Comment 60834

By myrcurial (registered) - website | Posted March 09, 2011 at 12:40:48

I think that we can reasonably say that the traffic planners at city hall are certifiably insane.

  • "We need 5 or 6 lanes of high speed Main Street / King Street" -- except that both currently have reductions to 2 or 3 lanes due to long term construction.

  • "Yes, 3 lanes across half of the Main Street / 403 bridge is safe" -- except that six foot wide lanes are narrower than nearly every single vehicle that the city operates.

  • "Since pedestrians are walking anyways, we can make them go the long way around at Dundurn/King" -- except that pedestrians are just as entitled to move around the city as cars are.

  • "Striped medians separate traffic travelling in opposite directions to make drivers safer" -- except that the 5 foot wide strip of pavement in the centre of Barton means that the edge lanes are only slightly narrower than the track of the 18+ wheelers loaded with steel that rumble through.

  • "Only poor people walk anywhere so we don't have to provide services to them" -- except that most people (who aren't self-important rejects) would like to get out and walk now and then as long as it's safe and easy.

I could go on and on... I'd just rather that we did some sane things:

  • Start preparing our city to support the pending HUGE number of boomers who will not be allowed to keep their licenses as age and disease make them unsafe. This means more sidewalks, better transit options, room for their mobility scooters to fly along the side walk at 20km/h

  • Restripe all city streets to have minimum 12' wide lanes -- if the road is 25' wide, you get 2 lanes, if the road is 35' wide, you get two lanes.

  • One-way streets are permissable ONLY where the road width itself is less than 24'.

  • All on-street parking is paid parking. Either with a meter or with a blanket pass you can purchase on an annual basis. If you want to (or need to) park on the street in front of your house, you can purchase rights to the spot on an annual basis - oversubscribed streets go into a lottery.

  • Reset all traffic lights to "scramble" mode -- three phase (or more) -- two phases for traffic (north-south or east-west) and one phase for pedestrians to travel in any of north-south/east-west and all combinations.

  • In addition to requiring new construction to have parking spots (with reasonable exceptions for intensification), before an occupancy permit is allowed, there must be clear, standards based, and obvious access for pedestrians from the street to the new construction (aka The Centre Mall Fiasco Prevention Law)

  • Sidewalk standards must have a minimum of 6' width in order to provide safely for two mobility scooters to pass each other -- anyone who thinks those things are going to do anything other than explode in number over the next 15 years is kidding themselves. (Funny story, the bus stop closest to my house has a shelter - thanks HSR! - except that the shelter takes up ~40% of the sidewalk width, and there isn't room for a mobility scooter to get by safely without travelling on the street!)

  • Eliminate through-traffic for commercial trucking - if your destination is serviced by a highway or highway-analogue (ie: Burlington Street) then you'd best be taking it. Random stops with intense fines to clean up the problem of trucks shortcutting from Burlington Street to 403 West via Cannon/King -- take the highways around, since you lobbied so hard for them.

  • Provide proper pedestrian crossing opportunities (either a scramble light as listed above or a pedestrian "X" crossing) every 200m along streets with more than 2 lanes.

And once you've done all of the above, then start aggressive enforcement activities against PoBs -- Pedestrians on Bikes -- to get them acting like traffic instead of unpredictable disasters waiting to happen (related to funny story from above, I'm regularly clipped by passing PoBs at the bus stop because they have /just/ enough room to get by the HSR shelter but not enough to miss someone standing in the shelter).

And like so many of my previous suggestions on this site to the lovely folks (usually acting like petulant children) who stand forever re-elected as our city government, the cost of doing all of the above (except the one-way deconversions) is effectively manageable out of the operating budget without capital expenditures... all they have to do is actually do it.

Not that Mayor Bob ever reads this blogsite or listens to some of Hamilton's most engaged citizens. Sigh.

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