By Ryan McGreal
Published April 10, 2014
this blog entry has been updated
You just can't make this up: City Council voted not to approve a baby-steps citizens panel on two-way conversions because several streets have already been approved for two-way conversion and don't need to be studied any more - but the city's not going to go ahead and convert the streets, either.
Here is a Google Map of the two-way conversions that are listed as completed, pending and under consideration in the staff report Five Year Plan Regarding Two-Way Street Conversions (PW13097) [PDF]:
The green lines are streets that have been converted, the amber lines are streets that were approved back in 2001 but haven't been converted yet, and the red lines are streets that are under consideration but haven't been approved.
Another 70 or so one-way streets, not specially marked on the map, aren't even under consideration.
Council made it clear that there's no way the City can move ahead with the already-approved streets and also study the additional set of streets that aren't already approved, like Queen and Bay, at the same time.
Because when it comes to making lower city streets more humane, Hamilton can only do one thing at a time.
And in this case, we can't even do one thing. There are no plans or dedicated funds to complete the already-approved street conversions in the 2014 budget that Council just approved.
Thanks to Joey Coleman you can watch the debate:
Special bonus point to Ancaster Councillor Lloyd Ferguson, who ratcheted down a community-initiated proposal for improved Rymal 44 bus service to Redeemer College and the Ancaster Industrial Park from a bus every 30 minutes to a bus every hour. Because transit is still area rated, cutting this will save the average $500,000 Ancaster house a whopping $20 in annual property tax.
Defending his decision, Ferguson said, "Maybe some members of Council haven't heard from the people of Ancaster, but I have. Loud and clear. They're annoyed, 'cause they won't use it. And why are we paying for it?"
Of course, that is itself an artifact of area rating, in which different parts of the city pay different tax rates toward transit based on service levels. If transit wasn't area rated, the cost of expanding transit to Redeemer and Ancaster business parks would be shared citywide.
Given that most of the people who would use an enhanced Rymal 44 bus to Ancaster would be people commuting into Ancaster to go to school or work, this is an excellent example of how area rating fragments the city's transportation network and reduces its effectiveness.
But 13 years after amalgamation, Council is still terrified of the idea of addressing area rating for transit.
Again, Joey Coleman has captured all the glory on video:
Just pathetic. October 27 can't come fast enough.
Update: updated to include a map of street conversions completed, pending and under consideration.
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