Special Report: Walkable Streets

Cannon Street a Case Study in Disastrous Design

Cannon Street should be full of people walking, cycling, chatting, doing business, socializing and otherwise interacting. Instead, it is desolate, save for the clumps of fast automobile traffic.

By Ryan McGreal
Published August 22, 2013

This past April, photographer Mike Goodwin took a series of photographs on Cannon Street that highlighted the street's dysfunctionality as a four-lane, one-way highway blasting high-speed traffic through vulnerable neighbourhoods.

I took a walk along Cannon yesterday around lunchtime because I had heard that the City installed some zebra crossings and I wanted to see for myself if the street has gotten any better. I'm nowhere near as good a photographer as Goodwin, but I decided to take some shots to try and demonstrate what is wrong with the street.

One thing is abundantly clear: the new zebra crossings, while a welcome scrap of attention to a street badly in need of it, are nowhere near enough to mitigate the sheer oppressive brutality of this beleaguered thoroughfare.

The street design aggressively conflicts with the very idea of stopping to let a pedestrian cross the street. When the "Ride of the Valkyries" (as one friend puts it) is in full swing, there is nothing stopping drivers who feel they are on a speedway rather than an inner-city street.

Unhealthy Traffic Patterns

Cannon Street is lined with houses and retail businesses and passes through several urban residential neighbourhoods. It should be full of people walking, cycling, chatting, doing business, socializing and otherwise interacting.

Instead, it is desolate, save for the automobile traffic, which comes in tight clumps of fast-moving vehicles interspersed with stretches of complete emptiness.

Big gaps with no traffic
Big gaps with no traffic

There are a few important reasons for this phenomenon, all relating to the street's design:

I'm not kidding about the excess lane capacity: at Mary Street, where traffic is at its highest, Cannon carries just 16,700 a day, or 4,175 per lane. Farther east, total daily traffic tails off to just over 9,000 at Sherman.

The City should be aiming for 7-9,000 cars per lane per day, which means two lanes in total is plenty for Cannon. There's no reason not to use one of the spare lanes for a protected two-way bike lane that will connect north-central Hamilton with north-east Hamilton.

There's also no reason whatsoever for the two remaining vehicle lanes not to go in opposite directions, about which more below in the section on Wilson Street.

Transport Trucks

With the bonanza of excess lane capacity, it's no wonder so many transport trucks like to drive along Cannon. Nearly every clump of vehicles contains at least one transport truck or other heavy truck, and some contain more than one.

The following photos were taken literally within minutes of each other as I walked east. I could have taken several more.

Transport trucks on Cannon
Transport trucks on Cannon

Transport trucks on Cannon
More transport trucks on Cannon

It's like a scene from a Stephen King movie
It's like a scene from a Stephen King movie

I think Graham Crawford put it best when he wrote in response to the last photo: "Photoshopped? How can two huge trucks be headed in the same direction on a four-lane street where people live? Oh yeah, Hamilton."

Nothing says "safe and healthy neighbourhood" like transport trucks and other high-speed vehicles roaring past people's homes, businesses, parks and schools.

Zebra Crossings

I watched a family try to cross Cannon at Elgin, where the City has just installed a zebra crossing. Not one car stopped for them, and they ended up having to wait for the traffic to clear before they could cross.

Vehicles not stopping for pedestrians on zebra crossing at Cannon and Elgin
Vehicles not stopping for pedestrians on zebra crossing at Cannon and Elgin

Farther east, the City has also installed a zebra crossing at Smith, near St. Brigid's School. Presumably the crosswalk has a crossing guard during school hours, but a crosswalk is legally in force all the time.

Zebra crossing at Cannon and Smith
Zebra crossing at Cannon and Smith

Unfortunately, even though the crossing is marked with bright Pedestrian Crossing signs, drivers showed no sign of yielding the right of way.

Bright signs telling drivers about the pedestrian crossing
Bright signs telling drivers about the pedestrian crossing

I tried to cross at Cannon and Smith past three separate clumps of drivers, using all the techniques that are supposed to signal one's intent to cross: I leaned forward, stepped out, used hand-signals (no rude ones) and attempted to make eye contact. Of the 20 or so vehicles that passed me, not one even slowed down.

There's also a zebra crossing at Wentworth, which at least has the benefit of being at a signalized intersection so pedestrians have a chance.

Zebra crossing at Cannon and Wentworth
Zebra crossing at Cannon and Wentworth

Unfortunately, the next signalized intersection west of Cannon is at Victoria, 650 metres away. That is an appallingly long distance in an urban environment without a safe way to cross the street: it's actually longer than the average total distance a person will walk in a trip!

Wilson Street

Meanwhile, one block south, Wilson street is similarly one-way, similarly excessive in lane capacity, and similarly dismal.

Wilson Street west of Wentworth
Wilson Street west of Wentworth

This is a tragic waste of scarce and valuable public space in the city. We're wasting it on useless excessive asphalt and ignoring the pent-up demand for a more active, humane, healthy and prosperous street design that other cities are already unleashing.

Wilson Street is two-way west of Victoria and one-way east of it. In the middle of a weekday, there was no traffic on either the two-way or the one-way side.

Wilson is two-way west of Victoria
Wilson is two-way west of Victoria

Again, there is absolutely no reason for Wilson and Cannon not to be two-way along their full length.

We saw one of the benefits of two-way conversion last September when a water main burst at James and Cannon. Thanks to the fact that Wilson had been converted to two-way, traffic was able to go west on Wilson/York and bypass the damage.

Whether Cannon is two lanes westbound and Wilson is two lanes eastbound or each street is one lane eastbound and one lane westbound, they have the same lane capacity - a capacity that is more than equal to the automobile traffic these streets carry right now.

There is simply no good reason not to proceed with the two-way conversion of Cannon and the two-way extension of Wilson in a timely fashion.

What is a Crosswalk

From some of the discussion I've seen and participated in lately, a lot of drivers don't even seem to realize that they're supposed to stop at a pedestrian crossing. Here's what the Ontario Highway Traffic Act has to say:

When under this section a driver is permitted to proceed, the driver shall yield the right of way to pedestrians lawfully within a crosswalk.

Here is the definition of a crosswalk:

"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 be extra-clear, here is the definition of a 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;

In other words, drivers are legally required to stop for pedestrians at any intersection, whether or not it has traffic signals, whether or not it has pavement markings, when pedestrians want to cross legally. The zebra markings don't confer any special legal status; they merely make the crosswalk more visible.

It's clear that this isn't happening in Hamilton, and I believe a big part of the reason is that our streets designed in such a way as to give predominance and priority to one mode - driving - over all others.

On streets that are more balanced in their design, like James Street North or Locke Street South, it is much easier for pedestrians to cross the street safely because drivers implicitly recognize that pedestrians have a right to be there.

On Cannon Street, the implicit message to everyone is that pedestrians and cyclists don't belong. As a result, most people don't walk or cycle on Cannon, and drivers decline to respect those few who do.

So while I welcome the City finally paying some attention to Cannon and adding a few zebra crossings, if they are serious about humanizing the street, this needs to be just the first step toward making Cannon a balanced, safe, complete, functional street for everyone.

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 bigdeal (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 07:49:48

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By digbeal (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 08:46:20 in reply to Comment 91193

What's the big deal if cars go through stop signs, as long as cars coming the other way know they're not going to stop? It's illegal is what the big deal is.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 10:46:55 in reply to Comment 91197

I think you are misinterpreting his point. If the pedestrian signals an intent to cross, cars must stop and let him cross, you are right. However, if there are big gaps between cars then what need is there for pedestrians to signal their intent to cross? If its a matter of waiting for 5 seconds until there is a gap in traffic, its unreasonable to expect cars to stop.

The reason we have these laws is because on a properly designed complete street it would at times be necessary for cars to yield the right of way in order for pedestrians to cross - and indeed, on a well designed street such as James St. North or Locke Street, it seems only natural to stop for pedestrians. The primary issue here is not one of enforcing that cars stop for pedestrians, but of designing streets so that it makes sense for them to stop. On a four-lane one way road its not better to stop for a pedestrian than to drive past them, because there is no guarantee that other motorists will follow suit. IMO the problem is primarily road design.

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By brendan (registered) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 11:10:29 in reply to Comment 91216

If its a matter of waiting for 5 seconds until there is a gap in traffic, its unreasonable to expect cars to stop.

Here's why it's a big deal: A pedestrian walks at something like 4 kph. Slower for seniors. Cannon is something like 14m wide. That means it takes 12.5 seconds to cross all five lanes. In 12.5 seconds, a car travelling at 60 kph can cover just over 200m of distance. As a pedestrian, can you be sure that a car won't pop out of an intersection for the next 12 seconds? Can you see that all lanes are clear for the length of two football fields?

I see pedestrians guessing wrong on Cannon every day, and wind up playing Frogger with traffic. (Luckily I haven't witnessed an accident yet, but there have been a few close calls.) Simply put, it makes sense for cars to stop because relying on pedestrians to judge when traffic has cleared results in more dead pedestrians.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted August 26, 2013 at 18:17:20 in reply to Comment 91218

I see pedestrians guessing wrong on Cannon every day...

The 'wrong guess' they are making is that Cannon is a street you can safely cross without a stop-light in your favour. You can't tell drivers to travel at 50-70 km/hr on 3+ lanes (which is what the street design dictates, regardless of the posted speed limit) and also ask them to stop for pedestrians without any signals or visual aides. Its just not a place where both uses can happen. The issue not about drivers being inconsiderate, its about roadways that are designed for the wrong thing.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 08:02:59 in reply to Comment 91193

I was thinking this too... As a driver I would not stop for a pedestrian if I know there is a gap behind me, and on a 4 lane road where average speeds are >50kph, that means I wouldn't stop at all. I don't want a pedestrian to cross thinking that because I stopped for them, the guy behind me will also stop -what if the car behind me whips around on the far side of me and hits them? If there are no other cars, its reasonable to expect them to wait for me, since its a difference of seconds.

The bigger issue is that we have a street in a residential neighborhood that is designed in such a way that its not actually very safe for a motorist to stop and let a pedestrian cross.that doesn't make much sense to me, especially when the amount of traffic warrants only 2 lanes. Its a textbook example of bad design inhibiting normal usage patterns. We shouldn't be building highways where it doesn't make sense to apply the HTA doctrine w.r.t pedestrian crossings - that's what freeways are for.

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By adrian (registered) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 08:03:04

On streets that are more balanced in their design, like James Street North or Locke Street South, it is much easier for pedestrians to cross the street safely because drivers implicitly recognize that pedestrians have a right to be there.

This is a good point. I work on Locke and not only do drivers often (though not always) stop for pedestrians who want to cross at the crosswalks, but they often stop to let pedestrians cross elsewhere on the street. This isn't just because drivers recognize the rights of pedestrians, it's also because there is a sense of greater proximity and community. Traffic is slow enough that it is easy to make eye contact, and when you're driving and you stop and let groups of people cross the street, you get smiles and little waves that reinforce why you stopped in the first place.

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By LynnG (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 14:37:16 in reply to Comment 91195

I live on Charlton and cross Locke frequently a Zebra crosswalks. While the majority of drivers wait until you have reached the other side before starting to move forward, a significant number almost reach you before you are two-thirds across, and I am a fast walker. Parents pushing strollers, dog walkers and seniors would feel rushed. Even with some of the infrastructure in place, an attitude change is needed. Of course, switching to two-way traffic may improve this considerably.

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By Mal (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 09:45:23 in reply to Comment 91195

Anecdotes like these reinforce my own experience amd make me wonder why the City has zebra-striped Locke South with such gusto. These measures have a positive impact, but Locke South is typically a poster-child for the civilizing effects of two-way streets, one where traffic is slow and driver-pedestrian courtesy is not extinct. Cannon, meanwhile...

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 22, 2013 at 09:51:25 in reply to Comment 91205

Not only that, but the trajectory of Locke Street from a dangerous thoroughfare (albeit two-way) to a civil street over the past two decades tells us a lot about what a street needs to succeed.

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By Mal (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 15:03:37 in reply to Comment 91206

Agreed.

And now that the City has striped half of the Locke South intersections between Aberdeen and the tracks, maybe they can demonstrate comparable levels of awareness and concern elsewhere.

http://www.metafilter.com/128124/Crosswalks-are-less-common-in-poor-neighborhoods

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By Conrad664 (registered) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 08:33:46

Well the wayt i see it . Main Cannon King Burlington streets are not desingh for residental as far i see it

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By Steve (registered) | Posted August 24, 2013 at 11:45:47 in reply to Comment 91196

Then why did they build so many of those gosh darn houses on Cannon?

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 20:27:49 in reply to Comment 91196

Burlington, Main and King, I agree. Cannon, no.

Burlington is a no brainer. It's in an industrial area, and it's frequent bridges and overpasses do not make it conducive to being a residential street.

Main and King, have a better case, but they are natural extension of highway 8, the only respectably fast arterial vein through the city, that crosses several commercial areas, starting with the University and Westdale that is a chain restaurant street, then encompassing Dundurn Plaza, various drive thrus and small commercial developments, the core proper, the Stadium, various restaurants & small businesses around Wellington/Wentworth which dots until the the stadium region and the Delta which is park and commerce, the Commercial area along Kenilworth which continues as it turns into Queenston and doesn't stop until it hits Hwy 8. King after the Delta runs into some brief housing before hitting Rosedale Plaza and some development on Centennial parkway before ending with housing and turning into Queenston and Highway 8.

Cannon however boasts swaths of low density housing with the occasional business. It should be converted.

Comment edited by -Hammer- on 2013-08-22 20:38:55

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 22, 2013 at 21:32:07 in reply to Comment 91266

the only respectably fast arterial vein through the city

That has not been true since at least 2007. It does not hold water. People who want to get from one end of the city to the other in a "respectably fast" manner have a complete ring highway they can use, which takes exactly the same amount of time as Main-King.

It is also empirically false to claim, as some do, that "gridlock" would ensue if we converted these streets to two-way, since they have significant excess lane capacity by the city's own traffic volume counts.

It is simply not acceptable to continue destroying the vitality of street life on Main and King to accommodate "respectably fast" automobile through traffic.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2013-08-22 21:35:27

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted August 26, 2013 at 17:06:32 in reply to Comment 91269

I disagree with your assesment, espcially when your figures indicate Main and King St, even with some of the highest traffic usage and large number of lanes, still boasts very high volume per lane ratios compared to the rest of the city, with only Upper James and Mohawk (which is immediately connected to the Linc, a major mountain access and a major commercial area and is very close to the West 5th access), Garth and Fennel (which is also connected to a mountain access, close to the West 5th access and Mohawk College) and Golflinks and Stonechurch (which is immediately connected to the Linc and a major commercial area) and suffers from traffic funneling far more as a result.

The "Ring Highway" suggestion you make would be some 4-5KM away for residents to utilize, which is going to compound the already high traffic issues on Upper James and Garth that your figures say are the worst streets in Hamilton.

I also feel that as density continues to increase in the core (as is a requirement for a healthy Urban environment) and other streets (such as Canon) are converted, the need will grow, and while an LRT would be an effective bullet to many of these concerns, that's in the purview of the province and doesn't look to be comming down the pipe any time soon.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 26, 2013 at 17:24:47 in reply to Comment 91407

I don't understand how you draw your conclusions from the data.

Main at Bay carries 5,680 cars per lane. Main at Wellington carries 4,200 cars per lane. Main at Kenilworth carries 5,000 cars per lane. You could repurpose two driving lanes and Main would still carry around 8,000 - 10,000 cars per lane, which is well within normal volumes for an urban arterial. It would continue to serve as a functional street for automobiles, but not as a drag strip.

King at Wentworth is 4 lanes and carries only 4,100 cars per lane. By Catherine it is down to two lanes and carries 7,200 cars per lane - in a smooth, moderate flow of traffic that has no resemblance to "gridlock". Yet King expands to 4 lanes at Bay with traffic volumes of only 6,225 cars per lane. Farther west at Locke it expands to an insane five lanes of westbound traffic capacity and is a freeway.

If we converted Main and King to two-way streets with one lane in each direction, protected bike lanes and curbside parking, they would continue to function as arterial streets for the current traffic volumes, albeit streets in which the vehicles move at a much safer, more convivial speed.

That does not even take into account the proven and well-understood effect of induced demand on traffic volumes. When you reduce lane capacity, some automobile trips disappear completely. This is proven in city after city across North America and Europe, and concurrent improvements in transit make the effect even more pronounced.

Vancouver just proved this: while the population of the central city nearly doubled over the past 15 years or so, the total volume of automobile trips actually dropped by 20-30 percent.

You say you support urban revitalization and intensification, but our automobile-centric streets are a huge ongoing deterrent to the urban investments that would make the intensification you say you want possible.

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted August 26, 2013 at 23:43:40 in reply to Comment 91408

8,000 to 10,000 is not well within normal volumes. That is reaching the point of problematic, which I would certainly say Upper James and Golf Links are approaching, and the Queen St hill certainly has become (hence it's major reworking, to level and straighten to help alleviate this issue). However, the traffic issues here are highly skewed due to their highway proximity, access proximity's, large commercial areas, turning lanes (that these stats fail to account for) and educational institutions nearby. Main and Dalewood are also conversely alleviated due to it's proximity to the 403, McMaster and Commercial areas. The measurements at these locals are skewed as they are major gateways, with massive parking and road infrastructure, meaning trips along this street are typically short, or quickly are alleviated into other roads.

King and Main however, are at a respectable 5,000 indicating neither a lack, nor excessive use in capacity per lane, as evidenced by it's approach to the average capacity of 4555. The fact these roads are handling slightly more then that without issue would indicate the success of their current one way configuration. Admitably they are skewed around the area around Dundurn due to, once again it being a large commercial area and it's proximity to the QEW. We can see that main eventually declines to a slightly bellow average number past Wellington where the numbers stop but we can assume are consistent based on the Kenilworth measurement which are marginally skewed due to the access proximity but decently higher. However alleviated by the two way traffic along King and later Queenston (which is a congestion nightmare).

This falters however around King and Catherine, which often does resemble gridlock. The fact that it's pushing the higher levels of 7,000+ shows that. The fact we also show some 4,000 going Southbound to the Clairmont (which also has excessive lanes, I agree) indicates it likely is boasting a high capacity before reaching this point. This is especially true when compared to under utilized vein in Hunter and John.

It's probably one of the biggest culprits because of the quick massive lane reduction from the vast majority of traffic travelling on King towards McMaster. We can also see that this traffic is progressing along this route (as measured by King and Bay) and further being fed by James, John and Bay (whose traffic we can see is vastly reducing after passing King by some 2000 as measured at Main, John's figures being notably absent as with James south of King). At this point, the traffic becomes high and some slowdown occurs.

The conclusions I draw from this are, yes, there are roads that have an excess capacity. Absolutely. Cannon which boasts pathetically underused lanes at around 2,000 at times and only picking up briefly around Mary (likely from bleed over from Victoria and Wellington of people actively avoiding congestion at King and Wellington). As does the majority of one way streets on this list (Wentworth, Catherine, Hunter, as well as parts of Wellington and Victoria). They do not require higher capacity, or need to be one way streets. They should certainly be converted and I advocate their change.

However King and Main, almost consistently through most of their breadth, pull in slightly above the average or at average. They should be left alone to avoid congestion. The most I would safely concede would be a single lane upon Main, which would be a good spot for an LRT and if it's benefits were realized, might advocate it's conversion at that time.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted August 27, 2013 at 08:12:29 in reply to Comment 91416

What "average" are you comparing to? Comparing the count to the Hamilton average is like writing a dictionary where the definition of each word is the word itself.

"...King and Catherine, which often does resemble gridlock."

By "gridlock" do you mean "waiting for one light cycle"? Or are you referring to the times once in a while when drivers may have to wait for two light cycles because of a lane closure or emergency vehicle?

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 27, 2013 at 06:36:56 in reply to Comment 91416

8,000 to 10,000 is not well within normal volumes.

Sorry, but that's just wrong. At an average speed of around 30-35 km/h, a city street can easily accommodate around 1,500 vehicles per lane per hour. Not only that, but as you increase the number of lanes per street, you get into diminishing returns and the vehicle capacity per additional lane goes down.

In other words, as multilane, 50 km/h thoroughfares, Main and King are actually quite inefficient in terms of vehicles per lane per hour. Throughout most of their length - and certainly through downtown - they could handily carry their current traffic volumes as two two-way streets with one lane in each direction, left turn lanes, curbside parking, transit lanes and so on.

Not only that, but as two-way streets they would be more efficient at bringing vehicle traffic to local destinations. When you eliminate the overshoot/backtrack that is necessary with paired one-way streets, the total volume of traffic would go down even if nothing else changes. In addition, we also know that reducing lane capacity serves to reduce driving; and increasing walking/cycling/transit capacity serves to shift more trips from cars to those other modes.

Again, look at Vancouver: they nearly doubled their downtown population while reducing traffic volumes by 20-30 percent. They did that by doing exactly what we've been advocating for Hamilton.

You bring up Beckett Drive, but the reason they're rebuilding it is that it was never constructed properly and the City decided it needed to be rebuilt, not because it was somehow failing to carry 21,000 cars per day on just one lane in each direction. It certainly doesn't experience anything resembling the kind of traffic congestion you seem to think will happen downtown if we make more effective use of our surplus lane capacity.

Bonus sidenote: at lower vehicle speeds, city streets can actually carry higher volumes because cars don't have to spread out as much. Air pollution goes down (because cars pollute more at higher speeds), sidewalks feel safer and people who want to drive can still drive, albeit at safer speeds.

You seem to be fixated on maintaining Main and King in their current dysfunctional roles as multi-lane one-way thoroughfares but the empirical case for doing so is in tatters.

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By j.servus (registered) | Posted August 27, 2013 at 09:36:40 in reply to Comment 91426

This is anecdotal, but I've lived in a lot of cities before Hamilton, and I've never seen anything in Hamilton I would describe as "gridlock," including the backup on the West 5th access coming down to James when they first closed Beckett. There is no "gridlock" in Hamilton. There is hardly even "inconvenience." We used to live on West Mountain between Garth and West 5th, and I never thought the traffic volumes were onerous. For all practical purposes, the traffic in Hamilton is so light as to be an irrelevant consideration for any local trip I ever envisioned--an experience I've never had in any other city in the world, and not one that signals the vitality of "the 20 minute city." On the other hand, now living near Main and Wentworth, I'm asking myself every day whether I'd rather walk out of my way to avoid walking along that wasteland of howling desert called Main Street. I was stunned when Jason linked the postcards showing what a beautiful, tree lined, people friendly street Main once was. Now this city is hospitable to cars, but it's still people who have to live here!

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 27, 2013 at 10:43:16 in reply to Comment 91429

Because of the timed one-way lights, streets like Main Street spend half their time with roaring high-speed cars and half their time empty:

Main Street, morning rush hour

Main Street east of James during morning rush hour

And due to various instances of road work, construction and lane closures over the past couple of years, we know what happens when you reduce lane capacity. This is what Main Street looked like reduced to just two lanes at Bay earlier this year:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StFA0YcB...

It astounds me that anyone would continue to defend its current configuration in the face of all evidence to the contrary.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2013-08-27 10:44:23

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted August 23, 2013 at 11:13:40 in reply to Comment 91269

comment from banned user deleted

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted August 23, 2013 at 11:32:55 in reply to Comment 91286

North: Qew/Skyway/403 - 13 minutes from QEW/Burlington street to 403/Main via skyway.

Just because there's a bay in the middle of the ring doesn't mean it's not a ring.

Yes we have a ring highway system!

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted August 23, 2013 at 11:38:10 in reply to Comment 91287

comment from banned user deleted

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By j.servus (registered) | Posted August 23, 2013 at 12:08:18 in reply to Comment 91288

Distinguish through-traffic from local traffic. The present arrangements are encouraging through-traffic to prefer inner city arteries rather than the expressways. That's absurd.

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted August 26, 2013 at 16:17:23 in reply to Comment 91294

I partially agree with this point. We shouldn't be designing our streets to accomodate transport trucks. However, we should be designing them to be accomodating to visitors, and not locking them in gridlock which would cause them to favour a bypass of the city. Heck, I dread going to Toronto by any route but the GO because of traffic issues, and would go and spend more money there far more if I didn't have to pay $20 to get their via rail or wait at least 2 hours in traffic. This is the economic costs of congestion in action, and we want to avoid this. This is espcially true when you have a major tourist route in highway 8 that naturally connects to King/Main.

However, majority of users of the inner city arteries are people who live there, as it's a predominantly residential area east of the core proper until past the Red Hill. Heavy Truck and Industrial traffic tends to stick to the Linc or Burlington St where they belong, and because it is faster to bypass the city and not get off the highway to get to the 403 from the QEW.

The fundamental issue is people in the core or people on the brow of the mountain should have to drive to Burlington St or to the Linc to utilize an appreciably fast East/West artery.

However, that all being said, having ONE and ONLY ONE major artery every 2KM seems reasonable to me, which is the exsisting configuration of Burlington St, King/Main and the Linc. Cannon has no reason to be treated in a similar fashion, nor Charlton, nor York/Wilson, nor Hunter and I advocate their conversion to two way, slower streets.

Comment edited by -Hammer- on 2013-08-26 16:23:09

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted August 28, 2013 at 18:26:49 in reply to Comment 91405

Heck, I dread going to Toronto by any route but the GO because of traffic issues

And yet Toronto is not lacking for visitors to its core.

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By j.servus (registered) | Posted August 27, 2013 at 10:47:28 in reply to Comment 91405

Thanks for the thoughtful response. I appreciate your point about Toronto, because I go there two or three times a week for work. I would never drive, unless I had a heavy parcel, or passengers. But I think that's as it should be. Our infrastructure design should encourage people to take more efficient modes of travel, and loading up a GO train is much more efficient than loading up the QEW with single-person vehicles.

But I take it your point has to do with driving in Toronto itself, which is certainly a bear. I appreciate why you don't go there. I like to stay in Hamilton myself. Nevertheless, Toronto gets plenty of visitors. It gets them because it is a vibrant and exciting place. It gets them for the same kinds of reasons Manhattan gets them. When you get to Toronto, you park your car and walk. It's pleasant to walk even along heavily trafficked thoroughfares like Bloor or Yonge or University. The sidewalks are broad and welcoming. The cars are not racing by.

It is interesting to walk along Bloor Street, but it is frightening to walk along Main Street in Hamilton. On Main Street, the sidewalks are narrow. Every hundred feet or so they are interrupted by a lamppost that makes two-abreast impossible. Conversation is difficult because there is always another wave of speedway traffic roaring by. One clings to children anxiously because the sidewalk is too narrow, and the speedway too fast, to be safe for them. The sidewalks are shared with cyclists who, in Toronto, would be on the road where they belong, but, in Hamilton, are scared off it.

In Hamilton, there are a few areas allowed to thrive. James North is getting there. International Village on King Street has the makings of an interesting area, and part of it is because the city has departed from its customary cars-first policy and allowed an interesting pedestrian environment to survive. There are other places. But in general, they are sacrificed to automotive throughput.

My point is that people will visit Hamilton if Hamilton is an interesting place to visit. They will not be deterred by gridlock, nearly as much as they are presently deterred by the charmless speedways lacing our core. If we want a vital Hamilton, we have to make it hospitable to PEOPLE, not to their cars.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 23, 2013 at 12:04:00 in reply to Comment 91288

Traffic from the QEW to downtown should only be for local deliveries, and it should drive through urban neighbourhoods at a safe speed. Through traffic should take the ring highway, which takes the same time as driving across the city through downtown.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted August 23, 2013 at 12:02:49 in reply to Comment 91288

You are now talking about local trafic. The time to travel from QEW to main west is the same whether you use the skyway or burlington/cannon street. Traffic should be routed via the shortest in-town route to their destination even if it means more highway driving. So yes, cars/trucks heading to west Hamilton from say Niagara should most certinaly be using the linc or the skyway.

If you had to get from Union Station to North York in Toronto, would you take the DVP or would you drive up yonge street? The DVP is 11km longer...

hamilton mentality

Comment edited by seancb on 2013-08-23 12:03:16

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 10:28:01 in reply to Comment 91196

yet historic photos would indicate otherwise. Note Main East and Victoria Avenue (currently 5 lane truck freeways)

http://www.hamiltonpostcards.com/pages/s...

King and Wentworth. Looks like any number of present day Toronto residential 'high streets' full of hustle and bustle from the dense residential neighbourhoods it sits in the middle of: http://transit.toronto.on.ca/photos/imag...

We turned it into this: http://goo.gl/maps/oqpgV

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By j.servus (registered) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 12:17:48 in reply to Comment 91211

Whoa, thanks for those postcards--and the clarification by contrast with google street view. That's stunning. We just moved to the city near Main and Wentworth. Every time I walk along Main I wonder how it was originally designed. That road is an affront to pedestrians. The sidewalks may be nominally five feet wide, but because of the lamp posts, it is cramped to walk even two abreast; and that's a sidewalk also shared frequently with bicyclists who are rightly afraid of venturing into the speedway (or are traveling west). Its design, and the amount of excess capacity, is outrageous.

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By Conrad664 (registered) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 12:06:45 in reply to Comment 91211

yjoses streets were taken way befor Stelco took over this city and turned it into a high way in and out of the core

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 23, 2013 at 15:38:11 in reply to Comment 91221

Stelco didn't do anything. We've had no leadership for 6 decades in this city.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 09:27:54 in reply to Comment 91196

Thats the whole point - they should be.

Comment edited by AnjoMan on 2013-08-22 09:28:07

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By digbeal (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 08:46:57 in reply to Comment 91196

Tell that to the thousands of people LIVING on those streets, they've had houses since long before they were turned into soul sucking highways.

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By brendan (registered) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 10:28:38 in reply to Comment 91198

"Tell that to the thousands of people LIVING on those streets, they've had houses since long before they were turned into soul sucking highways."

Repeated for emphasis. Every time I drive down Cannon, past hundreds of houses who's front lawns have been turned into a freeway, I think of all of that lost wealth. Cannon was once a thriving neighbourhood - it can be again!

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By Gord (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 08:49:15

You don't want vehicles stopping too much. Idling vehicles emit more unburned hydrocarbons - and the bulk of Cannon St. addresses are residential, family homes.

The streetlights are timed so there is assuredly a break in the traffic that permits pedestrian street crossing. In regards to pedestrian rights and a driver's legal responsibility to permit pedestrians the right of way, as a pedestrian I find it safer and more prudent to cede the right of way to the 1 ton chunk of steel traveling at 50km/h, and wait patiently for my opportunity to cross the street safely.

In any case, I agree that Cannon St. is a terrible design. The sidewalks are too narrow to cut metered parking into the street for the small businesses that do reside there (the ones still open). You could make it two way but then you'd be clogging an artery and there would be even less opportunity of stopping to support the businesses. I don't know.

If I am to make one point - look both ways before crossing. Never assume a driver sees you or knows what you're doing, and never assume you know what the driver is doing.

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By Brendan (registered) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 10:38:12 in reply to Comment 91199

"You don't want vehicles stopping too much. Idling vehicles emit more unburned hydrocarbons - and the bulk of Cannon St. addresses are residential, family homes. "

That's just not true. Stop repeating it. An idling car uses far less gas than one speeding by at 60 kph, and the number of cars passing each house per hour lowers as we reduce the average speed. That's why the highest pollution in Hamilton is next to the 403, QEW and Linc. (see page 19)

Comment edited by Brendan on 2013-08-22 10:43:52

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By ScreenCarp (registered) | Posted August 25, 2013 at 11:46:19 in reply to Comment 91215

Oh nonsense. Pollution is bad near the highways because of the sheer number of vehicles, not because of their speed. You do not want lines of cars/trucks idling outside your front door.

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By brendan (registered) | Posted August 28, 2013 at 16:51:11 in reply to Comment 91355

You forget that speed and number of vehicles are linked. Slower speed roads = less vehicles = less pollution, (even if the contribution of each one is slightly higher due to more stop-and-go, a fact that is having less and less impact as hybrids, EVs and start-stop systems grow in popularity).

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 25, 2013 at 20:54:34 in reply to Comment 91355

You're wrong. The evidence unambiguously indicates that automobiles consume more fuel and produce higher emissions per unit of distance at higher speeds than they produce at lower speeds. Part of the reason is that the aerodynamic drag increases exponentially with speed, and becomes a huge contributing factor toward overall fuel consumption at highway speeds.

But it gets worse: we know that people drive longer distances more frequently when there is more lane capacity (and people drive less when there is less lane capacity), so fast multi-lane thoroughfares and highways actually induce people to drive more than they would if our streets were more mode-balanced. It's one of the reasons that overall air pollution from vehicles in Hamilton is going up even as industrial air pollution goes down.

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By ScreenCarp (registered) | Posted August 27, 2013 at 20:54:27 in reply to Comment 91369

According to the EPA model, they produce more emissions when they're below 30 km/h. They don't increase again until 65, so that's irrelevant to the conversation. What is relevant is avoiding congestion, idling and stop/go.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 09:33:48 in reply to Comment 91199

You don't want vehicles stopping too much. Idling vehicles emit more unburned hydrocarbons...

That's funny because right now they have to idle for a whole stop-light cycle in order for pedestrians to cross safely.

as a pedestrian I find it safer and more prudent to cede the right of way to the 1 ton chunk of steel traveling at 50km/h

This is exactly the problem - we have not only 1-ton chunks of steel but also 17-ton chunks of steel traveling at not just 50km/h but over 50km/h on a road where pedestrians are legally allowed to cross without any signals. Its either a road or a freeway, it can't be both.

You could make it two way but then you'd be clogging an artery

It's been proven that this is untrue

Comment edited by AnjoMan on 2013-08-22 09:41:51

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 22, 2013 at 09:37:03 in reply to Comment 91202

Not to mention the fact that when you design a street to make it easier to drive, more people drive longer distances more frequently. The overall effect is more air pollution, not less.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 10:49:40 in reply to Comment 91203

In addition, if you reduced Cannon to one way in each direction, I'll bet the vast majority of truck traffic would divert to more appropriate routes - a much bigger reduction in air pollution than you would ever see by changing the habits of car traffic.

Comment edited by AnjoMan on 2013-08-22 10:55:19

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By ScreenCarp (registered) | Posted August 23, 2013 at 00:32:44 in reply to Comment 91217

What more appropriate route goes west to the 403? Cannon IS the truck route.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted August 28, 2013 at 18:30:33 in reply to Comment 91276

That big road with the bridge, what's it called? Oh yeah, the QEW

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By j.servus (registered) | Posted August 23, 2013 at 11:57:50 in reply to Comment 91276

It IS the truck route, because it's designed to be. If it were designed differently, that would change the calculus for truck drivers. We should design in a way that will encourage trucks to prefer Burlington east to QEW/RHVP. Occasional freight through town is one thing; a policy that encourages regular freight through-traffic to prefer inner city routes is silly.

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By screencarp (registered) | Posted August 25, 2013 at 12:11:03 in reply to Comment 91290

We have the harbour and lots of industry in north west Hamilton. Some of these goods have to travel west. Do you honestly expect these trucks to spend an extra 30 minutes and 40k to travel east and around the bay?

Folks frame this discussion like all the traffic is coming from Stoney Creek. It's not, it coming and going from our city.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted August 26, 2013 at 10:08:01 in reply to Comment 91357

From Burltingon/Gage to the 403 Brantford, it's only 11 km longer to take the Linc than to go through town.

From Burlington/Gage to 6 North it's only 14 km longer to take the skyway

From Burlington/Gage to QEW Toronto it's actually 2km SHORTER to take the skyway.

Considering the distances these loads are destined to travel, an extra 15 (or less) km is insignificant. Is the economic viability of our city so unimportant to you that you'll deliver this shortcut to the truck companies on a silver platter? What exactly are we getting in return?

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 25, 2013 at 20:47:49 in reply to Comment 91357

We have the harbour and lots of industry in north west Hamilton.

We have the harbour. We don't have lots of industry, and the industry we do have is extremely well served by freight rail.

Do you honestly expect these trucks to spend an extra 30 minutes and 40k to travel east and around the bay?

I expect trucks to take the fastest, most convenient route available to them. If we allow the fastest route to be blasting through a vulnerable residential community at 50+ km/h then that's the way they'll go.

If the fastest route is to go along Burlington Street, which is actually designed for truck traffic and connects directly to the city's ring highway system, they'll do that instead - and it certainly won't take them an extra 30 minutes.

In any case, the ease and convenience of transport truck operators should never take precedence over the safety and livability of residents in a vulnerable neighbourhood. It's easy to say someone else should have to live with incessant fast transport truck traffic when those trucks aren't blasting their way down your own street.

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By ScreenCarp (registered) | Posted August 26, 2013 at 00:51:28 in reply to Comment 91367

We don't have lots of industry, and the industry we do have is extremely well served by freight rail.

Where are all these trucks coming from then? Perhaps traffic not only disappears, but also appears!

I expect trucks to take the fastest, most convenient route available to them.

They are, they do, and they will or they'll close up and move. It could have unintended consequences. Part of our problems in the "code red" neighbourhoods is the loss of industrial and manufacturing jobs in the area. There used to be lots, and some folks now working at lower paying job would be too proud to lose the house, or couldn't afford to sell it or fix it. That's how we got so many run down houses, speculators and shitty landlords. You're right that Cannon doesn't help, but that's just one street of many.

and it certainly won't take them an extra 30 minutes.

It does now to go from Victoria and Burlington to York and the 403 via the Skyway. And that is in really good traffic. I'd be up for an increase to 80km along Burlington St. but it's a question of which is more expensive, time or gas.

Your hyperbole is delicious but I've never seen a truck "blasting" down Cannon. They stop and go far to often to blast down the street and are often the cause of cars "blasting" down the far right hand lane because they think it's a passing lane and they're fed up with going 30k. Maybe it's different late an night or when I'm not on the road?

This is all pretty moot as I see the city does actually have a plan http://www.hamilton.ca/CityDepartments/P...! I'm not exactly sure what it is, but some sort of plan involving "gateways" and "villages"...

Comment edited by ScreenCarp on 2013-08-26 00:53:03

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted August 26, 2013 at 12:31:30 in reply to Comment 91374

hyperbole? That's rich from someone claiming that taking the highway adds 40km to the drive. The entire loop around hamilton (skyway/rhvp/linc/403) is only 46km total.

Even from victoria/burlington (the western edge of the industrial sector) it's only a 16km difference to take bulringon/linc to the 403 west, a 7 minute difference according to google maps (probably a minute or two less at real-life highway speeds).

Selling Hamilton for 7 minutes.

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By Michelle Martin (registered) - website | Posted August 22, 2013 at 10:12:35 in reply to Comment 91203

And you increase the expectation that drivers have priority, always: witness the behaviour of drivers who come off the green wave at the King/Main delta, and blow through the red at the pedestrian activated signal at Maple and King East (the next signal after the Delta, and the first one on King after the street becomes 2-way). We see this regularly.

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By Canning (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 09:42:03

I think every councilor needs to spend a day walking along this street before they vote on Farr's bike lane motion. For the ones that will vote against it I want them to know inside their skin what sentence they're imposing on the people who live on and around Cannon.

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 10:29:50 in reply to Comment 91204

to them it's simply the price one pays for living in 'that part of town'. If they want nicer quality of life they should move to all of our surrounding communities, like 99% of city hall employees have.

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By howtofix (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 10:01:07

Should we be trying to get the bike lanes AND two way conversion at the same time? I'm afraid they'll put in bike lanes and decide it's "better enough" and doesn't need anything else for another 20 years, but then I hear Maria Pearson saying we should talk about bike lanes and conversion at the same time and wonder if she isn't just stalling so they don't have to do anything.

I wish we could trust council to do the right thing.

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By Kevin Love (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 10:02:09

I support Councillor Farr's bike lane motion and will write to him saying so.

Right now, to cross the street I always put up my right arm with right hand palm outward in the "stop" signal position. This usually works, but if I do not do this car drivers will usually illegally fail to stop.

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By Fuggedaboudit (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 10:08:44

Hart Solomon used to brag about Cannon as a great engineering feat that got huge numbers of cars and trucks through downtown really fast. As if that's something to be proud of. Note to any engineers who care-- Cannon St. is not something to be proud of, it's something to be ashamed of. Now FIX IT.

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 10:31:16

I can just see the bubbly being popped open at city hall after reading this article. They're surely darn proud of their engineering feat. Hamilton: Best Place to Raise a Glass to the 70's.

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By PearlStreet (registered) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 12:40:58

That is my house at the corner in the picture of Wilson and Victoria Ave N. I have sent letters to that regard, extending two way traffic along Wilson. It becomes a drag strip as it opens up into more lanes, right beside a park with children playing. Let me send anyone interested pictures of a child that was hit recently at that intersection to push this argument! This area needs calming!

Comment edited by PearlStreet on 2013-08-22 12:55:09

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 22, 2013 at 13:09:36 in reply to Comment 91225

Would you be willing to write an article for RTH detailing your experiences, observations and recommendations from living there?

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By PearlStreet (registered) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 21:30:43 in reply to Comment 91227

Will do!

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 22, 2013 at 21:36:20 in reply to Comment 91268

Awesome! You can reach me at editor@raisethehammer.org.

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By Gabriel (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 12:54:28

Ryan,

Part of the problem with the signs posted is that Hamiltonians have been trained that those yellow signs designate School Zones. They are warning signs only and have no basis in traffic law whatsoever. When I inquired about the speed limits to the HPS, an officer told me they are cautionary only. Only White signs can be applied to the Highway Traffic Act.

They say it takes a minimum of 30 days to change a behaviour, but this being Hamilton we know it's much longer.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted August 28, 2013 at 18:38:57 in reply to Comment 91226

I don't think its a matter of what color the signs are. Drivers routinely ignore actual speed limit signs although they are always white with black text - they do it because it feels natural. On a smooth, straight, recently paved freeway with little to no traffic, it feels natural to drive over 120km/hr, even if the posted, 'air-patrolled' limit is 100, because the road is designed to allow it. Likewise on a 4-lane one-way roadway like Cannon, which is overbuilt for the amount of traffic and is pretty straight, it feels like the posted speed limit is actually the minium.

There is nothing special about Hamiltonians in the way they are able to read signs or how quickly they adapt to road conditions. Drivers will respond to real signals like how wide the road is, how many lanes there are, what they are driving past (i.e. busy sidewalks, parked cars). They don't respond to changing signage in a significant way because signs are not significant changes to a road.

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By Go Go (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 13:29:16

I live on Wentworth St N just below Barton. When I walk to work (Wellington/King) I avoid using Cannon at all because you can't breath from all the exhaust and dust flying around! I will take King William across to Wellington, a much nicer walk!

And Cannon isn't the only problem... Wentworth has its fair share of transports and speeding cars (on a narrower road) zipping down to Cannon... and right pastCathy Weaver to boot. If one of those trucks ever lost control it would be horrific! I just don't understand it. Imagine a transport careening into the playground at the school or into one of the residential houses there.

It just kills me,,, maybe literally one day.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 13:29:55

The weirdest thing about pedestrian crossings is how municipalities in Ontario themselves (not just Hamilton) seem intent on publicly misinterpreting the Highway Traffic Act.

Here is what Kingston says, which is obviously completely false and seems to be directly inspired by Hart Solomon's Hamilton (mis)interpretation, starting in about 2000:

"Pedestrian laws in Ontario are unique with respect to other provinces in Canada. The Highway Traffic Act of Ontario does not require motorists to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks marked only with white lines and/or signage. The Act takes precedence over any potential local by-law. The City does not install these types of "crosswalks" as they could create potential safety issues since pedestrians might mistakenly believe that they have the right-of-way over vehicles.

The City of Kingston is working with other municipalities and the Ontario Traffic Council to propose "pedestrian friendly" changes to the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario. The revisions would provide right-of-way to pedestrians over vehicles at crosswalks designated with pedestrian signage and white "ladder" pavement markings. The Ministry of Transportation Ontario is reviewing the proposed revisions but approval of the changes is uncertain at this time.'

http://www.cityofkingston.ca/residents/r...

What is going on here? Are municipal traffic engineers deliberately trying to mislead residents about the contents of the Highway Traffic Act, or have they just assumed that because motorists don't stop there must be something in the Highway Traffic Act to sanction this behaviour?

It is one thing to say that a certain section of the Act has not been enforced for years, and so it is unwise to install pedestrians to cross at unsignalized intersections. It is quite another to deliberately mislead the public about what the Act says on the issue!

In a response another commentator's recent experience in Vancouver, I was born and raised there (although I moved away in 1990). I recently spent a week back in Vancouver, and decided to see if driver behaviour has changed with respect to pedestrians.

In general, it is still night and day compared to Ontario. Almost all motorists will stop for pedestrians crossing at any intersection as soon as they step off the curb on busy streets such as Denman, South Granville and Marine Drive in West Van. You may encounter the occasional dangerous, rude or distracted driver, but that is definitely the exception.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2013-08-22 13:31:35

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By Keith (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 22:08:44 in reply to Comment 91229

So what's the judicial precedent of pedestrian issues related to the Act? (aka. the thing that matters)

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 23, 2013 at 07:59:26 in reply to Comment 91271

I've contacted the MTO to ask for some clarification on what the law says about pedestrians crossing at an uncontrolled intersection. If and when they reply, I'll post an article about it.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 14:01:43 in reply to Comment 91229

I should probably be a little more generous (or at least comprehensive) in my comments on the deliberately misleading crosswalk policy of many municipal Ontario traffic engineers.

The source of confusion about pedestrian crosswalks in Ontario is due to two distinct parts of the Highway Traffic Act,

  1. The duty of drivers to yield to all pedestrians legally crossing at a crosswalk, where a crosswalk is the extension of the sidewalks at any intersection regardless of what signs or markings it has, even if it has none at all. 'Legally crossing' obviously does not include pedestrians crossing against a red light, for example.

  2. The regulations of the Act define a special case of a crosswalk, called a 'crossover', which is indeed quite peculiar as it only ever seems to to have been used extensively in Toronto. This beast is a set of white lines indicating where the crosswalk is, together with illuminated overhead yellow and black signs with an amber light with push button, street signs (white with a black X) and another set of pavement markings warning motorists that there is a crossover ahead. This 'crossover' has not been widely adopted because it is so complicated, with its panoply of signs and lights that it usually makes more sense to simply install a traffic light (even though a pedestrian activated traffic light currently costs $125k, at least in Hamilton).

Here is an image from the Driver's handbook:

http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/graphics/englis...

As you can see, these full 'crossovers' are pretty rare outside Toronto!

So the traffic engineers are right that if a City wants to specially mark a crosswalk, the Act (or at least the regulations) provide only the 'crossover' solution. However, it is obvious that crossovers are not the only intersection drivers must yield to pedestrians, otherwise we wouldn't have school crossings!

However, the traffic engineers are dead wrong and highly irresponsible to claim that motorists don't have to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk (i.e., an intersection). The panoply of signs constituting a 'crossover' is simply an extra reminder to motorists to yield, it is not open season on pedestrians at other intersections, as is made crystal clear in the sections of the HTA that Ryan quoted.

It is simply unconscionable for traffic engineers to state that motorists have no duty to yield to pedestrians crossing at an intersection. To put it bluntly, this is either incompetence or an outright lie.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2013-08-22 14:05:20

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 14:09:02 in reply to Comment 91233

comment from banned user deleted

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By sally forth (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 14:20:42 in reply to Comment 91234

I don't see the contradiction. If you're waiting to cross and a car approaches, the car should stop for you. If you get there when the car is already coming right up, you should wait for it pass.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 14:22:45 in reply to Comment 91236

comment from banned user deleted

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 14:56:48 in reply to Comment 91237

Waiting for a 'safe gap' does not mean that pedestrians should cross such that motorists never have to yield (i.e. stop) for pedestrians.

It means that pedestrians must wait for a large enough gap in motor vehicle traffic that an alert motorist can come to a safe and controlled stop to fulfill their duty to yield to the pedestrian in the crosswalk. In practice, waiting for a gap will often mean that motorists do not need to stop. But not always, especially on busy streets.

Here is what the Ontario Traffic Council website says on the issue (i.e. the official voice of Ontario municipal traffic engineers), which tells us how traffic engineers actually design streets and signals, and how they interpret the Act and regulations:

"Uncontrolled crossings are locations where pedestrians cross without the aid of traffic control measures and a dedicated pedestrian right-of-way. At these locations, pedestrians need to wait for safe gaps in traffic before attempting to cross on the roadway while drivers must always be in control of their vehicle and have due concern for the safety of other road users, including pedestrians. At an uncontrolled location, the pedestrian must not enter the roadway if vehicles are not able to stop and drivers must make every effort to avoid a collision. This dual responsibility puts the onus on both road users for each other's safety as there is no prescribed right-of-way. As pedestrians are the more vulnerable road user, they must take extra care to ensure that all approaching drivers have seen them and have or will be able to stop safely, before ocnsidering entering the roadway. "

http://www.trafficwiki.org/index.php/Cla...

The bizarre aspect is that the although Act is crystal clear on who has the right of way at uncontrolled pedestrians crossings, traffic engineers persist in claiming there is no right of way, even thought the Act is indeed the ultimate authority.

This confusion is highlighted in another part of the Ontario Traffic Council website that points out that

'In Ontario, the Highway Traffic Act defines crosswalks without distinction between controlled and uncontrolled crossing locations. In spite of this, the rules of the road are distinct. In the absence of stop/yield signs, pedestrian crossover, or half or full traffic control signals, pedestrians at an uncontrolled crossing location are required to wait for gaps in vehicular traffic before crossing. '

http://www.trafficwiki.org/index.php/Ped...

In other words, as I have state previously, conventional motorist behaviour in Ontario (unlike BC and other provinces) has come to ignore their duties at uncontrolled pedestrian crosswalks under the Act and traffic engineers have accommodated what motorists actually do, rather than what they should do (hence the "in spite of"). This is strange as everywhere else, as far as I can tell, the "rules of the road" are determined by what the Act says! Why the exception for pedestrian crossings?

The ultimate solution is to use enforcement, education, and new standard (i.e. economical unsignalized) crosswalk markings to bring driver behaviour back into line with the Act.

However, municipal traffic engineers shouldn't lie to us: the Act does not distinguish between controlled and uncontrolled crosswalks with respect to the duty of drivers to yield to pedestrians, and the current "understanding" is dangerous and has no grounding in the Act.

As Ryan and other have stated, the problem is precisely that municipal traffic engineers long ago stopped treating uncontrolled pedestrian crosswalks according the the Act, and decided simply to accept drivers flouting the Act. This needs to stop.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2013-08-22 15:00:08

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 17:20:09 in reply to Comment 91246

After digging a bit more, I am even more confused by this statement on the Ontario Traffic Council (municipal traffic engineers association) website:

"In Ontario, the Highway Traffic Act defines crosswalks without distinction between controlled and uncontrolled crossing locations. In spite of this, the rules of the road are distinct."

I had thought they were using "Rules of the Road" in an informal sense to mean driving conventions, rather than rules as set out in the Act. However, Part X of the Act is actually called "Rules of the Road"

http://www.golishlaw.com/statutes/oh08ht...

and it states, consistent with the rest of the Act:

"Yielding to pedestrians (7) When under this section a driver is permitted to proceed, the driver shall yield the right of way to pedestrians lawfully within a crosswalk. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 144 (7)."

So what exactly are these mysterious "Rules of the Road" if they are not the "Rules of Road" as defined in Part X of the Act? Where are they codified? Or are they simply passed on as conventions (i.e. "pedestrian treatments") from one generation of traffic engineers to the next? The traffic engineers' consideration of uncontrolled crosswalks is confused and contradictory, and doesn't seem grounded in either law or regulation. See also, http://trafficwiki.org/index.php/Uncontr... where the problem of uncontrolled crossings is described as "lack of formal right-of-way designation for pedestrians", which makes it sound as if it is the lack of reminders to both pedestrians and motorists of who has the right of way that is the problem, not that motorists don't have a duty to yield. And further, "The presence of enhanced pedestrian features at uncontrolled crossings may create a false sense of confidence on the part of pedestrians, particularly children, who may enter the crossing expecting that approaching drivers will see them and stop. " In other words, pedestrians might actually expect motorists to obey the Highway Traffic Act, as they do in other provinces!

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2013-08-22 17:49:36

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 22, 2013 at 15:01:20 in reply to Comment 91246

In spite of this, the rules of the road are distinct

Which rules? Where in the law does it state that there is some kind of legal distinction between controlled and uncontrolled crosswalks?

IANAL but I've read the Highway Traffic Act and I can't find anything in it that appears to draw such a distinction.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 16:42:04 in reply to Comment 91248

Sorry for comment bombing, but just to be extra pedantic, the Ontario Ministry of Transport actually has a Road Safety site that quotes the relevant legislation:

Legislation

The Road Safety Act, 2009 (Bill 126):
    Zero BAC for novice and young drivers
    7-Day Vehicle Impoundment Program (VIP)
Highway Traffic Act 
October 1, 2007 - Bill 203 - Safer Roads for a Safer Ontario Act    
September 1, 2005 - Bill 73 - An Act to Enhance the Safety of Children and Youth on Ontario's Roads

http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/

presumably, these acts define the "rules of road" except, apparently when it comes to the duty of motorists to yield to pedestrians at an uncontrolled crosswalk, where it is conventional to ignore the Act.

Once again, it is important to emphasize that the problem is not that the Act is unclear about uncontrolled crosswalks. It isn't. The crosswalks and the duties of drivers to yield to crossing pedestrians couldn't be clearer. It is just that it has been ignored!

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2013-08-22 16:52:55

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 15:47:20 in reply to Comment 91248

This part is especially sad:

"As pedestrians are the more vulnerable road user, they must take extra care to ensure that all approaching drivers have seen them and have or will be able to stop safely, before ocnsidering [sic] entering the roadway."

i.e. on the road, unlike most other situations in life, the onus is on the most vulnerable to ensure they take extra care. In other words, might makes right! They even make it seem like a general principle: when two road users are interacting (e.g. an 18-wheeler and a minivan or a cyclist and a motorist) the most vulnerable "must" be the one to take extra care to avoid being squished. Note that they don't say it is prudent for the vulnerable road user to take the extra care , they write as if it is a duty.

A more humane system would say the opposite "as motorists are the less vulnerable road users, they must take extra care to ensure they have seen and yield to crossing pedestrians". And, strangely enough, that is precisely what the Highway Traffic Act actually says!

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2013-08-22 15:51:11

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 15:06:07 in reply to Comment 91248

As far as I can tell, the law (i.e. the Highway Traffic Act) is clear. However, traffic engineers have simply decided to ignore that part of the law and adapt to actual driver behaviour.

Adding to the complication is that the police (throughout North America) almost never charge motorists for killing or injuring pedestrians even when they are legally crossing at a fully signalized intersection. This seems to be because it is very difficult to prove to a judge that the driver was actually negligent, as one of the two witnesses is dead and there are usually some sort of extenuating circumstances. There is also the feeling that "accidents" are a regrettable, but unavoidable, part of driving and that pursuing serious charges would be cruel and unfair as "it could happen to anyone" (see the book Car Jacked for more details on how society minimizes and ignores the costs of driving, and exaggerates the benefits). As I pointed out in an earlier comment, the standard penalty for killing a pedestrian in a (signalized) crosswalk is $500 http://raisethehammer.org/article/1809/k...

Under these circumstances it seems that the law regarding the duty of motorists to yield to pedestrians is simply not enforced and so municipal traffic engineers in Ontario have taken the point of view that it is pointless to consider pedestrians have any right of way since this would give them a "false sense of security", as Mr Solomon told me years ago.

In brief, we seem to have uncovered an example of an unenforced law: the Act is clear but it no longer seems to have any effect in practice.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2013-08-22 15:12:14

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By sally forth (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 14:25:22 in reply to Comment 91237

I don't find that anywhere in the Act. Source?

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 14:30:40

comment from banned user deleted

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 22, 2013 at 14:35:05 in reply to Comment 91240

RTH published an article about the Coroner's Report, which concludes that the best way to prevent pedestrian fatalities is to do exactly what we've been recommending for Cannon Street and city's the other traumatized urban expressways.

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By Control It (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 15:05:19

While we're waiting for Hamilton drivers to learn how to drive the city needs to install a pedestrian activated crosswalk at Cannon and Smith. Why isn't Bernie fighting for one? This is his ward!

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By Steve (registered) | Posted August 25, 2013 at 12:31:33 in reply to Comment 91250

Here's you answer. Nothing happens in "Bernie's Ward" unless Bernie wants it, period.

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By Go Go (anonymous) | Posted August 23, 2013 at 15:41:45 in reply to Comment 91250

Bernie fight? BHABHAHBAHBHBAHBHA

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By Nope (anonymous) | Posted August 23, 2013 at 19:23:39

I'll give you a reason why Cannon shouldn't be converted: Because people have to commute outside the city to work. Cannon is an easy and fast way to get from east of downtown to the 403.

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By j.servus (registered) | Posted August 23, 2013 at 22:17:28 in reply to Comment 91305

If we made Garth north of Fennel one way southbound, and took TWO LANES off Cannon, Garth would still carry more vehicles per lane.* Why don't we make Garth one way and convert Cannon? (*Assuming traffic volume remains constant, which, of course, it would not.)

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 23, 2013 at 21:28:35 in reply to Comment 91305

Given today's measured traffic volumes, Cannon Street has about double the necessary capacity to carry its current traffic and Wilson Street is a ghost town. Empirically, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever not to convert both streets to two-way and dedicate a lane on Cannon to provide separated two-way bike tracks.

So even if you accept the inhumane argument that a vulnerable community should suffer daily trauma in exchange for tiny increments of convenience for people passing through (and I do not accept that argument), the evidence tells us clearly that Cannon can afford to go two-way and dedicate a lane to cycling without creating anything resembling gridlock.

But I'd also like to address your comment about commuting outside the city to work.

Popular perception to the contrary, Hamilton is a city, not a bedroom community. 70% of Hamiltonians work in Hamilton and 38,000 people commute into the city to work every day. Of course, some people also commute out of the city to work, and it seems to me that the best strategy to mitigate this is for Hamilton to do better at creating jobs.

It turns out we have a pretty good idea how to create jobs: Cities generate wealth in innovation, investment, economic value and jobs through the essential urban economies of scale, density, agglomeration, association and extension. A dense, mixed-use urban form with accessible, multi-modal streets is the best way to allow the urban economies to operate.

Downtown Hamilton's capacity to function as an urban economic centre is seriously hampered by its multi-lane one-way thoroughfares. Nevertheless, it still manages to be the single biggest employment centre in the city with over 23,000 jobs (and growing). It would be an even bigger employment centre if it was not being deformed by bad street design, bad planning and a bad regulatory environment.

The current design of Cannon is one of the reasons some people have to leave the city to find work in the first place. I'm reminded of the old joke about the guy who tells his doctor, "Grandfather thinks he's a chicken." The doctor says, "Why don't you have him admitted?" The guy replies, "We would, only we need the eggs."

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By ScreenCarp (registered) | Posted August 25, 2013 at 13:18:27 in reply to Comment 91310

Given today's measured traffic volumes, Cannon Street has about double the necessary capacity to carry its current traffic

But the curb lanes are dangerous and too close to the sidewalks. They're also in terrible shape. The only time I see them used is as passing lanes when the centre lanes are blocked by slow moving trucks (yuck). I personally avoid using them unless I need to turn left. So in practice it has just the right amount of capacity. It's expected to see more volume in the future as Cannon absorbs traffic from King as calming happens there.

I think a better idea is a protected bike lane on the south side, all day street parking/turning lanes on the north side, and restricting trucks to one of the two remaining lanes.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted August 25, 2013 at 20:50:55 in reply to Comment 91360

You'd be surprised how much nicer a rough road seems if you're not going 60kph on it.

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By ScreenCarp (registered) | Posted August 25, 2013 at 23:07:09 in reply to Comment 91368

Traffic never moves that fast for me along Cannon. of course some folks are idiots. shrug

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 25, 2013 at 20:39:38 in reply to Comment 91360

But the curb lanes are dangerous and too close to the sidewalks.

Follow along with me: a lane of curbside parking; a lane of westbound auto traffic; a lane of eastbound auto traffic; and a lane of protected bike lanes. Now Cannon has two-way traffic, the right amount of lane capacity and protected sidewalks on both sides, and there is finally a continuous, safe east-west route for bicycles between north central and north east Hamilton.

It's expected to see more volume in the future as Cannon absorbs traffic from King as calming happens there.

That's not the way traffic volume works. When you reduce lane capacity, some of the traffic disappears. Consider Vancouver: over the past 15 years or so, the population of the city proper has nearly doubled while the volume of automobile traffic dropped by 20-30 percent.

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By ScreenCarp (registered) | Posted August 25, 2013 at 23:58:11 in reply to Comment 91365

Follow along with me

I'm following, I just disagree that two way is automatically better than one way. I'd also like to note that's the only difference between our proposals, we're just arguing details. The north side of Cannon isn't so bad for walking between Bay and Victoria as it already has a great deal of curb parking (often empty) and it does have some nice old trees growing out of the cement to offer shelter. Some bump outs and street furniture would make a big difference. The south side is pretty stark and exposed.

That's not the way traffic volume works.

I think some would disagree with you there. We're talking about the last useful arterial road running west to the 403. The last truck route. At one lane the trucks would slow traffic to incredible levels. You said it's running at half capacity and you want to cut it's capacity by 25% with the hope traffic will just disappear? I agree there's room because I see what's actually being used, but not that much.

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By j.servus (registered) | Posted August 26, 2013 at 13:32:25 in reply to Comment 91373

"Better" and "worse" are relative to some values you're trying to realize. One-way is "better" for moving motorized traffic quickly. It's "worse" for pedestrians, for commerce, and for transit use. There is a lot of evidence about this. What values are we going to privilege in Hamilton?

People may disagree about how traffic volume works, but the evidence is clear. If you increase road capacity, you get increased traffic volume. If you decrease road capacity, some of that traffic is rerouted, but some of it just goes away.

Where does it go? Well, people have some choices about where they they go and how they get there. If you make it easier to drive, then you will get more cars. If it is easier to use other modes, then people will prefer them. In Tokyo, the transit is so comprehensive, and the driving so difficult, that almost no one would prefer to drive for most errands. People who walk for their errands also support a lively commerce in their neighborhoods. In Houston, it is the opposite. It is built for cars, and no one with a choice would prefer to function there without a car. Infrastructure decisions, in fact, create traffic.

One way streets make it easier for automotive through-traffic, but they are proven to depress bus ridership. It's not hard to imagine why. Think of the distance between King and Main at Barnesdale, or between Cannon and Wilson at Victoria. Who wants to walk those extra long blocks with parcels? It quite defeats the purpose of having frequent stops.

I'm certain one-ways also depress bicycle ridership. I live near Main and Wentworth. Lots of people on bicycles running short errands would like to cut west on Main. They use the sidewalk to do it, presumably because it's a lot easier than going down to King and then back up to Main. But the cyclists heading east (i.e., with the traffic) also use the sidewalk, because Main is inhospitable to life. The result is overcrowding a very narrow sidewalk (already it's hard to walk two abreast there) and surely also discouraging pedestrian and bicycle use. But if you're on a mission in a car, there's plenty of room on Main Street.

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By ScreenCarp (registered) | Posted August 27, 2013 at 21:24:27 in reply to Comment 91396

I disagree that one way streets are worse for pedestrians. There's actually been an increase of pedestrian "interactions" with vehicles on James, John and Wilson since they converted. Simply put, you need to look both ways on a two way street, but only one way on a one way street.

I'm not sure it effects commerce anymore. GPS, smart phones and just the inertia of driving often prevent spontaneous shopping stops. What does improve commerce is pedestrian and bike traffic so I appreciate your points about transit and cycling. I think two way bike lanes on one way streets would mitigate concerns.

I completely agree that there are lot's of opportunities to remove lanes and slow traffic. I'd like to see most of the curb lanes on Main, Cannon and the wide parts of King replaced with protected bike lanes, 24 hour street parking and turning lanes.

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By j.servus (registered) | Posted August 28, 2013 at 12:58:49 in reply to Comment 91454

"Worse" refers to other values, too, besides safety. On safety, I have nothing to add to Ryan's observations.

But comfort counts for a lot, too. One-way thoroughfares make for faster moving traffic, which is louder and more intimidating to pedestrians.

Then there is convenience. Pedestrians are also transit users, and, as I mentioned, one-ways make it harder to use the bus. HSR stops are close together--perhaps 150 meters, in my estimate--for a good reason; but the point is defeated when the East and West lines are 450 meters apart, as King and Main are at Barnesdale. One-way thoroughfares privilege the convenience of thru-traffic over local users. They push pedestrians and cyclists out of their way. They push bicyclists on to the sidewalk. They force local drivers to loop back to destinations.

Then there is commerce. Your points about commerce are well taken, but of course pedestrian and bike traffic are both depressed by one-way thoroughfares. So, consequently, is a lot of casual and adventitious commerce. Because, as Ryan mentioned, two-way streets cause drivers to go more slowly and be more aware of their surroundings, they will tend to notice shops along their routes. For similar reasons, they will find it easier to plan a route that takes them by a particular shop. Again, since I always prefer to walk along King rather than Main, I will never stop into a convenience store on Main for a snack and a bottle of water. I will seldom walk by, and therefore seldom call to mind, say, a barber shop on Main (if there is one) rather than on King.

I could see a limited use of one-way street design in residential neighborhoods for the purpose of preventing thru-traffic (i.e., by alternating the direction of the street). But for urban arteries, I don't like them. Until I lived downtown, I did not have a real apprehension of the extent to which one-way thoroughfares privilege the convenience of suburban commuters over the livability and vitality of urban neighborhoods.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 28, 2013 at 06:52:32 in reply to Comment 91454

Simply put, you need to look both ways on a two way street, but only one way on a one way street.

One-way apologists keep saying this and it keeps not being true. As responsible parents teach their children, you always have to look both ways on every street, because people make mistakes and drivers sometimes go the wrong way on one-way streets.

In any case, the public policy research indicates that one-way streets are more dangerous for pedestrians than two-way streets. There are several reasons:

  • One-way streets allow for faster driving, and the risk of both collision and of injury in a collision increase exponentially with vehicle speed.

  • One-way streets require more turns at intersections (the overshoot-and-backtrack phenomenon) and vehicle turns are among the most risky situations for crossing pedestrians.

  • One-way street designs discourage drivers from being highly aware of their surroundings because they're designed to facilitate unidirectional monolithic traffic flow, not to mediate safe interactions among various directions and modes.

  • One-way street designs encourage through driving, and the evidence demonstrates that through drivers are more likely to hit pedestrians than local drivers.

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By ScreenCarp (registered) | Posted August 28, 2013 at 17:57:47 in reply to Comment 91463

One-way apologists

I grew up on these one way streets. I learned to drive on them and I've walked and biked many miles along them. I make no apologies, they've served Hamiltons traffic well, but I understand your point. I'm also very used to out-of-town folk complaining about them.

As responsible parents teach their children, you always have to look both ways on every street, because people make mistakes and drivers sometimes go the wrong way on one-way streets.

Sure, but that's an unusual circumstance. You need less two way situational awareness for a one way street. It's easier to keep your eye on the traffic and to predict where the traffic will come from. There are fewer opportunities for a car to "suddenly appear". Two way streets are far more dangerous that one way streets. Portland has had a 100% increase, Sacramento 163% increase in pedestrian accidents since two way conversions. As I said above, even our own two way conversions have had an increase in pedestrian accidents.

One-way streets allow for faster driving, and the risk of both collision and of injury in a collision increase exponentially with vehicle speed.

We have these things called "speed limits" that control the speed traffic moves at. One way streets are certainly more efficient for moving traffic and have less problems with congestion. Perhaps that's what you mean? Two vehicles moving opposite direction colliding is far worse than two vehicles driving the same way colliding.

One-way streets require more turns at intersections (the overshoot-and-backtrack phenomenon) and vehicle turns are among the most risky situations for crossing pedestrians.

The left hand turn across traffic the the most dangerous maneuver for both vehicles and pedestrians. One way streets mitigate this. Vehicle collisions on two way streets are much more dangerous than one way streets for example the head on collision vs the rear end collision.

One-way street designs discourage drivers from being highly aware of their surroundings because they're designed to facilitate unidirectional monolithic traffic flow, not to mediate safe interactions among various directions and modes.

Certainly there are fewer things you need to pay attention to. All other directions and modes can be aware of a unidirectional, monolithic travel flow easier than random, sporadic flow from both directions. It lessens moments of "where did that car come from" and provides natural breaks in traffic. I get very confused when you show us picture after picture of empty roads and then tell us how dangerous the street is. As a pedestrian it's pretty easy to keep track of traffic and it's pretty easy to find safe times to cross.

One-way street designs encourage through driving, and the evidence demonstrates that through drivers are more likely to hit pedestrians than local drivers.

It seems a lot of your points are based on predicting human behaviour. It makes sense that non-local drivers would be looking at street signs, not aware of crossings and are unfamiliar with the road itself. They could still be driving through the area on a two way street.

I don't believe every street should be one way, but the bigger problem with Cannon, Main, King and a variety of other Hamilton streets is there are functioning curb lanes, with cars travelling 50k a mere foot (or less) from narrow sidewalks. Let's protect the sidewalks and separate the traffic with protected bike paths, parking, street furniture and the like. I'd rather have 2 one way lanes than 4 two way lanes.

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By math (anonymous) | Posted August 23, 2013 at 20:49:33 in reply to Comment 91305

And this, my friends, is why Hamilton taxes will go up faster than any real city's. The more of lower Hamilton that remains a terrible place to live, the higher all of our taxes will be. Enjoy your commute, "Nope"!

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted August 25, 2013 at 14:58:57

It is often claimed that lower average speeds (e.g. due to lowering the speed limit from 50 km/h to 30 km/h or introducing traffic calming) makes streets safer, but at the price of higher pollution.

This seems intuitive since it is based on the idea that engines are more efficient at higher speeds and that at higher speeds a car passes more quickly through the neighbourhood.

However, research suggests that lower average speeds combined with appropriate traffic calming to reduce agressive driving (fast braking and acceleration) actually leads to lower emissions. This is because the greatest factor determining emissions is not vehicle speed, but the amount of rapid acceleration. In addition, traffic calming can reduce pollution in the longer run by reducing the number of vehicle trips on the road as it becomes a less desirable "shortcut" and walking and cycling become more attractive.

Not all traffic calming is equal, however, from the emissions point of view.

Speed humps can increase emissions (due to slowing and accelerating), so it is better to implement traffic calming that encourages a uniformly lower speed (like narrower lanes or fewer lanes). Stop signs are also bad, as they mean more decelerating and accelerating. Traffic circles are better than traffic lights and stop signs for emissions (and well-designed traffic circles can effectively calm traffic by smoothly slowing it), but can pose problems for crossing pedestrians if not properly designed (e.g. if they don't slow traffic to pedestrian safe speed).

The current fast, one-way under capacity multi-lane streets like Cannon are the worst of all worlds. They encourage dangerously high speeds (for pedestrians and cyclists), and the high speed clumps of traffic encourage agressive acceleration and deceleration as motorists rapidly accelerate to try to catch the green wave and keep up with the cohort of fast-moving traffic.

Reference: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2...

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2013-08-25 15:00:28

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted August 26, 2013 at 15:55:24

Regretably, Ward 2 has spoken on this issue, and it's not high on the priority list.

http://www.cbc.ca/hamilton/news/story/20...

Complete Canon Street - Not funded with only 226 votes, although to be fair, I suspect the "Compromise Solution" city staff put forward on the ballot might have had something to do with it.

Comment edited by -Hammer- on 2013-08-26 15:55:41

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted August 26, 2013 at 19:46:00 in reply to Comment 91403

Almost every traffic issue is at that bottom there... one crosswalk got approval. That's kinda surprising.

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted August 27, 2013 at 00:01:55 in reply to Comment 91412

It does and it doesn't. The tunnel at Hunter and McNab is exclusively a pedestrian path. However, given that the sidewalk ends on the tunnel side (and really should to discourage access to the rail tunnel) preventing you from walking west, and it's likely people will cross McNab to reach Jackson Square/The Transit terminal it makes sense. Also given the weight that the Durand neighbourhood assoc. has, it's not surprising.

Hunter and Park, you typically aren't crossing Hunter to get to the city hall parking lot. The crossing lights at Bay are also not a huge distance if you are heading to main and if you are going east, you are already being funnelled that was via the far safer Hurst Place and then the MacNab tunnel.

Canon needs a much larger overhaul then one crossing at Mary and Canon, and that's hopefully likely to occur next year to time it with the stadium being up, the next participatory budget and Farr's current proposals.

The Charlton and Wentworth one surprises me though. That blind corner people whip around is deadly. However Corktown doesn't have the same amount of clout as Beasley and Durand and might be thinking we can pass the buck to Ward 3 on that one.

Another proposal I wanted to see was a pedestrian tunnel from Corktown Park to West Ave to link it with Carter Park instead of having people cut through the chain link fence and cross the rail lines. Also better lighting between Corktown Park and Stinson along the rail trail.

Comment edited by -Hammer- on 2013-08-27 00:11:37

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted August 26, 2013 at 16:03:53 in reply to Comment 91403

To be fair, staff didn't come up with the compromise solution, residents did via the assembly representatives.

Perhaps Cannon street will be on the compromise solution next year ... this is intended to be an annual process.

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted August 26, 2013 at 16:24:45 in reply to Comment 91404

That is true, and of course Farr is still trying to get bike lanes installed and that Stadium rework plan calls for conversion of Cannon St which gives hope on that front.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted August 28, 2013 at 18:07:43

Cannon W of Mary= 4 lanes 1-way, accommodating 16,700 total traffic volume @ 4,175/lane
Cannon W of Sherman = 4 lanes 1-way, accommodating 9,100 total traffic volume 2,275/lane
Cannon E of Sherman = 2 lanes each way w/curb parking, accommodating 10,800 total traffic volume @ 2,700/lane

http://raisethehammer.org/article/1731/data_show_traffic_volume_argument_for_one-way_streets_is_false

Cannon is already two-way east of Sherman and yet accommodates 15% more traffic than the 4-lane one-way stretch of Cannon between Sherman and Mary, suggesting that there is ample capacity for two-way conversion on that 2km stretch. As most of the residential density along Cannon appears east of Wellington, and since that stretch has demonstrably more lane capacity than is needed, it would seem like a good idea to target Wellington to Sherman as a priority conversion.

BTW, does anyone know how "Complete Cannon St. W" ranked in the Ward 2 participatory budgeting sessions?

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted August 28, 2013 at 18:18:29 in reply to Comment 91488

Oh, bother. Found it.

The "compromise" seems weighted to win because it's the easiest opt-in: You check a box to vote for 21 proposed projects.

The alternative, ranking up to 25 proposals in order of preference, seems far more time-consuming. In light of the "up to", I'd be curious to know if PB staffers afforded different weight to ballots where fewer projects were supported by residents (eg: If someone only voted for "Complete Cannon St. W", would it carry the weight of 25 #1 votes?). Encouraging signs of civic engagement, in any event.

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