The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce is calling on the City of Hamilton to "study the design and impact of creating 'complete streets'" and to ask the McMaster Institute of Transportation and Logistics (MITL) to conduct a people and goods movement study.
In a letter to Council sent on November 29, 2012, Chamber President and CEO David Adames writes:
[W]e all know that the discussion around complete streets requires a clear understanding of what the impacts - positive or negative - would be as a result of street conversion. In an effort to help the debate, and to ensure that an informed decision is made, more research is needed.
The Chamber has not taken a formal position on two-way conversion of Hamilton's one-way streets, but a report on walkability produced for the Chamber and published earlier this year recommended: "walkable environments should be viewed as economic infrastructure that attract employment and should be invested in accordingly."
Earlier this year, MITL prepared a Light Rail Transit study for Hamilton, concluding that LRT can be successful in Hamilton but requires careful land use planning, street calming and a political champion.
Following is the full text of the letter.
November 29, 2012
Mayor and Members of Council
Hamilton City Hall - 71 Main St. West
Hamilton, ON L8P 4Y5
Mayor and Members of Council:
RE: Complete streets and one-way conversions - research needed for an evidence-based decision
Over the past few years, the issue of converting Hamilton's one-way streets to two-way has received a great deal of attention in the community. Both sides of the street conversion debate have made what may very well be valid points, either in favour or in opposition to conversion. However, moving forward, we all know that the discussion around complete streets requires a clear understanding of what the impacts - positive or negative - would be as a result of street conversion. In an effort to help the debate, and to ensure that an informed decision is made, more research is needed.
To help make an informed decision, the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce offers the following two recommendations regarding complete streets and one-way conversions:
1) Council direct staff to study the design and impact of creating "complete streets" (ex. on Main Street West between Dundurn Street and the Delta) and its impact from an integrated planning perspective; and,
2) Council utilize the services of the McMaster Institute for Transportation Logistics (MITL) to produce a report on the impact to people and goods movement for residents and businesses, and the impact it may have on future LRT planning
The Hamilton Chamber has not yet taken a position on this issue, but would like to be part of studying it through our various committees and divisions, including Transportation, Business Development, Hamilton HIVE, Young Entrepreneurs and Professionals, and the LRT Task Force. To that end, the Chamber has commissioned a study to look at the empirical data of assessment changes for four precincts in the lower city to establish comparisons where investment in public infrastructure can be measured (ex. street conversion and other street improvements). The results of this study will be finalized in the first quarter of 2013.
We look forward to working with our members, City Council and staff on this issue.
President and CEO
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