Walkability Fail

Dundurn Plaza Walkability Fail

By Biljana Vasilevska
Published March 02, 2011

This letter was sent to Councillor Brian McHattie, Ward 1 and Councillor Jason Farr, Ward 2

As residents of wards 1 and 2, we are deeply disturbed by the lack of safety for pedestrians around the Fortinos Plaza on Dundurn, between King and Main Streets.

As the only major grocery store in west downtown Hamilton, surrounded by residential neighbourhoods, and being so near on- and off-ramps to the 403, it is incredibly important that pedestrian safety be given more consideration than the current design allows.

Here are some examples:

Cars Do Not Yield

When walking along the west side of Dundurn from the south towards Main (i.e. from Kirkendall, towards the plaza), cars have a signal to yield to pedestrians when making right turns on to Dundurn. However, they rarely do.

Part of the problem is that they cannot see the pedestrians, or the yield sign! There are overgrown bushes on the Southwest corner of King/Dundurn (it is unclear if they are on City or privately-owned property) bordering the gas station, and they obscure drivers' view when turning right on to Dundurn.

One of us has nearly been hit twice while trying to cross to the little triangle before actually crossing Main.

Two-Stage Crossing

On that same corner, pedestrians need to cross cars' paths twice to get to the other side of Main: once to a little triangle with the yield sign, and once again across Main.

This is a really difficult crossing in winter, when that triangle is covered in snow and can not be seen by driver or pedestrian alike. This triangle can only comfortably accommodate 2 or 3 adults, and is treacherous with a stroller.

Furthermore, as soon as a single person is standing on that triangle, they totally block the "yield" sign that motorists are expected to obey.

In addition to this two-step crossing being dangerous, we are curious as to why cars have been so readily accommodated with that right turn (no lights to bother with!) in such as way as to consistently endanger pedestrians.

No Crossing

There is no pedestrian crossing on the west side of Dundurn at King. This is shocking, considering that it is the single best way to get between the plaza and an entirely residential neighbourhood on the other side of King.

A sign on the northwest corner of King and Dundurn prohibits pedestrian crossings (RTH file photo)
A sign on the northwest corner of King and Dundurn prohibits pedestrian crossings (RTH file photo)

People who live in that neigbhourhood regularly risk their lives to cross there or a little further west, instead of suffering having to cross the road three times to get to the opposite corner!

We consider the lack of pedestrian access at this intersection to be an indignity and an insult: The only logic to the lack of a pedestrian crossing is so that cars can get on to the 403 a little bit faster.

Once they are on the 403, cars can easily make up the few seconds that they have "lost" waiting for pedestrians to cross, while pedestrians are required to spend three entire cycles of the traffic signal waiting to get to their destination, when one single crossing will do.

Advanced Left Turn

When walking on Dundurn and crossing Main on the east side, pedestrians are regularly made extremely nervous by drivers turning left who go too fast through the left hand turn signal and cut really close to where you stand on the sidewalk waiting to cross.

Some drivers have no respect for pedestrians or oncoming cars and will push turning left long after the advanced left turn signal is finished, so pedestrian are obstructed from crossing when they are permitted.

Two of us were very nearly hit by a car who exhibited precisely this impatience at a left-hand turn at this corner.

It is a sad irony that there is a prominent billboard on the Northeast corner of Main and Dundurn for a law firm, whose motto is that they are "the personal injury experts." Clearly, this law firm has figured out how to capitalize on the dangers of this intersection.

When one of the letter writers called the traffic police about a near accident at this same corner, she was told, "Yes, this is a very big problem area."

The police are aware of the problem, and lawyers are capitalizing on it. We feel that is it the City of Hamilton's obligation to act upon this, immediately.


We would like to make the following recommendations:

The entire intersections of King / Dundurn and Main / Dundurn street need to be re-built to make pedestrian access to this the busy Fortinos plaza safe.

We are disinclined to consider any costs involved to be onerous, given that the City of Hamilton has recently spent millions on creating a new roadway for cars only (the RHVP).

We cannot accept that the costs involved in making two busy downtown intersections safer are insurmountable, particularly since these intersections are surrounded by mid-to high-density residential neighbourhoods.

We recommend these specific changes to the King/Dundurn and Main/Dundurn intersections:

  1. Make all of the right-hand turns "hard rights," which require cars to travel to the edge of the intersection and to stop in order to accommodate pedestrians.

  2. Trim trees, bushes, etc (or require businesses to trim them) so that basic sight-lines around corners can be maintained.

  3. Install a pedestrian crossing (painted lines, crossing lights, etc) on the west side of King Street at Dundurn. Prepare drivers for this change in advance of its implementation.

  4. Create a strong police presence at these two intersections so that motorists will be more inclined to follow the rules, and police can be more easily marshaled when motorists do not.

As we are sure that you and your staff are aware, in 2008, Hamilton City Council signed the International Walking Charter, which includes the goals of promoting walking and reducing road danger.

We are not aware of what specific activities have happened as a result of this charter, but we would like to suggest that improving pedestrian access around the only grocery store in the West of downtown Hamilton would be a wonderful place to start.

Yours truly,

Biljana Vasilevska and friends, including:

Ward 2 residents:
Krista Fleury
Chris Borst

Ward 1 residents:
Riisa Walden
Cindy Smith

Biljana loves strawberries, dark chocolate, all things caffeinated, and living in downtown Hamilton. She likes shopping for groceries without fearing for her life.


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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted March 02, 2011 at 08:05:07

THANK YOU for bringing this up Biljana and friends! I used to live in this neighborhood (Dundurn at Sunset) and even then it was a nightmare getting into the Fortinos plaza; now I am frequently in the area especially to catch GO Transit when visiting clients in Toronto, and often walk from Main to King to get to the GO stop.

Trying to cross both Main/Dundurn and King/Dundurn is insane. There isn't a single recommendation here that I disagree with.

In my view, the most urgent problem at present is the lack of enforcement at those streets. Even the current situation, bad as it is, would be markedly improved by traffic enforcement.

In 1996, a person very close to me was nearly killed when her car was sideswiped by a car gunning through King/Dundurn towards the 403, against a red light. The expressway conditions of King at Dundurn particularly, I think, contributed to the accident. But although the City and its Traffic Department appear value the lives and convenience of drivers many hundreds of times more than the lives and convenience of pedestrians, even the safety of drivers must take a back seat to getting to the 403 and out of Hamilton seconds faster.

Since everyone with power in Hamilton lives in Burlington, I can guess why these priorities exist.

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By ilya (registered) | Posted March 12, 2011 at 11:04:44 in reply to Comment 60509

Excellent article. There is a larger concern this brings to mind; the attitude of a traffic dept. that makes decisions based on a scoring system where decisions are made based on accidents and fatalities. When analysts do come out for traffic studies, the studies don't seem to take place during peak traffic periods. Instead, they run from 9am-3pm/4pm. There were a significant number (3)of accidents near my home near Queen and Charlton Ave. W. and I provided two councillors and traffic with video showing a near miss where I work. After 1.5 hours of jawing, I was promised another traffic study. When I stated it was important for this study to be done from 8am-7pm to ensure a proper picture, I was told this could not be guaranteed. No one has responded to this request.

The purpose of my comments are not to complain about what is and what is not being done. Simply put, Hamilton needs a new way of looking at and addressing these concerns. One that is far qicker (lives are at stake) and that has better communication with Hamiltonians.

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By SREWED UPLANNERS (anonymous) | Posted March 02, 2011 at 18:25:21 in reply to Comment 60509


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By JasonAAllen (registered) - website | Posted March 02, 2011 at 08:22:03

I have been nearly killed at this intersection countless times. Then walking home past the YWCA last night, I was nearly mowed down by a Hondy Civic as I crossed the road. I have always loved the term "Militant Cyclist", and am thinking of becoming a "Militant Pedestrian." Anybody up for a Pedestrian Critical Mass?

Comment edited by JasonAAllen on 2011-03-02 08:23:55

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By HamiltonBrian (registered) | Posted March 02, 2011 at 18:08:52 in reply to Comment 60512

I'm close; I'm a bit of a jackass in that, especially when running, I'll slap the car if it rushes through the green walk signal. I have no sympathy for those drivers that turn east at Dundurn and Main that try to rush the light. I think a PedCritical Mass would be awesome.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted March 02, 2011 at 09:39:18 in reply to Comment 60512

Ha! I've been calling myself a militant pedestrian since I cut my teeth on the mean streets of TO in the 80's. It's all about eye contact and attitude. I can part traffic like the Red Sea with my steely eyes and firmly set jaw. :)

Let me know when you're holding your meetings!

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted March 02, 2011 at 08:58:19

I regularly see the police issuing speeding tickets at the end of the King St bridge into Westdale, but I don't think I've ever seen them at the Main/Dundurn intersection issuing tickets to those who continue to turn when they no longer have an advanced green.

That'd be a nice change.

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By ilpo (registered) - website | Posted March 02, 2011 at 23:14:45 in reply to Comment 60514

It does have a Red Light camera. Open Data would let bus know how many tickets get issued here!

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By JonC (registered) | Posted March 04, 2011 at 13:02:46 in reply to Comment 60628

The red light camera is only on the straight through traffic on main and also on king. Unfortunately, it won't be useful for catching illegal left turns.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted March 02, 2011 at 09:00:47

I would add to this list that all of the 403 ramps that connect to main and king via highway-style interchanges should be changed to proper signalized intersections.

Part of the problem at Dundurn (esp at main) is the need to race across 5 lanes of traffic when you come off of the highway since there is no true break in traffic there (since the ramps are not signalized)

Comment edited by seancb on 2011-03-02 09:00:59

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted March 04, 2011 at 08:26:38 in reply to Comment 60515

Sorry but there is no NEED to race across 5 lanes of traffic anywhere. I am not sure if you are talking about the idiots who are trying to across 5 lanes of traffic from one side of Main from the off ramp to the other so they can turn at Dundurn or just trying to get across Dundurn. Either way this is unacceptable driving. Why there is not a bigger police presence there I have no idea and something that has puzzled me for years. The number of unsafe/dangerous/stupid/unnecessary lane changes between the off ramps and Dundurn is disturbing, especially when it is being done by and 18 wheeler.

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By Iamafraidofcars (anonymous) | Posted March 02, 2011 at 10:05:19

These intersections are atrocious but I was happy to see the recent addition of red light cameras.


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By Brandon (registered) | Posted March 02, 2011 at 11:26:10 in reply to Comment 60527

Red light cameras are horrible. They're simply a way of the city profiting from a dangerous situation.

People rarely decide "I'm going to run that red light" and this is proven by how rarely you see someone run a stale red, it's usually a case of "I can make it! Whoops!". Extending the duration of the yellow light by a half second to a second makes a world of difference, but doesn't generate any revenue, nor does it give the impression of "We're doing something!" that the cameras give.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted March 02, 2011 at 11:33:44 in reply to Comment 60544

And alot of cities don't even profit, I read awhile ago that L.A. gave up there red light cameras because they cost more to run than they brought in in fines.

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted March 03, 2011 at 08:22:39 in reply to Comment 60546

Some jurisdictions have been caught shortening the yellow light times to catch more people "running" the red.

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By moylek (registered) - website | Posted March 02, 2011 at 10:33:45

Thanks for writing this letter and for sharing it with us.

Main West & Dundurn is a weekly source of grief for me - most often as a cyclist, but due to the same reasons: speed, driver impatience, road width and complete deference to vehicles.

That plaza in only a fifteen minute walk or five minute ride from my house, but given how unpleasant that intersection is, I almost always drive when I need to go there. That's absurd.

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By JasonAAllen (registered) - website | Posted March 02, 2011 at 10:50:05 in reply to Comment 60532

Every spring, I recommit to riding my bike for my Friday night "LCBO/Fortino's" trips, and every year I fail, because although I also live very close (10 minutes by bike from either location), I don't feel there is ANY way I can safely ride from King and Locke to the Dundurn LCBO without riding on the sidewalk. So occasionally I walk the route, but again always end up taking my life in my hands at that intersection. Road planning is not much different from transit planning. We know that if we give people 15 minute headways in Transit planning, we get orders of magnitude more riders than at 45 minutes, or even 30. So how many more people would come out of their cars and on to their bikes or on foot if they could do so without having to 'surf the green wave' to get there...Steely eyes and firmly set jaws notwithstanding. :)

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted March 05, 2011 at 20:24:06 in reply to Comment 60534

I agree - it's just too much of a risk to cycle.

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By thrillhouse (registered) | Posted March 02, 2011 at 12:56:44

Great article. I also find those locations the most dangerous.

One other place I've almost been hit a few times hasn't been a roadway, but the /sidewalk/ which acts as the easternmost entry off of Dundurn into the Esso station. Many cars seem to treat this as though it were a highway offramp.

I've even had a police car almost kill me there: a car zipped right over the sidewalk only a few feet in front of me, followed immediately by a cop car a few /inches/ in front of me, who was apparently tailing the first car without lights or siren, or (as it were) any regard for the lives of pedestrians.

Comment edited by thrillhouse on 2011-03-02 12:58:28

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By Eastendtony (anonymous) | Posted March 02, 2011 at 13:07:00

Try using the NEW Centre Mall as a pedestrian.

My wife has nearly been run over four times in the less than a dozen times she has decided to walk from store to store. The sidewalks do not connect and there are may blind areas where drivers come around corners unable or unwilling to see pedestrians. It is only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or killed here. Good job on approving this piece of backward development City Hall. (Sarcasm) But hey it's in a lower income section of town so who cares. (Sarcasm)

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted March 02, 2011 at 15:28:01 in reply to Comment 60570

What's frustrating is that it's perfectly possible to build a sprawling car-oriented plaza without making it an affront to pedestrians. University Plaza's massive awning-structure and extra-extra-wide sidewalks make it pleasant to walk from shop to shop in spite of the fact that the shops encircle a massive parking lot, even in the worst weather. The only time you have to venture out into the rain or snow is to cross to the far side of the lots since sadly the drug store and the grocery store didn't get with the program.

Heck, thanks to the rail-trail it's even pleasant to bike there.

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted March 02, 2011 at 21:05:53 in reply to Comment 60597

University Plaza is exceptionally pleasant to travel to and to shop at, and although it's probably as close to my house (and with as many hills) as Dundurn Plaza, I would and do choose to travel to University Plaza every time.

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By MattM (registered) | Posted March 02, 2011 at 14:11:18 in reply to Comment 60570

I've practiced some "militant pedestrianism" at Centre Mall at least a few times now.

As you said, the sidewalks barely ever meet up from one "destination" to the other. They take winding paths often to accomodate traffic flow through the parking lots.

To make matters worse, at least a few of the stores and the food court can only be accessed by crossing in front or even directly across active drive-thru lanes.

Drivers consistently make an illegal left turn into the Centre from Eastbound Barton, just about where the Shoppers Drug Mart is. The turn out is designed for exit only but the drivers still make an illegal turn into it, which requires them to actually drive around a concrete cutout designed to prevent this.

Numerous times have I been nearly run down walking from the Barton bus to the back of the property where Metro is. At least a few of those times I was angrily flipped off or yelled at as if I was jaywalking across a busy street.

Finally I should mention that for the most part, the giant sea of parking provided for these stores is completely empty. Just a giant sea of asphalt and yellow lines.

Comment edited by MattM on 2011-03-02 14:13:33

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By resident (anonymous) | Posted March 02, 2011 at 13:28:58

I saw a car that was going well over the 50 km per hour limit the other day, as was heading north up Dundurn.

What if a child step out in front of that vehicle. Some drivers are just too much and think they own the road, the space that others besides vehicles must use.

Topo bad there was not a cop around and that speeder got a ticket.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted March 02, 2011 at 14:12:19

One more thing for the wish-list, and a hella-cheap solution to a problem:

a "Yield to pedestrians" sign on the King St. eastbound 403 Onramp. If you're walking from Ainsliewood into the Dundurn plaza (or the reverse) you cross at the break in the sidewalk shown here: link

However, you still have to cross a lane of traffic that has near-constant traffic as drivers pull onto the 403... and drivers do not generally signal, so seeing them oncoming and watching from a distance means you have no idea whether it's safe to cross or not. You just guess, and move.

And here's the real slap in the face: it's not wheelchair/stroller accessible. If you're pushing a large stroller, you have to cross in the bike-lane here:


Note that this is by design. There are wheelchair ramps encouraging this behavior. You stand in the middle of a 5-lane highway with traffic moving at around 70kph, protected by a few columns of hollow plastic, and wait for a break.

This is insane.

Oh, and here's another, smaller WTF:

Look at the sidewalk in this picture: link

Notice the beaten paths up over the little wall. The intended design for pedestrians trying to get into Fortinos plaza from main street is apparently that they walk all the way to the vehicular entrance or something. There is no ramp or entryway to get to the sidewalk that lies in front of McDonalds, other than beaten paths running over curbs. This one is just so frustrating because there's a sidewalk right there, with a wheelchair ramp. All it's crossing is a drive-through lane, not even real traffic! But there's no actual pedestrian connection between the rather nice sidewalk they've built in-front of the Dundurn storefronts (starting with McDonalds) and Main street which runs alongside it.

Pushing a stroller gives you a whole new appreciation of how much it must suck to be disabled.

Wow, this is long. Maybe I should've posted it as an article?

Anyhow, on the subject of the Dundurn and King crossing, I can understand why they don't have the 3rd side - it would be incredibly congestive of Dundurn, which is already cramped. But that doesn't mean they should have no crossing at all. Why not have a push-button red-light crossing at Breadalbane, or maybe connecting directly to the storefront sidewalk? Then turning drivers could get off Dundurn before being stopped by pedestrians, keeping Dundurn flowing but allowing a west-side crossing of King?

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted March 02, 2011 at 21:08:14 in reply to Comment 60584

A million times this:

Note that this is by design. There are wheelchair ramps encouraging this behavior. You stand in the middle of a 5-lane highway with traffic moving at around 70kph, protected by a few columns of hollow plastic, and wait for a break.

This is insane.

I am not really kidding when I suggest that the people who design this stuff live in Burlington, and it's their own interests they have in mind when figuring out how to manage flow at that onramp.

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By ilpo (registered) - website | Posted March 02, 2011 at 23:24:34 in reply to Comment 60616

Perhaps the best would be to close both Main St ramps and have all that traffic use the Main West/Aberdeen exit for both directions instead. It would certainly change traffic flows from a race track to just traffic which would allow connection of the sidewalks over the bridge properly. Just a thought.

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By rscheffler (anonymous) | Posted April 13, 2011 at 00:33:04 in reply to Comment 60629

Closing the ramps would shift the highway traffic over to Longwood and Aberdeen, which is already pretty busy.

I was speaking with a Kirkendall NA board member today and the speed and volume of traffic along Aberdeen is an area of concern already.

Also, it would compound the significant rush hour traffic issues around Main and Longwood and likely create greater risk for Westdale SS students on the sidewalks.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted March 02, 2011 at 14:20:30

comment from banned user deleted

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted March 02, 2011 at 14:34:58 in reply to Comment 60585

comment from banned user deleted

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted March 02, 2011 at 14:42:29 in reply to Comment 60588

I don't get it, how is the drive through any different from the rest of the parking lot? Pedestrians are crossing all over place in Dundurn Plaza, and McDonalds is entirely encircled by its drive-through lane, like a moat. Even if you drove to McDonalds and parked there, you still have to cross the drive-through moat.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted March 02, 2011 at 14:51:23 in reply to Comment 60589

comment from banned user deleted

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted March 02, 2011 at 14:25:08

I sincerely hope this article saves a life. This area is a nightmare for pedestrians, cyclists, kids, the disabled, and also features (IMHO) the rudest and most aggressive parking lot in the city.

The one thing I'd add is the North side of King leading up to the intersection. Between the bus stops, cars hoping to get onto the highway, Tim Hortons, upcoming Esso (mentioned above) and people hoping to turn, it's a nightmare to bike. A few of us experienced cyclists simply use the second lane, but whichever way you look at it, approaching the bridge bike lane this way is hair-raising. And while some might simply ride on the sidewalk, it's also one of the leading spots (more than any other for those I know) for sidewalk accidents as people turn into the Tim Hortons.

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By moylek (registered) - website | Posted March 02, 2011 at 14:57:10 in reply to Comment 60586

A few of us experienced cyclists simply use the second lane, but whichever way you look at it, approaching the bridge bike lane this way is hair-raising.

I don't get ruffled on my bike easily, but I'm with undustrial: going West on King or turning left onto King always makes me nervous. I don't relax again until I'm over the ramp and into that concrete-sided bike lane.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted March 02, 2011 at 14:49:16 in reply to Comment 60586

This is one of those I get off King. You hit a lot of all-ways (I admit I roll through those if there are no cars stopped at the intersection) but coming from downtown, take Bay to Napier and use the paved path across Victoria Park to get to Head street, and then you're at Dundurn - not too much of a detour and much safer than King. Only done it a few times that way, but it seems like a decent route.

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By JasonAAllen (registered) - website | Posted March 04, 2011 at 08:11:06 in reply to Comment 60591

Pxtl, great ideas - I have used that route to get to King and Dundurn - based on your experience, can you recommend a way to get from King and Dundurn to the relative safety of the bike lanes on Dundurn south of Main without you or your bike becoming a hood ornament? Thus far I can't see any way short of riding on the sidewalk, and I don't want to be one of 'those' cyclists. I guess I'm not a confident enough rider to want to go and challenge all of those cars zooming by, and randomly turning without signaling in and out of the Fortino's parking lot.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted March 03, 2011 at 12:58:38 in reply to Comment 60591

That's almost exactly the route I take. Easy to get from the bike lane at King and Bendamere straight to Bay. Pretty, quiet, and quite efficient.

At some point we're going to start seeing a system of parallel development along these routes, with cafes, bike shops and others taking advantage of the massive, rolling, niche markets.

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By Myrcurial (registered) - website | Posted March 02, 2011 at 14:53:35

With the recent move of think|haus to very near the corner of King and Dundurn, and the desire to go and get ingredients to make our own food, most of the members are in the "I'll wait to take the 3 pedestrian crossings" but a few do the "I can run real fast across King" -- and I'm expecting that one of them is going to be hit real soon now.

It's not actually all that surprising given the glorified "green wave" engineering and the WTF that is "acceptable lane widths" -- is the city traffic department completely inept or just unaware of the laws of physics? Heck, last fall they had the half closed Main St bridge over the QEW striped as 3 lanes... none of which were wide enough to take a car comfortably, let alone the buses and trucks that use that bridge.

And it might be safer to keep me away from the topic of Centre Mall and which ones of our current crop of councillors let that bait-and-switch happen.


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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted March 02, 2011 at 21:11:45 in reply to Comment 60593

Heck, last fall they had the half closed Main St bridge over the QEW striped as 3 lanes... none of which were wide enough to take a car comfortably

At least one of those lanes, and I believe all three, was quite literally narrower than a bus.

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By ilpo (registered) - website | Posted March 02, 2011 at 23:29:42 in reply to Comment 60617

The GO buses rode 2 lanes. The bridge is still under renovation but the first side has not cured enough for use. The other side will be reno'd next.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted March 02, 2011 at 16:23:30

"People who live in that neigbhourhood regularly risk their lives to cross there or a little further west, instead of suffering having to cross the road three times to get to the opposite corner! "

Risking one's life to avoid having to walk an extra 120m (and burn off some extra calories). Sounds like a great trade-off.

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By brodiec (registered) | Posted March 06, 2011 at 12:36:45 in reply to Comment 60600

Drivers are incredibly courteous out west in Calgary and Edmonton. You're just defending a__holes because you are one.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted March 06, 2011 at 13:08:47 in reply to Comment 60743

Lower taxes = more courteous drivers.

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By drb (registered) - website | Posted March 02, 2011 at 18:02:59 in reply to Comment 60600

New motto- Hamilton: Bad urban planning for a healthier future.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted March 02, 2011 at 16:29:25 in reply to Comment 60600

You're the economic cheerleader, you should know that humans aren't rational actors.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted March 02, 2011 at 17:02:09 in reply to Comment 60601

I sense this is becoming another, "if Portland can do it" moment...


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By Pot land (anonymous) | Posted March 02, 2011 at 17:37:54 in reply to Comment 60602

I'd like to think that any other city, including the magical wonder that is portland, wouldn't even allow it to get this bad in the first place.

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By ilpo (registered) - website | Posted March 02, 2011 at 23:36:14

Extend the York #8 bus down to the Dundurn loop so I can actually use that bus for groceries. Currently I have to take the York #8 to interline to Aberdeen #6 to go to Metro. Although I like that store I want variety and would use it on my home trip via Fortinos if it ran down Dundurn. The current terminus in Victoria Park may work for the old-age apartments but they cannot be the sole users, and it does not work for the Strathcona neighbourhood. Yes I go to the HFM but its not open every day nor late enough during the week for me to use. Cycling with a trailer through the Dundurn/King/Main area makes me much more visible as I use the whole lane and cannot use a sidewalk - flags and all!

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted March 03, 2011 at 19:17:41 in reply to Comment 60632

That's a very good idea. About a decade ago (more, even) I used to live in the apartments at Lamoreaux and Strathcona across from Strathcona school. That #8 loop was exceptionally convenient, but it's not a practical endpoint for the bus (and in any case, it's only convenient 7-8 months of the year; it's not comfortable for seniors to wait outside in the cold and snow for a bus, there's no shelter at that loop).

Dundurn Plaza would be much better. But traffic flow is SO bad at Dundurn and King/Main (thanks to, you guessed it, the King/Main St Expressways) that getting a bus through there would probably not be ideal.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted March 03, 2011 at 11:28:35

Hamilton's yellows (downtown anyway) all appear to be 3.3 seconds which is at (or close to) the minimum legal lower limit.

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted March 04, 2011 at 07:44:29 in reply to Comment 60664

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted March 03, 2011 at 12:39:53 in reply to Comment 60664

I know when I'm driving and I see a yellow my train of thought is often something like

"oh it's yellow well I should stop if it's safe to do so but is it safe I don't want to squeal my tires or warp my brakes I think it's safe whoops too late now oh damn the light turned red just as I was entering the intersection I think that was legal but I cut that pretty close better be more careful next time"

on regular occaision.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2011-03-03 12:40:52

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By Hopeful (registered) | Posted March 03, 2011 at 22:38:11

I have to bring up the idea of pedestrian over and under passes. These are frequently used in places from Ottawa to Istanbul and Toronto to Tokyo when planners decide that traffic flow is key but pedestrian have rights too. Many even have have full access elevators or ramps for the disabled or those with strollers incorporated into them. Interestingly, Hamilton seems to have more of them built to avoid sporadically used rail lines than "streets" that are de facto highways.

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By Hopeful (registered) | Posted March 03, 2011 at 22:58:55

Regarding the new Centre Maul and picture of the worn path that leads into the McDonalds drive-thru off Main... there should be a pedestrian and cyclist subcommittee (actually made up of pedestrians and cyclists) that has to vet any proposal for developments like these. The Maul is another nightmare lauded as progress here.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted March 04, 2011 at 08:48:15

Enforcement would be great, but the real answer lies in the design of the street.

For example, if each ramp arrived to main at a proper 90 degree angle with a light (as they would in any other city, including suburban areas who openly bow down to car culture such as brampton etc) then the problem would be solved without paying police to regularly slap wrists.

When you come off the highway, you'd get your own green and you could comfortably turn and then change into whatever lane you'd like without having to battle people coming from the other ramp and from west hamilton. If Main were two way, it would be even less chaotic since you'd only have to change 2-3 lanes.

A cheaper option would be to have the ramps curbed all the way to dundurn. Meaning if you come from ancaster on the 403 you an only go straight or right at dundurn. If you wqere coming from burlington you can only go straight or left at dundurn. These restrictions would totally work - but would be unnecessary if we would stand back and fix it RIGHT the first time.

Unfortunately, the political will required to change these ramps into lights is huge - as this would require co-operation between the city and the province.

That being said, the city and province had no qualms about getting together to build a cloverleaf at clappisons.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted March 04, 2011 at 09:19:49

Another point on this subject: the plaza's design is pretty dumb from a driver's perspective, too. There's no way to exit the plaza and head North onto Dundurn, neither directly nor by heading West onto Main and turning left. Fail all around.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2011-03-04 09:20:13

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By JonC (registered) | Posted March 04, 2011 at 13:32:17 in reply to Comment 60696

I know, the quickest is to exit to king, cross all lanes and hang a right onto Breadalbane and then weave you rway over to Dundurn at some point. I wonder if they ever considered changing the plaza's Main St entrance to an exit.

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By frustrated (anonymous) | Posted March 05, 2011 at 07:14:10

Great article. Some really good ideas there.

I love the idea of installing a pedestrian crossing on the west side of King Street at Dundurn. This is a very low cost solution and should be done immediately. I see many people jay walking (running) across King to avoid the three point pedestrian crossing.

I also love the idea of creating some way to give pedestrians a safer route to cross the 403 ramp on King West.

On another matter, I personally find it safer to jay walk across King West (anywhere from downtown to just past Dundurn) than try to cross at an intersection. I have lost count of the number of times some idiot driver almost ran me over at an intersection along King West. King Street should be converted to two way immediately to slow down all this highway-style driving.

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By brodiec (registered) | Posted March 06, 2011 at 12:24:06

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I've worked in the Dundurn plaza since 2004 at one place or another until two weeks ago, ironically. The meticulously documented examples are daily hazards for my co-workers who are pedestrians and transit users.

It's so bad that I've even been chased down to my workplace by aggressive drivers. Once while exiting an articulated bus I was put in a dangerous situation where a driver exiting a parking lot refused to stop occupying the curb. Instead of being bullied by a driver I took my life into my own hands and walked in the 30cm clearance between his car he refused to move and the stationary bus. I tapped his hood and continued to make eye contact.

He followed me to my workplace, threatened to me that he had the police on his loser phone and harassed me for refusing to let him endanger me in the neighbourhood I walk through every day. I called him on his lie about the police, I wish they would pick-up that quickly and wait patiently on the phone. Another Tim Hortons "drive-thru" user with an over-exaggerated sense of entitlement.

This is a bigger fight than we imagine people. We are up against the entitlement of the commuters who use this town like a paper coffee cup. Our pride and courageousness as Hamiltonians, as residents, needs to swell larger and become even more brash if we're to overcome this rule over our streets from beyond our wards and communities. Unfortunately many of our city staff and politicians answer to them first. They have that little self respect for Hamilton.

Comment edited by brodiec on 2011-03-06 12:26:27

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted March 07, 2011 at 12:11:36

So it's clear that this plaza on Dundurn, "Centre Maul", and the Upper James "Wall Mart" all have severe problems from a transit perspective, a pedestrian perspective, and a commuter perspective.

So, what is the solution? Who do we contact? How do we move forwards? City Hall? Mall/Plaza owners? Stage a critical mass walk in the areas with the neighbourhood associations and BIAs and invite the media and councillors?

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By jacob (registered) | Posted March 07, 2011 at 16:33:34

2 pedestrians and one child passenger killed friday in Hamilton. Comments on the Spec are, generally, that pedestrians need to wake up and be more careful.

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By MattM (registered) | Posted March 08, 2011 at 12:00:04 in reply to Comment 60789

In at least one of those cases the pedestrian was jaywalking between closely spaced, controlled intersections.

I don't think a car driver can be blamed when someone decides to wander out into the middle of the road.

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By Kevcom (registered) | Posted March 08, 2011 at 23:35:00

Along with the walkability fail at the intersections of Main and Dundurn and King and Dundurn, there is also a major walkability fail along the west side of Dundurn. First of all, the sidewalk is very narrow, and southbound traffic often speeds along this stretch, coming very close to pedestrians.

Second of all, (and this irritates me immensely!), is the entrance/exit to the plaza. Are pedestrians even supposed to be there? Gee golly I don't know! There is no paint suggesting one should/can walk across the driveway. No signs reminding drivers about pedestrians. On a couple of occasions I have to wait until drivers clear the intersection or I would would have turned into a hood ornament; They only look left!

The city needs to step in and lay some paint here, and install some bright neon sights reminding drivers to look out for peds. It's so simple, but so overlooked.

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By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted March 13, 2011 at 23:52:17

Thank you for this article!
Dundurn & Main & King are 2 of the worst intersections! Even in a car, they make me very nervous.

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By Ugh (anonymous) | Posted March 19, 2011 at 19:55:41

How many times has the writer almost been hit by a car? But of course it's always the car's fault. If you're risking your life to save a few minutes then you're an idiot. I'm a pedestrian too, but I've never almost been hit by a car. I'm also a driver sometimes, and I can honestly say there are just as many annoying pedestrians as there are annoying drivers. Every time I see a pedestrian standing at the EDGE of the sidewalk waiting to cross I cringe a little. Is standing on the edge of a sidewalk next to two tonnes of steel racing by at 50kmph really a good idea?

Anyway, my point is this: how many cars vs pedestrians use those intersections? As someone who used to live (and walk) around there I can assure you that I rarely passed by many pedestrians. However, there are NUMEROUS cars that use those intersections all day and night. So we're supposed to spend a bunch of money re-doing those intersections to save a handful of pedestrians a couple minutes when they go to Fortinos? And as far as improving safety goes, how are you supposed to make it 100% safe for idiots to cross the street? It's called stop, look, and don't cross until the road is clear; is that so hard?

Honestly, this website should be called Annoying Hamiltonians Who Just Want To Find Things To Complain About.

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By TB (registered) - website | Posted March 20, 2011 at 14:24:49 in reply to Comment 61204

UGH says: "how are you supposed to make it 100% safe for idiots to cross the street? It's called stop, look, and don't cross until the road is clear; is that so hard?"

Hey Ugh - take a hike - north on the east side of Dundurn and across Main. Do it several times a week and then come back and report how safe the "walk" sign was for you and others who regularly run the gauntlet there.

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By moylek (registered) - website | Posted March 20, 2011 at 09:49:04 in reply to Comment 61204

Anyway, my point is this: how many cars vs pedestrians use those intersections? ... I can assure you that I rarely passed by many pedestrians

Well, that's also my point. The intersection is designed for the convenience of motorists and to the great inconvenience of anyone else. It's no wonder you don't see many pedestrians.

One might once have questioned the rationale behind putting that walkway along the waterfront between Princess Point and Pier 4: after all, almost nobody went there, did they? What a waste of money.

Now granted, at that intersection - at most intersections - there will always be more people passing by in cars than otherwise. But that doesn't mean that only the needs of motorists need to be taken into account. Remember: people live near and around there - this is a neighbourhood. A place which caters only to cars is called either a highway or a parking lot. And you can't really live in those places.

Does traffic travel at 70 kmph with little impediment in your neighbourhood? Would you wish it to? It doesn't move that way where I live because we have narrow roads and lots of stop signs ... and I should note that my house backs onto the very same King St West, so there are more motorists than pedestrians.

Comment edited by moylek on 2011-03-20 09:50:40

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By thrillhouse (registered) | Posted March 20, 2011 at 19:21:33

A clarification: there is no yield sign on the pedestrian triangle on the SW corner of Main and Dundurn. There is only the yield sign on the corner, near the now-overgrown bushes.

The sign attached to the pole on the triangle is not a yield sign, but a this-is-a-pole sign (for lack of better definition). See link: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...

Comment edited by thrillhouse on 2011-03-20 19:21:48

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By rscheffler (anonymous) | Posted April 13, 2011 at 01:06:25

Good article.

A couple things:

Back about 15 or so years ago, a friend of mine was hit by a car mounting the curb on Main just west of Dundurn. She was pretty messed up for a while and it was a life altering event for her.

I drive through there often, and at times also on foot. As a driver, one knows that the advance turn signals on Dundurn onto both Main and King are very short. This gnaws at drivers and encourages aggressive driving. Extend the turn signal duration so more can get through and maybe it will eventually change some driver habits at that intersection. However, the ripple effect is it will mess up the synchronized green lights the city likes so much. Nor will it address the speed and volume of traffic along there.

While I was opposed to the idea in the past, converting both Main and King to two-way traffic with more controlled intersections between Dundurn and downtown for safe pedestrian crossing is probably the way to go. Maybe it will happen if the LRT ever materializes.

To the person above who suggested overpasses - it's exactly what I thought of for King and Dundurn. Build it diagonally from the NE corner to the SE corner. If there is an intersection in the city that could use one, it's this one.

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