Exciting Public Works Agenda

By Jason Leach
Published July 08, 2008

The city's Public Works Agenda [PDF] for this week contains a lengthy, but excellent read on the various transportation improvements happening downtown.

Take a few minutes to browse through this document. It's becoming clear to see that our city is finally on the right track to bringing a balance back to our transportation system that has been exclusively about cars for several decades.

Here are a few highlights.

Gore Park Pedestrianization

We at RTH have long advocated this welcome move. I'd like to strongly suggest that the Dowtown BIA take a page from the merchants of James North who have successfully breathed life back into their district with events like the Art Crawl and Makers Market.

Closing the south leg of the Gore is a good step, but if the BIA does nothing (as has been the case for too long) with the space, there won't be much of an incentive for people to come and enjoy the Gore.

James/John Conversion Followup

Check out the charts showing the travel times and accident rates on James and John Streets before and after their two-way conversion. Hold onto your hats, but shockingly the "mass congestion" and "hysteria" predicted by local media and suburban residents hasn't happened.

Of course, anyone paying attention knew that would be the case beforehand. It's pretty tough to cause mass congestion in a city with a hugely overbuilt road capacity.

Also, in this document the authors ask the question about what may happen to traffic on York Blvd if it is converted to two-way. You'll find your answer on James and John. Traffic is like water ­ it always flows to the path of least resistance.

Light Rail

We've been downright giddy at RTH about the high-speed planning process being undertaken by the city for our future LRT lines. If all goes well, we could see shovels in the ground, or tracks in the road, in the next five years.

As has been the case all across North America in the past couple of decades, this would be transformational for our city - not only in how we travel, but also in patterns of economic development and investment.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.

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By jason (registered) | Posted July 11, 2008 at 07:43:09

so, apparently this public works agenda was a little too exciting for council. They voted it down yesterday. Does anyone know the vote breakdown? It would be nice to know which councillors can't see the great changes that have happened on James and John since their two-way conversion. I'd also like them to point out a city with a bustling market district that includes a one-way freeway complete with transport trucks flying past. Someone at city hall had better reign in some of these guys. They're being paid to make important decision that affect our lives. As Bratina said, if they love one-way streets so much let's do it on the Mountain. I'll second the motion.

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