Special Report: Walkable Streets

How Many More People Have to Die?

Enough is enough. It's time to stop using endless plans and studies as an excuse to keep delaying necessary action to make Hamilton safer for everyone.

By Ryan McGreal
Published December 03, 2015

Yesterday, it took two hours of passionate citizen delegations and heated debate for Councillors at the General Issues Committee to agree to study one street next year for possible traffic calming, once the Transportation Master Plan review has been completed and not before.

A mother walks her young children inches away from traffic lanes on Aberdeen Avenue
A mother walks her young children inches away from traffic lanes on Aberdeen Avenue

Again, the vote was not to implement traffic calming, but rather just to study it a year from now.

Meanwhile, a person walking on the sidewalk downtown was struck and killed by a driver last week, and a person riding a bike up the Claremont Access was struck by a driver and killed last night.

Claremont Access from Southam Park (RTH file photo)
Claremont Access from Southam Park (RTH file photo)

According to a November 2013 report from the Social Planning and Research Council, Hamilton has an injury risk for people walking that is 42 percent higher than the provincial average, and an injury rate for people riding bicycles that is 81 percent higher than the provincial average.

This is appalling, and it should have been enough to galvanize fast, decisive action. Instead, we continue to crawl at a snail's pace through a backlog of un-funded street conversions that date back to 2001, almost 15 years ago.

The Claremont Access carries 25,000 cars a day on five wide, median-separated lanes. A sixth lane, the outside downbound lane on the south side, was closed years ago after a rockslide and has had absolutely zero impact on traffic volumes.

That in itself tells us we can easily dedicate an upbound lane for a protected multi-use path that connects the upper and lower city safely.

At the bottom of the Claremont, it splits into Wellington and Victoria Street. Between them, they are nine lanes wide and carry a total of 25,000 cars.

Victoria Street (Image credit: Google Street View)
Victoria Street (Image credit: Google Street View)

Think about that for a moment: it's utter insanity.

We are paying more than we can afford to maintain more vehicle lane capacity than we need, which directly results in both dangerous speeding and a lack of safe, protected space for people to walk or bike.

More expensive and more deadly - that's a pretty terrible bargain.

And we can keep going:

Sherman Avenue North is four lanes wide to carry less than 5,000 cars a day.

Sanford Avenue North is three-to-four lanes wide and carries a trifling 3,500-5,000 cars a day. There is a reason for those bollards on the sidewalk in front of the Catholic Children's Aid Society building.

Sidewalk bollards at Sanford and King (RTH file photo)
Sidewalk bollards at Sanford and King (RTH file photo)

Birch Avenue is three-to-four lanes wide and carries just a trickle of cars - less than 2,500 a day.

Birch Avenue (RTH file photo)
Birch Avenue (RTH file photo)

Wentworth Street only carries between 2,500 and 5,000 cars a day. Council did the right thing last week in approving Councillor Green's motion to convert it. If anything, the street will still need traffic calming measures even after two-way conversion.

Instead of being contentious, the debate should have taken as long as it took to read the motion - and it should have happened years ago.

Wentworth at Delaware (RTH file photo)
Wentworth at Delaware (RTH file photo)

Hamilton's shameful status as the second-most dangerous city in Ontario for walking is the predictable result of our steadfast commitment, decade after decade, to an overbuilt, cars-first transportation system that leaves almost no safe space for anyone who is not in a car.

Enough is enough. It's time to stop using endless plans and studies as an excuse to keep delaying necessary action to make Hamilton safer for everyone - and particularly its most vulnerable residents.

How many more people have to die before we decide this is a crisis worth taking seriously?

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.

68 Comments

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted December 03, 2015 at 10:11:39

Well said. The silence from city hall year after year is shameful.

FYI, your link from 2013 isn't active.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 03, 2015 at 10:13:12 in reply to Comment 115334

Thanks, fixed.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted December 03, 2015 at 10:42:59

I get why the Clairmont access hasn't gotten reworked, if it ever happens it will be a large expensive project. A million dollars of concrete jersey barriers. The city hasn't even bothered to fix the retaining wall because the traffic doesn't need it - that says a lot about the Clairmont.

But so many of these aren't. So many of Hamilton's problems could be solved with paint and knockdown-sticks and signs. They don't need to be gigantic epic projects.

Ryan and I disagree a bit on the buffered lanes on York and Victoria North that have no protection and double as a right-turn lane for cars - he dislikes them, but I see them as an incredibly easy fix for so many roads. Those things are perfect for zero-effort pilot projects. They're the spike solution for "lots of road with no parking on right-hand-side, no bike infrastructure, slap them down". They don't need planning hours, they don't need concrete or new signs or new traffic lights, they don't need long expensive consultation - just use cheap paint and try it for a year. Every one-way-street greater than two lanes wide in the entire city should have one. Are they my favourite accomodation? Of course not. You take nothing from drivers - not even right turning or pulling over for pick-up/drop-off - other than a little lane-capacity on a road that doesn't need it. In exchange for some breathing space for a cyclist.

But because of men like Whitehead, everything in Hamilton is a huge fight. Which means "low effort" solutions are still "high effort". If it takes as much fighting to get York-style lanes as it does to get a concrete bike-lane added to the Clairmont?

Screw it, let's get concrete on the Clairmont.

edit: aside, I shouldn't blame Whitehead too much for this, because I work at the General, and I see up-close a ludicrous example of the city's approach when it comes to cycling accomodation:

When the pipes under Victoria alongside HGH were torn up, the city did a stellar job. Parking bump-outs and a new buffered bike-lane in a place nobody even ever thought to build one. And then the Cannon track appeared! Great, a commute right to the general!

Except that between Cannon and Barton, there is no bike lane. There is no parking allowed on the right-hand-side of Victoria, so we're not taking away that service. And Victoria north of Barton carries almost as much traffic as it does South of it on 2 lanes instead of 4, so traffic isn't the reason for leaving that connection out.

The bike-lane North of Barton is used as a combined right-turn pick-up/drop-off and bikes lane. That means I have to stop often when biking on it. It isn't my favourite accomodation, but it's a decent compromise that works for everyone.

It's just paint, so cost isn't a reason. It's an obvious low-hanging fruit with no visible downside. You bring up a map of Hamilton's bike lanes and it's just staring at you.

This leaves me no other option than the obvious: Hamilton's cycling office is intensely lazy. Arranging for 1 block of paint is just too much trouble to bother with.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2015-12-03 10:52:22

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By MichaelHealey (registered) - website | Posted December 03, 2015 at 11:11:27 in reply to Comment 115337

Another possibility is the cycling office is operating in a culture of fear and intimidation, afraid to make one wrong move that might displease the wrong person.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 03, 2015 at 11:09:58 in reply to Comment 115337

A million dollars of concrete jersey barriers.

At a high estimate of $150 per metre for concrete barrier, you'd be looking at around $300,000 to build a protected multi-use path from Wellington and Jackson to Southam Park.

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By LifelongHamiltonian (registered) | Posted December 03, 2015 at 16:17:53 in reply to Comment 115343

Your quantification is EXACTLY on. When pricing highway projects, we pay $600/4 metre long piece to purchase and install temporary concrete barrier.

Comment edited by LifelongHamiltonian on 2015-12-03 16:18:29

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted December 03, 2015 at 14:52:16 in reply to Comment 115343

10-foot Jersey barriers cost under $200US each in quantity. The $100/m cost is reasonable as a materials cost.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted December 03, 2015 at 11:21:12 in reply to Comment 115343

That little? I just googled the price of stand-alone Jersey barriers and multiplied from there. $1000US for a 12' length, and it's about 2km, so about $600,000CAN in concrete. So my million was high, but that's before installation costs.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 03, 2015 at 11:26:33 in reply to Comment 115345

I used this report from BC in 2007, page 3: "Concrete Roadside Barrier, average cost to supply and install: $100/m" Because it's from 9 years ago, I increased the price by 50% for good measure.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted December 03, 2015 at 11:55:33 in reply to Comment 115346

Ah, thanks. Surprised we don't do it more at that price.

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted December 03, 2015 at 11:31:28 in reply to Comment 115346

I don't care how much $ it is. City Hall is FLUSH with cash based on how freely they throw it around for more highways, roads and never-ending widening of highways/roads every year. They never, not once, have used cost as a reason to not widen more roads. Clearly they have gobs of money laying around. It's time we put it to better use.

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By stefancaunter (registered) - website | Posted December 03, 2015 at 11:54:30 in reply to Comment 115347

There are many entrenched interests who will never permit restrictions on automobiles. It doesn't matter how much sense it makes, the system as it is makes money for them. Until the lawyers and insurance companies who profit from this mayhem are called out, nothing will change in my opinion.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 03, 2015 at 10:47:30

I just added up the total number of lanes on Sherman, Sanford, Birch and Wentworth. Using the lowest lane numbers and highest traffic numbers, we have a total of 14 lanes across the four streets carrying a total daily volume of 17,500 cars.

That's just 1,200 cars per lane per day. Utter insanity!

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2015-12-03 10:47:41

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By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted December 03, 2015 at 20:59:26 in reply to Comment 115338

For those people unitiated in car capacity mathematics, I shall point out there is 3,600 seconds in 1 hour (60 seconds times 60 minutes). A car trailing at 2 seconds is 1,800 cars per hour per lane on the freeway.

But we're talking only 1,200 cars per lane. And per DAY. Not per hour.

So there you go -- a glossary of car lane capacity mathematics.

Comment edited by mdrejhon on 2015-12-03 20:59:57

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By Seeing is Believing (anonymous) | Posted December 03, 2015 at 10:52:54

All of these Councillors who are so resistant to change need to get out and take a walk. Seriously.

If you only see life from behind the windshield of a car you have NO idea what it is like to try to walk in this city.

Given that they wouldn't try public transit I get that it is highly unlikely they will ever try to develop any level of understanding or empathy towards people not in cars.

This issue needs to be elevated to one of social justice - just like drunk driving. NO ONE should die for just trying to share a street.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 03, 2015 at 11:43:04 in reply to Comment 115339

I wish I could retweet this. Walk A Move.

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By MichaelHealey (registered) - website | Posted December 03, 2015 at 11:06:33

I am angered and saddened by just how wrong the lack of infrastructure situation is and by the impact it is having on people's lives. I agree the changes Ryan and Jason (in his RTH article published today) are long overdue and should be implemented forthwith.

I see the main issue though, is the mindset coming from city hall. Instead of a vision for zero deaths and a city-wide accommodation for active transportation we get councillors arguing that streets can't be made safe because it might inconvenience drivers (eg. Aberdeen, where a diet would slow traffic cutting through from Beckett to 403 down by a mere minute or two), or where opportunities to make currently-under-construction streets complete (Concession) are not grabbed because that street wasn't included in what is a woefully under-inspired Master Cycling Plan.

When I study detailed accounts of what other cities have accomplished with respect to active transportation infrastructure, invariably there was leadership at the municipal staff and governance level. Leadership for positive change. The leadership in Hamilton seem to be paralyzed by fear from taking a strong position in support of protecting those that bike and walk. When I say strong leadership, I mean more than the occasional tweet that they are all for complete streets. We need more than that - we need leadership that will pound (figuratively) the table and bring passion to this issue. As well, that leadership should be focused on mobilizing what appears to be a moribund city staff.

Mobilizing staff could well be a significantly serious issue as well. If the reports are accurate, that 50% or so of staff feel intimidated, then all it takes is for one or two seriously aggressive councillors to intimidate staff and impact how those staff respond and make decisions. And yes, there have been public displays of aggression towards the public by two councillors recently. When councillors shove journalists and use intimidation tactics on twitter, there is a strong likelihood there are councillors who will use aggression and intimidation with city staff.

Unfortunately, before any real progress can be realized in this city, the culture of fear and intimidation at city hall will need to be rectified. Intimidation and aggression are forms of abuse, and are unacceptable.

Organizationally, culture starts and stops at the top. I didn't see this issue feature prominently in the last mayoral election, but it should be at the top of the list of priorities for Mayor Eisenberger.

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By stefancaunter (registered) - website | Posted December 03, 2015 at 11:46:42

Safety is bad for business in Hamilton. HSR buses are wrapped in motor vehicle litigation advertising. Every billboard on Main is for a law firm that will represent you in litigation. Insurance companies are doing huge business.

Information is easily available: http://www.hamilton.ca/city-initiatives/...

Look at the municipal contribution lists. Eisenberger: insurance brokers, lawyers, both personal and corporate donations. It's all there. https://www.hamilton.ca/sites/default/fi...

No change to car priority with this system. None. Big donations to campaigns, and big advertising dollars spent to keep things just the way they are.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 03, 2015 at 12:46:51

I sent this as an email to City Council. Here's the reply I received from Ward 8 Councillor Terry Whitehead.

Our traffic experts rebukes the SPRC study, Stone Church is a complete street and yet the accident rates are similar if not greater than Aberdeen. Pedestrian accidents increased on internal streets as a result of traffic avoiding Stone Church because of congestion. Garrow and Cranbrook have become a cut thru for traffic. There is a elementary school located on Cranbrook. Traffic is like water it will find the path of least resistance. The purpose of arterial road is to make it more attractive than using local road networks. The experience on the mountain is we are now creating problems where they did not exist.

Because I read a number of books or journals on ‎medical solutions does not make me a Doctor. The same applies to you on traffic and complete streets.

I will rely on evidencary info as well as look at examples where it works and where it has created greater problems to inform me of the proper solutions. I glad Jason Leach raised Stone Church in the past discussions. I know my residents on mass showed up to the planning meeting and where very vocal about the failure of Stone Church.

Open mind cuts both way and neither of us should ignore the facts. I will be following this with great interest and will be open minded I ask you to do the same.

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By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted December 03, 2015 at 21:19:24 in reply to Comment 115353

Terry does have a point of view that I somewhat understand from a structurally-stuck-suburb perspective, although I disagree on the semantics (e.g. "rebuke") --

And, Stonechurch is more of a Complete "Stroad", rather than a Complete Street, being a fast-moving 3-lane with bike lanes.

One problem is the structure of a low density suburb can make it harder for a Complete Streets movement to return tangible benefits to residents quicker. There is an extremely long transition period as suburbs don't generally urbanize very well, and the distances involved are large which discourages walking and biking. We all agree on that.

One point of view is that Terry and his constituency does not have the patience for a long-term Complete Streets migration, in the era of a populace growing up on fast and convenient car transportation.

For a city with structural density issues (from an urbanization perspective), paradigm shifts are notoriously inconvenient and time consuming.

At least the sidewalks (which are still too narrow) on Stonechurch are setback away from the road in most places, so it is not particularly dangerous to walk. To be fair, many residents like the configuration, but those used to having passing lanes (4 lanes) will hate it just as a few still hate James St N even to this day.

But it does highlight the difficulties of a long-term transition to alternate forms of transportation -- the long distances involved, the few attractsive non-car destinations, few break areas (not many places to spontaneously grab shelter from cold), the car-optimized businesses.

Urbanizing and Complete Streeting through those is going to take time to get used to -- possibly a full generation (you may hate it, but your kids won't hate it as much). Some people who grew up with congestion, can drive congestion quite patiently, but those who grew up with fast driving, will get road rage instantly with congestion.

Residential arteries are notorious -- no nearby places to put residential-friendly businesses that help amplify the Complete Streets benefits quicker. And few bike/ped heavy destinations that allows the Complete Streets to become arteries for non-car use (like in some other countries). Can take a generation (or multiple) to fix, either by people getting used to it, or by rezoning (e.g. houses on big arteries being replaced with businesses and medium density developments).

One good interim move in the next ten years though, is a MASSIVE bus expansion, so that more people bother taking transit. I also many friends (who cannot afford a car, or who can afford one but don't want to drive) that have homes in Lower City but take the bus to Mountain work, taking forever to get there. If you could get from point A to B almost as fast as by car, transit would be far more popular.

We need to install Complete Streets where it is the most quickly effective -- e.g. various arteries within 30 minutes walk of downtown! (Loud agreements heard by my neighbours...) The piecemeal approach can be quite tricky, as we see successes (James St N) and difficulties (Barton BIA) that requires a reboot or two to succeed. For a Complete Street on the mountain, Concession is almost a good first start for mountain, except for the bike-lanes boat.

Not justifying those exact words, mind you, but one can kind of begin to understand the Terry POV to a certain extent, and politics in satisfying his constituency.

Comment edited by mdrejhon on 2015-12-03 21:40:27

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted December 03, 2015 at 15:10:43 in reply to Comment 115353

To be clear, the traffic experts do not "rebuke" the SPRC study. This was a question asked by Clr. Whitehead to staff during a public session, and the staff response was that they had "questions". I note only that the study has been public for over two years.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted December 03, 2015 at 15:39:09 in reply to Comment 115372

If by "questions" they meant "concerns", then as Tybalt points out, staff have had two years to sit down with the authors of the study, look at the data, and decide whether or not these concerns are warranted. If so, they then need to explain publicly why they disagree. Implying there are problems, but not saying what the problems are, would be irresponsible.

Otherwise, they need to accept the conclusions of the study and not cast doubts on it. On face value these are very damning statistics.

I hope they are not taking the same approach as Hart Solomon to the Can J Public Health study that showed that Hamilton's one-way streets have rates of child injury 2.5 that of two-way streets.

https://www.raisethehammer.org/blog/1082...

Hart simply dismissed it out of hand, telling me that maybe one way streets had more traffic or more children walking on them.

This seems very unlikely given the under capacity of so many one-way streets and the fact that very few children walk down the busiest streets like Main and King (and it would take a big difference to make a 2.5 times difference go away). But what's worse is that he made no effort to check whether these other factors were actually significant. He just felt the conclusions were wrong and so rejected them. His concerns were just excuses for inaction.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2015-12-03 15:42:30

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By Have a Hart (anonymous) | Posted December 03, 2015 at 14:22:14 in reply to Comment 115353

Here's hoping your in house experts have evolved since the departure of Hart Solomon.

As I recall he was adamantly against painted crosswalks since he believed they exposed the city to liability in the event of a pedestrian being struck by a car!

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By NortheastWind (registered) | Posted December 03, 2015 at 13:37:47 in reply to Comment 115353

I've lived on the east mountain and drive my car on Stone Church quite often and have never experienced a problem, other than between Dartnall and Upper Ottawa where traffic is often backed up. The west mountain is no different. The way the streets were laid out in the neighbourhood Whitehead speaks of makes it easy for local traffic to cut through from Garth to Upper Paradise, so that's what people are doing. Maybe some traffic calming measures are in order instead of blaming the design of Stone Church.

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted December 03, 2015 at 13:49:39 in reply to Comment 115364

Most of Stonechurch used to be a country road until it was urbanized with 3 lanes and bike lanes. It's never been a massive, multi-lane thoroughfare. I lived for decades near Stonechurch, and my folks just moved from there. Never, not once was there any slowdown except blizzards or crashes. It's time to ignore Ward 8 and the nonsense being encouraged in their Westcliffe Mall meetings.

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted December 03, 2015 at 14:05:38 in reply to Comment 115366

Here is Stonechurch at Upper Wellington in 2007 being urbanized from a 2-lane country road.

www.google.ca/maps/@43.2089999,-79.8810872,3a,75y,284.92h,67.14t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sYcdPghURjO9R_zx-MgQOTQ!2e0!7i3328!8i1664

Skip ahead to June 2009 to see the finished result. This was NOT a road diet. It was built this way in 2007

Comment edited by JasonL on 2015-12-03 14:06:07

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted December 03, 2015 at 13:34:45 in reply to Comment 115353

Terry Whitehead: Mr Keddy, killed in a hit and run on exactly the sort of low volume multi-lane street you refuse to make safer, was MY DAUGHTER'S JK TEACHER at Central!

She had just got her old 2012-2013 class photo with Mr Keddy out to show us the other night.

How do I explain to her that her much-loved teacher was killed in large part because you've been blocking effective safety improvements on streets, especially outside your ward, for the past 12 years. That you don't care a bit. Maybe you want to repeat your insensitive response to her yourself!

And this is your insensitive do-nothing dismissive, evidence-free response after yet another cyclist or pedestrian is killed on our dangerous streets. You know damn well how to make them safer! Start fixing them instead of claiming there's no problem. You obviously don't have a problem with the deaths and injuries.

YOU DISGUST ME!

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2015-12-03 13:49:53

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted December 03, 2015 at 13:47:27 in reply to Comment 115362

ugh, sad to hear this Nic. I feel this ignorant response to Ryan needs to be published city-wide in all media outlets.

"Residents of Hamilton. Here is what your councillors think of the value of your life. This response is mere hours after another resident was killed".....

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By AlHuizenga (registered) | Posted December 03, 2015 at 13:30:26 in reply to Comment 115353

I don't know how this guy still manages to shock me, but he does.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted December 03, 2015 at 13:11:35 in reply to Comment 115353

I don't think you can count on him to argue in good faith from this point forward...

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By DBC (registered) | Posted December 03, 2015 at 12:58:57 in reply to Comment 115353

No one is suggesting this problem is limited to one area of the city.

Driver entitlement is out of control city wide.

The whole city needs a reset........especially when you have politicians boasting we're a "20 minute city" and that it's our "competitive advantage".

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By MichaelHealey (registered) - website | Posted December 03, 2015 at 12:51:56 in reply to Comment 115353

How does one obtain the data Terry Whitehead is referencing about the accident rates on and around Stone Church.

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By Jeff_Tessier (registered) | Posted December 03, 2015 at 16:05:45 in reply to Comment 115354

I'm curious about that as well. When he says that 'our traffic experts dispute the SPRC study,' who is he talking about, and is their alternative analysis as public as the work of the SPRC? Is this the city's "Traffic Department" that has to be dragged kicking and screaming into any project desinged to make the streets usable for people not in cars?

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 03, 2015 at 13:36:00 in reply to Comment 115354

I replied to ask him. Based on his track record with presenting and interpreting data, I'm not expecting much.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted December 03, 2015 at 13:10:21

It would be entirely reasonable for the families of those killed to sue the city for failing to provide a safe environment for walking or cycling.

Does city hall even have a tombstone mentality when it comes to it's citizens being killed using their infrastructure? Reading Clr Whitehead's email it looks like these deaths don't even faze some of them.

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By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted December 03, 2015 at 13:17:29 in reply to Comment 115356

There is precedent for this. A young girl was severely injured in Toronto on the 401 because the City and province refused or failed to send out salters and sanders when they should have. There was a multi million dollar judgement. Some standards were changed as a result but then the Province passed the minimum standards legislation that says that as long as the city does an annual inspection, and meets the minimum standards, they are off the hook. So suing the City would probably be a long shot as the province has legislated significant protection for themselves.

Comment edited by CharlesBall on 2015-12-03 13:17:54

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted December 03, 2015 at 18:33:35

in other news today, Waterdown's councillor was calling for farmland to be removed from the Greenbelt Act so they can build A NEW HIGHWAY in Watertown. Correction: so urban Hamilton can build a new highway in Waterdown. Same suburban councillors who say we can't afford bike lanes keep building highways and highways. The Waterdown Bypass it's called.

Whats the Vegas line on how many years until we need to build the Waterdown Bypass Bypass?

Comment edited by JasonL on 2015-12-03 18:33:45

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By JohnnyHamont (registered) | Posted December 03, 2015 at 18:42:41

Could Claremont be restructured in this way? It allows several streets to be re-connected, restoring a neighbourhood and maximizing pedestrian and cyclist safety, with mild inconveniences to vehicle traffic.

Claremont

Comment edited by JohnnyHamont on 2015-12-03 18:45:05

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 03, 2015 at 21:36:27 in reply to Comment 115379

If victoria was two way, that entire ramp could be removed. Wellington could go two way as well. Hunter could be a street again.

This highway has no place in the centre of our city.

Comment edited by seancb on 2015-12-03 21:36:39

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By JohnnyHamont (registered) | Posted December 03, 2015 at 23:38:50 in reply to Comment 115385

Something like this eh? claremont

Comment edited by JohnnyHamont on 2015-12-03 23:41:25

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 04, 2015 at 11:09:53 in reply to Comment 115386

yep, but replace some of that park with developable land, the city sells it to some condo builders and recovers the money spent reconfiguring the ramp many times over

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By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted December 04, 2015 at 12:54:35 in reply to Comment 115392

Both.

Look at all that parking lot that can also be redeveloped into a mixed-use building, and still leave plenty leftover for a very large playground corner + fenced parkette preserving large trees, etc.

Comment edited by mdrejhon on 2015-12-04 12:56:08

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By Mr. safety (anonymous) | Posted December 03, 2015 at 20:19:26

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 Glend1967 (registered) | Posted December 04, 2015 at 10:23:19 in reply to Comment 115381

Ya that's the answer.How would that have helped Mr. Keddy?Car drivers need to slow down and respect others on the road.We are all trying to get somewhere.I've been riding a bike in this town for over twenty years,so I know of what I speak.And I've been hit once.

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By notlloyd (registered) - website | Posted December 04, 2015 at 10:46:56 in reply to Comment 115389

In 1972 I was riding home from work at 5 p.m. along Main Street near Wentworth behind one of the former trolley buses when I was clipped by a guy on my left sending me over the sidewalk and onto a lawn. He stopped and laughed. (I guess I should say at least he stopped.)

A couple of years later a friend of my brother was killed on Mudd street in a hit and run. He was riding at about midnight.

My brother then hit a cyclist on Cumberland who was riding just after dusk without lights. He went into the windshield and the wiper blade went though his face. My brother was charged but acquitted because he could not see the cyclist (otherwise he would not have turned.)

Another friend of mine was killed a little while later when he was riding up the Jolley Cut and was hit by the mirror of a pickup truck.

This all happened close to me in a fairly short period of time.

Back then the rates of collisions and death, and in fact the gross numbers, were worse than they are today.

I think things are better today in many ways but that is just my anecdotal opinion.

My father did not like that I rode my bike to work. I remember him saying something like you don't stop a saw blade with your hand. (Needless to say I didn't see it that way. I had and have the right to ride a bike.)

Car drivers have the legal and the moral onus to be more careful. Unfortunately, the vast majority of hit and runs involve drunk driving. The poor lady runner who was killed on Wentworth a year or so ago was hit by a drunk driver. I thought then and say it now that I am not sure that you can make sweeping decisions based on individual incidents.

This is a horrible collision. Not sure it should be politicized.

Comment edited by notlloyd on 2015-12-04 10:58:19

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By Level Headed (anonymous) | Posted December 04, 2015 at 15:40:37 in reply to Comment 115390

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By fmurray (registered) | Posted December 04, 2015 at 18:50:37 in reply to Comment 115400

The access is very well-lit. I drove down the Jolley Cut that evening and could see the Claremont access to my left where the hit-and-run occurred. It was very well-lit and not because of the investigation -- just the normal street lights.

Saying the cyclist was "wearing dark clothing" is an attempt at victim-blaming. He had a helmet and bike lights ffs. What else are cyclists supposed to do? I was riding a Sobi bike on Herkimer tonight and was almost scraped by an SUV because I didn't want to ride in the door zone.

I'm starting to think the city needs to do a full-out education blitz for drivers.

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By nonsense (anonymous) | Posted December 04, 2015 at 20:27:35 in reply to Comment 115403

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By fmurray (registered) | Posted December 05, 2015 at 15:23:07 in reply to Comment 115406

I wasn't in a plane! - the Jolley Cut has a bridge over the Claremont Access And, yes, I know when the incident took place. I saw it on Twitter and then had to run an errand on the mountain.

AND there was a witness who passed Mr. Keddy riding his bicycle up the mountain, and she seemed to have no trouble seeing him at all.

AND conditions were dry with no fog.

Anything else you can think of to make it the cyclist's fault or "partially" his fault?

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By still nonsense (anonymous) | Posted December 05, 2015 at 15:41:31 in reply to Comment 115412

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By fmurray (registered) | Posted December 05, 2015 at 19:37:47 in reply to Comment 115413

Oh, I get it -- "Just wondering" ignored on another post. You either know the driver who hit Mr. Keddy or you're just a troll.

I didn't realize...

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By still more nonsense (anonymous) | Posted December 05, 2015 at 20:09:17 in reply to Comment 115414

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By I bet (anonymous) | Posted December 04, 2015 at 15:44:12 in reply to Comment 115400

I bet he knew and was drunk, or suspended, or uninsured or some combination of all three.

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By better fold (anonymous) | Posted December 04, 2015 at 20:24:52 in reply to Comment 115401

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By Glend1967 (registered) | Posted December 04, 2015 at 11:03:11 in reply to Comment 115390

Since somebody is getting hit all the time(ped. Hit last nite at Cath. and Barton),when would the proper time be?THE TIME IS NOW!!

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted December 04, 2015 at 10:20:57

12/3/2015 at 8:19:22 PM

Man in his 60s taken to hospital w/ life threatening injuries after pedestrian struck at Barton and Catharine. #hamont #sc

twitter.com/AdamCarterCBC/status/672585944172773376

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted December 04, 2015 at 10:22:31 in reply to Comment 115387

cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/pedestrian-struck-hospitalized-with-life-threatening-injuries-1.3350067

Vision Zero > Zero Vision

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By Stephen Barath (anonymous) | Posted December 04, 2015 at 13:29:26 in reply to Comment 115388

Is this poor guy okay? The CBC article has not been updated from the short statement from yesterday evening.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 04, 2015 at 14:15:11 in reply to Comment 115394

I'm waiting to hear back from Hamilton Police with the details on this incident.

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By osborne (registered) | Posted December 05, 2015 at 11:09:36

The bias of an anti motor vehicular transportation philosophy is interesting at Raise the Hammer. Have there been studies on use of the bike lanes along Cannon? I travel along Cannon in a car (oh shame). I'm not a daily commuter but during daytime, rush hour and evening hours I rarely see a cyclist in the bike lanes. I see a lot of motor vehicles though sometimes moving smoothly and sometimes jammed around Queen.

As far as some of the streets mentioned like Sherman and Sanford, they seem to have been created for an era when there was a lot more commercial business activity? Revitalizing central east Barton area would be a good idea. Maybe, the traffic is sparse because there are fewer preferred destinations than there use to be?

I do think that something should be done about cyclist traffic on mountain accesses though if it can be proven that there is a need based more on safety than numbers of cyclists. Unfortunately, I suspect that the cyclist travel along Cannon is an argument against expanding cyclist lanes. I could be wrong though. Maybe, the city has a cyclist traffic study to prove my observations wrong?

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By Anonysmous (anonymous) | Posted December 05, 2015 at 12:02:03 in reply to Comment 115408

Hi Osborne. There was a study done and by all accounts the bike lanes on Cannon are a success as per the Study. There were of course those councillors who thought the study wasn't reliable because "kids were probably jumping up and down" on the counter; and then when Staff advised the counter used every 2nd count (because bikes have 2 wheels) the counter argument was that, those same kids were probably "riding back and forth". Then of course others countered with kids out riding their bikes for fun should be viewed as a "success" for the bike lanes. Rebuking the study would have been funny had it not been so embarrassing obvious some were only voicing these ludicrous arguments because of their own personal opinions.

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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted December 05, 2015 at 12:05:51

P.S. I should have also added in that I'm also completely car dependent (oh shame) just like you but when you really listen to the opinions on this site, you'll quickly realize the majority of participants are simply asking for a balanced transportation system - one in which motorists, cyclists and pedestrians share our roads.

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted December 05, 2015 at 21:11:53

Is anyone else tired of presenting rational justification for things that shouldn't need justification? Seriously. It was a fight to get one road studied. Death and injury is bad for politicians and it's about the only thing that spurs action.

I don't hate cars. I don't hate people that drive cars. I do hate selfishness and entitlement. You will hear more of us yelling. Yelling for action based on facts and real data.

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By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted December 05, 2015 at 21:54:34

I keep hearing people locally who KEEP insisting on 1-way streets for Main.

How do we make Main Street safer, as a possible future bike route, for the LRT era?

The only way I can tolerate Main 1-way is if it is something approximately similar to this:

Imgur

  • Cars: 1-way (2 lanes)
  • Bikes: 2-way
  • Sidewalks widened from 1.5m to 2.0m
  • Protected cycle track
  • Lots of buffer between motorists and non-motorists
  • Cutout parking between the trees.

I still prefer a Main 2-way conversion, but I acknowledge there are wonderful 1-way streets and terrible 2-way streets.

We must, in honesty, at least acknowledge that tamed-down 1-way streets do exist, but they are often incredibly expensive conversions that may currently be beyond Hamilton's budget. A safe 2-way conversion is much more inexpensive.

Spending hours StreetMixing Main Street, I honestly do have mixed feelings about keeping our sidewalks only 1.5 meters wide with a 4-lane Main 2-way and simple painted lines for bike lanes. There's no easy way to get a protected cycle track AND curb bumpout parking, while keeping Main 2-way unless we reduce traffic lanes to 1 lanes per direction (which is probably something that's at least 1 generation from now). So we need an interim taming of Main Street, given the long generational adjustment periods involved. Alas, a honest discussion on /exactly/ how we convert Main to a Complete Stroad is needed.

Imgur

In this situation (2 lanes per direction), there's no easy room to give protection to bikes. This may be marginally safer than the status quo but I'm left wondering. If we add curbed bumpouts, we reduce traffic lanes per direction to only 1 lane. This may be too difficult a transition for #HamOnt to bite off, given the Hamilton being used to 5 lanes and suddenly narrowing it to 1 lane per direction. Can we sell that to the rest of the city? It sounds difficult;

We need a kick-ass 2-way plan, or as a compromise, a really REALLY REALLY kick-ass (Amsterdam-league) 1-way plan. And soon.

Comment edited by mdrejhon on 2015-12-05 22:08:15

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By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted December 05, 2015 at 22:31:49 in reply to Comment 115417

To clearly point out the pedestrian/cyclist "preference" overlap that we have here, based on the above two StreetMix diagrams;

Imgur

After a tough generational adjustment period, in a generation (25 years) one idea is to close the King Street corridor between Gage and International Village to cars -- making it LRT and cycle track, with wider sidewalks and trees in the middle of King Street (between LRT tracks and cycle track), with a nice grassy LRT track corridor like some of those found in otehr cities.

Then for Main, we can forgo the cycle track -- giving more flexibility -- e.g. 2-2 configuration (Main 2-way with 4 lanes) with wider sidewalks and no bike tracks, or a 3-2 configuration (dynamic center lane with overhead arrow), or a 2-1-2 configuration (center turning lane)

Yes, crazy idea. Some people will think I am bonkers for even merely suggesting this. But, one has got to brainstorm -- what do we see Main-King in 25 years from now? This deserves a complete article into itself. Including a honest acknonwledgement of 'favourable' 1-way scenarios.

We might just go for a simplified Main 2-way conversion for now, as we will soon badly need an LRT detour anyway, but improvements could happen incrementally (e.g. 25 years from now if there's less demand for crosstown driving on Main-King thanks to LRT ridership growth), like a Main 2-way (with no bike lanes) and a pedestrianized King cycle track, wider sidewalks, LRT corridor, all the way from Gage to downtown.

Or we may run traffic on both Main and King, but keep cycle track only on Cannon (and improve Hunter-Stinson-Delaware-Cumberland, for our southern crosstown cycle track -- once the north-south 1-way streets become much safer to cross).

Or we might end up going with the Amsterdamized Main 1-way option.

I'd prefer a scenario where slipping on the sidewalk in the winter, and falling sideways doesn't put me at risk in being run over by a car or truck. And eliminating traffic lanes from zooming inches away from baby strollers.

Trying to run StreetMix scenarios to meet that certiera, WHILE also keeping 2 lanes per direction, WHILE also converting Main into a 2-way street, ends up being almost futile in trying to create a SAFE 2-way stroad for non-motorists. So if there's a mandatory requirement of a minimum of 2 arterial traffic lanes per direction (even if slowed to 40kph), it almost ends up that a drastically Amsterdamized 1-way scenario becomes favourable. But there is also a trust issue; in "do we trust Hamilton to actually do that???". (Answer: Probably yet, albiet Fred Eisenberger is from Amsterdam). The refrain "Convert 1-way to 2-way" is much simpler, and rightfully so; it is a simpler step to (usually) taming the street. So we now must talk about the concept of shifting the bike lane around, whether it's more appropriate for King, or more appropriate for Main -- and if that's this cycle around (or the next cycle of road revitalization -- e.g. 25 years from now).

As long as it isn't status quo. Once LRT provides another option of moving people crosstown.

One has to brainstorm, dream, and see what the possible visions of Main and King are.

New article for Main/King, methinks?

Comment edited by mdrejhon on 2015-12-05 22:57:38

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By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted December 05, 2015 at 23:05:58 in reply to Comment 115419

ends up being almost futile in trying to create a SAFE 2-way stroad for non-motorists.

When I remove bike lanes from the equation, it becomes much easier, but requires a lot of thinking about which compromises needs to be made and for whom.

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted December 06, 2015 at 17:10:23 in reply to Comment 115420

"When I remove car lanes from the equation, it becomes much easier..."

There. Fixed it.

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By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted December 06, 2015 at 21:40:36 in reply to Comment 115441

That'd be true too. Removing traffic lanes make it so much easier to design the street cross-section for non-motorized people.

But for a single "revitalization cycle" (approximately once a generation) I'm not sure we can narrow Main 5 lanes per direction to only 1 per direction suddenly all at once (for a 3-lane 2-way config -- 1 lane per direction and center turning lane). Historically, look at the frustration raised by many drivers just by narrowing International Village to 2 lanes -- and that probably affected some elections at the time too.

So, for this cycle around, need to find a place for about 2 traffic lanes in both directions somewhere.

At this stage, I almost -- ALMOST -- wonder if it's even politically easier to turn King Street into a car-free corridor (LRT/cyclke/pedestrian corridor from Gage to downtown), and just assign Main as a 4-lane 2-way road (narrowed from 5 lanes). This would be quite European, though it would require a large campaign to do so -- complete with trees in the middle of the street (between LRT tracks and cycle track), along with wider (braille) sidewalks, all the way to Gage Park.

A bit of a crazy idea, but a car-free King Street corridor all the way between downtown and Gage Park, and turning Main into a 2-way street (2 traffic lanes per direction, wider sidewalks or cutout parking, no bike lanes)? This might require two revitalization cycles to achieve (25+ years) given the large number of automobile-optimized businesses in this corridor.

The city is going to be making some very tough decisions regarding the future of Main/King...

Comment edited by mdrejhon on 2015-12-06 21:47:58

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