Comment 103920

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 13, 2014 at 11:58:14 in reply to Comment 103919

A downtown advocate recently presented me with this scenario and asked how I would respond.

Navigating by car in downtown Hamilton, Expert Level: you are on James Street just north of King and a car pulls up next to you. The driver is from out of town and is trying to reach the Swiss Chalet restaurant at York and Bay. How do you direct them?

Seriously, try it out. We're literally talking about the opposite corner of the same block (Jackson Square et al.), but it's extraordinarily difficult to drive there.

York is nominally a two-way street but cars on James are not allowed to turn westbound onto York because some traffic engineer was feeling especially passive-aggressive a few years ago. So maybe you could tell them to continue on to Vine - except that Bay is one-way northbound so they can't turn left.

I suppose they could turn right on Bay, go north to Cannon (or, better yet, stay on James to Cannon), turn left, then do a U-turn past Hess where Cannon and York merge and backtrack up York to Bay. But that's nuts.

The best I can come up with is to proceed north on James to King William and turn right; pass Hughson (one-way northbound, sorry) to John and turn right again; turn right on Hughson to King and proceed west to Bay; turn right on Bay and go north to York.

Alternately, they could go east on King William, turn left on Hughson and then left on Wilson, where it is allowed.

Our one-way streets are only useful for people driving through downtown as fast as possible. They make all other uses of the street - and most particularly the most local uses - more difficult, awkward and non-intuitive.

They are a set of raised middle fingers to the centre of the city and a source of enduring shame for the people whose job it is to govern the city with courage and good sense.

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