We need to transform all our streets into accessible, inclusive public places that bring people into contact safely and accommodate a variety of ways of getting around.
By Ryan McGreal
Published September 10, 2014
Hamilton Police have reported the city's eighth traffic fatality afer a driver struck a pedestrian crossing Highway 8 at Green Road in Stoney Creek.
The 60-year-old man was crossing southbound on the west side at 6:15 AM yesterday when a 2014 Dodge Ram heading northbound on Green road turned left into him. He was taken to hospital but died from his injuries. The driver, a 75-year-old man, remained on the scene to wait for police.
The collision investigation is ongoing. Anyone who has information is asked to contact Detective Niblock at 905-546-4753.
Highway 8 through Stoney Creek is a classic "stroad" - an ugly, dangerous five-lane amalgam of city street and rural road that manages to struggle at both moving traffic efficiently between macro-destinations and serving local uses.
Charles Marohn of Strong Towns posted an excellent video that explains and pillories this grim transportation design, which has become ubiquitous around North American cities over the past several decades.
Marohn's essay "Confessions of a Recovering Engineer" detailed his gradual realization that the standard rules of traffic engineering make streets more dangerous and inhospitable.
In Hamilton, pedestrian collisions, injuries and deaths are taking place disproportionately on our stroads: bloated, overbuilt suburban roadways like Rymal, Stone Church and Mohawk, where barely-accommodated pedestrians must walk long distances to controlled crossings and scamper across wide roadways with fast-moving traffic.
Such collisions also disproportionately involve senior citizens - both the drivers and victims. The real culprit is the way we have been designing our arterials. Our downtown one-way arterials are horrible, community-destroying expressways, but our suburban stroads are, if anything, even more isolating for people who don't drive.
As more Baby Boomers move into retirement and Hamilton's population continues to age, our dangerous streets will consign an increasing share of residents to social isolation, misery and even early death.
Beware anyone who tries to turn this into some kind of Downtown-vs-Suburbs culture war. It's a basic quality of life issue that affects the entire city.
The time to act is now. We need to transform all our streets into accessible, inclusive public places that bring people into contact safely and accommodate a variety of ways of getting around.
We know what we need to do. Will our new Council have the vision and leadership to guide us through this transformation, or will we continue to let opportunities slip away?
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