Enough is Enough

By Ben Bull
Published February 20, 2006

What will it take to get our traffic planners to put pedestrians first in this town?

Years and years of car-first street layouts have scared most of us away from the sidewalks and into our cars. Now another Hamilton resident has lost her life.

Enough is enough. This is not just another tragedy. It is a preventable tragedy. The Cootes intersection at Main is built, like most of our in-town highways, for speed.

Our 1960s style street planning ensures that we Hamiltonians spend most of our 'outdoor' time in our cars, breezing by hapless pedestrians courtesy of wide lanes, synchronized lights and generous speed limits.

Who would want to cross our streets?

Centennial and Rymal anyone? King and James? How about Dundurn and Main? I didn't think so.

Why must we take our lives in our hands just to go about our business? A few years ago my two year old daughter ran into traffic at Ottawa and King.

That's one scare too many for any parent. Since that day we have, like many Hamilton residents, opted for the safety of the car over the uncertainly of walking.

The Spectator may think it helpful to point out that this poor Mac student was wearing an iPod, but the truth is that in life, most people get a second chance. On Hamilton's unsafe streets, alas, that's not always so.

Hamiltonians need to be reminded that our streets are also made for walking. We need to put a stop to all our car friendly planning, and put pedestrians first.

Ben Bull lives in downtown Toronto. He's been working on a book of short stories for about 10 years now and hopes to be finished tomorrow. He also has a movie blog.


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