Comment 77032

By Jay Robb (anonymous) | Posted May 16, 2012 at 21:50:28

If Hamilton can convert one km of 1-way street for 2-way for around $12,000, then it's a low cost investment worth making.

So now the question is how to make it happen? How to mobilize a broad base of support beyond the downtown core and win the votes of councilors?

Disparaging folks who drive, casting this as a core vs. suburban issue and taking shots at big box stores and malls won't win any friends beyond the converted. Many of the comments here won't move folks who are uncommitted / undecided.

Messaging on the need and benefits of two-way streets has been all over the map. Is converting to 2-way about walkability? Is it about creating jobs and building prosperity?

Needs a very solid business case specific to downtown Hamilton. Know that for every success story, critics and cynics can point to communities and neighbourhoods where two-way streets have done nothing to spur development (Barton Street may well be exhibit A).

And the voices of support for 2-way streets need to come from beyond the usual suspects and the left side of the political spectrum. Which business and civic leaders should step up and lead the charge?

Would also be helpful if a clear and compelling vision for downtown Hamilton can be articulated.

Ottawa Street is recognized as a home decor destination. Locke Street seems to be all about food. These parts of Hamilton are clearly defined.

How do 2-way streets fit into the long-term vision for what the core should be. And what else beyond 2-way streets is needed.

Converting to 2-way seems like a quick and easy fix -- a low-cost, low-risk investment. But it needs to be part of a bigger gameplan. And the economic benefits -- more jobs, more tax revenues -- need to be as heavily emphasized as walkability and reduced dependence on automobiles.

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