Driveability Fail at Cannon Street and East Avenue

By John Neary
Published April 01, 2010

A collision between a small car and an SUV at East Avenue and Cannon Street has left an older woman in Hamilton General Hospital with serious injuries.

An anonymous resident was quoted by the Hamilton Spectator as saying, "It's a bad corner. This isn't the first one I've seen here ... The trouble is, if there are cars parked at the corner, no one can see past them," which implies that one of the vehicles was trying to cross Cannon St. on East Avenue.

The Spectator goes on to mention that the passenger side of the small car was "heavily damaged" and that the car hit a concrete pole on the southwest corner of the intersection.

Given that Cannon St. is one-way (westbound), the most logical reconstruction of the collision has the SUV traveling south on East Ave. and the car traveling west on Cannon.

(If either vehicle had been driving north on East Ave., it would have been difficult for one of the vehicles to have hit a concrete pole on the southwest corner of the intersection. And if the roles of the car and SUV are reversed, the SUV would have collided with the driver's side of the car, not the passenger's side. But this is all conjecture.)

Why would a motorist try to cross Cannon from north to south on East Avenue? Well, let's consider the alternatives.

The closest signalized intersection on Cannon to the east of East Avenue is Wentworth St. That's a 1.3 km drive from Cannon and East Ave.

To the west, the closest signalized intersection (not counting Victoria Avenue, which is one-way northbound) is Wellington Street.

That's only 1.1 km away, but getting there involves making a left turn onto Barton St. and another left turn onto Wellington. (Unless you prefer to cross Victoria Avenue on Robert Street, which is just as dangerous as crossing Cannon on East Avenue.)

Just in case it's not obvious already, there is no signalized intersection on Cannon Street between Victoria and Wentworth, a distance of almost 700 metres. Since the traffic lights on Cannon are all synchronized, automobile traffic would not be appreciably slowed down by installing lights at any or all of the cross streets.

The decision to locate the regional trauma centre in this neighbourhood was clearly evidence-based.

Best wishes for a full recovery to everyone involved in this preventable collision.

John Neary lives in Beasley Neighbourhood and practices general internal medicine at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton. He would like Hamilton to develop an urban environment that creates less gainful employment for his profession.


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By jason (registered) | Posted April 02, 2010 at 09:08:11

this is pretty much true of almost every cross street intersection along Main, Cannon and Wilson. But remember, the media has made it very clear that LRT and two-way streets will make it harder to get around (remember, the pawn shop owner said so). I guess we should all be thankful for the lovely setup we currently have. Other cities can only dream of such luscious, vibrant urban neighbourhoods.

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted April 06, 2010 at 23:12:29

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted April 07, 2010 at 01:18:19

Mr. Meister, you keep trotting out the same discredited argument about downtown and one-way streets, but you have yet to address the responses to your claims.

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted April 12, 2010 at 00:34:48

I am old enough to remember Hamilton having a thriving bustling downtown core, with all the one way streets. In fact some of the one way streets we had them have been changed to two way streets. Down town's problems are not one way streets. Downtown just is not relevant any more. Society changed and downtown does not meet the needs any more.

One way streets are not a problem to cross or walk beside. Use a little common sense. Thousands of people walk there every single day and never have a problem. I have many personal accounts of pedestrians being irresponsible and down right stupid. If a pedestrian insists on challenging cars the result is foretold certainty. You keep making it out to be a blood bath out there and it is not. We have a system of laws and conventions in place that make it very safe for pedestrians, just follow them. Drivers do.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted April 12, 2010 at 09:25:39

Use a little common sense.

No. Use the scientific method.

Results: The injury rate was 2.5 times higher on one-way streets than on two-way streets and 3 times higher for children from the poorest neighbourhoods than for those from wealthiest neighbourhoods. [Socioeconomic status], injury severity, number of lanes, collision location and type of traffic control were also found to be significantly different across street types.

Conclusions: One-way streets have higher rates of child pedestrian injuries than two-way streets in this community. Future risk factor and intervention studies should include the directionality of streets to further investigate its contribution to child pedestrian injuries.

Your anecdotal, common-sense approach to the issue is leading you astray. The facts tell a much different story.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2010-04-12 08:26:02

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted April 13, 2010 at 16:22:32

Numbers and stats can be manipulated and tell any tale you want. Just drive around and watch how people behave. Perhaps the rate is higher amongst the poor because they do not have the time, reasoning or wherewithall to monitor their kids. Get out and look at kids driving their bikes. How many ride without helmets in Dundas, Ancaster or Westdale? How many in the poor north end? The contrast is staggering. How many children are left to run around by themselves downtown or in the glorious north end compared to the more affluent areas. Again the contrast is staggering. All you have to do is get out and look. Kids riding bikes without helmets and running wild without parental supervision are going to have higher accident and morbidity rates irregardless of the direction of traffic. The overwhelming majority of people live off of the one way streets and live on smaller quieter two way streets. The whole one way streets are evil issue is vastly overblown and nonsensical. There is so much historical fact that shows our downtown can and did thrive with one way streets that I cannot believe anyone is still beating that dead drum.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted April 13, 2010 at 16:29:02

It's a peer-reviewed academic study that controls for socioeconomic status. I invite you to set aside your preconceptions and study the actual evidence instead of dismissing it out of hand.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2010-04-13 15:31:22

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