Comment 110261

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted March 16, 2015 at 10:05:47

One thing I've noticed in recent trips to the US, a country not exactly known for excellent pedestrian friendly neighbourhoods, is that without exception their downtowns all have nice wide sidewalks. The streets are often extremely wide (especially in the west), but the sidewalks are also extremely wide (typically three to five times wider than the sort of 1.5m -1.8m sidewalks we have on Main between Locke and Hess).

This means that the streets are still comfortable for pedestrians even though they are multilane and wide for motor vehicles.

Somehow in Hamilton because of street widening and one-way conversions we've ended up with the worst combination for pedestrians: wide expressway style streets for cars with narrow sidewalks appropriate for quiet residential streets for pedestrians.

How anyone could think 1.8m (let alone 1.5m in some parts) without a buffer was acceptable on parts of Main St W is beyond me. And this street was actually widened in the past!

If traffic volumes permit, the best thing to do would be to increase sidewalk widths closer to the US standards.

Note that when Haussmann redesigned Paris the standard was that the total widths of sidewalks (on both sides) should equal the width of the vehicle part of the street. That is also a good standard that naturally scales to different street widths.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2015-03-16 10:09:28

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