Given the current design of Longwood Road South and the uses around it, the question is not whether there will be a serious accident, but when.
By Sean Hurley
Published May 02, 2013
I had a close call today.
I was making a left turn, on my bicycle, into the McMaster Innovation Park (MIP), parking lot, off Longwood Road South, when I narrowly missed being struck by a speeding BMW that ran the red light.
If it were not for another driver repeatedly honking his horn, I would not have looked and I would very likely be seriously injured or dead.
Longwood Road South, between Aberdeen and Main, is the very definition of a mixed-use roadway. There are pedestrians, cyclists, joggers, and cars.
Yet judging by the high rate of speed, the second-thought traffic lights, the broken, narrow sidewalk, and the lack of street furniture other than outside of MIP, it is clear the only user that matters at all to the City of Hamilton is the motorist.
In fact, the near-miss occurred at about 8:35 in the morning, and within thirty minutes there was a vehicular accident at Longwood Road South and Main Street, where many kids routinely cross the intersection from every direction to get to school at the corner or on their way to McMaster.
The consideration for pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles, too, on Longwood Avenue, South ought to be regarded as an epic fail and be taught to traffic engineers as what not to do when designing a roadway with mixed-use traffic.
Longwood Road South is more a short freeway than a road. The pedestrian lights without an advance green, and that allows pedestrians to cross the entrance to the parking lot at the only time vehicles have an opportunity to make the left into the parking lot during the morning rush is courting disaster.
It is not a question of if there will be a serious accident, but when.
And at that time, if the accident occurs outside MIP, the municipality will bear culpability for a road that seems designed to cause accidents.
The solution to the problem ought to involve reduced speed limits, actively enforced, and timed lights at the entrance to the MIP parking lot.
A pedestrian crosswalk should be added across the MIP parking lot entrance with a red light for pedestrians to match with vehicular traffic and provide an advanced green for those cars needing to turn into the lot.
Additionally, the road should include bicycle lanes all the way along the road to replace what appears now to be spontaneously appearing and disappearing bike lanes.
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