Comment 94378

By j.servus (registered) | Posted November 06, 2013 at 15:59:35 in reply to Comment 94363

I'm not sure what you mean. The people riding the bus are commuters, too. Some commuters would like to ride their bikes along Main, but they don't, unless they are foolhardy. Sometimes they ride them on the sidewalk, probably because pedestrians are not as hard as cars. A lot of people in my neighborhood are commuting by foot, but there aren't many commute-friendly routes for them. I commute on foot into downtown. I walk along King, which is unpleasant until you get past Wellington, but pretty nice after that. I do pass a lot of parking lots, though, which don't enhance my commute and don't add a lot of interest and life to downtown. In fact, they make downtown a less interesting place, which I suppose could be a coherent strategy, up to a point: by increasing supply we are also reducing demand.

It would save me a good five minutes to walk along Main. Five minutes isn't a lot of time, in the grand scheme of things, but it's probably more than the average driver stands to lose by going to two-way streets, or by shooting down to Cannon to skip the International Village. But it's not worth it to me, because I'd have to walk along Main. I don't know if you've ever tried to commute by foot along Main Street. I would guess most people in City government have not. Many people in our neighborhood do walk along it, but it's very unpleasant for them, because it's been made so very pleasant for the people from other neighborhoods who like to speed along it back to their quiet streets in the suburbs. I confess I find it a little difficult to understand why the people who live here have designed their streets to be unpleasant to themselves, in order to make them pleasant to passers-by who seldom spend any money in our neighborhoods. But then I remember that its actually the passers-by, who live in the suburbs, that prefer this design for our neighborhoods. Maybe it's because they know fast, wide streets are safer for kids to walk to school, and that's just what they would want for their kids. Or maybe it's because they don't actually think about our neighborhoods at all, or because in their suburban world everyone has to drive for every errand anyway. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the suburbs having more councilors and more money. But I do find it odd when Lloyd Ferguson complains that our neighborhoods don't generate enough tax revenue while at the same time insisting on traffic patterns that enhance the value and convenience of suburban homes while destroying value, commerce, and vitality in our neighborhoods.

But perhaps you're only thinking of the people who commute by car? Lots of people on the Mountain commute in their cars along West Fifth, which is two lanes each way. I haven't heard any clamor from Mountain residents to pair West Fifth and Upper James as one-ways so there will be a "commute-friendly" route for them. I don't know why two lanes each way is adequately "commute friendly" on the Mountain but not on roads carrying the same volume of traffic in the core, but maybe that's one of those Hamilton exceptions I keep hearing about.

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