Comment 109516

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted February 22, 2015 at 11:42:05 in reply to Comment 109511

I think it is important to take a larger view of the street network, the neighbourhood and the needs of different residents.

Currently Queen street southbound, Herkimer to Aberdeen is slow for about 20-30 minutes once a day during the afternoon rush hour.

At all other times (unless there's been an accident) traffic drives at dangerously high speeds literally centimetres from pedestrians walking on narrow sidewalks. In particular, during the morning rush hour traffic moves very fast and poses a real danger to children walking to school.

This is dangerous for pedestrians and very unpleasant for those living on the street. As an example, many times I've seen inattentive drivers drive up onto the sidewalk where it veers out very slightly just before Herkimer (you can see the tire tracks on the sidewalk). Perhaps the majority of drivers are safe and careful, but with thousands out there every day it only takes a few to cause serious problems. The Durand traffic study in 2002 measured traffic and found speeding to a real problem, with 40% of traffic on the minor arterials exceeded the 50km/h speed limit and that 200 vehicles per day exceeded 65 km/h (the speed at which a pedestrian has over 85% of being killed if struck).

In addition, a McMaster study published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health found that children are 2.5 times more likely to be injured on one-way streets.

The street should be designed to encourage safe speeds and be tolerant to error (not designed for 70km/h-100km/h with narrow sidewalks and no buffer as it is now).

We mustn't forget that objectively Hamilton is one of the most dangerous cities in Ontario for pedestrians and cyclists (and Ontario is not a world leader in road safety). Each year around 25 residents are killed and 2500 seriously injured in traffic collisions.

The goal should be to slow the maximum speed of traffic in urban neighbourhoods to 30-40km/h (a relatively safe speed) while not causing traffic to slow to walking pace during the very short evening or morning rush hours.

As others have pointed out, systematic two-way conversion of our one-way pairs would help provide more options and slow the maximum speed of traffic. Other options would be to increase on street parking (restricting only for a short time, say 4-6pm).

A fast comfortable commute is one factor that is important for some Hamiltonians, but streets are also an important part of determining the liveability of residential neighbourhoods and the success of commercial streets. Depressing property values, driving out businesses and increasing danger for pedestrians are also very important factors.

Too often in Hamilton the debate about streets in wards 1-3 begins and ends with how it affects commuters, at least for those who don't live there. That's part of the reason the downtown has suffered economically for so long.

What do you think the best way is to improve safety, comfort and liveability for residents, help businesses thrive and address the well-documented safety problems with our current one-way streets while still providing reasonable service to commuters during rush hour?

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2015-02-22 11:44:33

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