Walkability Fail

Walkability Fail at Main and Ferguson

By Sean Burak
Published March 22, 2010

According to the Hamilton Spectator heralding the opening of the Ferguson Avenue Bridge:

The Ferguson Avenue Master Plan strived to turn an ordinary street into a handsome passage from the Mountain to the water, with bike lanes and sidewalks."

Except that when you reach Main Street, one of our busiest streets, you must navigate the crossing without a signal.

To make it even more inconvenient for pedestrians, especially those pushing strollers or with assisted mobility devices, there is not a proper ramp on the north curb of Main. Instead, there's a makeshift asphalt lump mashed into the concrete curb.

Sean Burak was born in Hamilton but raised elsewhere in Ontario. He returned to his birth town at the turn of the century and has never looked back. Sean is the owner of Downtown Bike Hounds.

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted March 22, 2010 at 20:41:49

Sean: You only covered half of the story. There are no lights at Ferguson and Barton, either.

Our governments spent $4.6 million on the Ferguson Avenue bridge over the CN tracks.

Spending $4.6 million on a pedestrian and bike route without providing traffic lights at major intersections is analogous to building the Red Hill with stop signs at each crossing. It completely defeats the purpose of the exercise.

(Hey, I made an analogy to the Red Hill without trashing it!)

Incidentally, the idea that Ferguson will become a pedestrian route is a joke. There's nothing on Ferguson. A much nicer north/south route from the water to the mountain in that part of town is Mary/Walnut. (The bridge on Mary is much lower, for one, and there are better streetwalls and fewer vacant lots and derelict properties.) However, since it's apparently really important for Mary Street to be one-way, Ferguson does have a niche as a cycling route.

This is primarily a cyclability fail.

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By sselway (registered) | Posted March 23, 2010 at 19:39:19

John, Thanks for pointing out the lack of safe crossing at Ferguson and Barton also.

Living in the area, I often walk the Mary route but bike the Ferguson route being extra careful crossing at Barton and Main.

Living in the North End, it is difficult to find a SAFE route to get TO the downtown, the streets are either too busy (John) or one way (Mary, Hughson). Catherine and Ferguson are the only options.

When I visited Vancouver, I noted that cyclists had buttons to push to change lights get across busy streets by the curb so you didn't have to get off your bike to reach it.

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