By John Neary
Published March 21, 2011
If one-way streets don't work for the police, how can they work for the rest of us?
I had visitors from out of town on Sunday, and we spent some time walking around Beasley and Landsdale. Around noon, my visitors noticed several police cruisers heading north on Catharine Street at Wilson. Later on, around two o'clock, we saw another police cruiser accelerating west along Wilson Street towards Wellington, where it turned north and stopped in front of an apartment building.
The sight of police cruisers wasn't a surprise - after all, the Hamilton Police Service is headquartered on King William Street between Mary and Walnut. However, in both cases the cruisers were traveling in the wrong direction on a one-way street.
The driver of an emergency vehicle should only travel the wrong way on a one-way street in a dire situation. For the police to have done so twice in one day in the same area of the city, there can only be two explanations: either officers are taking dangerous shortcuts in non-emergent cases, or the network of one-way streets does not allow them to reach their destinations with sufficient haste when the need is great.
If the former is true (which I doubt), the Hamilton Police Service should apologize to residents of Beasley and Landsdale for the unsafe conduct of its officers, and should take steps to prevent such conduct.
On the other hand, if (as more likely) the latter is true, the HPS should impress upon the City of Hamilton that one-way streets interfere with police work and that prompt and complete conversion to a two-way network is necessary to ensure public safety.
By jacob (registered) | Posted March 21, 2011 at 08:53:09
Police aren't allowed to drive the wrong way down one way streets. They're liable for exactly the same penalties as any other citizen. They're allowed to go through red lights and go over the speed limit, I think that's all though, unless it's an absolute necessity for apprehending someone. Get them on camera next time and press charges.
By Woody10 (registered) | Posted March 21, 2011 at 12:40:25 in reply to Comment 61265
Ya ok, when they're coming to help you or your family down a one way street (wrong way) you press charges. How foolish your statement is. These people are doing their jobs to help and you want to press charges, this was meant as a joke I hope??
By Jacob (registered) | Posted March 21, 2011 at 16:13:40 in reply to Comment 61285
the police have to obey the law, simple as that. There's an exception when it's absolutely necessary. There are no signs here it was absolutely necessary.
By Woody10 (registered) | Posted March 22, 2011 at 02:19:55 in reply to Comment 61300
But you don't know for sure. Just because they aren't blasting lights and sirens doesn't mean there isn't an emergency.
By Tybalt (registered) | Posted March 21, 2011 at 15:43:29 in reply to Comment 61285
I do my job to help people too; does that mean I get to drive the wrong way down a one-way street? Awesome!
By Woody10 (registered) | Posted March 22, 2011 at 02:21:11 in reply to Comment 61299
Common sense buddy, common sense. You stopping a major crime or going to do CPR? Why do people have to take things to such a stupid level??
By George (registered) | Posted March 21, 2011 at 09:22:24 in reply to Comment 61265
AFAIK, emergency vehicles are NOT allowed to go over the speed limit, nor are they allowed to go the wrong way on a one way unless their destination it is within that block. In other words they can go the wrong way on a one way for less than one block.
Nor can they go "through" a red light. They must stop at a red light and treat it like a stop sign, and only proceed once they have gained control of the intersection.
Comment edited by George on 2011-03-21 09:28:22
By nobrainer (registered) | Posted March 21, 2011 at 09:06:23 in reply to Comment 61265
Get them on camera next time and press charges.
Or get rid of our one way streets so they don't have to break the law to just do there jobs.
By celebrity (anonymous) | Posted March 21, 2011 at 08:58:25
If my life is in danger I shouldn't have to wait while help drives three blocks in a circle when they're only one block away.
By banned user (anonymous) | Posted March 21, 2011 at 09:11:41
comment from banned user deleted
By MattM (registered) | Posted March 21, 2011 at 09:54:22
I'm not exactly a fan of one-way streets but it strikes me as incredibly silly to blame one-way streets for police driving around the wrong way, speeding, running red lights. There are much more educated arguments against one-way streets, this one is just ridiculous.
By nobrainer (registered) | Posted March 21, 2011 at 10:02:13 in reply to Comment 61271
Why? One way streets make it so you can't drive directly to somewhere, you have to drive past it on a different street and then cut back. It's great if your just going through the city but sucks if you want to stop somewhere because half the time the place will be on a street that goes the wrong way. No wonder alot of people don't bother trying to get to places downtown, they don't get to go the wrong way like the police do.
By MattM (registered) | Posted March 21, 2011 at 10:04:31 in reply to Comment 61272
So if the one-way streets being so hard to navigate is to blame, shouldn't I be seeing normal citizens driving the wrong way on streets all over the place? To be honest, in my 7 years of living here I have seen it less than 5 times. Pretty sure I saw it more in Toronto in less time.
Comment edited by MattM on 2011-03-21 10:05:03
By nobrainer (registered) | Posted March 21, 2011 at 10:08:30 in reply to Comment 61273
No, you just don't see normal drivers trying to get to downtown locations at all, why would you when it's easier to drive across town and into the parking lot of a big-box store?
By banned user (anonymous) | Posted March 21, 2011 at 10:40:18 in reply to Comment 61274
comment from banned user deleted
By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted March 21, 2011 at 12:11:42 in reply to Comment 61279
While that may be true of some items - it doesn't explain why streets like Locke, James, Ottawa, etc. are seeing some success. I walked up and down Locke on the weekend and it was packed with people and everyone was shopping. Bigbox has its advantages but downtown has ample parking (too much), it is much closer for people living downtown (target market?), and cost is always an issue when comparing with a bigbox. I guess the point is that I do not take my family for a walk around a bigbox, but we certainly enjoy walking Locke, Dundas main, James, etc. If downtown took advantage of that whole strip that would make for a great destination for all to enjoy. It has improved with the new bus stop (I think) but I think we need a few less cheque cashing places and a few more shop to actually buy smoething in.
By banned user (anonymous) | Posted March 21, 2011 at 13:03:51 in reply to Comment 61283
By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted March 21, 2011 at 21:04:58 in reply to Comment 61288
You stated ample free parking, I stated ample parking. Locke was free last year and thriving. The parking meters just mean that people don't leave their cars for en extended period. The street is still thriving.
Comment edited by GrapeApe on 2011-03-21 21:05:38
By nobrainer (registered) | Posted March 21, 2011 at 13:26:40 in reply to Comment 61288
As stated before this is a
You mean as stated before BY YOU with no evidence to back it up. Locke Street has no free parking and limited paid parking yet it's a highly successful street with a great mix of businesses, if what you're saying is true that shouldn't be possible, Allan.
By banned user (anonymous) | Posted March 21, 2011 at 14:24:10 in reply to Comment 61292
By banned user (anonymous) | Posted March 21, 2011 at 12:51:24 in reply to Comment 61283
comment from banned user deleted
By graham (registered) | Posted March 21, 2011 at 13:06:37 in reply to Comment 61286
So your position is that Hamilton can only support one busy commercial area?
How do you explain James St or Ottawa St?
How do you explain the fact that Ottawa St and Locke St are both thriving and new business are moving to both street?
The same way that Bloor St, Queen St and College St attract different consumers, downtown and Locke (and Ottawa and James) can co-exist and thrive.
By banned user (anonymous) | Posted March 21, 2011 at 13:25:12 in reply to Comment 61289
By nobrainer (registered) | Posted March 21, 2011 at 13:29:47 in reply to Comment 61290
Now you're just saying any old thing to avoid admitting you're wrong about this Allan.
By banned user (anonymous) | Posted March 21, 2011 at 13:59:22 in reply to Comment 61293
By thrillhouse (registered) | Posted March 21, 2011 at 12:54:43
"the Hamilton Police Service should apologize to residents of Beasley and Landsdale for the unsafe conduct of its officers"
I think the dangerous/unsafe-conduct argument might be a red herring, here: what's really the concern is officers driving illegally in non-emergent cases.
A police officer driving the wrong way, but doing so slowly and safely, is (ipso facto) not driving dangerously. Done cautiously, there is very little chance of creating an accident. There's no more reason to complain about this than about city maintenance crews driving up onto boulevards or sidewalks in order to do their work. Both are illegal when done by the average citizen, but both are (occasionally) necessary to do their job.
On the other hand, the cases you point out are cases where it wasn't necessary to do their jobs. Driving dangerously need not have anything to do with this (i.e., is a red herring). But you can still legitimately criticize them for flouting the law in this way.
[By all of this I mean: were they actually driving dangerously, or were they just breaking the law?]
Comment edited by thrillhouse on 2011-03-21 12:57:31
By John Neary (registered) | Posted March 21, 2011 at 13:25:14
The cruiser travelling west on Wilson was accelerating quickly enough to turn heads. I didn't happen to have a radar gun on me. And there was a phalanx of emergency vehicles outside the apartment building, as well as a police officer brandishing something that looked like an assault rifle. I would presume that something serious was happening in that building and that the office wasn't just driving the wrong way on Wilson Street for no reason.
I would argue that driving the wrong way on a one-way street is dangerous under any circumstances. Other users of the road don't expect it and might not take appropriate care to avoid being hit.
So if the one-way streets being so hard to navigate is to blame, shouldn't I be seeing normal citizens driving the wrong way on streets all over the place? To be honest, in my 7 years of living here I have seen it less than 5 times.
I see non-emergency vehicles driving south on Mary Street every few weeks. Usually they're heading from Cannon Street to Beasley Park. I guess the drivers either don't notice the one-way street sign or can't be bothered to drive around the block.
By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted March 21, 2011 at 13:45:39
"Oh no, the police are breaking the law! Somebody call the poli-"
And therein lies the problem.
By MattM (registered) | Posted March 21, 2011 at 14:20:13 in reply to Comment 61294
Call the SIU?
By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted March 21, 2011 at 17:20:07
Wouldn't the title "One Way Streets. Police Fail" be more accurate?
By John Neary (registered) | Posted March 21, 2011 at 19:28:56 in reply to Comment 61305
I'm not bashing the cops. I specifically said that I thought that they were driving the wrong way because the "network of one-way streets does not allow them to reach their destinations with sufficient haste when the need is great."
By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted March 21, 2011 at 22:12:22
Does anyone else see the irony in a RTH article complaining about one way streets not allowing a car to reach it's destination fast enough?
By jason (registered) | Posted March 22, 2011 at 10:10:22 in reply to Comment 61309
That's the hilarity of those who oppose one-way streets. You actually DO arrive at your destination quicker with two-way streets. Take someone who lives at Wilson and Ferguson and wants to drive to the York Blvd parkade. With two-way Wilson it's much quicker and easier than circling around superblocks out of the way. The only ones who don't benefit from two-way are the ones who only view downtown as their own freeway to somewhere else. And they are exactly the ones who shouldn't be catered to one bit.
By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted March 22, 2011 at 23:41:29 in reply to Comment 61320
I drive IN (not through)downtown several times a week and one way streets often benefit me. Saying things like "the only ones who don't benefit from two way are (through drivers)" is ridiculous. There are so many false statements used to back up people's views around here recently.
Comment edited by SpaceMonkey on 2011-03-22 23:42:19
By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted March 23, 2011 at 10:27:33
Okay, I can understand why Cannon and King and Main remain one-way. I mean, it might not be a good-enough reason to be worth the livability costs, but I can understand the logic of having a high-speed corridor across our horizontally-stretched lower city, considering how both sides of our ring road are cut off by geographical barriers like the Harbour and the Mountain.
But I don't see any reason for cross-streets like Catherine to be 1-way. It seems to create navigational and safety headaches for far too little gain.
By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted March 23, 2011 at 17:49:40 in reply to Comment 61393
I agree with you there Pxtl. I think that one way makes sense for Hamilton in some spots (eg King and Main for sure), and two way make sense in other spots (eg the majority of side streets).
Trying to argue that one way or two way are always better than the other is ridiculous.
By z jones (registered) | Posted March 23, 2011 at 21:12:41 in reply to Comment 61428
It's not about them being "better" or "worse", it's about deciding what we want our priorities to be. OP wrote "it might not be a good-enough reason to be worth the livability costs" which is exactly the point: do we care more about moving lots of cars as fast as possible or do we care more about making our streets livable? I know what I prefer.
By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted March 24, 2011 at 10:26:48 in reply to Comment 61433
Exactly. It's a complicated trade-off being made there. Obviously people living near Cannon and Main get a look at the downside up close and personal.
But it's a trade-off. I can see the city's case for Main and Cannon. King I won't discuss because LRT is going to change King's situation a fair bit - 1-way but very narrow.
The rest of the streets just seem to offer almost no gains, except maybe for a handful of exceptions like Wellington/Victoria connecting the Main/Cannon corridor to Burlington Street, or Queen South running down to Beckett (but if James and John work well 2-way and they go up to the Jolley Cut, Queen South could stand to be 2-way too). But either way, streets like that have some justification for being 1-way. Is it good enough? Well, that depends who you talk to, and depends on the street. Victoria and Wellington are solidly residential, for example. Queen North connecting the end of Cannon to King is part of the westbound corridor, but the buildings along Queen North are nicely set back away from the sidewalk and generally commercial, not the kind of crammed residential street-wall that makes me queasy to see stuck in 1-way like Wellington/Victoria.
It's a matter of costs and benefits, and where you draw the line. Spacemonkey obviously has a different line he draws from most of the posters on the site, but his point is valid too - the benefits for keeping these side-streets 1-way that aren't part of the major corridors (or urban highways if you like) seem ludicrously low, so even somebody who advocates for our urban highway system totally agree there's no reason to keep them one-way.
I mean, I'm a fence-sitter, but that might be caused by the fact that I don't live anywhere near Cannon.
But what possible reason could Charlton have for being 1-way? Duke St? Hughson?
By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted March 23, 2011 at 21:33:55 in reply to Comment 61433
By saying "moving lots of cars as fast as possible", I'm guessing you're implying one way streets. Making our streets livable or having one way streets is a perfect example of false choice.
Comment edited by SpaceMonkey on 2011-03-23 21:36:52
By z jones (registered) | Posted March 23, 2011 at 22:06:10 in reply to Comment 61434
Try living on Cannon for a year and then come talk to me.
By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted March 24, 2011 at 13:05:18 in reply to Comment 61435
Did u not know that Cannon was a one way truck route when you moved there?
By highwater (registered) | Posted March 24, 2011 at 14:28:07 in reply to Comment 61464
This from someone who has complained about student behaviour in Westdale?
Don't get me wrong. The argument that you shouldn't live near a university if you don't like hosing vomit and human excrement off your porch every morning, is completely asinine. But I would think that as a resident of Westdale, you would have some sympathy for people who have to live with the damaging results of decisions made by local governments, institutions, and industries, regardless of which came first.
The unfortunate souls who live on or near Cannon and Main are no more responsible for the fact that we have allowed inner city neighbourhoods to be rent by urban highways and through truck routes, than the residents of Westdale are for the anti-social behaviour of many Mac students. Neither one should be tolerated, and blaming the victims is just a lazy way of defending the indefensible.
Comment edited by highwater on 2011-03-24 14:49:25
By nobrainer (registered) | Posted March 24, 2011 at 13:14:58 in reply to Comment 61464
Your right, only poor people who don't matter live on Cannon because housing is so cheap there since nobody who can afford to live somewhere else wants to live on a one way truck route.
Which is exactly the OP's point, Cannon SUCKS as a street and it's SPECIFICALLY because it's a one way truck route, now stop making excuses for downtown highways that kill the neighbourhoods they blast through.
By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted March 24, 2011 at 10:54:38 in reply to Comment 61435
Anyone who thinks the above is a good argument obviously has blinders on.
By highwater (registered) | Posted March 24, 2011 at 11:25:12 in reply to Comment 61450
Are you saying that the experiences of the people whose neighbourhoods are directly affected by our urban highways have no part in this discussion? Talk about blinders.
By JohnNeary (anonymous) | Posted March 24, 2011 at 16:21:34 in reply to Comment 61452
I chose (for a number of reasons) to live in Beasley. I guess Mr. Meister thinks that I should shut up because I could have chosen to live elsewhere if I wanted to.
Oh, but then I wouldn't be complaining about Cannon Street because it wouldn't affect me. Or if I did complain, it wouldn't be legitimate because it's not my neighbourhood anyway.
Great recipe for victimizing the victims, IMHO.
By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted March 24, 2011 at 16:18:02 in reply to Comment 61452
Do you have reading comprehension issues? What I'm saying is that living somewhere doesn't make one way streets and street livability mutually exclusive.
Comment edited by SpaceMonkey on 2011-03-24 16:19:38
By z jones (registered) | Posted March 24, 2011 at 16:34:26 in reply to Comment 61475
living somewhere doesn't make one way streets and street livability mutually exclusive.
No, it's the mutual exclusivity of our one-way streets and street livability that does it, and it's spending time on said streets that makes it clear why. Tell you what, find me a one way throughway in Hamilton that's nice to live on or walk on and I'll buy you a beer.
By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted March 24, 2011 at 17:10:31 in reply to Comment 61477
>> find me a one way throughway in Hamilton that's nice to live on or walk on and I'll buy you a beer.
Manhattan and downtown Portland are almost all one way streets and yet people love living there. The only difference is that those cities have low taxes and strong economies, whereas Hamilton has high taxes and a lingering socialist mentality.
As soon as the people of Hamilton realize that it's everyday people who create wealth and jobs, rather than politicians, Cannon St will start sprouting condo towers just like those other cities.
Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom to realize just how messed up your beliefs have become.
By temp temp (anonymous) | Posted March 30, 2011 at 10:11:34 in reply to Comment 61483
Manhattan and Portland don't time their lights so that cars can move at highway-like speeds through them easily. Manhattan and Portland have built extensive bike lane systems throughout their city that co-exist ON THE MAIN ROADS. Manhattan has actually REMOVED CAR TRAFFIC ENTIRELY on some of its streets - including at Times Square - and given it back to the people. Manhattan has huge sidewalks that help to move people, buffer them from vehicles and encourage social interaction etc.
Have you been to these cities? You may have chosen the 2 best examples of American Cities with livable streets, and they have achieved this by looking at peoples priorities over car priorities.
Your argument might be better if you reference some American cities that design their streets to move cars first and foremost. Detroit Michigan and Gary Indiana come to mind...
By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted March 30, 2011 at 13:53:30 in reply to Comment 61767
In other words, one way streets aren't the real problem, in your opinion.
That being the case, why not put the focus where you think it should be, by making wider sidewalks and fixing the lights?
I have no problem believing that wider sidewalks make a street more livable. As for light timing, I'm agnostic.
When it comes to bike lanes, NYC was NYC long before it had dedicated bike lanes. In other words, they are not a requirement for a bustling city.
By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted March 24, 2011 at 16:47:07 in reply to Comment 61477
Find me a two way throughway in Hamilton that is nice to live on or walk on. What ridiculousness.
By banned user (anonymous) | Posted March 24, 2011 at 16:58:07 in reply to Comment 61480
comment from banned user deleted
By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted March 24, 2011 at 17:27:49 in reply to Comment 61481
Well perhaps you should define "livable" because I fail to see a difference.
By banned user (anonymous) | Posted March 24, 2011 at 17:34:33 in reply to Comment 61485
comment from banned user deleted
By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted March 24, 2011 at 18:52:31 in reply to Comment 61486
I'd agree with you on that one. Maybe Ryan will one day (or already has) write an article about how he defines "livable streets". But based on how I think of as livable, I'd agree that Burlington and some parts of Barton are much less desirable to live on than King or Main or Cannon.
By banned user (anonymous) | Posted March 24, 2011 at 17:00:46
comment from banned user deleted
You must be logged in to comment.
There are no upcoming events right now.
Why not post one?