Special Report: Pan Am

Ten Things We Should Do in Hamilton Before the Pan Am Games

Simple things we can do by 2015 that will make the Pan Am experience far more safer and enjoyable for everyone, and will hopefully start to lead to bigger, more necessary change afterwards.

By Jason Leach
Published August 29, 2013

As everyone knows, Hamilton is hosting a portion of the Pan Am Games in July 2015. Events like this are an opportunity for a city like ours to make improvements that will showcase the positive change happening here and potentially show off another side to Hamilton that many people don't know about.

They are also a chance to invest in some local initiatives and projects that will remain with the community and make this a better, more enjoyable place to live for those of us remaining after the games are long gone.

Toronto is seeing enormous development in preparation for the Pan Am Games. Entire new communities are being built along the waterfront, connected with brand-new LRT lines, separated bikeways and gorgeous pedestrian promenades full of commerce and enjoyable urban amenities.

Full marks to that city for taking advantage of this opportunity to redevelop long-neglected brownfields and make critical improvements to their transportation infrastructure.

Small Changes, Big Impact

Here in Hamilton, we have an opportunity to make some changes that may seem more minor in nature, but can have a huge impact on our quality of life, and therefore, our image.

People often talk about 'image-changing', but I'm a believer that you only change a city's image by changing its reality. People aren't dumb. They can walk the streets in Montreal and walk the streets in Hamilton and figure out very easily where they want to spend time and money, or plan their next trip.

The only way we will ever take advantage of the millions of people living on our doorstep is to create a destination that they look forward to visiting for a weekend, or day trip.

Hamilton is urban enough and small enough that we could offer an incredible experience for visitors to come and enjoy a stunning waterfront community, walkable, cycle-friendly downtown streets and neighbourhoods, amazing greenspace on the escarpment and surrounding conservation lands, hiking, waterfalls, arts, theatre and world class dining.

Connect the Pieces

We have many of the pieces of this puzzle in place, but have always lacked the political will to connect them through a green, urban core of fun, safe, vibrant streets.

How often has someone visited Hamilton and from an escarpment perch said "this could be a mini-Montreal"? Except you can't ride a bike to that escarpment perch, or enjoy a coffee or meal overlooking the city, or get anywhere conveniently on transit.

Our effort to suburbanize the lower city in the middle of last century was a monumental failure and did massive damage to our quality of life.

Perhaps the only bigger failure is the fact that despite overwhelming changes in society and in the next generation, we are still flogging the four- and five-lane expressway model as though somehow we expect it to come back again and we'll be the Canadian urban leader in planning. It's not, and we aren't.

Considering the lack of vision to humanize and green our urban streets over the past 60 years, I'm not naive enough to think we will suddenly do it in the next two years.

So I've come up with a smaller, more manageable list of ten things we can do by 2015 that will make the Pan Am experience far more safer and enjoyable for everyone, and will hopefully start to lead to bigger, more necessary change afterwards.

1. Complete Streets

The current traffic volume data is overwhelmingly clear on the fact that we don't need all of these vehicle lanes.

Main Street: five lanes is a huge waste of space (RTH file photo)
Main Street: five lanes is a huge waste of space (RTH file photo)

By simply repainting Cannon Street from Hess to its eastern terminus, and Main Street from Longwood to the Delta, we could add in 24-7 street parking and protected two-way bike lanes, while still leaving more than enough capacity for vehicle travel. Add in hundreds of large tree planters along the route and even some permanently planted trees, and we have suddenly taken the two ugliest streets I've ever seen in Canada, and turned them into something not wonderful, but a million times better and safer than they were. The evidence is in and the trend is clear - cities that promote safe, separated bike infrastructure are going to be among the most successful cities in the future. Those that don't will be left behind. Hamilton has a glorious opportunity due to our streets that were designed for a massive industrial-bound workforce that no longer exists.

Protected bike lane
Protected bike lane (Image Credit: pps.org)

Hornby separated bike lane (Image Credit: Paul Krueger/flickr)
Hornby separated bike lane (Image Credit: Paul Krueger/flickr)

2. Escarpment Crossings

Other than rail trails, stairs or the Jolley Cut sidewalk there is no convenient, central city route for cyclists and pedestrians to take to access both parts of our city.

The most logical route with ample capacity and a gradual grade is the Claremont Access. By simply adding planters and concrete barriers, we could provide two-way cycling and pedestrian routes on both the downbound and upbound curb lanes of the Access.

Upbound currently has four lanes of traffic. The northernmost lane can be converted to a multi-use path with connections to Southam Park at the top of the escarpment, as well as continuing on towards Mohawk College via the West 5th ramp, which is two lanes and can easily see one lane converted to this multi-use path.

Downbound, we have had the curb lane closed for over a year due to a rockslide with zero impact on traffic. It can also be converted to a multi-use path that connects perfectly into the Stinson neighbourhood at Charlton Avenue.

Suddenly a rather ugly freeway in the heart of the city becomes a safe route for all modes of transportation and can have much needed urban greenery added to it.

One of our best urban views is from Sam Lawrence Park on Concession Street. Standing at the edge of the park, you realize how close you are to the Jolley Cut and Claremont bridges.

This would be a fantastic spot for a 'switchback' style path or bridge easy enough for pedestrians and cyclists to navigate that would lead directly to the sidewalk of the Jolley Cut and then continue down to the new Claremont Access multi-use pathways.

Suddenly central city escarpment crossings for both pedestrians and cyclists is not only simple, but enjoyable and with spectacular scenery.

3. Waterfront Connections

Burlington Street offers a direct cycling route from the West Harbour to the East Harbour and lakefront. Let's fast-track a multi-use path along the southern lanes of Burlington Street from James over to Woodward/Eastport so folks can explore our industrial and recreational waterfront up close, and safely.

4. Bridges and Harbour

I've shared both of these ideas in the past - it's time to light up our steel bridge structures with LED lights, and time to install a multi-coloured water jet in the middle of the harbour.

Anyone who ever visits a city with either of these features, inevitably comes back with lots of photos of them. We are blessed with three gorgeous steel and concrete structure bridges. Let's light them up!

5. Plant More Trees

A great tree canopy provides cooler, cleaner air, safer streets, higher property values and a better quality of life. Is it any wonder the Spectator's 'One Big Idea' contest back in 2005 saw "plant more trees" as the winning idea as selected by the public? Hamilton really needs to ramp up our urban tree canopy.

Hamilton has planted 3,000 trees per year for a long time, and is now upping that to 6,000 per year. By comparison, Portland's Friends of Trees organization has planted 400,000 strees in the past 20 years. That's 20,000 trees a year.

Hamilton has a massive industrial core with no trees and a lot of heat being generated, so we have to be even more committed to greening the rest of the city, especially in the central, north and east ends of the city.

The lack of trees and abundance of wide streets and parking lots in Hamilton has created a situation where we have a much higher heat island effect than even downtown Toronto.

Landset 7 ETM+ Image of the Hamilton Area (Image Credit: Clean Air Partnership)
Landset 7 ETM+ Image of the Hamilton Area (Image Credit: Clean Air Partnership)

You'll notice that our poorest communities are the hottest. 20,000 trees per year would go a long way to addressing this issue that not only affects quality of life, but health.

6. Bike Parking and Bike Share

Quite simply, we need both. ASAP. Any great cycling city has great cycling infrastructure. Adding protected lanes as outlined above is great, but we need a safe, convenient place to park bikes and bike sharing is a very convenient, tourist-friendly mode of transportation.

Bixi Toronto station (RTH file photo)
Bixi Toronto station (RTH file photo)

Bixi Ottawa station (RTH file photo)
Bixi Ottawa station (RTH file photo)

Dublinbikes station (RTH file photo)
Dublinbikes station (RTH file photo)

Paris Velib station (RTH file photo)
Paris Velib station (RTH file photo)

7. Neighbourhood Squares

Think about all the places available for pedestrians to relax and enjoy city life in Hamilton: parks, trails and sidewalks. Two of the three we do really well: parks and trails. But our sidewalk culture is horrendous at best.

For a very low cost, Hamilton could begin to develop some wonderful neighbourhood gathering spots for people to enjoy local business and the company of neighbours. Think of John and Augusta, or King and Locke, The Delta, or any number of corners along Barton, Ottawa, Kenilworth and so on. Wider sidewalks, street trees, fun furniture, and calmer traffic.

Watch the following video and envision city life in Hamilton as fun and safe as this. Imagine sitting down on the sidewalk with your kids, inches from the roadway.

Right now, pedestrians in Hamilton have almost nowhere to sit and enjoy the city. If we want to show the world we aren't a suburban town operating with 1950's planning principles, let's begin intersection repair and create fun, welcoming places to congregate all throughout urban Hamilton.

More on pop-up plazas:

8. Parklets

Streets like Locke, James North and Barton are perfect candidates for one of the most popular new ideas in North American cities right now: Parklets.

You simply remove a couple of parking spots from the street and replace them with a small patio or seating area. San Francisco is currently developing numerous parklets, and Toronto has one of the longest ones on record that has been a huge success this summer.

Again, low cost, but brings more fun, vibrancy and enjoyment to life in the city.

9. Open Streets

Hamiltonians have really enjoyed the Open Streets events on James Street North the past few years. We should look at bringing this concept to many local streets during the Pan Am games. James, King, Locke, Concession, Ottawa and so on - with the above ideas in place and people free to safely move around our city, open streets can be a highlight of the Games.

What better way to enjoy a city than seeing its various neighbourhoods and retail districts on foot?

10. Act Like a City

Finally, and it's a simple one: Let's start acting like a city once again.

The following two videos shot in Montreal last week show how amazing city life can be when a city wants to be a city.

We have been so focused on being a suburban, high-speed shortcut to somewhere else for so many decades that we've forgotten how great of a city we have, and could have.

Let's start holding our elected officials accountable for how they treat our city. We deserve to be one of the best cities in Canada. We want to be one of the best in Canada. The formula for success is rather easy - you get the city you plan for.

I'd love to see us start to plan a city that is fun, enjoyable and the envy of visitors who come here.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.


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By JustinJones (registered) - website | Posted August 29, 2013 at 07:46:10

Love this - such a beautiful, positive article. I love the last point, that's really what it all boils down to. We're one of Canada's largest, oldest, most culturally diverse and most resilient cities. We're situated in arguably the best spot in Ontario, blessed with an abundance of great infrastructure (which we are using poorly), amazing building stock (which we are failing to protect and preserve) and, most importantly, active and inspired citizens. We can demand better, and we can become the city we aspire to be, not the suburb that many of our civic leaders seem to think we should become.

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By terryberry (anonymous) | Posted August 29, 2013 at 08:21:38

Inspiring! Dedicated bike lanes and many more trees, those two ideas are the most urgent, I think. And speaking of underused street lanes, if ever the southbound Claremont access lane to West 5th needs repairs, take it away altogether so that that area can be reclaimed as escarpment green space. It is not needed any more.

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By Missy2013 (registered) - website | Posted August 29, 2013 at 09:09:10

Wonderful post Jason. I rather like the fountain idea ... never thought of that!

Not sure how it would work with the Port Authority, Harbour Commission or shipping traffic, but I'm sure something could be worked out, with a bit of guts and imagination.

Wonder if anyone at Mac in the engineering dept might be interested in developing a solar/self-sufficient 'pilot' project? Or maybe this is one for the good folks over at Innovation Park?

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By Steve (registered) | Posted August 29, 2013 at 11:54:07 in reply to Comment 91516

Didn't Bratina once get derided when he suggested a fountain in the middle of Cootes?

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By Steve (registered) | Posted August 29, 2013 at 11:56:23 in reply to Comment 91530

When I got to the bottom, I see it was in the Harbour, not Cootes. Either way, I recall him getting a lot of flack for that suggestion.

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By slodrive (registered) | Posted August 29, 2013 at 09:57:34

Awesome post, Jason. Pretty inspiring. I've always said that Hamilton has the assets that almost all other cities would dream of having. It's just a matter of developing a vision and strategy that enables these assets to be elevated to a deserving level.

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By Jay Robb (anonymous) | Posted August 29, 2013 at 10:19:02

Jason, you're batting 10 for 10.

All of these are winners and doable with some political will.

#4's my favourite.

Our family walked this summer under that pink canopy of balls on the pedestrian only stretch of Montreal's Rue St. Catharine (Hamilton could use a gay district - King William?). The Village was jammed with pedestrians. No vacant storefronts or empty lots.

Also spent a lot of time in Ottawa's Byward Market. Was told you could eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in the market for 2 months and never go to the same restaurant twice.

Only thing I'd add to your list is more public art and bringing a head office or two into the core (Tim Horton's?).

In the competition for mobile young professionals, we have our work cut out for us in Hamilton. Tough right now to compete with cities like Ottawa and Montreal.
But it's not like we need to reinvent any wheels. And as you put out, the city has good bones and all the assets and passion for reinvention are there.


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By Conrad664 (registered) | Posted September 05, 2013 at 08:31:01 in reply to Comment 91521

Well said Jay , i was in Montreal this summer and i saw alot of things that Hamilton could do as well , and there all simple things like on this post :)

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted August 29, 2013 at 11:01:59

Have only had a chance to quickly skim this for now, but yes to trees. I wonder if we couldn't enforce developers of say the new Centre complex, to ensure they have a certain amount of greenspace. There are three remaining centre parcels for sale that are currently weed covered. Why not work with them to ensure two of those spaces at least, remain green and covered with trees and benches and a spot for shoppers to take a break.

Centre on Barton is a big concrete heat emitting jungle. We need to encourage them to make that space less of a parking lot.

Actually strike that. There is a fourth parcel still available to the north of the apartments on Ottawa too. Not sure if the same developer owns that land as well, but there are four large parcels in the hunt to be covered over in concrete, mortar, and steel.

How do we stop those sites from being developed? Do we have a number for percentages of green space/trees required per acre of development/parking?

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted August 29, 2013 at 15:33:02 in reply to Comment 91524

8. Parklets

These seem like a great way to circumvent risk-averse actors at City Hall. And since they're community-sponsored, they come at no cost to the municipality -- and even appear to generate a nominal income stream.

"It can't be on a corner, blocking a red zone or fire hydrant, and it can't be on streets where the speed limit exceeds 25 miles per hour, but otherwise any suitable location will do as long as it has demonstrated (written) support from the surrounding community. The parklet can only extend 6 feet beyond the curb, and it must be framed by "planters, railing or cabling" for safety purposes. Permanent seating is preferred to the exclusive use of movable chairs. Greenery is a plus. So are "high quality, durable and beautiful" materials. No tropical hardwoods, though! If you do get approved for a parklet, anticipate costs of $650-$980, perhaps more if parking meters are removed. There is also a $221 annual fee and liability insurance. The cost of construction varies from parklet to parklet, but a $20,000 budget should probably be enough. These costs may sound high, but they are much cheaper and faster than building a traditional park."


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By Conrad64 (anonymous) | Posted September 05, 2013 at 08:34:59 in reply to Comment 91546

Talking about the cost , that will be made up in no time if the city and the peoples do it wright in one summer actuly

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted August 29, 2013 at 15:36:28 in reply to Comment 91546

Even when they take over that private parking spot, parklets still straddle an odd private-public line. Each one is sponsored and bankrolled by a local entity, most often a business, and can cost about $20,000-30,000 — a significant investment for what is truly a public space. Those parklets outside coffee shops and cafes may seem like an extension of the restaurant that ponied up that cash, but they’re really not. The city requires that parklets look and feel public and separate from the sponsoring business.

“Sometimes people get upset if they feel like the parklet feels private, like it doesn’t live up to the civic ideals of the program,” says Chasan. “Like ‘This is supposed to be for everybody and it doesn’t feel like it’s for everybody.’ They should get upset about that if that’s the case.”

But that public-private relationship cuts both ways. “For a business owner, it gives them a different relationship with their neighborhood,” says Chasan. “When I talk to the sponsors a lot of them get really really excited about the community-building side, creating a gathering space — this sort of altruistic act.”


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By jason (registered) | Posted August 29, 2013 at 13:16:28 in reply to Comment 91524

absolutely. We can enforce whatever development guidelines we want. In Portland, the ONLY big box complex in the entire city is filled with trees, pedestrian sidewalks, bike lanes and wide safe treed pedestrian boulevards. In Hamilton the old-fashioned media calls that "anti-business', yet the cities who enforce such quality of life requirements in their cities are ranked a gazillion times higher than us in city rankings.
You get the city you plan for.....

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted August 29, 2013 at 13:46:46 in reply to Comment 91537

Okay then let me ask if we have something in place that is little known/not enforced now? Can we enforce something on someone who has already mostly developed a property?

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted August 29, 2013 at 11:11:47

Another idea as a 'before the Pan AM' games arrive, is in relation to the plan to close a lane of traffic and other measures, to limit the bird deaths on Eastport.

I take that to and from work every day during rush hour. It's rare that that road is busy. I say permanently close off the right/Niagara bound lane. Make that parking for fisherman and photographers who stop along there all the time anyway to enjoy that scenic view.

I also say as an added measure to protect these birds, is to install a long wall that is high enough so that when the birds who perch on it take flight, they won't get smucked by a transport. The issue now is that they sit on the cement abutments and can't get up fast enough to avoid speeding traffic. Also, slow down traffic in this span as well.

That cement wall will have perch holes all over it and of course the birds will sit on top too. It will have the words HAMILTON large across the whole, and 'A City of Waterfalls' under it. Tap into the lake, and have water running down it during the spring/summer/early fall months. We create a centre piece, advertise our waterfall community, save the birds, and create a tourist spot all at the same time.

To the 'we have too many birds' opposition: Running them over is not an acceptable way to rid ourselves of them and neither is hunting. With technology, there must be a bag of seeds we can drop off on those islands during mating season,that acts like a form of birth control or something when swallowed, that is safe and would not harm them if they ate 100. Kind of like Vitamin C - they would just release anything beyond what their bodies need. Drop enough to lower the number of birds that produce. Not to limit new births all together.

Either way there has to be a more humane way to bring down that population some. Otherwise, I love those islands and all those birds. There just needs to be a happy medium of nature and water pollutants.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2013-08-29 11:32:30

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted August 29, 2013 at 11:49:04

Anything that can improve connectivity from Pan Am venues to hotel/hospitality/tourist districts should get serious consideration. And just in time for the 2014-2015 budget cycle!

Quick ballparking...

1. Complete Streets: $1.5M-$3M per km

2. Separated Bike Lanes: $100K+ per km

Dedicated bus lanes on high-volume routes would also be nice, though there is proven institutional resistance to this idea at City Hall.

4. LED Bridges: $18M
The two spans of the Burlington Skyway plus the Lift Bridge work out to around 4,800 meters total, so using the Edmonton yardstick approx $18m)$3 million for LED treatment on Edmonton's 777m High Level Bridge, crowdfunded through http://www.lightthebridge.ca.

Harbour Fountain: $1M
Mayor Bratina has a soft spot for this one...

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted August 29, 2013 at 12:35:45 in reply to Comment 91529

Expansive thinking is called for. Council is having a hard enough time with the status quo.

Stadium Precinct Shortfall: $7.5M

10-Yr Cost of Reactive EAB Management/Replanting of Hamilton’s 23,000 Emerald Ash Trees: $26.4M-$26.8M

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By Connie (registered) | Posted August 29, 2013 at 13:18:43

" We have been so focused on being a suburban, high-speed shortcut to somewhere else for so many decades that we've forgotten how great of a city we have, and could have."

So true ... except it isn't us - the residents of downtown - who are trying to 'suburbanize' the core, but our very reactionary out-of-the-loop City Council.

Since the debacle of the city negotiating demolition of historic buildings in the Gore, it's totally clear that the entrepreneurs and artists who rejuvenated James North are much more suited to City Council positions. I hope we will see new, younger and more up-to-date voices standing for election in 2014.

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By dsafire (registered) - website | Posted August 30, 2013 at 18:57:08 in reply to Comment 91538

You mean the city council which is dominated by suburban councillors.

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By Skully2001 (registered) | Posted August 29, 2013 at 13:22:29

Hey, they just repaved King Street East, what more do you want?!

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By SCRAP (anonymous) | Posted August 29, 2013 at 17:42:36

So Jason, not that I am against many of your ideas, I wonder what is your target audience in all this???

So these games are ato entertain the very rich, those who can afford to come, airfare, hotels and so on, just exactly what does the completely average Hamiltonian get out of all this.

I know a couple of years back even the Poverty Roundtable was endorsing this, yet we have seen cutbacks to the CSUMB, the community housing start up, plus amny other social benefits, whcih makes things more difficult for those who struggle in this city. Who knows what is going to happen at the end of this years. Will the city further fund these programs??? We all know the province no longer does.

I realize things are political, however could you define which group you actually represent????? Does not sound like you represent those at the very bottom, only those who ahve a little bit of money, the middle class or better that is slowly losing round, given all things.

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted August 29, 2013 at 20:53:38

9. Open Streets

A public-private collaboration, this is another option that can make strides without waiting for the green light from City Hall.


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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted August 29, 2013 at 21:56:40

The City of Hamilton Begins 2014 Budget Process

HAMILTON, ON – August 27, 2013 –The City of Hamilton’s 2014 budget process is underway and citizens are encouraged to take part. Upcoming workshops and General Issues Committee (GIC) meetings offer the public opportunities to hear about, and provide input on, preliminary capital and operating budgets.

Budget Workshops:
Three workshops will be held to provide the members of the General Issues Committee and the public with high-level preliminary 2014 capital and operating budgets in order to gather feedback and to begin preparation of the 2014 budget deliberations.

Public delegations will not take place during the workshops; however upcoming GIC meetings will provide members of the public with opportunities to provide comment on the preliminary budgets. Workshops and committee meetings can be viewed online at Minutes, Agendas and video for Committee/Council.

Capital Budget Workshops
September 13, 2013
October 18, 2013

Rate Budget Workshop
October 30, 2013

Operating Budget Workshop
November 26, 2013

All workshops begin at 9:30 a.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers, unless otherwise indicated.

General Issues Committee Meetings
Four General Issues Committee meetings will dedicate time to discussing the 2014 budget, as follows:

Tax Budget Preliminary Outlook September 18, 2013 (Regular Meeting)
2014 User Fees November 20, 2013 (Regular Meeting)
Capital Budget Approval November 28, 2013
Rate Budget Approval December 6, 2013

Interested individuals/public delegations who wish to speak in reference to the items noted above are asked to pre-register as a delegation by no later than 12:00 noon on the day prior to the appropriate meeting by contacting:

Carolyn Biggs, Legislative Co-ordinator, General Issues Committee
(905) 546-2424 ext. 2604 or via email at Carolyn.Biggs@hamilton.ca.

Delegation presentations are limited to five minutes.

Written submissions are welcome and will be accepted by email at the above-noted address, by fax at (905) 546-2095, or by mail to the City Clerk’s Office, 1st Floor, 71 Main Street West, Hamilton L8P 4Y5 until 12:00 noon on the day prior to the meeting, for distribution to members of Council.

General Issues Committee dates for 2014 have yet to be determined. Public notice for future meetings (including Boards and Agencies, Public Delegations, presentation of Departmental budgets and Committee deliberations) will be provided as soon as those details are available.

Members of the public who wish to speak to the GIC with respect to the overall 2014 Tax Supported Operating budget will be provided with an opportunity to do so at a later date.


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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted September 02, 2013 at 19:40:56 in reply to Comment 91562

If the 2013-2014 budget process is any indication, the 2014-2015 Capital Budget will probably be approved 19 months before the Pan Am Games start, while the 2014-2015 Operating Budget will probably be approved 15 months before the Pan Am Games start.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted August 30, 2013 at 10:40:22 in reply to Comment 91562

So people have to take the whole day off work to attend one of these sessions, which is something most blue-collar citizens can't afford.

We need a 21st century forum for public engagement.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted August 30, 2013 at 10:41:46 in reply to Comment 91577

And yes, I did read that written submissions are welcome, but I also know how little impact written submissions have versus delgations and attendance in-person at workshops.

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 29, 2013 at 22:35:58

Great comments here folks. I should add that most of these ideas are ones that I'd love to see taken city-wide. Obviously our poorest neighbourhoods with the most dangerous streets, fewest trees and virtually zero public spaces gain much of the attention when it comes to ideas like this - and rightfully so. It's a disgrace how we've ignored the central lower city for decades. But many of these ideas should be taken all across the city. I'm always perplexed at why we aren't nurturing a vibrant little commercial hub on Upper Wellington from Concession to Fennel. It's a very human-scaled strip that could be a heart for that neighbourhoods with local shops, cafes etc.... instead we insist on 4 speeding lanes of traffic and scrawny trees that were plopped into metal grates and are all dying now.

I mean, look at this great streetscape to work with: http://goo.gl/maps/nzOhj Reminds me of this: http://goo.gl/maps/qXSsr Belmont St in Portland - largely low density residential neighbourhood, but the commercial activity is encouraged with street parking, slow traffic, bike parking etc.....

Or Cannon near Ottawa. Could be a great neighbourhood node instead of a 4-lane thoroughfare: http://goo.gl/maps/FL7cp

Why are we so utterly horrid at simply 'being a city'? These are perfect spots for neighbourhood hubs with retail activity, fun sidewalks with places to sit, street trees, small patios etc.....

The entire city will benefit when we can convince city council that we actually like living in a city, and we want to be a city.

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By ScreenCarp (registered) | Posted August 29, 2013 at 22:57:03

I think these are great idea's Jason! All very workable.


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By Today (anonymous) | Posted August 30, 2013 at 11:51:39

Great read Jason! Hamilton certainly is a treasure with the natural surroundings we have but improvements as you suggest, particularly when international visitors will be coming here, would go a long way to make the city an even better place to live and for others to visit.

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted August 31, 2013 at 09:59:29

5/7 split.


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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted September 09, 2013 at 14:00:20 in reply to Comment 91601


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By HRT (anonymous) | Posted September 01, 2013 at 11:24:57

It's Labour Day Weekend. Where are the dedicated bus lanes? Maybe they'll be done by 2015 too. Can we add them to this list?

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By Kevin Love (anonymous) | Posted September 01, 2013 at 19:41:39

Great article! This sort of thinking is exactly what we need.

A couple of comments:

Jolly Cut - In my opinion, the stout concrete barrier next to the bike lane on the uphill side is an excellent example of a barrier to deploy across the city for protected bike lanes. The only problem is that it is on the wrong side of the bike lane. Sigh...

Also with Jolly Cut, I am under the impression that (as is the case throughout Hamilton) it is illegal to cycle on the sidewalk. It is certainly inappropriate since going downhill at a high rate of speed is intimidating to pedestrians. There is plenty of room to convert one of the car lanes to a protected bike lane.

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By ViennaCafe (registered) | Posted September 02, 2013 at 21:16:21

"We have been so focused on being a suburban, high-speed shortcut to somewhere else for so many decades that we've forgotten how great of a city we have, and could have."

Right on!

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By gdouglas131 (registered) - website | Posted September 03, 2013 at 13:45:39

Great ideas! I especially like the idea of parklets and, generally, more public seating along the sidewalks.

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By Pan Am G2015 (anonymous) | Posted September 25, 2013 at 18:09:59


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