Comment 105466

By j.servus (registered) | Posted October 20, 2014 at 19:41:59

Thanks for your remarks, which I appreciate. One-ways have their merits. They are not, by themselves, the problem. The problem arises from a constellation of factors, taken together. Let me give two examples.

There is a reasonable argument for one way streets when there is a very heavy traffic volume. Industry standard for urban thoroughfares is 8000 vehicles per lane, per day.

What is the argument for Wentworth being one way? Each day, it carries a paltry 1800 vehicles per lane, or 5400 vehicles for the entire three lane street. Who wants to stand up and say it is good use of our resources--of our space, of our money, of our snow clearing equipment, etc.--to maintain three lanes for less than one lane worth of traffic? That is silly. It is a waste of money. It is a waste of space.

But it is also a waste in other ways, because it has bad side effects. If Wentworth (and Victoria, and Wellington, etc.) was a two-way street, you would have much better communication between King and Main. Traffic could move back and forth, without cutting through neighborhoods. It is not only silly but positively stupid, dangerous, and destructive for the city to have traffic incentives for cutting through neighborhoods.

Speaking of dangerous, the speed limit of 50 km/h is way too high for neighborhood side streets. But I digress.

What about Main? Right now, East of downtown, it is carrying just over 4000 vehicles per lane, per day. On five lanes. That is a total waste of money. We are maintaining lanes we do not need for the volume of traffic we have. We are paving them. We are clearing them of snow. It is like building a five car garage for two cars and a motorcycle. And then discovering that you don't have any space left for a patio and can't buy a grill because you spent all your money on the garage and you can't afford to put a new roof on it. Who would do that? It's ridiculous.

For all those lanes, all that money, all that maintenance, all that snow clearance, we are getting nothing, zero, nada. Because the street would function just fine with three lanes. Keeping five lanes is just more money "wasted downtown."

In fact, we are getting less than zero. We are getting negative. We are destroying value. We could have wider sidewalks that people might like to walk on. I bet the shopkeepers on Main would dig that. We could have trees lining the street. Hey, it adds value in Ancaster. Maybe it would add value downtown, too! We could have a place to ride a bicycle. Right now there is nowhere for that. A lot of people ride on the sidewalk, but the sidewalk is single file already. It is easy to complain about people riding on the sidewalk. It would be much better to give them a little space. There is plenty of space. But right now, we are wasting it. In fact, we are destroying it.

The point is not one-ways. The point is the mix.

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