Special Report: Walkable Streets

Collision on Cannon Street a Lethal Wake-Up Call

How many more people need to be injured or killed before our Council and traffic engineers decide to engineer our streets for safety, rather than lethal speeds?

By Jonathan Dalton
Published June 13, 2012

I was riding north on James Street yesterday evening. Just minutes after narrowly escaping injury when a car rear-ended me, I came upon this scene at Cannon:

Paramedics treat a cyclist after being hit be a car on Cannon Street at James
Paramedics treat a cyclist after being hit be a car on Cannon Street at James

Police had Cannon Street blocked and were redirecting traffic north and south on James while paramedics moved a 47-year-old cyclist onto a stretcher and onto the ambulance.

His bicycle lay mangled and his possessions scattered on the roadway.

Witnesses didn't know if the man was dead or alive, but the general account was that he was riding west on Cannon Street when he was struck from behind by a Jeep that remained on the scene.

Cannon Street is well known to advocates of livable streets and to the residents of the downtown neighbourhoods that are divided by its wall of high-speed traffic.

It is a popular route for heavy trucks traveling from the Burlington Street industrial area to Hwy 403, though the QEW Skyway route would avoid city traffic.

Since Cannon is fully four lanes wide in one direction with synchronized traffic signals, it allows car and truck traffic quick passage through the city whereas a more balanced, typically urban street design would make the highway alternative more appealing to through traffic.

Former head traffic engineer Hart Solomon claimed that Cannon Street would never change in our lifetime - that this expediency to through traffic was simply too crucial to the movement of goods through our city.

Indeed, Cannon was left out of the Downtown Transportation Master Plan in 2001, which set an agenda for the two way conversion of several thoroughfares in the downtown to make them safer and more appealing to pedestrians and cyclists.

Streets like this are precisely the streets that need to change the most. I live in the Cannon and James area and work just south of Cannon, and cross this street several times every day.

On every light cycle, at least five heavy trucks go barreling through at high speeds, certainly above 50 km/h much of the time. It is truly scary to stand mere inches away from that much kinetic energy, and to think this cuts across one of Hamilton's best-performing areas of urban regeneration.

To keep Cannon in its current deadly state is an affront to the efforts many brave residents and investors who have put their own fortunes on the line to bring life back to the area.

I can write this because I was fortunate enough to be rear-ended on a two-way street, where traffic was moving slowly, rather than a one-way. I have to wonder if I could trade places with the man that was hit on Cannon Street today. I don't have children; perhaps he has a family he can no longer care for.

This could happen to any of us who are brave enough to set foot on Hamilton's deadly streets.

How many more people need to be injured or killed before our Council and traffic engineers decide to engineer our streets for safety, rather than lethal speeds?

Jonathan Dalton runs a small music shop on a two way street in downtown Hamilton. He is a board member of the Durand Neighbourhood Association, and volunteers with Transportation for Livable Communities.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 07:26:13

Based on the article at The Spec, the cyclist is still alive:

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/articl...

Questions I'd like to know the answers to:

  • What way was the cyclist travelling?

  • How fast was the car going?

  • Were there any street lights or signs that were ignored by either driver?

  • How much of a role did the setting sun play in this?

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By Neary (anonymous) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 16:10:36 in reply to Comment 78422

We really must do something about that setting sun...

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted June 17, 2012 at 08:37:37 in reply to Comment 78476

Stop being condescending. Driving with the sun in your eyes, as a cyclist or motorist, is difficult, and it adds an extra level of difficulty to navigating the roads. It's not an excuse for what happened, I just was wondering how much of a role it played.

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By rednic (registered) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 08:47:55 in reply to Comment 78422

Did you look at the picture? .. The BACK wheel of the bike is destroyed that would insinuate that the cyclist was going in the right direction.

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By Scheherazade (anonymous) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 08:01:31 in reply to Comment 78422

Bonus question. How many more lame excuses do we have the stomach to make for our deadly one way highways before we decide enough is enough?

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By DrAwesomesauce (registered) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 07:56:48

Pretty sure that if the cyclist were driving against traffic he'd be dead.

The most germane questions were posed in the article: questions we've been asking for years without appropriate response.

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By Mylar (anonymous) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 07:59:15

"To keep Cannon in its current deadly state is an affront to the efforts many brave residents and investors who have put their own fortunes on the line to bring life back to the area."

Such as the landlord of the building that houses Eclectric
Music and Audio?


Sympathies to all involved. I can feel the post-traumatic adrenaline racing through this article.

Sometimes bad things happen. Sometimes they are within our control and sometimes not.

Sometimes they fit our preconceptions and prejudices and sometimes they don't.

Let's not forget that two of 2010's 11 pedestrian deaths occurred in the most walkable zone of the city: James Street between King and King William.

http://raisethehammer.org/blog/2068/map_of_fatal_pedestrianvehicle_accidents_in_2010

I for one am comfortable crossing Cannon, but circumstances and experiences may vary. I am hesitant to Roger Cormanize the matter ("This could happen to any of us who are brave enough to set foot on Hamilton's deadly streets.") but to each his own.

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By jonathan dalton (registered) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 12:35:56 in reply to Comment 78425

Let's not forget that two of 2010's 11 pedestrian deaths occurred in the most walkable zone of the city: James Street between King and King William.

Maybe because people actually walk there?

I would argue that one way streets make traffic more dangerous throughout the whole city. They condition people to expect to drive fast with minimal interference from pedestrians. Take drivers that are used to 50 years of all streets being like that, throw them onto a two way and they will drive slower to be sure, but I'd expect years of experience on fast one ways would affect one's lack of attentiveness and aggression behind the wheel.

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By Mylar (anonymous) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 13:45:11 in reply to Comment 78451

There may well be something to that. I don't have any trouble believing it. I guess what I'm wondering is if anybody keeps track of the data or if it's just down to a he-said-she-said debate. Something by which to gauge comparative lethality. (For my money, James and Hunter is far more dangerous than Janmes and Cannon, but again it's just an anecdotal read.)

In the meantime, maybe just stats on 2011's pedestrian/cyclist deaths?

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By Mylar (anonymous) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 08:08:49 in reply to Comment 78425

BTW, does anyone have historic stats on the city's one-and two-way streets' traffic volume, as well as pedestrian/cyclist/vehicle collisions and injuries/fatalities related thereto? If so, it'd make a compelling infographic.

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By news reports (anonymous) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 08:05:25

CBC http://www.cbc.ca/hamilton/news/story/2012/06/12/hamilton-cyclist-crash.html

Spec http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/742187--update-streets-re-opened-but-invesigations-continues-into-james-st-cyclist-car-collision

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By Scheherazade (anonymous) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 08:13:27 in reply to Comment 78427

Warning---thespec.com online comments may be hazardous to your (mental) health.

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By Mylar (anonymous) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 08:17:50 in reply to Comment 78429

No kidding. It's a real pigpen of idiocy in there. Makes the Bill Kelly Show seem like NPR.

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By rednic (registered) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 08:34:22

Well my advice may be contrary to the Highway Traffic Act but when I'm on Cannon or Wilson I ride in the left lane. This way I'm closer to the drive and more likely to in his field of vision. As The highway Traffic stands on a one like these the 'fast' lane is right next to the side walk and that is just insane. I've asked several of my driving friends what the 'fast' lane is on cannon and get a multitude of answers the most common on being 'the one with least traffic in it'

Given some of the driving i've seen on cannon I'm not sure that making it 2 way would actually make it any safer for cyclists. Drivers in hamilton seem to view cyclists in much the same way that drivers did in Toronto 20 years ago (i was bike courier for 10 years in toronto ). As much as 2 way streets may help, it will still take some 'realignment' of drivers attitudes

Comment edited by rednic on 2012-06-13 08:39:23

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted June 13, 2012 at 09:41:31 in reply to Comment 78431

Drivers in hamilton seem to view cyclists in much the same way that drivers did in Toronto 20 years ago (i was bike courier for 10 years in toronto ).

So less likely to kill you by accident, but more likely to do it on purpose?

I guess that'd be an improvement anyways...

But yeah, if we're going to keep the downtown highways, we need a protected bike lane on them. It's not like we're short on lanes.

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By Core-B (registered) | Posted June 15, 2012 at 17:11:38 in reply to Comment 78436

I'm a new cyclist and like the bike lanes a lot. IMHO 2 way conversions and bike lanes would be that much better. As an aside, I was a pedestrian on a street with a bike lane and it struck me! I realized that I "felt safer" walking on the sidewalk with this lane in place. Seems trivial but it was there.

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By cassie (anonymous) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 09:46:11 in reply to Comment 78436

"if we're going to keep the downtown highways" - Wait a minute, who's decided we're going to keep the downtown highways? Have you already given up?

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted June 13, 2012 at 10:04:26 in reply to Comment 78439

Wait a minute, who's decided we're going to keep the downtown highways?

City hall. Repeatedly. Constantly.

Plan A needs to be two-way conversion city-wide. Plan B? At least secure the highways.

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By brundlefly (registered) - website | Posted June 13, 2012 at 09:45:40

People use the far right or far left lanes in order to "pass" other traffic, this leads to cars going in excess of 70 KPH closest to the pedestrian or cycling traffic. Insanity.

These one way roads "maybe" made sense in the 1950's, but with the addition of another 300,000+ cars, they are ridiculous, dangerous and quickly killing our city, in too many ways.

Return them to 2 way, finish Burlington to connect to 403, and Red Valley parkway, and you'd have your ring road.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted June 17, 2012 at 08:40:15 in reply to Comment 78438

These one way roads "maybe" made sense in the 1950's, but with the addition of another 300,000+ cars, they are ridiculous, dangerous and quickly killing our city,

They are quickly killing our city? How so? Hamilton is not yet 200 years old, and these streets have been one way for about 60 years, so over a quarter of the city's life they've been this way. How are they "quickly" killing the city?

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By Jonathan Dalton (registered) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 12:54:26 in reply to Comment 78438

The Perimeter Road has been completely ditched by council. Though it would be pretty convenient, it would cut through the bayfront and so much environmentally sensitive land, not to mention cost a bloody fortune to build. The cost in neighbourhood devaluation and loss of waterfront business potential would be even bigger.

When I drive out of the city, I simply head for the nearest highway and use the existing ring road system to get where I'm going. The other day I picked up a car at Dundurn and was heading to St. Catharines, and rather than go through the city and contribute to city traffic, I went up the 403 to the Linc, down the Red Hill to the QEW and on east. It might have taken a few minutes longer, but it was relaxing and way less likely to cause an accident.

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By StephenBarath (registered) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 13:47:14 in reply to Comment 78452

This is exactly right. Getting from West Hamilton to points east of the City (or far east IN the City), the logical thing to do is to take the existing expressway system. I don't even think it would be true for most trips that it would take longer.

I grew up in London, one of the largest cities on the continent with no expressway to speak of. To me, the Chedoke-Linc-Red Hill system is a marvel. There is no reason for long-distance vehicle traffic to travel through the Lower City.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 11:52:40 in reply to Comment 78438

We have a ring road - Red Hill, QEW, 403, Linc. At least that's what they told us when they built the Red Hill.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 14:38:19 in reply to Comment 78450

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Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2012-06-13 17:20:27

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By Sanity (anonymous) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 14:50:44 in reply to Comment 78466

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Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2012-06-13 17:22:37

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted June 13, 2012 at 10:05:52 in reply to Comment 78438

Return them to 2 way, finish Burlington to connect to 403,

How the dickens would that work? Destroy the harbourfront? Rip up the rail line that connects Hamilton to Niagara/Buffalo/The entire east coast USA?

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By brundlefly (registered) - website | Posted June 13, 2012 at 14:12:34 in reply to Comment 78443

How the dickens would that work? Destroy the harbourfront? Rip up the rail line that connects Hamilton to Niagara/Buffalo/The entire east coast USA?

I don't know how the dickens it would work, nor am I a civil engineer, but ( in my mind ) logic would dictate if we are moving traffic out, we'd need a place to put it.

Other cities use tunnels, to go under water/nature or dense residential. Probably not cost effective, but probably priceless.

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By StephenBarath (registered) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 14:20:18 in reply to Comment 78462

Zoom out a bit on the Hamilton region, and you will see that we have use a bridge to go over water to complete the north part of the Ring Road, to move long-distance traffic east-west across the region. No need for another expressway along the harbour.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 21:55:56 in reply to Comment 78463

It's not considered a part of the ring when the "ring" takes you 21 km OUT of your way.

Everyone knows that Hamilton's core does not have a ring road. Anyone who pretends to suggest otherwise isn't fooling anyone except for possibly themselves (but I don't believe they're fooling themselves either).

For Hamilton's core to have a true ring, Burlington street would need to extend all the way to the 403. It would also help if it was resurfaced to be more inviting to car traffic.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 23:24:51 in reply to Comment 78491

Everyone knows that Hamilton's core does not have a ring road.

It does now. Prior to the Red Hill being completed, proponents were always telling us it was needed to complete the Linc/403/QEW/Red Hill 'ring'.

Now that we have the Red Hill, the ring we were promised is complete. You're just moving the goalposts.

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By Sanity (anonymous) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 14:55:25 in reply to Comment 78463

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Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2012-06-13 17:24:57

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By FallenPixels (registered) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 09:48:32

That corner is dangerous to all, as a pedestrian I never cross that corner as soon as the walk signal comes on because someone always jumps that red

Personally, I am not sure that making it 2way would make it safer for cyclists (or anyone else) people have it in their heads they can speed down there, it will take a long time to change that. There are plenty of two way streets that are dangerous too. It would however make travelling around the city safer and easier for anyone not in a car

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By Chevron (anonymous) | Posted June 17, 2012 at 19:23:41 in reply to Comment 78440

Until the proposed changes are made, if you cross on the west side and wait until the walk signal, you have higher visibility. But you're right: If there isn't significant congestion, people will still go as fast as they think they can get away with. Luckily, through traffic tends to stick to the middle lanes (left hand turn lane, right hand bus and parking).

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted June 13, 2012 at 10:26:37

I just received the following update from Sgt. Terri-Lynn Collings of Hamilton Police Services:

The investigation is concluded with no charges and the cyclist was taken to hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. The investigating officer is not in today so unable to check on condition.

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By Huh? (anonymous) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 10:34:41 in reply to Comment 78444

So, I hate to sound crass, but if the guy didn't die, why does the title refer to a "Lethal Wake-Up Call"?

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By Sanity (anonymous) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 14:56:25 in reply to Comment 78446

insult spam deleted

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2012-06-13 17:23:47

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By Mylar (anonymous) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 10:54:09 in reply to Comment 78446

Same goes for "lethal". It's a matter of persepctive.

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By Mylar (anonymous) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 10:55:06 in reply to Comment 78448

Merp. Meant "fatal" ("causing or capable of causing death").

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted June 13, 2012 at 10:43:44 in reply to Comment 78446

Lethal: capable of causing death.

Surely you aren't going to suggest that we should wait until the next person actually dies on Cannon Street, rather than being taken to the hospital, before we're allowed to call the street design "lethal".

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted June 14, 2012 at 09:49:05 in reply to Comment 78447

Whatever the literal definition of the word "lethal" is, the headline pretty strongly implies that the cyclist died in the collision, which is kind of misleading.

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By Chevron (anonymous) | Posted June 17, 2012 at 19:31:19 in reply to Comment 78516

Ditto for "deadly streets". Let's see some more horse meat on the hyperbole.

People die everywhere in this city, but we are content to avoid the reductive rhetoric in most cases.

How many lethal shootings or fatal stabbings (in the literal and not simply semantic sense) have taken place within a quarter-kilometer of this "deadly" intersection? That CCTV surveillance isn't there to keep an eye on traffic flow.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted June 17, 2012 at 22:27:49 in reply to Comment 78603

I think it's more fair to call the street lethal than the event.

Nobody died in the event in question. It's reasonable to say that calling the event lethal is a bit misleading when nobody died.

The fast traffic on Cannon, King and Main has killed. It's reasonable to believe that one or more of those people would still be alive if the traffic was slower since high-speed one-way traffic is more lethal than slower traffic.

Now obviously, as you say, it's a slippery slope. Every street, every car, everything is potentially lethal, and some things that you wouldn't think of have definitely killed people.

But either way, the word "lethal" is far more fair when applied to a street that has killed people than to an accident that didn't.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 21:30:10 in reply to Comment 78447

He/She certainly didn't suggest that... not even close. So, why are you inferring that they did?

If you want to get into a game of semantics, then under your own definition of lethal, any street design, including Two Way streets can and should be considered lethal. The latter is especially true considering that the majority of pedestrian fatalities occur on Two Way streets (as has been proven by the data posted previously right here on RTH).

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By Serendipity (registered) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 14:02:30

"Former head traffic engineer Hart Solomon claimed that Cannon Street would never change in our lifetime - that this expediency to through traffic was simply too crucial to the movement of goods through our city."

Hart Solomon told me, in 2007, whilst at a meeting for the North End traffic plan that it would be "over my dead body" that speeds would be reduced on both James N and Burlington Sts in my neighbourhood. The last traffic casualty on Burlington St that I'm aware of (dec 2011) was not Hart; rather, that of a local, 10 year-old boy crossing the street at Burl/Hughson Sts. He was taken to hospital and survived. The driver, a woman in her 40's, made a southbound turn on John and disappeared into the night.

People like Hart (thank goodness he's gone) and every traffic engineer in this city has done their job and left a fine, deadly and polluted mess that we are still not coping with. Is it not time that we cut this department down, or out, and look to environmental planners and citizens/residents alone to fix the problems traffic engineers seem to have no concerns about? For the life of me, I have never understood why traffic engineers continually have the last words about how we are supposed to live with the deadly traffic blight that they not only created but continue to be the decision makers concerning how we move forward in trying (unsuccessfully) to make our neighbourhoods and streets livable, breathable, walkable, rideable etc... Truly, their time has come and gone but until they are truly and really gone, our nightmare continues.

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By moylek (registered) - website | Posted June 13, 2012 at 14:11:28

The Spec article neglects what is likely a very important detail: the cyclist was riding on the side walk and then rode into the intersection ...

Collision (cyclist struck) – James St. at Cannon St. Hamilton http://www.hamiltonpolice.on.ca/HPS/News...

On Tuesday, June 12th, 2012 at approximately 6:00 p.m., a 47 yr. old Hamilton man was riding his bike northbound on the sidewalk along James St. approaching Cannon St. The cyclist entered the intersection in the crosswalk and was struck by a Jeep that was westbound on Cannon St. The 24 yr old female driver of the Jeep suffered minor injuries. The cyclist was taken to hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries. No charges.

There is probably no more dangerous thing a cyclist can do than ride on the side walk, most especially from a side walk onto a road.

I've seen such collisions twice - from the vantage of my saddle, riding on the road - and both times I felt very sorry for the drivers, who were very badly shaken (neither cyclist was really hurt, but both were indignant).

Comment edited by moylek on 2012-06-13 14:37:08

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By Jonathan Dalton (registered) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 19:38:07 in reply to Comment 78461

Riding on the sidewalk is the most dangerous place to ride, and there seems to be a breed of cyclist in Hamilton that simply rides on the sidewalk, all arguments be damned. I don't know what to do about those people, but I do know that fast moving traffic and one way streets only encourage sidewalk riding for cyclists who may otherwise be persuaded against it.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 21:34:33 in reply to Comment 78480

one way streets only encourage sidewalk riding for cyclists

You realize that the cyclist was on the sidewalk of a Two Way street right? Therefore, shouldn't you have said that two way streets only encourage sidewalk riding for cyclists?

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 14:46:33 in reply to Comment 78461

comment from banned user deleted

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By jonathan dalton (registered) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 19:34:41 in reply to Comment 78469

somehow this is about 1 way vs 2 way traffic? Sorry this is about an idiot getting clocked because he did something stupid

The world is full of people who do stupid things. We should all discourage stupid things, but also in engineering our cities, seek to reduce the harm caused by a mistake, since they will inevitably be made. An example of this is that traffic moving 60km/h is twice as likely to kill or seriously injure someone as traffic moving 40km/h. The question of whether to slow traffic in urban areas full of mistake - prone humans, or speed it up and blame the humans for their costly mistakes, is a moral and subjective question, but I know which side I'm on.

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By Serendipity (registered) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 14:44:01 in reply to Comment 78461

Moylek, I agree with you for I have stopped the car too many times to yell at sidewalk cyclists who jut out on to the road and I have barely enough time to hit the brakes.

However, I also know why people ride the sidewalks - the streets are just too damn dangerous for too many. Of course, a traffic engineer might claim, the recognition and interpretation of streets as unsafe to cycle is merely "the perception of danger" by us mere mortals. Traffic engineers would love us all to simply move on by swallowing their poisoned "perception" pill but we know what a safe road is (to cycle, walk and drive) and we simply do not have them in the City.

I love riding my bike but last year I had three near accidents with careless drivers ( speeder, cell phone user, simply oblivious while listening to loud music) and the last one really spooked me. One couldn't pay me enough to ride on Cannon, Main or King. Have I cycled on a sidewalk? Hell yes, because my perception of danger is borne of experience and very real indeed.

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By jasper (anonymous) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 14:30:24 in reply to Comment 78461

yet a classic symptom of the crappiness of our streets. Cyclists ride on the sidewalks because the one way grid makes cycling totally inefficient - you can't as easily move up one block to the right one way street. Well you can, but it's a stupid waste of energy. Cycling on the sidewalk is almost a form of reclaiming the street for what it should be. It also feels much safer than being in the middle of the mayhem, though it's much less safe.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 20:53:27 in reply to Comment 78464

Here's what I do in these situations - I get off my bike and walk. It's safer for me and the pedestrians, and since it's usually just for a block or two, it only takes a couple of extra minutes.

We are asking through traffic to suck up the extra few minutes that two-way streets and lane reductions will add to their travel times. Surely cyclists can take an extra few minutes for the safety of pedestrians as well as their own, and keep our sidewalks for the slower foot traffic, neighbourly chats, and sidewalk commerce that are the lifeblood of a healthy city.

Comment edited by highwater on 2012-06-13 20:54:09

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By moylek (registered) - website | Posted June 14, 2012 at 06:20:54 in reply to Comment 78482

Here's what I do in these situations - I get off my bike and walk. It's safer for me and the pedestrians, and since it's usually just for a block or two, it only takes a couple of extra minutes.

I found myself doing the same thing on King William this week. The prospect is always annoying, but the actual doing isn't quite so bad :)

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By highwater (registered) | Posted June 14, 2012 at 08:29:43 in reply to Comment 78503

Yep. Once you get used to it, it's quite civilized. Just takes a slight adjustment in mind set. Not unlike the adjustment we are asking of drivers. ;)

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted June 14, 2012 at 09:03:42 in reply to Comment 78509

I doubt that asking drivers or cyclists to voluntarily make an adjustment to their attitudes will be successful. Rather, I would like to see the form of transportation infrastructure and street design that produces the adjustment in attitudes we want to achieve.

  • If you want cyclists to obey the law and stop riding on the sidewalk, build a continuous, integral bike lane network that encourages and reinforces safe, responsible cycling.

  • If you want drivers to slow down, design the street so that they are compelled by design to slow down: narrow lanes, curbside parking, opposing traffic flows, overhanging street trees, and so on.

Lecturing people to behave better generally doesn't work in these cases: people will drive (or cycle, or walk) in a manner that seems reasonable given the environment. Drivers will drive fast on a street designed for fast driving. Cyclists will ride on the sidewalk if it seems safer than the street.

It makes no more sense to suggest that cyclists should only get bike lanes if they "behave" than it would make to suggest that drivers should only get car lanes if they refrain from speeding, rolling through stop signs and failing to signal.

Just to clarify, highwater: I'm not suggesting that you're making this claim, but that is a common refrain among people who oppose the expansion of cycling and pedestrian infrastructure.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted June 14, 2012 at 09:23:20 in reply to Comment 78513

Agreed on all points. To clarify, I wasn't proposing an attitude adjustment alone as either a solution or a prerequisite to a solution. However the design changes we are asking for will create an attitude adjustment over time, so we are essentially asking for this as well. In light of this, a little self-examination on the part of cyclists doesn't seem like an unreasonable request.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted June 14, 2012 at 10:27:44 in reply to Comment 78514

Actually, that didn't come out right either. I don't even mean it as a tit for tat thing. Rather, just as sharing the road can bring unanticipated benefits for drivers, so too can sharing the sidewalks benefit cyclists.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted June 15, 2012 at 16:00:05 in reply to Comment 78519

You're so right Highwater, sharing resources can bring all kinds of unexpected benefits for the givers.

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By StephenBarath (registered) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 14:43:09 in reply to Comment 78464

Jasper, it's against the law to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk. The sidewalk is for people on foot, and cycling on the sidewalk means expropriating a space that is for another use. Are you trying to tell me that it is not OK for motorists to act like the road belongs only to them (when, actually, it is only partly for them), but it is absolutely permissable for cyclists to act like the sidewalk belongs to them (when they have no place there at all)?

I also hope you see some irony when you say you prefer to break the law and be inconsiderate to people on foot than to go out of your way a block...

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By jasper (anonymous) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 15:50:48 in reply to Comment 78467

you should really look up the word irony

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By Serendipity (registered) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 15:09:16 in reply to Comment 78467

Stephen, it is also against the law to exceed the speed limit and use a hand held cell phone while driving but it happens and usually with far deadlier results than sidewalk cyclists. I've been riding pedestrian-less sidewalks for decades on end; when I encounter a walker I immediately hit the road and I never ride a sidewalk close to a corner that I can't see who or what is coming down an adjoining sidewalk.

The question is not that cyclists "act like the sidewalk belongs to them"; rather why are we using sidewalks in the first place? To get on the path of understanding the dilemma and dangers we are really facing is to seek the truth rather than spew and spout.

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By StephenBarath (registered) | Posted June 14, 2012 at 08:19:55 in reply to Comment 78473

Serendipity: I absolutely did not say that it is not illegal for motorists to exceed the speed limit.

I would say that riding the sidewalks (where someone on foot might be trying to start his or her walk from a driveway, or just generally trying to use the only space available to a person walking) and then "immediately" moving into the path of motor traffic, is dangerous for everybody.

I agree with you that many roads are dangerous places for cyclists for reasons that should be addressed. I do not agree that it is OK for a cyclist to unilaterally overcome those dangers by inconveniencing and endangering others. It's also a bit frustrating that pointing out the incorrect actions of some motorists is "understanding," but pointing out the incorrection actions of some bicyclists is somehow "spewing and spouting."

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By Serendipity (registered) | Posted June 14, 2012 at 10:29:55 in reply to Comment 78508

Stephen, this comment of yours is definitely one of the major reasons why no one in this City can move forward on the issue of dangerous streets and what can and will be done about the issue. I wasn't trying to rip you in any way; please read again, as I was trying my best to relay that I'm truly frightened cycling on too many streets and that is why I ride sidewalks - when no one is on them. And, no, I have yet to dart in to traffic while avoiding a pedestrian on the sidewalk because I don't cycle on busy streets. My apologies if that was not clear in my comment. Traffic staff must love to read the nit-picking that continues to derail any and all serious happenings that might have a chance to occur if only we could all agree on one thing and move forward. My choice is to leave the nit-picking aside and focus, focus, focus on the real issues - our streets are unsafe because speeds are too fast and drivers, continually, are given preference over pedestrians, cyclists, children, etc... This is the only issue of concern to me and I deeply hope the same is true for you and others; if we all agree on something we may actually be able to show some solidarity and strength when dealing with the city and make traffic engineers accountable to us, not their inaccessible and outdated dept. But, if we continually exercise our desire to spew "he said, she said, but you said", well, it's no surprise we're always stuck right here in the middle, again.

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By StephenBarath (registered) | Posted June 14, 2012 at 13:17:56 in reply to Comment 78520

There is no reason why a belief that cyclists should not be on sidewalks should be interpreted as a belief that streets do not need to be made more safe.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted June 14, 2012 at 13:23:21 in reply to Comment 78525

I see kind of a false conflict here.

The best way to get cyclists off sidewalks is to complete a continuous network of bike lanes that provide safe, protected space on the street for cyclists and encourage more law-abiding behaviour.

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By Anne Marie (anonymous) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 15:27:47

Around 10 pm last Friday during the Art Crawl, I saw a car run the red on Cannon at James, and came within inches of mowing down the throng of people already stepping onto the road to cross. I shook for a long time after seeing that. It was narrowly a major tragedy that would have haunted the Art Crawl forever. That corner is horrible.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted June 13, 2012 at 18:16:44

The last collision I had with a driver happened last week when a guy got out of his truck and kicked my back wheel. Our roads are not safe for cyclists. That's why so many people ride on the sidewalks - just ask them. I gave up trying to tell 'em "the road's over here" after being screamed at many times over. As someone who rides nearly every day, I can attest that even if you're riding perfectly legally (and "properly"), it's still incredibly dangerous. This goes totally ignored by the police who prefer to focus on bell and sidewalk citations downtown.

Many drivers (not all, but enough) totally ignore bikes. By that I mean they don't feel compelled to stay stopped at a two-way if there's only a bike coming. They'll pull out of parking spaces or drive out of parking lots, they'll turn corners, and cut you off with mere inches to spare, often then slamming on their breaks to turn corners. When they do notice, they'll honk and swear, and because "you're on a bike", they're simply more important. Their life is not in danger, and yours is. The example I give above of a driver getting out and physically threatening/assaulting cyclists is not rare, we even had two guys threaten to pound an older gentleman for riding in the 'wrong lane' at the last Critical Mass ride I was at. Again, this gets totally ignored by police. I've been rammed, I've had my life threatened. Once, as a kid, I had a couple of guys threaten to throw me off the Longwood Street bridge.

Maybe, if we really want cyclists to stop riding on the sidewalks, we should do something about all the people honking, swearing and screaming "get on the sidewalk"?

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By rednic (registered) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 20:47:20 in reply to Comment 78477

When the original Bike cops in Toronto took the CanBike course they were asked to do it in plain clothes as opposed to in uniform. To their credit the actual cops where OK with this. Their superiors refused to allow it due to 'insurance' reasons.

My point the police (at the highest levels ) are painfully aware of the dangers cyclists face. They simply choose to NOTHING about it.

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By CouldaWouldaShoulda (anonymous) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 18:30:17 in reply to Comment 78477

Ironically, I'm driving my 79 year old mom home from a doctor's appointment this afternoon. I'm going west on a two-way street and get into the turning lane: I want to make a left-hand turn at the intersection.

There's a break in the oncoming traffic...making it safe for me to head south...

...except for someone riding a bicycle on the sidewalk. Heading east. Fast.

As all this is unfolding, I know what's bound to happen.

So I extend my arm and point directly at the cyclist as I make the turn.

"What's the matter?" my mom says, my hand in front ot her face. "Who's that? Who are you pointing at?"

All the other lovely 'explanations' notwithstanding, it's a bit much when a cyclist expects that not only are they going to barrel down the sidewalk, but they're also going to invoke priviledge as some hybrid vehicle/pedestrian (when I began making the turn, they were nowhere near the end of the sidewalk) and fly through the intersection unmolested. Chutzpah I admire. Arrogant stupidity, not so much.

I could tell from the distinct poopy-face he gave me that he wasn't too happy about being inconvenienced.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 21:05:46 in reply to Comment 78478

Was your mother's appointment at Mac by any chance? This is classic Sterling St. behaviour. I'm the only damn fool I've ever seen actually stop at a stop sign on Sterling. You feel like an idiot. Even the drivers look at you funny.

The arrogance and entitlement goes both ways.

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By CouldaWouldaShoulda (anonymous) | Posted June 14, 2012 at 05:25:22 in reply to Comment 78483

"The arrogance and entitlement goes both ways."

Yes, and yet...

It actually goes *three* ways.

In myriad interludes every day, we can easily witness a dysfunctional environment out there. Bad, arrogant, entitlement-filled drivers doing ridiculous things. Bad, arrogant, entitlement-filled cyclists doing ridiculous things. And bad, arrogant, entitlement-filled pedestrians doing ridiculous things.

All the while, courteous, intelligent, right-thinking motorists, cyclists and pedestrians behaving nicely, with regard for others, without a subconscious agenda for 'pay-back' as motivation.

In relative terms, say to Europe, North Americans are immature in how this 'discussion' unfolds. The obdurateness, the truclence, the disinterest in actually trying to find common ground...

As I am still currently in Virginia, it's probably apropos to say that this reminds me of the 'no compromise' mentality in the US Congress. Which has produced a state commonly known as 'gridlock'. Funny, that.

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 21:14:34

I agree with Undustrial and others that a lot of streets in Hamilton really are unsafe for cyclists, and I am sure that is one of the reasons why so many people cycle on sidewalks. (I've been known to cycle on the sidewalk on Cannon for a block or so if -- as is usual -- there isn't a pedestrian in sight, and if the alternative is a detour that involves crossing Wilson Street twice.)

That being said, there really is no excuse for cycling on the sidewalk on James North. James North is a very cycling-friendly street. I ride there with my son fairly frequently whereas I will not take him on a number of other downtown streets. Using the sidewalk as a cyclist on James North is frankly antisocial.

That being said (reprise), cycling on the sidewalk, although antisocial, doesn't put others at nearly as much risk of bodily harm as any number of things that motorists in Hamilton do every day. (Speeding, running red lights or stop signs, texting or using a cell phone while driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving with cognitive or sensory impairment...) Many of these actions are ignored by police and normalized by society.

So yes, we shouldn't defend cycling on the sidewalk. And it is quite likely in this case that the motorist didn't do anything the least bit wrong.

It is also true that the "normal" automobile traffic on Cannon Street poses unnecessary, unconscionable risks to the (few) non-motorized users of that street, which we knew full well before this particular incident.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 21:45:21 in reply to Comment 78484

Speeding, running red lights or stop signs, texting or using a cell phone while driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving with cognitive or sensory impairment...) Many of these actions are ignored by police and normalized by society.

What?! I can't see police "ignoring" running a red light, running a stop sign, texting while driving, drunk driving, or driving (assume you meant illegally) with an impairment. When people say stuff like the above quote, do they think people will just glance over it and assume that it's true?

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 22:12:23 in reply to Comment 78489

Speeding, rolling stops, driving with blood alcohol under 0.08, using "hands-free" devices, and driving with mild cognitive impairment are all common. The first two are routinely ignored by police and the last three are not offenses under Ontario law.

I said "many", not "all".

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By TB (registered) - website | Posted June 14, 2012 at 07:45:09 in reply to Comment 78493

Why do you include using hands-free devices in your rant? If you believe that it should be an offense then you must also believe it should be against the law for a driver to have any conversation with any passengers in the vehicle. Using a hands-free cell is very different from holding the phone to your ear. You must not have had any experience with each scenario, otherwise you would know the very different mental focus that takes place.

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted June 15, 2012 at 15:49:36 in reply to Comment 78506

It's the conversation, not the device. It has been demonstrated in numerous studies that drivers tend to be equally distracted whether holding the phone to their ear or using a headset or other device.

The laws about handheld devices were implemented so politicians could be seen to be "doing something". On the positive side, at least now we have laws in place regarding texting, which is WAY more dangerous than anything else people tend to do in a car.

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By TB (registered) - website | Posted June 16, 2012 at 09:31:16 in reply to Comment 78550

It's possible to find studies to support just about any opinion you have on any matter these days, but there is no empirical evidence - none - of the differences in automobile accidents when the only variables are:

a lone driver with no passengers and no HH (Hand Held) or HF (Hands Free) phone. vs a driver having a conversation with passengers. vs a driver using an HH phone. vs a driver using an HF phone.

Sure, there are studies of some of the above variables showing levels of distraction can vary in a simulated driving situation, but a driver may be distracted by certain music on the radio. Does that make the music dangerous? Does the distraction cause an accident?

Personally, I'm far less distracted when using a hands-free phone than I am when using a hand-held phone while driving. And accident-free for 40 years or so.

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted June 17, 2012 at 08:27:13 in reply to Comment 78571

Accident free doesn't, by definition, mean safe, it simply means lucky. I'm not saying you're a bad driver, I'm just saying that the vast majority of people take their drivers test and then never have any more drivers education, but think that commuting safely has made them a good driver.

That's like calling yourself an athlete because you can walk.

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By lakeside (registered) | Posted June 14, 2012 at 23:43:42 in reply to Comment 78506

Indeed, using a hands-free device certainly does free up both hands, allowing the driver to better respond to developing road situations.

But a hands-free phone conversation with somebody in a remote place is very different than talking with someone else who's traveling within the same moving vehicle.

If you have much experience with the latter then you realize that a passenger who's engaged in conversation with the driver will _instinctively_ stop mid-sentence when a critical situation occurs, thus allowing the driver who is part of the conversation to 'un-divide' their attention and react to the event.(Okay, not everyone will do this but most non-narcissists, with any sense of self-preservation, will.)

This doesn't happen when the person who is the other half of the conversation is not witness to the impending danger.

Comment edited by lakeside on 2012-06-14 23:47:02

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted June 14, 2012 at 08:32:29 in reply to Comment 78506

According to the research, driving and talking on a handsfree mobile phone is as dangerous as driving and talking on a handheld phone (see e.g. Wikipedia for a review and links to studies). Some studies indicate that talking on a mobile phone while driving quadruples the risk of a crash, and using a handsfree device does not mitigate the risk.

Highway legislation that distinguishes between handheld and handsfree mobile phone use in a vehicle is not supported by the evidence.

The research on talking to passengers while driving is more ambiguous. Some studies have suggested that driver distraction due to an in-car conversation can carry as much risk as conversation due to a mobile phone conversation, but other studies suggest passengers are more aware of the driving conditions and moderate their conversation to allow the driver to concentrate better on driving. Also, the conversation tends to incorporate conditions in the environment so the driver's attention is not split as sharply between paying attention to driving and paying attention to the conversation.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2012-06-14 08:34:23

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By TB (registered) - website | Posted June 14, 2012 at 16:49:14 in reply to Comment 78510

Hmmm, well, none of my three kids ever moderated any conversations while I was driving until they reached their 20's and my experience makes it abundantly clear to me that talking on a hands free cell phone is far less distracting than that ever was. Maybe there should be age restrictions on in-car participants in conversations ;)

Comment edited by TB on 2012-06-14 16:49:28

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 22:22:10 in reply to Comment 78493

But it's not true of ANY, let alone many. Unfortunately, what you said simply isn't true no matter how to you try to spin it.

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 22:46:36 in reply to Comment 78494

Do you mean to say that the police don't ignore speeding and "rolling stops" all the time? Really? Do you think they're unaware that traffic on Cannon Street routinely move at 60 km/h? Or are they ticketing people all the time and I simply have never noticed it?

Do you deny that driving with blood alcohol of 0.05-0.08 likely increases the risk of a collision? Or that mild cognitive impairment does?

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 23:03:17 in reply to Comment 78495

This is ridiculous. You're back pedaling like crazy. This will be the last response I give to your comment because it's getting way off topic.

Do you mean to say that the police don't ignore speeding and "rolling stops" all the time?

You didn't say "rolling stops". You said "running... stop signs".

No, I don't think that the Police ignore speeding all the time. I've actually witnessed them enforcing it.

Do you think they're unaware that traffic on Cannon Street routinely move at 60 km/h? Or are they ticketing people all the time and I simply have never noticed it?

Just because speeding occurs, does not mean that the Police ignore it. If someone gets murdered it doesn't mean that Police ignore murders.

Do you deny that driving with blood alcohol of 0.05-0.08 likely increases the risk of a collision? Or that mild cognitive impairment does?

My personal opinion of the matter has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not Police ignore impaired driving.

Face it man. What you originally said isn't true. End of story.

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By jamesandcannon (anonymous) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 21:50:30

Just had another accident this afternoon - two cars trying to turn onto James at the same time from two different lanes on Cannon.

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By Evident Lee (anonymous) | Posted June 13, 2012 at 22:09:24

Where would one keep traffic collision statistics? If this is a chronic corner it should be a cinch to fix.

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By Idling Hands (anonymous) | Posted June 14, 2012 at 10:35:36

Maybe another spin-off effect of one-ways?

Robbery (street mugging) – Cannon St. near Mary St. Hamilton
On Wednesday, June 13th, 2012 at approximately 11:00 p.m., a 42 yr old male was walking through Beasley Park when a male stopped him and asked for a cigarette. The victim indicated he had none and the suspect demanded cash. The victim relinquished his cash and the suspect struck him in the head with a bottle. The suspect fled and the victim went home and called police. The victim suffered minor injuries. The investigation is ongoing by the Division One Detectives. The suspect is described as: male, white, muscular build, balding with short light brown hair, short stubbly moustache and wearing a white muscle shirt.

Robbery (variety store) – Cannon St. at Wellington St. Hamilton
On Wednesday, June 13th, 2012 just before midnight, two males entered the Hasty Market. One male asked for cigarettes and walked away from the clerk. While the clerk was distracted by the second male, the first male went behind the counter and grabbed a knife that was sitting on the deli table. The suspect then came back to the counter and the clerk ran outside. The suspect opened the register and took the cash. The clerk attempted to keep the suspects inside the store without success. The two suspects fled on foot south along Wellington St. The investigation is ongoing by the BEAR Unit. The suspects are described as:
Suspect 1 – male, white, 5’8”, very short light brown hair, 35-45 yrs., husky build, wearing a multi-coloured shirt, blue jeans, and white shoes.
Suspect 2 – male, white, medium build, brown hair, big nose, 35-45 yrs., wearing a grey shirt, long dark shorts and white running shoes.

Robbery (variety store) – 511 Cannon St. E. Hamilton
On Wednesday, June 13th, 2012 just after midnight, a male armed with a knife entered the Macy’s Food Market and demanded cash from the clerk. The suspect was in the company of another male. The clerk opened the register drawer and the suspect grabbed the cash. Both male suspects fled the store and ran east on Cannon St. The clerk was not harmed. The investigation is ongoing by the HPS BEAR Unit.
The suspects are described as:
Suspect 1 - male, white, 5'8 - 5'9, clean shaven, chubby build, wearing a black baseball hat, a white t-shirt, dark jeans, white shoes with black trim on the bottom.
Suspect 2 - male, white, facial hair, heavy build, wearing a red baseball hat on backwards, white t-shirt with a design on the front.

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By Joking? (anonymous) | Posted June 14, 2012 at 22:09:57 in reply to Comment 78521

You're joking right? Sarcasm? I hope!

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By lakeside (registered) | Posted June 15, 2012 at 00:13:55 in reply to Comment 78535

Why joking?

The extended gaps in traffic (and the resultant absence of eyeballs in each car) can certainly set the stage for something like robbery. A would-be assailant knows that there isn't likely to be anyone to witness their deed, at least for the minute or two that they need to perform it.

A robbery may seem like it went on forever to the victim, but how long does it really take?

On our generally pedestrian-less one-way streets, a new witness-free opportunity comes along every couple minutes like clockwork.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted June 15, 2012 at 09:36:17 in reply to Comment 78537

Don't mention the extended gaps in traffic (which make it easier to cross the street). I've been told by others on here that it's just a myth.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted June 15, 2012 at 09:34:08 in reply to Comment 78537

Unbelievable. I don't know what else to say.

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By rednic (registered) | Posted June 14, 2012 at 16:06:25 in reply to Comment 78521

A quick read makes it look the same people and that they where traveling eastbound on cannon. Make as well go whole og if you gonna break the law i guess.

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By oldcoote (registered) | Posted June 14, 2012 at 13:17:48

As a regular bike commuter from Westdale to downtown and back, I have tried various routes to and from.

I tried Cannon. It's terrifying. Same with Main. King is a bit better, but you need to be aggressive and lane block.

The bridges to and from Westdale are another matter entirely. HORRIBLE for bikes, especially in their current never-ending state of repair.

I prefer either the side streets or the waterfront trail of course. Not always the most direct route, but a great ride.

+1 for a continuous 2 way east west bike lane separated from traffic. Sorry lacking in this city.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted June 14, 2012 at 13:50:16 in reply to Comment 78524

I've found the King St bridge (if construction ever finishes) to be rather good what with the full Jersey barriers protecting the cyclists. The problem is how it ends at Breadalbane and kinda leaves you wondering "now what?"

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By oldcoote (registered) | Posted June 14, 2012 at 14:27:21 in reply to Comment 78527

Crossing the on-ramp another issue.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted June 14, 2012 at 15:02:26 in reply to Comment 78529

Well yes, but not really worse than it is for pedestrians. Pushing a double-stroller that couldn't negotiate steps was priceless - you end up walking out into the bike lane and standing around with small children while oncoming traffic whizzes by.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted June 16, 2012 at 15:25:27 in reply to Comment 78530

Are you saying that it's the city's responsibility to accomodate you because you had a double-wide stroller that had a poor turning radius? Unbelievable.

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By jason (registered) | Posted June 18, 2012 at 21:20:26 in reply to Comment 78577

Yea, why should the city give a rip about people with strollers?? It's not like their official vision statement starts off with anything about raising kids here.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted June 20, 2012 at 22:28:08 in reply to Comment 78653

Nowhere did I say that I don't care about strollers, I don't care about ones that are not normal size and have poor turning radii. Troll fail.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted June 21, 2012 at 10:46:00 in reply to Comment 78740

You mean the kind that are used by day cares and parents of multiples? Yeah, screw them.

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted June 17, 2012 at 13:49:47 in reply to Comment 78577

Are you for real? You're saying the city doesn't have a responsibility to ensure that there is a navigable pedestrian route across the 403? Strollers (and wheelchairs) aren't toys, they're ways that people actually get from place to place.

I'd reframe the issue: why on earth do we only have a single sidewalk on the two major 403 bridges (and one that crosses a highway offramp, to boot)?

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted June 20, 2012 at 22:27:25 in reply to Comment 78597

My concern is this:

The city has provided sidewalks, which fit traditional (single-wide) strollers just fine. You have a non-standard stroller, with an admittedly poor turning radius, then want to complain about how hard it is to maneuver it around. I don't get it. That would be like having a very wide car, then complaining the city hasn't build the lanes wide enough for you to get around in. Sorry, I don't understand your complaint.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted June 21, 2012 at 10:52:42 in reply to Comment 78739

That would be like having a very wide car, then complaining the city hasn't build the lanes wide enough for you to get around in.

At least it would be if, unlike sidewalks, vehicle lanes weren't already designed to accommodate extra-wide vehicles such as trucks and buses.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted June 18, 2012 at 01:16:29 in reply to Comment 78597

To be fair, they did ensure there was a pedestrian route. They had a ramp... one that went out onto the bike lane. Obviously the intent was that you walk out into the bike lane and go to the bicycle crossing.

This meant getting out from the protection of the jersey barriers and barrels and standing out on the 403 bridge road with only warning pylons separating you from traffic. Not so much as a curb.

With traffic going at highway speeds. Directly oncoming. With babies.

A very nice accommodation.

I see that with the construction on the bridge they've finally slapped down an asphalt ramp over the stairs so you don't have to go out into the now-nonexistant bike-lane anymore.

Next all they need to do is actually secure the crosswalk over the ramp. Seriously, all they need is this:

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=google+map...

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted June 15, 2012 at 18:20:53

I found that walking on Dundurn North the first time after the bike lanes were installed. Traffic still moves pretty fast, but a few feet of spacing beats a few inches.

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By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted June 16, 2012 at 11:01:29

Here's an idea. Debate it as you will. I was walking my dog at Bayfront the other day, and was out near the McQueston Bridge. I was thinking about traffic and how stupid it was to direct all that truck traffic up Wellington St to Cannon and down Victoria to Burlington.

I glanced over across the west harbour and thought why not continue Burlington St westward. UNDERGROUND. It would be Hamilton's version of the Big Dig in Boston. The concept is simple. Continue Burlington St west into a tunnel under the west harbour, as it nears the 403, it spurs east and west surfacing somewhere south of Main St if your travelling west and somwhere in the HWY 6 area as you go east.

Truck traffic would be completely eliminated from Cannon and Wellington and Victoria Sts aside from local deliveries etc. But the super heavy steel, fuel, bulk, traffic would be gone. The traffic/transportation department would then have no rationale to NOT two way convert Cannon, Wellington and Victoria.

Yes it would cost a lot of money. But it's an investment in our municipal infrastructure that would have a profound and lasting impact on our community. We just essentially handed $50 million dollars of taxpayer money to a money losing football team to build a stadium in a location they had been whining about for years that they could not make money in. (Short pause while I indicate I am a lifelong and diehard TiCat fan). We are preparing to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in LRT for the city. Why commit to that project if at the same time we are not prepared to make our entire city livable and safe ?

Such a project would be an engineering marvel, create thousands of construction jobs both locally and provincially, would cement (pardon the pun) Hamilton's reputation as a forward thinking and solution seeking community.

I wanted to pose this question and perhaps stir some debate. Thoughts?

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By jason (registered) | Posted June 18, 2012 at 21:24:15 in reply to Comment 78573

One of the first problems that comes to my mind is making that kind of massive investment to accommodate a rather small group of trucks...and shrinking, due to the slow death taking place in our industrial base. Would kind of be like investing in new horse and carriage parking bays back when cars were becoming the norm.

Plus, as has been shown previously here on RTH, trucks originating from the central area of the industrial district may think it's shorter to take Victoria/Wellington south of the city, or Cannon to the 403, but in reality it's faster to use Burlington St/RHVP or QEW/403. Someone just needs to send them the memo.

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted June 16, 2012 at 16:28:28 in reply to Comment 78573

This idea was the original "big idea" from the 80's to redirect truck traffic from Burlington Street to 403. If you check with city planning dept, they may still have the proposed route/concept drawings/studies of this idea - which may be interesting to look at and debate now, some thirty years later.

Comment edited by Mahesh_P_Butani on 2012-06-16 16:30:09

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By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted June 16, 2012 at 18:37:58 in reply to Comment 78579

Mahesh:

I believe the original concept was called the Perimeter Road and was to tuck along the CN line where the now waterfront trail runs If I remember correctly. I'm not sure there was ever a major tunnel involved.

Now I doubt CN would even consider ceding easements for road construction given their opposition to any residential construction anywhere close to the yard.

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted June 17, 2012 at 20:03:30 in reply to Comment 78580

The concept of a Perimeter Road has been studied extensively.

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Earlier planning studies called this proposed major arterial road the Industrial Perimeter Road. It was discussed in various planning documents since the 1960's, including redevelopment plans for the North End Neighbourhoods (1963), the Hamilton Area Transportation Study (1963), the Hamilton Transportation Strategy Study (1973), the Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Official Plan (1982), and the City of Hamilton Official Plan (1982). Some property, including south of Strachan Street, was acquired in the 1960's through the Neighbourhood Improvement Program.

In 1978, an Industrial Perimeter Road Feasibility Study recommended and Regional Council endorsed a basic route for the Perimeter Road from Burlington Street to Highway 403. The Hamilton Perimeter Road was again studied quite intensively during the period 1987-1990. The option adopted by Council in 1990, in principle, (see accompanying diagram) included an initial four-lane (ultimate six-lane) Burlington Street with centre median or turning lanes between Sherman Avenue and Victoria Avenue, an interchange with a combined Victoria/Wellington, a four-lane controlled access roadway at track level along the north side of the North-Northwest Spur, grade separations with roadways that already cross the CN tracks, an interchange with Bay Street, a crossing to the south side of the Stuart Street Yard, through the former Route Canada property (now owned by the City of Hamilton), under York Boulevard in a cut-and-cover tunnel, to a new interchange with Highway 403 south of the Desjardins Canal.

The Regional Transportation Review (1996) concluded that the Perimeter Road connecting to Hwy 403 was not justified within the planning horizon (2020), but that a first phase from Wellington/Victoria to Bay or Queen, at an estimated cost of $50 million, should be considered further to divert truck and through traffic around the downtown.

The Downtown Transportation Master Plan (2001) concluded that construction of a first phase of the Perimeter Road to Bay Street not be considered further, as it would simply redistribute traffic from east- west streets (York and Cannon) to north-south streets (Bay and Queen), with very little overall benefit.

Preliminary findings of the Needs Assessment indicate there is no demonstrated need for a Perimeter Road.

The population and employment growth in Hamilton over the next 20 years is projected to be concentrated in developing areas of the City, while growth in established lower city areas, by comparison, will be moderate in terms of employment and less significant in terms of population. Employment in the Bayfront area has declined substantially over the past 20 to 30 years, and future growth will simply return employment levels in the lower City to something approaching past levels.

Transportation modeling based on current travel and transit trends indicates that the existing road network in 2021 will be adequate to handle demand. Current levels of service are very good, and traffic growth to 2021 is not expected to use up all of the spare capacity in the system, even in the most constrained areas that are west of the downtown. When the Red Hill Creek Expressway is added to the network, the comfort margin becomes even greater. Significant additional road capacity in the downtown and west to Hwy 403 is simply not warranted.

Traffic generated by some combinations of land use options in the study area may result in some roadways in the study area becoming quite busy. If there are deficiencies identified that require improvements, those improvements could take many forms, including intersection improvements, traffic calming, improved transit, and even selected widenings on some road links. The analysis to date does not conclude that a Perimeter Road is required to support any of the options or combination of options.

Before the Needs Assessment is completed, other factors will be considered.

The Needs Assessment for the Hamilton Perimeter Road will be completed in conjunction with the other elements of the study.

Factors that will come to bear include the following:

  • a connection to Hwy 403 may be possible in some form, but will be constrained by non-conventional interchange design, future MTO widening plans, proximity of adjacent interchanges (1.8 km to King St., 1.9 km to Hwy 6, beside York Blvd ramps), impact of future Mid-Peninsula highway options, and impact on Cootes Paradise and the Waterfront Trail

  • because of its potential location, access to/from a Perimeter Road between Hwy 403 and Wellington/Victoria would be very limited in number and location, and Bay Street may be one of the only options

  • modeling indicates that east-west routes west of the downtown (west of Queen) are more constrained than those in and east of the downtown, and a first phase of a Perimeter Road would not address the situation

Other planning considerations must also be considered:

  • environmental assessment, design and construction of a Perimeter Road would take 10 years or more, assuming that all approvals are received, and in the interim, lands that could be used immediately for other purposes will be frozen

  • the estimated cost of the Hamilton Perimeter Road is approximately $350 million

  • future travel patterns can be influenced by policy and targeted incentives/disincentives to use certain routes for example, an overt policy of not improving east-west capacity in and west of the downtown coupled with existing or improved connections to the east (Burlington/Industrial to QEW/RHCE) can shape demand.

Recap: The analysis to date concludes that a Perimeter Road is not required to support any of the options or combination of options, nor is it needed to accommodate growth in the lower city generally. This preliminary conclusion will be confirmed through completion of the comprehensive, integrated EA master plan process for the study area.

Above from: Hamilton West Harbour Planning Area Study, Perimeter Road. Prepared for the City of Hamilton - April 2003, Urban Strategies Inc., Stantec Consulting, Paradigm Transportation Solutions Ltd.


The Hamilton Perimeter Road Needs Assessment Final Report concluded that there is no demonstrated need for a Hamilton Perimeter Road.

Based on current and projected travel demand, there is no demonstrated need for a Hamilton Perimeter Road. In addition to potentially tremendous costs and environmental liabilities, there is a significant risk of not being able to connect to Highway 403. An evaluation of the transportation network concludes that the Bayfront Industrial Area is well served by Burlington Street/Industrial Drive and a ring road system of the QEW, Highway 403, the Lincoln M. Alexander Parkway, and the Red Hill Creek Expressway (under construction).

Connections to QEW Niagara, QEW Toronto, Highway 407, Highway 6 south and former Highway 56 south would all be well served without a Hamilton Perimeter Road. Although connections to Highway 403 west and Highway 6 north could be improved if Burlington Street/Industrial Drive were connected to Highway 403, trucking demand for those movements represents approximately one-third of truck trips that enter or exit the area bounded by Dundurn, Main, and Victoria Streets.

Notwithstanding that need for the road cannot be demonstrated, the evidence suggests that a Hamilton Perimeter Road could attract up to 850 truck trips in a 7-hour period (or approximately 1,700 truck trips per day) from existing routes in the study area, based on very generous assumptions about the proportions of trucks that would be diverted from existing routes to a new Hamilton Perimeter Road. This volume would not be insignificant, but to put it in perspective, the capacity of an access-controlled four-lane Hamilton Perimeter Road would be approximately 6,000 vehicles per hour.

Given that there is not a good case to build a Hamilton Perimeter Road for future traffic volumes, and that truck volumes served by the facility would be very modest in comparison to the capacity of the roadway, the issue comes down to goods movement in and through the study area.

In other words, if trucks are perceived as the problem, the Hamilton Perimeter Road is not the only solution.

Hamilton City Council has resolved that the Hamilton Perimeter Road Transportation Corridor be excluded from the Secondary Plan and Master Infrastructure Plan for Setting Sail, and that lands not required for the Perimeter Road, as identified in the next phase of Setting Sail, be disposed of.

This resolution recognizes that a full Hamilton Perimeter Road is not justified. Trucks will continue to use truck routes through the Downtown and to and from Highway 403, and there may be operational improvements required from time to time. However, alternate routes are available, and completion of the Red Hill Creek Expressway will improve connections. The matter of goods movement is being investigated as a component of the new Transportation Master Plan, for the City of Hamilton.

The Secondary Plan will recommend that the lands within the study area acquired for the Perimeter Road be retained as public open space.

Above from: Hamilton West Harbour Planning Area Study, Perimeter Road. Prepared for the City of Hamilton - December 2003, Urban Strategies Inc., Stantec Consulting, Paradigm Transportation Solutions Ltd.

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By jason (registered) | Posted June 18, 2012 at 21:25:57 in reply to Comment 78604

Wow...so glad we didn't do that. One of the rare things we've done right in the past few decades. Imagine a constant parade of cars/trucks roaring through the now quickly redeveloping North End?

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By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted June 18, 2012 at 10:38:47 in reply to Comment 78604

My only comment on the conclusion that such a truck diversion route is not "justified" is that it is very clear from reading this that the planning department clearly does not value the quality of life of the people that live adjacent to these truck routes through downtown.

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted June 17, 2012 at 15:15:52 in reply to Comment 78580

"That rail yard on the waterfront - maybe it's not situation hopeless"

http://www.cbc.ca/hamilton/talk/story/2012/06/12/hamilton-rail-waterfront-cn.html

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted June 16, 2012 at 15:26:50 in reply to Comment 78573

Interesting, but what would the price tag be? In the billions I would suppose. How many lanes each way are you proposing?

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By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted June 16, 2012 at 18:41:02 in reply to Comment 78578

I don't think it would be billions. We're only talking about 3 km of total actual tunnel. The rest would be ingress and egress routes and on/off ramps. Certainly the price tag would be in the hundreds of millions. If you restricted the tunnel to truck traffic only, I would think two in and two out would suffice.

I'm not a traffic or civil engineer so I'm guessing based on my experience living here my whole life.

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By Kevin (registered) | Posted June 16, 2012 at 20:17:55

You've got too much time on your hands.

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By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted June 16, 2012 at 20:28:31 in reply to Comment 78585

Ya it took me all of 30 seconds to come up with that one. Glad to see your civically engaged.

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By Rimshot (anonymous) | Posted October 08, 2012 at 18:32:46

Drivability fail.

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/813735--two-women-injured-in-downtown-hamilton-crash

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