Transportation

Toronto's Beaches Streets Survive 30 kph Speed Limits

By Ryan McGreal
Published November 15, 2010

Hamilton North End residents have been fighting with the city to get residential speed limits down to 30 km/h from the current 50 km/h, and an Ontario Municipal Board appeal is currently underway.

By chance, last week I was in Toronto's historic Beaches waterfront neighbourhood, just east of the downtown core. They seem to have no problem maintaining a residential speed limit of 30 km/h.

30 km/h sign on a residential street in Toronto's Beaches neighbourhood
30 km/h sign on a residential street in Toronto's Beaches neighbourhood

A 30 km/h speed limit isn't just a "nice to have" urban amenity. According to a 1997 study by the UK Department of Transport, vehicle speed is a decisive factor in the fatality rate of collisions between automobiles and pedestrians.

At 32 km/h, the fatality rate is just five percent. At 48 km/h, it jumps to 45 percent. At 64 km/h (the fast edge of the so-called "Green Wave" on downtown Hamilton's timed streetlights), the death rate reaches a devastating 85 percent.

Fatality Rate by Vehicle Speed (Source: Killing Speed and Saving Lives, UK Department of Transport, 1997)
Fatality Rate by Vehicle Speed (Source: Killing Speed and Saving Lives, UK Department of Transport, 1997)

Of course, it's not enough just to set a lower speed limit and expect motorists to comply. Lower speed limits must be coupled with real changes in street configuration to send drivers a clear psychological message to slow down: narrower lanes, two-way traffic flows, curbside parking, overhanging street trees, and so on. (Traffic calming is more effective than frequent stop signs at reining in aggressive motorists.)

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 11:43:25

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Comment edited by turbo on 2010-11-15 10:46:35

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 11:50:11

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted November 15, 2010 at 11:54:43

I've lived in The Beaches. (Thanks for referring to it this way, and not 'The Beach'. Ugh.) And it's long seemed to have a better sense of relationship between vehicular traffic and pedestrians than most places I've been. Maybe because there's such a dense concentration of activity; cars...pedestrians...bikes...dog-walkers...prams...with each of these roles shifting regularly. (Those who drive there, also have kids there, or jog there, or shop there.) It's not perfect, but I've always enjoyed being in this community.

As well, I remember the ads in the UK about how increased speed jacked-up the fatality rate. One comes to mind, a very graphic one about a car stopping in time...and not stopping in time, the latter one hitting a child.

I wonder how we'll look at this discussion in fifty, a hundred years. Bet we'll view it in the same way we see doctors on tv ads from the 50s promoting one cigarette brand over another: bizarre.

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By Ryan B (anonymous) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 11:55:28

I can't wait to see more 30km/h streets. It is only for the best of the neighbourhood.

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By MattM (registered) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 11:56:31

If reducing the speed limit by 20km/h is enough to stop you from going somewhere, obviously you never really cared all that much to begin with.

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By Breeze (anonymous) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 11:57:54

Sadly I agree. The north end neighbours association (NEN) need to play fair!
And it's not just this, they also oppose the Bay & Simcoe condo convert (6 units), West Harbour plans, Piers 5-7 'Foot of James' retail plans.

They need to realize that their 'best kept secret' has been let out of the bag, and like the Beaches, the North End belongs to the entire city & its visitors! This coming from a North End resident.

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 11:59:23

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Comment edited by turbo on 2010-11-15 11:02:08

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By JMorse (registered) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 12:00:35

I won't ever visit the North End if everyone hates me being there

Any similarities between this website and the North End? Please?

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By PseudonymousCoward (registered) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 12:01:29

Perhaps the site admins need to set a 30 kb/s speed limit for trolls.

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 12:03:50

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 12:05:08

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 12:13:32

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By jonathan dalton (registered) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 12:22:25

Turbo, give it a rest. Try making fewer posts and putting more thought into each one. You make some coherent points, now if you attempt more mature dialogue, people might take them seriously.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 15, 2010 at 12:23:15

NEN policy is curious mix of progressive neighbourhood custodianship and NIMBYism. Opposing a nice infill condo at the entrance to Bayfront Park seems bizarre, but promoting a 30 km/h residential speed limit is strongly evidence-based and has already been implemented in a number of more progressive cities.

From what I've seen, a lot of NIMBYism boils down to fear - fear that a new project won't be undertaken in such a way that it benefits the community. When developers and City representatives earn a community's trust by engaging in legitimate dialogue and aiming for investments that serve both private and community needs, NIMBYism tends to go away.

In fairness to the NEN, they went into the Setting Sail process expecting the city to act in good faith and I understand they've gotten quite a bit of runaround instead. Their attitude toward the City has become: Why ask us what we think if you're just going to do whatever you want anyway?

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2010-11-15 11:27:11

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 12:31:27

Actually I'm succeeding in forcing people to actually discuss both the positives and the negatives in spite of themselves. I'd rather do it intelligently and respectfully but it doesn't appear a few of the people here are interested in that. At least Ryan is taking the high road and attempting to have a discussion in spite of the fact he doesn't agree with most of what I say. He has the good sense of verifying the points I make to some degree while arguing against the conclussions that I reach. This is healthy debate. Making up stuff and disagreeing just because a person you don't like says it accomplishes nothing. The listen to breeze comment that is being disagreed with by the same people who agree with Breeze is an example of what I'm talking about. Who exactly is the closed minded problem here? Bullying me is not going to make me go away. You may as well ignore me or engage me. This stuff isn't going to work because I recognize it for what it is

Comment edited by turbo on 2010-11-15 11:35:36

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By AnneMariePavlov (registered) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 14:02:55

I live on James, and I understand that James & Burlington will still remain 50 km/h. This makes me furious. There are 1,200 kids in this small area, who must cross James and Burlington to get to school, and people like to use Burlington & James like highways. I am awakened every single night by the screech of speeding cars, motorcycles and trucks. I am tempted to just stand at those buttons that control the stoplights, and just push them all day long. I really hope that the appeal to the OMB will include James and Burlington as part of the 30 km/h limit.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 14:51:48

Webmaster,

Is it possible to enable users to filter comments from posters they find abusive and harassing? I'm wondering if it would be difficult to have a button to click beside a posters name and then the user would not see any more posts from the person they find offensive.

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 14:58:11

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By joejoe (anonymous) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 15:06:56

mrjanitor,

If you register (which you have) you can alter your profile to hide all comments with votes of -5 or less. The challenge with this is that when other folks reply to them, you have no idea what they're talking about... :)

On this point - note to all commentors!
- If a comment has less than a -5 score please remember that a lot of RTH commenters won't see the comment, so any response you make will be out of context. I would suggest we all ignore any comments which receive a score of less than -5.

(and if you downvote this enough you can just go ahead and ignore that suggestion :) )

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 15:08:42

Thank you JoeJoe!

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 15:42:37

I agree that it would be nice if the MVA fatality rate were reduced in Hamilton, but I think that a reduction of speed is a lazy and backwards way of going about it. We should be trying to improve efficiency, not decreasing it.

I find your entry contradictory Ryan. If you truly want to improve pedestrian safety, you should be encouraging less roadside parking (better visibility), not more of it, and fewer overhanging trees (better visibility/brighter), not more of them.

The simplest, and probably most effective, way to reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities is for people to not walk on the road and to educate people to look both ways.

Yes, reducing speed will reduce the number of pedestrian deaths, but so will staying at home and not going out for walks. Just because something is effective at accomplishing a goal, doesn't mean it's the best option.

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 15:47:01

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By joejoe (anonymous) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 16:11:56

"The simplest, and probably most effective, way to reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities is for people to not walk on the road and to educate people to look both ways.

Yes, reducing speed will reduce the number of pedestrian deaths, but so will staying at home and not going out for walks. Just because something is effective at accomplishing a goal, doesn't mean it's the best option."

...turbo?

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 16:16:17

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By Breeze (anonymous) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 16:20:27

Why not compromise?

Convert John St two-way (currently one-way North-Bound north of the tracks).
And use real stop lights along James St rather than those which only change once the crosswalk button is pushed.
Flashing stop signs at Burlington & Bay.
Stop lights at Burlington & James.
Add sidewalks to Wellington & convert it two-way as well.
Speed humps on residential streets, especially surrounding Benetto Park, its schools & rec centres.
And most importantly, redo the truck routes plan to get them off any of our streets! We have a ring highway now so use it!
These measures could all help slow traffic while not giving the middle finger to the rest of the City!

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By adam2 (anonymous) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 17:25:17

Better yet get rid of the stop lights and put in 4 way stops.

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 17:33:22

Spacemonkey,

It's a proven fact that drivers tend to drive at a speed at which they feel comfortable. Minimal parking, excellent sight lines, etc... and drivers will speed up. Make the environment less comfortable, ie twisty roads, parked cars, reduced visibility, etc... and they tend to slow down.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 18:00:03

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By joejoe (anonymous) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 18:03:03

"Unfortunately those strategies, although effective at reducing speed, at the same time increase the chances of pedestrians getting hit! "

Hmm...definitely turbo!

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 18:03:31

I'm curious about how the voting works here. Is one supposed to base their vote on whether or not they agree with a person's opinion, or based on the relevance? I thought my post, although perhaps not popular, was well thought out and raised some valid points. I notice though that its rated at zero after 4 votes.

If the vote is supposed to be based on relevance, could those of you who have down voted me please tell me where I erred? Thank you

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 18:27:59

Joejoe,

This isn't my first day posting here. I've posted several times in the past month. I'm not Turbo.

I'm curious how you can possibly not understand that reducing visibility and on street parking increases the chances of getting hit.

It seems extremely illogical to me, to make something less safe, in order to try to make something else more safe.

Are you familiar with the term cutting off one's nose to spite their face?

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By JMorse (registered) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 19:54:07

SpaceMonkey,

You should understand the point is about reducing the chance of fatalities, not collisions. You see, people want to use their sidewalks and crossings for walking and other things in addition to driving cars. If they are using their streets as desired and in a safe manner, they'd rather not be killed if a car accidentally hits them.

I'd like to write a lengthy post about how I grew up in the Beaches, but I'll keep it short. It was a wonderful place to grow up because my friends and I could go off on our own when we were very young. We moved freely through the streets, even major ones. I was hit by a car once, and broke my leg. Most likely because of the speed limits and layout of the neighborhood, I wasn't killed. I've never heard of anyone wishing the speed limits or streets were changed to allow faster driving speeds, why would they?

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 20:10:59

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Comment edited by turbo on 2010-11-15 19:12:13

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By z jones (registered) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 20:15:17

Unfortunately those strategies, although effective at reducing speed, at the same time increase the chances of pedestrians getting hit!

[citation needed]

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 22:45:52

What it appear to boil down to is what is the purpose of a street?

If your answer is to get a car from point A to point B as quickly as possible then the solution is obvious. Higher speeds, greater pedestrian restrictions!

If your answer is that they're a means of connecting places, then your answer becomes a little different. What about bicycles? Pedestrians crossing?

How much time do you think you save by driving 1 km at 60 km/h instead of 30 km/h? Keep in mind that it's not the main thoroughfares that are being dropped, it's residential areas.

Ryan covered this last year with this article: http://www.raisethehammer.org/article/87...

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By mugrat (registered) | Posted November 16, 2010 at 06:13:51

Inless the police start inforcing the speed limit you can put up all the signs you want. A flashing school zone was put on Main Street in front of Delta School and it has not helped, why because it is NOT inforced.

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted November 16, 2010 at 08:57:21

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Comment edited by turbo on 2010-11-16 07:57:59

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted November 16, 2010 at 10:41:54

I know a bunch of people who worked on the 30km/h project in the North End. When they went out into the neighbourhood, they were literally blown away by the public support. This isn't about the city imposing some sort of blanket regulations in response to a study or two - it's about a neighbourhood choosing to do this. And while it might not make residential North End streets as convenient to cut through, that's not the point. It's about making the North End a better place to live. How would South Mountain residents feel if us Nor'enders voted to have a bulldozer "straighten out" a bunch of their streets, so as to make them more convenient for us to drive through?

And as far as traffic calming goes, I think the same rules should apply. I don't agree with a lot of the city's traffic-calming choices. Take a bike ride down Barton and you'll see what I mean - it's a nightmare for novice cyclists as the curb lane constantly "bumps out" forcing you into the other lane. A couple of feet chopped off with a concrete saw would save a lot of frustration and danger.

What's the difference here? Community discussion, debate and consent. We all need to come together, share perspectives, and find something that works for everyone, not just imposing ideas that "sound good".

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By d.knox (registered) | Posted November 16, 2010 at 10:55:24

When the automobile was first becoming popular in the late 1800's, laws were enacted to protect everything from these dangerous horseless carriages. The one in the UK required that a pedestrian walk in front of the vehicle waving a red flag to signal the danger of the car driving behind. These laws were repealed before the turn of the century, and seem quite amusing now.

However, the pendulum was allowed to swing too far in the other direction, with too much emphasis placed on the privilege of the car and not enough concern given to pedestrian safety.

I'd be happy to see a city-wide speed limit of 50km/hr on main streets and a 30 km/hr limit on all residential neighbourhood streets. Sometimes I'm shocked at how quickly cars accelerate from the stop sign 4 houses away to the next stop sign at the top of my street, about 20 houses away. Why are people racing? Why are we letting them. My street doesn't go anywhere. It's not a tourist attraction and only a slight shortcut. I think we should think about this as IMBY and not NIMBY. I want 30 km/hr residential streets IMBY.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted November 16, 2010 at 11:33:40

You want streets in your back yard?

J/K

But seriously, how many people know that our streets-were-made-for-cars streets were originally made for bicycles?

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By Cyclops (anonymous) | Posted November 16, 2010 at 13:05:55

Thanks for sharing that piece of writing z jones!!

Does anyone know what the speed limit is for the main roads that intersect the downtown/North End area? I'm thinking of all of the times I've seen transport trucks and city buses whizzing down James St. N, Cannon, Wilson, etc. Yikes.

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted November 16, 2010 at 13:40:40

50kph. Cannon and Wilson stay very close to that speed because of synchronized traffic signals that reward travelling the speed limit. James is a race to the lights as are most North South routes which are not in sync

Comment edited by turbo on 2010-11-16 12:41:26

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted November 16, 2010 at 14:52:37

Why is everyone so against Turbo?

His last post about the speeds on the streets is correct. Why would 3 of 3 people downvote that?

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By DBC (registered) | Posted November 16, 2010 at 15:00:05

Maybe because of his comment about the non-synced streets being "a race to the lights"..........just like all of the upper city I suppose.

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted November 16, 2010 at 15:04:41

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Comment edited by turbo on 2010-11-16 14:06:35

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted November 16, 2010 at 15:05:38

Hi DBC,

What is wrong with saying "a race to the lights"? I'm not asking this to be a jerk. I'm honestly curious. I can't help but feel that he is being treated unfairly.

To me, it seems that saying a "race to the lights" is a fair and valid comment. I witness this behavior on a daily basis. In fact, I find my self being guilty of it now and then. Now that I think of it more, the one place that I do it consistently is along Wentworth (which is North-South) on my way up trying to catch a green so I can turn left onto Queen.

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted November 16, 2010 at 15:07:41

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Comment edited by turbo on 2010-11-16 14:10:54

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted November 16, 2010 at 15:50:58

@DCB

you do know that I'm a lower city resident that lives within half a block of Main Street where its one way and I drive Main King Cannon York/Wilson regularly and I'm not some person on the mountain that you apparently think has no clue. Main street is timed too fast Cannon is not but if you wanted to slow the traffic down to 40kph it could be down more easily by slowing down the timed lights and adding a few so there is no chance of jumping the lights by doing 70 or 80 k. The best chance we have of slowing traffic down is convincing city hall to adjust the light sequence on Main to reward slower driving. You can sell that much easier than selling a total dismantling of 60 years of successful auto traffic control *

Comment edited by turbo on 2010-11-16 14:58:43

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted November 16, 2010 at 17:02:03

The problem with timed lights is that the "reward for slow driving" only works for those at the beginning of the wave. Anyone who guns for a yellow is rewarded by lights timed to allow them to travel at 60-70 for blocks and blocks.

I challenge anyone to name one single successful city in the world that lets you drive from one end to the other in under 20 minutes.

This through-traffic goal is literally killing the city.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted November 16, 2010 at 17:42:29

@seancb

Hamilton's Ring Road is a joke. One half of the ring is a choked-up expressway that is on the far side of a lake, and the other half is a parkway that is on the other side of a massive cliff that only has a half dozen overcrowded cuts to get down. And our city is very long and slim.

I'll be happy to eat my hat after LRT takes off and Hamilton sees a downtown boom along King street and then the city embraces public transit and we get good enough coverage to return Cannon and Main to a 2-way state. But until then, I support the city's plan of keeping Cannon and Main as a single 1-way corridor across the lower city.

@AnneMariePavlov

I work in northeast end of the city and I drive on Burlington street, and I'm always bewildered by coworkers that keep going past the old brewery at Wellington (or is it Wentworth). If you turn left there you get a one-way path right to Cannon where you can keep going west instead of slogging through two-way residential neighborhoods.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2010-11-16 16:52:12

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted November 16, 2010 at 17:43:51

You don't really believe that a one way street is "killing the city" do you?

Really??

As to your point about being able to go 60-70 for blocks and blocks, that is possible, but not indefinitely. Perhaps some math wiz can do the calculation, but wouldn't the maximum time that a person could do that be the time that the lights stay green between red lights? Either the speeding person would catch a red or catch up to the slower traffic ahead of it. If they are going REALLY fast, then the catch up to the slower traffic really fast and are only a danger for a very short period of time. If they are traveling only moderately fast, then it would take them longer to catch up, but wouldn't be as dangerous.

The lights on King between Parkdale and Centennial are timed horribly. It takes me almost as long to travel along that stretch as it does to travel all the way across downtown. Could you please inform me how making these lights synched would kill this part of the city?

I just had a brain wave. Maybe you are thinking about the gas stations and service centres? Do you mean that by not synching the lights, we are forced to use more gas and use up our brakes more quickly, therefore contributing more to the economy and less to our savings?

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted November 16, 2010 at 18:20:15

Hamilton's Ring Road is a joke. One half of the ring is a choked-up expressway that is on the far side of a lake, and the other half is a parkway that is on the other side of a massive cliff that only has a half dozen overcrowded cuts to get down. And our city is very long and slim.

I did not bring up the "ring road" concept, but I thank you for doing so. We have surrounded the city with highways - spent billions under the guise of removing traffic (especially trucks) from the core, and spurring development in faraway business parks - and it hasn't happened yet. You are saying it's wrong to suggest we start using that network as designed?

Furthermore, your description of the highways is purposefully defeatist. "choked up expressway"? "massive cliff"? Spare us the hyperbole.

Traffic which originates outside of the core and has a destination outside the core has no business being in the core. You talk about the "lake" (I assume you mean the bay) and the "cliff" (I assume you mean the escarpment) as if the drivers of the car need to put pontoons and chains on in order to navigate these natural features like 18th century pioneers. We have conquered nature via highway construction and driving around the city is a relative breeze. I (and I assume you) have done it many times so you can stop pretending that it's an impossible chore.

The problem is that we have made it equally easy to drive through the city as it is to drive around it. This is at best inappropriate and at worst actively damaging. Ask anyone who lives or works near (or worse, on) these urban freeways. It is absolute crap.

Sorry that I don't think it's appropriate for residents of the core to sacrifice quality of life for the convenience of through traffic.

You don't really believe that a one way street is "killing the city" do you?

I did not say that "a one way street is killing the city". I said "This through-traffic goal is literally killing the city." These are two completely different statements. We have built our entire traffic management system to encourage one thing - getting through the city as fast as possible in a car. Not into the city. Not from place to place within the city. But clean across it from one end to the other with no regard for wat's in between. And yes, I believe this mentality is a huge part of what is killing the city. It's not only about the direction of the lanes so don't put words in my mouth.

wouldn't the maximum time that a person could do that be the time that the lights stay green between red lights?

Sure. So let's say that a light cycle is 3 minutes. And let's say you can get from Dundurn to Gage park in 6 minutes. (it's about 5km, so 6 minutes at the speed limit). If you catch a yellow then you can easily spend half of your trip through the city going 60-70. Of course you won't get anywhere any faster than if you did 50, but that doesn't stop people from trying. Anyone who has driven on Main or Cannon has seen this behaviour with their own eyes. Pretending it doesn't happen doesn't make your point valid.

Your point about slowing traffic down causing more gasoline usage is factually incorrect. You have made similar factually incorrect statements in other threads about slowing traffic down as well. You made a point about removing trees and removing parking and widening lanes having a result in fewer fatal collisions. This is demonstrably false despite the fact that it goes against what you consider to be common sense.

I am sorry if I am coming across as rude, but I live and work downtown and frankly, I am sick of bending over backward to ensure that you can crank up the tunes and cruise through Hamilton as fast as possible.

Come down here, stop the car and let's stand aside cannon street and talk about it in person. It is the least comfortable place in the city for a human to occupy. It would be more comfortable to do so on the side of the 403 - at least there would be a shoulder separating us from the transport trucks.

Comment edited by seancb on 2010-11-16 17:22:53

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted November 16, 2010 at 20:26:00

@pxtl:

I work in northeast end of the city and I drive on Burlington street, and I'm always bewildered by coworkers that keep going past the old brewery at Wellington (or is it Wentworth). If you turn left there you get a one-way path right to Cannon where you can keep going west instead of slogging through two-way residential neighborhoods.

This sentiment expresses in a nutshell why I am ambivalent about the North End Neighbours' campaign for 30 km/h speed limits on all of their streets.

I'd love to see less high-speed traffic in their neighbourhood. I'd also love to see less high-speed traffic in mine -- Beasley -- which, by the way, is also a "residential neighbourhood." Problem is, if all of the North End streets get 30 km/h speed limits (and those limits are actually enforced), even more traffic will get shunted to Cannon Street than is currently the case. Does anyone in the North End actually think that the traffic problems on James, Burlington, and Bay Streets are comparable to the one on Cannon? Or does traffic in neighbourhoods other than the North End simply not matter?

Don't get me wrong. In principle, I think 30 km/h in the North End is a great idea. But I would prefer to see that as part of an overhaul of our entire transportation plan, which should also include traffic safety and walkability improvements in other neighbourhoods that stand to be negatively impacted if the North End plan is implemented in isolation.

(Or I could argue for a 30 km/h speed limit in Beasley, with conversion of Burlington Street and Bay Street to one way-traffic with synchronized lights to allow trucks to fly through the North End en route to Cannon Street West, but that wouldn't be very neighbourly, so I won't do it.)

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted November 16, 2010 at 20:28:52

Re: Turbo's downvoting.

It's stupid to downvote a comment due to the poster and many of his comments are accurate but downvoted nonetheless. I noticed with my comments as well there was a steady trend of two downvotes to four or five upvotes, regardless of the nature of the comment.

For the record Turbo, I never downvote one of your comments unless I specifically think you're wrong in that statement.

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted November 16, 2010 at 20:29:45

John,

Think of it as a test case. If lower limits work there, we'll see it in many other places as well.

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted November 16, 2010 at 20:39:51

This map of 7-hour truck traffic volumes make my point more eloquently.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 16, 2010 at 21:14:04

That's an astonishing map. 480 trucks on Cannon in 7 hours works out to 68.5 trucks per hour, or 1.14 trucks per minute, or a truck every 52.5 seconds. Now that's a walkability fail if I ever saw one.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted November 16, 2010 at 21:18:39

Sean, I'm going to try and respond to your post as politely as I can. Just so that you have some background on me, know that I drive in Hamilton for a living between Bay and Fruitland and between Burlington Street and the escarpment. I try to plan each day so that I'm only in one area of the city each day.

You said...

"We have surrounded the city with highways - spent billions under the guise of removing traffic (especially trucks) from the core, and spurring development in faraway business parks - and it hasn't happened yet".

It is unclear what you are referring to when you say 'it' hasn't happened yet. I'm going to guess that you mean there is still traffic (especially trucks) in the core? If that is the case, you are supporting Pxtl's point that the "road ring" is not effective or useful for a lot of traffic. As Pxtly effectively (to me anyway) points out there are many barriers to our cities roadways and there are no highways close to the core to help move traffic from one end to another. Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga, and Toronto all have the QEW (and other hwys). We have Burlington Street.

You say that traffic which originates and has a destination outside the core should not be driving through the core. I agree with you on this point. I'm not sure that anyway was disagreeing with you on this. I can't remember anyone suggesting otherwise earlier. Who are you arguing with on this point?

Who said anything about driving around the city being an impossible chore? Talk about putting words in someone's mouth. No one, anywhere that I can remember even hinted at it being difficult to drive around the city.

Okay, so it's not a one way street that you think is killing the city. You think that moving cars through the city is killing the city? My response hasn't changed. REALLY!? Do you really believe that? I'm not the only one that will tell you that there are much bigger problems. In fact most cities do exactly what Hamilton does. It tries to move traffic as efficiently (within reason) as possible. New York of all places is made up almost exclusively of one way streets and has lights which are synced to move traffic as quickly as possible. Sure, cars can't speed because of the volume of cars on the road, but let's be honest. Whether lights are synched or not and whether or not streets are one way or two way, in Hamilton, the idiots on the road who drive unsafely are going to speed regardless.

You said... "Ask anyone who lives or works near (or worse, on) these urban freeways. It is absolute crap". Weren't you getting on Pixtl's case about hyperbole? Urban Freeway? It's a street where most cars drive between 55 and 60 km/h. Should it be slowed to an average of 50-55 probably, but don't exagerate and pretend there is some crazy 'urban freeway' slicing through Hamilton. The people who live and work on these one way streets who think it's crap should be reminded that they live/work in a city. Cities are busy and loud places. There is room to make certain areas of the city quieter and less busy, but in order for a city to be a city, there will always be areas which will be busy and loud. I dislike loud and busy so I'd be really happy if that wasn't so which is why I choose not to live in the core.

"Sorry that I don't think it's appropriate for residents of the core to sacrifice quality of life for the convenience of through traffic".

What do you mean by "through traffic". What about non-through traffic? You're distorting the facts. Residents of the core don't have to live or play on the streets in question. The vast majority of the core is not on a "urban freeway".

You said "We have built our entire traffic management system to encourage one thing - getting through the city as fast as possible in a car. Not into the city. Not from place to place within the city. But clean across it from one end to the other with no regard for what's in between".

We obviously have very different views on Hamilton's traffic management system. You've somehow decided that it is possible to move a car quickly across the city, but not within the city. This last statement of yours proves how you are distorting facts in an attempt to bolster your argument.

As I mentioned earlier, I drive WITHIN the city every day, all day, and being able to get from PLACE TO PLACE within the city is one of the things that is unique to Hamilton that I LOVE. I absolutely dread having to drive in Burlington or Oakville. Besides housing prices, Hamilton's traffic and lack of congestion was THE biggest factor in why I chose to move here and it remains the biggest factor in why I choose to work here and why I choose to shop here. If Hamilton decides to make driving here less efficient, I have no reason to want to work here, am just as likely to shop elsewhere and am more likely to move away.

You said "Pretending it doesn't happen doesn't make your point valid". You are making things up again. I never pretended that it doesn't happen. In fact, I stated that it COULD and does happen. I don't need to pretend it doesn't happen for my point to be valid. You saying that I'm pretending something (which I'm not) doesn't make my point UNvalid! I'm trying hard to be polite here.

"Your point about slowing traffic down causing more gasoline usage is factually incorrect". At this point of your post, I was honestly (this isn't meant as a rude insult) starting to question your reading comprehension skills. Again, you're making stuff up. My point was the OPPOSITE of what you are saying. My point is that making traffic move less efficiently uses more gas which is factually correct.

"You made a point about removing trees and removing parking and widening lanes having a result in fewer fatal collisions. This is demonstrably false despite the fact that it goes against what you consider to be common sense". Demonstrably false? Okay.. it is ALSO demonstrably TRUE. See http://www.tfhrc.gov/safety/98133/ch02/c... where it says..

"Generally it has been found that accident rates decrease when lane and shoulder widths increase. The report by Zegeer et al. (1986) on the effect of cross-section for two-lane rural roads indicated that a paved shoulder widening of 2 feet per side reduces accidents by 16%, while reports of Miaou et al. (1993) and Zegeer et al. (1986) found reductions of 8% and 6.6%, respectively". Yes, that is for "two lane rural" roads and not for multi lane urban roads. Statistics are statistics and they all need to be analyzed carefully. If I had a pedestrian or car jump in front of me unexpectedly, personally I'd prefer a wider lane so I had a better chance of avoiding them regardless of what the statistics say.

If you're sick of hearing people crank up their tunes and hearing the sounds of cars and trucks, you are living in the worst place I can think of. You made an unwise choice in where you chose to live.

I have a better idea than standing on Cannon street to talk about stuff. How about I use Cannon street to get to your place quickly and efficiently so that we can have a drink at Hess? Come on, use your brain.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted November 16, 2010 at 21:25:47

Ryan,

Is it your wish for the entire city of Hamilton to be devoid of trucks and the entire city of Hamilton to be "walkable"?

If yes, what alternate method do you suggest for transporting our goods to and from the city?

Just as you've suggested that having a lot of trucks on one street is a walkability failure, I think one could argue that it is a walkability success. With most of the trucks on one street, it opens up other streets to being more walkable. Hamilton is a fairly industrial city. Trucks are a necessity. If we can have them all on on street, that would be an incredible success in making the rest of the city more 'walkable'.

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted November 16, 2010 at 21:35:48

@SpaceMonkey:

Besides housing prices, Hamilton's traffic and lack of congestion was THE biggest factor in why I chose to move here and it remains the biggest factor in why I choose to work here and why I choose to shop here.

You forgot to mention that our current transportation system is a major reason for our low housing prices. The North Enders aren't stupid. They know that slower traffic means safer, more pleasant neighbourhoods, which in turn means higher property values. (Although I don't think property values per se are motivating them.)

Burlington and Oakville have higher housing prices than Hamilton partly because most people who can afford it don't particularly want to live near the urban highways that you love so much.

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted November 16, 2010 at 21:44:35

@SpaceMonkey:

Is it your wish for the entire city of Hamilton to be devoid of trucks and the entire city of Hamilton to be "walkable"? If yes, what alternate method do you suggest for transporting our goods to and from the city?

I can't speak for Ryan, but I agree with him on most truck-related issues, so I'll speak for myself. I would like to see a transportation infrastructure in which almost all truck trips originating (or ending) in the city of Hamilton use the most direct route to (or from) the nearest controlled-access highway: 403, QEW, Red Hill, Linc, or the eastern part of Burlington Street.

For example, trucks originating in the bayfront industrial area and heading towards the westbound 403 wouldn't use Burlington/Wellington/Cannon/Queen/King. They'd go east on Burlington to the QEW, and either take the QEW/403 or the Red Hill/Linc to the 403 westbound.

This outcome could be achieved with very few changes to the truck route plan, if we simply got rid of the one-way streets and synchronized lights that encourage trucks to travel through our downtown rather than taking the highway around town.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted November 16, 2010 at 21:50:25

I'm starting to think that everyone here except Turbo is a troll.

"Burlington and Oakville have higher housing prices than Hamilton partly because most people who can afford it don't particularly want to live near the urban highways that you love so much".

You're either delusional or knowingly making stuff up. First of all they are streets, not urban highways. Every city has them. Ours happen to do a great job of moving traffic efficiently which is something a lot of cities aspire to. Some cities, such as New York go to great lengths in an effort to improve traffic flow.

Second, I have no emotional attachment to this city's streets.

Third, what a bunch of baloney... not wanting to live here because of our streets. Have you seen the houses in Burlington and Oakville built directly adjacent to Hwy 5? I was going to respond to the rest of your statement, but the more I consider your statement, the more I'm realizing you probably are a troll, so I'm going to refrain.

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By adrian (registered) | Posted November 16, 2010 at 21:50:38

Tired of Turbo? I wrote a bookmarklet that lets you deal with him with just one click. Right now, it only works in Chrome. But it's worth downloading Chrome just for that reason. If anyone's interested, I can make a version that works in Firefox and probably Internet Explorer too.

Go get it

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted November 16, 2010 at 21:56:04

@John who said.. "For example, trucks originating in the bayfront industrial area and heading towards the westbound 403 wouldn't use Burlington/Wellington/Cannon/Queen/King. They'd go east on Burlington to the QEW, and either take the QEW/403 or the Red Hill/Linc to the 403 westbound".

You can't be serious? Am i the only one that finds this ridiculous? Is this REALLY how people think? If so.. oh my god.

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted November 16, 2010 at 21:56:59

@SpaceMonkey: most cities don't have streets like Cannon and Main. Most cities have slower traffic than Hamilton. Most cities cannot be traversed in fifteen minutes. Most cities have traffic jams. And most cities are more prosperous than ours. It's a good thing our truck traffic moves so quickly, or we'd really be in rough shape.

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted November 16, 2010 at 21:57:39

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Comment edited by turbo on 2010-11-16 20:59:16

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted November 16, 2010 at 21:58:28

For the record, I don't drive a truck. I drive a car and am no way linked to the trucking industry.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted November 16, 2010 at 22:00:49

I really hope most people are intelligent enough to see all of the fallacies that John makes. Consider a course in Philosophy John.

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted November 16, 2010 at 22:06:51

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted November 16, 2010 at 22:10:02

I'm not as well versed on this subject as others, but I did live at Hughson and Wilson for 5 years when I first moved to Hamilton so my comments are based on observation only. I was a skeptic at first but I have to concede that 2 way traffic on James Street has been a success. I don't remember James being as vibrant and as varied in the past as it is now. It took a few years but I have come to really believe the growth and change on James has been partly due to the catalyst on 2 way traffic.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted November 17, 2010 at 10:00:26

SpaceMonkey,

So that you have some background on me, I live downtown. I work part time in the east end (I sometimes drive and sometimes cycle). I also run a computer consulting business which requires frequent trips to Burlington. And I also own (and work many hours in) my storefront at James and Cannon. Incidentally, anyone who wants to discuss this in person is welcome to visit my shop. We'll set a couple of chairs out front and try to have a conversation at Cannon&James. I promise you it is not pleasant, I live it every single day.

It is unclear what you are referring to when you say 'it' hasn't happened yet.

It is rather clear. I mean that a) We have made no effort to move traffic from the core onto the highways and b) we have seen almost no development in the highway-accessible business parks - only retail and residential.

you are supporting Pxtl's point that the "road ring" is not effective or useful for a lot of traffic

No. It is not a failure of the highway, it is a failure of the road design. Example, it takes 13 minutes to drive from QEW @ Burlington street to 403 @ Main via skyway. It also takes 13 minutes to travel the same distance via burlington/cannon/king if you are smart about which northbound connectors you use. Highway congestion is infrequent to say the least - the 403 can get busy at rush hour, but for the most part all of the highways move at 10-20 over the limit unless there is an accident. The fact that cars and trucks still use city streets to go from one end to the other is because the streets are designed to be just as easy as the highways. We should be actively dissuading this behaviour within the city in conjunction with building our "ring" highways but we have not. I repeat, this is not a failure of the highways, it is failure of the inner city street design.

As Pxtly effectively (to me anyway) points out there are many barriers to our cities roadways and there are no highways close to the core to help move traffic from one end to another.

This statement makes it clear to me that you simply do not understand my point. There are no barriers to our city's roadways! Our core lies very close to the 403. If you need to get in and out of the core, you should be accessing the 403. If that means keeping multiple lanes open on king and main (as they are now) then that is fine. But once you reach Queen, the traffic needs to be calmed. If you are in upper hamilton and need to get in or out, you can easily access the Linc. If you are in east hamilton you can easily access the RHVP. Almost the entire city is highway accessible! I am not saying that we need to cut off access to the highways. You misunderstand me. And then you throw in "move traffic from one end to the other" as if that is synonymous with "access to highways". It is a totally different thing altogether. Quickly moving from one end to the other is the crux of the problem. If you live in East Hamilton and want to drive to London, our traffic system should encourage you to use the RHVP and Linc to do so. BUt right now, you are encouraged to drive THROUGH the city.

You say that traffic which originates and has a destination outside the core should not be driving through the core. I agree with you on this point. I'm not sure that anyway was disagreeing with you on this. I can't remember anyone suggesting otherwise earlier. Who are you arguing with on this point?

You basically disagreed with me in the paragraph you wrote just before this one, when you said that we need to "help move traffic from one end to another".

Who said anything about driving around the city being an impossible chore?

Nobody did - including me. All I said was that pxtl was attempting to make it sound like the "cliff" and "lake" were an impossible chore to navigate which they clearly are not.

In fact most cities do exactly what Hamilton does. It tries to move traffic as efficiently (within reason) as possible.

I am not against efficient movement of traffic. I am against efficient movement of traffic through the downtown when it has no reason to be there. I sit and watch countless transport trucks rumbling down Cannon. Where are they coming from and where are they going to? I somehow doubt they are making deliveries in Hamilton. Maybe that steel is en route to the RBG? Or is it more likely it's en route to Windsor? And if so, these trucks should be taking the shortest route to the nearest highway. We havemade it fast, easy and legal to use downtown hamilton as a shortcut.

New York of all places is made up almost exclusively of one way streets and has lights which are synced to move traffic as quickly as possible.

I would gear up to argue about what exactly makes New York different but you did most of it for me with your next line:

Sure, cars can't speed because of the volume of cars on the road, but let's be honest.

OK, let's be honest! As I already said - it is not the existence of one or two or a dozan one way streets that is the problem. It is not the direction. It is the freedom of fast movement that is the problem. Cars and trucks do not cut through New York and use the city as a shortcut. That would be insane, Cars do cut through and use Hamilton's city streets as a shortcut since cars can speed because of the volume of cars on the road. On top of that, even the most auto-centric streets in NYC have wider sidewalks and a better pedestrian environment than any street in Hamilton. It's like comparing big apples to little oranges.

Urban Freeway? It's a street where most cars drive between 55 and 60 km/h. [...] don't exagerate and pretend there is some crazy 'urban freeway' slicing through Hamilton.

I am not pretending. Main and Cannon are urban freeways. For crying out loud, there is a merge interchange between Main and 403. From the start, drivers feel like they've merged from one highway to another. The timed lights encourage everyone who is not at the very front of the green wave to speed for half their trip across the city (you asked for the math and I gave it to you). This pair of streets have more E/W lanes than the linc. It is a wide, fast freeway. We aren't talking about a liesurely sunday drive across hamilton. People on Main and Cannon have one goal - to get from start to finish as fast as possible.

The people who live and work on these one way streets who think it's crap should be reminded that they live/work in a city. Cities are busy and loud places.

Volume is fine. Busy-ness is fine. 60-70 km/hr with no separation from people (i.e. pedestrians and cyclists) is not fine.

What do you mean by "through traffic"

I mean traffic that is cutting through the downtown to get somewhere else because we have made it easy to do so. This means traffic originiating outside of hamilton, driving through, with a destination outside of hamilton. It also means traffic originating in the east end and cutting through to the 403. It also means people exiting from the 403 and having a destination somewhere like Kenilworth. Basically, if your end destination is a highway, you should be taking the shortest route to the nearest highway to get there, even if the nearest highway isn't the one you eventually want to travel on. This means cars and trucks alike, but espeically trucks. If you are not doing business downtown then we should not make it your business to cut through it.

You've somehow decided that it is possible to move a car quickly across the city, but not within the city.

This is not what I said. What I said was that we have prioritized moving through the city above all other things, including simply getting in or getting out or getting around. I was simply stating how our priorities are out of whack.

I never pretended that it doesn't happen. In fact, I stated that it COULD and does happen.

Sorry, I was referring to this point that you made earlier:

As to your point about being able to go 60-70 for blocks and blocks, that is possible, but not indefinitely.

I misinterpreted your meaning to be that it doesn't happen often when it appears that you meant that the person can't speed for the duration of their trip, which is mathematically true.

My main point is that we should not be making it possible at all. This scenario is entirely a function of our traffic system, and at every single cycle of lights, we give many drivers this enticing opportunity. In my younger days, I took this opportunity many many times. I was pulled over only one time and given a warning. That was years ago. I have matured as a driver, but as you said, there are stupid drivers everywhere. So we can continue to dangle this tasty opportunity in front of them, or we can rework the system to make it faster to go around the city rather than through it. We can send signals via traffic planning that say "Look, it is not an efficient use of your driving time to try to go through downtown."

So yes, we should strive to make it efficient to move within the city in order to do our jobs, but we need to eliminate this "shortcut" mentality!

I have a better idea than standing on Cannon street to talk about stuff. How about I use Cannon street to get to your place quickly and efficiently so that we can have a drink at Hess? Come on, use your brain.

Please spare me the personal attacks. My place is at Cannon and James. And from my window, I watch kids from the schools that line Cannon navigate narrow sidewalks which are separated only by thin air from multi-ton trucks travelling 60-70km/h. It is absolutely inappropriate. Did these kids choose for their school to be located there? Do they have another choice? This isn't about people choosing to live downtown then complaining about it. It's about how we've built inappropriately scaled roads clear through the heart of our city. And yes, it's killing these neighbourhoods. Killed, actually.

So the invitation stands: please come down to the corner and see for yourself how awful it is at a human scale.

A final point about the lane widths. I was speaking about fatal collisions. You are speaking about accident rates. These are different. Yes, wider lanes and wider shoulders in a rural setting will reduce collisions between cars. But in an urban setting, where the transportation space is shared between people and vehicles, the best way to reduce fatalities is to slow the vehicles down. And the best way to slow vehicles down is to create narrow, winding roads that send signals to drivers that going over 30-40km/h is dangerous.

Comment edited by seancb on 2010-11-17 09:07:31

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted November 17, 2010 at 10:10:18

Why is everyone so against Turbo?

His last post about the speeds on the streets is correct. Why would 3 of 3 people downvote that? - SpaceMonkey

Because this site is becoming more of a support group for like minded people than a venue for debate. Turbo's incessant posting of one line comebacks and use of broad generalities does not help his cause but I do see an opportunity for both sides to improve their decorum.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted November 17, 2010 at 10:21:52

I challenge anyone to name one single successful city in the world that lets you drive from one end to the other in under 20 minutes. - sencb

Waterloo, Ontario. Bridgeport is a 3-lane one way street into downtown (sorry "Uptown")from the expressway, Erb Street is a 3-lane one-way street out of uptown to the expressway.

You can get from the far end of Erb right through the heart of Waterloo to the expressway in under 20 minutes easily.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted November 17, 2010 at 10:48:30

Burlington and Oakville have higher housing prices than Hamilton partly because most people who can afford it don't particularly want to live near the urban highways that you love so much. - John Neary

A house on one of Waterloo's "urban highways". I know some folks in Hamilton that would love to see those housing values.

Is it one-way multilane "urban highways" or something else keeping Hamilton property values low?

An important thing to mention in this discussion is that simply changing the value on a currently ignored sign will not work. Do people obey the speed limit now? Part of the reason Erb and Bridgeport in Waterloo work is because they are speed traps, everyone who lives there knows it. Traffic may do 50-60 km/h. You rarely if ever see anyone speeding excessively on these streets but you see speed traps frequently. I have driven Cannon, Wilson, York, Main, King etc... many, many, times and have never once seen a police officer enforcing the speed limit.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted November 17, 2010 at 11:22:25

Bridgeport and Erb are basically functioning in the way I said King and Main could - as easy access in and out of downtown from the 403. But not clear through to the other side of the city.

So if we must (as I said before), we can keep King and Main as wider access roads to the 403 from Queen and/or bay, and calm them within downtown.

I have actually suggested this years ago, perhaps on this very site and elsewhere (i can't remember now).

For highway access, we could keep main as one way from the 403 to Queen. We could lose the right lane at Queen as we do now - but not regain it again at hess. We could then lose two left lanes at Bay and from bay onward, main can be two way - til wentworth perhaps.

This way we retain easy access in and out of downtown, but we dissuade shortcuts.

Comment edited by seancb on 2010-11-17 10:22:58

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By PseudonymousCoward (registered) | Posted November 17, 2010 at 12:44:02

Kiely, your example may not be that relevant. Waterloo is a "city" of less than a hundred thousand people. The entire region has some 450,000 people spread out over three distinct cities.

Oh, and great work, adrian! What would it take to get this bookmarklet working in Firefox?

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted November 17, 2010 at 12:44:57

SpaceMonkey actually makes my point about neighbourhoods for me:

Cities are busy and loud places. There is room to make certain areas of the city quieter and less busy, but in order for a city to be a city, there will always be areas which will be busy and loud. I dislike loud and busy so I'd be really happy if that wasn't so which is why I choose not to live in the core.

As I mentioned earlier, I drive WITHIN the city every day, all day, and being able to get from PLACE TO PLACE within the city is one of the things that is unique to Hamilton that I LOVE. I absolutely dread having to drive in Burlington or Oakville. Besides housing prices, Hamilton's traffic and lack of congestion was THE biggest factor in why I chose to move here...

So, basically, you want to drive around the city at high speed, but you don't want to live in a neighbourhood where others do the same. I'd say you are the one who should take a philosophy course -- but in moral philosophy, not formal logic.

On an unrelated note, I apologize for my incorrect statement about you driving a truck. And I'm not sure why two people downvoted your clarification on that point; I upvoted it.

And I'll join the discussion at Sean's shop on Cannon.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted November 17, 2010 at 13:10:42

Kiely, your example may not be that relevant - PseudonymousCoward

He challenged anyone to find an example, I did. How is that not relevant? Or do you just not like the response?

I used Waterloo as an example because many people on this website like to tout its virtues, I think that makes it even more relevant. I could have used San Francisco's one-ways as an example, or Sydney's, or Brisbane's or Singapore's...

The efficient movement of traffic through cities is common place around the globe.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted November 17, 2010 at 13:34:37

I didn't challenge anyone to find an example of a successful city which has one way streets. I challenged people to find an example of a successful city in which you can drive clear across from one end to the other straight through the downtown core in a matter of minutes. Is there any city that has a shorter drive time through the middle than around its ring highway? It's lonely here at the top of the "most efficient to drive through" list.

Comment edited by seancb on 2010-11-17 12:34:53

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted November 17, 2010 at 14:01:35

I didn't challenge anyone to find an example of a successful city which has one way streets. I challenged people to find an example of a successful city in which you can drive clear across from one end to the other straight through the downtown core in a matter of minutes. - seancb

And that is exactly what was provided to you.

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted November 17, 2010 at 14:02:01

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Comment edited by turbo on 2010-11-17 13:04:32

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted November 17, 2010 at 19:26:10

Do you mean this: http://maps.google.ca/maps?f=d&sourc...

versus this: http://maps.google.ca/maps?f=d&sourc...

I am not intimately familiar with the geography there, but it looks like through-town is half as fast as the ring highway.

If I misunderstood the routes you were referring to, I apologize in advance.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted November 17, 2010 at 22:17:17

It's too bad that photo-radar has become an impossibly maligned solution. Tasking police officers to enforce the speed limit seems like a waste of everyone's time.

Anyhow, I've been wondering: do any cities sporting one-way streets actually protect the pedestrians in any way? I was just thinking about, say, a set of concrete posts every 2 meters or something like that. Close enough that a car would crumple rather than encroach on the sidewalk, but widely spaced so that it wouldn't interfere with streetside parking. Probably would be prohibitively expensive to install thousands of posts and unsafe for drivers.

I remember in Buenos Aires, pedestrian crossings weren't at the corners. Rather, the corners were blocked by metal pedestrian barriers, and the crossings were located several meters away from the corner. This might've been more about making the intersection wider than pedestrian safety.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2010-11-17 21:19:46

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted November 17, 2010 at 23:22:08

Photo radar was great. I demonstratively reduced speeding and produced a homogeneous speed on the highways making them much safer and accident stats backed that up if I recall correctly I'm sure that photo radar combined with red light cameras would have a major impact on our main thoroughfares not just in the lower city but also in the high accident areas on Mohawk and Upper James

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted November 18, 2010 at 02:11:27

I'm all for photo radar, and the more the merrier. Don't like tickets? Don't speed. It's a simple, cost effective solution. Let our trained officers handle more important tasks.

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted November 18, 2010 at 10:07:02

Photo radar would be great if it was put in high accident areas. Instead it's put in some of the safest but fastest stretches. It's all about profit, not safety. Speed limits need to be set by engineering standards, not political standards. You'll note that the American highways didn't turn into bloodbaths even though the 55 mph speed limit was repealed. Slow is safe in residential areas due to pedestrians and cyclists, but different rules apply on the highways where keeping right and not tailgaiting is the key to road safety.

Red light cameras are a joke. It's been proven numerous times that re-engineering intersections, even something as simple as extending the yellow time by a second or larger lights, will significantly reduce red light running. Cameras only generate revenue (and have been removed in a number of instances due to costing more to maintain than they generate!) and actually create more rear-end collisions as people panic and slam on the brakes unexpectedly.

Before anyone comments on the "unexpectedly" remark, I don't expect the person in front of me to slam on the brakes as soon as the light turns yellow. I leave enough space that I've never had an issue with this, but if the driver behind thinks "If we both accelerate we'll make it through" then you get a collision.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted November 18, 2010 at 10:39:30

Pxtl, They have metal posts all over the place in Paris. I never really thought about it until right now, but Paris is my favourite city to walk in and most of their sidewalks are extremely narrow. They even manage to cram table and chairs onto them. See the link for an example of the posts that I'm referring to.

http://www.google.ca/imgres?imgurl=http:...

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted November 18, 2010 at 11:12:58

funny thats a one way street

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted November 18, 2010 at 15:27:13

It sure looks like it Turbo. Imagine that, a bustling area full of people enjoying lunch on a one way street with narrow sidewalks.

Thinking of Paris, I'm also reminded that Camps Elysees, the busiest street in the whole city for car traffic is also the busiest street in the city for pedestrian traffic. Mind you, the sidewalks in this area are giant.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted November 18, 2010 at 15:29:06

As someone who's son lives blocks from Bridgeport in Waterloo, I can say that I certainly wouldn't want it or Urb held up as examples of "successful streets". King St is literally lined with booming Businesses, as well as quieter side-streets like Peppler, but huge stretches of Bridgeport and Urb are entirely unappealing to pedestrians (especially those of us with small kids). They represent entirely the same kind of awful urban-freeway design as Main or Cannon here. And for the record, I've never had a problem speeding there.

Tiny sections of Waterloo are very appealing, but on a broader scale traffic in K-W is a mess. You could never cut from Cambridge to Bridgeport the way you can through downtown Hamilton. Believe me, I've spent a lot of gas and time trying.

Hamilton has twice the provincial average of expressways and arterial roads. The immediate physical imposition this places on pedestrian life (businesses, families etc) along Main, Cannon and York/Wilson is apparent every moment of every day there. Of the four main lower-city 'highways', only King has the kind of "success" we're looking for in the core, and there, largely, around those areas where it's narrowest, or which surround narrow pedestrian-friendly streets like Hess or James.

www.science.mcmaster.ca/cspa/papers/CSpA%20WP%20017.pdf

This is not a new topic on RTH, or in urban geography literature in general, and if you take the time to look back, you'll get a much better idea of what we're calling for.

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted November 19, 2010 at 13:26:16

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By sselway (registered) | Posted November 20, 2010 at 18:11:48

Indeed North End Neighbours is at the OMB to get 30K throughout our neighbourhood INCLUDING James and Burlington. We call it a "Child and Family Friendly neighbourhood". With 1200 children and 5200 residents living close to the core, traffic calming is important as well as education. We do not want to rely on "enforcement" (indeed there is little if any enforcement at 50K now!) Instead, there is a variety of "traffic calming" strategies to incorporate into our neighbourhood. We know that making our neighbourhood a "liveable community" will encourage more families to live in the downtown core.

30K will not discourage visitors, driving at a slower speed will enhance their enjoyment of the neighbourhood on their way to spend a relaxing time at the West Harbour.

Sheri Selway

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted November 21, 2010 at 19:45:42

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted November 22, 2010 at 09:12:56

Would you really not go to a friend's house due to a 30 km/h limit in the area? Remember, it's only for a few blocks until you reach an arterial street. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about 130 km/h speed limits on the 400 series highways, but neighbourhoods shouldn't be race tracks.

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted November 22, 2010 at 15:06:20

Its not about going to a friends house. I would expect that there is little to no resistance to side streets being 30kph. Its a reasonable request. The problem occurs when you decide access streets to the neighbourhood and to Bayfront Park should also be 30kph. Thats not reasonable. James, Bay Barton and Burlington need to be a reasonable speed of 40 kph to 50 kph or you will drive people away from using public facilities that they helped pay for. IMO the lower speed limit is simply an effort to keep the North End for North Enders only.

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