Special Report: Walkable Streets

Two Steps Forward, One and a Half Steps Back on Walkability

The City installs a signalized crossing at King and Pearl, but then prohibits pedestrians from crossing on the west side of Pearl.

By Jason Leach
Published December 02, 2011

The Strathcona Community Council has worked hard in recent years to help bring changes into the neighbourhood that will result in a more vibrant community where people of all ages can easily move about and enjoy all that the neighbourhood - and surrounding neighbourhoods such as Locke South and Downtown - have to offer.

Walkability is always a huge concern. This neighbourhood existed before automobiles, which is one of the reasons I love living here.

However, poor planning decisions by City Hall over the past five decades have seen the creation and persistence of dangerous speedways throughout this, and virtually every downtown neighbourhood.

Children play next to transport trucks, and in many cases our sidewalks are so narrow that families must walk in single file while five lanes of automobile traffic fly by unimpeded.

Ward 1 Councillor Brian McHattie has worked closely with the Strathcona Community to see a couple of new stoplights installed: at the corner of Dundurn Street North and Lamoreaux Street, and more recently at the corner of King Street West and Pearl Street.

I've long hoped to see a safe walking route along Pearl crossing both King and Main and connecting Strathcona to the HAAA Grounds and Ryerson School/Recreation Centre.

Currently there are painted crosswalks at both King and Main, but no lights mean this is not an option for families for young kids.

Yet Another Walkability Fail

I was delighted this morning to come up Pearl and see the traffic stopped on King. The new lights had been installed! My excitement for this new light has been building for some time, but alas, it was only to be temporary.

In a move that made me shake my head and ask what year it was, I was dumbfounded to see this sign facing me as I walked south on Pearl:

No pedestrian crossing on west side of Pearl at King
No pedestrian crossing on west side of Pearl at King

That's right. I'm no longer allowed to cross the road in the same spot I've been crossing for 10 years, now that it finally has a signalized crossing.

Yesterday I was allowed to cross here on the painted crosswalk, as long as I was careful to wait for a break in the traffic. Today, the painted crosswalk still exists and the light turns red every two minutes to give us safe passage, but we aren't allowed to cross.

I had to repeat this to myself several times and still haven't fully grasped it - we were allowed to cross when it was dangerous, but aren't allowed to now that it's safe?

Traffic Wields Too Much Power

I've long held that Hamilton's Public Works department and specifically our traffic office wields far too much power in the day-to-day life of this city.

I'm now convinced that we need a leader in the near future who will be willing to challenge the old thinking that prevails in this department and drag them kicking and screaming into the 21st Century.

I contacted Councillor McHattie to get his take on this new signage. He was unaware that this was planned for King and Pearl. He said he is currently working on having the 'no pedestrian' signage taken down at King and Dundurn and replaced with a 'no right on red' for auto traffic.

I would love to see this treatment along King Street - like at Dundurn Street, Strathcona Avenue North and Locke Street - and perhaps in the entire downtown core, similar to Montreal. Why do we make provision for cars to turn on red lights, yet not allow pedestrians to cross on green lights?

No pedestrian crossing on west side of Dundurn at King
No pedestrian crossing on west side of Dundurn at King

I plan to continue crossing at Pearl as I have for the past decade and encourage other local residents to do the same, now that it safe to cross here.

There is no reason why anyone should have to cross the street three times just to cross once!

Please contact the City and let them know your thoughts on this matter. We welcome the new stoplight in Strathcona, but would appreciate actually being allowed to cross at it.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.

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By downtowninhamilton (registered) | Posted December 02, 2011 at 22:47:02

This kind of thing always seems to happen here. The left hand doesn't know what the right is doing. They go to all this trouble to install a traffic light, then a sign goes up saying you can't cross. Why bother with the stoplight then?

This seems to be commonplace here.

While I don't fully agree on the walkability trumps vehicles idea, I feel it should go morehand in hand. Making it difficult for cars to get through the city will not make drivers stop driving. Having timed lights such as we do allow you to move easily from one end of the city to the other, as long as you're travelling the speed limit. When stopped at red lights, pedestrians should be able to cross safely and easily. That reminds me of a few crosswalks where the time is far too short, but that's a discussion for another time.

I regularly walk all over downtown (usually up as far as Dundurn in the West and to Wentworth on the East, the waterfront on the North and the escarpment on the South) I haven't had problems with traffic rushing by. Sure, sometimes some drivers will floor it but I don't see that too often. Most of the truck traffic has disappeared thanks to the Red Hill and Linc. As well, where exactly are these sidewalks where you cannot walk comfortably 2 people across?

I say this both as someone who has recently taken a keen interest in walking all over the downtown, and as a driver who commutes from Hamilton to Mississauga daily for work.

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By Stewart (anonymous) | Posted December 04, 2011 at 15:18:27 in reply to Comment 71816

Come east of Wentworth. I would argue it's not safe to walk 2 abreast on King Street - south side between St. Clair & Proctor and north side Melrose North to Scott Park School (bus mirrors pose a particular problem).

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By rednic (registered) | Posted December 05, 2011 at 10:11:34 in reply to Comment 71842

Yes outside the CUPE Building the sidewalk is actually less than 2 foot wide , seemingly to accommodate a fence around the parking lot. Very community minded of the union, I guess since no self respecting civil servant would live in that 'hood, it doesn't matter.

The real danger spot IMHO is at King and steven , where the No frills lot is, It can take 3 or 4 cycles of the lights to get across safely, there is no crosswalk or lights between Wentworth and Tisdale. Im pretty sure that car ownership in this part of the city is pretty low, but to go shopping you are virtually forced to cross a 'Highway'.

Comment edited by rednic on 2011-12-05 11:58:04

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By its safe (anonymous) | Posted December 04, 2011 at 16:39:23 in reply to Comment 71842

Not sure what your issue is

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By RB (registered) | Posted December 05, 2011 at 11:54:28 in reply to Comment 71844

I think he's saying that for being a "downtown", there are many places that aren't very walkable here.

One would assume that it would be more "walkable" than, say, the suburbs, but there are many places that offer no such benefit.

I actually knew of a few city workers (Public Works, 330 Wentwroth N.) who lived right smack downtown. One on Cannon & John, one around the Stinson area and another out by the Lowes (not really dwntown, I know). I agree that most don't live downtown, but there were a few odd exceptions.

Mind you, there weren't any managers who lived downtown (or even Hamiton, for that matter.... always kinda bugged me. It's like they think this city is good enough to take money from, but not good enough to live in.)

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 02, 2011 at 23:12:42 in reply to Comment 71816

just to be clear, you can cross at Pearl, but only on the east sidewalk. The west sidewalk now has this no crossing sign, even though cars turning right onto King from Pearl won't change at all with or without a light. Also, there is no hope on my part, or probably anyone in Hamilton that 'walkability trump vehicles'. As a sustainable transport group from Chicago posted on twitter today:

"If there is a war on cars, only one side is racking up casualities. The rest of us are simply trying to get to work in once piece".

I simply want to see city hall pretend to acknowledge the existence of commuters who use bikes, buses or their own feet. The idea that we'll ever become a Vancouver where the city mandate is to make it safer for pedestrians above all else is laughable, at least for the next 20+ years or until a wholesale shift happens at city hall. Of course, we also don't have to worry about threatening Vancouver on the 'best places to live' lists anytime soon either.

Locke St between King and Main is very uncomfortable for 2 people to walk side by side. Two adults could pull it off, but I hate trying it with my kids. The sidewalks are so skinny. Standing at Main and Locke is pretty ridiculous too. Sidewalks on Bay or York or Gore Park are great. But King West, Locke, Dundurn North, Queen and many others are very dangerous with kids. One quick trip on a sidewalk by a kid could be the end of them. It simply shouldn't be so lopsided in favour of high speed traffic. Balance is all we're looking for. Not Vancouver balance, just something remotely safe.

Comment edited by jason on 2011-12-02 23:13:34

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By downtowninhamilton (registered) | Posted December 05, 2011 at 22:07:29 in reply to Comment 71817

Locke St. between King and Main, in my experience at least, is not full of drivers racing up it. The incline there makes that difficult. I will agree, the sidewalks narrow there, but what's the alternative - knock down the buildings or remove 1 lane of traffic from 2? As well, I don't find there to be much pedestrian traffic up that street. There's several alternatives nearby if this is such a big deal.

Having grown up in a sidewalk-free area in Dundas, I'm used to having to stick to either walking on the concrete edge to the road or right on the road. Granted, I don't have kids to look after, but I think that on the whole, the sidewalks in our area are good. Most of the areas listed as being 'sidewalk-deficient' are in old areas of the city, where not a lot can be done to enlarge them, short of removing traffic lanes, encroaching on property, or removing buildings.

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By many ways (anonymous) | Posted December 06, 2011 at 08:11:40 in reply to Comment 71906

Locke should be two way between Main and King. The one way blocks and side streets in this city seem to be put there specifically to make it more difficult to get places. It's like if you ain't driving straight thru, the city doesn't give a damn about you

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted December 06, 2011 at 16:42:18 in reply to Comment 71912

I'm assuming this one is one way because of the unfortunate width of the street itself, not any ideals about syncing traffic lights and left-on-red and stuff like that. It's practically an alleyway and they can't widen it where it meets King and Main. The West sidewalk there is terrifying. I honestly don't have a problem with this sort of thing because this is a perfectly justifiable case for a one-way street - two-way in that narrow space would mean a horrible traffic snarl if somebody stopped.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted December 06, 2011 at 15:52:37 in reply to Comment 71912

Of all the places to choose from for conversion to 2-way, what made you choose this small section of road?

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By many ways (anonymous) | Posted December 07, 2011 at 11:52:00 in reply to Comment 71940

Only because it was already being talked about.

If you want to know the real problem it is the fact that main and king are one way. If they were two way, then anyone going from locke toward westdale or the 403 could take main instead of having to squeeze through to king, and that section of locke could be a nice sleepy residential 2 way that is meant for local traffic.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 06, 2011 at 09:44:13 in reply to Comment 71912

my idea for this stretch of Locke (I walk it many times a week) is to have one vehicle lane northbound, one bike lane southbound and use the excess space from removing the second vehicle lane to widen the sidewalks on both sides.

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By TB (registered) - website | Posted December 07, 2011 at 07:35:58 in reply to Comment 71921

And what would delivery vehicles then do when they have a delivery for a residence on that part of the street?

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted December 07, 2011 at 11:19:37 in reply to Comment 71957

Exactly. Realistically, the sidewalks do need to be widened there, so going two-way is never going to happen. Probably the most realistic plan would be to widen the sidewalks just at the old Nina's building and the convenience store at each end and cinch down to one lane at those points. It would snarl traffic, but would still allow for local deliveries (trucks just have to get out of the very-short one-lane area) and would protect pedestrians. Either way, those two tight squeezes functionally make any normal traffic pattern impossible.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted December 06, 2011 at 16:03:24 in reply to Comment 71921

If you want a bike lane in this area, why not choose Margaret (about 50m west of Locke)? Due to how narrow Locke is in that section and how unwilling the city seems to be to remove lanes of traffic, your suggestion seems extremely unlikely to happen.

Having the bike lane on Margaret would still allow for one lane of traffic in each direction. If two lanes of traffic is too tight a fit, the on-street parking on the East side (for 8 cars max) could be changed into the bike lane. This could all be done at a minimal (relatively) cost. The boulevard provides a buffer for pedestrians, but if needed could be turned into a bike lane (additional cost)

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted December 06, 2011 at 16:50:40 in reply to Comment 71941

I think it's more about the fact that the sidewalk in that stretch of Locke is painfully, frighteningly narrow and the only way to widen it is to rip out a lane of traffic... and if you're ripping out a lane of traffic, you get way more space than you need for a full sidewalk. Hey, how about a bike lane?

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted December 03, 2011 at 10:03:22

I suspect this is one of those signs where the rules will be neither followed nor enforced, and only the real reason it's there is to ward off a lawsuit.

Train and blame, people. Train and blame.

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By TnT (registered) | Posted December 03, 2011 at 11:58:56

Is the ghost of Hart Solomon still haunting the depths of city hall?

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By wow. (anonymous) | Posted December 03, 2011 at 15:47:18

Its safer to cross on the upward side of a one way street. Its not tough folks.

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By jacob (registered) | Posted December 03, 2011 at 17:15:01 in reply to Comment 71831

you're implicitly supporting a built in unsafe situation. Drivers don't look both ways when approaching a one way street. You can get people to cross on the other side, but people also walk on the sidewalk - what are they supposed to do, not walk? Try walking against traffic on King or Main and then come up to a drive thru - say the Tim's at Main just up from Dundurn. The cars coming out of that drive thru will most likely not see you if you're walking west on the south side of the street. You literally have to play frogger, which is hard to do with a stroller. I'm sure that's why there are so many personal injury signs on that street.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted December 05, 2011 at 08:53:10 in reply to Comment 71833

Drivers don't look both ways when approaching a one way street.

That's called careless driving. You are supposed to look at a spot before putting your car there.

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By walk on the other side (anonymous) | Posted December 04, 2011 at 09:01:04 in reply to Comment 71833

in answer to your question. I am not supporting an unsafe condition, I am recognizing one and avoiding it.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 03, 2011 at 21:48:41 in reply to Comment 71833

let's also keep in mind that turning right from a side street onto a main street is the same whether the main street is one-way or two-way. Why anyone would even dream of suggesting that it's ok to try to herd pedestrians in a specific way instead of reminding drivers that their ability to drive is a privilege which requires a few basic safety habits, such as looking both ways when entering any street regardless of whether it's one-way or two-way. Should we also put up second signs next to speed limit signs that say "It's really 50, but do 80 if you want"?

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By Michelle Martin (registered) - website | Posted December 04, 2011 at 09:37:41 in reply to Comment 71834

And this is why I've always taught my own kids to always walk as if the drivers don't care about them. Sad, but true.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 03, 2011 at 16:27:35 in reply to Comment 71831

it's safer for drivers to look both ways before turning right on a red.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted December 05, 2011 at 08:54:11 in reply to Comment 71832

it's safer for drivers to look both ways.

Fixed that for you :)

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted December 04, 2011 at 11:06:21

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted December 04, 2011 at 20:39:24 in reply to Comment 71839

I'm all for anything that will make driving safer, whether that's education, enforcement or better street design.

Drivers SHOULD be more cautious. And enforcement SHOULD reflect the inherent dangers of each mode of transportation, not simply the death tolls they recieve. Do I expect those to happen any time soon? Sadly, no. "Train and blame" isn't likely to be any more effective with drivers than with pedestrians or factory workers.

Sadder yet is the fact that it's much easier for us to change local road design or even city-wide rules much more easily than we can affect the policies of the HPD or MTO. Such changes are more likely to be effective anyway, so that's where we focus.

Why would I want cake if I didn't also get to eat it?

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 04, 2011 at 15:11:43 in reply to Comment 71839

Umm, no. We're being deadly consistent- safety is always the goal. The city wants to cause pedestrians to play frogger and turn a 10 minute walk into a 15 minute walk zig-zagging back and forth from one side to the next instead of reminding drivers to look both ways before proceeding. Drivers still need to look, whether these stupid 'no crossing' signs exist or not because pedestrians walking eastbound on King are allowed to cross Pearl - a car turning right onto King from southbound Pearl will hit the pedestrian if the driver doesn't drive properly. You seem to not mind running down the odd pedestrian. My message is always the same - safety for the youngest to the oldest using ALL modes of transportation. It's not rocket science.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted December 04, 2011 at 22:07:42 in reply to Comment 71841

You seem to not mind running down the odd pedestrian.

And this type of comment gets upvoted? really!?

If safety is SO important and the drivers are SO bad, is the extra 5 minutes (read 2 minutes, max) really that big of a deal?

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 05, 2011 at 16:11:32 in reply to Comment 71849

is the extra 2.7 seconds it takes for a driver to look both ways really that big of a deal??

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By no (registered) | Posted December 05, 2011 at 16:17:29 in reply to Comment 71892

But thats not even the point. You KNOW that the driver won't do it and no amount of train and blame or engineering is going to change that

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By RB (registered) | Posted December 05, 2011 at 13:34:13 in reply to Comment 71849

Remember, on RTH, comments get down-voted/up-voted based on whether people agree with them... not whether it is a valid argument rooted in reason & reality.

As long as someone agrees with it, no matter how ludicrous it may be, they'll support you.

Once you realize that it's sort of a popularity contest, it's all a little easier to swallow.

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By RB (registered) | Posted December 06, 2011 at 09:17:18 in reply to Comment 71881

^^^SEE!!! :)

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted December 06, 2011 at 09:41:34 in reply to Comment 71916

What gets you downvoted, bitching about getting downvoted.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted December 06, 2011 at 16:05:43 in reply to Comment 71919

but bitching about bitching about getting downvoted gets you upvoted? The logic here continues to baffle me.

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By um no (anonymous) | Posted December 04, 2011 at 16:37:42 in reply to Comment 71841

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted December 05, 2011 at 12:30:57 in reply to Comment 71843

In more normal places to live, what you describe as 'idealistic action' is not just reality, it's becoming elementary. But see, those communities and particularly their political bodies are capable of learning and changing. In return they enjoy higher quality of life while we are laughed at and die under chariot wheels.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 04, 2011 at 20:39:34 in reply to Comment 71843

guilty as charged. I'm naive enough to believe that people should be able to walk around in their own neighbourhood without getting killed.

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By you should (anonymous) | Posted December 04, 2011 at 22:57:22 in reply to Comment 71847

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 05, 2011 at 08:56:00 in reply to Comment 71850

again, guilty as charged. When safely walking to the rec centre or Locke South with my kids, only crossing on green lights is considered 'actively trying to get killed' it goes to show how far behind Hamilton has fallen.

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By well I won't cry (anonymous) | Posted December 05, 2011 at 10:22:45 in reply to Comment 71857

when you get hit because of your refusal to look after your own safety

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted December 05, 2011 at 13:12:55 in reply to Comment 71860

"You may be right but we'll kill you anyway"

That's some argument.

If I start carrying a shotgun on my bike, can I have some of these rights too?

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By I won't kill you (anonymous) | Posted December 05, 2011 at 16:09:27 in reply to Comment 71876

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted December 05, 2011 at 22:53:13 in reply to Comment 71890

Which is why you're trolling a discussion about traffic planning, right?

If there really is a discussion out there where people are claiming that their "rights" will stop a speeding car from crashing into them after stepping unexpectedly off a curb, then please, by all means, correct them. However, nobody here has suggested that. We're asking that roads be designed with pedestrian safety in mind, and those decisions are most certainly not made at high speed.

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By troll fail (anonymous) | Posted December 06, 2011 at 08:18:26 in reply to Comment 71908

No, I'm saying its safer to cross upstream of traffic because of turning traffic for many reasons including bad drivers.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted December 05, 2011 at 10:58:08 in reply to Comment 71860

Is that you Allan Taylor?

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By who's Allan Taylor (anonymous) | Posted December 05, 2011 at 16:11:28 in reply to Comment 71861

You have some sort of a vendetta against someone? If so , thats your problem not mine

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted December 05, 2011 at 10:11:35

This city needs to come up with a better solution than "no, you can't have a crosswalk". We've all kinds of zany unorthodox solutions for drivers, but for pedestrians it's just "No."

Why not offset the crosswalk such that drivers have pulled into the lane before they face the pedestrian crossing (and so are looking forwards instead of right)? Or putting up "no left/right on red" signs so that drivers will not be looking the wrong way when they turn? Or anything better than just "No."

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted December 05, 2011 at 12:41:24 in reply to Comment 71859

Why has this region removed all options from the traffic planning toolbox except traffic lights? They are so scared of crosswalks or any other 'yield' solution? Thus it's a binary decision : traffic light yes or no.

And even then, the traffic lights are poorly done as in the example in this article.

That's why we hear NO so much - the traffic engineers have been restricted to having no tools at all except highway configuration. Either a traffic light, or nothing at all, leaving people to jaywalk. I want to smash my head against the wall in frustration at this highway engineering approach to residential city streets. It does not fit any community. It sucks.

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By rednic (registered) | Posted December 05, 2011 at 13:02:37 in reply to Comment 71873

I would suggest that the 'fake' crosswalks on James @ Murray and Robert (there may be more) almost encourage pedestrians to jay walk, leaving pedestrians to act as traffic a calming feature,yet offering them no 'protection'. There isn't a north/south stop sign at either of these intersection, yet the 'bricked' crosswalks infer a certain sense of privilege. I've seen some pretty close calls outside the 5 star to say the least.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted December 05, 2011 at 20:52:16 in reply to Comment 71875

I'm sure they're noticing your comment and planning to rip up the nice concrete crosswalks and replace them with bare asphalt now.

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By rednic (registered) | Posted December 05, 2011 at 21:37:07 in reply to Comment 71903

Actually my plan was to fix it with a few cans of spray paint, and paint Zebra crossings there. Im quite sure i could do it cheaper than the city.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted December 05, 2011 at 12:54:49 in reply to Comment 71873

Have they been restricted or have they tied their own hands. Hamilton traffic engineers think cars are the only traffic they have to worry about, everything else (pedestrians, bikes) are stuff that gets in the way of traffic. That's the real problem here.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 05, 2011 at 16:17:10 in reply to Comment 71874

I'm convinced Hamilton's traffic engineers ARE the problem facing our city. Have been for decades. If we could close down the department tomorrow and start allowing the other departments to make decisions based on sound planning, this city would look radically different in 5 years. I was just told of a story about a great downtown development that was brought to city hall for a preliminary planning meeting. EcDev helped set up the meeting and was excited about the project. My source said it was so sad to see the EcDev officials and many others in the room slump in their chairs out of embarrassment and frustration when the parking/traffic guys started blabbing about why the project won't work because there aren't 8 gazillion parking spots etc..... needless to say, that development team took their project to another municipality. I share that story because it's jut one example in a long line that illustrate the progressive ideas and good work being done by many folks in EcDev...but it continually butts up against this old boys club in Public Works. I will vote for my next mayor and council solely based on those with a platform to clean house in Public Works. I want to see a mayor fight the managers, the union bosses, anyone who tries to maintain the status quo. These guys have ruined Hamilton and actively trying to continue their reign in 2011.

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By rednic (registered) | Posted December 05, 2011 at 17:48:18 in reply to Comment 71893

So to solve the lack of developments in downtown we have to build more parking lots? The whole thing is a parking lot already. Any more parking and there will be no room for any development.

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By Parking (anonymous) | Posted December 05, 2011 at 19:09:25 in reply to Comment 71895


Wait till you see what they've got planned for the GO Train station on James North...

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted December 05, 2011 at 19:24:31 in reply to Comment 71899

It's funny you say that ... I was sitting there the other day by the fountain. Looking at the old building. In my imagination I transposed a european culture over this setting. The building was packed with people catching frequent train service to TO or Niagara; a decent coffee shop and variety store inside; an efficient multi-level parking off to one side; bike racks in front stuffed with bikes; tram going by on James N; walking past Wild Orchid having supper on the way home from work; kids playing on a swingset on a nice park/plaza out front ... I wanted to cry at the beauty of what was possible.

You just poured cold water on me ... the vision is probably to bulldoze half that neighborhood for seventy thousand ground level parking spots. Now I want to cry over what they will probably do :)

Comment edited by mikeonthemountain on 2011-12-05 19:35:30

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted December 07, 2011 at 16:47:03 in reply to Comment 71900

Also, I don't think we'll ever have people lining up to catch "frequent" service to Toronto or Niagara Falls. Despite being a 50 minute drive away from Toronto in good traffic, you'll never get to Toronto in less than 75 minutes on the train - and even longer when it's not rush hour. Who would be lining up to use that type of service?

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 05, 2011 at 19:44:59 in reply to Comment 71900

I too have had moments like that in front of LIUNA and also at the Gore, realizing who vast potential we have. Sadly, none of it will be realized as long as parking is the main priority at city hall. You'll soon catch wind of a twin tower condo proposal for Upper James and Stonechurch - 30 stories each. One of the reasons the developer assembled the land out there is because it's much easier to get enough space for all the necessary parking. In other words, developments like that which would be great for downtown will never happen downtown because we demand endless parking from builders. Molinaro already bailed on one project in Durand because they weren't allowed to go higher than 10 floors at the Thistle Club site surrounded by 20-30 storey buildings. Developers want to make money one way or the other, so they'll take the 30 storey buildings to Upper James and Stonechurch if that's what city hall wants.

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By rednic (registered) | Posted December 05, 2011 at 21:42:09 in reply to Comment 71901

Is it more expensive to dig in Hamilton ? I see virtually no underground parking in hamilton. Is it the land value? the geology? Im actually interested to know what the aversion to underground parking is here? .

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted December 06, 2011 at 22:12:03 in reply to Comment 71905

There's a decent-sized pit at the old Thistle Club site, which has long had geological issues. Given the underground parking at Jackson Square, 200 Bay, the Ellen Fairclough building and Convention centre (among many others) that it is possible. I suspect the issue has to do with the price of digging versus the price of building on surface lots, either nearby downtown or in similar suburban developments.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 06, 2011 at 09:47:36 in reply to Comment 71905

why spend money to go underground when you have this beautiful urban land-use everywhere:

http://raisethehammer.org/blog/2011/ http://raisethehammer.org/static/images/...

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By undie (anonymous) | Posted December 06, 2011 at 08:30:35 in reply to Comment 71905

That's a good question. My opinion is that it's partly due to geology, partly due to cost of implementation, and partly due to a culture of ample free parking in this city where charging extra to park under the building you live/work in is a tough sell when there's a pile of surface parking around every corner...

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By Underwhelmed (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2011 at 09:23:27

Everybody is a critic. Good luck to anyone trying to find a way to meet the self-serving wishes of every person and politician out there at once. Engineering/design should be based on technical standards and best practices, not one individual's needs (everyone else be damned). I do agree that future building in the downtown should incorporate underground parking wherever feasible though.

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