Listen to Developers on Two-Way Streets

By Ryan McGreal
Published July 05, 2012

If Hamilton Council won't listen to lower city residents when they ask for walkable two-way streets, maybe they will at least consider listening to the developers.

In today's column for CBC Hamilton, Paul Wilson quotes Ward 3 Councillor Bernie Morelli about a possible new development using the old manufacturing plants for Otis and Studebaker between Victoria and Wentworth Streets:

"There are still some hurdles to overcome," Morelli says. One is that the developers want Victoria Avenue made two-way again. The councillor thinks that might be doable. "I sense this project has real potential."

(H/t to highwater for sharing the quote.)

On June 20, Councillor Chad Collins told the General Issues Committee that the retail grocery operations he talked to are telling him downtown Hamilton's one-way streets are a major barrier to investing in the downtown core:

Even some of the one-way streets are the barriers that many of them recognized as standing in the way of making developments happen.

Just last month, Caroline Street was converted to two-way between Main and King, reportedly on a request from developer Darko Vranich, who is building a hotel on the northwest corner of Caroline and George and plans to build a new condo with street-level retail on the southeast corner.

If all these developers can recognize the value and utility of two-way streets to their investments, why is Council so reluctant to give all our lower city streets a chance to succeed?

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.


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By rednic (registered) | Posted July 05, 2012 at 12:35:53

why is Council so reluctant to give all our lower city streets a chance to succeed?

You havn't figured that one out yet ... They are scared it might take 5 minutes extra to get to work.

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By beancounter (registered) | Posted July 05, 2012 at 17:52:58

Drivers have more votes than developers.

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted July 09, 2012 at 00:25:21 in reply to Comment 79237

Cop out!

I drive pretty much everywhere. I want two conversion now!

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By ScreamingViking (registered) | Posted July 05, 2012 at 23:06:50 in reply to Comment 79237

There would be the inevitable loud complaints. But seriously, how many people would do more than grumble a bit and adapt? How many would even grumble about it?

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By jason (registered) | Posted July 06, 2012 at 09:57:35 in reply to Comment 79256

exactly. It would literally add perhaps 2-5 minutes on a complete cross town trip...which, by the way, is already quicker via the Linc/Red Hill or Burlington St. People are creatures of habit. Add 4 minutes to their Main St route and they'll suddenly wonder why they haven't been using the Linc or Burlington St all this time. Get on with it.

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By no continuous ring (anonymous) | Posted July 06, 2012 at 11:48:52 in reply to Comment 79275

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By jason (registered) | Posted July 06, 2012 at 15:09:14 in reply to Comment 79284

so what?? Someone who lives in the Annex in TO gets off the Gardiner or 427 or whatever, and drives there. I missed the memo that stated it's now a human right to have a cloverleaf freeway ramp in front of every single house.

If you live at Mohawk and Garth how do you get there? If you live at Rymal and Upper Ottawa how do you get there? If you live at Main and Cootes how do you get there?

You get off your closest freeway and you DRIVE there....on a two-way street in all of these cases. Somehow the world hasn't come to an end because someone living at Main and Cootes doesn't have a direct freeway ramp to the 403.

Comment edited by jason on 2012-07-06 15:11:32

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By no continuous ring (anonymous) | Posted July 06, 2012 at 15:29:46 in reply to Comment 79295

Nobody asked for a freeway. You are inventing a crises that doesn't exist

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By no circular argument (anonymous) | Posted July 06, 2012 at 13:18:41 in reply to Comment 79284

Sorry but why is this even a problem? Take whatever street you want to go west. Take Barton. Cannon. Wilson/York. King. Main. Jackson. Hunter. Burlington St E to the QE for all I care. This is a pretend crisis that in no way shape or form justifies killing downtown streets so you don't have to lie awake nights wondering how you're going to go west on Burlington St.

PS congrats on learning how to spell "continuous".

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By no continuous ring (anonymous) | Posted July 06, 2012 at 15:28:25 in reply to Comment 79290

I liked the name so I took it. Might as well spell it correctly. Besides if you live in central Hamilton you are local traffic and you are allowed to drive on streets you pay for

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted July 06, 2012 at 12:05:12 in reply to Comment 79284

Anything west of Burlington's effective terminus at Wellington/Victoria is like a 4KM drive from the King/Main bridge QEW/403 ramps. That's hardly an odiously long journey to drive on 2-way traffic. Even if traffic crawls along at only 20km/h, that's a worst-case scenario of a 12-minute drive from the expressway to your destination, and that's assuming you've decided to always use the 403 to get to these western destinations and ever take Burlington Street to get to stuff that's more easily accessible from there.

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By no continuous ring (anonymous) | Posted July 06, 2012 at 15:26:12 in reply to Comment 79285

The comment was made that Burlington could be used as an alternate to Cannon not that it might be slower. Please try to be honest when you troll me. I never said it was better or worse to use Burlington but the argument made was that it was a faster alternative when in fact it isn't an alternative at all

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By A2B (anonymous) | Posted July 05, 2012 at 22:34:09

Squeaky Wheel + Development Charges + Jobs + Expanded Tax Base = Two-Way Grease. The equation is theoretical on a website, but quantifiable in real time on a construction site.

That and the city is cash-strapped and is probably unable to enact a larger campaign of two-way conversions. Hence the sad little simulacra, like a remedial pedestrian piazza that will replace metered parking with food trucks and allow banks to open the patios they've been unjustly denied for so long. The City has always been big on fast-tracking half measures.

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By Core-B (registered) | Posted July 05, 2012 at 23:06:35

Morelli says it might be doable eh? Well he won't get Ferguson on side because we've spent enough on the downtown in his view. I hope I'm wrong but I don't hold a lot of hope that Morelli will champion this or any other cause.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted July 06, 2012 at 10:14:30 in reply to Comment 79255

Oh, I think he'll champion it for the right kind of supporter or the right kind of support.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted July 06, 2012 at 10:23:25 in reply to Comment 79280

But championing things requires effort, commitment, and political capital. Not things that Morelli is noted for, no matter how much support is involved.

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