Mayor Bratina on One-Way Conversion in Library Archives

By RTH Staff
Published October 31, 2012

The October 29, 2012 edition of Bob Bratina's Hamilton features a ten-minute interview with Hamilton Public Library archivist Margaret Houghton on the 1956 wholesale conversion of Hamilton's lower city streets from two-way to one-way.

The interview is well worth watching, not only for the information and insight it provides into the city's decision to convert its downtown streets en masse to one-way traffic under the recommendation of US traffic engineer Wilbur Smith, but also for the introduction to the excellent archives at Central Library on the third floor.


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By jorge (anonymous) | Posted October 31, 2012 at 10:09:01

Anyone else get the feeling mayor bob reeeeally wants to come out in favour of two way reversion but is afraid of offending the suburban base that elected him?

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By kettal (registered) | Posted November 01, 2012 at 22:23:34 in reply to Comment 82459

The previous mayor suffered from the same problem.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted October 31, 2012 at 15:55:06 in reply to Comment 82459

De-amalgamation got Bratina elected in 2010 and there is no way he'd betray those suburban voters even if he went against his personal views.

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By j (registered) | Posted November 01, 2012 at 13:55:23 in reply to Comment 82490

I don't think this is quite right. It seems like Bratina is rejecting certain issues as unwinnable due to strong public opinion. All councillors do this; ie Brenda Johnson supporting wind turbine opponents.

But just in case anyone thinks Bratina is just about mollifying suburbanites, here's a fairly radical recent statement about climate change:

"If this council is serious on addressing I would make a motion right now that we freeze the urban boundary and not expand and create urban sprawl,” the mayor declared. “We have to look at energy conservation; we have to look at ways that we can reduce the demand for energy. And we can do it by our planning protocols. We can do it by our transit planning, and so on."

The fact is that Bratina's been a pretty consistently centre-left politician and it's time to mend that relationship before someone gets it into their heads to elect Lloyd Ferguson or Tom Jackson. If he could stop the Aerotropolis I think he could mend a lot of the ill-will following LRT and Peggygate.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted November 02, 2012 at 10:10:25 in reply to Comment 82522

I actually kinda liked the Bratina that ran in the mayoral election. I mean, I voted for Fred but I wasn't to bothered when Bratina won. The guy who fought for the West Harbor stadium, the guy who talked about LRT, the guy who spitballed ideas out loud (often bad ones, I'll admit - like the A-line coming first, etc.) The indecisive guy who wanted to look at every single possibility and liked to talk.

I mean, he wasn't perfect, but I kind of understood him and liked him. He was a radio guy who didn't have a filter and just rambled his thoughts and kept discussion going and wanted to examine every possible option.

But that's not the mayor we got. We got a mayor who shows commitment to his worst ideas. A mayor who stuck to the cost-saving compromise stadium location after it turned out the savings wouldnt' materialize - who did a complete 180 on his discussions of LRT in a way that makes me suspicious of backroom deals with the Provincial Liberals.

It would take a lot for me to support this mayor again. Torpedoing the Aerotropolis would be a point in his favour, but he's at negative two or so for me right now.

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By ScreamingViking (registered) | Posted November 02, 2012 at 01:05:18 in reply to Comment 82522

"We can do it by our transit planning, and so on."

Transit planning? Transit planning???

Um.... ya.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 01, 2012 at 20:43:05 in reply to Comment 82522

I think suburban residents actually like this sentiment. They always freak out when a new townhouse is built after their new townhouse. They'd love to see it stop. Those councillors and their buds are the ones who won't allow it.

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By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted October 31, 2012 at 10:14:45

If anyone wants to do something great for Hamilton, they should consider a donation to the Local History & Archives Department | (aka Special Collections) to digitize their archives, post-haste.

For public information, this repository is shockingly inaccessible except by mid-20th century means. It is one of the few places you can find a card catalogue, which for anyone under age 30 is little more than a piece of ungainly furniture. Counter to its supposed mission, I would argue that for the most part, the LH&AD is a actively dissuades exploration.

Despite a recent multi-million dollar renovation that showcases a first floor that is a tribute to technology (internet cafe-meets-DVD/video game shop, complete with self-check check-outs and bedazzled with flatscreen TVs and a rainbow-coloured LED light show), local heritage is imprisoned on atoms and gathering dust/. I cannot even begin to guess at the proportion of the collection bequeathed to the HPL that has not even made it to the card catalogue.

As Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." With our city's history secreted away, is hardly surprising that the status quo prevails so often.

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By vanishedhamiltonarchives (anonymous) | Posted October 31, 2012 at 14:31:59

Don't get me wrong - I LOVE the archives - but I just wish they would fairly share some of the things they share with a certain book publisher. The roadblocks in that place are ridiculous sometimes!

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By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted October 31, 2012 at 16:36:01 in reply to Comment 82489

As much as I respect Margaret Houghton, her take on local history sometimes seems like a bottomless tray of humbugs.

Nov 2007:

The third and final Vanished Hamilton is in bookstores now.

"We could keep going," says editor Margaret Houghton, archivist at the Hamilton Public Library. "But three's enough."

Sept 2012:

We are looking forward to an end of September release date for Vanished Hamilton IV

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted November 01, 2012 at 10:13:13 in reply to Comment 82491

Well, we keep letting people like the Board of Ed and Blanchard tear buildings down. At this rate we'll need a few revisions a year to keep up with all the vanishings

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By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted November 04, 2012 at 08:58:33 in reply to Comment 82508

Going for a song...

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By highwater (registered) | Posted November 01, 2012 at 11:47:40 in reply to Comment 82508

We've got binders full of demolished buildings.

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By Ensign (anonymous) | Posted November 01, 2012 at 19:00:08

Good things haven't been got, old-fashioned virtues have been forgotten. Maybe a new strategy is called for. What was it that someone once said about doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results?

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