Transportation

Chamber Calls for Complete Streets Study

By Ryan McGreal
Published December 05, 2012

The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce is calling on the City of Hamilton to "study the design and impact of creating 'complete streets'" and to ask the McMaster Institute of Transportation and Logistics (MITL) to conduct a people and goods movement study.

In a letter to Council sent on November 29, 2012, Chamber President and CEO David Adames writes:

[W]e all know that the discussion around complete streets requires a clear understanding of what the impacts - positive or negative - would be as a result of street conversion. In an effort to help the debate, and to ensure that an informed decision is made, more research is needed.

The Chamber has not taken a formal position on two-way conversion of Hamilton's one-way streets, but a report on walkability produced for the Chamber and published earlier this year recommended: "walkable environments should be viewed as economic infrastructure that attract employment and should be invested in accordingly."

Earlier this year, MITL prepared a Light Rail Transit study for Hamilton, concluding that LRT can be successful in Hamilton but requires careful land use planning, street calming and a political champion.

Following is the full text of the letter.

November 29, 2012

Mayor and Members of Council
Hamilton City Hall - 71 Main St. West
Hamilton, ON L8P 4Y5

Mayor and Members of Council:

RE: Complete streets and one-way conversions - research needed for an evidence-based decision

Over the past few years, the issue of converting Hamilton's one-way streets to two-way has received a great deal of attention in the community. Both sides of the street conversion debate have made what may very well be valid points, either in favour or in opposition to conversion. However, moving forward, we all know that the discussion around complete streets requires a clear understanding of what the impacts - positive or negative - would be as a result of street conversion. In an effort to help the debate, and to ensure that an informed decision is made, more research is needed.

To help make an informed decision, the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce offers the following two recommendations regarding complete streets and one-way conversions:

1) Council direct staff to study the design and impact of creating "complete streets" (ex. on Main Street West between Dundurn Street and the Delta) and its impact from an integrated planning perspective; and,

2) Council utilize the services of the McMaster Institute for Transportation Logistics (MITL) to produce a report on the impact to people and goods movement for residents and businesses, and the impact it may have on future LRT planning

The Hamilton Chamber has not yet taken a position on this issue, but would like to be part of studying it through our various committees and divisions, including Transportation, Business Development, Hamilton HIVE, Young Entrepreneurs and Professionals, and the LRT Task Force. To that end, the Chamber has commissioned a study to look at the empirical data of assessment changes for four precincts in the lower city to establish comparisons where investment in public infrastructure can be measured (ex. street conversion and other street improvements). The results of this study will be finalized in the first quarter of 2013.

We look forward to working with our members, City Council and staff on this issue.

Sincerely,

David Adames
President and CEO

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 Rimshot (anonymous) | Posted December 05, 2012 at 12:20:41

Conversion Conversation, 1992-

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 05, 2012 at 12:57:04 in reply to Comment 83482

hey, we gotta take it safe and slow.. one street at a time... per decade.

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By JM (registered) | Posted December 05, 2012 at 13:04:41 in reply to Comment 83488

...you can't just do these things overnight!

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By Rimshot (anonymous) | Posted December 05, 2012 at 13:04:15

Traffic Calming Calming

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By chamber, eh: again? (anonymous) | Posted December 05, 2012 at 16:14:53

This is like the "Chamber" (and who elected them anything?) saying it didn't actually have a position on the Red Hill Creek Valley expressway, except when it did. And as said above, gee, let's do nothing, nearly-ever, and "study" some more. Study for the willfully thick ain't gonna help. Study here means STOP. Their self-promo in the article above sounds like the simple (as in, you know, simple) version of the Bill Kelly "intro" to the "problem" that I heard on Sunday, by mistake!!, while trying to hear a weather report. I should'a changed stations--and soon did--but there's a weird if VERY momentary fascination. It's a comfortable job those radio guys got here in Hamilton--like the "Chamber": no competition at all in Big Media, anyway; nothing to worry about except churning the already-captured audience. Is this comment getting side-tracked? You think so? Except it is to the very point of the thing.

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By kettal (registered) | Posted December 06, 2012 at 00:44:00

Chamber of Commerce? But I thought the CEOs in the offices were against complete streets?

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By Posture & Position (anonymous) | Posted December 06, 2012 at 07:04:23

This is the same Chamber whose redesigned website is reminiscent of the HI rebrand for the facility otherwise known as John C. Munro International
HCoC

http://raisethehammer.org/blog/1068/benign_neutrality_is_whats_wrong

http://raisethehammer.org/blog/1077/cooke:_chamber_cops_out_on_street_conversions

http://raisethehammer.org/blog/1572/does_the_chambers_enlightened_urbanism_embrace_livable_streets

http://raisethehammer.org/article/1093/we_need_livable_neighbourhoods_not_more_studies

MITL

http://raisethehammer.org/comment/68027

http://raisethehammer.org/comment/70528

http://www.raisethehammer.org/comment/64886

http://raisethehammer.org/comment/82037

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 06, 2012 at 07:34:12 in reply to Comment 83529

In fairness to MITL, their LRT study reiterated almost exactly what we've been arguing for years on RTH: LRT will be more successful if it is integrated with transit-oriented land use planning and is combined with two-way conversion of Main/King/Cannon; and it needs a political champion to shepherd it to a successful completion.

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By Posture & Position (anonymous) | Posted December 06, 2012 at 08:29:45 in reply to Comment 83531

MITL is certainly far more rigorous and substantial in its studies, doubtless attributable to the association with McMaster.

I think the larger issue is that this city's leaders think nothing of squandering decades on second-guessing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5dowCyaP7I

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By no, Chamber again? (anonymous) | Posted December 06, 2012 at 14:26:36

This is like the "Chamber" (and who elected them to anything?) saying nearly a decade ago that it didn't actually have a position on the Red Hill Creek Valley expressway, except when it did, of course, as it had for years. And as someone said above, (sardonically, folks) gee, let's do nothing, nearly-ever, and "study" some more. Study for the willfully thick ain't gonna help. Study here means STOP. The Chamber's self-promo in the article above sounds like the simple (as in, you know, simple) version of the Bill Kelly "intro" to the "problem" that I heard on CHML's Sunday PM repeat, by mistake!!, while trying to hear a weather report. I should'a changed stations--and soon did--but there's a weird if VERY momentary fascination. It's a comfortable job those radio guys got here in Hamilton--like the "Chamber": no competition at all in Big Media, anyway; nothing to worry about except churning the already-captured audience. Is this comment getting side-tracked? You think so? Except it is to the very point of the thing. And the so-called 'chamber' is in the 1950s.

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