Jason Leach on Livable Streets

By RTH Staff
Published April 12, 2007

A report in today's Hamilton Spectator on the "record number of pedestrian fatalities on Hamilton streets" this year includes an interview with RTH's own Jason Leach.

Youth pastor Jason Leach works out of a Main Street East office near where a 68-year-old woman was struck and killed while crossing the busy road near Prospect Street on April 3.

He says asking a senior to go several city blocks out of their way just to find a stoplight to cross at is not realistic.

"I agree with the idea of crossing at a light, but give us lights to cross at."

Leach also blamed the synchronized lights on multi-lane, one-way roads like Main and King streets for promoting a driver-friendly culture at the cost of pedestrian convenience and safety.

Critics have long complained that while one-way streets may ease traffic congestion, they make neighbourhoods less livable and more dangerous for pedestrians. Leach said drivers are more likely to speed to catch green lights and often treat roads running through busy residential and commercial areas like highways. "I would never dream of crossing the QEW and yet I'm forced to cross streets that are very similar every day."

It seems awareness of the inherent danger and hostility of Hamilton's car-friendly streets is starting to take hold in a city that has long sacrificed every civic value to auto-mobility.

As citizens, we need to keep pushing our municipal government to translate this awareness into changes that will produce truly livable neighbourhoods and sustainable transportation choice.


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