Walkability Fail

Walkability Fail at Aberdeen Railroad Underpass

By Keanin Loomis
Published May 04, 2012

Sidewalk Closed sign on Aberdeen at railroad underpass
Sidewalk Closed sign on Aberdeen at railroad underpass

I came across this on my walk home from MIP today. It's the railroad underpass on Aberdeen. Despite the directive, there is no sidewalk on the other side of the road.

Upon seeing it for the first time, the law-abiding pedestrian confronting this sign would have to turn around, walk back to Dundurn, head north to Main and so on.

Each day, hundreds of kids take this route to Westdale High School. Call me crazy, but I don't think any of them will pay heed.

The good news is that there is a portion of the bike lane up ahead that is not impacted by the construction. Yeah, that's safe.

Keanin is the President and CEO of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.

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By StephenBarath (registered) | Posted May 04, 2012 at 08:38:42

Keanin- Thanks for noticing this. I was actually just considering e-mailing someone about telling their crews not to tell pedestrians to use the other sidewalk if there is no other sidewalk, but perhaps you're right that they meant to use the sidewalk on Main.

Walking home from Canmet last night, on the west side of this disruption there was actually no sign attempting to indicate what the pilons might be doing there, so using that half of the bicycle lane was the only logical response.

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By Omega (anonymous) | Posted May 04, 2012 at 11:35:33

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted May 04, 2012 at 11:43:10 in reply to Comment 76473

Except we live in a city where the police have such useful public "safety" events as "pedestrian crackdowns" and "project derailleur" (aka "giving tickets to cyclists who roll through stop signs").

When the city provides infrastructure which allows people to actually GET TO THEIR DESTINATION then these crackdowns would not be necessary.

Do the police think that pedestrians jaywalk, or disobey this sort of sign because they think it's fun to break the law? Do they think that cyclists go the wrong way down a block because they have a death wish?

The reason people break these laws is because the city makes it very difficult (and in cases like this, impossible) to actually follow them.

When was the last time there was a crackdown on people not stopping at a red before turning? The HTA says you have to. Meanwhile, a large number of cyclist injuries happen when cars turn without slowing down or looking. But when it comes to "safety blitzes" the blind eyes routinely turned on these real dangers stay blind.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted May 05, 2012 at 07:26:21 in reply to Comment 76474

Your 2-tiered approach to policing (having 2 sets of rules, 1 for cyclists and pedestrians, another for car drivers) doesn't work. Rules are for all to follow.

I have no problem whatsoever when people who are clearly breaking the law are caught - whether it's a cyclist going the wrong way on a 1-way street, a jaywalking pedestrian, or a car that's speeding.

Just because a car is bigger, and potentially more dangerous, doesn't mean it's more likely to break the law. Saying that we don't need to worry about what pedestrians do is a joke.

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By Laura Cattari (anonymous) | Posted May 05, 2012 at 08:11:58

Ingenuity? For a pedestrian (or wheelchair/scooter user) to get to Westdale without public transportation means using the south side of Main Street, crossing highway off ramps at the moment. Like last year, I am sure Clr. McHattie would like to know about this as they aren't suppose to block access ie start something and then leave it unfinished. And yes, for pedestrians this is blocking access to Westdale if you live in the neighbourhood.

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By Keanin Loomis (anonymous) | Posted May 05, 2012 at 09:31:48 in reply to Comment 76473

Of course I walked around it. And it didn't require ingenuity to do so. It just required me to ignore a traffic sign and technically break the law.

I'm not so concerned about my safety as I am with the many kids that have to use that route to get to school each day. Aberdeen is pretty narrow in that stretch as it is.

More than anything, the signage is just illogical, that's all. Either the City doesn't have the good sense to realize it, or they just don't care.

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By ViennaCafe (registered) | Posted May 05, 2012 at 11:24:18

I think it would be well worth our time in the next municipal election to field candidates who will support user pay for roads. The costs of roads and policing are socialized rather than paid for by those who use them. I think drivers should pay the full costs of their choice of transportation and transit users, pedestrians, and cyclists should pay the full cost of their choice. It is only fair.

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By ViennaCafe (registered) | Posted May 05, 2012 at 11:27:09 in reply to Comment 76503

And the traffic is very fast and everyone knows the convenience and schedule of a driver is far more valuable than any individual's life.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted May 05, 2012 at 19:57:21 in reply to Comment 76501

It does work to have different sets of rules for different road users. We already do it.

The police are the ones who single out specific road users with their cyclist and pedestrian crackdowns, not me.

I'm all for equal enforcement for all.

Would you have a problem if you got caught and ticketed for going 55 in a 50 zone? Who decides which rules are bendable and which aren't?

Your comment is mostly filled with responses to points I did not make.

Regarding your last sentence, I did not say that drivers are more likely to break the law. But my underlying point is that breaking a law in a car is inherently more dangerous to others than breaking a law on foot.

Why does it not make sense to prioritize enforcement accordingly? If a murderer runs down a street in one direction and a graffiti vandal runs the other, which should the cop chase?

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By wow (anonymous) | Posted May 05, 2012 at 20:05:27 in reply to Comment 76509

I guess there are never speed traps, seat belt campaigns, school zone campaigns, cell phone campaigns, RIDE programs. In fact it appears from your post that police never stop cars for any reason but just pick on those pesky pedestrians and cyclists. Face it, you are just being indigenous.

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By we have that (anonymous) | Posted May 05, 2012 at 20:09:26 in reply to Comment 76505

Its called gas taxes, municipal taxes, provincial sales taxes, provincial and federal income taxes and more. The way you state it we should raise bus fares to $5 a trip to cover the true costs if we are going to be fair and charge license fees on bikes and scooter plus charge tolls on sidewalks. Fair is fair after all

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted May 05, 2012 at 21:23:47 in reply to Comment 76506

Give it a rest. This kind of hyperbole and sarcasm is tired now.

Comment edited by DowntownInHamilton on 2012-05-05 21:23:58

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted May 05, 2012 at 21:27:13 in reply to Comment 76509

I don't mind being cited with any infraction, as long as I broke the law. I don't - I pay attention while I drive - so it doesn't bother me.

Maybe if our police service got serious about accross-the-board policing, instead of doing whatever it is they do now, we would have better observance of the law.

Your last paragraph made me laugh. I don't know what to make of it. If we changed 'murderer' to 'speeder in a car' and 'graffiti vandal' to 'jaywalking pedestrian' I already know your answer.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted May 05, 2012 at 21:29:47 in reply to Comment 76505

You can't be serious. Your comment makes no sense on many different levels.

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By ViennaCafe (registered) | Posted May 06, 2012 at 09:53:46 in reply to Comment 76511

And none of those cover the actual costs of driving. There is the infrastructure costs, and then there are the externalities all of which are passed on to everyone regardless of where they live.

It strikes me as both amusing and fascinating that cyclists and pedestrians are expected to subsidize driving through their taxes at all levels of government and drivers have no issue with the costs of maintaining and expanding services and infrastructure they directly benefit from on the taxes of those who do not benefit to the same extent if at all. But as soon as any suggestions are made as to spending just a little of that money on infrastructure that will benefit cyclists and commuters they whine and balk as though they personally pay for it.

The actual costs of driving, roads, pollution, police, etc ... should be borne by drivers. And bus fares would not necessarily rise at all, they may go down, if driver paid their fare share.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted May 06, 2012 at 13:44:53 in reply to Comment 76513

Yes, my answer is clear. What is yours? With limited police resources and more laws being broken than it's possible to ticket for, how would you suggest priorities be set? By whim? Is it inappropriate to suggest that those who put others at risk should be given more attention than those who put no one at risk, or who only pose a risk to themselves?

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted May 06, 2012 at 13:47:33 in reply to Comment 76510

I did not say this.

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By Omega (anonymous) | Posted May 06, 2012 at 15:58:54 in reply to Comment 76474

insult spam deleted

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By Omega (anonymous) | Posted May 06, 2012 at 16:02:14 in reply to Comment 76503

insult spam deleted

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By Omega (anonymous) | Posted May 06, 2012 at 16:03:45 in reply to Comment 76502

insult spam deleted

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By Omega (anonymous) | Posted May 06, 2012 at 16:07:51 in reply to Comment 76518

insult spam deleted

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By wow (anonymous) | Posted May 06, 2012 at 17:04:21 in reply to Comment 76522

I believe thats exactly what you said

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted May 06, 2012 at 19:14:57 in reply to Comment 76529

No one is saying that pedestrians and cyclists don't benefit from the current road system. Of course we all do. But drivers of the private automobile do not pay their fair share. This is a known fact. You are free to ignore it, but that doesn't make it not true.

Additionally, most regular cyclists also own cars and pay all the same fees as non cycling drivers.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted May 06, 2012 at 19:31:50 in reply to Comment 76530

I'll summarize my point for you:

If the goal is a reduction in laws broken, we should accommodate all users through improved infrastructure rather than handing a few hundred tickets out every spring.

If on the other hand the goal is to improve safety, we should analyze past injuries and address the violations that cause the most harm (a major one being improper turns by motorists).

I did not say that there is no enforcement to drivers.

I do however think there's not enough.

You are angry at me singling out cars. I drive one by the way. But I also realize that if we removed every bike from the road we'd only save every cyclist while drivers, pedestrians and passengers would still die on our roads. But if we removed every motor vehicle we would save the lives of every potential driver, passenger and pedestrian casualty PLUS 99% of potential cyclist casualties.

Before you misread that, I'm not advocating for removing cars. What I'm advocating for is greater appreciation for their potential to cause harm, a greater respect of their power & problems, and recognition by all of us when we get behind the wheel that we are talking hundreds of others' lives in our hands.

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted May 06, 2012 at 21:08:47 in reply to Comment 76510

you are just being indigenous

At least you didn't call him an asswhole

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted May 07, 2012 at 07:42:38 in reply to Comment 76521

Perhaps a lot more education, and enforcement, instead is the trick. Near my place, I see cops daily idling in the parking lot across the street. Sometimes for hours at a time. Sometimes there's 2 police cars in there, for hours at a time. I've also seen this on Dundurn, on Fennel, and other places.

Why aren't they out policing, instead of chatting? If they're doing paperwork, that's fine, otherwise, they should be out proactively enforcing the laws of our town, our province, and our country.

Selective enforement is not OK.

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By priorities (anonymous) | Posted May 07, 2012 at 09:04:31

Seems there's always enough room for car lanes but not for sidewalks (a road as foot-traffic busy as Dundurn near Longwood only has sidewalks on one side? WTF) and definitely not for cycle lanes. Some road users are more equal than others.....

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted May 07, 2012 at 09:46:59 in reply to Comment 76542

It's simple economics - pedestrians don't pay gas tax! Fair's fair!

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted May 07, 2012 at 09:48:53

Maybe there should be an extra tax on pedestrians and cyclists cause they keep getting hit by cars and why should drivers have to pay for their hospital time when it was their decision not to wrap themselves in a car for all those trips to the corner store!?

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted May 07, 2012 at 09:56:08 in reply to Comment 76539

Now we're getting somewhere! At a minimum, I'd like to see mandatory road school as part of public education - why is it optional? Even if you never drive a car you need to understand the rules of the road. And for those who do drive, there should be a strong focus on interacting with pedestrians and cyclists. Somehow "look both ways" has become the catch all for road safety for kids.

After all, each and every one of us starts out as a pedestrian and ends up a pedestrian, and we all share the same network.

Comment edited by seancb on 2012-05-07 09:56:43

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted May 07, 2012 at 10:53:47 in reply to Comment 76533

Thank you for that link. I was in tears by the time I got to "Cologne". I was going to mention that I kind of am indigenous (to Hamilton, since I was born here), but didn't want to dilute the important points :-)

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By ViennaCafe (registered) | Posted May 07, 2012 at 12:05:47 in reply to Comment 76529

A swami belongs to a religious order. Your poor temper is betraying your ignorance.

Trucks can and ought to be replaced by rail where appropriate, and where not, they can and should use cleaner fuels. In any case, as a commercial transportation they ought to pay the full cost of the infrastructure and the pollution and health issues they contribute to and if I need to pay more for my bicycle, I will. I will save on gas, insurance, and ultimately my taxes.

Car drivers are like smokers. They engage in an activity that is unhealthy for them, their family, and society at large and they demand everyone else contribute to the costs of their unhealthy (and destructive) lifestyle but get angry and defensive when asked to be nothing more onerous than merely responsible.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted May 07, 2012 at 12:20:28 in reply to Comment 76501

Just because a car is bigger, and potentially more dangerous, doesn't mean it's more likely to break the law.

No but when it does break the law, it is much more likely to kill someone, than a person walking or riding a bike.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted May 07, 2012 at 12:21:43 in reply to Comment 76512

It's not hyperbole, it's the facts, this city cares more about letting cars drive fast than it cares about letting people on foot or on bikes arrive safe.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted May 08, 2012 at 02:36:31 in reply to Comment 76554

Sorry, I don't buy it.

I live in Hamilton. I work in Mississauga. I don't have an option but to drive to work. Like I've said before, it takes a good 1.5-2 hours to take the GO bus from the TH&B to Square One, then a city bus from there to my office. That's just not efficient. Further to that, when I have to work on a weekend or stat holiday, I end up having to go all the way to Union in Toronto, then backtrack from Union to Square One, then take the bus. It's easily 3 hours. That just doesn't work. Am I the exception? Not really.

So, in order to ditch the car, I either have to move to Mississauga or get a job in Hamilton. Since IT jobs here are virtually unavailable, I have to go to where the jobs are.

So give me an option that works, and I'll gladly do it.

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