Heading in the Right Directions

By Graham Crawford
Published May 08, 2012

Poster: Let's get Hamilton heading in the right directions.
Poster: Let's get Hamilton heading in the right directions.

Text of the poster:

to really change this city would be creating
streets everywhere, but Councillors keep saying
because they prefer a too-fast and city-killing
so maybe it's time we finally got them to see it

Let's get Hamilton heading in the right directions.

Ask your Councillor to pick up the speed of two-way conversion.

Graham Crawford was raised in Hamilton, moving to Toronto in 1980 where he spent 25 years as the owner of a successful management consulting firm that he sold in 2000. He retired and moved back to Hamilton in 2005 and became involved in heritage and neighbourhood issues. He opened Hamilton HIStory + HERitage on James North in 2007, a multi-media exhibition space (aka a storefront museum) celebrating the lives of the men and women who have helped to shape the City of Hamilton.


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By Brendan Simons (anonymous) | Posted May 08, 2012 at 10:40:17

That's great Graham! Can we pick up copies in your store?

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted May 08, 2012 at 10:58:20

Gotta say that when I first heard the idea of converting James and John back to two way, I was against it. Having lived my entire life (51 years) in Hamilton, I always thought the timed traffic lights and our one way street systems were terrific.

I thought converting back to two ways would make no difference. Boy, was I wrong. James St N. is amazing during (and not during) art crawls, and many times I'll go out of my way to drive/cruise down there when i'm passing by, just to experience James St N.

Sure it's slower to drive now, but so what? As I explain this to others who don't like the thought of slower traffic on James N., I ask them, "How much longer does it really take to travel along James? A couple minutes? A few minutes?"

Certainly not a significant amount of time to make you late for anything.

Yes, John slows down and backs up somewhat at the bottom of the Jolley Cut, but it's well worth allotting the extra 5 minutes in your car trip so that the urban fabric can heal itself from the wounds the freeway butchering that took place wit the advent of one way conversions.

Isn't it well established that James and John Streets are much better now? Why re we not jumping at the prospect of "fixing" the rest of our one ways.

What do you think the people of Dundas would say if we converted there downtown King st to one way?

Why is downtown Dundas so wonderful?

I would love to see these posters in the windows of all the downtown establishments.

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By Core-B (registered) | Posted May 11, 2012 at 11:15:15 in reply to Comment 76616

Couldn't agree with you more but for some reason our councillors aren't interested in twowaying the rest. Sad.

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By slodrive (registered) | Posted May 08, 2012 at 11:06:46 in reply to Comment 76616

Have to agree, Kirk. The seemingly rave support for intra-city freeways made me apprehensive, too. But a stroll or drive through those neighbourhoods certainly says otherwise.

That said, I still wonder if there's a place (...and the current lane structure, converted to two way still could be it) for a expedited flow of traffic. This based on the notion of encouraging flow into downtown ( minimizing real or perceived barriers/ hurdles) and minimizing environmental negatives caused by gridlock.

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted May 08, 2012 at 11:36:28 in reply to Comment 76618

Thing is, as I'm sure you know, downtown streets should be designed to be welcoming, not for bypassing downtown.

I live in the east end near Eastgate Square. My son had to do regular trips to Dundas and google maps showed that talking the RHVP/LINC took 20 minutes even though it was a longer distance. The shortest distance through downtown, took 30 minutes.

So the lesson I took from that is that we have freeways to use to get from one end of town to the other. Another route I use is RHVP to QEW to Burlington St.

We have quick ways to get across town, east-west.

I realize now that we NEED "healthy" King and Main streets to have a healthy city. Let's fix 'em!

And where the hell is that LRT funding?

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By Chevron (anonymous) | Posted May 08, 2012 at 12:14:21 in reply to Comment 76622

Metrolinx's transit infrastructure commitments to Hamilton are mostly about the bus service. The ratio of investment in A-Line compared to the James North GO station is 10:1.

As for the larger question aof intrastructure forecasting...

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By retrograde Toronto? (anonymous) | Posted May 08, 2012 at 16:59:55

The Toronto Star
Published 27 minutes ago
Robyn Doolittle
Urban Affairs Reporter

What do you think about a one-way Yonge Street with extended sidewalks and separated bike lanes?

Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, who chairs the public works and infrastructure committee, thinks it’s a pretty good idea and he’s speaking with city transportation staff about making it happen.

“Have you ever tried to drive on Yonge Street? It’s impossible to even turn on to it,” said Minnan-Wong. “Obviously before doing anything we would need to study this, but I think one-way streets on Yonge and Bay — Yonge would go one way, Bay would go the other — could really provide a better experience for drivers, pedestrians and cycles.”

Minnan-Wong said he’s open to all possibilities, but one idea could be to remove one of the existing four lanes between Bloor and Front Streets, extend the sidewalks, and add proper bike lanes. Then there would be three lanes of traffic all flowing in the same direction, removing the friction of left-hand turns and easing gridlock.

Across North America, from St. Catharines, Ontario to Lexington Kentucky to St. Petersburg Florida, cities are taking the opposite route.

But Minnan-Wong said there’s no comparison.

In those cities, the idea is to slow traffic in order to create a more walkable city. Toronto already has a vibrant downtown with a healthy retail sector. What it also has is a serious congestion problem.

“We’re more comparable to New York, where one way streets seem to be working just fine,” he said. //

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted May 10, 2012 at 18:32:14 in reply to Comment 76654

I might have preferred this approach to what they did with York St.

Losing a lane of traffic, widening sidewalks, putting in some REAL bike lanes, improving the streetscape and continuing it all the way along Wilson to Sherman would have done more for that stretch of city blocks than repainting some lines has.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted May 08, 2012 at 20:19:15 in reply to Comment 76654

If we had the congestion problems that Toronto does, it would be a sign that we are on the right track for a change.

We do not have enough people living downtown, and besides making it feel terribly inhospitable, it also means that our taxes are too high and climbing uncontrollably.

We will never, ever, EVER see reasonable tax levels here unless we have more citizens living in dense neighborhoods who can help carry the costs of running a city.

More people will mean more congestion during rush hour. There is absolutely no way around this unless we all agree to pay for our spacious living through higher taxes.

So.. Taxes or congestion? Take your pick cause we can't have "neither".

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By RB (registered) | Posted May 16, 2012 at 16:50:00 in reply to Comment 76664

Yea... I'd take more congestion over higher taxes; at least congestion means that there is enough money (through the taxes collected from the many residents) to try and fix the/any problem.

No people = no taxes = no money to fix ANYTHING

Comment edited by RB on 2012-05-16 16:50:34

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By ScreamingViking (registered) | Posted May 08, 2012 at 21:09:51

Clever. Well done.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted May 09, 2012 at 03:32:28

I'd move out of the core if King and Main converted to 2-way.

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By mrgrande (registered) | Posted May 09, 2012 at 10:26:25 in reply to Comment 76670

To one of the other areas that has expressways running through it?

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted May 11, 2012 at 08:13:58 in reply to Comment 76691

No, to somewhere that allows me to conveniently get to where I need to go - be it the east or west end, the highway, up the mountain, whatever.

2-way on king and main won't allow me to do that.

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By arienc (registered) | Posted May 09, 2012 at 12:47:03 in reply to Comment 76691

Maybe that just means that the property value will be higher and they'll be able to sell it at a profit.

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By Death (anonymous) | Posted May 09, 2012 at 16:14:31

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

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By RB (registered) | Posted May 16, 2012 at 16:51:57 in reply to Comment 76713

Hahaha... awesome! Your name + comment made my day at the office... ha!

Death is not impressed...

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