Special Report: Walkable Streets

Sign up to Slow Down with 30 to Zero

Zero accidents is our goal. Driving 30 kilometres an hour in neighbourhoods is one of the ways we'll get there together.

By Jay Robb
Published April 09, 2014

When it comes to pedestrian safety, there can only be one goal for Hamilton. That goal is zero. Zero pedestrians hit by cars. Zero fatalities. Zero injuries.

If it's not zero, than what's the acceptable number? And who'd like to explain that number to a family who've just had someone they love hurt or worse in an accident?

We don't have to wait to get to zero. We don't have to wait for a council resolution, staff report, public consultation, pilot project or major roadwork. We can start today. Right now. You and me.

We can lead by example. We can choose to take our foot off the accelerator when driving through neighbourhoods, past schools, parks and playgrounds.

We can choose to drive 30 kilometres along James North, Locke Street, Concession Street and King Street West in Dundas and Westdale. Our choice will leave everyone driving behind us with no choice. They'll have to slow down too.

Not everyone will like it. Some drivers will be impatient. They'll lean on their horns. Flip us the finger.

But the pedestrians on the sidewalks - the families, kids and seniors - will thank us for it. And so too will the people waiting for them at home.

30 km/h speed limit in Hamilton's North End (RTH file photo)
30 km/h speed limit in Hamilton's North End (RTH file photo)

Awareness Campaign

We don't have to go it alone. We can recruit more drivers with an awareness campaign.

Let's turn a traditional selling feature for cars on its head (zero to 60 in under seven seconds) and roll out a 30 to Zero campaign in Hamilton.

Zero accidents is our goal. Driving 30 kilometres in neighbourhoods is one of the ways we'll get there together.

Find a Hamilton marketing and PR firm willing to share their expertise in building and rolling out a winning campaign. Recruit media partners that will help spread the word and make 30 to Zero a club that everyone wants to join.

Make 30 to Zero a very public campaign. Invite drivers to sign up to slow down. Extend an invitation for our political, business and community leaders to do the same. Let's sign a pledge, with our names added to an online honour roll. Give us bumper stickers, wallet cards, buttons and signs for our dashboards, storefronts and front lawns to show our support.

Make it Personal

Make the 30 to Zero campaign personal. Ease up on the facts, stats and studies and tell us stories instead. Aim for our hearts first and our heads will follow.

Introduce us to the kids who live in Hamilton's neighbourhoods. Remind us why the children cross the road. To get to school, the library and park. To go to soccer games, swimming lessons and piano practices. To go on playdates, visit grandparents and walk the dog. Have the kids speak to us directly, asking us to slow down and stay alert when driving through their neighbourhoods.

Make the 30 to Zero campaign rewarding. Line up BIAs and Hamilton proud businesses for giveaways, discounts, special offers and promotions for drivers who've pledged support to the 30 to Zero campaign. Catch us in the act of driving responsibly and putting pedestrians first.

Give me a coupon for a free Chuck's Burger and I'll bring my family, park the minivan and join the crowds walking the sidewalks on Locke. Your neighbourhood will no longer be just a place I drive through to get somewhere else.

What Matters Most

Use the 30 to Zero campaign to remind us of what matters most. When we get behind the wheel, we're not just drivers. We're moms and dads, grandparents, uncles and aunts, big brothers and sisters.

Nothing is more important than our kids. There's nothing we wouldn't do, give or sacrifice for our children. Slowing down is a small and easy sacrifice that all of us can make for everyone's kids. I'm counting on you to look out for my son and daughter. And you can count on me to do the same with your kids.

Zero parents in Hamilton should be ever get that phone call or knock on the door from a police officer, telling them their child has been hit and hurt while crossing a street.

So let's start today with our morning commutes. You and me with our feet off the accelerator. Thirty to zero.

Jay Robb lives and works in Hamilton.

100 Comments

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By highwater (registered) | Posted April 09, 2014 at 10:24:14

Great idea!

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By Only One Way (anonymous) | Posted April 09, 2014 at 17:16:12 in reply to Comment 100081

The only way you are every going to reduce injuries and fatalities to zero is to ban cars, or ban pedestrians. So long as they both share the road, accidents are going to happen.

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By Joshua (registered) | Posted April 12, 2014 at 11:48:56 in reply to Comment 100097

Ivan Illich and Andrew Nikiforuk give some great historical and contemporary perspectives on banning automobiles.

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By notlloyd (registered) - website | Posted April 09, 2014 at 18:59:17 in reply to Comment 100097

I didn't read his post saying that you should not try. I read it as in the zero objective is an imposibility. I went to your link and read that in Sweden, their various safety efforts have reduced fatalities by 50%.

What came to mind when I read the post was some recent studies that showed that simply reducing speed did not correlate to lower accidents. In fact, the recent Hamilton study, 2010 I believe, that has been posted here on this blog showed that speed was a major factor in the vast minority of cases.

What is required is a global approach. Look at the areas where there is danger and try and reduce the danger. Is there some rash of fatal accidents on side streets in Hamilton? I thought the data showed that the vast majority of accidents, and fatal accidents in particlular, occured on major arteries. Are we asking that those arteries be slowed down to 30k?

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted April 10, 2014 at 06:40:44 in reply to Comment 100103

I didn't read his post saying that you should not try.

It sounded like do-nothing defeatism to me.

the zero objective is an imposibility.

It remains to be seen whether it's possible, but several cities are already trying to achieve it, and even if they fall short they will have saved many lives and prevented a huge number of debilitating injuries (currently 2,250 a year in Hamilton).

In Hamilton, on the other hand, the rates of pedestrian and cyclist injuries and deaths have stayed the same since at least 2001.

Consider the city of Paris, with a population of 2.2 million that doubles or triples during the workday. Paris has around 25 pedestrian fatalities and one cyclist fatality a year (and they consider that to be unacceptable).

Hamilton, with a population of 500,000 that shrinks slightly during the workday, has 10 pedestrian fatalities and 1 cyclist fatality a year.

-----------------------------------
Fatality Risk per Million Residents
-----------------------------------
Type         Paris      Hamilton
-----------------------------------
Pedestrian   5.682      21.277
Cyclist      0.227       2.123
-----------------------------------

In other words, a pedestrian in Hamilton is 4 times as likely to be killed as a pedestrian in Paris, and a cyclist in Hamilton is 10 times as likely to be killed as a cyclist in Paris. We may or may not be able to get to zero, but it is certainly worth trying.

simply reducing speed did not correlate to lower accidents

What the evidence indicates is that merely reducing the posted speed limit without also changing the street design does not reduce vehicle speeds.

speed was a major factor in the vast minority of cases

What the Hamilton report indicates is that the drivers were not exceeding the legal speed limit, not that vehicle speed was not a factor. In other words, legal speed limits are dangerously high.

Are we asking that those arteries be slowed down to 30k?

Slowed, calmed, tamed and reconfigured so that pedestrians and cyclists have safe space to carry out their activities. If you want to rush from one side of the city to the other, use the ring highway. Otherwise, be prepared to drive at a safe speed.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 09, 2014 at 18:16:13 in reply to Comment 100097

So, you're suggesting we not even try?? Nice. Check this out: http://www.visionzeroinitiative.com/en/C...

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By JustinJones (registered) - website | Posted April 09, 2014 at 10:37:02

This is exactly what we need more of. I'm behind you 100% with anything I can help with. If you want to contact me, Ryan has my email.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted April 09, 2014 at 10:39:18

I'd love a 30 to Zero magnet sign to put on the trunk of my car, next to my Share the Road sign.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 09, 2014 at 10:39:39

Great idea! Will def be doing this. I've also noticed that when I stop at a crosswalk (say Locke/Hunter, James/Robert) to let pedestrians cross, the oncoming drivers do too.

I know city hall is trying to avoid lower speed limits as long as humanly possible. They enacted an unnecessary moratorium on neighbourhood-wide 30k speed limits for 5 years while the North End is a supposed 'trial run'.

BUT, does anyone know if that moratorium applies to isolated 30k zones? Say along Strathcona from King to York past a busy park, seniors building and elementary school?

Or Locke S along the retail district?

Or Maplewood Ave from Gage Park, past St Peters Hospital and Adelaide Hoodless school?

We should start asking for 30k signage, zebras and knockdown sticks around all parks, schools and busy hubs with seniors/daycares etc....

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By Goin'Downtown (registered) | Posted April 09, 2014 at 13:03:16 in reply to Comment 100084

I requested that a lower speed limit and/or stop sign be put in place, Strathcona/Tom corner/area (seniors building, nearby park, etc.). The result? Four parking spots were removed for better sight lines (and not enforced).

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 09, 2014 at 13:32:37 in reply to Comment 100087

Wow...that's pathetic. That spot is brutal because people roar off York and fly all the way to Florence. Ditto the other way. You should contact Brian McHattie. He was helpful getting all the other stop-signs up. We need more street parking to narrow that area, not less.
Doesn't surprise me though. Even on a side street in a residential hood city hall only figures out ways to speed cars up, not slow them down.

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By Goin'Downtown (registered) | Posted April 09, 2014 at 15:59:30 in reply to Comment 100090

I did contact Councillor McHattie. This was right after an 11/12-year old was hit, last summer. He was hot-doggin' it, and the driver felt terrible, but if she had been doing 30, she may have had a better chance of stopping. Bad corner, to be sure. As for the loss of parking spots...uber sigh...

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 09, 2014 at 18:17:45 in reply to Comment 100096

What was his reply? I would re-send your concern. I had to push like crazy to get the zebra stripes at King/Locke, King/Strathcona and York/Locke. Was told no about 5 times, but kept badgering them as I saw new zebras appearing all over the city.

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By Goin'Downtown (registered) | Posted April 09, 2014 at 22:26:08 in reply to Comment 100100

You know what, you're right. I should keep pounding the proverbial pavement. And regrettably, because of so many recent pedestrian injuries, this should actually get a better result now. Thanks for the kick in the butt!

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 08:38:13 in reply to Comment 100107

no probs! I appreciate you being willing to take this on. Sadly, this is the only way to get some semblance of safety in our neighbourhoods. Push hard and long enough, you'll drive them nuts and they'll realize it's easier and quicker to simply add the stop signs like the rest of the street instead of saying no over and over.

I'll fire off a message to Brian as well now that I know this.

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By Goin'Downtown (registered) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 20:43:59 in reply to Comment 100125

I just checked my folder and it was summer of 2012 (apologies...ah, age). His response was for me to create a petition and gather signatures so that they're more comfortable that they have the support of the community. Uhmm...I'd quite rather skip that step...I'm just going to email him again.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted April 11, 2014 at 12:57:59 in reply to Comment 100185

There's an apocryphal story about FDR on this subject - a lobbyist or citizen's group pitches something to him, and he replies:

"You've convinced me. Now go out and make me do it."

That's just how politics works.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted April 11, 2014 at 13:35:18 in reply to Comment 100210

It's not apocryphal. It's from community organizer Saul Alinsky's book Rules for Radicals:

It is not enough just to elect your candidates. You must keep the pressure on. Radicals should keep in mind Franklin D. Roosevelt's response to a reform delegation, "Okay, you've convinced me. Now go on out and bring pressure on me!" Action comes from keeping the heat on. No politician can sit on a hot issue if you make it hot enough.

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By Anon (anonymous) | Posted April 11, 2014 at 12:46:42 in reply to Comment 100185

I got the same response from Councillor Duvall about a crosswalk at Fennell Ave E and Upper James St for the folks crossing from the apartments to the former Mountain Plaza Mall.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 11, 2014 at 06:55:52 in reply to Comment 100185

I would definitely get some signatures. It makes the process way easier at city hall. You and I would think cars roaring off York and kids getting hit would be enough impetus for a small change like this, but you'll have better luck following the process and getting a small petition done up. Not how it should be, but that's how it is when it involves slowing down a car.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted April 11, 2014 at 06:47:01 in reply to Comment 100185

Having had a small involvement in a petition to get a crosswalk at Aberdeen and Kent, I strongly recommend getting a few neighbours together, drafting a petition and fanning out to get signatures. The purpose is to get support from the Public Works Committee, which is still overwhelmingly biased toward automobile traffic flow, to overturn the inevitable staff recommendation against improving livability.

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By Goin'Downtown (registered) | Posted April 15, 2014 at 18:13:59 in reply to Comment 100194

Fair enough; I'll put the petition near the top of my to-do list (spring cleaning first!). In the meanwhile, I did email again last week; nothing back. Jason, I hope you had better luck in that regard. Is the expenditure a deterrent for public works? Any reason why we can't use the area ratings funds for complete streets/street calming? I'm not that familiar with those funds.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted April 09, 2014 at 10:43:47

There are 11 census tracts in Ward 2. The tract closest to the water (north of Barton, West of Wellington) has the second lowest population density in the ward. The city is pretty much all neighbourhoods.

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By StephenBarath (registered) | Posted April 09, 2014 at 11:55:20

I think that this is a great idea, and I think the “30 to Zero” is catchy. And it’s the kind of thing that can be explained quite quickly to the people who ultimately take the decision to speed up and increase risk, or slow down and make everyone safer.

This reminds me of the “Twenty [mph] is Plenty” campaign in New York City. A local sign company prints eye-catching “speed limit” signs with that message, which neighbours tie on to lamp posts and what-have-you. Perhaps we could do the same thing here, get a sign company to make attention-grabbing signs, instead of ‘MAXIMUM 50km/h,’ ‘SAFE 30km/h’. Maybe I’ll call Deco Labels and see if they’d be interested.

I try to drive at what seems a safe speed in residential neighbourhoods. It would be great to have a magnet or sticker on my car’s trunk that tells the motorists behind me why.

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted April 09, 2014 at 23:41:02 in reply to Comment 100086

Deco Labels? Do you know who owns that company?

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By StephenBarath (registered) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 09:50:30 in reply to Comment 100111

Yes, I do. That was the joke.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 09, 2014 at 13:35:25 in reply to Comment 100086

Was going to ask the same thing. Is it possible to have sturdy enough signs made that looks like speed limit signs (like the NYC campaign) that we can post. I like your idea for SAFE 30km/h. I bet most drivers will think they are real speed limit signs.

Would love to find out more on this idea. Tactical urbanism last year led to a bunch of new knockdown sticks and zebra crossings. However, that became the end of tactical urbanism. We need to continue with worth-while, simple ideas like this in our neighbourhoods.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted April 09, 2014 at 14:52:14 in reply to Comment 100091

Wasn't there a safety-minded sign incident at James and Cannon? I seem to recall the project being legally contentious (and it was directed at pedestrians).

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted April 09, 2014 at 18:25:33 in reply to Comment 100095

I think you mean this Sign by artiste Paul Sousa:

Cannon sign

Sorry about the lousy image quality.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2014-04-10 06:42:06

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By durander (registered) | Posted April 11, 2014 at 11:06:08 in reply to Comment 100102

Ridiculous.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted April 11, 2014 at 11:45:25 in reply to Comment 100205

You're right. It's ridiculous that the street has been allowed to function this way for so long. The new protected cycle track will help make the street more safe, civil, usable and attractive.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 09, 2014 at 23:14:23 in reply to Comment 100102

Soooo, does anyone want to be the 'official' point person on this signage project? I've got some possible design/printing contacts lined up, but first we need someone who will help oversee the process.

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By StephenBarath (registered) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 10:46:38 in reply to Comment 100110

How do we put ourselves in contact? I’d be happy to get together and see about getting a bit of money together to purchase signs, bumper magnets, and so on. I’m not going to say Jay Robb’s article constitutes his volunteering for anything, but it was his good idea so maybe we can exchange contact information through him and start discussing.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 09, 2014 at 18:21:28 in reply to Comment 100095

It was a wordy, small sign.
The signs being suggested above are like this:

http://www.brooklyndaily.com/stories/201...

Looks like they attach simply with strong zip ties. I think this should be organized here in Hamilton. I like the 'SAFE 30km/h' idea above.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted April 10, 2014 at 10:04:05 in reply to Comment 100101

... drivers would see that as a real speed-limit sign.

I'm going to go concern troll here: I'm not comfortable with misrepresenting the law.

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By StephenBarath (registered) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 10:47:16 in reply to Comment 100135

I’d say that’s a valid concern. The trick is to make them appear only superficially like official speed limit signs, apparent upon casual inspection that they are not. I think the ‘SAFE 30km/h’ would pass that test. It would still be illegal, of course: you can’t even put a poster for a concert up on a post without breaking an ordinance. I don’t think it’s misrepresenting the law, though, if they are different “enough.”

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By Goin'Downtown (registered) | Posted April 09, 2014 at 13:07:21

Great article. I actually do drive 30 km/hour along neighbourhood roads, and have for...well, a long time. And, yes, I get a lot of tailgaters, to which my response is to slow down another 5 km. :) But as for "when we get behind the wheel, we're not just drivers. We're moms and dads, grandparents, uncles and aunts, big brothers and sisters" - I think too often drivers forget that (e.g. speeding to a work meeting along neighbourhood back roads to avoid traffic) - perhaps the sign in the rear window or bumper should be "drive like your kids are in the car."

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By StephenBarath (registered) | Posted April 09, 2014 at 13:13:00 in reply to Comment 100088

Or “Drive like your kids play on this street.”

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted April 09, 2014 at 14:17:30 in reply to Comment 100089

... that would be a pretty good bumper-sticker, actually.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted April 09, 2014 at 13:37:19 in reply to Comment 100089

I know Jay recommends speaking to the heart more than the head, but the wonk in me needs to point out a 2012 study by McMaster geography professor Nikolaos Yiannakoulias which found that rates of pedestrian injuries - specifically children - are higher on streets with more cut-through traffic rather than local traffic. To be specific, it's not the volume of traffic itself but the proportion of through traffic vs. local traffic that predicts injury rates.

The uncomfortable implication is that people tend to drive more carefully in their own neighbourhood than they do in someone else's neighbourhood.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted April 09, 2014 at 13:51:51 in reply to Comment 100092

The uncomfortable implication is that people tend to drive more carefully in their own neighbourhood than they do in someone else's neighbourhood.

Alternate, that many drivers will patiently wait on major arteries even if there's a backup of some kind, rather than taking short-cuts into local streets. I know when I'm going from Cannon to King via Queen, occasionally you face multiple cycles of the light. Once in a while, a driver will simply avoid the backup by turning right onto any of the three local streets so they can pull onto King from Locke or the like.

At that point, the impatient drivers are self-selected into the local street. The patient drivers are still waiting on Queen.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 09, 2014 at 23:12:54 in reply to Comment 100093

I live on one of those 3 local streets. Drivers doing exactly what you describe get over 70km/h everyday on these narrow, kid-filled streets. It's disgusting. I'm hoping to hear about lots of speed humps in the Ward 1 budget results tomorrow.

I'd LOVE to have Peter St dead-ended at Queen. Exit only. No entry from Queen. And a stop-light with no right on red added on Queen at Napier.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted April 10, 2014 at 09:59:36 in reply to Comment 100109

A no-right-turn sign would do the same job much cheaper. Wellington at Simcoe got a no-right turn sign because drivers were using Simcoe to get to Ferguson street bridge when Wellington was blocked by trains (I'm guilty of that one, actually, but at a respectable speed). A simple no-right-turn sign on Queen at Peter would be a dirt-cheap fix. Although it does hurt wayfinding.

And yes, I want that that traffic signal at Napier too. I think we've already had this conversation, actually.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 11:32:51 in reply to Comment 100133

Lol. We have. Good idea with the 'no right' sign. That, plus knockdown sticks on the NW corner would do the trick.

I submitted the traffic signal at Napier in the PB process. I guess we'll find out tonight if it made it.

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By g. (anonymous) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 02:36:05 in reply to Comment 100109

but i also think that the cut through traffic is symptomatic of a much larger problem. the grid needs to be redesigned so that all the traffic isnt herded onto residential streets like queen, and dundurn. if cannon wasnt such a highway people wouldnt get backed up at queen and king and wouldnt have the expectation to continue to drive as if they were on a highway.

one way to get rid of bottle necks is to widen the neck. the other is to narrow the bottle. hamilton needs to narrow the bottle.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 08:29:59 in reply to Comment 100113

2-way Bay and Queen would give people more N/S options. 2-way Main would allow people simply heading to Westdale to do so without needing to use King, which is the 403 access.

Having said that, 'backups' in Hamilton happen for maybe an hour a day total. Drivers are simply entitled and can't believe they have to wait more than 1 light sequence at Queen/King at 5:30pm. I've been on that stretch of Queen many times per week at rush hour and have never had to wait more than 2 light sequences. 2. The 2nd right turn lane onto King is also unnecessary and actually harms traffic by preventing the 99% of people heading straight on Queen from doing so while pedestrians are crossing King.

Speed humps, zebra crossings and dead-ending certainly streets will help to slow down impatient drivers and narrow the bottle as you say.

By the way, this 'herding' affect you've pointed out is one of the massive reasons why the B-Line LRT is so vital to Hamilton. Think of how many folks currently driving no further than say Gage Park to downtown or Westdale to downtown would be able to leave their cars and hop a quick, smooth train.

This next election is massive for anyone desiring the end of the status quo in Hamilton.

Comment edited by jason on 2014-04-10 08:31:34

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By West Main (anonymous) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 11:16:16 in reply to Comment 100122

Two way Main From Westdale HS to John would be a disaster. I am on Main ever day. Has anyone here seen the volume of traffic. Last night a 7:30 it was full from Queen to Dundurn. That is usual. There are breaks in traffic as there should be, but the volume is immense throughout most of the day.It is THE main entrance to the city let alone the downtown. The volume is almost constant and very much unlike the cute photos that the administration posts all the time about the empty stretches on Main east of John at various times of the day.

There is logic to two way East of John on Main and King at least. I don't agree with it, but the argument is at least sound and logical. Blocking up Main Street into the downtown would be an unmitigated disaster for those people coming into the City for work or to Court or soon to the new Family medical Centre, or to St. Joe's or rarely to shop. Almost anytime between 8:00 am and 7:00 pm the traffic would be backed up literally for miles. Then imagine what would happen when there is an accident, or construction is required to fix a broke water main, or there is a fire . . . There would be literally no residual capacity.

Don't you want to develop the Downtown? Wouldn't it be great if MAC moved more services downtown. Maybe a Major retailer would be good?

And how would you do that without a two way King? And then if the LRT goes down King what would you do?

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By StephenBarath (registered) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 17:06:52 in reply to Comment 100145

I got off a bus at Main just west of Queen yesterday afternoon at about twenty past four. Someone was crossing Main between Queen and Pearl, and I did likewise: there were no cars for hundreds of meters, though a green wave was gearing up.

If I can leisurely cross a street away from an intersection at 4:30 in the afternoon, I surmise that the street I am crossing is not very busy. I could be wrong.

This web site published data last month provided by the municipal government. They show that the volume of traffic on Main east of Bay are 28,000 per day, and falling. If your perceptions suggest otherwise, in this case your perceptions are wrong.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 11:41:51 in reply to Comment 100145

Two way Main from Westdale HS to John would be a BLESSING. I live on Main every day. Has anyone here seen the volume of despair. Main is almost empty for most of the day, every day, and I didn't see any expecially heavy traffic on Main last night. It is THE main entrance to the city let alone the downtown, and it looks like crap and feels like a ghost town. The emptiness is almost constand and very much unlike the bogus claims by anonymous trolls about IMMENSE VOLUME.

"Almost anytime between 8:00 am and 7:00 pm the traffic would be backed up literally for miles." That. Is. HILARIOUS. Based on what you're spewing your colon must be backed up literally for miles.

Obviously all you care about is keeping it as easy to drive as possible and forget about making the downtown a place that lots of people would want to live. If big monster one ways like Main were good for downtown it would be going well already.

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By BS (anonymous) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 11:33:55 in reply to Comment 100145

This is BS. I drive on Main too, and while it's busy at times it's never gridlocked, even at rush hour, even with whole lanes of traffic closed for months at a time.

You don't make a great city by having a huge five lane highway run through it. Period. Main Street is the biggest thing stopping more people from developing downtown. Who the hell wants to live on a freeway?

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By West Main (anonymous) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 15:08:20 in reply to Comment 100150

This is not "B.S." which I interpret as a profanity. I own a building on Main and have been on this stretch since 1998. There have been times when a lane is closed for repair and the traffic literally clogs back for kilometers -Bumper to bumper from downtown to Dundurn. There is parking along one side (north) between 9 and 4 (that people rarely use)leaving 4 operable lanes. So during the occasions when the lanes are reduced to 3 lanes there are horrible traffic jams. (And since I am not commuting in, I personally have no interest in the commuting issue, I say it for arguments sake and in consideration of all those people who drive past my building. And, by the way, I pay tens of thousands of dollars a year in taxes on this property.)
I don't understand why Mr. Nobrainer and Mr. B.S. have to attack me personally. I do not find this issue hilarious nor does my colon have anything to do with this. I do not appreciate the very poor attempt at humor and will leave comments about their nomenclature selection to others to comment on.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 16:06:38 in reply to Comment 100165

LOL. Funny you should mention this. Today Main was down to 2 lanes in front of city hall and guess how many light sequences I had to wait through at Bay? That's right. NONE. Mid-day in the middle of downtown with half the streets' capacity closed. There's a reason nobody uses the street parking. THERE'S NOWHERE TO GO ON MAIN.

Name one city that you just adore visiting because it's entire downtown has streets like Main and Cannon. While the rest of us schlep off for some true urban fun in Montreal, Boston, Toronto, you go to...... (name the city)

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By West Main (anonymous) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 16:55:39 in reply to Comment 100170

So making it really hard for people to get into the downtown at rush hour is going to help downtown business?

Will the increase in businesses on Main West balance out the fact that less people can get to downtown?

Is two way traffic the panacea for the revival of the city?

Such a shame that the "citizen committed" was shot down by council. Could have solved everything by just destroying the only main entrance to downtown (unless you re-route it through York and move the bike paths. - Maybe not a bad idea.)

Boston, Montreal and Toronto all have major arteries feeding right to the feet of their downtowns - they are called highways (as do Chicago, New York, Atlanta . . . (name the city)) So lets replace Main and King with highways? I think the compromise have now is sufficient unless you want to build tunnels.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted April 11, 2014 at 06:40:14 in reply to Comment 100175

So making it really hard for people to get into the downtown at rush hour is going to help downtown business?

Your comment is just packed with false assumptions.

Streets designed so people in cars - which you have equated with "people" - can funnel through the downtown at high speed does absolutely nothing for downtown except make it more unpleasant, dangerous and unappealing for anyone who is actually downtown rather than passing through downtown.

It makes downtown far less appealing for people who might want to live, do business or socialize there rather than just driving through it. That makes downtown less appealing for investors and entrepreneurs, which depresses property values, reduces tax assessments, and cripples downtown's ability to generate innovations and create jobs.

In short, while leaving Main as a five-lane, one-way juggernaut is surely convenient for people only care about driving through the city as fast as possible, it is a disaster for the city as a whole.

Whether or not you actually own property on Main or are just concern trolling, it is very much in your broader interest as a person who owns property in Hamilton to have a downtown that is an attractive, dense, thriving urban centre rather than the hollowed-out, underperforming sacrifice zone it remains today, despite some modest improvements over the past decade.

If being crisscrossed by huge, high-capacity one-way thoroughfares was good for downtown vitality, the past half-century would have unfolded much differently.

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By notlloyd (registered) - website | Posted April 11, 2014 at 07:56:40 in reply to Comment 100193

See my comments below on this point but in addition I make the following comment.

In Arras, France, an ancient city with a downtown area that has very narrow roads, they have built essentially freeways that feed the centre and then the traffic goes underground to a very large parking area. Most of the downtown is restricted to walking, some cycling and service traffic. There are large govenrment buildings downtown that I assume are fully utilized and I saw very heavy traffic during the day but the downtown was mostly empty of cars. Yet you could get within walking distance of everywhere downtown by car.

Comment edited by notlloyd on 2014-04-11 07:58:14

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 18:21:15 in reply to Comment 100175

Please name your city to travel to whose downtown is filled with streets like Main, while the rest of us are getting a bit of real city life in Montreal, Boston etc......

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted April 10, 2014 at 17:20:22 in reply to Comment 100175

We do have a highway to the foot of downtown. It's called the 403. It connects to main 2 kms from James street. That's the same distance as the Gardiner at Yonge to Yonge & Queen. Our city hall is closer to the 403 than Toronto's is to the Gardiner. And they want to remove the Gardiner.

What percentage of these cars are actually going to the core? This is the data city hall should be researching. Making excuses for short-cutters is not going to help this city.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 18:22:59 in reply to Comment 100178

Apparently plenty of them go all the way to the east end according to Councillor Ferguson, which is why he refuses to help out Code Red. It might take him 57 seconds longer to cut through the city. We should hand out flyers in Ancaster announcing two new highways that will take them to the east end directly from Ancaster: The Lincoln Alexander Parkway and Red Hill Expressway.

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By not me (anonymous) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 16:43:39 in reply to Comment 100170

I was there at rush hour. All lanes open. Two lightchnages between queen an bay. Guess it depends on the time of day.

btw, why should you have to wait any light changes?

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted April 11, 2014 at 06:29:13 in reply to Comment 100173

why should you have to wait any light changes?

Because the purpose of a downtown street is broader than just funneling as many cars as possible through (not to) the downtown. Because the cost of a downtown street network where no one has to stop at a red light is underinvestment, lower property values, lower economic activity, lower tax assessment and desolation. Because the world doesn't revolve around you.

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By notlloyd (registered) - website | Posted April 11, 2014 at 07:47:24 in reply to Comment 100192

I didn't read the comments as being in support of "through," I read it as supporting "to."

Reading it carefully, I read that while he doesn't support it, turning Main into a two way after John would stop people using Main a freeway. Ryan's comments completely ignore the main concern of Main West, as I read it, that there are thousands (maybe tens of thousands) of people who come downtown every day to work.

Somewhere in this line of discussion someone else said that what needs to be studied is how many people acatually do that. With that I whole heartedly agree.

Some out of the box thinking may be required. Many other cities have mulitlpe entrances. Essentially Main street is the only one for people commuting in the morning.

I see four or five lanes of traffic full up from Dundurn to as far as I can see up Queen every day a lot of the time. As someone says it travels in waves as happens on one way streets. But it is of significant volume. As a layman, looking at that traffic, in my head I cannot imagine how one effective through lane (as buses and bikes would uses the other) could every conceivably manage that volume of traffic. Ergo the concern that if people cannpt get downtown to work, what happens to the remaining "private" employers. (Presumably the government can force their employees to sit in traffic.)

(how do you post pictures here becasue if I could do it I would demonstrate what I saw yesterday at 5:30)

As to the through traffic problem, a perimetre road travelling one of the underused rail right of ways might solve the problem. But I think the last time that was suggested people went apolplectic.

Comment edited by notlloyd on 2014-04-11 07:48:40

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 18:24:15 in reply to Comment 100173

Bingo. Two lights at rush hour in a city over half a million.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted April 10, 2014 at 15:44:44 in reply to Comment 100165

The current configuration of Main is detrimental to the financial viability of the core, and keeping it that way for the outlier cases because "there have been times" when traffic backs up is not the proper way to design a network that must function well for all users 24 hours a day 365 days a year.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 11:31:37 in reply to Comment 100145

There are breaks in traffic as there should be

Breaks?? You could take a short nap in the middle of the road during these 'breaks'. The traffic wouldn't be backed up at all. It would flow more normally like every other city, not a 45 second clump followed by 2 minutes of absolutely nothing. Main St at Bay carries the traffic load that requires 2 lanes of traffic. We have 5.

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By West Main (anonymous) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 16:58:08 in reply to Comment 100148

I'll pay you to lay down on Main Street between Dundurn and Queen for two minutes a 8:55 am. In fact I would pay you to lay there for two minutes at any time of the day. Won't pay for the ambulance though.

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[ - ]

By Dangerous... (anonymous) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 07:24:12

Working to get these limits dropped through council is the way to go, not unilaterally deciding that you are going to break the law and drive 20 km below the limit. At that point, you are as much a danger as the bozo going 70.

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By arienc (registered) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 10:28:02 in reply to Comment 100117

Driving under the posted speed limit is not against the law, nor is it dangerous to other users. Driving over the speed limit is.

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By Anon (anonymous) | Posted April 11, 2014 at 12:53:58 in reply to Comment 100140

Unnecessary slow driving prohibited

132. (1) No motor vehicle shall be driven on a highway at such a slow rate of speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic thereon except when the slow rate of speed is necessary for safe operation having regard to all the circumstances. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 132 (1).

From Ontario's Highway Traffic Act

You could argue that the slow rate of speed is necessary for safe operation....

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted April 11, 2014 at 13:31:12 in reply to Comment 100209

I would love to get a ticket for driving at 30 km/h on a residential street. I would get it framed. Then I would go to court and fight it on the grounds that 30 km/h on a residential street is necessary for safe operation having regard to all the circumstances.

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By Joshua (registered) | Posted April 12, 2014 at 11:52:31 in reply to Comment 100213

I know exactly what you mean.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 10:07:04 in reply to Comment 100117

This may be the result of attaching a 5 year moratorium on the North End 30kph pilot project. I don't endorse anarchy. But deliberate inaction and sabotage of constituents wishes can cause unexpected side effects.

And, it looks like the moratorium is either symbolic or being worked around anyway, this shortcut is getting calmed almost immediately.

That said, I absolutely agree with the principle of your comment, that we need to work together.

However doing 30kph on a city street is not illegal. Doing so in the left lane on a major arterial may not be smart, currently. But most of the time I'm cycling rather than driving, and 30kph is as fast as I go. And I'm not shy about taking a lane because too many don't pass safely. The awareness is needed.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 11:29:10 in reply to Comment 100136

so that's all they have to do up there to get speed humps eh? Have a meeting, say we want them and it's in the paper the next day. Wow.

We've been fighting like caged animals down here for years to get them, and finally it appears to be happening ONLY because of the Ward 1 participatory budgeting process. Not the normal simple process described in the article above. Tale of two cities......

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 13:21:36 in reply to Comment 100147

One of you guys explained it well. People want others to drive safely through their neighborhoods, but people want to be able to drive fast through other people's neighborhoods.

Some smart and multimodal arterials/major roads, with calmed residential areas, seems like such a reasonable request, doesn't it?

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted April 10, 2014 at 14:17:39 in reply to Comment 100159

And, particularly, what neighbourhoods do city staff drive through on their way to/from work?

I mean, Bay St South is pretty much only useful for driving from Ward 8 to City Hall.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 16:09:26 in reply to Comment 100162

exactly. I chatted with a friend about this today. Forget the 70's gong show on council. Staff are the real problem.

Our councillor was 100% on board for speed humps here the past few years when it's come up, and he's finally managed to get a few on Stanley, Beulah etc.... but for most of our requests it's been a constant 'no' from city staff. We're not asking for humps on York Blvd. We're talking Peter, Napier, Florence, Pearl etc..... Staff are stuck in this mindset that the lower city is their personal freeway so they can get back to their neighbourhoods.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 08:33:09 in reply to Comment 100117

hahahahahaha.

Yes, doing 30km on Peter or Strathcona is posing massive danger. Call in the National Guard. And no, going through council ISN'T the way to go because they put a moratorium on 30k limits for 5 years for no reason other than they value 11 seconds of driving time more than safe neighbourhood streets for kids, families and seniors to be able to walk/cycle.

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 08:22:42 in reply to Comment 100117

NB: "safe operation having regard to all the circumstances."

132. (1) No motor vehicle shall be driven on a highway at such a slow rate of speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic thereon except when the slow rate of speed is necessary for safe operation having regard to all the circumstances. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 132 (1).

goo.gl/WFS3zD

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 18:27:57 in reply to Comment 100120

except when the slow rate of speed is necessary for safe operation having regard to all the circumstances

Exactly. Kids playing, people strolling, cyclists riding are circumstances that require a slow rate of speed. 100+ is great on the 401 where the circumstances allow it.

30km is plenty fast for neighbourhood streets, especially with all we know about the rate of serious injury and death if hit by a car at 30k compared to 50k.

Sadly, some on here value their few seconds...and it literally is only a few seconds, more than the safety of families and other users of the road.

What a sad way to live.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 12:13:28 in reply to Comment 100120

30 km/h on a street with a 50km/h limit, especially on local, collector and minor-arterials in the urban core of a city would not be seen as impeding "the normal and reasonable movement of traffic ". It should actually be considered to be the safe operation speed. The 50km/h limit is the maximum, and is a very blunt instrument for determining safe speed.

It is also often clearly inappropriate, as shown by the fact the limit on Herkimer and Charlton by the playground in the Durand Park is 50km/h (as it is on the narrow local Park street, directly adjacent to the playground).

I would be extremely surprised if anyone was ever ticketed for doing 30km/h on any of these streets ... even on Main or Queen the driver would not be blocking traffic as there are plenty of passing lanes.

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By RobF (registered) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 11:24:23 in reply to Comment 100120

Peter or Strathcona aren't highways. Read the Act's clause a little more closely ... I'm pretty sure this is intended to apply to the 400-series expressways or certain classes of provincial highway (i.e. Hwy 6).

IMHO even 30km is pushing it on smallish streets or short blocks such as those found around Victoria Park. Other traffic regulations require drivers to use due care and attention ... i.e. they are supposed to adjust their speeds and so forth to match local conditions be they weather-related, involve poor visibility/sight-lines, presence of children, and so forth. That would apply here, but some drivers seem to think safety is just about them, hence the ridiculous speeds i have observed some people driving on residential streets in the North End (and used to see when i lived on Peter St a couple years ago).

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted April 10, 2014 at 11:34:30 in reply to Comment 100146

To clarify, for the purposes of the Highway Traffic Act, any public street is defined as a "highway".

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By RobF (registered) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 11:51:24 in reply to Comment 100151

I stand corrected ... i should have looked it up before commenting.

Perhaps then it's definition that's the problem ... someone deciding to go 60 or even 80 on the 401 or QEW in flowing traffic would pose a real safety hazard, except in the far right lane. Driving 30ish on the retail stretches of James, Ottawa or Locke or on residential streets throughout the lower city not so much.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted April 10, 2014 at 12:11:08 in reply to Comment 100155

A big part of the problem is that even minor arterials are designed for speeds of 70 km/h with average running speeds of 50-60 km/h. Our approach to traffic engineering encourages drivers to drive at speeds that are not only dangerous but illegal.

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By Greg Chamitoff (anonymous) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 21:48:43 in reply to Comment 100156

Never give up. Never surrender.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted April 10, 2014 at 07:45:57 in reply to Comment 100117

The speed limit is a maximum speed, not a minimum speed. It is not against the law to drive at a safe speed on a residential street!

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[ - ]

By ArvindS (registered) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 09:36:56

This 30 to 0 campaign is highly inventive, catchy and I think it can make a difference in making motorists aware that slowing down will make our streets safer for everyone including children, parents and seniors. I particularly like the focus on the heart instead of the head. Everyone would agree that we need to protect that child crossing the road to go to school, library or park. Or by slowing down, we make the task of crossing the street easier for a person with a disability or senior. The only challenge is as a driver wanting to slow down in neighbourhoods are those aggressive drivers who like to tailgate. Still if we get enough people involved, I believe we can shape behaviour. So I am in on this campaign.

Comment edited by ArvindS on 2014-04-10 09:40:57

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By 30to0 (anonymous) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 11:43:05

I so love this and want to help! Can we maybe get an email group going, someone could register thirtytozero.ca and start making an awesome campaign. Thank you Jay Robb for putting this out there.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 15:26:59 in reply to Comment 100154

Ok here goes. As soon as I saw your suggestion I registered thirtytozero.ca in order to keep it safe and sound for this campaign. Ryan has my email.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 16:00:28 in reply to Comment 100167

I wonder if Jay Robb wants to kinda oversee this? It's his idea after all.

Great job registering the website.

A couple thoughts:

  • the sign in the article above simply says 'maximum 30'. I wonder if we should simply use that design?
  • I've noticed walking around my neighbourhood that there no speed limit signs on local streets except Strathcona Ave with the '40 maximum' signs. I presume we won't be putting these on streets that already have speed limit signs. That would probably simply annoy people.
  • so if we keep the design simple like the city's signs, we can start using them on the various streets with no signs quietly and hopefully nobody would really know.

Ryan also has my email address. I would like to be part of the group.

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By Goin'Downtown (registered) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 20:37:18 in reply to Comment 100169

Maybe "maximum30" needs to be registered, too. Strathcona Ave has 50/km max signs, too; as soon as you leave the designated 40km area. Makes me cringe; it's practically telling everyone to speed up now that they've passed Florence(and ignore the seniors building and kids in the neighbourhood).

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 22:22:03 in reply to Comment 100184

Ya it's ridiculous. They couldn't extend the 40km for one block to York??

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 16:48:05 in reply to Comment 100169

I can volunteer hosting and web design no prob. No experience with or propensity for social/campaign organizing though. But that domain name sounded like a gem for a good quality awareness resource, even if as a campaign specific sister site to RTH, which is already Hamilton's best educational resource for this sort of stuff.

I'd advocate for a clear mission statement, even if open ended, because it is true that casualties never reach zero; it's the journey that counts and transforms quality of life. Working in ways that are effective and brilliant, but without getting ourselves arrested. Let's think-tank this baby into a neat project.

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[ - ]

By Screwit (anonymous) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 16:29:57

Wouldn't it be easier/ more effective if we just had a rally/ sit-in/ protest until they freking do something about it??? We are just too complacent. We the people will continue to die unless we stand up and fight back.

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By Anon (anonymous) | Posted April 11, 2014 at 12:59:11 in reply to Comment 100172

Blocking highways, in the general sense of the term, is illegal, under the Highway Traffic Act, but obstructing a lane of traffic is fine, as traffic is slowed and impeded. A sit-in would be best...at City Hall.

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By Caledonia (anonymous) | Posted April 11, 2014 at 13:32:20 in reply to Comment 100211

Why not just get the guys from Six Nations to come down. They'll never get arrested.

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By Joshua (registered) | Posted April 12, 2014 at 11:54:09 in reply to Comment 100214

Nice. You stay classy....

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[ - ]

By Macwendi (anonymous) | Posted April 10, 2014 at 23:55:22

Every Hamilton school zone should have a flashing school zone sign. Not all do (eg. Earl Kitchener on Dundurn).

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[ - ]

By JayRobb (registered) | Posted April 11, 2014 at 00:10:16

Great comments and ideas. Really liked Stephen Barath's "drive like your kids play on this street" message. And thanks to mikeonthemountain for registering thirtytozero.ca.

Agree that we should pull a working group together. My email's jay.robb@mohawkcollege.ca. Pretty sure I can find us a place to meet at Mohawk.

A local marketing agency willing to do some pro bono work would be ideal, along with a graphic / web designer. Think that the concept and messaging will need to be taken for test drive to see how they'd go over with Joe and Jane Hamilton.

Also, someone with strong project management skills (definitely not my strength) who can map out a critical path.

I can help on the comms end of things, including media relations.

It's easy to come up with ideas. Executing those ideas is something else altogether.

But I've found that when you bring a group together, some pretty cool things can happen.

This needs to be a grassroots campaign that everyone can own and no takes the credit for.

Onwards and upwards.

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted April 15, 2014 at 19:17:50

thespec.com/news-story/4467331-york-boulevard-a-complete-street-/

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By crtsvg (registered) | Posted April 16, 2014 at 15:54:23

I don't want to drive 30 or 40. I'm busy and I have stuff to do. Get the hell out of my way and stay off the god damn road if you don't know what you're doing. Seniors shouldn't be allowed to drive in rush hour traffic at all and right to bed after supper at 4pm. The nigh-time is a dangerous place and should be respected as such. Let's keep Hamilton moving!

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