Opinion

Transportation Plan Must Be Inclusive: Whitehead

Councillor Whitehead argues that changes to lower city streets to make them more community-friendly must balance the ability of other city residents to access the downtown.

By Terry Whitehead
Published October 08, 2013

At a recent Planning and Economic Development meeting, the neighbourhood secondary plan was presented for the Strathcona Transportation Management Plan near the downtown core. The secondary plan engaged the broader neighbourhood, as it identified a strategic plan that included a wish list of options for consideration.

Many of the options provided were localized in nature and have merit. However, included on this wish list was the closing of a lane on Main Street.

Main Street West near City Hall (RTH file photo)
Main Street West near City Hall (RTH file photo)

This option may also have merit, but there are broader implications. The decision should be part of the city-wide Transportation Master Plan and include all citizens of Hamilton who may be impacted by such a decision.

It is clear that there is currently a greater capacity on some of the major arterial roads downtown than traffic warrants. Some argue that the City should close off lanes to make more complete streets, which may have benefits.

Decisions of this nature should include Mountain residents in a city-wide discussion to understand the overall benefits and implications of such decisions.

The form and function of our downtown - the heart of our city - is to provide employment and healthy neighbourhoods. Currently, the downtown is the centre of arts and entertainment, hospitality, office space and health care, and the seat of Government and Commerce.

Our strategic plan is to create a greater residential and employment density in the downtown. Many of these functions will rely on easy and accessible transportation for employees to attend work from outside of the downtown core. I do not see this function changing in the future.

So whatever implementation plans we put forward for our downtown transportation networks, we must ensure that a balance is struck with the concerns of the local neighbourhoods.

Consider: there are currently over 20,000 cars a day that utilize the Queen Street Hill, and the number utilizing the West 5th Access is comparable. Due to the unique geography of Hamilton, we have limited access between the mountain and the lower city.

It is clear that traffic volumes on Upper James, Mohawk Road, Garth Street, West 5th and so on that go through neighbourhoods are a concern for mountain residents, but I believe any changes would need to involve residents city-wide, not just the localized neighbourhoods.

To function as a City, we must ensure that any significant changes to the current transportation network looks at the broad upside and downside before implementing lane closures and conversions of arterial roads.

We expect a higher density of population and employment in downtown and throughout the City. Any changes to our transportation network need to contemplate these objectives.

There are many businesses downtown that rely on attracting people from far and wide and we need to ensure that we are not discouraging their continued patronage of these businesses.

The city-wide Transportation Master Plan must be an inclusive process that engages the overall population of the City of Hamilton.

Terry Whitehead is the Councillor for Ward 8 (West Mountain).

79 Comments

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By Bottlerocket (anonymous) | Posted October 08, 2013 at 06:50:55

It's hard to know where to begin, but this is a start:

There are many businesses downtown that rely on attracting people from far and wide and we need to ensure that we are not discouraging their continued patronage of these businesses.

You don't think the bizarre and intimidating traffic configuration downtown discourages visitors? There's a reason for all those loooong stretches of nothing on Main East.

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By Conrad664 (registered) | Posted October 08, 2013 at 07:42:16

All i can say if the residence from the mountain can find another city with one ways like in the core go and move there

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By fmurray (registered) | Posted October 08, 2013 at 07:45:36

Mr. Whitehead, please take a walk along Main Street and King between Locke and Dundurn. Do you see a friendly environment for business? No, because businesses rely on people. Main Street especially is a dead zone. It needs to change at least between Dundurn and Bay, regardless of any "city-wide" master plans.

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By Conrad664 (registered) | Posted October 08, 2013 at 07:48:41 in reply to Comment 92986

Murray i hear you but don`t you forget the core and the east end up to Gage Delta area

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By fmurray (registered) | Posted October 08, 2013 at 12:34:35 in reply to Comment 92987

You are correct, Conrad. Yes, Main Street should be changed all the way. I just think the area between Dundurn and Bay is the absolute worst and serves as a gateway to our city. And it's ugly.

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By Conrad664 (registered) | Posted October 08, 2013 at 12:41:50 in reply to Comment 93016

I hear you Murray as you past wenllington that neighborhood need a pick me up as well

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted October 08, 2013 at 08:04:18

Let me try to net out Councillor Whitehead's argument.

"I"ve received many calls from my constituents who hate having to spend any more time downtown than they have to, therefore, before you go making any changes to road configuration, let's hear what my constituents think about making downtown streets more hospitable to people who choose to live there, shop there, and open businesses there. There are always two sides to any story, but we really need to hear from the people least affected by any proposed changes since this debate can easily be skewed by those who live, work and shop downtown. I'm keeping an open mind, of course, but closing a lane is problematic."

Sounds pretty compelling to me Terry. What were we thinking? Your vision for the future of Hamilton is, well, very much your own.

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By coo coo (anonymous) | Posted October 08, 2013 at 08:52:04

Is he on crack? WE HAVE HAD A LANE CLOSED ON MAIN STREET FOR A YEAR RIGHT IN FRONT OF CITY HALL AT THE OLD FEDERAL BUILDING... and we CONVERTED CAROLINE TO TWO WAY TO SATISFY ONE OF HIS CRONIE DEVELOPERS

But if residents want a livable neighbourhood, it's impossible because it threatens his ward's ability to blow past their houses at 70km/hr for a grand total of 40 minutes out of a 24 hour day?

This guy has got to go.

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By queen street (anonymous) | Posted October 08, 2013 at 08:55:43

Aren't there currently ZERO cars a day utilizing the queen street hill?

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By mountaingoat (registered) | Posted October 08, 2013 at 09:17:13

Hi Mr. Whitehead, I am wondering that with all those traffic volumes of which you speak (West 5th, Garth, Upper James), why is council not going full steam ahead with implementing a one way street system on the mountain with twinned street concept? Twin Upper Paradise and Garth, Upper James and West 5th, Upper Wellington and Upper Wentworth... etc. Similarly, other "arterial roads" such as Fennell and Mohawk could be made into 4 and 5 lane, one-way streets, one eastbound, one westbound, with a similar plan for twinning Stone church Rd. with Rymal Rd. Personally, I am tired of it taking me 12 minutes to get from my house to Lime Ridge Mall when I could clearly get there in 9 minutes or so with this one-way street scheme. Not to mention all those employees who need to get to the Mall, the airport etc, etc in a timely fashion! As you say, "easy and accessible transportation for employees to get to work...."!

Maybe even Queensdale Ave. and Concession St. could be twinned one-ways too. I am sure the folks who live and who own businesses on all these streets wouldn't mind having a 4 and 5 lane expressway in their front yard, would they? Thanks for taking the time to consider my bold vision for moving traffic efficiently through Mountain "neighbourhoods".

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By Borrelli (registered) | Posted October 08, 2013 at 09:53:13

Councillor Whitehead, please don't worry your pretty little head about our neighbourhoods downtown--we've got things under control. Residents in the lower city will raise our QoL and make our 'hoods more habitable, one street at a time if that's what it takes. No amount of whining and crying from suburbanites who love using downtown as a bypass/sacrifice zone will change that.

Not that ultra-parochialism is the answer to all our problems, but downtown-Hamiltonians have realized that many of our interests are completely at odds with those of Mountain residents, and we simply don't buy that we have to cater to those residents--they don't live here, so they don't get a say. I want two-ways downtown because they will make my life appreciably better, and if that adds 25 seconds to a mountain resident's commute, then so be it--it's my 'hood, not theirs.

So how about a détente: instead of this silly stuff about engaging suburbanites (silly because it's only every about cars--e.g. we don't hear much from the suburbs on addiction issues or social services), we'll mow our lawns, you worry about yours. Thanks.

Comment edited by Borrelli on 2013-10-08 09:54:38

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By Joshua (registered) | Posted October 14, 2013 at 13:39:15 in reply to Comment 92996

As a Mountain resident, you don't have to cater to our interests, though it sure seems that way from the councillor's perspective. I would submit, however, that pitting the downtown core against the uptown sprawl is not at all helpful, either, as it poisons the well; the idea is, I think, that we're, whether in mountain or valley, searching for what's best for our communities. Personally, I'll take the healthier communities where citizens are walking, bicycling, and using public transit, because that healthier environment is good for everyone's children, mine included. I'm with you, in many ways, but would suggest that holing up in separate foxholes is not helpful. We can, as Benjamin Franklin apparently said, hang together or we can hang separately.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted October 08, 2013 at 10:12:59

I used to take my son to a home daycare along Garth Street near Bendamere. Pulling into/out of a driveway along Garth is a challenge, at best. The care provider didn't take the kids anywhere because she didn't want a gaggle of children walking along Garth, and I can't say I disagreed.

So to be fair, I think Mr. Whitehead does put his money where his mouth is with respect to fast traffic and thoroughfares on the Mountain - there are plenty of mountain streets with the same kind of horribly fast traffic we get on the lower city one-ways, with no real buffer (boulevards or bike lanes) protecting pedestrians on the narrow sidewalks. Garth street is functionally a "sacrifice zone" like Cannon. So I don't see his stance on the lower-city traffic as something hypocritical.

I just see it as plain wrong. Consistent, but still wrong.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2013-10-08 10:16:11

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By foobar (anonymous) | Posted October 08, 2013 at 10:24:16 in reply to Comment 92998

Translation -- Terry doesn't fight for safe liveable streets for his own constituents and gets embarrassed when lower city councilors show him how it's done.

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By Mark-AlanWhittle (registered) - website | Posted October 08, 2013 at 10:15:12

uptown versus downtown. Get rid of one-way streets. Leave the Main/King corridors alone, that's where an LRT might go. Electing a new Mayor, and ward one councillor will also help downtown. Why is the two-way street implementation committee doing nothing but talking about what streets to convert? Actions speak louder than words.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted October 08, 2013 at 10:21:27 in reply to Comment 93000

Leave the Main/King corridors alone, that's where an LRT might go.

That makes no sense. Both the Metrolinx Benefits Case Analysis and the McMaster Institute of Transportation and Logistics study concluded that LRT will be far more successful at catalyzing new development if Main and King are converted to two-way.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted October 08, 2013 at 10:50:36 in reply to Comment 93001

While main and cannon are another matter altogether, I actually like the Metrolinx plan for keeping King one-way and running the LRT along the South side of King. The International Village demonstrates how one-way traffic can be safe at rush-hour when it's not a zillion lanes wide. 2 lanes of live traffic (until it opens up at Queen street) seems fine.

The main/cannon pair are the big sticking point. Once the LRT converts King in Central/East areas into a livable street, and Cannon gets its bi-directional protected bike-lane, that's going to mean that the remaining 3 lanes of Cannon->Queen->King will become the primary westbound corridor - something like 3-5 total lanes of Eastbound 1-way traffic down from the current 5-8. I think that might be a manageable compromise... I could certainly live with it, but then I don't live near Cannon or Queen.

Either way though, Main street will still need a 2-way conversion or a road diet of some kind (the #YesWeCannon treatment, please?).

Give me all that, convert all the secondary/tertiary 1-ways to 2-way, do something about York Boulevard, put up some kind of pedestrian crossing/protection on all the slip-road turns around the city (stop sign, yield-to-pedestrians sign, whatever) and I'll be satisfied.

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By conrad664 (registered) | Posted October 08, 2013 at 12:46:44 in reply to Comment 93007

Juste look at queenston its doing very well as a 2 way street

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted October 08, 2013 at 11:23:08 in reply to Comment 93007

I actually like the Metrolinx plan for keeping King one-way and running the LRT along the South side of King.

That's not Metrolinx's plan, it was the City's plan, and their reasoning was entirely around prioritizing existing automobile traffic volumes above transformative change:

We are not currently proposing to convert Main Street to two-way traffic. There is still a need for some traffic to move easterly across the City, and Main Street fulfills this role.

The Metrolinx BCA, by contrast, strongly argued that we should convert to two-way, finding that it will support stronger transit ridership and "is more supportive of the City's objective to create a healthy, more pedestrian-friendly downtown."

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2013-10-08 11:24:22

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By bossy pants (anonymous) | Posted October 08, 2013 at 10:40:19

Here's my question, how often do McHattie and Farr demand a big say in how projects on the west mountain are designed and handled?

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By Joshua (registered) | Posted October 14, 2013 at 13:41:04 in reply to Comment 93005

How often do CITIZENS get a big say in how projects on the west mountain are designed and handled?

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By one-way conversation (anonymous) | Posted October 08, 2013 at 10:49:43 in reply to Comment 93005

Durrrr the west mountain doesn't belong to everyone so downtown doesn't get a say. Only downtown belongs to everyone so everyone gets to put their two cents worth in.

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By Rimshot (anonymous) | Posted October 08, 2013 at 11:29:37

I think we can all agree that the main thing is that any transportation plan be half-assed and drag out for decades after street conversions are floated.

Math Puzzle: 2001's Downtown Transportation Master Plan saw its mandatory five-year review released in 2008. Will we see the next iteration of the five-year review in 2013 or 2015?

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By brundlefly (registered) - website | Posted October 08, 2013 at 11:57:20

At least his spelling was correct.

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By Jean Pierre (anonymous) | Posted October 08, 2013 at 12:03:21

Just saw a Tweet from Hamilton Magazine (@Hamiltonmag) about their Weekly Poll, which is about one-way streets. So far, 100% of voters agree that one-way streets are killing the core. I agree!!

www.hamiltonmagazine.com

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By Dm (anonymous) | Posted October 09, 2013 at 22:59:11 in reply to Comment 93014

A poll worth quoting has a vote count. Readers a particular magazine poll is not worth mentioning. I have a poll on my front door that say 101% [+/-1%] vote for 2 way on everything but main and king.

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By Balancer (anonymous) | Posted October 08, 2013 at 12:15:56

I think a valid point to make is that balance he speaks of. Currently there is no balance and the mountain councillor wants to keep it that way. Balancing would be to actually listen to the people and businesses in the affected area first not keep it as is because a few mountain residents with one councillor's ear want things to stay the same.

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By Cultosaurus (registered) | Posted October 08, 2013 at 12:36:52

Translation: I want the process of change to take forever as we bicker and dither back and forth, so ultimately nothing does change. Councillor Whitehead, your brand of Hamilton politician needs to go in the next election.

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By TerryWhitehead (registered) | Posted October 08, 2013 at 13:05:11

The City Wide Master Transportation Study needs to be an inclusive process. That is the thrust of my messaging. I also stated that we need to strike the right balance and never suggested that complete streets. conversions are not without merit. I trust those that are protesting are not suggesting that the city wide transportation study should not be an inclusive process.

Respectfully,

Terry

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By Dave Stephens (anonymous) | Posted October 08, 2013 at 15:38:45 in reply to Comment 93020

Are you the same Terry Whitehead that said "Downtown is not your Neighbourhood" if so what made you change your mind?

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By highwater (registered) | Posted October 08, 2013 at 16:19:57 in reply to Comment 93035

Actually he said downtown is not a neighbourhood. It appears he hasn't changed his mind.

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By fmurray (registered) | Posted October 08, 2013 at 15:13:31 in reply to Comment 93020

And if I hear the "unique geography" argument one more time....

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted October 08, 2013 at 14:38:13 in reply to Comment 93020

The public spaces are already heavily imbalanced in favor of motor traffic. I believe the initiatives underway are trying to introduce some balance where there presently is little to none. The transportation plan is slowly becoming more inclusive as pedestrian, non-motorized, and transit users realize more meaningful improvements. The motorized users already enjoy the great majority of public space. Also, as the voices of residents in a given neighborhood start to be respected rather than dismissed and marginalized - then the transportation plan will become more inclusive. And then there's the all important step of actually doing. Talking is great but at some point it has to turn into action and results, rather than endless studies and consultations, which at best seem to end in a pilot project only.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted October 08, 2013 at 14:32:56 in reply to Comment 93020

Thing is, there's lots of different flavours of "inclusive". One version of inclusive brings the many people from all over the city to the table, a large percentage of them looking to use these roads to commute. Another version of inclusive involves including small children walking alongside the roads, slow elderly/disabled folks trying to cross them, cyclists trying to commute, etc.

There's the old joke that democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what's for dinner. If the 3 get together and elect to eat the sheep, was it "inclusive" since the sheep had a voice at the table and was outvoted by a proper democratic process?

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By Cultosaurus (registered) | Posted October 08, 2013 at 14:26:00 in reply to Comment 93020

It should be inclusive, but not at the expense of expediency considering how this municipality likes to dither. It also should be evidence based, something you seem to be at odds with based on your previous comments.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted October 08, 2013 at 14:25:19 in reply to Comment 93020

I think what is really troubling for those of us that get the complete streets arguments is just feeling that we are being told to temper our voices because 'it has to be an inclusive process', and 'we need a balanced solution'. The current situation is already way out of balance in favour of only those who care about ease of access, to the detriment of those who care about other aspects of urban form (e.g. walkability, cycle-ability, urban density, desirability for retail and other commercial use) which are empirically known to be more important (if you don't believe me, look at any other city and see for yourself how what you call access is not even close to the #1 priority). The complete streets side already knows that we need a balanced solution - that is precisely what we are asking for. We need people like you to explain to citizens who don't see any value in downtown intensification why they need to compromise, for the good of the rest of the city. In other words..you are talking to the wrong crowd. Complete streets is the balanced approach.

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By fmurray (registered) | Posted October 08, 2013 at 14:08:52 in reply to Comment 93020

It's encouraging that you think complete streets and conversions have merit. Unfortunately, lower city residents have heard enough about Master Plans and Transportation studies. We've lost patience with the delays and politics and don't have an appetite for another "inclusive process" where the suburban councillors will vote down any motion for change.

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted October 08, 2013 at 14:42:37

Cllr Whitehead, all I interpret from your message is more delays and indecision in the name of "inclusiveness". For many of us it feels like the term "inclusiveness" means to ask as many people as it takes to get your point of view. What possible value is a downtown that people only value for its speed to get through? The Linc, RHV, 403, QEW are perfectly good highways - what possible benefit does having the equivalent running through the heart of our city?

Comment edited by GrapeApe on 2013-10-08 14:43:20

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By Twisted Kites (anonymous) | Posted October 08, 2013 at 15:43:14

Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives and I decline.

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By Kevin Love (anonymous) | Posted October 08, 2013 at 16:28:33

Our existing transportation system is grossly out of balance and denies freedom of choice to the citizens of Hamilton.

For the sake of my children, I want to live in a car-free neighbourhood. But I get zero freedom of choice in Hamilton. I have to submit to violent, dangerous and aggressive car drivers terrorizing my children off the streets and launching lethal cancer poison attacks against my family.

Civilized cities have car-free downtowns. When is Hamilton going to catch up with the rest of the world?

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By Joshua (registered) | Posted October 14, 2013 at 13:44:40 in reply to Comment 93038

Agreed: for the sake of my children.

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted October 09, 2013 at 09:22:04

Complete streets DOES equal a balanced approach. That's what "complete" streets means!

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By DM (anonymous) | Posted October 10, 2013 at 13:56:56

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted October 10, 2013 at 14:23:07 in reply to Comment 93103

So we should deform and traumatize our city on a daily basis because we might need to divert traffic from Hwy 403 for an hour or two a couple of times a year?

That is post-hoc rationalizing of the absolute worst order.

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By DM (anonymous) | Posted October 10, 2013 at 14:47:16 in reply to Comment 93105

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted October 10, 2013 at 16:04:33 in reply to Comment 93109

The city was absolutely deformed in order to accommodate the extra lanes and ramped intersections which are the basis of our through-traffic-optimized road network. Our city is in trauma, and this is due in large part to this infrastructure. We have emptied our core and driven up a billion dollar infrastructure deficit in order to continue living the drive-thru life. This is only hyperbole to those who refuse to understand the true costs to all of us for this "convenience".

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted October 10, 2013 at 15:53:08 in reply to Comment 93109

This is the same rationale used to say "main and king get by ok with extended lane closures" by supporters.

See that argument can be made in reverse. Some would call it hyperbole to say that Main and King are suffering because of closed lanes, whereas if you try to see what is really happening, it is one extra traffic light cycle to get through the city instead of the usual green wave.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted October 10, 2013 at 15:42:49 in reply to Comment 93109

Today's shutdown of the 403 in both directions and above average number of crashes was unusual and rare. The spec and twitter were full of people saying they were caught in gridlock. And this is even with the extra capacity. A traffic disruption this exceptional is going to cause a mess regardless.

So the point stands - why have a dirty dangerous city all the time, when even the extra capacity is overwhelmed by such outlier disruptions?

So people have to reroute and be patient. Or have alternatives - there was no gridlock if you were cycling to work or took the GO train. Other days, maybe the GO trains are delayed/cancelled, but the highway is moving smoothly. We need to have alternatives and a complete transportation plan, not just lots and lots of lanes.

Ryan was not exaggerating. It just depends on perspective. From the outside of a windshield, deform and traumatize does work as a description of what it feels like along some city streets.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted October 10, 2013 at 16:24:51 in reply to Comment 93111

there was no gridlock if you were cycling to work

My morning commute is too early to have been caught on the way in, but I hit surprisingly heavy traffic on the way home. Because I was on a bike, it added only a few minutes to my ride time, and I even got to enjoy a friendly exchange with a perplexed driver on Herkimer. who was being a good sport about the unexpected congestion.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2013-10-10 16:27:39

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted October 11, 2013 at 08:57:47 in reply to Comment 93114

I saw the chaos yesterday morning on the way in, but everything had cleared for the way home. In all cases, cyclists in the bike lanes on Dundurn and York were flowing freely :)

It will be interesting to see how the transit lane on King street fares if there is another such disruption over the next year.

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By Anon (anonymous) | Posted October 10, 2013 at 14:53:18 in reply to Comment 93109

What makes the homes in your neighbourhood attractive/affordable to the drug users you reference?

Do you see any role played by the 4 and 5 lane thouroughfares that blast traffic THROUGH your neighbourhood? Does this traffic affect livealbility or affordability? Does it attract out of town absentee landlords to homes that no one else in the city seems to care about?

Just curious.

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By DM (anonymous) | Posted October 10, 2013 at 16:51:59 in reply to Comment 93110

No role by the 4-5 lanes. Traffic does not blast through my neighborhood. They more or less do the speed limit on the border of my neighborhood as speeding will hit red lights. It does not affect livability (it's a +) or affordability. Our walking score is 87. Higher than most areas. Our homes are steadily increasing in value. How could anyone know whether out of town absentee landlords exist in any neighborhood. However, I am a landlord of the house next door. So, I'd say no. The drug users/dealers are city wide. From west hamilton to east hamilton. This affects more families/businesses than any transportation issues IMO. I am very pleased with the progress of main/king businesses in the last 5 years. To believe the tipping point has to do with the direction of traffic or more sidewalk space (for businesses to put out trifold signs - explore James North!) is inaccurate. These are arterial roads. I 100% support bike lanes, wider sidewalks and bike lanes everywhere but main/king, our life line of the city. - A person that lives east of downtown.

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By fmurray (registered) | Posted October 12, 2013 at 10:26:57 in reply to Comment 93116

I don't understand the argument for NOT dealing with an issue because we have other issues. Yes, I agree that sustance abuse is a very serious problem in Hamilton, and it's very visible. But that doesn't mean we have to ignore our dysfunctional street system until the substance abuse problem is solved. We need councillors and city staff who can deal with multiple files, and residents who realize that they have to do so.

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By DM (anonymous) | Posted October 12, 2013 at 13:16:41 in reply to Comment 93172

I as well do not have an argument for not dealing with an issue. The problem is that I personally do not see 1 way streets as an issue that is "deforming and traumatizing" my neighborhood. I read lots here to understand the other spectrum of opinion. I could understand slowing main/king to a lesser speed and continuing sync'd lights. However I do not see 2 way streets as a compromise. A slower speed would be a compromise.

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By fmurray (registered) | Posted October 12, 2013 at 19:39:13 in reply to Comment 93176

That's where I disagree with you. Main Street, in my opinion, does deform neighbourhoods. King is slightly better, at least until Locke, but Main is a blight. It's not walkable, bikeable or conducive to living. It acts as an expressway through our city and doesn't belong where it's placed. Two-way conversion may not be workable, but Main could be made closer to "complete" with other solutions. You can't possibly argue that Main Street serves all users (drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, residents).

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By Dm (anonymous) | Posted October 13, 2013 at 08:49:42 in reply to Comment 93181

That's great that you recognize there could be other solutions. This is a good start. 2 way is not a compromise as one user has on his sig. There has to be some common ground between those that see a large problem and those that see no problem. And there had to be a cost effective solution that will appease those that see no problem but are willing to understand that others see it as a problem.

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By fmurray (registered) | Posted October 13, 2013 at 11:20:54 in reply to Comment 93194

There is usually more than one way to solve a problem, but I think you have to acknowledge the problem exists. Main Street can be improved in a multitude of ways, making it safer and accessible to all users. Two-way conversion on its own won't fix the horrendous walkability situation. We need wider sidewalks, and personally I would like to use it as a route when I'm riding my bike, so protected bike lanes would add cyclists to those able to use Main. With wider sidewalks, would come more businesses, possibly restaurants with patios. The possibilities are endless. Just take away the expressway mentality with the almost holiness of the mantra: "we must keep traffic flowing", and then some progress will be made.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted October 15, 2013 at 06:30:23 in reply to Comment 93196

Main Street is one of the easiest streets to fix, because we've got so very much right-of-way to play with. There is plenty of room to convert to two-way, widen sidewalks, add protected bike lanes and protect pedestrians with all-day curbside parking.

Let's be clear about the concern trolls making all the noise about "compromise" and "common ground": the real issue is that they simply don't want to see Main Street transformed from an expressway that only serves high-speed through traffic into a complete street that serves everyone.

Sidenote on walkability: wide sidewalks are definitely nice, but if we had to choose between wider sidewalks or physically protected sidewalks (i.e. by parallel-parked cars or a two-way bike lane), the latter would make a bigger improvement to the pedestrian experience. Of course, it's even better to do both.

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By Dm (anonymous) | Posted October 15, 2013 at 08:26:34 in reply to Comment 93292

The real issue "trolls" have. Come on man. A citizen with a differing view is a troll? I agree any street in Hamilton can be better. I agree a bike lane done right can benefit cyclists. I disagree that wider sidewalks are necessary. I disagree that we NEED two way traffic on main and king. Lower the speed sure. That afterall is compromise. Finding common ground with fellow citizens. Disagreeing isn't trolling. With your long standing hate-hate relationship with cars, you don't see the motorists perspective and vilify motorists as a result. Unfortunately RTH sees compromise as our way or keep the highway.

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By Dm (anonymous) | Posted October 15, 2013 at 08:34:07 in reply to Comment 93293

www.ibiketo.ca/blog/ottawa-study-concludes-one-way-streets-only-way-accommodate-cycle-tracks-its-downtown

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By Anon (anonymous) | Posted October 10, 2013 at 17:01:44

A 2-way Queen Street would have meant a lot fewer perplexed drivers stuck on Herkimer.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted October 10, 2013 at 17:08:40 in reply to Comment 93117

2-way queen would also get more cars going down to King/Main instead of crowding into Aberdeen - especially if/when Frid Street gets finished and provides another alternate route. That might also reduce Longwood traffic volumes and help avoid the sister-bridge project.

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By DM (anonymous) | Posted October 11, 2013 at 15:36:56

Hahha, comments that get -5 are hidden. Nice to see RTH is open for discussion unless it is against what you want. Nothing offensive was written, just not what RTH fan club wanted to see. Good luck.

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By MD (anonymous) | Posted October 11, 2013 at 23:14:16 in reply to Comment 93146

Actually users can vote down comments that are low quality or trollish, looks like that's what happened here.

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By Dm (anonymous) | Posted October 12, 2013 at 00:12:35 in reply to Comment 93157

It's not the threshold. I can appreciate there are trolls. My comments are not trolling. Offensive it was not. Down voting a valid opinion is not dialogue. Ryan made a valid opinion. I did not agree with "deform and traumatize" as a result of one way traffic. RTH, valid opinions based on experience and personal opinion are not down vote worthy if you want a true dialogue. Unless protectionist conversation is what you seek. This is exactly the behaviour I believed this site would be against. Join the club or be down voted. Good luck.

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By MD (anonymous) | Posted October 12, 2013 at 09:59:20 in reply to Comment 93158

You say you live next to Main St. and don't think anything's wrong with it. You're either lying, trolling or just nuts.

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By DM (anonymous) | Posted October 12, 2013 at 10:03:17 in reply to Comment 93170

Because its a different opinion than yours? Seems like you are trolling my opinion. Seriously? Is the goal to have dialogue here?

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted October 12, 2013 at 11:24:08 in reply to Comment 93171

Those who have registered generally have a bigger threshold. For instance, I can still see your comments when I'm logged in. Anonymous users are forced to the default threshold - you can register and change your view preferences.

This voting idea is not unique to RTH. Most of the online forums with civilized discussions have a similar system. I think that the quality of dialogue here is significantly better than the comment sections of most mainstream news sites, so the system seems to be working.

No system is perfect, but hardcore disruptive trolls really do get in the way of legitimate discussion so there has to be some mechanism in place.

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By DM (anonymous) | Posted October 12, 2013 at 13:19:03 in reply to Comment 93174

Agree, but it seems like many use votes purely that they disagree or a comment is not in line with their opinion. To me that is not constructive dialogue and is no better than the council that is criticized often. I participate in the dialogue to not be disruptive, but rather to better understand the opinions of others.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted October 12, 2013 at 13:40:19 in reply to Comment 93177

Yeah - unfortunately the way everyone uses the votes can't be restricted. My personal preference is for opinions different from mine to stay 100% visible so that people can see what my rebuttal refers to :-)

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By MD (anonymous) | Posted October 12, 2013 at 09:57:04 in reply to Comment 93158

"I'm not trolling" says every troll ever.

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By Cultosaurus (registered) | Posted October 11, 2013 at 22:23:11 in reply to Comment 93146

Actually users can control this threshold

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted October 12, 2013 at 21:18:41

DM, I know what you're talking about. If you are not in line with the RTH party faithful you'll get downvoted. I left commenting a while ago due to that. It's too bad. Dissenting opinions are never a bad thing - they allow all voices to be heard.

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By TB (registered) - website | Posted October 13, 2013 at 07:46:55 in reply to Comment 93183

As previously suggested by Cultosaurus, edit your profile and disable comment thresholds.

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By Dm (anonymous) | Posted October 13, 2013 at 08:44:29 in reply to Comment 93192

Again, it's not the threshold. It's down voting for disagreement. To have effective dialogue, voting should be used for truly offensive and trolling comments, not for dissenting views. I don't believe many RTH fans understand this and use the down votes for protectionist conversation as unregistered users will always experience a -5 threshold. Anyways happy thanksgiving and good luck with the "dialogue".

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By TB (registered) - website | Posted October 13, 2013 at 20:03:09 in reply to Comment 93193

If downvoting and upvoting are the expressions of an opinion then they are actually part of the dialogue.

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By Dm (anonymous) | Posted October 14, 2013 at 07:14:51 in reply to Comment 93202

Nice try. But not when there is obvious bias and a threshold that hides the dissenting view. Anyways.... I'm pretty much over having a relevant discussion on this site. After a little research I've found that Ryan has a "long standing hate-hate relationship with cars". This all makes more sense after finding that.

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By fmurray (registered) | Posted October 14, 2013 at 18:05:10 in reply to Comment 93210

OK, I thought you were really here to discuss the topic, but now you're being a troll.

Definition of troll according to Wikipedia: is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory,extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog), either accidentally or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

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By DM (anonymous) | Posted October 14, 2013 at 18:58:19 in reply to Comment 93239

Thats what I was trying to do. Thanks for the definition. Guess its easier to label opposition as trolling. Just forget about.

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