Comment 77087

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted May 17, 2012 at 13:30:26 in reply to Comment 77086

So we have a situation where people aren't used to providing input (guidance, demands, whatever)

I must respectfully disagree. Back in the early 1990s, a wide array of Hamiltonians participated in Vision 2020, a community-led planning exercise that established clear priorities for urban revitalization. That led to a series of public meetings, workshops, charettes, focus groups and so on that produced the Smart Moves urban planning document.

That, in turn, led to a broad public consultation process on a Transportation Master Plan in which the community clearly spoke to the need for more humane, more balanced, more livable, more complete streets.

The Plan that emerged from that, called Putting People First, emphasized clearly all the goals the public had advocated but nevertheless opposed two-way conversion on Main, King and Cannon because our traffic department exercised a veto over livability and Council went along with it.

Council absolutely cannot pretend that they don't know how people feel about these issues. In issue after issue, the reports clearly spell out what community stakeholders want, and then go off in a different direction because the decision makers' priorities overrule the public's priorities.

Take, for another example, the Longwood Road plan that just came out this year. Despite overwhelming support for a complete, livable street design from the Kirkendall Traffic Study and all the public engagement and stakeholder consultation that was done as part of the Longwood project, the plan that emerged threw all that overboard and optimized for fast traffic flow.

The problem isn't that citizens don't care enough to get involved. The problem is that their input is summarily dismissed when consultation translate into policy. We can't criticize people for not bothering when the City wastes their time over and over again by asking for input and then ignoring it.

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