As Hamilton prepares to do complete streets renovations on Queen and Cannon Streets, we should take a cue from Toronto's successful renovations on Landsdowne and Roncesvalles Avenues.
By Jason Leach
Published April 03, 2013
Hamilton has tremendous opportunity coming our way with potential complete streets projects on Queen and Cannon Street. I've found two Toronto streets that are excellent candidates to learn from when we discuss Queen, Cannon and Barton. They are Landsdowne Avenue and Roncesvalles Avenue.
These two streets carry 17,000-18,000 cars per day, plus buses and streetcars and are both one lane in each direction - and, I might add, very vibrant and bustling.
They have both been reconstructed in the past four years to remove extra lanes, widen sidewalks, and add 24-7 parking and new trees, planters and seating areas in the extra width created on the sidewalk.
The end result is absolutely wonderful and should be our goal on Queen, Cannon and Barton, considering all of them have daily traffic totals in the 12,000-18,000 range.
Stroll along the street and have a look at the new bumpouts creating 24-7 parking and safer pedestrian crossings, new trees on one side due to added sidewalk width by narrowing the street, and parking removed at signalized intersections to allow for a centre turning lane.
This would fit on Queen Street - and Lansdowne carries more daily traffic than Queen at 17,000 vs. 12,000.
I would prefer the treed boulevard to be placed next to the street instead of the sidewalk next to the street as TO did here. A safe, complete street is the result, which would still allow for ease of traffic flow from the Mountain to the West Harbour district at Queen's northern terminus.
Roncesvalles redesigned (Image Credit: Roncesvallesvillage.ca)
This cross section would be perfect for Barton and Cannon. 24-7 curb parking on both sides, one traffic lane each direction and with the extra sidewalk width the city created large new planters, continuous rows of street trees, bike parking areas and benches.
Again, traffic here is 17,000 cars per day - same as Cannon at James.
Please 'stroll' down the street here on streetview and notice the new elements: trees, benches, bumpouts, parking, patio space and level transit stops created by having sidewalk bumpouts:
This street carries heavy bike, streetcar, and bus traffic and is a signed truck route. By narrowing the curb lanes from previous full sized lanes of roughly 12-13 feet to permanent parking lanes of 6.5 feet, space is created for all the safe, green sidewalk amenities.
Barton Street and Cannon would benefit tremendously from such a treatment, as would the surrounding residential neighbourhoods.
Let me close with a quote from a Globe and Mail column on the renovations and seeing past the short-term inconvenience to the long-term benefits:
The result is quite marvelous. Roncesvalles, always a lively street, with its pastry shops, delis, bike stores, public library and Revue cinema, was looking a little tired before the do-over. The renovation has given it a fresh, new face. For all the pain they cause, projects like these are just what an ambitious city should be doing, seizing the chance to transform mediocre streetscapes into something better.
Amen to that.
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