Comment 26189

By ProudWard8er (registered) | Posted August 02, 2008 at 01:56:55

As a citizen of Ward 8, I can understand where Mr. Whitehead is coming from. Yet I find myself (once again!) in opposition to him.

Yes, we must calm traffic in our city. We've all seen it: the construction vehicles barreling down our streets, cars zipping through quiet neighbourhoods, people racing on our roadways…and this needs to stop. But ladies and gentlemen, this is less an issue of one-way vs. two-way streets. This is a ‘on the road’ in general issue.

What we need to do as a city (as this is not just an individual ward issue) is seriously look into traffic safety, patterns, etiquette and…well, traffic in general…and look at ways of decreasing our dependence on the automobile. We need to follow the lead of Amsterdam, whose city councillors voted on an ambitious plan of transportation diversion. In a city of millions, they managed to totally redefine their urban transit strategy so that today, 80% of all trips made in Amsterdam are on foot, on public transit or by bike! City officials even eliminated cars totally in a three square mile area of their downtown and added raised cobblestone bike lanes in between the road and sidewalk.

Cities across Europe are rethinking their transit strategies and are making significant headway in changing their images for the better. If Hamilton can begin to make the same changes, then we too can not only reduce our environmental impact, but also calm our congested streets and hopefully reduce traffic related deaths.

I am proud of my community. The Eighth Ward is a beautiful and vibrant place to live, but we do not see the level of traffic congestion that citizens of the downtown wards must see. Our major roadways run smooth most of the time and a majority of our streets are quiet suburban ones, with few car problems. Again, I understand where Councillor Whitehead is coming from, but he has to see past this as being a one way vs. two way street debate.

The problem with our city council is that they have trouble moving past petty debates such as this one and creating solutions to the problems plaguing our home. Our councillors are going to have to start taking action, or there are going to have to be major changes come 2010.

-Chris, the ProudWard8er.

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