Comment 26113

By Campbell Young (anonymous) | Posted July 30, 2008 at 19:06:26

Re: Alienation

There is ALREADY a large group of citizens in this city who feel alienated by the transportation/land use policies of Hamilton. That’s why this forum is so lively and why land use policies are so hotly debated in Hamilton.

There is a major problem. To simplify a bit: Hamiltonians who love cars/sprawl/asphalt/homogeneity are stifling the aspirations of Hamiltonians who love transit/cities/density/diversity. This tyranny of the majority is the real source of alienation. I know the former group is a big part of your constituency. But the latter group, at the very least, needs a place to feel at home.

You say you’re in favour of letting streets go two-way if the neighbourhood supports it. Then you go on to focus your argument on the wishes of Mountain residents. What about what downtown residents think? But I don’t think Mountain “shoppers”, most of whom have a bias against the inner city, are the key to downtown renewal anyway. Council can pander to them all they want but they still spend their time at Lime Ridge and Meadowlands.

Re: Downtown Renewal

The above problem is a shame because the transit/cities/density/diversity model is taking off all across North America and Hamilton has some advantages in that regard. For one, it’s one of the only cities in Ontario with large areas planned before WWII when everything went sprawl. Secondly, Downtown Hamilton’s position on the GO system makes it a potential haven for people who work in Toronto, favour city life over suburban life, but who are under pressure from Toronto’s cost of living. Don’t scoff. That’s a huge demographic, which could be the key to downtown Hamilton’s recovery.

Given these factors, I’ve often thought that Hamilton council would have to try really hard to PREVENT the gentrification of downtown. Now I’m starting to wonder.

Re: two-way conversion

First off, I think that the people, like Danielle, who dismiss the idea of two-way streets as if it were some new-fangled social experiment, are people who don’t get out of Hamilton very much. What city has their whole downtown covered in one-way streets? You don’t have to go very far. Check out downtown Kitchener: great place to go for a walk, browse a book store, grab lunch and a coffee, hit a patio; terrible place to drive through with its bustling two-way streets.

That said, one-way streets can still have their place while avoiding some of their worst effects. Like I’ve proposed in another post: keep Main and King one-way, but take away one lane on each for streetcars, and take away another lane on each for bike lanes and wider sidewalks. Most importantly, sycnchronize the lights for 40 km/h. (Right now, everybody knows that the lights are synchronized for 60 km/h, which is illegal and understood through numerous studies to be unsafe for pedestrians.)

The key to this proposal would be to make all other major downtown streets two-way to make bicycle transportation feasible. And start with that stupid little section of Locke St.

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