Comment 19009

By jason (registered) | Posted February 18, 2008 at 17:06:54

this is a smart move by Cooke. He is well-respected in the community and still carries considerable respect in the political spectrum. For too long the local media and even some politicians have tried to paint 2-way proponents as meddlers and left wing nuts. Fact is, cities all over the continent are converting back to 2-way and laying down streetcar lines and LRT lines to put people back in the priority downtown. North American cities are completely built around cars these days. The ones with the most successful downtowns are the ones that are still about the people, streets, public spaces, transit and 'making the scene'. As addicted as we are to our cars, everyone knows a good downtown when we see one. Its why tourists flock to Montreal in the dead of winter, yet wouldn't hang out in 'downtown' Mississuga in the middle of summer if you paid them (most would have no clue where it is). In Hamilton's constantly divided political arena, Cooke represents amalgamation and Red Hill in most people's minds. Yet he illustrates quite clearly that downtown is an issue that can and should be at the heart of every resident and politician, regardless of what side of the line you fall on. People these days aren't as stupid as politicians would think (mind you, the constant red light running at James and St Joes drive would seem to indicate otherwise). If the entire system was converted from 2-way to 1-way in a single night in the 50's, I'm pretty sure the planet wouldn't stop spinning if we converted them back in a single night in the 2000's. He correctly identifies political will and courage as the true obstacles in seeing this happen. Especially after the roaring success on James and John Street following their conversion. Kudos to about using a bit of that influence to kick our council in the backside and moving on this issue instead of saying "we'll get around to it gradually in the next 2 decades". They won't.

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