Special Report: Walkable Streets

Zebrapalooza

Tactical Urbanism, North End Traffic Plan, Code Red Neighbourhood Planning and citizen/Councillor requests boost a limited pilot project into a boom in pedestrian improvements at intersections across the city.

By Ryan McGreal
Published August 19, 2013

this article has been updated

After a spring talk on tactical urbanism, some targeted direct "guerrilla road work" action in a few intersections and an early bad reaction from city officials, the campaign resulted in public works management acknowledging that there are real opportunities for improvement in how the City designs and demarcates pedestrian crossings.

It didn't take long for the City to start bolstering crosswalks and installing new zebra crossings at various locations, but mainly in Kirkendall Neighbourhood.

Over the summer, the pace has quickened as a pilot project in Kirkendall was expanded to several more intersections, zebra crossings appeared on high-risk intersections on the Mountain, and even long-beleaguered Cannon Street has started to see some love.

Popular Pilot Project

The new zebra crossings are part of a pilot project that has grown out of the increasing awareness that the city has a responsibility to provide safe, inviting pedestrian infrastructure. Martin White, the city's traffic engineering manager, agreed to an email interview to explain what's been going on.

He wrote, "There is a direct connection at Locke and Herkimer" with the tactical urbanism movement, which immediately improved the intersection by adding homemade bumpouts on the southwest and northeast corners. Energized by the Code Red Neighbourhood Action Plans, the new North End Traffic Plan and requests from citizens and Councillors, the pilot has quickly expanded citywide.

According to Martin, "The locations were originally going to be limited to the North End Neighbourhood and in addition around 15-20 locations throughout the rest of the city, especially Locke and selected school crossing locations and senior citizen areas. The idea spread quickly and before we could suggest locations, Councillors were coming to us with their higher end requested locations."

The traffic department is using a set of "rough criteria" to evaluate requests: "The criteria are related to the presence of pedestrian-generating land uses, collision history, seniors and children, geometric concerns, visibility of pedestrians, demonstrated pedestrian issues, and Councillor requests."

Most of these activities are being funded out of the Public Works Traffic Capital Account, with a few being funded through the ward area rating levy.

Council will receive an update some time in the next several weeks, and the Traffic department plans to prepare a report this coming winter. In the meantime, Martin notes, "I would stress that this is just a pilot with limited funds, not a full implementation strategy and there is currently no funding."

Herkimer and Locke

It started at the corner of Herkimer and Locke, where tactical urbanists created "guerrilla bumpouts" by attaching small orange traffic cones to the street on the northeast and southwest corners.

Guerrilla bumpouts at Herkimer and Locke
Guerrilla bumpouts at Herkimer and Locke

Within a few days, the City removed the pylons and Public Works General Manager Gerry Davis issued a memo calling the action "illegal, potentially unsafe and adding to the City's costs of maintenance and repair." However, it could not be denied that the citizen bumpouts had instantly made the intersection safer.

The long-time crossing guard strongly approved of the action, saying the bumpouts "really controls the traffic. It was getting scary." She observed that the bumpouts forced the cars to slow down instead of racing aggressively through the intersection.

Soon, tactical urbanist organizers met with city officials and the result was a pilot project to install official temporary bumpouts as an intermediate step toward a permanent solution.

City Blueprint for bumpouts at Herkimer and Locke
City Blueprint for bumpouts at Herkimer and Locke

Bumpouts do three important things to make intersections safer:

  1. They increase the size of the sidewalk area where pedestrians can stand.
  2. They reduce the distance that pedestrians have to walk to cross the street.
  3. They shrink the turning radius for automobiles at intersections, which forces drivers to slow down to make the turn.

Because Locke and Herkimer is not a regular square intersection, the northeast and southwest corners had large turning radii, which allowed drivers to go around those corners very quickly - especially the southwest corner, which is also home to St. Joseph's School.

As a temporary measure, City workers painted bumpouts and protected them with knockdown sticks in May and June.

Now the City has built a permanent raised-curb bumpout on the southwest corner that includes a section for grass or other plants.

New permanent bumpout, southwest corner of Locke and Herkimer
New permanent bumpout, southwest corner of Locke and Herkimer

Unfortunately, it does not appear to extend as far as the temporary bumpout did, and the turning radius looks somewhat larger, meaning cars will be able to make the turn more quickly. (You can read the city's explanation.)

However, it provides a lot more surface area for the children and their caregivers who will be walking to and from school next month.

Zebra Spottings in Kirkendall

Under the pilot project, several new zebra, or ladder-style, crossings have been appearing along Locke Street South and adjacent streets.

Zebra crossing at Locke and Stanley, east side
Zebra crossing at Locke and Stanley, east side

Zebra crossing at Locke and Stanley, west side
Zebra crossing at Locke and Stanley, west side

Zebra crossing at Locke and Charlton
Zebra crossing at Locke and Charlton

Zebra crossing at Locke and Chatham, west side
Zebra crossing at Locke and Chatham, west side

Zebra crossing at Locke and Tuckett
Zebra crossing at Locke and Tuckett

Earlier this summer, a zebra crossing went in at Aberdeen and Dundurn, and another crossing has been marked for installation at Herkimer and Kent.

Zebra crossing planned at Herkimer and Kent
Zebra crossing planned at Herkimer and Kent

White also confirmed that several locations on Locke Street North in Strathcona Neighbourhood will get zebra crossings, including Locke and King, Locke and York and Strathcona and King.

Another upcoming pedestrian improvement is a planned traffic light at Main and Pearl Street to match the traffic light already in operation at King and Pearl (notwithstanding the prohibition on crossing King on the west side of Pearl). Before the King and Pearl traffic light, there was no safe way to cross King between Locke and Queen, a distance of almost half a kilometre.

North End

The North End Neighbourhood's new transportation plan recently came into effect with a neighbourhood-wide speed limit of 30 km/h (except on James and Burlington Streets). But because drivers are more inclined to respond to street design than posted speed limits, the City is undertaking a broad effort at traffic-calming through design.

That effort includes several new zebra crossings:

Zebra crossing at James North and Picton
Zebra crossing at James North and Picton

Zebra crossing at James North and Simcoe
Zebra crossing at James North and Simcoe

Zebra crossing at John North and Simcoe
Zebra crossing at John North and Simcoe

Zebra crossing at John North and Wood
Zebra crossing at John North and Wood

Cannon

Cannon Street is one of the city's worst offenders in terms of sacrificing safety and vitality for fast flow-through of automobile traffic. At Cannon and Mary, tactical urbanists painted a crosswalk that city workers quickly removed.

While city staff managed to negotiate a more permanent response to the action at Locke and Herkimer, the arguably more needful corner of Cannon and Mary remains unresolved. This has led to criticisms that the city is actually deepening the inequality between affluent and more vulnerable neighbourhoods by focusing improvements in southwest Hamilton.

The City seems to recognize this, and a few locations on Cannon have been selected for new zebra crossings, including the corner of Cannon and Elgin in Beasley Neighbourhood.

Zebra crossing at Cannon and Elgin (Image Credit: @fortelgin)
Zebra crossing at Cannon and Elgin (Image Credit: @fortelgin)

Cannon is four one-way lanes wide and has some particularly long distances with no signalized or marked crossings, including a 650 metre, six-block stretch between Wentworth Street and Victoria Avenue.

Mountain

Earlier this summer, the City installed zebra crossings at Upper Gage and Fennell and Upper Gage and Mohawk, the intersection where an 83-year-old pedestrian died in June after a collision with an automobile.

Just last week the City tweeted a photo of another zebra crossing, this one at Upper Wentworth and Mohawk:

Zebra crossing at Mohawk and Upper Wentworth (Image Credit: City of Hamilton)
Zebra crossing at Mohawk and Upper Wentworth (Image Credit: City of Hamilton)

Several more locations are planned for wards 6 and 7 over the next few weeks. If you spot a new zebra crossing, please take a picture and email or tweet it to us!


Update: The city replied to my request for information on why the permanent bumpout at Locke/Herkimer is smaller than the temporary one. I added a link to the explanation. You can jump to the changed paragraph.

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.

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By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted August 19, 2013 at 11:07:54

Good to see some progress being made.

These enhancements should be mandatory at every intersection bordering a school, hospital or long-term care home -- along with extended cross times.

BTW, I still don't understand how an intersection can merit the hard-wired expense of a red light camera:

• King & Dundurn http://goo.gl/maps/fdrAL
• King & Locke http://goo.gl/maps/LYzYK
• Main & Dundurn http://goo.gl/maps/4VEYr
• Main & Bay http://goo.gl/maps/QRg0l
• Cannon & Hess http://goo.gl/maps/rz8YQ
• Cannon & Hughson http://goo.gl/maps/LODFJ
• Cannon & Kenilworth http://goo.gl/maps/InTi7
• Upper James & Brantdale http://goo.gl/maps/iqR7u
• Upper Sherman & Queensdale http://goo.gl/maps/RcPl5
• Stone Church & Upper Wentworth http://goo.gl/maps/q3KHr

...yet not be considered a priority for high-visibility zebra crossings.

I assume that drivers' habitual disregard for these intersections precipitated these camera placements. (Or, as in the case of Upper Gage/Fennell, that a red light camera will soon follow the installation of zebra crossings: http://www.hamiltonnews.com/news/safety-concerns-spark-upper-gage-mohawk-changes/) If that's true, how does the City explain the lack of urgency around improving pedestrian safety at these same intersections?

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By Kevin Love (anonymous) | Posted August 19, 2013 at 11:24:48

This is a great improvement for Hamilton!

Particularly for Herkimer Street. There is a reason why people like me who live here call it "The Herkimer Racetrack."

A particularly bad stretch of Herkimer is between Durand Park and St. Joseph's Hospital. Violent, dangerous and aggressive car drivers can see the traffic light turn to green all the way back to Durand Park. Then these dangerous drivers say to themselves "I've got to accelerate to 80-100 km/hr to get to James Street before the light turns red." Then they do just that!

I have complained to Hamilton Police numerous times about these violent, dangerous criminals. The Criminal Code of Canada says that reckless, negligent car drivers are guilty of the criminal offence of Dangerous Driving, punishable by up to 5 years in jail. But instead of arresting these criminals and putting them in jail where they belong, the police do nothing about these violent, dangerous criminals.

A cheap short term fix would be to put some sort of shade or awning on the traffic light so that car drivers could not see what colour it was until they were close to it.

But the real permanent solution is to use bollards to eliminate "rat-running" cut-through car traffic from all residential neighbourhoods in Hamilton, not just Herkimer.

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By Rise Up (anonymous) | Posted August 19, 2013 at 15:48:40 in reply to Comment 91017

I would like to see raised crosswalks similar to what they use in Vaughan installed in places such as this.
There are a series of them installed, with dramatic "Pedestrian Crossing / 30km/hour" warning signs, along a stretch of Islington in front of the McMichael art gallery. Given that it's a straight flat thoroughfare there, it would probably be a drag strip without them.
See www.vaughan.ca/services/residential/traffic_services/traffic_calming/Pages/faq.aspx for more info.

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By Today (anonymous) | Posted August 19, 2013 at 11:42:45

Thanks Ryan for this information, great work, very interesting and enlightening. I lived near Upper Gage and Fennell for nearly 10 years and I witnessed a lot of people speeding. With a liquor and beer store there, well, people are in a rush and you also have a Metro and Freshco there, busy corner.

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By brendan (registered) | Posted August 19, 2013 at 11:47:23

Kevin: A major issue with that stretch is that more than half of the traffic from Queen St (including all down-bound traffic from Beckett Drive) is redirected to Herkimer for no apparent reason. Reverting Queen to 2-way traffic along its length would go a long way to fixing the traffic issues in Durand.

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By Kevin Love (anonymous) | Posted August 19, 2013 at 18:43:03 in reply to Comment 91020

Brendan:

Although reverting Queen to 2-way traffic is certainly a good idea, there would still be the "Herkimer Racetrack." Having less cars on Herkimer would enable those who remain to go even faster.

The solution is to completely eliminate rat-running cut-through traffic on residential streets. This can be done through permeable neighbourhood connectors that allow cycle and pedestrian traffic to go through, but prevent car driving. For two examples in Toronto, see:

http://g.co/maps/wkvnh

and

http://g.co/maps/qpkwe

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By bikehounds (anonymous) | Posted August 19, 2013 at 20:47:16 in reply to Comment 91042

I completely agree with you, and we should be doing this on every "short cut" street. Cumberland immediately comes to mind.

Another tactic is to have stretches of streets where the one-way direction changes so that you can not drive the full length of it through a neighbouhood. Local traffic learns the rules and they find efficient routes to get to the main streets without having to battle through traffic in their own neighbourhood. - and the neighbourhoods are immeasurably more pleasant to live in.

http://goo.gl/maps/2LCSy

We need to get rid of the useless strings of stop signs that do nothing to curb through traffic speeds, and put the kinds of filters you are describing -- everywhere!

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By Kevin Love (anonymous) | Posted August 20, 2013 at 03:59:27 in reply to Comment 91046

Yes, I entirely agree. Cumberland is an excellent example. That is part of my commute route to work every day. Although it is signed as a bike route and used by a lot of cyclists, it is rather horrible to use.

There are far too many rat-running cut-through car driving criminals that engage in aggressive, violent and dangerous behaviours. The worst is illegal passing.

This street is clearly marked as "no passing" thoughout its entire length. And I do my best to underline this by cycling properly and exercising proper lane control to send a clear "do not pass" signal. Yet all too frequently some criminal car driver will illegally pass 1-2 other cars as well as myself, pull right in front of me and then slam on his brakes because he is, of course, now right in front of a stop sign.

Frequently I have seen the illegal passer almost hit a pedestrian, cyclist or even another car driver. At, of course, a very high rate of speed.

And when I take the licence plate number and telephone in a criminal complaint the Hamilton Police do... nothing. Even when the Dangerous Driving criminal offence took place right in front of the school and the school crossing guard is a second witness to the crime scene. They do nothing. Child safety? What's that?

By eliminating cut-through car drivers, concrete and steel bollards would stop these criminals from committing the criminal offence of Dangerous Driving. It would also stop them from adding to the rather high body count of people that they have already killed and seriously injured.

And it would save money, because it would no longer be necessary to employ no less than three school crossing guards.

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By ledpencilpusher (registered) | Posted August 19, 2013 at 12:23:50

Great improvements, and would love to see more on the mountain.

Mud St & Winterberry - Drivers coming off the Linc/Red Hill are driving 90+ as they exit the off ramps and drive down Mud (which is a 70) and there is a new(ish) shopping centre around the corner with a number of pedestrians and cyclists crossing Mud.

Mud St & Paramount - One intersection down with Valley Park Community Centre right on the corner. The intersection has a red light camera, dedicated left turn signal phase and yet still has a high collision rate.

Zebra markings at both these intersections would help make drivers more aware and (hopefully) slow down at these intersections.

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted September 02, 2013 at 13:52:47 in reply to Comment 91021

More zebra-style crosswalk markings are going up at Mountain intersections this month as councillors continue their push to improve pedestrian safety.
The highly visible markings will soon be installed on Mohawk Road at Mall Road and Upper Wellington, and on Upper James at Fennell, said Coun. Scott Duvall (Ward 7, central Mountain).

Mountain councillors began pushing for changes after a senior was struck in the spring while trying to cross a busy east Mountain intersection. Vivian Web, 83, was hit May 15 by a vehicle making a right turn on a red light while she was crossing Mohawk at Upper Gage. She later died from her injuries.

Zebra-striped crossings, also known ladder style when they are bordered by existing perpendicular lines that mark pedestrian crossings, have been used in Europe for decades. The most famous zebra crossing in the world is probably the one in London, England, on the cover of The Beatles’ 1969 Abbey Road album.

“They’re new to us and we’re experimenting with them,” said Ron Gallo, the city’s senior project manager for signals and systems. “We’re being selective where we’re installing them so we can evaluate them at some point.”

Upper Gage and Mohawk was a good place to start, he said, because of the significant pedestrian traffic volume and number of seniors living in the area.
Gallo noted several changes, including a red light camera, extending walk times and banning right turns on red lights, were requested at a July 4 community meeting called by Duvall and Coun. Tom Jackson (Ward 6, east Mountain).

The red light camera was already planned for Upper Gage and Mohawk and should be installed by fall. City staff are looking at banning right turns on red and other changes at that particular corner.

“It was made very clear to us that the residents want to prohibit those kinds of movements,” said Gallo. “We can do that, we just have to be careful not to over-restrict movements and create more driver frustration.”

Duvall said he applauds the efforts to improve safety and he’d like to see similar changes at other busy intersections in his ward. Pedestrian crossing times have been extended in the past at Mall Road and Upper Wentworth at the councillor’s request and could be lengthened again.

“I’m asking for a followup,” Duvall said. “If we need more time then we should be getting it.”

The councillor also suggested extending the zebra stripe format to school crossings on busy roads, such as Our Lady of Lourdes on Mohawk, but the city and a McMaster University traffic expert don’t believe such markings would help.

Nikolaos Yiannakoulias, who is currently studying pedestrian safety in Hamilton, said the pavement markings aren’t likely to be effective.

“I’m reluctant to look at that as a solution to the problem,” Yiannakoulias said. “Traffic controls have a better record of working.”

“What you really want to do is get the cars to behave properly,” he said, and signals and police enforcement can help achieve that.

Reducing speed is the best way to reduce injuries, he said. The severity of pedestrian injuries corresponds to the speed of the vehicle that hits them. Under 50 km/h, a person who is hit will likely survive, perhaps with only minor injuries, unless they are a young child or frail senior.

“Once they go over 50 km/h, the risk of fatality goes up very quickly,” said Yiannakoulias. “At 60 km/h, if you hit somebody they are probably going to die, or suffer very serious injuries.”

The city is planning to roll out more designated school zone areas this fall with flashing yellow lights and 40 km/h speed limit, said Gallo.

Coun. Terry Whitehead (west Mountain, Ward 8) said all safety improvements and ways to make neighbourhoods more “walkable” have to be evaluated. He said he believes there should be more pedestrian crosswalks, which use red lights to stop traffic, between main intersections.

“We have to look at them for pedestrian safety and pedestrian ease,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense when they half to walk half a kilometre just to get to the church across the street.”

http://www.hamiltonnews.com/news/safety-changes-focus-on-pedestrians/

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By Henry and Joe (anonymous) | Posted August 19, 2013 at 15:42:37 in reply to Comment 91021

I agree that the Mud st. and Paramount intersection is an issue. It is nice to see that there are some good bike lanes in the area, but Mud St. is still a de facto expressway. I recently did a bike ride from Winona to the escarpment rail trail via the mountain, and the Mud St. /Paramount intersection was the easily the most frightening part of the trip.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 19, 2013 at 12:40:21 in reply to Comment 91021

Be sure to forward these suggestions to your councillor.

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By Stephr (registered) | Posted August 19, 2013 at 13:25:58

Very excited about these improvements, especially after many years of pedestrian activism in the Kirkendall neighbourhood and the community being told that our concerns about speeding cars did not warrant these kinds of interventions. Herkimer Raceway indeed: we have spent many summer evenings on our front porch watching people blaze past the stop sign at Herkimer and Kent without stopping, despite the fact that this is a heavily used route for people walking to the HAAA grounds. That more people have not been hurt is a miracle. Lesson: persistence and direct citizen action gets the goods. ps: Slightly disappointed that the Herkimer and Locke bump out isn't wider... Ryan, do you know why this is?

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 20, 2013 at 14:51:37 in reply to Comment 91024

Slightly disappointed that the Herkimer and Locke bump out isn't wider... Ryan, do you know why this is?

I received a response from the city. You can read it here.

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By Dave Stephens (anonymous) | Posted August 20, 2013 at 05:40:54 in reply to Comment 91024

The reason for the size of the bumpout. Is to not interfere with the turning radii of E.M.S. vechicles. The longer it takes a Fire truck to Navigate the corner could be the difference between life and death.

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By Kevin Love (anonymous) | Posted August 20, 2013 at 19:14:43 in reply to Comment 91059

Which is why people are dropping like flies in the car-free zones of major cities around the world. Including the car-free Toronto Islands.

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By canned fish (anonymous) | Posted August 20, 2013 at 11:23:46 in reply to Comment 91059

People in NYC are dropping like flies because traffic is preventing fire and ambulance from getting to the scene fast enough. I heard they are going to build a raised street network above the current one just for ambulances and fire trucks!

These EMS "concerns" are total red herrings.

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By Concerned Troll (anonymous) | Posted August 20, 2013 at 11:37:03 in reply to Comment 91078

It's classic concern trolling.

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 20, 2013 at 09:49:20 in reply to Comment 91059

Perhaps we should send city staff on a field trip to any of the gazillion cities with large bumpouts and slower turning radii. I'm sure people aren't all dropping dead due to firetrucks making normal city turns everywhere else or they'd all be going with the urban 'highway ramp' design we love here.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 20, 2013 at 07:22:09 in reply to Comment 91059

Then why did the temporary bumpout have a larger area and a smaller turning radius? In any case, the balance of risks is more complicated than that: residential intersections with large turning radii can be expected to generate more medical emergencies that require EMS response in the first place.

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By Maybe (anonymous) | Posted August 19, 2013 at 13:43:18 in reply to Comment 91024

Maybe they were leaving room for new pylons. ;-)

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted August 19, 2013 at 13:55:18

It would be an excellent idea for the city to also install signs at the zebra crossings saying 'motorists must stop for pedestrians in crosswalk' as they have done at McMaster.

Although this should be obvious, motorists in Ontario (and especially Hamilton) seem to have forgotten long ago that they are required to yield to pedestrians crossing at any intersection, with or without a marked crosswalk. Having signs emphasizing this duty, would be a good step in reintegrating 'stopping at crosswalks' into normal driving behaviour.

Here's some signs from New Jersey: http://www.nj.gov/lps/hts/pedestrian.htm...

remember it is already provincial law that motorists must stop, the signs would just be a reminder!

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 21, 2013 at 22:33:56 in reply to Comment 91027

agree totally! We have plenty of great spots for those signs to be installed, and your idea is fantastic to include them with zebra crossings. The public would figure it out very quickly. In fact, the day the Hunter/Locke zebra was painted I observed cars in both directions all stop while a couple of pedestrians nervously looked back and forth almost stunned that everyone was stopping for them. I've also seen this recently on James North at Robert. When crosswalks are done properly, it feels correct for a car to stop. Adding in these signs would make it a snap to change behaviour.

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By Kevin Love (anonymous) | Posted August 19, 2013 at 15:05:29 in reply to Comment 91027

For a reminder, how about Hamilton Police laying charges.

I do not believe that what car drivers need is "reminding." These people know full well what the consequences are of their reckless, dangerous, aggressive and negligent behaviour. What they need is punishment to deter the behaviour and (most important) infrastructure that prevents the behaviour in the first place.

Eliminating rat-running cut-through traffic from all residential neighbourhoods would be a good first start.

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By adrian (registered) | Posted August 19, 2013 at 19:47:38

Another improvement in the works is a traffic signal at Herkimer and Caroline. From the looks of it I can only assume this will be a pedestrian-activated signalized crosswalk. It's close to Locke, sure, but this is in Ward 2. Nice to see some progress being made.

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By bikehounds (anonymous) | Posted August 19, 2013 at 20:52:38 in reply to Comment 91043

Traffic signals are expensive and unnecessary in these residential neighbourhoods. What we need is proper road scale and real traffic calming measures - planters, chicanes, bump-outs, bike lanes, wider sidewalks, etc... how many of these could we buy for the cost of one light? Whenever that light shines green to the west, we'll still have a racetrack...

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By Mal (anonymous) | Posted August 21, 2013 at 18:58:56 in reply to Comment 91048

Once Locke & King and Locke & York are completed, roughly 1/3 of Locke Street’s intersections will have been tamed by crossings.

To receive comparable treatment from the City, Cannon Street would require something like 20 zebra crossings in addition to the one at Cannon & Elgin.

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By Mal (anonymous) | Posted August 20, 2013 at 06:54:36 in reply to Comment 91048

Indeed. While I appreciate the City's recent interest in pedestrian safety, it would be nice to think that it was evidence-driven, rational and nuanced. As it stands, it seems like it's designed to counteract negative social media buzz -- visible in other post-Dialogue Partners shout-outs to the "dotmocracy" -- and create the semblance of a policy. Zebra crossings risk becoming the latest variant on the city's famous one-size-fits-all approach.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 20, 2013 at 07:19:20 in reply to Comment 91060

Zebra crossings risk becoming the latest variant on the city's famous one-size-fits-all approach.

According to John Mater, director of corporate assets and strategic planning for the City of Hamilton:

Traffic Situations and problems are dynamic and changing, and what might be an appropriate use of a measure somewhere could be a very inappropriate use of the same measure somewhere else. From a technical perspective, the first challenge for us is to try to identify the problem and then design an appropriate plan for response. Once we lock down a standard, it may become difficult to do this properly, but things like zebra crossings should and will absolutely be a tool in our traffic toolbox.

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By Mal (anonymous) | Posted August 20, 2013 at 07:58:55 in reply to Comment 91062

I didn't mean to sound ungrateful, and hopefully it didn't come across like that. It's refreshing to see the City take an active interest, and more so given the pace of roll-out. Anecdotally, I would have thought that primary arterials (with their higher average speed) would be good candidates. But I'm sure that, as the City's head strategist says, it's tricky to devise an appropriate plan.

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 20, 2013 at 22:03:32 in reply to Comment 91064

I'm not overly impressed with all this to be honest. Every city and town I've been to from Toronto to suburban Mississuaga, Burlington, Sauble Beach and Hagersville has zebra crossings, coloured paint on bike lanes or pedestrian crossings and most have protected bike lanes. Even Port Dover has protected bike lanes.

Sorry for not parading down King St in jubilee because city hall painted a bunch of zebra stripes. They continue to turn down neighbourhood requests for real traffic calming such as adding 24-7 parking on both sides of the 5-lane King West freeway, de-timing lights on our one-ways, speed humps and sharrows on quiet residential streets and so on......

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 20, 2013 at 08:06:05 in reply to Comment 91064

A fair bit has changed in both the organizational structure and the culture of Public Works since this article was written, but one thing that hasn't changed is the reflexive opposition to anything that will reduce throughput on the major thoroughfares - even though the City's own traffic data tell us those streets have significant excess capacity.

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By Kevin Love (anonymous) | Posted August 20, 2013 at 04:19:23 in reply to Comment 91048

Once again, I entirely agree with Sean.

A couple of other suggestions.

1. Expand Durand Park by turning the two car parking lanes on Herkimer and the other surrounding streets into parkland. Durand Park is too small right now and this gives about 25% more parkland.

2. Use bollards to allow pedestrians and cyclists to go straight through, but eliminate rat-running cut-through motor vehicle traffic from Herkimer and all other residential streets. The only exception will be a signal-activated gate to allow the HSR bus through.

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By Modo (anonymous) | Posted August 20, 2013 at 02:38:08

How about a zebra crossing or pedestrian operated light on Dundurn between Main and Herkimer? It's impossible to cross in that area during high traffic times, and the issue is complicated by the incessant Beer and Liquor store traffic,

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted August 20, 2013 at 11:44:23 in reply to Comment 91054

Here's a question: who is the "pedestrians cross at herkimer" sign near the LCBO on dundurn speaking to exactly?

If a driver parks in the parallel parking spot across from the LCBO, are they supposed to walk up to Herkimer, cross at the light, and then walk back down to the LCBO? And then do the opposite carrying a 2-4 of beer back to their car? (Yellow Line)

Or are they allowed to cross from their car directly to the store and back?

In which case, is that sign only for pedestrians who didn't arrive to the immediate vicinity in a car?

And how far away from the LCBO do you have to park before you are considered a pedestrian rather than a driver?

Or is the sign aimed at those who don't own cars?

And what about the four completely legal (yet unmarked) crossings between the LCBO and Herkimer? (green lines)

Who is allowed to use those?

LCBO Madness

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By Herkimer Questions (anonymous) | Posted August 20, 2013 at 20:42:19

After some consideration of this, I'm left wondering which street you would propose as an easterly route to James Street from Queen and west Kirkendall? Herkimer has historically been the route and, from what I understand is actually wider than most of the parallel streets because it once had a trolley system that served this purpose. I'm all for traffic calming measures on that stretch but don't see it as a candidate for bollards whatsoever. It is, and always has been, a vital corridor for travel in that part of the City.

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By DBC (registered) | Posted August 21, 2013 at 19:39:36 in reply to Comment 91119

Then put the trolley system back in.......it would surely be better than the Indy time trials that go on every morning rush that go on your "vital corridor for travel in that part of the City". !

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 20, 2013 at 20:58:29 in reply to Comment 91119

If we had normal secondary two-way streets like a majority of Hamiltonians already support, there would be a variety of westerly (and easterly) routes between Kirkendall and Durand on which people could walk, cycle and drive at a safe, reasonable speed.

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By Herkimer Questions (anonymous) | Posted August 20, 2013 at 22:29:42 in reply to Comment 91121

Couldn't agree more! It would also save all the time we spend going around the block to get somewhere driving.

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By Herkimer Questions (anonymous) | Posted August 20, 2013 at 20:44:47

Whoops, the Herkimer Questions were suppose to be in reply to Kevin's 8/19/13 11:24:48 comment above.
Sorry.

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By Kevin Love (anonymous) | Posted August 21, 2013 at 23:56:31 in reply to Comment 91120

I propose a Dutch-style solution for all of Hamilton. Which I am gradually picking away at writing an article on. I have tomorrow off work and will try to complete it.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 22, 2013 at 06:30:01 in reply to Comment 91181

I'd be happy to consider publishing it. Please send it to me.

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By williammehlenbacher (registered) | Posted August 21, 2013 at 09:51:18

Still not sure what these Zebra Stripes do, are drivers supposed to stop for them, if a pedestrian is crossing?

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By derp (anonymous) | Posted August 21, 2013 at 09:59:41 in reply to Comment 91142

A driver is ALWAYS supposed to stop for a pedestrian waiting to cross at a crosswalk. The zebra stripes just make the crosswalk more visible.

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By HTA (anonymous) | Posted August 21, 2013 at 13:31:05 in reply to Comment 91143

And a "crosswalk" does not have to be marked. By traffic act definition, any place on a street where a sidewalk intersects it is legally considered a crosswalk wether it's painted with stripes, lines, or no markings at all

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 21, 2013 at 13:35:49 in reply to Comment 91149

Yes. Here's what the HTA says about it:

"crosswalk" means,

(a) that part of a highway at an intersection that is included within the connections of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on opposite sides of the highway measured from the curbs or, in the absence of curbs, from the edges of the roadway, or

(b) any portion of a roadway at an intersection or elsewhere distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by signs or by lines or other markings on the surface;

And just to clarify, here's the HTA definition of "highway":

"highway" includes a common and public highway, street, avenue, parkway, driveway, square, place, bridge, viaduct or trestle, any part of which is intended for or used by the general public for the passage of vehicles and includes the area between the lateral property lines thereof;

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By Zs (anonymous) | Posted August 21, 2013 at 18:18:59

Bebra crosing at Cannon and Elgin

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By the brat (anonymous) | Posted September 02, 2013 at 16:10:18 in reply to Comment 91164

oh he meant "Bo-Bra" crossing

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 21, 2013 at 21:17:56 in reply to Comment 91164

Oops, good catch. Fixed.

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 21, 2013 at 22:37:40

Not to be nit-picky, but why are so many of the zebras a gross, faded colour and very uneven lines??

Is it really hard to do this? http://image.shutterstock.com/display_pi...

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted September 02, 2013 at 13:47:58

Reconstruction of Broker Drive is running on schedule, says the councillor for the area.

Work should be completed by Thanksgiving, said Coun. Tom Jackson (Ward 6, east Mountain).

Once the road is resurfaced, two new safety features will be put in place, he said. Zebra-striped markings for pedestrian crossings will be put down at the intersections of Broker and Brentwood, and Broker and Kingsley.

There is a possibility of other changes being implemented, Jackson said. Some residents have asked for traffic-slowing speed humps to be installed on Broker and they would like an all-way stop at the intersection with Fay Avenue.

The city traffic department is looking at the requests.

http://www.hamiltonnews.com/news/speed-humps-possible-for-broker/

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