Comment 64619

By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted June 06, 2011 at 09:55:51

Until the mid-80s, the Pearl Street span was the middle of three historic pedestrian bridges in a 400m stretch of Hunter/Canada (the others being at Poulette and Ray). The Pearl bridge was the only one retained, despite substantial fire damage that had left it closed to vehicular traffic from 1956 onward.

From March 2009's elegantly titled Hamilton Bridges Master Plan Class Environmental Assessment Poulette Street/Pearl Street/Ray Street Pedestrian Crossings of CP Rail Corridor Project File Report:

"The cost of adding a new pedestrian bridge at Ray Street cannot be justified because it would result in only a nominal reduction in pedestrian travel time (approximately 3 minutes) and would essentially be redundant with the Pearl Street and Queen Street crossings."

"The cost of a new pedestrian rail crossing at Poulette Street ($450,000-$500,000 capital
cost plus long term maintenance costs) also cannot be justified based on the marginal
benefits that it would provide (i.e., reducing travel times by approximately 3 minutes;
small catchment area) and the fact that there is not a strong travel distance justification
for the bridge (residents are within approximately 200 m of either Dundurn Street or
Locke Street)."

And consider us fortunate: The city had at one point considered demolishing all three bridges:

"The previously cited acceptable walking distance to a crossing of the CP Rail corridor
(i.e., within 400 m of Locke Street or Queen Street) would still be applicable to the study
area if the Pearl Street crossing did not exist. Applying such a criterion, there is not a
strong justification for replacing the Pearl Street crossing in the event that it is removed
for safety purposes."

A single two-hour PIC regarding the bridges' remediation was was held on the evening of Mar 31, 2008 at Melrose United. The were also community prompts via a survey connected to Councillor McHattie’s newsletter. In response, there were 19 PIC comments and 46 post-PIC comments in all, and those surveyed opted overwhelmingly for Pearl, with Poulette a close second and Ray a distant and dismal third.

By the time of the PIC, of course, Pearl was the natural favourite, as it was the only surviving bridge -- Poulette being 20+ years gone and the Ray bridge having been dismantled 14 months earlier.

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