Special Report: Walkable Streets

Charlton-Wentworth Traffic Calming Proposal a Cop-Out

This back-handed recommendation is typical of a city that does everything it can to avoid inconveniencing people in cars for the sake of people not in cars, even when people are being killed.

By Ryan McGreal
Published March 25, 2015

The Escarpment Trail crosses Wentworth Street South just north of the bend in which Wentworth turns into Charlton Avenue East. On the east side of Charlton, the Trail connects with the bottom of the Wentworth Stairs. This is a high-traffic multi-use path that carries lots of people walking, jogging and biking for various reasons.

Charlton Avenue East, left, turning into Wentworth Street South (RTH file photo)
Charlton Avenue East, left, turning into Wentworth Street South (RTH file photo)

On October 31, 2013, 33-year-old Zoe Nudell died after being struck by a driver at Charlton and Wentworth.

After years of demanding changes to this dangerous conflict area, local residents finally got an answer to the question: Does someone have to die before City decides to act?

The answer, unfortunately, was that even a death was not enough to spur the City to action. So in 2014, Ward 2 residents voted through the Participatory Budget process to fund safety improvements to the intersection through the Area Rating Capital Levy.

Public Works staff have now come forward with a proposal to achieve that - and it is not likely to make anyone happy.

Proposed Crosswalk at Cumberland

The April 1, 2015 Public Works Committee meeting will receive a staff recommendation (item 8.3 on the agenda) to address the dangerous intersection of Charlton, Wentworth and the Escarpment Trail by ... installing a crosswalk at Wentworth and Cumberland.

Cumberland is almost 100 metres north of the Escarpment Trail, across a set of train tracks and down a rather steep slope. It's a good idea to put a pedestrian crossing at Cumberland and Wentworth, but it won't do a damn thing to make things safer at Wentworth and the Escarpment Trail.

Staff also recommend reducing the speed limit to 40 km/h from Charlton at the Sherman Access to Wentworth at Cumberland. They will add "roadway markings with hatching" along the curbs on Wentworth to narrow the automobile lanes and provide an additional buffer.

Enhanced Pedestrian Warning Signage and Speed Reduction Plan
Enhanced Pedestrian Warning Signage and Speed Reduction Plan

In addition, a flashing overhead Pedestrian Warning sign will be installed on Charlton just before the left turn to Wentworth.

Let's be completely clear: this crosswalk will not do what staff were directed to accomplish. Absolutely no one is going to walk almost 200 metres out of their way to cross Wentworth at Cumberland instead of the Trail.

Not a Solution

The rationale for not putting the crosswalk at the Escarpment Trail, which is where the community wants it and where the actual danger resides, is pretty lame:

It was concluded that it would be unsafe to install a Pedestrian Crossing with signals at the Escarpment Trail location as the sightlines are below the required standard and the downward grade of the roadway and horizontal curve make it impossible for motorists to observe and stop safely for the pedestrians at this location.

It is not clear why staff can't do the same thing they did on the downbound lanes of the Jolley Cut as they bend to the right to a signalized intersection at John Street South and St Joseph's Drive. At that location, a traffic signal placed up along the bend alerts motorists that they are approaching a signalized stop.

But the proposed crosswalk at Wentworth and Cumberland will not be button-activated or even signalized. Unlike recently-installed crosswalks at Hunter and MacNab, Locke and Hunter and Herkimer and Caroline, this crosswalk will be controlled only by zebra markings on the walk, painted yield lines before and after the crosswalk, and Pedestrian crossing signs.

New Pedestrian crossing under OTM Book 15
New Pedestrian crossing under OTM Book 15

This is designed to take advantage of pending changes to the Ontario Traffic Manual, Book 15, which specifies pedestrian crossing facilities. The new edition will define a number of pedestrian crossing designs that are cheaper to install than signalized crosswalks.

The City is planning on introducing new pedestrian cross-overs once the changes are passed into law. There many sites that would benefit from a crosswalk but where a signalized, button-activated setup is overkill.

This is not one of those sites. There should be a fully signalized crosswalk on Wentworth at Charlton, and it should trigger a signal around the bend so that downbound motorists see it and know to stop.

Not Good Enough

This proposal is not good enough. It goes against what the community has been demanding for years and what residents explicitly voted for in the Participatory Budget process.

Addressing the danger on the Trail by installing asphalt markings and signage almost 100 metres farther down the street is an insult to the large number of people regularly trying to cross Wentworth. It amounts to road safety theatre - a way to point out a nearby crosswalk the next time someone is injured or killed while crossing at the Trail.

It does nothing to help people crossing Wentworth on bikes, of whom we can expect there will be more now that Hamilton Bike Share has a station in operation right at the bottom of the Wentworth Stairs.

This back-handed recommendation is typical of a city that does everything it can to avoid inconveniencing people in cars for the sake of people not in cars, even when people are being killed.

with files from Jason Leach

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 jason (registered) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 15:16:40

insane, yet not surprising. Contrast with Paul Wilson's piece yesterday in the Spec about Portland, a city for people. Hamilton is a city for cars.

The staff report even mentions that the rail trail and Wentworth stairs are the huge drivers of pedestrian activity in the area. Sooooo, let's do nothing to make that area safer. Nice

One of these days it'll be class-action time in Hamilton. Probably the only way city hall will start building a safe, proper city for all of it's residents. Not just the ones who drive around by themselves in cars.

EDIT: also should be pointed out that Charlton is wide enough for bike lanes from Wentworth to James. As is Wentworth itself. Why paint hatched off areas when we can add bike lanes and narrow the traffic lanes at the same time. You know, like every other city on earth is doing....

Comment edited by jason on 2015-03-25 15:19:30

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 16:46:13 in reply to Comment 110520

One of these days it'll be class-action time in Hamilton.

As a start. Funny whenever I see a comment "well why don't you just move to Netherlands". Yeah, as though it was that simple, or desirable as a proud Canadian who loves their home and native land. I say this very well aware that it's a long shot, but I say it with sincerity and conviction: I wonder if our Charter of Rights and Freedoms could use a little clarification in this matter.

Comment edited by mikeonthemountain on 2015-03-25 16:51:10

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By Crispy (registered) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 15:37:37

Yeah that one makes no sense.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted March 25, 2015 at 16:01:20

What surprises me is that somebody obviously worked very hard on this - it's an incredibly elaborate design. But still, they completely danced around the issue that it's actually intended to solve.

Also that they're pulling out the "yield lines" thing - I've never seen those in the city, far more common are the stubby-little "yield to pedestrians" we see around McMaster campus.

But yeah, people on the rail trail need to cross at the rail trail.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted March 25, 2015 at 17:38:14 in reply to Comment 110523

The fact that

the sightlines are below the required standard and the downward grade of the roadway and horizontal curve make it impossible for motorists to observe and stop safely for the pedestrians at this location

IS PRECISELY WHY WE NEED A PROPER TREATMENT HERE!

This is super simple - speed reduction bumps leading into the curve downbound, and a raised pedestrian crossing. The speed limit needs to be 30 or less. a chicane upbound would help reduce speeds

If we can't have a proper crossing here, then we'd better remove the signal at st joseph's drive, right?

http://i.imgur.com/uboKmVD.png

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted March 25, 2015 at 17:52:05 in reply to Comment 110542

boy, solving this problem was REALLLL HARD

http://i.imgur.com/EWPDhfj.png

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 18:12:17 in reply to Comment 110545

GASP! Expecting cars to stop?!! Have you gone mad?

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By Steve (registered) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 18:04:05 in reply to Comment 110545

Please stop using common sense and Google Maps, you'll break the system they've spent careers cultivating.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted March 25, 2015 at 18:00:08 in reply to Comment 110545

Another option, better but slightly more expensive. requires one speed hump and a raised crossing

http://i.imgur.com/2Hj6uvH.png

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By why (anonymous) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 18:51:11 in reply to Comment 110546

Why do we keep referring to city staff members as "city staff" instead of shaming them by using their proper names? These people are members of our community and if they are going to disrespect us so blatantly, then they should have to look us in the eye at the grocery store and answer for their bad behaviour behind the desk.

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By why (anonymous) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 18:52:24 in reply to Comment 110560

Said I behind an anonymous screen name, but at least I'm not shaping my city with my comments.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 18:05:32 in reply to Comment 110546

There you go again, using common sense and Google Maps, in an attempt to break the system city bureaucrats have spent careers cultivating.

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By Walkie Walk (anonymous) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 16:05:12

The crosswalk may only be 100 metres away but that is quite the elevation change, and uphill for one leg of the walker's trip. That alone will discourage most users.

This slavish devotion to the automobile is so out of sync with the times.......disturbing.

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 18:13:59 in reply to Comment 110524

not to mention the frequent trains that come through here. Real convenient way to cross the rail trail. Head 100m out of your way, wait 5 minutes for a train to pass, then continue on your jog/ride.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted March 25, 2015 at 18:14:58 in reply to Comment 110552

we should probably build an overpass for cars over the tracks, it's unsafe for them to stop

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By Steve (registered) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 16:09:05

Creating a useless zebra crossing is asinine. They may as well save the paint and direct people to the lights at Stinson to cross Wentworth.

Where's my can of white paint? I'll go out and do it right myself...

ps. Pedestrian typo at "Peestrian crossing signs."

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 25, 2015 at 17:22:14 in reply to Comment 110525

Thanks for catching the typo. It's fixed.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 16:10:06

@Walkie Walk, I've updated this for your - "That alone will discourage ALL users."

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By LerftyDee (anonymous) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 16:14:12

what are "Peestrian crossing signs"? Not familiar with that style of crossing sign.

also in these photos/maps its not clear where the rail trail being talked about even is.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 16:37:11 in reply to Comment 110528

"what are "Peestrian crossing signs"? Not familiar with that style of crossing sign."

About 5 minutes too late with that post (see mine from 5 minutes earlier)

"also in these photos/maps its not clear where the rail trail being talked about even is."

The roadway crossing for the rail trail is where the point of the arrow is from the text box, "Roadway markings with hatching..."

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By kevinlove (registered) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 16:15:24

This is one of those cases where the correct fix is very cheap and easy. Stop cut-through car driving on Charlton. A bit of concrete and… Presto! Problem solved.

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By durander (registered) | Posted March 27, 2015 at 15:39:08 in reply to Comment 110529

You and your concrete! Is it the same design that you propose on Herkimer?

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By frankly (anonymous) | Posted March 27, 2015 at 17:22:43 in reply to Comment 110653

I used to think blocking lanes was crazy but then I stopped to think about it and all of these supposedly "non negotiable" "through streets" are only through streets because we set them up that way. They absolutely do not have to be. It would be very interesting to study the start and end points of the vehicular trips in this city to understand how much of the mountain access traffic is actually necessary. MANY of these trips should be happening on the highways we are paying for.

Take herkimer from queen to james - why is it a through street? for whom? anyone driving from kirkendall to st joes should not be driving. the fact they drive is a failure of our transit and bike system. people driving from further west should be using main. people from the escarpment should come down a different access, or take the highway to main. herkimer simply does NOT have to be a throroughfare. We just decided to make it one and now everyone is used to it.

the same story is true on many of our neighbourhood streets. to squeeze this city into an insane suburban transportation strategy we have bastardized our neighbourhood streets. maybe it is indeed time to reclaim them and make them more livable and then people who work at sty joes would be more interested in living within walking distance to work because the neighbourhood isn't a traffic sewer anymore

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted March 27, 2015 at 17:42:52 in reply to Comment 110654

There are many, many streets that are not through streets. I do not see a huge neighbourhood upcry demanding cut-through car driving on these streets. One example, at Dundurn and Jackson I already wrote about.

You mention Herkimer. Just to the south, Aberdeen between Bay and James was converted to prevent cut-through car driving next to the mansions of the ultra-rich. I do not begrudge the ultra-rich wanting safe streets for their mansions. I just want the same safety for not-quite-so-rich people like myself.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 16:34:59

This is one of the most bizarre and lazy responses I've ever seen.

You know who is going to use the Cumberland crosswalk? People crossing there anyway.

You know who is going to detour from the trail to get there? Nobody.

Everybody (myself included) is going to cross exactly the same way we did before.

Dumb, dumber, and finally, dumbest.

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By MattM (registered) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 18:25:12 in reply to Comment 110531

Except the next time someone is hit and killed crossing at the trail, they'll be victim blamed because they didn't go 200m out of their way to cross at the uncontrolled intersection.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 18:33:24 in reply to Comment 110555

... which solved the most important problem they wanted to solve.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 16:38:47 in reply to Comment 110531

"Everybody (myself included) is going to cross exactly the same way we did before."

Not exactly, we'll be crossing with people honking at us because we aren't crossing at the crosswalk 100 m away ;).

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 16:40:59

I hope Councillor Farr will push back and insist that staff implement the signalized crosswalk at the trail crossing that was actually voted for in PB. Adding a warning light farther up the hill, as has been done elsewhere on escarpment crossings with poor visibility, should address the "lack of visibility" problem.

After all, if the visibility problem is not addressed more pedestrians will be killed or injured at the crossing. No one is going to walk 200m out of their way to cross the street! And they should have to.

One of the main reasons behind PB was to implement changes the community wants ... not changes that staff would have recommended anyway. And deliberately refusing to implement a PB project destroys the whole process.

Having staff come back and say "We understand the community has voted funding for a signalized pedestrian crossing at the trail where someone was killed and where many pedestrians find it difficult to cross safely. We'll put in an unsignalized crossing 100m away at a different street that we're pretty sure none of the trail users will actually use. Job done." is just not good enough.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2015-03-25 16:52:10

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By dsafire (registered) - website | Posted March 29, 2015 at 22:32:53 in reply to Comment 110534

We in Stinson have been complaing to Farr about this. He insists this is all they can do.

I disagree.

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 18:15:14 in reply to Comment 110534

If we ever lose the area rating money it's time to move. That money provides the only hope of ever seeing anything post 1950's happen in this city's streets.

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By dsafire (registered) - website | Posted March 29, 2015 at 22:35:12 in reply to Comment 110554

Also, this is coming out of the Area Rating. It was a 2014 PBW2 proposal that somehow magically got changed to a request for "traffic calming" instead of the traffic light that was asked for.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 16:49:00 in reply to Comment 110534

It's really quite basic. You see the trail continues directly ahead of you, on the other side of what essentially looks like a side-street.

Able bodied people that wait for a break in cars don't even notice a change.

The only people that would make the silly walk-around is those too vulnerable to cross with a break in cars. Let's send them downhill, over railway tracks, the back uphill, over railway tracks.

Geniuses came up with this idea!

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By not_surprised (anonymous) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 16:54:07

There really are some useless planks at City Hall.

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By kevinlove (registered) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 17:00:23

"Yield lines." Universally known in The Netherlands as "Dragon's Teeth."

About time they were used here. In NL, it is also a requirement to have yield signs because the pavement may be covered with snow in winter. Signs that I do not see in the mock-up. Once again, Hamilton demonstrates that we are highly skilled at taking excellent Dutch concepts and botching the implementation.

Seriously... an intersection treatment that fails when there is snow on the pavement... gross incompetence... Sigh...

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 17:12:23

I made a mistake from reading too fast, sorry. I thought the flashing warnings and yield lines were canceled in favor of the Cumberland crossing. They are in addition to. So it's not as bad as I first reacted. Still, the crossing should have been at the trail.

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By JeffRintjema (registered) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 17:40:23

If cars could stop for trains, then surely they could stop for pedestrians.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted March 25, 2015 at 18:02:31 in reply to Comment 110544

for real

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted March 25, 2015 at 18:02:49 in reply to Comment 110547

on second thought we'd better get those tracks moved

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By MattM (registered) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 18:27:05 in reply to Comment 110548

It was the train's fault for not crossing the street at a proper intersection.

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By walter_hbd (registered) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 19:40:43

we're all no-good city slickers trying to money grab the honest folk at city hall, when does the madness end

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By RalphMeiers (registered) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 19:52:25

Rough notes from Stinson Public Meeting held on Monday March 23

Dave Ferguson -  Wentworth stairs. Will install overhead advanced warning signs on arms with flashers. New crossing at Cumberland. Highway traffic act is changing which will allow municipalities to add crossings. Considered a minor arterial road.

CP Rail takes 5 years to approve a light synchronization for long term plan .  Need to work with Jay on looking at expediting request.

A report is going to public works with an alternative recommendation. Get Dave to provide details of the draft report.

Sighting and grading are the issues.

Out of $125000 pb- 70,000 will be used for this initiative.

Roads and maintenance would have stats around how often the guard rail is being replaced along with the flashing posts.

Drew suggested electronic speed posting sign... Jay Farr to look at temporary.

40km per hour speed limit being the lowest speed limit allowed by the provincial law.  30 km being looked at for school zones.

Wentworth 2 way conversion is approved for 350K all the way to Barton.  Design in 2015 and plan to implement in 2016.

Knock downs are a good idea -  Ben's idea.

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 21:22:16 in reply to Comment 110563

oh yay, Wentworth 2 way conversion. Can't wait to see this. It's set up perfectly to leave parking on one side, and simply go 1-lane each way.

We all know what the odds of that are. We'll get some crazy 3 lane one way, 1 lane the other with personal turnings lanes into people's driveways.

I'd rather no streets get converted until we actually know what the heck we're doing in this city.

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By bikehounds (anonymous) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 20:13:17 in reply to Comment 110563

40 is the lowest speed limit allowed by law? That sounds odd. Even if true, we could still design to encourage lower speeds. Narrow lanes and a speed hump or two.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 20:32:38 in reply to Comment 110564

40 is the lowest speed limit allowed by law? That sounds odd.

Agreed, since 30 was set up on John North around Bennetto school. Does that mean that it's not enforcable? We need clarity around that point of legality on lowest posted speed.

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By notlloyd (registered) - website | Posted March 25, 2015 at 21:20:08

It is like someone swatted a bee's nest here.

I have lived within ten blocks of this area since 1962. As far as I know, one person has died there - killed by a drunk driver - in the dark. She was running with dark clothing along the side of the road - not across the trail - and most importantly of all, the killer was drunk.

This is not the most dangerous section of roadway in Hamilton. It hardly warrants the vitriol above.

No one will take anyone here seriously based on most of these comments. (I like the Seancb proposal # 2- simple and effective.)

Comment edited by notlloyd on 2015-03-25 21:22:57

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 21:24:00 in reply to Comment 110567

'only' one person killed. Feel free to share that with her family.

And hundreds of ridiculous close calls, and more importantly, people who stay away and parent's who can't allow their kids to go alone because of fear of being run over.

This is such a low volume street it's insane that we won't completely stop the traffic to allow the pedestrians/cyclists safe passage.

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By notlloyd (registered) - website | Posted March 25, 2015 at 21:30:20 in reply to Comment 110569

Ignore my comment below. You've convinced me. Let's spend 20 million and tunnel the cars under!

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted March 27, 2015 at 17:48:31 in reply to Comment 110571

Or spend an insignificant fraction of that and stop the cut through car drivers.

Comment edited by KevinLove on 2015-03-27 17:49:51

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By whatthef (anonymous) | Posted March 27, 2015 at 19:06:58 in reply to Comment 110656

what does that picture have to do with anything debated here. Wentworth is not a cut through problem.

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted March 27, 2015 at 20:23:46 in reply to Comment 110657

Don't quite understand this comment. Wentworth is a residential street. The children going to school (and everyone else) should have appropriate infrastructure to protect them by eliminating cut-through car drivers.

This is cheap and easy to do, and has been done in many locations in Hamilton.

Comment edited by KevinLove on 2015-03-27 20:36:44

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted March 27, 2015 at 20:48:33 in reply to Comment 110658

Yep, looks like a residential street to me. Here is a view from the trail crossing.

Comment edited by KevinLove on 2015-03-27 20:54:20

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted March 27, 2015 at 20:55:57 in reply to Comment 110659

Markdown test

Wentworth view

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted March 27, 2015 at 20:58:21 in reply to Comment 110660

Test failed. Anyone have any idea why the link works but not the image syntax?

Try again...

try again

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By markdown (anonymous) | Posted March 28, 2015 at 18:14:37 in reply to Comment 110662

Because the image syntax needs to point to an actual image file, not a website. TO post google maps images you need to capture it and upload it somewhere as a static image and then link to THAT image. If you are on windows, download open source "Greenshot" which allows you to capture a portio nof your screen and upload it directly to an image host, copy the url and then markdown will work. with greeshot you can accomplish it in a few seconds without registering for any filehosting

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted March 29, 2015 at 17:37:47 in reply to Comment 110685

Thank you. I'll give that a try.

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By notlloyd (registered) - website | Posted March 25, 2015 at 21:28:36 in reply to Comment 110569

I did not say "only." Hundreds of people die every month in Hamilton. Should we spend hundreds of thousand of dollars each because their families are upset? As hard and cold as it is, resources are limited and must be spent wisely and not based on emotion.

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 22:01:48 in reply to Comment 110570

Umm, no.
We should spend millions to redesign our city so nobody is killed by completely preventable ways such as cars.

Take 12 minutes and look at what real cities all over the world are doing. Amazing how cities with gazillions more pedestrians can aim for 0 deaths, while we're too dangerous for busy pedestrian activity, and the rare bit we get results in dozens of easily preventable deaths each year.

https://vimeo.com/122483608

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By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted March 26, 2015 at 15:24:15 in reply to Comment 110572

Talk is cheap. Aiming for zero doesn't mean getting to zero. Vancouver touted with much ballyhoo their efforts to reduce pedestrian fatalities to zero since they were the worst city in Canada for pedestrian deaths. Everyone cheered. But after spending all the do ray me in the millions there has been no statistically relevant change. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/brit...

Comment edited by CharlesBall on 2015-03-26 15:24:52

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted March 26, 2015 at 17:55:14 in reply to Comment 110604

For a better, far more detailed, analysis of Vancouver's pedestrian issues and how to make streets safer in general, please read:

http://www.vanmag.com/News_and_Features/...

There are definitely safer ways to engineer streets and they can make a difference.

Some illustrative quotes:

Careless drivers and walkers help explain the number, but there are other reasons. More people walk in balmy Vancouver—in fact, city planners urge us to do so. The city, famous for its refusal to allow a freeway through it, has promoted itself as a walking city, creating pedestrian routes and changing traffic signals to favour pedestrians—all of which creates the conditions for billions of pedestrian/car interactions a year as 1.4 million vehicles and 2.1 million residents cross paths.

Studies don’t give all the answers, but they make one thing clear: pedestrian deaths don’t happen randomly. In Europe, Spain is the most deadly country, nearing Vancouver rates with 1.5 deaths per 100,000, attributable in part to the lack of crosswalks and penalties for drivers. The Netherlands is the safest, at .46 deaths per 100,000.

But his group will soon be installing something that ICBC has concluded does work: countdown lights. San Francisco recently found that not only did they cause walkers to stop racing into intersections at the last second, but the number of traffic collisions caused by drivers running a red light dropped from 45 percent to 34 percent.

And Sweden, with its "vision zero" campaign has dramatically reduced road deaths over the past twenty years. There is absolutely no reason to be fatalistic about deaths and injuries on our streets.

and note this headline from the Vancouver Sun in 2014:

"Vancouver pedestrian deaths at lowest level in 80 years: police data"

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Vancouv...

For even more background see http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/pedestrian... which points out that Vancouver has the second highest pedestrian modal share in North America (70% higher than Toronto), and the risk (fatalities per million walk to work trips) is 30% lower than Toronto. The graph on pedestrian collisions also shows a big decrease from 800 to 500 from 1996 to 2004, before it levels out.

Finally, this Vancouver police report shows pedestrian injuries are down slightly from 2010 to 2014 (about 350 to 325) and seem to be on a downward trend (although it is bit early to know). In those same years pedestrian deaths were 5, 9, 11, 8, 4.

http://vancouver.ca/police/organization/...

It is far too simplistic to claim that street design doesn't make a difference, focus on just a few years ... and to ignore the vastly higher rates of walking in Vancouver.

And the Globe and Mail article is simply wrong to claim that the changes have had no effect ... the lowest number of pedestrian fatalities since 1934 is pretty significant (as is a risk rate 30% lower than Toronto)!

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2015-03-26 18:05:57

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted March 26, 2015 at 19:16:06 in reply to Comment 110606

And compare with this very different Globe and Mail article from September 29, 2014:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-deb...

Meanwhile, Vancouver has just reported its lowest rate of pedestrian fatalities in 80 years; only one person killed this year (the city has an official goal of zero fatalities per year).

and

“Vancouver’s legacy is that it started with an aggressive vision in 1997, and it was followed by political will to carry through into real investment,” Prof. Frank says. That investment includes pedestrian-friendly initiatives such as widening sidewalks, narrowing intersections, raising crosswalks and lengthening crossing times at traffic lights. Twelve per cent of Vancouverites walk to work, and why wouldn’t they? They’ve got pretty scenery and reasonably low odds of ending up stuck to someone’s bumper.

Note that Vancouver's big drop in pedestrian collisions started in 1996.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2015-03-26 19:16:57

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 26, 2015 at 17:53:21 in reply to Comment 110604

Talk is cheap. Aiming for zero doesn't mean getting to zero.

Give me a city anyday of the week actually to aiming to get somewhere besides this....

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/co...

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By Core-B (registered) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 22:24:23

Jason Farr needs to get involved here. This is a ridiculous non solution. This has to be one of the top most dangerous pedestrian crossings. Whenever I cross here, I'm terrified. I'm in my late 60's and don't move as fast as I used to. There's no way in hell I'm going to walk down to Cumberland and then back up the hill to access the trail on the other side of the street. I'd rather cross the Main Street expressway; at least I can see the speeding cars well in advance.

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By dsafire (registered) - website | Posted March 29, 2015 at 22:37:23 in reply to Comment 110573

Call Farr. He keeps telling the Stinson Neighborhood Association this is the best they can do.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 22:39:21 in reply to Comment 110573

... and you're exactly who the crossing was primarily intended for. Most of us jog across and are not bothered. Hopefully this can still be a fixer.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 22:34:22

Having rode my bike on the sidewalk to go between my friend's house and the Tim Horton's on Main ... I just want to say THUMBS UP on the Wentworth two way. Not that any blitzes would target that spot for sidewalk cyclists, but I'm habitually a very lawful by-the-book rider, which made that awkward. But it was a dumb and pointless wayfinding obstruction.

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By Turning Blue (anonymous) | Posted March 25, 2015 at 23:20:32

Though way less trafficked or significant as this, maybe we could get something better for the Bruce Trail crossing on Beckett Drive as well? Didn't we just sign a pedestrian charter or something? Not holding my breath.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted March 27, 2015 at 12:14:40 in reply to Comment 110576

Again, I want to see this:

yield-to-pedestrian-sign

on every uncontrolled arterial crossing, especially ones where there is no reasonable alternative (can't go up 1 block to get to a proper crossing).

aside: Holy crap I hate Markdown's image syntax.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2015-03-27 12:16:24

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 27, 2015 at 12:40:04 in reply to Comment 110622

aside: Holy crap I hate Markdown's image syntax.

The image syntax mirrors the hyperlink syntax, but with an exclamation mark in front:

![Alt text](http://image.url "Optional title text")

That said, both of them seem to me to be backwards. My brain would rather put in the link first, followed by the text.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted March 27, 2015 at 12:47:13 in reply to Comment 110626

I just never remember where to put the exclamation mark. Seems wrong that it occurs outside of all the brackets/parens.

I get that they wanted to avoid using words because of internationalization, but I honestly think the html "img" tag is far clearer than the markdown one.

The html anchor tag is a trainwreck so Markdown's link syntax is appreciated (but backwards, I agree), but not the img tag.

I constantly have to rein in my Not-Invented-Here habit because I'm always tempted to roll my own Markdown-style language. And Lua. And SQL.

I have a problem.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2015-03-27 12:49:17

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 27, 2015 at 12:56:10 in reply to Comment 110627

Markdown is almost a great syntax. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a formal spec (just the original reference implementation in Perl) and its creator has taken a hands-off approach to its further development. Images aren't even an original part of the syntax but were added later by one of the forks - in the case of RTH, the python-markdown2 implementation.

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By higgicd (registered) | Posted March 26, 2015 at 06:31:48

They need to no longer be referred to as 'city staff'. Government is not a faceless anonymous entity, government is people. Who are these people that consistently make these decisions? It is time to clean house.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted March 27, 2015 at 11:47:18

As an early comment shows an image of the Jolly Cut at St. Joseph's Drive, this Google map view shows the 'light red ahead' sign just before a very similar down bound blind curve.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2015-03-27 11:48:57

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By CyclingHamilton (registered) - website | Posted April 02, 2015 at 12:34:36

A signalized crosswalk at the escarpment trail crossing would ruin one of the best high-speed downhill-downhill corners for cyclists in the city. There are precious few interesting moments left when riding Hamilton streets - from a cyclist standpoint, the city has this one right.

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By CarolineLC (registered) | Posted April 10, 2015 at 12:50:41 in reply to Comment 110858

Ooo - agree! I go east instead of west at the bottom of the Clairmont JUST for this little section! So fun!

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted April 02, 2015 at 15:32:10 in reply to Comment 110858

So we should close that stretch to cars completely?

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By z jones (registered) | Posted April 02, 2015 at 13:17:21 in reply to Comment 110858

Obvious concern troll is obvious.

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By roadrash (registered) - website | Posted April 07, 2015 at 12:12:46 in reply to Comment 110861

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted April 07, 2015 at 14:29:09 in reply to Comment 110896

LOL, funny jokes. Opposing a crosswalk because fictional cyclists on Wentworth might have to slow down isn't a "dissenting view", it's a lame concern troll.

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By Try cycling in london (anonymous) | Posted April 11, 2015 at 13:20:10

25 cycling death a year in London uk. Queens 55 year old interior decorator killed yesterday.

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