Comment 105478

By j.servus (registered) | Posted October 20, 2014 at 23:07:27 in reply to Comment 105473

Thanks very much for the clarification. It is helpful.

So, I agree that there has to be a consideration of the overall traffic flow and a lot of other interconnected variables, and it can't be piecemeal. But part of not being piecemeal means we cannot focus only on traffic flows as if there were no other values at stake. It turns out that when we make decisions based only on one value--How do we maximize traffic throughput?--we sacrifice a lot of other things. And those other things include neighborhood vitality, businesses, safety, quality of living, beauty, and health. It would be really worthwhile to bring some of those into focus, which is what I aimed to do in my satire.

I brought up a lot of interconnected issues in my post, not just one-way streets, although I did point out that one-way streets have a lot of downsides. Basically, they are good for one thing: traffic throughput. And they are bad for most of the other things, at least the way they are currently arranged in Hamilton. And if you ask, Who benefits most from fast traffic throughput?, the answer is, People who have a long way to go. And if you ask, Who suffers most from dangerous, fast, unpleasant, ugly roadways? The answer is, The people who live near them.

Wentworth, as a single street, is not terribly relevant to the overall traffic issues in Hamilton. But Wentworth, as a symptom of what we are doing wrong, is very relevant. And, of course, Wentworth is quite relevant to the people who live nearby and are affected by its ridiculousness.

Wentworth is one of many quite absurd North-South one-ways in the inner city. It would be absurd to pave three lanes but only allow one to be used. It is absurd to pave three lanes for one lane's worth of traffic. It is most absurd to deliberately eliminate traffic by making the road one-way. That is like designating your lawnmower "Front Yard Only." "Hey Dad, can I use that to mow the back?" "Oh, no. That's the Front Yard Mower." "Okay, but it's just sitting there." "I know. The front is already mowed." "Great. Then I can use it in back?" "Ah, no. It's for the front." "But it's just for an hour. You can still use it in front." "Yeah... No."

You're not for waste. I'm not for waste. Why do we have a road, with three lanes, which we can only use in one direction? It's not because there are too many cars going the other direction. There aren't. There are hardly any.

So let's use streets like Wentworth for both directions. We already decided to do it. 13 years ago.

But it's not just silly. It's also harmful. Because Wentworth is one-way, a lot of traffic comes down my little street. That's not good for the street. Is it really the city's goal, to encourage through-traffic to run down a little neighborhood side street? Why? What city has that as a goal? "Hey, here's an idea. Instead of using this big wide arterial road, let's send the traffic down this side street." "Wait. There are two extra lanes over here. We've already got them built. No one is using them." "I know, I know. But if the traffic goes down this side street, it will be more dangerous for kids! Don't you want to make this the Best Place to Raise a Child?"

My point is that the "overall traffic issues in Hamilton," as you put it, are not just about throughput. There are a lot of other factors. And just to focus on throughput--even if it's throughput across the whole downtown, west, east, north, south--is not to come to grips with "the overall traffic issues in Hamilton."

There are a lot of things the city could do to improve the traffic flows down here, besides reconfiguring Main and King. We probably wouldn't agree on Main and King, but I bet we could agree on a lot of those other things. Like Wentworth. Victoria. Wellington. They are worse than a waste. They are destroyers of value.

Comment edited by j.servus on 2014-10-20 23:08:32

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