Special Report: Walkable Streets

Two Lanes Closed on Main, No Gridlock

Surely there must be some low-cost options to 'share' the excess space on Main Street and make it more accessible to everyone.

By Bob Berberick
Published July 30, 2014

Here is a photograph looking east from Main Street East and Victoria Avenue, taken at 3:45 PM on Tuesday, July 29.

Looking east from Main Street East and Victoria Avenue
Looking east from Main Street East and Victoria Avenue

I would like to draw your attention to the construction on Main Street between East Avenue and Emerald Avenue where two (2) middle lanes were closed to traffic.

The following video clearly shows that there was no impact on the traffic flow. It also shows a number of cyclists, pedestrians, and a lady with her young family on the sidewalk perilously close to the traffic.

Clearly, five lanes are a luxury, not a necessity.

Council over the past few years has recognized and made positive changes to the city's transportation culture. I applaud that but there is still much work to do to make this space safe and efficient for everyone.

I ask that Council please do something about the horrible conditions on Main Street, a street that is currently friendly only to motorists.

I suggest spending just 15 minutes any day on Main Street to watch the pedestrian and cycling traffic. There is a lot of it in spite of these inhospitable, even dangerous, conditions.

I'm not suggesting major infrastructure changes. Surely there must be some low-cost options) available to "share" this space, making it a safer, more complete environment for everyone to enjoy.

See also:

Bob Berberick has lived in Hamilton for all of his 65 years. For most of that time he lived on the mountain. Since moving to the core five years ago he has a newfound love of his city. Walking and cycling was re-started and he can only hope that the conditions improve so he can continue to explore the hidden beauty here.

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By war on cars (anonymous) | Posted July 30, 2014 at 20:28:53

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By burningbeard (registered) | Posted August 06, 2014 at 04:13:36 in reply to Comment 103631

Why ruin a good thing? I highly enjoy having the space and timed lights. No need to screw that all up like they have on York blvd. And King St. Downtown.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 06, 2014 at 06:36:07 in reply to Comment 103749

It may seem like a good thing if your only goal is to drive across the city in as short a time as possible, but the negative side-effects are enormous: retail business suffers dramatically, property tax assessments plummet, quality of life declines, the risk of serious injury and death goes up, and poverty becomes concentrated at people of means decamp to other, safer neighbourhoods.

That hurts the people living near our one-way thoroughfares, but it also hurts the city as a whole because its economic engine - the urban centre - is much less successful at generating new businesses, jobs and tax assessments. We're bringing in less revenue per unit of physical plant, and our per capita infrastructure costs are unsustainably high. Every year we fall another $200 million in unfunded infrastructure obligations into the hole.

We simply cannot afford a city in which the urban centre has been hollowed out to make room for four- and five-lane expressways.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2014-08-06 06:37:06

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By DavidColacci (registered) | Posted August 02, 2014 at 18:47:19 in reply to Comment 103631

earl?

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted July 31, 2014 at 13:39:04 in reply to Comment 103631

As a Canadian Army veteran, I regard these remarks as profoundly ignorant. It is my sincere prayer that this anonymous person will never find himself in a real war zone so that he truly realizes how foolish and ignorant he has been.

Car drivers poison and kill an average of 93 people in Hamilton every year, and crush and kill an average of an additional 19.2 people every year. I would suggest that criminal, not military, sanctions are the appropriate response to these vicious killings.

Since I am not anonymous, I will sign myself as:

K40592576 Captain (retired) Kevin C. Love, CD

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted July 31, 2014 at 10:22:56 in reply to Comment 103631

When you are driving, all the cars are around you because the lights are timed... but that doesn't mean the majority of the road is not empty.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted July 31, 2014 at 09:46:47 in reply to Comment 103631

So how many casualties has the War On Cars claimed? Because Hamilton is #2 in Ontario for killing pedestrians. Cars are the leading preventable cause of death in people under 30.

So yeah, who's fighting a war on who?

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By getwithit (anonymous) | Posted July 31, 2014 at 09:06:02 in reply to Comment 103631

You say "war on cars" like it's a bad thing. We need to wage war on cars. Get with the program, you ignorante ischrooge!

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By Sheep (anonymous) | Posted July 31, 2014 at 05:45:00 in reply to Comment 103631

The sheep on this site believe it. It's easy to pick a time when most businesses aren't closed and in the heart of vacation time.

Run this experiment again in the first couple of weeks in September at 4:30 and let's compare results.

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By j.servus (registered) | Posted July 31, 2014 at 09:58:46 in reply to Comment 103647

I live in the same area just off Main. I see it at all hours and cycle it frequently. I could get pictures at rush hour and they would tell the same story: two, maybe three lanes worth of traffic distributed over five. The only purpose of the curb lanes, besides turning, is to get to the front of the green wave. It is easy to observe that, most of the time, two lanes would be quite adequate for the traffic on Main east of Wellington. What is easy to observe for oneself is also confirmed by the city's traffic counts. That stretch of Main carries on average about 4200 vehicles per lane. The industry standard for North American cities is 8-9000 vehicles per lane. We could convert a lane into a two way bike track and the remaining lanes would still be well below capacity per industry standard. I am pretty sure most businesses on Main would love that.

Main east is basically a hostile street with insultingly narrow sidewalks. It is not pleasant to cycle on. However, it does have the signal advantage, for a cyclist, of surplus lanes. It is easy to grab a lane for oneself without affecting traffic flow in the least. This is no less true at 4:30 than at any other time.

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By reality check (anonymous) | Posted July 31, 2014 at 09:20:23 in reply to Comment 103647

Rush hour in hamiton = you encounter THREE red lights driving across the entire city instead of just one.

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By heh (anonymous) | Posted August 01, 2014 at 05:51:53 in reply to Comment 103660

Thanks, jason.

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By Anon (anonymous) | Posted July 31, 2014 at 08:51:45 in reply to Comment 103647

Yeah. That is called Rush Hour. All normal major cities have it. Just because Hamilton built a road network that sacrifices entire neighhourhoods to accommodate 2 hours of daily congestion doesn't make this city "normal". Quite abnormal is what we are.

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By Unkn (anonymous) | Posted August 01, 2014 at 05:51:30 in reply to Comment 103657

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By Anon (anonymous) | Posted August 01, 2014 at 09:49:35 in reply to Comment 103676

Cars can "run through" neighbourhoods just fine on 2 way streets. Multi lane one way streets do nothing but encourage speeding.

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted August 04, 2014 at 22:42:06 in reply to Comment 103681

Actually the timed lights discourage speeding. The mess on streets like James south where it's not uncommon to have to stop at 2 or 3 successive lights does encourage speeding, trying to get to the next light before it turns red.

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By DissenterOfThings (registered) | Posted August 01, 2014 at 08:41:35 in reply to Comment 103676

It's a troll everyone! Look!

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted August 04, 2014 at 22:42:40 in reply to Comment 103679

Are you really? Can you post a picture?

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 01, 2014 at 06:14:25 in reply to Comment 103676

If you don't like it, you don't have to live there.

What a ghastly expression of naked self-interest. How dare the people of a community organize and advocate to try and make their neighbourhood healthier and more inclusive, especially if it means you may have to drive through that neighbourhood at a safe and respectful speed.

Downtown residents and business owners have been begging the city for safer, healthier streets ever since they were converted into one-way expressways in 1956. Many do not have the option to move out - and in any case, it's repulsive to tell someone they should just leave their home instead of trying to make it better.

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By Unkn (anonymous) | Posted August 02, 2014 at 07:18:47 in reply to Comment 103678

Thanks for sticking up for those who haven't asked for you to stick up for them. How many people are living there who were there pre-1956? My statement stands - if you don't like it, move somewhere else. There's plenty of low, medium and high end places to live in our city that aren't around your feared streets.

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By cry unknle (anonymous) | Posted August 04, 2014 at 23:35:19 in reply to Comment 103699

What a pathetic, defeatist, go-nowhere attitude. Don't bother improving the city - just tell all the young, progressive citizens (who by the way, are the only hope for an economically viable future) to pack up and move. When the old windbags all die, they'll leave an empty city behind that everyone can drive through more easily next time the skyway closes unexpectedly (in 50 years)

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted August 05, 2014 at 22:48:10 in reply to Comment 103723

Oh, you mean like me who just moved out of the core? I was downtown for over 5 years and have since moved up the mountain. Won't be coming back to the lower city any time soon (and not just because I'm too tall for most of the basements :P)

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By redmike (registered) | Posted August 06, 2014 at 07:52:24 in reply to Comment 103743

"When the old windbags all die,....", "Oh, you mean like me who just moved out of the core?"

yes, like you.

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By Core-B (registered) | Posted July 30, 2014 at 23:34:36 in reply to Comment 103631

Sorry to burst your bubble "war on cars" but it was a surprise video. I live in the area and was walking to Canadian Tire when I noticed that 2 lanes were closed and traffic was still moving swiftly. I decided to take a video for a few minutes, and what you see is what happened. Nothing staged, no waiting just real life on Main Street.

Comment edited by Core-B on 2014-07-30 23:35:07

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By bort (registered) | Posted July 30, 2014 at 22:04:38 in reply to Comment 103631

"Little war on cars"

LOL. You're the resident troll aren't you?

I just arrived in Hamilton after living in Vancouver for 8 years and before that Toronto. Even to a recent transplant it's obvious this city LOVES cars. If you think there's a war on cars here you need to look beyond your front yard. Hamilton has a mere speck of the cycling infrastructure Vancouver does (and by global standards, Vancouver's investment in cycling infrastructure is paltry). Some folks were up in arms when Vancouver reclaimed lanes for bicycle traffic (Burrard bridge, Dunsmuir viaduct) but the benefits – to me – were clear. In the 8 years I spent there I witnessed a huge increase in the number of people commuting to work. When commuting from East Van to downtown on warm summer days I was often riding in a pack of 20 - 30 cyclists. And that was just one group out of hundreds, on one bike path. It was a beautiful thing and I miss it.

I applaud the work people are doing here to help Hamilton evolve. It's a great city with friendly people and beautiful surroundings. So much potential.

Comment edited by bort on 2014-07-30 22:05:41

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted August 04, 2014 at 22:45:22 in reply to Comment 103638

The city of Hamilton doesn't have much of a war on cars, a few things it has done sure makes me wonder but all in all it's not to bad. This site however is a totally different thing.

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By Cool post jason jr (anonymous) | Posted July 31, 2014 at 05:43:55 in reply to Comment 103638

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By j.servus (registered) | Posted July 31, 2014 at 09:41:38 in reply to Comment 103646

"...because they have lived elsewhere..." Ah, yes, that strange experience called "learning from other people." You know, it was an American consultant who gave Hamilton the idea for its signature one-way urban freeways. We're the last ones dreaming his dream.

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By jason (registered) | Posted July 30, 2014 at 23:33:31 in reply to Comment 103638

great post, and welcome to the Hammer. You're right - beautiful surroundings and great potential. The more urban transplants we can land from progressive cities should start to finally have an impact at the ballot box eventually. These are the 'in-between' years. Still have the 70's folks running the show, but slowly losing their grip as the next generation pushes for us to play some major catch-up. I love the Vancouver example because it is consistently ranked one of the top cities in the world. Tough for any respectable Hamiltonian to make the case that we know better than Vancouver. We have lots to learn. Glad you're here and joining the conversation!

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By Moniz (registered) - website | Posted July 30, 2014 at 21:40:58 in reply to Comment 103631

You mean the crap you're perpetuating that Main is SO busy that a lane can not be spared? Traffic study after traffic study has shown we have excess lane capacity in several areas, but city staff and a few Councillors(like one who lives Ancaster particularly!) still keep planning for this huge influx of car/truck traffic that supposed to come with our industrialized economic development. You know, the same plan we've had since the late 50's!! Since then, the heavy manufacturing base in this city has contracted to a minor part of our overall economic mix of our city's economy and a serious rethink is in order to make our transportation systems more realistic and useable for ALL, not just single vehicle trips.

But who really believes crap like that when the status quo suits you just fine "war on cars".

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By war on logic (anonymous) | Posted July 30, 2014 at 21:07:03 in reply to Comment 103631

Right. We have a war on cars in Hamilton. Give me a break.

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By jason (registered) | Posted July 30, 2014 at 21:54:37

Main was also down to 3 lanes west of Bay last week for a couple of days. Was still a freeway. Traffic volumes clearly show that it only carries enough traffic to warrant 3 lanes from Queen to Bay and 2 east of Bay. But why right-size a street when you're a filthy rich city like Hamilton that can afford to pay 2x the maintenance, snow clearing, pot-hole, lane striping costs for decades unnecessarily. Only a post-industrial city struggling financially would look for obviously easy ways to save millions of taxpayer $.

I've shared this idea before and will continue to pound it, especially with the 5-year cycling plan review happening.

Main St currently has a two-way protected bike lane on it's south lane west of the 403. I suggest we extend that lane to Longwood Road (Innovation Park/ high school/ longwood bike lanes) and also extend it east to Dundurn. The ramp to Main East from 403 can easily lead to the 2nd lane from the curb instead of south curb lane there and cyclists will be instructed (of course, being the Hammer) to wait for a gap similar to what we do on King when crossing the 403 ramp. At Dundurn we add a bike box to the intersection, along with zebra crossings and scramble intersection (both King/Main at Dundurn deserve this treatment). The bike box shifts riders to the north curb of Main. The north car lane west of Dundurn becomes a left-turn only lane.

Here is where it gets good, and is quite mind-boggling that we have the ability to add such a dramatic piece of safe infrastructure without disrupting the city one bit:

From Dundurn all the way to the Delta we have a two-way parking-protected bike lane like this:

Protected Cycle Track

The bike lanes plus 2-3 foot buffer plus parking lane equals 2 current lanes of Main. So we maintain 3 full vehicle lanes from Dundurn to Sherman and 2 from Sherman to the Delta.

At the odd intersection where the city's car zealous 'planners' feel a left turn lane is necessary, they simply remove the couple car parking spots approaching an intersection - say Bay St - and add a left turn lane.

Also, at many intersections we have the opportunity to add bumpouts with tree planters and thus begin adding a much needed tree canopy to this brutal street.

Cycle Track with bumpouts and tree planters

This not only enhances the quality of life and visual appeal along Main, it serves to drastically shorten the distance pedestrians need to cross at a light.

Along most of the sidewalks along Main they are surprisingly wide enough to add regular tree basins like this:

Tree basins

Fast forward a few years and the street goes from drab, dead, dangerous and hot to this:

Complete street on Main

Cities all over the continent are doing exactly this, even if it means drastic traffic congestion and slowdowns. We are probably the only large city in North American that can transform a street like this along an urban distance like Longwood to the Delta without congesting or slowing down traffic. It's a win-win.

Of course, there's that finicky little thing about needing to be a privileged suburban or Mountain resident pointing out fast, dangerous streets in Hamilton to be given any attention at city hall:

http://www.hamiltonnews.com/news/mountai...

So, if any of you reading this live on the Mountain or Ancaster, feel free to pitch my idea to Councillors Jackson or Ferguson. If I do it, we'll have to endure another speech about how the Main St freeway is our 'competitive advantage over Toronto'.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted July 31, 2014 at 08:02:08 in reply to Comment 103637

Agreed. If there's one thing we've established beyond a shadow of a doubt is that chronic congestion is not a problem in Hamilton, particularly across the lower city.

Despite this, there appears to be enough road widening to go around.

hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/D6D32922-1C42-4210-A63C-6A01D35D9AFE/0/UHOPVol1SchC2FutureRoadWideningsSept2013.pdf

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted July 31, 2014 at 08:41:33 in reply to Comment 103653

You cannot make this stuff up:

There is a requirement for all new developments along Cannon (and other one-way streets) to be setback further from the street than existing buildings to allow for a further expansion of the four-lane urban highway.

This is the same insanity that sunk the Hamilton Grand on Main Street a few years ago. I can't even.

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By jason (registered) | Posted July 31, 2014 at 08:43:30 in reply to Comment 103655

But have no fear. Wilson St in Ancaster is a nice safe complete street even with the resulting car slowdowns during rush hour. Don't take it personally. You just happen to live in the poorer dumping ground part of the city. So, take it personally.

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By Henry and Joe (anonymous) | Posted July 31, 2014 at 09:13:31

Main St. is a joke, but no one is laughing. I drove it twice during the evening "rush" hour this week. By car, it was a free flowing, non-stop pleasure cruise. I also went once by bicycle and after taking the whole right lane, cars whizzed past in waves at the normal 50-60 km/h. I am sure vacations and summer traffic are lighter than usual, but I can't ever say I have encountered traffic on Main St., unless there was an accident, in the last 20 years of driving.

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By Tom, Dick and Harry (anonymous) | Posted August 09, 2014 at 22:04:06 in reply to Comment 103659

That's so interesting. I'm glad you shared that. In 20 years of driving I've hit traffic on Main daily for years. Maybe it's the time of day you're on there? I drive it daily any time between 4-6pm.

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By Megan (registered) | Posted July 31, 2014 at 11:51:09

I drive west to east and back again during both the morning and afternoon rush hour and rarely have any issues with traffic.

I can leave my house on John St. and make two stops to drop off children (one on either side of Gage park) and then drive to work at York and Dundurn. This whole trip (including drop offs, shoe changes, hugs and high fives) can be done in 35 minutes. I usually take Main from Catharine to Ottawa and come west on either King or Cannon depending on my mood.

The setback requirement for the one-way arterial roads is only justified if they will be used for sidewalk widening, bike lanes and other measures which would make these streets more complete.

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By Giggles (anonymous) | Posted August 09, 2014 at 22:05:25 in reply to Comment 103668

Oh, you drive? You should use public transit, ride your bike, or walk. Driving isn't an acceptable means of transportation around here. As a result, I cna't feel sorry for you.

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By arienc (registered) | Posted July 31, 2014 at 13:39:29 in reply to Comment 103668

The setback requirement for the one-way arterial roads is only justified if they will be used for sidewalk widening, bike lanes and other measures which would make these streets more complete.

Exactly. The issue is the fact that we are actually willing to chase away business (something that most of us who are capitalists want to see) in order to protect these setback requirements. If we are willing to stop people from investing in the core, we had better have a really good reason to do so.

The prospect of more car lanes on a road that already has far more than could concievably be required is not a good enough reason to turn down investments that will benefit every taxpayer in the city.

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By Henry and Joe (anonymous) | Posted August 01, 2014 at 13:36:52

Today, a "gentleman" in a black pickup yelled and tried to intimidate me for taking a lane to turn left from Cannon to John. Ironically, I was being quite cautious in my approach to the future bike lane. I waited for the wave to pass, and I approached the red light in the left lane which was 100% clear at the time. Apparently, a driver came from the next wave and felt he was entitled to pull up beside me at the red to be in the pole position. Clearly, we need more lanes for cars on Cannon ;)

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By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted August 01, 2014 at 22:05:38

Lrt on King would have been awesome today. We have no residual capacity on our roads. All I read here is trying to reduce the little residual capacity we have. Any of you people try to drive in Hamilton today?

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 05, 2014 at 11:33:40 in reply to Comment 103692

LRT last Friday would have been jammed and full of riders all day long due to the partial QEW closure. People would have been grateful for the option. Remember, 70% of Hamiltonians work in Hamilton. Most of them downtown. Tens of thousands of usual car-drivers would have left the car at home for a few days and used BRT+LRT from all corners of the city IF we had invested in such transportation options decades ago when we had the chance. All of these folks jumping on transit to avoid the road delays would have meant many more people getting to work on time, and would have freed up valuable road space for folks who truly need their cars/trucks for work. More options means everyone wins. In the absence of any alternatives, everyone sat by themselves in their cars in long traffic jams. Not a single safe bike route across the city, horrible transit, no all day GO Train service from Niagara to Hamilton to TO.
When all you invest in is highways and cars for decades, the result when HALF of a single highway is closed is a colossal mess.

Comment edited by jason on 2014-08-05 11:35:37

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By redmike (registered) | Posted August 06, 2014 at 10:36:05 in reply to Comment 103730

i work downtown. many people i work with that wouldnt be caught dead on a bus wanted the lrt up and running last week. many are now pro-lrt and will now be paying closer attention to which candidates support lrt and which dont.

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By stats are fun! (anonymous) | Posted August 06, 2014 at 18:08:10 in reply to Comment 103759

Sure, right.

I can say the same kind of thing.

"i work downtown. many people i work with that wouldnt be caught dead on a bus don't see why we need lrt. most are anti-lrt and will continue to tune out the screaming babies on RTH"

You don't provide stats, it's purely informal. How many people are now pro-lrt you work with? How many people did you "poll"? How many tune you out or jsut agree to get you to shut up?

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By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted August 06, 2014 at 10:49:16 in reply to Comment 103759

Work? You capitalist you. Profiting from your own labour! ( I want an audit.)

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By redmke (anonymous) | Posted August 02, 2014 at 07:08:30 in reply to Comment 103692

wahhhh. didnt you enjoy all your extra chml time? get a life.

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By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted August 03, 2014 at 12:40:52 in reply to Comment 103696

Hey Red, still aching since Trotsky died?

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By redmike (registered) | Posted August 03, 2014 at 14:57:01 in reply to Comment 103707

another wahhhhhhhh from the cheap seats.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted August 01, 2014 at 23:32:22 in reply to Comment 103692

The roads absolutely end up over capacity when they become EDRs for a total highway closure. This is a tiny, tiny, part of the time. And a problem of this duration, it was said, has not occurred on the Skyway in the last 20 years. So this isn't just an outlier, it's unprecedented, it was said.

This particular spot sure is one of the worst for that to happen. But anywhere between here and Oshawa (at least) is going to experience bedlam during business hours, if a highway closes down unexpectedly.

Essentially all of the time this is not the case. Hence cities develop themselves to what is appropriate on a normal basis. Developing a city such that traffic free flows through your CBD even when carrying the detoured traffic of an entire freeway; seems like an unlikely expectation.

Adjusting traffic signal timings for this situation, now that is appropriate to an EDR plan. As Hamilton's traffic lights are computerized, this will be done more easily and more readily. In fact, they could have had a software preset ready to go, and activated a computerized EDR immediately on Thursday, if the system was complete. That is the desired capability they are implementing.

Linc and Red Hill didn't exist not that long ago. Today they operate at 85% utilization on a normal day. No matter how many highways are built, subdivisions and development, and induced demand, always fill them up somehow, and there is never a good time when a crash shuts one down.

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By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted August 03, 2014 at 12:43:39 in reply to Comment 103694

Could you imagine the traffic problems if the Red Hill had not been built. Chicken and egg problem. If you wait 40 year to build a highway when you know it will be needed due to growth, of course it will run at 85% capacity in short order. Ontario's population has doubled since I was a kid, but the highway system hasn't.

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 05, 2014 at 11:30:17 in reply to Comment 103708

main point to remember from this comment is the definition of the word "growth". Debt-producing, land-wasting, tax base depleting outer growth always fills up roads and needs more and more. LA taught us this decades ago.

Urban growth connected by all modes of transport with equal efficiency and convenience doesn't require never ending highway construction. Vancouver, with not a single freeway, taught us this decades ago.

LA vs. Vancouver.

One city consistently ranks as one of the top in the world. The other is a smog-filled, traffic choked mess. Yet both have experienced tremendous 'growth'.

You get the city you plan for.....

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By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted August 05, 2014 at 12:11:41 in reply to Comment 103729

Emergency rooms and ER's are full to capacity. Let's not build hospitals. Bigger hospitals mean more will come.

To an extent that is in fact true. If you allow people to come to the hospital no matter what, they will fill it up. On the other hand, if you do not build enough, there will be constant delays and people will die needlessly. There has to be a balance.

When a roadway newly built operates at 85% capacity immediately, that tells you it should have been built long before. If it fills up over ten years, that says you haven't planned for alternatives very well.

I agree with you that proper urban planning is essential. That doesn't mean build no roads at all costs. (Personally I would live in neither LA or Vancouver.)

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 06, 2014 at 06:47:11 in reply to Comment 103731

The focus of our health care system has been shifting away from endlessly building out capacity at faster than the rate of population growth. Instead it has been moving toward reducing the cost and invasiveness of surgeries and other interventions; reducing the recovery time for patients; and even reducing the number of people who need to visit the hospital in the first place. Call it health care demand management, analogous to transportation demand management.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and reducing the distance between two physical destinations is more efficient than any number of added vehicle lanes. Likewise, as the Region of Waterloo recently determined, a mere one percent mode shift away from driving will save the region $30 million in infrastructure lifecycle obligations.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted August 05, 2014 at 18:11:30 in reply to Comment 103731

Hospitals are not roads.

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By redmike (registered) | Posted August 03, 2014 at 14:59:43 in reply to Comment 103708

someone should call a wahhhhhmbulance for chuckie.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted August 04, 2014 at 22:12:20 in reply to Comment 103712

Do you have any other phrases in your troll book or just "waah"? Because you come off as a crybaby.

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By redmike (registered) | Posted August 05, 2014 at 07:34:35 in reply to Comment 103718

what was that? i didnt get it the first time? waahhhhhhhhhhhh? thought so.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted August 05, 2014 at 22:50:40 in reply to Comment 103726

Get a new act. That one is old.

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By redmike (registered) | Posted August 06, 2014 at 08:29:59 in reply to Comment 103744

hows your "family" doing on the mountain? right. sure. yup. totally believable.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted August 06, 2014 at 18:10:26 in reply to Comment 103754

They're doing great, thanks for asking. We're settling in to our new home up on the mountain - it's a lot of work, but rewarding. Home ownership, where I have peace and quiet, my own space for my own, for entertaining, for having friends and family around, is great. Something we could never do downtown.

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By redmike (registered) | Posted August 06, 2014 at 22:00:04 in reply to Comment 103768

dude you ARE a gas. a real hoot. tell us, the "friends and family"? do you just imagine them or are there like, department store mannequins staged around moms basement?

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted August 07, 2014 at 17:16:40 in reply to Comment 103774

You do realize how silly you are, right? Does anyone even pay attention to you? I'm guessing you are a latchkey kid.

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By pot meet kettle (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2014 at 19:52:47 in reply to Comment 103796

whoosh

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted August 07, 2014 at 21:20:14 in reply to Comment 103802

Dissenting opinions aren't trolls. Deliberately baiting is trolling. Trying to shout down those that disagree with you by throwing out "troll" or other nonsense is not worthwhile.

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By pot kettle (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2014 at 23:04:36 in reply to Comment 103803

TL;DR version of anything downtowninhamilton has ever posted:
"why would anyone live downtown unless they had to? i got out as soon as i could."...posted to a news site dedicated to urban issues. that's not baiting at all!

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By Formerly DowntownInHamilton (anonymous) | Posted August 09, 2014 at 06:51:23 in reply to Comment 103805

Please don't speak on my behalf.

The site isn't dedicated to urban issues. According to the about page, raisethehammer dot org/about:

"Overview

Raise the Hammer is a group of Hamilton, Ontario citizens who believe in our city's potential and are willing to get involved in making the city a more vibrant, livable, and attractive place to live and work.

We are non-partisan and our members come from diverse political backgrounds. Our common interest is revitalizing our city, a goal that benefits everyone.

About the Site

Raise the Hammer is dedicated to providing a variety of views and approaches to the goal of making Hamilton a great city. Towards that end, we encourage readers to contribute feedback, letters to the editor, and article submissions. Please feel free to contact us with your comments and ideas."

It talks about Hamilton the city, not Hamilton's downtown.

And it's not baiting to share my experience in our city, it's providing a dissenting opinion. But put the blinders back on, fall back in line, that's cool.

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By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted August 06, 2014 at 10:50:31 in reply to Comment 103754

Just like you working.

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By redmike (registered) | Posted August 06, 2014 at 11:55:53 in reply to Comment 103761

look, its chuckie. took the pacifier out long enough for a hearty "waaahhhhhhhh". hey, chuck, whos talking to you? youre also downtowninhhamilton arent you? trick question: how many personalities DO you have? answer: none. many personas perhaps, but no personality.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 06, 2014 at 13:23:23 in reply to Comment 103763

Both of you, please stop your respective sniping and name-calling and stick to the issues. It is not contributing anything to the discussion.

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By redmike (registered) | Posted August 06, 2014 at 21:55:18 in reply to Comment 103765

when interacting with people that want to contribute and work together im down. im in. im there. have been in the past. will be in the future. when interacting with others like dih or cb or allan taylor that want to malign and divert and try and create chaos im down as well. if i had one piece of evidence that dih or cb or any of the other haters and their numerous avatars were interested in anything other than being d-bags i would play nice. i give what i get. if you want to try and turn a pigs ear into a purse go ahead.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 07, 2014 at 06:11:11 in reply to Comment 103773

Trolls want you to engage. When you take the bait, you're helping their cause of disrupting the conversation. Instead of taking the bait, just ignore them.

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By redmike (registered) | Posted August 07, 2014 at 07:34:12 in reply to Comment 103779

true. good point. so when are you going to stop trying to reason with them? you feed the trolls with facts, i insult them. anyway, i figure the more time dih/cb spends insulting me the less time they have for trolling the grups.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 07, 2014 at 08:18:14 in reply to Comment 103783

Perhaps my troll threshold is higher than yours. I'll respond to arguments and evidence with arguments and evidence until I become convinced that the person is not interested in a good-faith discussion, at which point I just stop engaging.

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By redmike (registered) | Posted August 07, 2014 at 11:48:57 in reply to Comment 103784

time and time and time again, you and others have provided cogent fact based empirical data to dih about the overall benefits of lrt. the dih response: "how does it benefit ME? not the city, the community or the general citizenry. i don’t care about that. prove how it benefits ME" you and others then explain everything all over again, either patiently or mockingly. why engage with someone that is either a puerile contrarian or an ayn rand style sociopath? if you want to call interaction like that useful, ok. some would consider it counter - productive indulgence of a bent mind. we can agree to disagree. we can agree, along with many other things, that for the most part, the benefits of constantly engaging the trolls can be few. i will reflect on my troll feeding habits, take a break and take stock. in closing, with all mad respect due to you ryan, may i suggest you re-examine and re-think the benefits of practicing your particular style of patience with the dih’s of the world.

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By redmikewaiting (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2014 at 10:36:46 in reply to Comment 103784

ryan what is the lag time for my email from rth so i can complete the registration?

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 07, 2014 at 11:20:07 in reply to Comment 103786

The email goes out right away. I just checked and an email was sent to the email address you provided. Maybe it's in your junk folder? If not, email me directly from the same email address and I can confirm your account.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted August 06, 2014 at 22:18:46 in reply to Comment 103773

That's cool. I only post under this name, and the odd time I forget to stay logged in as something else. I'm not CharlesBall, nor anyone else that's registered here.

I'm interested in the discussion. You know, the one that isn't biased. The one that's only partially told on this site. The site has an agenda, and that's cool, I don't know who pays the bills to run it but that's their call. People like redmike are clearly keyboard warriors and don't have much better to do with their time than bait, act like an ass, and not actually add anything to the conversation.

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By notlloyd (registered) - website | Posted August 06, 2014 at 22:09:12 in reply to Comment 103773

I probably shouldn't venture into this, but as an outsider to this discussion, RM immediately attacked CB and DIH responded. RM implied that they are the same person and has accused them essentially of being trolls while he has engaged in troll like behaviour. The only two who responded appropriately to CB's comment, which was a valid one, were Jason and Ryan. (Of course RM, in what seems to me to be sanctimonious smugness, says he only treats them that way because they are idiots so he is not to blame.) I liked Ryan's comment which was essentially "grow up boys."

For what it is worth, the impairment of the Skyway shows us that there is a "residual capacity" problem. There is a valid argument that giving into road demand without proper planning only encourages sprawl. On the other hand, the demands of our new economy, just in time inventory, free trade, etc, demands that, to keep us employed and vibrant, you cannot run highways at "85%" capacity without experiencing significant economic costs.

I have a friend who's business is agricultural logistics, and he was losing about $20,000.00 a day when the bridge closed. Take it as a holiday and make it up later, but what if the damage had been worse and more long lasting.

Maybe we need a mid penn highway and ban through trucks from the QEW. (You cold build a bike path along it and we could have a car free trail to Fort Erie.)

Comment edited by notlloyd on 2014-08-06 22:12:54

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 07, 2014 at 06:21:16 in reply to Comment 103775

When you build additional highway lane capacity, that capacity fills up with new generated traffic. That is a bedrock empirical fact, an intrinsic property of the network. You cannot build "residual capacity" because that capacity will always get filled up.

The Surface Transportation Policy Project analyzed the Texas Transportation Institute's data for 70 metro areas over 15 years and concluded:

Metro areas that invested heavily in road capacity expansion fared no better in easing congestion than metro areas that did not. Trends in congestion show that areas that exhibited greater growth in lane capacity spent roughly $22 billion more on road construction than those that didn't, yet ended up with slightly higher congestion costs per person, wasted fuel, and travel delay. The STPP study shows that on average the cost to relieve the congestion reported by TTI just by building roads could be thousands of dollars per family per year. The metro area with the highest estimated road building cost was Nashville, Tennessee with a price tag of $3,243 per family per year, followed by Austin, Orlando, and Indianapolis.

The study explains:

A well-established body of research shows that new lanes tend to get filled up with new traffic within a few years, particularly if surrounding routes are also congested. This phenomenon - often called "induced traffic" - occurs when road capacity is expanded near congested routes and drivers flock to the new facility hoping to save time, even if they have to travel a great deal farther to achieve it. Also, the new roadways tend to draw people who would otherwise avoid congested conditions or take alternative modes to their destinations. The result is an overall increase in the total amount of driving and the total number of automobile trips in the region-not just the redistribution of traffic from surrounding areas.

So let's please stop talking about adding "residual capacity" to our highway network. The only way we could do that would be to build a parallel "spare" highway network that no one is allowed to use unless the main highway network gets blocked. We can't even afford the highway system we have, and we certainly couldn't afford a spare system in the odd case that the current system is temporarily disrupted!

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted August 07, 2014 at 17:43:01 in reply to Comment 103780

The simplest short-term way to reduce congestion is to introduce road pricing.

When a resource is free or very cheap ("all you can drive") then it tends to be used inefficiently. We've got an example right here: the 407 is almost never congested because it is tolled. Building more free roads is certainly not going to reduce congestion, except initially.

Even better is to use dynamic pricing (based on actual road conditions or at least time of day) and move other costs of driving (like insurance) to pay as you drive.

Interestingly, the Toronto Board of Trade actually supports road tolls.

And cities like Stockholm and London have shown that road tolls, properly priced, can also work to reduce congestion on city streets, not just freeways.

And besides reducing congestion for drivers who really have to drive (and are willing to pay the price) the revenue from tolls can be used to pay for more of the cost of roads and to subsidize more efficient alternatives (e.g. quality public transit) for those who can't afford or don't want to own a car or pay tolls. Single occupancy vehicles for commuters is an extremely inefficient use of scarce road resources and would be unaffordable in most cases if priced fairly.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted August 05, 2014 at 12:46:32

comment from banned user deleted

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 05, 2014 at 12:58:02 in reply to Comment 103732

Not sure who this ? is directed at, but I'll take a stab. Lol

With 70% of Hamiltonians working IN Hamilton, higher order rapid transit both east/west and from the mountain to lower city would allow a huge portion of those folks to ditch their cars on a day like last Friday and take LRT, BRT to work. It would also make the prospect of taking the GO Train into the GTA more appealing to those who need to commute further afield knowing that their BRT/LRT ride and GO Train ride will be unaffected by the partial QEW closure. In the absence of such transit options, why would anyone choose to sit on an HSR bus stopping every 45 feet and stuck in the same traffic clogged roads as they would be in their comfortable car?

Proper transit options free up valuable road space for folks who need their cars/trucks and are commuting somewhere not served well by transit. Currently, that pretty much describes everywhere.
Hence, all local commuters, those traveling to Burlington and those headed all the way to TO are stuck in their cars since we have provided zero alternatives.
Now the QEW is open and all is back to normal, but we should learn from an experience like this and start building now for future capacity. We saw what happened by simply losing half of one freeway. Add the projected millions more people into the Golden Horseshoe and this type of traffic will be the norm if we continue to only build roads and not rapid transit, walkable neighbourhoods and protected city-wide and inter-city cycling networks.

Comment edited by jason on 2014-08-05 12:59:33

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 05, 2014 at 13:31:25 in reply to Comment 103733

High quality transit alleviates enormous pressure from the road network to accommodate vehicles:

It would take 4 QEWs and 4 DVPs to carry the GO traffic through Union Station daily

In Hamilton, our preferred method of alleviating pressure on our lower city road network has been to artificially depress the number, variety and quality of uses for properties abutting those streets.

Yet even despite more than a half-century of overbuilding lane capacity and systematically suppressing urban vitality in the lower city - and actually bragging about the lack of congestion that signals poor economic performance - the downtown core is still the city's biggest employer with 25,000 jobs at above-average incomes.

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By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted August 05, 2014 at 16:32:30 in reply to Comment 103734

I have been reading this site for only a couple of years now, so forgive me if I missed something. Do you have proof that the municipality purposely suppressed business on our main arteries? Negligence I can see being alleged, maybe even willful blindness, but purposeful suppression?

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted August 05, 2014 at 18:16:00 in reply to Comment 103738

The design choices and development incentives of the city directly contribute to this. Why do you think developers are proposing condo projects with ground-level parking garages? Because city policy allows it.

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By proof (anonymous) | Posted August 05, 2014 at 17:37:31 in reply to Comment 103738

The proof is in the miserable performance of the commercial tax base.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted August 05, 2014 at 14:29:44

comment from banned user deleted

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 05, 2014 at 14:44:13 in reply to Comment 103736

It all adds up one person at a time. Folks who work near the GO Stations in Burlington/Oakville would benefit. Those who work close enough to Hamilton to take the trip by bike. And then, like I mentioned, the vast majority of Hamiltonians who work here in Hamilton would have other options besides their car, which would free up road space for those taking the RHVP/Linc/403 detour.

I live near between King W and York. Both were crawling until after 10pm Friday with folks choosing to come through the city instead of the above-mentioned detour route. Detour routes through Hamilton simply wouldn't be as crammed if locals had any other way to get around. Unfortunately city hall believes the car should be the only way folks travel, and therefore we can prepare to enjoy more commutes like Friday's in the future.

I'm not advocating we make these investments in case half a highway ever closes again. I'm suggesting we do it because it's proven to be the only way to allow tremendous growth without turning into LA, or suburban Toronto. As our city and region grow, we will extend the life of all roads/freeways by giving folks good options. A few years ago it was reported that traffic hadn't increased on the Gardiner Expressway in over 15 years despite all the growth in downtown TO and millions more in the GTA. This is what happens when there are other options.

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