By Nicholas Kevlahan
Published December 05, 2013
An article in today's Spectator notes that some North End residents are upset about "traffic chokers" at intersections, which they say is taking away parking spots. But this jumped out at me:
"The point we are saying is everything is not set in stone," said Steve Molloy, project manager of Hamilton's transport master plan. "We're listening. We're not saying 'This is what we're going to do ...' At the end of the day we can arrive at something we can all be happy with."
So, the message is that if motorists are upset - especially about their supposed "right" to park for free on public land - the City will accommodate them, even a few months after a five-year pilot project has started.
Contrast the transit lane pilot project on King Street, in which cyclists were told that the project is set in stone and they have to be happy with no accommodation at all on King Street, not just fewer parking spots.
Indeed, no solution - not even as meagre as painted sharrows in the automobile lane to remind drivers that cyclists are also allowed to be there - will be entertained until the end of the pilot.
But that didn't stop the City from almost immediately changing rush-hour parking restrictions on King Street west of Locke to cater to motorists.
This double standard really highlights how far we still need to go in changing the city's transportation culture. The concerns of motorists who feel entitled to park for free on public land for as many vehicles as they like are treated with respect and promises to make changes quickly, while the concerns of cyclists are dismissed out of hand.
More broadly, we can note that Council accepted the 30 km/h speed limit on most North End streets (excluding James North and Burlington), but stipulated that any other neighbourhood that wants to set a 30 km/h speed limit must wait until after the end of the five-year pilot.
This past October, a police officer speaking to residents at the Durand Neighbourhood Association Annual General Meeting recommended a similar move to lower speed limits in Durand. Unfortunately, thanks to the five-year moratorium, this option won't even be available for consideration until 2018.
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