Special Report: Walkable Streets

Whitehead's Proposed Complete Streets Moratorium is Nakedly Cynical

It is Whitehead's job as a Councillor to lead for the good of this entire city, not to play this childish game of divisive political theatre.

By Ryan McGreal
Published November 26, 2015

Ward 8 Councillor Terry Whitehead has declared open war on livability improvements across the entire lower city in a notice of motion that would declare a moratorium on any new projects to make a lower city street safer and more inclusive while traffic impacts from the Light Rail Transit (LRT) project are still being studied.

Proposed area of moratorium on any new street safety improvement measures (Image Credit: Google Maps)
Proposed area of moratorium on any new street safety improvement measures (Image Credit: Google Maps)

Whitehead's motion, which he presented at last night's Council meeting as a notice of motion and will introduce in a subsequent meeting, is literally titled, "MORATORIUM ON ANY NEW PROJECTS, ROADWAY ALTERATIONS OR DESIGNS THAT REDUCE MOTOR VEHICLULAR CAPACITY ON ANY ROADWAY WITHIN THE LRT CORRIDOR".

Yes, it's yet another dispatch from the You Can't Make This Stuff Up files.

Whitehead argues that because the construction and operation of LRT will impact vehicle traffic on Main and King Streets, the City must not do anything to "reduce motor vehicular capacity on any roadway within the LRT corridor, bounded by Cootes Dr., the escarpment, Hamilton Harbour and Parkdale Ave. in order to safeguard the capacity of the existing road system within the LRT corridor" so that volumes displaced from Main and King can be "reassigned" to the "available capacity".

Never mind that part of the point of the LRT investment is to reduce the number of vehicle trips, not simply to displace them to other streets.

Amazingly, as part of his motion, Whitehead even has the nerve to cite the outstanding list of planned lower city two-way conversions, many of which were approved almost 15 years ago, as a reason to put a freeze on a new street improvement plans.

The city's decades of inaction and stalling on taming its urban thoroughfares is already an embarrassment. It is certainly no excuse to delay change even longer!

Reaction to Aberdeen

It is clear that Whitehead's sweeping motion is at least in part a reaction to a recent notice of motion from Ward 1 Councillor Aidan Johnson to make Aberdeen Avenue safer and more inclusive, a move that Whitehead reflexively opposes because he sees Aberdeen as merely a shortcut for Ward 8 residents to get to Highway 403 a little bit faster.

It is equally clear that actual facts have made no impact on Whitehead's opposition. Aberdeen carries 18,000 cars a day, most of them short-cutting through the neighbourhood. That volume can easily be accommodated on a street with one lane in each direction and left-turn lanes, creating safer space for walking and cycling without preventing Aberdeen from serving as a through route.

Aberdeen is a racetrack most hours of the day, and traffic still flows freely even during rush hour. The only slowdowns are at the corner of Queen and Aberdeen, where traffic has to turn through a signalized intersection and sometimes backs up behind a red light.

Animated GIF: Typical Traffic on Garth, Beckett, Aberdeen on a Monday, AM peak, midday and PM peak (Image Credit: Google Maps)
Animated GIF: Typical Traffic on Garth, Beckett, Aberdeen on a Monday, AM peak, midday and PM peak (Image Credit: Google Maps)

Aberdeen could be ten lanes wide and traffic would still have to slow down to go through that intersection. It is instructive that the Beckett Drive escarpment access is only one lane in each direction and carries over 20,000 cars a day without problem.

Even here, part of the problem for northbound traffic coming down the Escarpment is that Queen Street is one-way southbound north of Herkimer, so everyone heading northwest is forced to divert left onto Aberdeen (or rat-run down Stanley Avenue).

Converting Queen to two-way would reduce the need to turn left onto Aberdeen, but Whitehead is also reflexively opposed to any change on Queen Street, no matter how little sense it makes to keep Queen as an overbuilt one-way street.

Queen Street South during afternoon rush hour on November 23, 2015
Queen Street South during afternoon rush hour on November 23, 2015

Cynical and Nakedly Selfish

Implementing a complete street design on Aberdeen is a classic win-win situation: it will improve the street for people who live on and around it without preventing cut-through traffic from continuing to use it, albeit at safer, more reasonable speeds. But Whitehead doesn't care about this. He is interested in raw politicking, not in solutions.

His motion to freeze progress across the entire lower city is deeply cynical and nakedly selfish. He is not acting in the interests of his constituents, who would still be able to use Aberdeen as a shortcut to the highway, and he is certainly not acting in the best interest of the city as a whole.

Rather, he is following the classic reactionary right-wing tactic of driving a wedge into the city in order to inflame the worst impulses of knee-jerk fear and resentment and pit different constituencies against each other.

Whitehead can dress up the motion all he wants in the language of process, but his own stream of commentary over the past several weeks and, indeed, years sinks this convenient embrace of analysis before action.

He is deeply prejudiced against any outcome that would allow streets in the lower city to become safer, more inclusive and more useful for everybody.

He sees lower city streets as nothing more than a traffic sewer, a conduit to somewhere else, and he automatically resists any change that might shift the balance between the convenience of fast, dangerous cut-through traffic and the basic needs of the people who actually live on and around these streets.

It is particularly cynical that Whitehead is using LRT as his excuse not to implement any more complete streets. The evidence overwhelmingly tells us that LRT will be far more successful at attracting new riders, new investment and more effective land use patterns if it is combined with complete streets that encourage walking, cycling and transit.

To suggest that we should not implement complete streets because LRT is coming is ludicrous. The most generous thing you can say about it is that it utterly fails to understand why LRT is so important in the first place.

It is Whitehead's job as a Councillor to lead for the good of this entire city, not to play this childish game of divisive political theatre. Ward 8 residents deserve better from their representative at Council, and the city as a whole deserves better from the people who choose to lead it.

Text of the Motion

Following is the text of Whitehead's Notice of Motion:

Council Date: November 25, 2015

MOVED BY COUNCILLOR T. WHITEHEAD

MORATORIUM ON ANY NEW PROJECTS, ROADWAY ALTERATIONS OR DESIGNS THAT REDUCE MOTOR VEHICULAR CAPACITY ON ANY ROADWAY WITHIN THE LRT CORRIDOR

WHEREAS the City is currently reviewing the existing road network and road use priorities via a Transportation Master Plan Update;

WHEREAS City Council has already directed staff to convert specific roadways from one-way to two-way operation which effects [sic] capacity on roadways as follows:

(i) Bold St. from James St. S. to Queen St. S.
(ii) Duke St. from James St. S. to Queen St. S.
(iii) Hughson St. N. from Wilson St. to Barton St. E.
(iv) King William St. from John St. N. to Wellington St. N.
(v) Wentworth St. N. from Delaware Ave. to King St. E.
(vi) Victoria Ave. N. from Barton St. E. to Burlington St. E.
(vii) Caroline St. N. from King St. to York Blvd.
(viii) Hess St. N. from York Blvd. to Barton St. W.

WHEREAS Traffic staff support the additional conversion of Wentworth St. N. between King St. E. and Barton St. E. such that Wentworth St be a continuous two way street between the escarpment and Burlington St.;

WHEREAS bicycle lanes have already been established or approved for implementation on Hunter St., York Blvd., Cannon St., Charlton Ave., Herkimer St., Dundurn St. and Bay St. thereby reducing motor vehicle capacity on these major roadways;

WHEREAS The Province has approved 1.2 Billion Dollars in funding for the development of Light Rail Transit (LRT) in the City of Hamilton;

WHEREAS LRT Traffic Impact studies have not yet been completed and therefore the impact of the vehicle offloading from King St. and Main St. to the adjacent surrounding road network in the lower City is unknown; and

WHEREAS the parking, delivery and loading of goods and services in the LRT corridor has not been determined;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:

(a) That the City place a moratorium on any new projects, roadway alterations or designs that reduce motor vehicular capacity on any roadway within the LRT corridor, bounded by Cootes Dr., the escarpment, Hamilton Harbour and Parkdale Ave. in order to safeguard the capacity of the existing road system within the LRT corridor such that when volumes need to be reassigned from Main and or [sic] King during the LRT Construction and subsequent operation, that there is available capacity within the remaining roadway system;

(b) That planned or emergency roadway reconstruction, repaving of roadways and servicing of utilities in the corridor be exempt from the moratorium with the condition that they be scheduled to have minimum concurrent interference with LRT construction; and

(c) that the LRT Project Team report back to the General Issues Committee once traffic impacts studies are completed, with the expected roadway traffic volume reassignment and traffic impacts of the reassignment on roadways within the LRT corridor.


(h/t to Samantha Craggs at CBC Hamilton, who posted the motion on twitter: page 1, page 2)

Related:

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.

77 Comments

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 09:06:51

So, a driver coming from King and Ottawa to get downtown for work is now going to be using Aberdeen? Or Main West? Or Cootes Dr? Or Queen?

This is one of the dumbest things to ever come out of city hall. And that's saying something.

If he really cared about solutions he would ask staff to report back on converting Main and Wilson to two-way traffic. They could both easily handle any overflow from King during construction. Furthermore, we should put bus lanes both ways on Main years before LRT in order to give people a more convenient option on transit and take even more cars off the road prior to LRT opening.

I'm pretty sure Hamilton is the first backwards, hillbilly city to ever get an LRT system. This is going to be a disaster to watch modern, 21st Century city-building practices butt up against 1970's Los Angeles style vision from councillors like this.

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By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted November 27, 2015 at 03:23:04 in reply to Comment 115076

Being to Los Angeles twice a year for several years in the last ten years... Los Angeles has LRTs in freeway medians. That's a bit more backwards than ours; but they are compensating partially from the freeway binge era.

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By Haveacow (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 09:18:04

I missed something here. Maybe you do things a little differently in Hamilton, there is no time or date stamp on the motion itself, about what meeting (Council or a Committee) or vote it applies to. Is it a independent motion designed to start an issue or is part of an existing vote and or a known series of amendments to a vote? I am a little confused, the motion has no specifics of whether this vote has already occurred or not?. When did they vote on it or has the motion yet to be voted on? The next city council meeting? What is the date of the next meeting? At what point of the proceedings will this vote be done. Usually in Ottawa where I live, a motion has to have what point or vote its referring too. There is usually a reference number of a report or explanation/history of which issue this is regarding and when the vote will be on the schedule of the next committee/council meeting in advance.

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted November 26, 2015 at 14:41:02 in reply to Comment 115077

It was a notice of motion - a councillor can ask council to "waive the rules" to immediately bring a notice of motion to the floor as a motion (often in cases where the motion is time-sensitive). Whitehead decided not to ask for the rules to be waived, so likely it'll be back at the next council meeting in two weeks.

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 12:06:36 in reply to Comment 115077

oh trust me, we do things differently here. You don't end up as the depressed donut hole in the middle of Canada's most prosperous region by accident.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 09:35:27

Call him on his bluff. Conversions don't actually reduce capacity, just the perception of capacity ie. speed.

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By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 09:40:23

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By Crass (anonymous) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 14:46:14 in reply to Comment 115081

A bit crass but I get your point.

So if you don't like it, get a group going and bug your alderman. You're just lazy and unhappy that some active people are getting their way.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 12:21:28 in reply to Comment 115081

How is it that the 'democratic process' gets the press 'on your side'? Ever? What a bizarre twist of logic...

As for those you refer to as 'You people', I am personally glad they are here fighting and advocating for a better city. I support them and I think Hamiltonians are fortunate to have people in this city who care enough to take time out of their personal lives towards this effort.

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By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 12:41:20 in reply to Comment 115097

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 14:12:00 in reply to Comment 115100

Many of these changes WERE voted on in Participatory budgeting in wards 1 and 2, specifically the two-way conversions of Bold and Duke and traffic calming on Aberdeen. These were exactly referendums, with plenty of advance discussion and information.

If you are asking that every change in every street in every ward get its own referendum voted on by the entire city, that would be crazy! Should the entire city have voted on Wilson Street in Ancaster? Street calming on the Mountain? A new stop sign Dundas?

Regarding LRT, there was a Provincial election and a local election. Pro-LRT candidates won Mayoralty contest, the ward contests in the wards with the LRT and the anti-LRT Provincial candidates lost. The previous Mayor ran on a pro-LRT platform, and Eisenberger was pro-LRT in his first term. How many more votes do you need? Why does this particular project need a city-wide referendum? We don't have referenda for every big project (Red Hill, the Stadium, The Linc, ...) and we certainly don't have referenda for every change in street design. Should we have had a city-wide referendum on the Queen Street hill re-build? The Cannon bike lanes? A new rec centre on the Mountain?

The vision for LRT has always included complete streets renovations of the streets along the corridor: Metrolinx and the City have been clear about this for the past seven years!

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2015-11-26 15:14:59

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 15:37:28 in reply to Comment 115114

you're missing the main point Nicholas. It doesn't matter what % of the population votes for a specific issue. As long as they do so at Westcliffe Mall. That's the only place where public participation matters.

Comment edited by JasonL on 2015-11-26 16:37:48

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By Westcliffe (anonymous) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 16:49:00 in reply to Comment 115124

Maybe more of us need to attend the Westcliffe sessions more often.

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By Westcliffe Maul (anonymous) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 16:53:49 in reply to Comment 115132

They're not public meetings, Whitehead prefers to meet people one at a time so they can't get organized and he can tell them whatever he wants.

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By Cram it with walnuts (anonymous) | Posted November 27, 2015 at 17:25:36 in reply to Comment 115133

Have you been to one of those? All the people complain about the same things. Things like people hijacking the democratic process to get their agendas pushed, like RTD

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By Referendum (anonymous) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 13:55:28 in reply to Comment 115100

So long as your referendum includes expanding the one way street network across the entire city - including the mountain. Voting to keep it in place in the lower city only while excluding its expansion to all areas is disingenuous at best.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 13:03:28 in reply to Comment 115100

did you ever see that Simpson's episode where Homer met his rich car company owning long lost brother and after much slapstick hilariosity ended up designing a car for him? If you let everyone vote on everything, that will be your car...

A true democracy elects decision makers. Let the various interest groups try to persuade and influence, that's fine by me. Funny though how the majority wants wider streets and no bike lanes and faster one way traffic but there isn't a single community organization representing that view. No blog or website (well I think there was one started by an angry basement dweller but it seems to have fizzled). I've never heard of there being a Mac lecture by someone advocating narrower sidewalks and heavier trucks. Lots of armchair experts tho. TONS of those. hm.

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By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 13:48:44 in reply to Comment 115102

I agree fully with your first point. If we had neighborhood associations running the city we would have no through streets.

I like your second point at first.

The trouble with groups are, that the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

LRT, one way streets, major arterial roads and cross town traffic are City wide issues.

You don't have groups advocating wider roads because people are largely happy with what they have. You start plugging up and delaying people from getting to work or school, I expect you will hear from them.

Ask Whitehead or any other counselor if they have heard from people who oppose the LRT. I expect they have.

Do you think the LRT would survive a referendum?

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By reality check (anonymous) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 21:19:07 in reply to Comment 115109

We can't afford what the suburban voters want. We just can't. No referendum will change that. We have absolutely no choice but to densify the downtown and make it livable, and the suburban dwellers simply have to find another route if they don't want to slow down. It's math. You can argue with 2+2=4 all you want. But even a 100% vote that says it's 5 won't make it so.

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By Vote Not (anonymous) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 14:00:48 in reply to Comment 115109

It's not uncommon for individuals to vote against their own self interest.

The city is going broke supporting a civic model of limitless sprawl. It is not sustainable. Do you think the masses lapping it up would vote against continuing the model that currently subsidizes their own selfish behaviour?

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By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 14:23:07 in reply to Comment 115113

Urban sprawl is a blight. The road systems we have in the suburbs is nauseating. A complete moratorium on development outside current boundaries for almost all municipalities would force us to re-think what we are doing.

That said.

The GTA has increase almost 6x in size since I was child. Yet the road networks, subways and train systems have not kept up. Most municipalities that froze the planning projects proposed in the late 1970's used the money for pensions. We lost our ski hills in Hamilton not because people weren't using them, but because closed shop unions prevented affordable operations. We are going broke for a lot of reasons and that is too big an issue to discuss here - but it is a valid question.

If an overall plan was presented to the population in a concise and understandable way, people would do the right thing most of the time.

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By Logic (anonymous) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 14:57:24 in reply to Comment 115115

More roads. Less unions.

Got it.

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By Exactly (anonymous) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 16:43:11 in reply to Comment 115119

Exactly. Less closed shop union/government theft. More subways, LRT's etc.

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By lrt (anonymous) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 16:35:12 in reply to Comment 115119

Less unions more let.

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By ski (anonymous) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 16:34:21 in reply to Comment 115119

Less unions more skiing.

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By less is more (anonymous) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 21:21:40 in reply to Comment 115128

less sprawl, more roads

less other people, more space for me

less reality more referendums

terry whitehead is larry david. one rule for every situation: "me first"

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By OK (anonymous) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 13:58:21 in reply to Comment 115109

"LRT, one way streets, major arterial roads and cross town traffic are City wide issues."

Why is it that so many people from the mountain come down the hill and traverse the city from below the escarpment vs. staying up top for their cross town trip? Think about it for a minute.

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By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted November 26, 2015 at 10:43:04 in reply to Comment 115081

Wards aren't at the street level. In past polling, the electorate adjacent to Alberdeen is near unamious, even those not attending.

We don't do that sort of gerrymandering, but at the same time, it's noteworthy the street CAN still function as a minor arterial after becoming more "complete street", and still move pratically the same number of cars (albiet at a defacto lower speed limit, by the virtue of street taming, which improves safety).

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By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 12:39:46 in reply to Comment 115087

I think you miss my point completely.

This is not about Aberdeen or the KNA. This is about a City wide road diet designed to implement a LRT inspired vision of major traffic changes.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 13:07:35 in reply to Comment 115099

I think the core point of your initial comment was to offend. It started with the first word. A nice drippingly sarcastic 'Congratulations'.

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By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 13:34:05 in reply to Comment 115103

No. Not to offend.

This is well done. I don;t agree with it obviously. But it is well done.

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By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted November 27, 2015 at 03:33:13 in reply to Comment 115108

I politely point out that semantics matter here. Usually, a "Congratulations" is an agreement / happy / pleasant / genuine. Even if it is not meant as sarcastic, it is out-of-etiquette of the use of the word in many peer groups / families / cultures.

I politely point out you said "I don't agree with it obviously" which is counter to expected norms of the non-offensive (by the POV of the recipient) use of the word "Congratulations" by all possible groups of people.

Just politely pointing these semantics out.

Comment edited by mdrejhon on 2015-11-27 04:34:15

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By ass face (anonymous) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 21:23:14 in reply to Comment 115108

the only people making terry whitehead look like an ass are past terry, present terry and future terry.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 13:49:33 in reply to Comment 115108

don't forget to slow clap while you claim 'well done'...

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By Borrelli (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 10:15:37 in reply to Comment 115081

Yeah, ChuckBall, it totally was the Spec article that made Whitehead look like an ass, not the amateur-hour motion. It is a killjoy that the lower-City councillors are too mature to fight fire with fire and introduce emotions calling for a moratorium on new side-walks on the mountain or something equally childish. I guess only some residents are worthy of safe streets, and us lower-City dwellers just don't cut it.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 26, 2015 at 10:14:34 in reply to Comment 115081

Where is this coming from? I actually made a presentation on complete streets at the most recent Kirkendall Neighbourhood Association meeting and it was a large, jam-packed room full of people who were very enthusiastic about making Aberdeen safer and more inclusive. I have yet to talk with anyone in the neighbourhood who doesn't support calming the dangerously high vehicle speeds on our streets.

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 12:07:21 in reply to Comment 115084

unless it happened with 11 people at Westcliffe Mall it doesn't count as public engagement.

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By charlesball (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 11:20:08 in reply to Comment 115084

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By Mr. Safety (anonymous) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 12:31:49 in reply to Comment 115089

I say no right turn sign on red light, that's it thank you very much

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 22:58:35 in reply to Comment 115098

been asking this for years since my first trip to Montreal. How glorious to see those 'no right on red on entire island' signs while exiting the highways in Montreal. So simple, yet a massive improvement for pedestrians.

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 12:08:41 in reply to Comment 115089

Aberdeen is a minor arterial and is barely a few km long tucked under the escarpment in a purely residential neighbourhood, not 'cross-town'.

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By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 12:15:40 in reply to Comment 115095

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Comment edited by CharlesBall on 2015-11-26 13:54:57

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 13:12:20 in reply to Comment 115096

because city-wide road diets have really been going gangbusters at city hall.

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By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 13:32:12 in reply to Comment 115105

You make my point quite nicely.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 11:38:07 in reply to Comment 115089

First, Aberdeen is classified as a "minor arterial", not a major arterial. And it is currently well under-capacity for a four lane street.

A bunch of people meeting, organizing and requesting changes is called democracy and citizen engagement. The fact that the organization was spearheaded by the neighbourhood association further legitimizes the concerns.

The KNA is well-established and the elected Councillor has determined that they are a reliable representative voice for the community. The Councillor confirmed that the concerns are widespread, not just for residents of Aberdeen, and well-justified and decided to support them and find a solution.

Again, this is how democracy works!

That solution will represent a balance between the interests of non-residents who wish to drive through without undue impediments, and the interests of residents for a safe, comfortable and attractive neighbourhood. The City will hold PIC's and non-residents who have concerns can attend or email to make their views known. Or they could even organize their own group!

As has been pointed out multiple times, the street is currently under-capacity and this excess capacity can be re-purposed to improve the design for residents without significantly impacting traffic (based on standards for capacity).

You may disagree, but "being the best place to engage citizens" is one of the City's official goals! And it is just bizarre to claim that residents or councillors or the city should not be able to make any modifications to street design or other aspects of the urban design because people knew what it was like when they bought their house. Councillors all over the city are constantly pushing for improvements: look at the re-design of Wilson street in Ancaster, or new Rec Centres or playgrounds!

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By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 12:45:45 in reply to Comment 115091

No where have I said or implied that Aberdeen is anything other than as you say. The article is not about Aberdeen other than the odd inclusion of the KNA stuff.

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By BigBalls (anonymous) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 09:57:16 in reply to Comment 115081

What a creepy, back handed comment, do you have some reason to think Clr Johnson and the KNA are not representing what people living around Aberdeen want? Also Whitehead doesn't need the Spec's help to look like an ass.

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By RobF (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 10:23:15

Nuisance motion designed to polarize as LRT consultation gets underway ... where was the LRT citizens' panel meeting last night?

On substance: To get full value from the province's LRT investment the design and function of all lower-city streets will need to be reviewed to both encourage and facilitate a modal shift toward transit. The LRT could be a boon for SoBi too. But only if more streets are given a "complete streets" makeover and a "real" bike network is created, so more people feel safe on two wheels.

For the streets upon which the LRT will travel it is essential to make the design changes as part of the overall design and implementation of LRT. Why would you want to go through the disruption of the construction process without addressing all the needs of the street for the foreseeable future ... We do want people to want to go downtown and spend time and money there right?

Of course, those of us that live on or near one-way streets should avoid wanting them converted and tamed ... so that people can continue to drive fast through our neighbourhoods. Nice.

Comment edited by RobF on 2015-11-26 11:32:25

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By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted November 27, 2015 at 03:03:40 in reply to Comment 115086

The LRT citizen panel was at Mohawk College watching a Calgary Transit presentation. It was an open-to-public presentation, so several of us went there, myself included. Some of this was livetweeted in our advocacy's @ham_LRT account amongst others (including the Citizen Jury's @HamCitzJury account.)

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By RobF (registered) | Posted November 27, 2015 at 11:17:40 in reply to Comment 115162

I saw some of the tweets. I'd have attended, but had a scheduling conflict. Sounded like an interesting presentation.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 10:43:56

What a minute, it is not even clear what "REDUCE MOTOR VEHICULAR CAPACITY" actually means.

A two-way conversion doesn't reduce motor-vehicular capacity, and neither does narrower lanes or adding bike lanes (provided they don't remove traffic lanes). In fact most traffic calming doesn't reduce capacity, if by capacity you mean km-lanes dedicated to vehicles,

If Whitehead means maximum through-put (at below the legal speed limit) it would actually require traffic modelling of the proposed change to determine whether it would actually reduce traffic flow, which is pretty complex as it depends on desired service level, and demand. And does he mean "maximum capacity" at rush hour, or capacity averaged over the day or week? So, maybe he is really just asking for traffic modelling of proposed changes.

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By fmurray (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 21:00:21 in reply to Comment 115088

Thank you for raising this point, Nicholas.

Converting our one-way streets back to two-way will not reduce lanes for car travel.

Two-way opponents need to remember two-way streets are more efficient. How many times do you have to drive out of your way to get where you are going in this city? We do it without thinking about it, but try thinking about it each and every time. It's hugely inconvenient.

Think of how much easier life would be as a car driver if you could drive east OR west on Main, south OR north on Queen, etc.

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By Core-B (registered) | Posted November 30, 2015 at 09:37:38 in reply to Comment 115142

At a recent function at the Lincoln Alexander Centre (King and Mary) the out of town guest speaker drove in on Main St from the 403. Unfortunately, he went was far as the Delta before he got turned around. Not a nice introduction.

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By disorient (anonymous) | Posted November 30, 2015 at 01:44:17 in reply to Comment 115142

The endless looping around the one-ways is disorienting for new people (from Toronto), and it adds all kinds of speed and distance to what should often be a direct trip.

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By honestly (anonymous) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 21:27:31 in reply to Comment 115142

this point needs to be hammered in to the short cutters.

and in fact, the light timing could change based on rush direction so that both king AND main have friendly timing for drivers at given times of day...

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 15:27:21 in reply to Comment 115088

That's a good point. He should have a study done to determine if the capacity of the road would be limited based on the speed limit. By that measure none of roads in the core would be subject to his moratorium.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 19:13:19 in reply to Comment 115122

Exactly. Call his bluff, I say.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 15:15:02 in reply to Comment 115088

I think you're giving him too much credit. I don't think he's given it any more thought beyond his own conflation of speed with capacity.

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By JohnnyHamont (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 11:31:22

Oh please, please, please can Johnson/ Farr/ Green motion for a "moratorium on road widenings in the upper city/ Red Hill Valley corridor" until LRT construction is finished?

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By Leaflet (anonymous) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 13:09:31

Perhaps someone could put together a leaflet explaining how improving lower City conditions would benefit Ward 8 residents as well (improved tax base, etc.) and distribute it there widely. Terry only plays this card because he scores points with a vocal few there who see themselves as separate from the folks below the escarpment. There are many in his ward who might take exception to his antics if the full ramifications of them were brought to their attention.

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By ClaraBell (anonymous) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 14:56:49

Could it be argued that a 5, 10 or 26 storey condo development with less than 1 parking spot per unit would fall under "ANY NEW PROJECT, ... THAT REDUCEs MOTOR VEHICULAR CAPACITY ON ANY ROADWAY WITHIN THE LRT CORRIDOR"?

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted November 26, 2015 at 15:51:31

Terry Whitehead has become a caricature of himself:

https://twitter.com/terrywhitehead/statu...

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 22:56:28 in reply to Comment 115125

I think that's one of the parody accounts

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted November 27, 2015 at 17:37:43 in reply to Comment 115153

It really isn't.

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By fmurray (registered) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 22:58:10

Twitter users should stop "engaging" with Terry Whitehead. I know I'm one of the worst culprits for replying when he says something ridiculous -- it's very hard to stay silent. But I'm beginning to think he gets some kind of thrill from poking at us and then repeating the same talking points over and over again. We believe if we can just show him some facts, some evidence from multitudes of studies, he will have to be reasonable. That's a false hope.

He's like the little brother who annoys you and your parents said, "Just ignore him". I think we should go with that advice. It will be better for our stress levels if we just accept the fact TW is stuck in his current mode of thinking and will only see the light when he is old and decrepit, living downtown and trying to get around with his walker while avoiding a collision with a speeding car.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted November 29, 2015 at 15:49:32 in reply to Comment 115154

I'm with Ryan on this one. He is unable to put together a cogent argument on Twitter and responds to well-reasoned points-of-view with verbal attacks and even subtle threats at times, not to mention that he shows himself unable to understand the proposals he is arguing against. The more he debates engaged, thoughtful and knowledgeable citizens on twitter, the more people are going to see that he has no idea what he is doing.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 27, 2015 at 06:27:44 in reply to Comment 115154

It may give Whitehead a thrill to troll people on twitter, but he is an elected official and other people are paying attention. I debate with him because I know other people are watching.

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By trolling or baiting? (anonymous) | Posted November 29, 2015 at 21:21:15 in reply to Comment 115167

So it's really not a debate then, is it. It's about baiting and trolling who you think is a troll. Got it.

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By twithead (anonymous) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 23:32:13 in reply to Comment 115154

it's definitely time to stop being respectful and civilized to that bigot

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By misterque (registered) - website | Posted November 26, 2015 at 23:25:07

The proposed moratorium has completely shocked everyone that I have shown it too. It has shocked them almost as much as the "wards versus bus lane map." I really think it is time to silent treatment the TW troll. Spend your time and energy convincing councilors that can listen, and possibly vote against his circular twiddle twaddle.

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By yup (anonymous) | Posted November 26, 2015 at 23:34:12 in reply to Comment 115156

Agreed. I think it's time to organize a message to every other councillor that basically says "is this the moron you want to align yourself with?"

He's an embarrassment.

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By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted November 27, 2015 at 03:10:08

There are 3-lane (center turning lane) roads elsewhere in North America that is already doing 25,000 cars per day. It should be within the abilities of an Alberdeen Road Diet.

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By Whitehead tha based god (anonymous) | Posted November 27, 2015 at 09:42:34

Hamilton sidewalks are a gd nightmare. Any motion to keep them from being made safer is unacceptable. Terry's decision making is like his golf swing.. Lacking good form.

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted November 27, 2015 at 11:05:31

We should have a drive Terry day. All wards under review should drive a parade through every residential street on our way to the Linc.

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By fmurray (registered) | Posted November 27, 2015 at 11:28:50

And now Andrew Dreschel has jumped into the fray with his usual support of downtown neighbourhoods (not).

Ryan, can you submit this article to the Spec? I think they'll want 650 words.

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By SouthpawCraig (registered) | Posted November 27, 2015 at 17:09:11

Terry Whitehead is Hamilton's Rob Ford, minus the drug scandals.

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted November 29, 2015 at 21:25:07

Having read through a number of TWs recent twitter "exchanges" (in disbelief) I have to say that there seems no reason to further engage him. His views are political - full stop. He is only one vote.

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