Media

More Hamilton-Hating Exceptionalism From Talk Radio

By RTH Staff
Published June 10, 2010

The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce was just on CHML talking to Bill Kelly about Council's vote on the Truck Route Master Plan, objecting to Council's decision to remove Dundurn Street North, Kenilworth Access, Upper Ottawa Street and Concession Street from the route.

Bill Kelly responded, "Seems like there's an anti-truck or anti-vehicle feeling out there. C'mon, this isn't Copenhagen, it's Hamilton!"

The Studio Line for the Bill Kelly show is (905) 645-3221, in case anyone's interested in calling him out on his Hamilton-hating exceptionalism.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted June 10, 2010 at 10:12:54

This crap is why I don't listen to talk radio. Ignorance and fear mongering and defeatism rule over there.

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By trevorlikesbikes (registered) - website | Posted June 10, 2010 at 10:22:58

its like fox news...sure it's on TV but that doesn't make it any more the truth than say 'reality TV'.

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By Dave Kuruc (anonymous) | Posted June 10, 2010 at 10:27:13

I'm sure Bill Kelly has google alert set up for his name.....so:

BILL KELLY - YOU AREN'T FUNNY OR ENTERTAINING AND I DON'T WANT YOUR OPINION ON THESE THINGS. YOU CLEARLY DO NOT GET IT.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted June 10, 2010 at 10:30:39

"C'mon, this isn't a place that doesn't suck, it's a place that sucks!"

I can't imagine why this guy's not a Councillor any more. He and Ron Corsini should start a Leadership Fail support group.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted June 10, 2010 at 11:00:32

Hmmm ... citizens who live in residential attempts to address through trucks in residential areas ... the concerns of citizens are quite clearly articulated. To make a statement like this:

"Seems like there's an anti-truck or anti-vehicle feeling out there. C'mon, this isn't Copenhagen, it's Hamilton!"

While acknowledging it is normally poor form to make wisecracks about low intelligence in blog posts, it is difficult to believe someone could say something so unintelligent. The most basic comprehension of the issue should evoke tears of laughter at such a ridiculous torrent of illogic. Isn't this more characteristic of a scripted and paid viewpoint (marketing techniques carefully choreographed as popular opinion; an increasingly pervasive technique).

And getting semi's away from concentrations of families and schoolkids is 'anti-vehicle' now? Very clever, I see what you did there ... trying to tie the truck route issue into the already imaginary 'road wars against the car' as well ... very clever application of psychological manipulation there. Combining the 'anti' buzzword with a tie-in to an unrelated issue ... that is just soooo clever! I actually really wonder whether a focus group came up with that! It's just ... too clever!

I'm just thinking out loud based on what I read here, I don't listen to that show or any talk radio (quit that trash years ago according to the smoking charts my risk of brain cancer has now fallen to half of that of a talk radio listener lol :p

Comment edited by mikeonthemountain on 2010-06-10 10:04:03

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By loveit (anonymous) | Posted June 10, 2010 at 11:35:39

Just wonder then what it would take for Hamilton to become like Copenhagen ? The spectacular land scape is already here. I few landmarks, a few high profile annual events (boat shows, etc.), and that's it ? General public just can take a good care of their own places and here we go.

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By desmond (anonymous) | Posted June 10, 2010 at 12:39:55

This will liklely get downvoted because its a valid point but is opposite to the prevailing opinion on this site.

From what I understand the process and studies were done and its a last minute change proposed by certain councillors that the Chamber is opposed to.

How is it Hamilton is lucky enough to have councillors that are experts on Traffic, Planning, Engineering, Architecture, Stadiums, etc.

Common sense would seem to dictate that the recommendations made by specialists in the field and solutions determined through negotiations with stakeholder groups would be good enough not to have Larry, Moe and Curly throw their limited knowledge into the mix.

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By frank (registered) | Posted June 10, 2010 at 13:01:15

Desmond I challenge you to find any traffic engineer worth his salt who would say that it's imperative that those roads remain truck routes. I am an engineering technologist and while my discipline is "civil" part of my course was devoted to transportation and even with my basic knowledge I understand that it's not necessary...

From what I can tell, the "study" was simply a list of street names with the word OK put beside them. Hardly a study at all.

Also, you'll find that the study was conducted under antiquated parameters making it nothing more than an attempt at maintaining status quo.

Comment edited by frank on 2010-06-10 12:02:39

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted June 10, 2010 at 13:08:10

... negotiations with stakeholder groups would be good enough not to have Larry, Moe and Curly ...

Your underlying point of agreement and negotiation is completely valid and I don't think will be downvoted as much as you think. What it looks like is that some stakeholders (the residents on the affected streets) raised their voices and were supported by their councilor. It was late to the table, thus last minute but it was 'stakeholders' voicing their input.

Stakeholders such as Larry, Moe, and Curly, who have homes and are raising families on the requested residential streets. It very much looks like it was reached through negotiation. They added their plea and council listened. I think that is very positive. It's an 18 month evaluation period so it can gather feedback and in case it does not work. Citizens directly affected by such decisions are stakeholders - why would they not be? I would say democracy worked pretty well for those neighborhoods in this one small example.

Comment edited by mikeonthemountain on 2010-06-10 12:09:11

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By Dave Kuruc (anonymous) | Posted June 10, 2010 at 13:28:14

Frank said: "Desmond I challenge you to find any traffic engineer worth his salt who would say that it's imperative that those roads remain truck routes. I am an engineering technologist and while my discipline is "civil" part of my course was devoted to transportation and even with my basic knowledge I understand that it's not necessary..."

Hart Soloman - head of the city's traffic engineering dept. sat on my stoop at the corner of Cannon and James and told me that Cannon will never be anything more than what it is...

My suggestions of Cannon remaining one way but creating traffic calming initiatives - bump outs at major intersections, parking to create buffers for pedestrian friendly sidewalks, softscaping and bike lanes were all turned down because of the need to keep an "efficient flow" of traffic happening. Do we really need all four lanes for cars - really? At some points in the conversation we couldn't hear each other talk because of the noise of speeding trucks and noisy trailers.

But I'm just a lowly downtown business owner - I guess if I were "Foxy" and owned a transport company - I would actually be taken seriously.



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By z jones (registered) | Posted June 10, 2010 at 13:39:08

Hart Soloman - head of the city's traffic engineering dept. sat on my stoop at the corner of Cannon and James and told me that Cannon will never be anything more than what it is...

Ron Corsini said the same thing about James Street. Sooner or later these neanderthals fall away and we can start the healing.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted June 10, 2010 at 13:53:25

From what I understand the process and studies were done and its a last minute change proposed by certain councillors that the Chamber is opposed to.

What you seem to be missing is that the operating parameters within which the study was conducted all but precluded any outcome other than the status quo list of allowed streets.

As the Chamber points out, the city refused to consider updating the definition of "truck" - say, to distinguish between a cube van and an 18-wheeler - and neglected to survey the origins or destinations of the trucks, so we had to rely on citizen volunteers conducting informal surveys and tailing trucks to see where they go.

In the absence of an origin-destination survey, the study had no choice but to assume that if trucks were driving on a given street, it was because they had to be on that street and so should be allowed to continue.

By the way, the citizen groups did participate in the stakeholder negotiations, but their input was dismissed on the specious grounds that the terms of the study - essentially, a mandate that the truck route must be continuous and comprehensive - made no consideration of the effects of truck traffic on the street itself.

According to the terms of the study, the concerns of citizens living on or near truck routes were literally irrelevant.

Can you blame those citizens for taking their issues to their ward councillors and to the Public Works Committee after the study was released and it became clear that their input was frozen out?

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2010-06-10 12:54:14

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By Jarod (registered) | Posted June 10, 2010 at 14:02:19

Frank: I too am pursuing civil engineering. Kudos. Also, as I have mentioned a few times here, even the people in our transportation classes don't get it. They don't think in a manner that serves everyone better...it is a very move-traffic-along-and-everything-else-can-get-lost approach. Alas...if only we could teach these classes....

DK: I find it funny that we JUST talked about the Bill Kelly show...it's interesting how things come up in a conversation, and then something happens that prove everything that was mentioned.

desmond: I apologize if this comes across in the wrong way, as I too am guilty of this. In the past I have been eager to have my input heard and understood, and as well meaning as it may or may not have been, even a little research would have gone a long way to help me better understand what I was talking about. Research and studies and consultations about the truck master plans are nearly exactly as was said above. Nothing more than a list of streets with an ok.

Do we really think that if a FULL study was done that we would have such an all-encompassing truck route? I don't think so.

As happens far too often there is a one side bias that pays the bills, and another that pays the price for faulty logic, poor research and selfishness.

Comment edited by Jarod on 2010-06-10 13:44:30

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted June 10, 2010 at 14:55:48

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By z jones (registered) | Posted June 10, 2010 at 15:06:37

How to not get downvoted on RTH: start your comment with "This will probably get downvoted, but..."

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By moylek (registered) - website | Posted June 10, 2010 at 15:57:18

because of the need to keep an "efficient flow" of traffic happening.

That's the final part of just about every conversation (ok, both conversations) I've had with city traffic engineers. The efficient movement of vehicles is their overriding concern. So thank goodness we do have diletante councillors willing to interfere with the plans of the experts.

And I'm not a know-nothing enemy of experts; I believe in expert opinion. I speak as an expert of sorts myself - a systems analyst - one whose own plans for efficiency and simplicity are often stymied by users and their damned individual needs and desires.

Sometimes the experts have a limited view; sometimes they forgot the ends and people their systems are meant to serve; and sometimes they're just plain wrong.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted June 10, 2010 at 16:17:03

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By BZ (anonymous) | Posted June 10, 2010 at 19:42:48

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By BZ (anonymous) | Posted June 10, 2010 at 19:43:51

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By Dave Kuruc (anonymous) | Posted June 10, 2010 at 21:46:51

Classy "BZ" or Bill Zelly...alterego of evil talk show host Bill Kelly.

Just wanted to say how much I love your wife's bus ads - even classier!

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By BZ (anonymous) | Posted June 10, 2010 at 22:32:36

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By Dave Kuruc (anonymous) | Posted June 11, 2010 at 08:12:04

I have no idea what you just said here...

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By TnT (registered) | Posted June 11, 2010 at 08:31:34

Dave Kuruc: it is impressive that you actually managed to get the beauracrat to come to your shop and engage. His response seems negative, but it does show at least a positive in growing some dialouge. I can't say I have enough knowledge of oneway vs twoway to call it the perfect solution. However, I know the corner of the city where your shop is very well. As an uninformed, non-engineer I can say that area would greatly benefit from two way, or better yet no way streets.

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By jasonaallen (registered) - website | Posted June 11, 2010 at 08:32:02

Ok Dave. That's wierd. What was it Ryan said last night at the Area Rating Meeting? "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." Mohandas K. Gandhi. Love it!

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted June 11, 2010 at 09:05:14

I can't say I have enough knowledge of oneway vs twoway to call it the perfect solution.

Two-way isn't the "perfect solution" and it won't magically turn the downtown around by itself. However, it is an essential part of the conceptual shift that needs to take place before downtown can recover from half a century of abuse.

One-way streets prioritize for fast, efficient through traffic; whereas two-way streets - with narrow lanes, marked bike routes, wide sidewalks, street trees, curbside metered parking, and so on - prioritize for livability. If you make a city livable, people will live there.

The downtown business owners pointed this out all the way back in 1957, just seven months after the city's streets were converted en masse to one-way overnight:

"Once upon a time, my part of King Street was a leading shopping district," Mr. Wunder said. "Business has taken quite a drop. Many of my old customers are no longer to be seen - they telephone me and say they are sorry, they will not come any more, because the traffic is too heavy and there is nowhere to park. They send money by mail.

"Many of us spent a lot of money on new store fronts," he went on. "It was futile. Our windows are no good nowadays, people have no time to stop and look. Nobody comes from the west end of the city any more. We would like to see King Street two-way once more.

"You people are supposed to be working for the people ... [sic] well, we are the people, too, and of what good is King Street without merchants? It seems as if everything possible has been done to take people away from King Street East!"

Well, at least there are places to park now. The downtown area has been so disinvested that whole city blocks of valuable buildings with a hundred years of embedded energy have been demolished and replaced with low-value surface parking.

That's the legacy of our narrow engineering fixation on traffic flow at all costs. The people who are trying to reclaim the downtown from vagaries of traffic flow - people like Dave Kuruc, who is trying to turn Cannon from an expressway into a city street - are an essential part of the solution.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2010-06-11 08:06:52

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By Campus radio (anonymous) | Posted June 11, 2010 at 09:07:28

That Bill Kelly is a media star in the city says something, something sinister....and sad.

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By Tom Kelly (anonymous) | Posted June 11, 2010 at 09:44:48

BZ: What the hell? Can you properly insult someone or do you just take the first words that come to mind? It's like the Price is Right wheel spinning around in your head.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted June 11, 2010 at 10:05:47

On Trucks: I hate them too but they do deliver things I like and need: milk, diapers, fruit, etc etc So they perform a function.

And what about the trucks carrying steel from the east end of hamilton to, say, windsor. Is it appropriate for them to take cannon to dundurn to the 403? THOSE are the trucks we are talking about. not the ones bringing milk to no frills.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted June 11, 2010 at 10:09:03

You have to remember the engineer's perspective. I'm an engineer (of the computer variety) and to me it's obvious: 1-way streets are the best solution for the intended function of a road - throughput of cars. The simple number of cars per-second that a strip of road can process before becoming dysfunctionally congested.

That's what a road is for. Flowing traffic. That is its purpose. 1-way streets maximize traffic flow, and therefore let the road meet it's maximum potential as a road.

Of course, all that external stuff like the quality-of-life of the people living around the road are externalities that are difficult to quantify and measure and directly correlate, so they don't get as much interest from an engineer... particularly one who specializes in optimizing traffic flow. Traffic flow engineers aren't designing cities, they're designing networks.

Honestly, _because_ of the engineer's perspective, I actually would rather see the King & Main corridor remain 1 way, at least for the western half of downtown. This would maintain a smooth connection from the QEW into the core, much like the Gardiner provides for Toronto. But I'd also like to see lanes given over to bike lanes, traffic calming measures introduced, the Green Wave reduced to 40km/h instead of the moronic 60 or 70 it seems to be right now, and an enforcement of the 50km/h limit. Hopefully that would be a good compromise - it would slow traffic to a sane and safer pace while still allowing it to move smooth through intersections instead of getting snarled by constant red lights.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2010-06-11 09:09:28

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted June 11, 2010 at 10:17:20

That's what a road is for. Flowing traffic.

That's a value judgment, not an engineering decision.

Engineering itself is value neutral; if the engineer's goal is to optimize traffic flow, then the design will support this. However, if the goal changes - say, from optimizing traffic flow to optimizing interactions and exchanges among people - then the engineering challenge changes accordingly.

The problem is that our traffic engineers are cloaking their value judgments about the purpose of a street behind faux-objectivity about how to achieve their goals.

Aside: I'm not an engineer but I am a computer programmer, so I spend a lot of time and energy trying to understand what problems people want to solve and how I can design systems that help people solve them.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2010-06-11 09:18:56

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By z jones (registered) | Posted June 11, 2010 at 10:26:42

1-way streets are the best solution for the intended function of a road - throughput of cars. [...] Of course, all that external stuff like the quality-of-life of the people living around the road are externalities...

You do know that cars don't drive themselves right? When you increase throughput of cars, you're really increasing throughput of people in cars. How come their quality of life isn't an externality?

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By James N. Robert (anonymous) | Posted June 11, 2010 at 10:58:34

Re: Gandhi

"My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition." -Indira Gandhi

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted June 11, 2010 at 11:04:09

the quality-of-life of the people living around the road are externalities that are difficult to quantify and measure and directly correlate

Really? We can't quantify lost sales, store closings, number of people on the sidewalk, occupancy rates of buildings, rate of demolitions, number of surface parking lots, etc., etc., etc.?? Give engineers a bit more credit than that.

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By andanotherthing (anonymous) | Posted June 11, 2010 at 14:08:03

The problem we have in Hamilton is that engineers are setting policy goals and objectives - that's the reverse of what it should be - The public and political leadership should set the goals and the engineers design the solution. That is why we are behind on so many basic urban issues such as livable streets and transit. When citizens speak out that the resulting environment or service is substandard, it doesn't fit into the prepackaged modeling software that seems to drive the decision-making on what is possible and what isn't for our community.

Cities that are succeeding look beyond the length of their nose when they set goals.

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By Bz (anonymous) | Posted June 11, 2010 at 14:16:15

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By frank (registered) | Posted June 11, 2010 at 15:00:42

andanotherthing...the engineers aren't setting the policies, they're doing what they have been told/asked to do.

With respect to the definition of traffic engineering, Ryan you're incorrect. One of the main definitions of traffic engineering is "a branch of civil engineering that uses engineering techniques to achieve the safe and efficient movement of people and goods". The engineering techniques used are the geometric designs etc. It's the lack of attention to the effects that efficient movement of people/goods has on the livability of the environment that the roadway is being built in that causes the problem... That however is NOT an engineer's responsibility. An engineer in this case would be given the task to design a roadway built to handle X amount of traffic. Perhaps engineering practices need to change (and I believe they should) to include the larger picture, however it still remains the client's responsibility to determine the define the parameters and in this case, the "client" is the City. The roadway is actually designed by outside engineers and the city engineers approve the design. So if we're talking about engineers in general, they aren't responsible anything other than their design but if we're talking about City engineers, it SHOULD be their responsibility to ensure that the design they're approving promotes the best for the City.

Arguably a point could be made that if the above is the definition used, bicycle lanes and sidewalks should receive equal consideration in the design of a roadway however, once again, the priorities are set by the client not the engineer.

What I'm trying to get at here is that the public is the end user and therefore the client. We've chosen politicians to represent us and it's their duty to ensure that any direction taken is beneficial to the public and not select groups (at the same time it's our duty to ensure that they are aware of what we want). One way they should be doing this is to become involved in the consultation and design phase of our roadways...

RE: BZ - You are chasing your tail... You say that Dave can't pass judgement on Bill Kelly or his wife and yet you're doing the same to him. The fact that your insults were exceedingly defamatory and childish was and is completely uncalled for. Next time you plan on exposing someone as a fool you should take the high road rather than jumping into the pile of poo you're using as ammunition.

Comment edited by frank on 2010-06-11 14:02:44

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By BZ (anonymous) | Posted June 11, 2010 at 15:16:17

Frank is right. Two wrongs dont make a right. But enough demonizing and stick to the point...just sayin'

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted June 11, 2010 at 15:22:34

Ryan you're incorrect. One of the main definitions of traffic engineering is...

You're conflating the role of a traffic engineer and the role of a road. Roads have many purposes, of which moving traffic is only one, and arguably not the most important.

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By Jarod (registered) | Posted June 11, 2010 at 17:13:52

Again...the Ryan logic cuts like a knife. And it doesn't take more than a sentence or two...

:)

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By Tom Kelly (anonymous) | Posted June 11, 2010 at 18:41:59

BZ: I'd like to see that picture too. Something tells me it will be done in crayon but you *might* be able to colour within the lines.

More to the point...if Bill Kelly can't take criticism then he really is in the wrong job and should really be doing something less in the public eye....especially if his only defense is from some homophobic loudmouth.

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By BZ (anonymous) | Posted June 12, 2010 at 08:09:08

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By Tom Kelly (anonymous) | Posted June 12, 2010 at 14:03:16

BZ: Whatever you say, Billy-boy. You act like I *SHOULD* know who you are. Sorry, man. When it comes to Hamilton celebrities you're not exactly up there with the likes of Eugene Levy and Red Green. I don't know you enough to cast hatred or not, but, the narcissism ain't very becoming.

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By BZ (anonymous) | Posted June 13, 2010 at 08:25:21

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By frank (registered) | Posted June 14, 2010 at 08:06:45

Ryan, if you take a look at the Transportation manual that is the definition you see. What you want it to be and what it probably should be is irrelevant - the fact of the matter is, that's the definition as it stands. If you read the definition though it states moving people and goods...says nothing about traffic or the methods used to move those people or goods. Like I stated, it's the client's desires that are reflected in the design.

Jarod logic doesn't necessarily equate to correctness.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted June 14, 2010 at 09:38:23

"...because of the engineer's perspective..." - Pxtl

Is that the same "engineering perspective" that causes many engineers to defend their design at all costs even after taking the engineer to the field to demonstrate what an epic failure the design is?

I have plenty of experience with that.

Engineering = Good on Paper.

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By frank (registered) | Posted June 14, 2010 at 09:57:31

Kiely, if you're speaking about Hart Solomon someone addressed that already. As the representative for the client, if his (and the other antiquated fixtures at City Hall) viewpoint doesn't change nothing will. See the post by Mr. Rathbone...it's exactly as he says garbage in, garbage out.

"Engineering = good on paper" I'm assuming is meant to demonstrate the fact that many engineers have no idea what's going on in the field. ("My computer screen and calculator say it will work" akin to Homer's "tv said so"!!) Engineering is always good on paper, it's the best engineers/designers that go out to the field to view the impact of their work and are willing to make design changes based on something other than the status quo. And there are some of those, I've met them. Unfortunately, it's not the norm though.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted June 14, 2010 at 12:18:44

Kiely, if you're speaking about Hart Solomon someone addressed that already. - Frank

I'm not talking about anyone in particular Frank... just speaking from personal experience. In my company (and more accurately, division of the company) "Good on paper" is our catch phrase when discussing engineers.

it's the best engineers/designers that go out to the field to view the impact of their work and are willing to make design changes based on something other than the status quo. And there are some of those, I've met them. Unfortunately, it's not the norm though. - Frank

That's been my experience as well. We have 2 or 3 engineers (which is about 10%) that are worth their salt and go out to the field. But the problem with them becomes getting them to keep their mouth shut in front of the customers : )

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By TD (registered) | Posted June 15, 2010 at 12:04:18

From what I understand the process and studies were done and its a last minute change proposed by certain councillors that the Chamber is opposed to.

How is it Hamilton is lucky enough to have councillors that are experts on Traffic, Planning, Engineering, Architecture, Stadiums, etc.

Councillors are not elected by businesses and they don't serve businesses -- well, they shouldn't, even if they usually do. You don't have to be an expert in anything to listen to your constituency's concerns and (this is the important bit) make it incumbent on industry to come up with a viable solution, not the constituency. Why should the council solve the trucking industry's problems at the expense of the people instead of solving the people's problems at the expense of the trucking industry? I realize that the city must support business to survive, but not at all costs, and there should be no confusion over whose needs take priority.

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By frank (registered) | Posted June 15, 2010 at 12:13:07

TD you're bang on!

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