/columns/article/903433--hamilton-s-streets-should-be-for-people-in-cars-on-bikes-and-on-foot

Permalink | Context

By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted March 19, 2013 at 02:21:58 in reply to Comment 87284

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.

Permalink | Context

By Cultosaurus (registered) | Posted March 19, 2013 at 12:48:22 in reply to Comment 87311

We have a complete ring road highway system, why do we need another defacto highway system running straight through the city? And I have news for you, Hamilton is not going to stay a commuter city for very long.

Permalink | Context

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 19, 2013 at 12:59:37 in reply to Comment 87330

There's a widespread perception that Hamilton is a bedroom community for commuters going toward Toronto, but that perception is not accurate. Most Hamiltonians work in Hamilton, almost as many people commute into the city to work as commute out, and downtown Hamilton is the city's single biggest employment cluster.

Permalink | Context

By Whaa? (anonymous) | Posted March 19, 2013 at 07:18:58 in reply to Comment 87311

European cities are tiny? Canadian cities are for car commuters only? I don't understand your comment.

Permalink | Context

By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted March 29, 2013 at 22:52:12 in reply to Comment 87323

Yes European cities are much smaller than North American cities. For example the third largest city in France (by population) at just under 500,000 people has an area of 50km2. Compare that to Hamilton at 625,000 and an area of 1,200 km2. That is why transit, bicycles and walking are all much more popular there than they are here.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Kiely (registered) | Posted March 18, 2013 at 14:37:20

I park at an easy to get to parking lot (not at all hard to find) and walk everywhere I need to go when I go downtown.

If you have to park right in front of where you want to go then this could be an issue, more so for out-of-towners I think.

Comment edited by Kiely on 2013-03-18 14:39:48

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted March 18, 2013 at 15:19:48

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.

Permalink | Context

By Whaa? (anonymous) | Posted March 19, 2013 at 07:21:01 in reply to Comment 87287

So if you advocate for balanced streets, you must never drive a car? I don't understand your comment.

Permalink | Context

By jason (registered) | Posted March 18, 2013 at 17:59:18 in reply to Comment 87287

I live a 4 minute walk from hopeful/future/proposed LRT stop. I would be ditching my car a whole lot more than I currently do once LRT comes. It'll be so convenient, quick and comfortable to get back and forth across the city without having to walk in between one-way streets, sit through a long bus ride with stops spaced out every 20 feet it seems while 1 person at a time gets off.

LRT will have such a radical impact on this city if designed properly it will blow people's minds.

Permalink | Context

By newsflash: hsr sucks (anonymous) | Posted March 18, 2013 at 16:06:16 in reply to Comment 87287

You make an excellent argument for improving our transit system. The HSR is so horribly inconvenient that even the staunchest transit advocates find it dysfunctional.

I find it hypocritical for people to accuse transit supporters of not taking every trip in their lives via bus, and yet be totally against spending public money on transit improvements.

Have you see what's going on at the skyway? How much do you think that maintenance project is costing us? How about all of the work done on the 403 overpasses and the proposed crap at clappisons? All covered by our taxes. Yet try to get extra transit funding and all the capitalists who enjoy the roads that non-drivers help pay for scream about freeloading pinkos.

We live in a society that punishes those who choose not to drive. If you own a car, and you aren't travelling alone, the car automatically becomes the cheapest transportation method. If a carload of people (say 4) need to travel 6 blocks for an evening out, it would cost $16-$20 in transit fares depending on whether you buy tickets or pay cash. If one of those people has a car, our subsidized roads, parking and other infrastructure means that same trip will cost a couple bucks (if that). If the same 4 people want to go out to Toronto, it's $83 just to get to Union and back - and if you need to take HSR to get to the GO, and TTC to get around toronto, you can add another $10-$30 to that. Or you can spend $10 in gas and $10 for parking, all subsidized by the public (many of whom don't drive).

If the laws of capitalism were applied fairly to cars, we'd have a LOT fewer of them on the road.

Permalink | Context

By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted March 19, 2013 at 02:29:28 in reply to Comment 87289

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.

Permalink | Context

By blinders (anonymous) | Posted March 21, 2013 at 15:03:01 in reply to Comment 87312

Take off your blinders. The manufacturing side of the auto industry is also heavily subsidized. The entire automotive culture is in a negative feedback loop where the income generated by taxes comes nowhere near covering the staggering costs to taxpayers of widespread car usage.

You seem to want to take a holistic view - that's great. So let's consider ALL of the costs:

-subsidies direct to auto manufacturers (bailouts, tax breaks, etc)
-road construction
-road maintenance
-real estate value/property tax lost to travel lanes and parking spots
-policing
-medical costs of crash victims
-medical costs of sedentary lifestyles
-medical costs of air pollution
-loss of productive output from citizens whose working lives are shortened through death or injury

and on and on.

Permalink | Context

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 21, 2013 at 15:07:02 in reply to Comment 87431

Don't forget multi-billion dollar annual subsidies, incentives and regulatory easements to the oil industry.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2013-03-21 15:33:37

Permalink | Context

By Whaa? (anonymous) | Posted March 19, 2013 at 07:25:55 in reply to Comment 87312

Car manufacturing helps the economy, and fares don't cover the entire cost of public transit, so therefore our streets should remain one-way? I don't understand your comment.

Permalink | Context

By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted March 20, 2013 at 12:13:57 in reply to Comment 87325

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.

Permalink | Context

By downvotes (anonymous) | Posted March 21, 2013 at 16:21:20 in reply to Comment 87379

People don't downvote you because they disagree with you. They downvote you because you have a bad attitude and your posts are virtually fact-free.

Your posts are like the bland pointless borderline offensive 0% fat yogurt version of RTH commentary

Permalink | Context

By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted March 23, 2013 at 04:47:59 in reply to Comment 87437

Some are exactly as you claim usually in response to silly or stupid comments about my posts. See above. Most of my posts express a point of view or facts that are opposed by the faithful here at RTH. The downvoting is across the board irregardless of what I write or how. That is fine by me it is well within their right to downvote me. It actually gives me a little bit of a giggle when I see the downvotes pile up so quickly. Guess sometimes I hit a nerve don't I?

As far as a bad attitude, I strongly disagree with you. I have a very realistic attitude to most things in life. It is most of the zealots on this site who have a horrible attitude. The deliberate lies and nonsense never stops. But again that is ok by me. Again it gives me a giggle when I see them stoop to such great lows to try and justify their positions and beliefs. Again I must be hitting a raw nerve. All the crap and downvoting show me that I am on the right track. Go ahead and justify your downvoting any way you want, it really doesn't matter one way or the other.

Let the downvoting begin.

Permalink | Context

By moylek (registered) - website | Posted March 18, 2013 at 16:04:11 in reply to Comment 87287

The world will make more sense to you, Capitalist, when you start seeing a world full of people instead of cardboard stereotypes.

Most environmentalists drive cars. Conservatives can commute by bike. Feminists wear dresses. Christians can support gay marriage. Hunters do vote NDP. It's a nuanced world outside of the talk shows and web-forum echo chambers.

Permalink | Context

By matthewsweet (registered) | Posted March 18, 2013 at 19:08:53 in reply to Comment 87288

Immortalized.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Frances (anonymous) | Posted March 18, 2013 at 17:39:54

I agree with this article. I live on Caroline and driving to the Go Centre is ridiculous with our one-way streets. (Before you comment, Capitalist, sometimes people have luggage and choose to drive or drop off passengers at the GO.) If Hunter was a two-way street, it would not be an issue, but because it's one way, I have to drive PAST my destination, and double-back. Very inefficient. But, hey, one-way streets are a godsend for traffic flow...

Permalink | Context

By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted March 20, 2013 at 12:20:28 in reply to Comment 87291

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.

Permalink | Context

By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted March 18, 2013 at 21:14:03 in reply to Comment 87291

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.

Permalink | Context

By moylek (registered) - website | Posted March 19, 2013 at 02:14:06 in reply to Comment 87296

Hypocracy on the left is astounding.

Again with the thin stereotypes. Some of us who want to see proper city streets - whether in our SUVs or on our bikes or in our oxblood brogues - are on the right.

It's not about some media-made-up dexter/sinister culture war. This is about living in a Hamilton whose downtown is conducive to a greater variety and depth of social and commercial life.

Permalink | Context

By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted March 19, 2013 at 02:38:32 in reply to Comment 87308

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.

Permalink | Context

By Cultosaurus (registered) | Posted March 19, 2013 at 12:54:07 in reply to Comment 87313

This is true, one way streets did not cause the decline of downtown Hamilton, the fading industrial sector would be more accurate. That being said, one way streets aren't helping and the selfish car culture on the Mountain is exacerbating things. People want to live and improve downtown Hamilton, putting a highway through the centre of it does not help.

Permalink | Context

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 19, 2013 at 13:02:17 in reply to Comment 87332

Downtown businesses began to suffer as soon as we converted our thoroughfares to one-way in 1956. Dozens of other North American cities did the same thing in the 1950s, and all of them suffered declines in urban vitality. Cities that have converted their streets back to two-way in the past decade or so have made impressive recoveries.

Permalink | Context

By Conrad664 (registered) | Posted March 19, 2013 at 13:43:17 in reply to Comment 87334

I have a agree with you Ryan , its juste some peoples in Hamilton havent see the light yet , maybe they should visite other citys around north America and Europ for that matter and a light bulb will come on

Permalink | Context

By Mal (anonymous) | Posted March 18, 2013 at 18:15:22 in reply to Comment 87291

A two-way Hunter (which has been in the pipeline since 2002) will likely need delayed signals at james and John as those intersections are eminently crashworthy. It will be a race to see which is accomplished first: two-way hunter or James North GO. I'd be happy to see either happen some time in the next 10 years.

Permalink | Context

By jason (registered) | Posted March 18, 2013 at 21:58:02 in reply to Comment 87293

Hunter isn't going two-way. It's been decided instead to remove a lane and install a two-way protected cycle track.

Permalink | Context

By J (registered) | Posted March 19, 2013 at 01:06:48 in reply to Comment 87301

dumb idea even with the separation. Many cars turning out of lots or side streets don't look both ways when they approach a one-way - they only look in the direction the cars are coming. So if you're walking or biking the opposite way, be on guard.

Permalink | Context

By jason (registered) | Posted March 19, 2013 at 13:51:24 in reply to Comment 87305

yes, be on guard, but even better, let's start taking drivers licenses away from people who don't use the privilege safely. Seeing a clearly marked 2-way bike path should help people look both ways, but they should be doing that already anyhow.

Permalink | Context

By Conrad664 (registered) | Posted March 19, 2013 at 13:47:24 in reply to Comment 87305

Well maybe they should go and past there lisence again for 1 ways and 2 way a driver should ALWAYS look both ways

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By uelcan (anonymous) | Posted March 18, 2013 at 21:47:31

I walk a great deal downtown. I always brace myself when a car slows down, winds down their window and asks for directions. It is always a challenge to accurately describe the route they should take. As I stumble trying to figure out directions, I curse our one-way streets. Sometimes I just tell them, "you can't get there from here"....

Permalink | Context

By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted March 19, 2013 at 02:44:47 in reply to Comment 87300

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.

Permalink | Context

By jason (registered) | Posted March 20, 2013 at 02:51:13 in reply to Comment 87314

Let the downvoting begin.

Thx for the reminder.

Permalink | Context

By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted March 20, 2013 at 12:23:37 in reply to Comment 87372

No problem. After reading some of your posts its pretty evident you need the help.

Let the downvoting begin.

Permalink | Context

By Frances (anonymous) | Posted March 19, 2013 at 21:33:22 in reply to Comment 87314

LOL: we live way out in Westdale.

Lots of one-way streets out there in Westdale? No, I didn't think so.

Permalink | Context

By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted March 23, 2013 at 04:54:29 in reply to Comment 87366

Not much in the way of one way streets but then we have Main West. I would trade the nightmare of trying to deal with that for a one way street in a heartbeat. One way streets are a lot more predictable and easier to deal with compared to busy two way streets like Main West.

Permalink | Context

By LOL@LOL (anonymous) | Posted March 20, 2013 at 01:43:00 in reply to Comment 87366

Oh, LOL is real charming, he's said he thinks anyone who doesn't want to live on a one-way street should move off it. That way the only people left on one-way streets will be people who can't afford to move off them, and according to LOL those people don't matter.

Which is funny in a way because it proves LOL understands one-way streets are not desirable to live on, but he doesn't care because their wellbeing isn't as important to him as his convenience.

In other words, you're dealing with a psychopath.

Permalink | Context

By jason (registered) | Posted March 19, 2013 at 13:52:10 in reply to Comment 87314

It's WAY easier driving around Toronto than here. Not even close. And I've lived here most of my life.

Permalink | Context

By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted March 20, 2013 at 12:27:46 in reply to Comment 87343

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.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted March 18, 2013 at 22:01:17

There was an article in a TO newspaper strongly imploring locals to take a weekend trip to Hamilton because they'll be shocked and impressed by what they see. However, they did warn readers that "you WILL get lost due to the design of the streets which is very unfriendly for out-of-town visitors." I felt like writing a letter and saying "it's also very unfriendly for those of us living here 24-7. At least you get to go back to proper city streets in TO".

My point is, it was a very bullish article, praising Hamilton yet they felt it urgent enough to warn potential travellers of our nightmarish street network. Not exactly the best way to sell people on return trips.

Comment edited by jason on 2013-03-18 22:01:38

Permalink | Context

By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted March 19, 2013 at 02:48:25 in reply to Comment 87303

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.

Permalink | Context

By z jones (registered) | Posted March 19, 2013 at 02:53:15 in reply to Comment 87315

Let the downvoting begin.

Waah I'm being persecuted because people ignore me when I spam RTH with 6 comments in a row that insult and belittle other people and ignore any facts that contradict my prejudice.

Permalink | Context

By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted March 23, 2013 at 04:58:54 in reply to Comment 87316

Never said I was being persecuted. You and this site are not nearly important enough in my world to make me feel persecuted. The downvoting is just like the high school cliches all over again only now I can laugh at them. When I read inane comments like yours I realize that you will stoop to any lengths to try and justify your positions, no matter how silly they are.

Permalink | Context

By Michelle Martin (registered) - website | Posted March 19, 2013 at 03:24:45 in reply to Comment 87316

Wow, LOL all over again -

Yes I drive a car, a minivan, in fact -- I work downtown and normally need to have my vehicle to do my job. The one-way streets, the four solid lanes of traffic going in one direction, 10k above the speed limit, make it impossible to get into the lane I need to be in, to turn on to the street I need to turn on to (one can't dart in and out of small openings in traffic flow with a Chevy Astro van, but my husband has the longer commute and so takes the smaller vehicle).

I don't need to use my vehicle to get to the highway as fast as possible-- I need it to navigate within the city as efficiently as possible. One way streets are an impediment.

If I didn't need my car most days, I'd take the bus more often.

Ryan, I laughed when I saw your reference to going out for dinner: yes, going out to dinner for us, if we aren't walking down to Limoncello on Ottawa Street, involves driving along King and then figuring out which side street to turn down and to double back to where we need to be.

Back a couple of weeks age, I wrote a blog post about going out for dinner in Hamilton with some old Toronto friends of ours. When we do this, we always tell them to come to our house first, then we drive together to the restaurant-- much easier than trying to explain to them how to get there via the one-way streets. We can never remember exactly where they will and will not be able to turn, we need to be in the actual area to remember, so it's easier for them to come with us. Not very efficient, that.

Comment edited by Michelle Martin on 2013-03-19 03:25:41

Permalink | Context

By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted March 20, 2013 at 12:33:36 in reply to Comment 87317

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.

Permalink | Context

By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted March 19, 2013 at 04:00:48 in reply to Comment 87317

Michelle,

I understand the point you're trying to make. I'm not saying that there isn't room to make our streets safer or that they aren't without their problems, but I can't help but point out some issues in what you've written.

The one-way streets, the four solid lanes of traffic going in one direction, 10k above the speed limit, make it impossible to get into the lane I need to be in, to turn on to the street I need to turn on to (one can't dart in and out of small openings in traffic flow with a Chevy Astro van

First, no one should be darting in and out of small openings in any car.

Second, if it is truly impossible, how do you manage to arrive at work collision free?

Third, if someone isn't able to merge in traffic traveling at 60 km/h, what are they doing with a driver's license?

During a busy time of day, I was pulling out of Sir John A McDonald's western most parking lot onto Canon today and had to make a right onto Hess. That's 4 lanes in about 100m. It wasn't challenging.

I need (a car) to navigate within the city as efficiently as possible. One way streets are an impediment

I guess everyone is different, but I simply can't understand how this could be the case. I have to navigate as efficiently as possible by car throughout the city 5 days a week. My livelihood depends on it. My opinion is in stark contrast to yours. One Way streets are very efficient in getting me around the city by car.

Permalink | Context

By Michelle Martin (registered) - website | Posted March 20, 2013 at 00:05:47 in reply to Comment 87318

"First, no one should be darting in and out of small openings in any car." Of course they shouldn't, but they do it all the time-- folks drive those one way streets like they are a freeway, over the limit. I don't worry about being rear-ended when I have to take my foot off the gas to make a turn on to a side street, because I drive a large vehicle. My husband does though-- he drives a toyota corolla and regularly has speeding pick-up trucks following too close on King and Main.

"Second, if it is truly impossible, how do you manage to arrive at work collision free?" By not taking chances. Which means I miss the turns I need because I couldn't get over to the lane I needed to be in.

"Third, if someone isn't able to merge in traffic traveling at 60 km/h, what are they doing with a driver's license?" One needs a space to merge into if one is going to merge-- not a lot of spaces available during rush hour, what with the timed lights and 4 lanes of one-way traffic. Try finding a space in order to get over to the far right lane to turn right on to Dundurn after exiting the 403 at Main E certain times of the day, without taking chances (which I don't, which brings me back to point number 2)

But I suppose that makes me a bad driver in your book. I'm willing to live with that.

Comment edited by Michelle Martin on 2013-03-20 00:09:44

Permalink | Context

By moylek (registered) - website | Posted March 20, 2013 at 01:34:38 in reply to Comment 87368

Try finding a space in order to get over to the far right lane to turn right on to Dundurn after exiting the 403 at Main E certain times of the day, without taking chances (which I don't, which brings me back to point number 2)

Even more fun, bike from Westdale to the Dundurn plaza on Main West, and try to get from the far right lane over to the plaza entrance on the left. Whee!

Permalink | Context

By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted March 20, 2013 at 12:37:41 in reply to Comment 87369

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.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted March 19, 2013 at 02:14:43

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.

Permalink | Context

By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted March 19, 2013 at 04:08:30 in reply to Comment 87309

I have to agree with one of the points that LOL brought up.

The first thing (seriously) that popped into my head when I read this article was "why didn't Ryan or his wife just check the location on their phone"?

I just re-read the article. Ryan says

I can never remember where destinations are on King when I'm approaching them on Main, so I planned to take no chances

Now it seems even stranger that someone wouldn't look at a map before hand. If someone really wants to take "no chances", why not look it up?

I realize this isn't a huge issue. Certainly not worth criticizing. It's just what went through my mind as a reader.

Permalink | Context

By jason (registered) | Posted March 19, 2013 at 13:54:43 in reply to Comment 87319

And that beautifully sums up the problem. People are being encouraged to use a map to find something in their own neighbourhood. You know the street network is confusing when....

Permalink | Context

By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted March 20, 2013 at 12:41:24 in reply to Comment 87344

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.

Permalink | Context

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 19, 2013 at 12:05:55 in reply to Comment 87319

The idea one should have to refer to a map or use a GPS device to navigate one's own city to a known destination is itself a compelling indicator that there's something wrong with the network design.

I never need to do this when driving to a destination on a two-way street - I just drive on the street until I see the destination. But that approach is by definition impossible when traveling upstream to a destination on a one-way street.

Wayfinding is an important part of livability, but one-way streets make wayfinding more difficult.

Permalink | Context

By moylek (registered) - website | Posted March 19, 2013 at 11:49:23 in reply to Comment 87319

Now it seems even stranger that someone wouldn't look at a map before hand. If someone really wants to take "no chances", why not look it up?

You don't think that it's strange that one would have to look at a map to figure out how to get to a familiar destination on the main street in one's home town?

I think it's strange. But sometimes I have to do it. Or, like Ryan, I overshoot.

It's not strange. It's absurd.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted March 19, 2013 at 04:16:06

Ryan's story is an example of when turning before the location may make sense for some people. I have no way to prove this. It's just a theory, but I think that because we're so used to driving directly to a location on two way streets, our brains don't easily consider alternative possibilities on one way streets.

In Ryan's example, he could have turned at Ferguson and parked on Ferguson. His walk would have been equal to or shorter than driving past, and obviously the drive time and distance would be less.

Permalink | Context

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 19, 2013 at 12:07:32 in reply to Comment 87320

I think that because we're so used to driving directly to a location on two way streets, our brains don't easily consider alternative possibilities on one way streets.

That's plausible - but we should be designing our road network based on how people actually navigate their environment, not on how we think they ought to do it.

Permalink | Context

By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted March 20, 2013 at 12:43:40 in reply to Comment 87328

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.

Permalink | Context

By Conrad664 (registered) | Posted March 20, 2013 at 13:18:21 in reply to Comment 87388

I have no idea who you are but you are not making anysence , roads are made to go around quickly .. not in citys but on the QWE and 403 400 401 thats what there made for

Permalink | Context

By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted March 23, 2013 at 05:05:45 in reply to Comment 87391

Just because a road has a speed limit of 50 instead of 100 does not change the purpose of the road. All roads are meant to move traffic safely quickly and efficiently. One way streets just do a much better job of it.

Permalink | Context

By jason (registered) | Posted March 23, 2013 at 14:41:35 in reply to Comment 87476

Really? Ok. I've got a beautiful new home for sale. It's even maintenance free. It sits quaintly on the shoulder of the 401. Perfect spot to catch evening rays and the odd free road kill meal. Sounds like you're the perfect buyer.

Comment edited by jason on 2013-03-23 14:42:25

Permalink | Context

By z jones (registered) | Posted March 23, 2013 at 14:49:48 in reply to Comment 87478

LOL doesn't care about other people's well being, he'd never tolerate living on a one way street because he knows how awful they are to people living on them. Al he cares about is his own convenience, other people don't matter. If a kid gets killed on a busy street it's the kids mother's fault for living there. LOL's a classic psychopath.

Permalink | Context

By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted March 29, 2013 at 23:05:29 in reply to Comment 87479

Check your facts before you try to use them to call me names. Hamilton has close to the lowest collision rate in Hamilton. Must be due to all the one way streets. Want a truly more dangerous street go to Kitchener or Mississauga, places with those horrible two way main roads.

Permalink | Context

By LOL@LOL (anonymous) | Posted March 20, 2013 at 13:06:44 in reply to Comment 87388

Comment spam persecution complex much?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted March 19, 2013 at 12:49:49

Because of the fractured north-south alignments on Ferguson and Walnut, even two-way has its limitations when it comes to the IV (which, as a three-block-long BIA, is easy enough to overshoot).

Of course, it can be just as troublesome via transit if you don't know which stops are adjacent to your destination. I have always found it useful to have the names of the two streets on either side of my end-point of preference, just in case the windows are opaque (mud, ice, ads), the bus is congested or I'm simply lost in thought and miss my stop.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted March 19, 2013 at 15:03:02

I would like to point out that I am in agrrement with all the RTH folk that Hamilton needs to convert more roads to two way, esp King and Main. It looks like a ghost town there at night.

Permalink | Context

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 19, 2013 at 15:17:33 in reply to Comment 87349

It's great to be able to agree on some things!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted March 20, 2013 at 21:12:50

In tandem with this problem:

Get rid of the free meter parking on the weekend. Free meter parking means that the only places you can park are at the lots, and the lots are terribly priced for short stays - their bread-and-butter are daily commuters parking in the lot for the full day, and they price to attract those. I've had to pay more than their "maximum daily rate" for a 2-hour dinner stay at one lot because their magical fee structure changes at 6pm. Free metre parking means "all the metre parking spots are taken all day".

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2013-03-20 21:13:19

Permalink | Context

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds