Special Report: Walkable Streets

Meeting with Transportation Managers Heralds a Culture in Transition

Over the past few years I have gotten the sense that the culture in Public Works is changing, and that culture change was in full evidence last night.

By Ryan McGreal
Published December 05, 2014

Last night, I had the pleasure of joining a group of engaged downtown residents to meet with several managers from the Public Works Department for an informal discussion about complete streets, corporate culture and citizen engagement.

The event was organized by Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr, who saw an opportunity for us to get to know each other a bit better so we can establish mutual understanding and develop more constructive relationships.

The managers in attendance included: John Mater, director of corporate assets and strategic planning; Geoff Lupton, director of energy, fleet and traffic; David Ferguson, superintendent of traffic engineering; Martin White, manager of traffic operations and engineering; Kris Jacobson, superintendent of traffic operations; and Alan Kirkpatrick, manager of transportation planning. (I hope I got everyone's titles right.)

The meeting also included a number of residents who are involved in advocacy for safe, complete streets: Jason Leach, Nicholas Kevlahan, Jonathan Dalton, John Neary and myself.

Off the top, I need to express my deep appreciation to Councillor Farr for organizing the event, and to the staff members who stayed late to meet with us and share their time, expertise and attention.

Highly Encouraging

I wasn't sure what to expect going in, but the meeting was extremely encouraging. Over the past few years I have gotten the sense that the culture in Public Works is changing, and culture change was in full evidence last night.

Under Mater's leadership, the transportation group has definitely been moving in a more progressive direction.

This direction includes recent hires Ferguson, who came to the City of Hamilton after working for Welland, and Jacobson, who oversaw the two-way conversion of a number of St. Catharines streets - Queenston, Church, St. Paul, King, Ontario - in 2008 and 2009 as that city's manager of transportation services.

Compared to Hamilton, St. Catharines has moved with alacrity to convert its downtown traffic network back to two-way, with the remaining streets set to be completed within the next five years.

(An epic National Post article on two-way conversions from 2012 summarizes the public reaction in St. Catharines: "People, especially businesspeople, didn't like it. And then they did.")

Likewise, Ferguson brings a progressive energy to Hamilton. He has already undertaken a traffic safety review of Queen Street in response to a spate of collisions earlier this year.

New zebra crossing on Queen at Hunter (RTH file photo)
New zebra crossing on Queen at Hunter (RTH file photo)

He is helping to restart a Strategic Road Safety Program in collaboration with the police, public health and other stakeholders to roll out new pedestrian crossing initiatives, review the city's speed limit policy and focus on safety measures and education for the city's most vulnerable road users - especially children and senior citizens.

But the culture change is not limited to newer staff. White was instrumental in reprogramming the pedestrian-activated crosswalk at Aberdeen and Kent so that pedestrians didn't have to wait for two minutes to cross, and he is widely regarded as a forward-thinking leader.

Likewise, Mater and Lupton worked closely with the organizers of last year's Tactical Urbanism movement to achieve some quick wins in making the city's streets safer. One outcome of that was a proliferation of new zebra crossings at various locations across the city.

Kirkpatrick oversaw the planning stages of the Cannon Street Cycle Track, taking an interdisciplinary staff planning approach to ensure buy-in and a high-quality implementation. (The managers also made it clear that the Cycle Track isn't complete yet.)

Candid Discussion

We were able to have a candid discussion about some of the recent issues - both uplifting and frustrating - that we've been writing about.

We agreed that there are several residential streets currently in operation in the city that don't meet the width requirements of a new street design but function just fine - indeed, their narrowness makes them safer and calmer than they would be if they were wider.

Wood Street West: narrow, two-way, curbside parking on both sides, works just fine (RTH file photo)
Wood Street West: narrow, two-way, curbside parking on both sides, works just fine (RTH file photo)

We also agreed that there are lots of opportunities for more proactive community engagement on upcoming issues like the Rebecca Street two-way conversion, which originally entailed losing several parking spots, a decision that was later overturned.

Rebecca Street between Catharine and John: two-way traffic, curbside parking, sky remains firmly in place
Rebecca Street between Catharine and John: two-way traffic, curbside parking, sky remains firmly in place

However, the managers stressed that the process for reconstructing a street takes several years, and that recent projects - like the Beckett Drive rebuild - were designed and put out for tender years ago.

As such, these projects are a lagging indicator of how progressive the Transportation group is in terms of design for active transportation. Those projects are overseen by the Traffic Engineering Construction group, and Transportation has limited ability to tweak the designs after construction.

Councillor Farr noted that Council recently approved the new Pedestrian Mobility Plan, which mandates "routine accommodation" of active transportation and specifies an outside-in approach to street design rather than the status quo centreline-out approach. The managers made it clear that it will take some time for that new approach to filter through the whole organization.

Change Takes Time

The take-away message I got from the meeting is that the Transportation managers welcome engagement and constructive feedback and want to work more closely with stakeholders to achieve positive goals, but cautioned that the corporation of the City is a bureaucracy and change takes time.

However, the managers themselves want to see this happen, and they're encouraged by the growing momentum of change. In a follow-up email, Ferguson wrote:

This is the start of a new era for Hamilton in many different ways and pending support from management and Council, Hamilton will lead the way again when it comes to Safety. I recently attended the Transportation Association of Canada Conference and I was approached by many people from across the country asking what was happening in Hamilton. There is a buzz about our City and the things we are doing and planning to do.

It's hard to be patient after literally decades of stonewalling, but the management team made it clear that the old status-quo way of thinking is no longer the driving force in the department.

To borrow a phrase from William Gibson, the future of progressive transportation planning is here - it's just not evenly distributed yet. After last night's meeting, I am more hopeful than ever that it will happen.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By RobF (registered) | Posted December 05, 2014 at 13:18:55

This excellent news. Kudos to Jason Farr and all involved in making it happen. We need more of this type of dialogue between the City and concerned/engaged citizens in Hamilton.

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By H1 (anonymous) | Posted December 05, 2014 at 14:27:04 in reply to Comment 106609

All five of them Jason Leach, Nicholas Kevlahan, Jonathan Dalton, John Neary and Ryan McGreal

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By RobF (registered) | Posted December 05, 2014 at 14:50:34 in reply to Comment 106611

In this instance. Your point being?

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By H1 (anonymous) | Posted December 05, 2014 at 15:00:26 in reply to Comment 106615

Population of 505,000 and 5 where at the meeting. No one else cares enough to show?

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By Steve (registered) | Posted December 05, 2014 at 17:21:09 in reply to Comment 106617

Population of 520,000 and 5 where invited to the meeting? A great start and hopefully this expands to greater things with more councilors and residents involved.

Fixed it for ya!

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted December 05, 2014 at 15:29:05 in reply to Comment 106617

It was an informal, private meeting intended to improve communication instead of communicating through councillors, emails and blogs. I'm not sure how Farr decided who to invite, but all those who were invited have been very active in their neighbourhoods, and online, in advocating and working towards for a shift towards complete streets and reporting dangerous or faulty infrastructure. Some of us are the "official" neighbourhood association traffic reps.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2014-12-05 15:33:17

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By bikehounds (anonymous) | Posted December 05, 2014 at 14:00:17

This is uplifting but the timeline/bureaucracy argument is a little thin. In the fifties we converted every street overnight. It's simply a matter of prioritizing the roads budget and in the end it's up to council to direct staff to make two way and complete streets the priority.

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By H1 (anonymous) | Posted December 05, 2014 at 14:31:01 in reply to Comment 106610

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted December 05, 2014 at 14:41:58 in reply to Comment 106613

There have been multiple articles here referring to the mass conversion of one way streets downtown, complete with links to an original Spec article from 1956 describing the effect of the network conversion and the Wibur Smith and associates plan.

Here is one: http://raisethehammer.org/blog/1758/down...

and here is another with the plan: http://raisethehammer.org/article/2330

which shows the initial set of converted streets (although the one way conversions of upper James and W5th were never done).

and from the Spec:

"1956: One-way streets introduced downtown to ease traffic congestion." http://www.thespec.com/news-story/224106...

and also from the Spec:

"Swayed by the sweet promises of Wilbur Smith, the pioneering traffic engineer from South Carolina who was busy promoting one-way conversions all across North America, Hamilton’s aldermen went all-in and switched the lower city streets to one-way literally overnight." http://www.thespec.com/opinion-story/224...

Last night the traffic engineers also referred to the fact that downtown streets were converted overnight to one-way back in 1956.

Not all the current one way streets were converted initially; the system was later gradually expanded through until the late 60s. But it is true that the downtown core was converted all at once in 1956.

I'm not sure I understand why two-way to one way would be so much cheaper than one-way to two-way. Why the huge difference in price? The only real difference is the need for two way traffic lights at those intersections which are signalized (mostly on arterials), which would add a bit but not a huge amount.

Remember that the two-way conversion of about 12 blocks of Caroline and Hess cost only $72k back in 2003.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2014-12-05 14:57:00

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By H1 (anonymous) | Posted December 05, 2014 at 15:02:58 in reply to Comment 106614

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted December 05, 2014 at 15:07:56 in reply to Comment 106618

Well, if you don't believe all the various people who wrote the other articles, will you believe this Spec article, or are you insisting only on primary sources (i.e. a copy of the work order from public works indicating all work was completed in one night):

http://www.thespec.com/news-story/222078...

"This day in history Oct. 29, 1956

Hamilton Spectator This day in 1956 was the official first day of one-way streets in Hamilton, as city workers the evening before moved to make the changeover.

The view at the time was that one-way streets move traffic faster and more safely. Acting on a study by traffic engineers and consultants Wilbur Smith and Associates, the city converted dozens of downtown streets to one-way traffic to try to move traffic more quickly.

The plan was supposed to be a trial for 90 days, but most people liked the idea and it was continued till recent years when some streets, such as James Street, were changed back."

You can also watch this interview between the library's archivist and Mayor Bratina about the en masse conversion and the reasons for it:

http://raisethehammer.org/blog/2579/mayo...

and this IS primary material! The archivist is very clear that the change was made "all at once".

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2014-12-05 15:24:49

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted December 07, 2014 at 09:02:07 in reply to Comment 106619

Perhaps the point made is, it wasn't decided on October 28th that it would go into effect on October 29th. I have 0 background on the decision making process as it was over 30 years before I was born, but I doubt that it was just decided a day before to convert everything, then, poof, overnight, it was done.

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By H1 (anonymous) | Posted December 05, 2014 at 14:59:09 in reply to Comment 106614

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By Steve (registered) | Posted December 05, 2014 at 17:25:47 in reply to Comment 106616

What is your point? Upfront costs could be viewed as an investment, with a future return on that investment.

  • If converting them increases property values, that means more taxes for the city.
  • If more businesses open on those barren one way streets then more people are employed.
  • If they are safer then money will be saved in terms of health and well being and lower medical bills.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted December 05, 2014 at 15:32:01 in reply to Comment 106616

Most intersections have no traffic lights! Signage and line painting would be more or less the same no matter the direction of the conversion.

And I just gave you the price of one conversion pair: about $6k per block. Not exactly exorbitant.

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted December 05, 2014 at 15:52:02 in reply to Comment 106624

It's impossible to make big overnight changes to a transportation system.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 17:52:52 in reply to Comment 106625

Approved in 1963, implemented 1967. It didn't happen overnight.

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By ItJustIs (registered) | Posted December 05, 2014 at 14:27:38

Just curious...

Were the people you've named the only residents at the meeting?

Was it a closed affair? Invite-only?

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By Steve (registered) | Posted December 05, 2014 at 17:27:42 in reply to Comment 106612

From the 2nd paragraph and comment above it looks like it was an invite by Councilor Farr who organized the meeting.

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By lad (anonymous) | Posted December 05, 2014 at 17:44:55

did each neighbourhood have a rep at this meeting? who repped corktown?

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 17:53:53 in reply to Comment 106634

who repped corktown?

Probably nobody, as the neighbourhood doesn't have old cranks in it who demand bike lanes. At least, I never met any when I lived there.

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By lad (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 20:37:48 in reply to Comment 106712

I'll tell you one thing I can guarantee wasn't mentioned, speeding cars flying down Forest Ave trying to squeak by the wave of oncoming traffic along John St South.
When they fly through, they almost never stop at the Stop Sign at Catherine, which is why I have been begging Farr for Speed Humps along that street.
It only look the city 8 years to install Stop Signs at Charlton and Walnut where there's a school!

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted December 09, 2014 at 17:44:50 in reply to Comment 106731

Hey, I lived at John and Charlton for 5 years. For 3 of them I walked a dog several times a day around the block and never had a problem with people speeding down those streets. They're too narrow as it is, and the horrible job people did at parking on both sides helped keep speed in check. Maybe a handful of times did people not stop or slow down there. I think there was more of an issue with wrong-way driving on the one-ways along the side streets. Speed humps definitely are an unneeded waste there. What they do need is better enforcement and towing of vehicles parked too long, too far away from the curb, or too close to the stop signs to make turning difficult. That, and better police presence to cut down on the obscene number of break-ins to vehicles along there.

Comment edited by DowntownInHamilton on 2014-12-09 17:45:33

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By lad (anonymous) | Posted December 09, 2014 at 22:11:11 in reply to Comment 106809

How many years ago was this? I promise you, this happens on a daily occurrence. It is part of my commute, so every day I see this happening.
I agree, wrong-way drivers happen here a lot too, especially on Catherine.

Now I see what happened at this secret meeting. Only the loudest voices get safer streets. Sorry about Corktown's luck!

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted December 10, 2014 at 18:22:23 in reply to Comment 106839

I moved out end of July. I lived downtown from March 2009 till then. From about 2011 onwards I was regularly walking our dog (3-4 times daily) around the blocks, down the various streets, in the park, and never saw what you're describing. I was out in the morning, just before dinner, after dinner, and once before bed.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted December 09, 2014 at 21:29:03 in reply to Comment 106809

Didn't you rage-quit downtown? Why don't you put your energy into wherever you live now instead of still telling people in the place you don't live anymore what they should want?

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted December 10, 2014 at 18:24:51 in reply to Comment 106831

I didn't "rage quit" but was definitely not impressed with the speed of progress, and the colossal steps backwards with regards to the constant car break-ins, the homeless people sleeping in the parks, the trash, and the decline of the roads.

Why don't you put your energy into wherever you live

Actually, I have. I'm a member of the Neighbourhood Action Plan in my neighbourhood, and am trying to help prioritize what needs fixing, and when, and how to make it a happy, friendly, safe, and healthy place to live. Thanks for your interest! Maybe you should take some of your own advice and rather than troll-trolling or baiting, get involved yourself!

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By lad (anonymous) | Posted December 05, 2014 at 17:51:07

who was there to represent Stinson? Central? Beasley? North End?

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted December 05, 2014 at 23:03:45 in reply to Comment 106635

I guess you could say that I "represented" Beasley, although the point of this meeting wasn't for neighbourhood reps to ask for infrastructure improvements. Rather, it was to build lines of communication and a mutual understanding between staff in Public Works and some citizens who have been publicly engaged in discussion of (and often criticism of) transportation policy. I can't speak to Councillor Farr's thought process in deciding who to invite, but I suspect that his goal was to bring some of the loudest critics into the room. After all, Jason and Ryan don't even live in Ward 2.

As Nicholas said above, this was an informal meeting. The biggest takeaway for me was that John Mater and his group seem to be genuinely interested in engaging citizens about projects in their neighbourhoods. I don't think that he expects that engagement to come from five people only, and I don't think that the five of us are going to have any privileged access that's not available to anyone else.

I've been beating my head against the Mary St. project since 2012 and the whole time I wished I could speak to someone at City Hall regarding the technical stuff in which I have absolutely no expertise; now I know that Martin White is that guy. I am sure that if someone from Gibson or the East Mountain reaches out to him, they'll get the same response that I will. Or maybe a better one: now that I've pointed the entire RTH community in his direction, he might get a little bit annoyed with me after all ;)

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By Fake Name (anonymous) | Posted December 05, 2014 at 18:14:37

It's refreshing to hear some optimism about urbanism at City Hall, but still - I have trouble believing them while Durand/Kirkendall is still a labyrinth and I've heard zero proposals from the city to change it.

Until I hear that one of the big residential arteries like Queen North, Bay, Charlton, or Herkimer is on the block for 2-way conversion, I'm still going to be skeptical.

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By JeffRintjema (registered) | Posted December 05, 2014 at 18:25:12

Why so few women?

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted December 05, 2014 at 23:07:57 in reply to Comment 106638

You mean on the staff side, or the citizen side? Probably both, given that there was no woman in the room.

Great question. I'm don't have a good answer.

I certainly wish that Sara Mayo had been there.

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By Whatabout (anonymous) | Posted December 05, 2014 at 22:11:29 in reply to Comment 106638

. . . or the disabled, or people of colour, or the marginalized, or the criminals . . .

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By lad (anonymous) | Posted December 06, 2014 at 17:56:11

It seems Jason Farr didn't learn his lesson from his secret meetings with Mac.
Even if this is done with good intentions, it doesn't make the process right.
All the time spent on this website about fair and open city council, this seems pretty hypocritical.
That being said, I applaud Staff for being more open and to those who attended the meeting for bringing up real issues, however the process is really, really bad.

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By whatever (anonymous) | Posted December 07, 2014 at 21:13:49 in reply to Comment 106654

So if a councillor attends a neighbourhood association meeting is that "Secret" too? gimme a break.

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By lad (anonymous) | Posted December 09, 2014 at 22:07:20 in reply to Comment 106687

Nah, those usually have detailed Meeting Minutes! ;)

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 07, 2014 at 23:23:26 in reply to Comment 106687

Lol

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By lad (anonymous) | Posted December 06, 2014 at 18:50:36

So I'm still waiting to hear who was able to bring Corktown, Stinson, and the North End's concerns and ideas to this meeting?
How do the North End Neighbours (Sean? Sherri?) feel about being shut out by the new administration?

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By RobF (registered) | Posted December 06, 2014 at 22:18:23 in reply to Comment 106656

I'm not sure that the North End Neighbours are being "shut out by the new administration". Perhaps we should give our Councillor the benefit of the doubt and see what else he does in terms of consultation with Ward 2 NAs and residents.

And to be fair, Councillor Farr is free to arrange meetings and informal discussions between private citizens and city staff. I don't see that any secret decisions were made, or that the meeting was particularly secret.

It was invite only, but let's not muddy the waters.

RTH has published a story about the meeting detailing who was there and the general tenor of the discussion. So, it's public knowledge that it took place and we know the general position of the 5 participants on what they'd like to see happen in Hamilton re: our streets. There will be plenty of opportunities for wider consultation and it was a nice gesture on Councillor Farr's part to link up several prominent advocates for complete streets with relevant city staff. Nothing shocking here. Let's move on.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted December 07, 2014 at 09:05:52 in reply to Comment 106664

So, a closed-door, invite-only meeting with the loudest critics of the city's transportation policies?

Sounds like the kids being called into the principal's office. I guess as usual, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Where's Farr's comments on this meeting? Were minutes taken? Was it formal or informal?

So glad that guy doesn't represent me at council any more. Enough of the antics.

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By lad (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 20:18:09 in reply to Comment 106674

I would also like to see Meeting Minutes.
It's quite concerning that those who advocate for Open & Fair Governments most vocally are ones meeting in secret invite-only jam sessions with one councillor.
Again, these meetings are needed but they need to be done properly.

Raise The Hammer is losing credibility quick, and it's for reasons such as this. C'mon Guys!

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 09, 2014 at 16:07:10 in reply to Comment 106726

It's adorable that you are using the word "secret" to describe a meeting you know about because I wrote and published an article about it.

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By lad (anonymous) | Posted December 09, 2014 at 22:04:30 in reply to Comment 106802

Great! So publish the Meeting Minutes, please :)

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 09, 2014 at 22:08:39 in reply to Comment 106835

As already noted, it was an informal discussion rather than a formal meeting with an agenda. I took some notes on what was discussed and turned them into this article.

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By lad (anonymous) | Posted December 09, 2014 at 22:20:12 in reply to Comment 106838

Perfect! So just as many Hamiltonians will see it, this was a secret invite-only meeting between one city councilor, several city staffers, and a group of loud and vocal male activists and no one took any minutes?

You have to see how regular joe's will see this as poor process, right?

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By RobF (registered) | Posted December 07, 2014 at 20:34:30 in reply to Comment 106674

Well the squeaky wheel get's the grease for a reason: it has a problem that needs attention. If you want to bend your councillor's ear raise important issues and put yourself out there.

I can't fault those invited for their activism, or Councillor Farr for identifying them as the people to attend the meeting. I'm not part of a Jason Farr booster club. He's gotten some stuff wrong, but I think he got this right.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 17:54:33 in reply to Comment 106686

So if I complain enough in my neighbourhood, I will get what I want? I better get on that!

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By Troll Hunter (anonymous) | Posted December 10, 2014 at 10:46:29 in reply to Comment 106713

I can answer your question, actually you can answer it yourself "If that's a concern, and it may well be, then the community should be getting involved to make it happen." - DowntownInHamilton

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By lad (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 20:22:07 in reply to Comment 106713

No no, you don't get it! If you complain loud and long enough about issues in OTHER PEOPLE'S wards you can get a secret meeting with their Councillor to make changes in a neighbourhood you don't even live in!

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By RobF (registered) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 18:37:55 in reply to Comment 106713

What you do is your prerogative. Nobody's telling you not to call your councillor, start a blog, start a campaign with your neighbours, ...

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By fmurray (registered) | Posted December 07, 2014 at 17:10:49

Jason Farr likes to cut through complicated messes using the shortest possible route. Sometimes this works well, and sometimes maybe it doesn't (secret meeting with Mac??). It seems to me that he wanted to bring people together -- the staff who explain process to him on one side and community activists who yell into his other ear. It's a time-saver to get people into the same room and have them talk to each other instead of through him as a conduit.

I'm glad this meeting took place, but am only cautiously optimistic. We all understand that changes "take time", but if St. Catharines can do it, why are we STILL waiting for conversion of streets and when the conversion happens, they don't change the whole street (e.g. Caroline, Hess, Rebecca). The patchwork is more than a little ridiculous and is making our city a bigger nightmare for residents and visitors (especially visitors).

Dear City of Hamilton: Please convert streets along their whole length. And please do it faster. Thank you.

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By Whocares (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 13:59:57

Don't care if it was closed door. So long as we get the results, more two way streets, ASAP.

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By lad (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 20:25:26 in reply to Comment 106694

That's the problem here! If it were a closed door meeting about increasing One Way Streets or Sabotaging Crosswalks, everyone on this website would be freaking out!
Because it's a secret meeting involving those who run this website, well then it's a-ok I guess. Right?
That's how Raise The Hammer works, right?

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By RobF (registered) | Posted December 09, 2014 at 11:01:36 in reply to Comment 106729

Private meetings happen all the time at City Hall, and remain secret, yet an invite-only meeting that is public knowledge bothers you. I'm having a hard time following your logic or sharing in your outrage.

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By lad's mad (anonymous) | Posted December 09, 2014 at 11:32:27 in reply to Comment 106759

Because defenders of the status quo will stop at no straw man to try to keep their drive-thru downtown open.

there were no votes cast or decisions made at this meeting and a member of the local press was invited and asked to write about it. it's not a transparency issue!

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By lad (anonymous) | Posted December 09, 2014 at 22:56:58

Just wanted to say I think it's incredibly disheartening to see that valid concerns about certain downtown neighborhoods being left out of a crucial meeting that will shape the area are being down-voted.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted December 10, 2014 at 09:07:22 in reply to Comment 106842

In what way was this a 'crucial meeting that will shape the area'? You have nothing to base that assumption on other than your own imagination; there is no evidence that any 'area shaping' happened. This meeting was not an integral part of any planning process, you can still go to your ward councillor with your concerns or you could contact one of the staff members mentioned here. This meeting is an example of exactly how representative government works: you have to show up and contribute to the process by raising concerns and being involved in the discussion. No one is going to ask for your input just because you have a strong opinion sitting in your armchair.

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