Comment 83108

By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted November 22, 2012 at 08:10:29

I might have spoken too soon on Burlington's "road diet".

I found the following in the Hamilton Spectator's October 4 edition:

Councillors voted Wednesday night to keep the idea of reducing the four lanes at the border with Hamilton to two lanes as a pilot project in a multimillion-dollar plan to redevelop the artery.

This comes after a stormy Sept. 19 open house in which city staff was berated by some residents over the lane reduction. They were upset that it would cause congestion and bring traffic chaos to Aldershot. The meeting at the Royal Botanical Gardens was attended by a few hundred people.

While councillors voted to keep the lane reduction on the table, staff made it clear they are not looking at bringing forward the pilot project immediately. Councillors made their decision after hearing from 10 delegations, the majority of whom supported redeveloping Plains Road and not dropping the idea of the road diet.

“Let’s keep the possibility open for a road test of the road diet,” said Doug Lintula, a Plains Road resident.
Cary Clark, manager of development and environmental engineering, said in a report to councillors staff were getting significant feedback from the public regarding the road diet project.

He said staff believes the community is not ready for the project, “albeit a very good concept,” and said staff will not pursue it any further at this time.
City engineer Tom Eichenbaum said he is looking at possibly implementing the pilot project in the fifth year of the proposed 20-year redevelopment scheme after intersections along Plains Road are improved and the city can analyze traffic flow.

“Some may think that’s a little too late; some may think that’s a little too fast,” he told the community services committee. “In my own mind, I can see it no later than five years.”

He said the open house was held to clarify the idea of the road diet and that staff was uneasy it would become the focus of the entire project, which also includes bike lanes, wider sidewalks, a roundabout and more pedestrian crossings. He noted “that has happened.”

Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven, who represents Aldershot, apologized to city staff for how they were treated at the open house.

“I was embarrassed at how staff was treated by my community at that meeting,” he said. “Aldershot is a much friendlier place than you experienced that night.”

The city hired MMM Group Ltd. last year to develop what is called a Functional Design and Implementation Strategy for the Plains Road Corridor. The corridor is between the Queen Elizabeth Way in the east and Highway 403 in the west. Plains Road was formerly part of Highway 2 and was the only major route connecting Burlington to Hamilton until Highway 403 was built in the 1960s.

Cost estimates have been pegged at between $14 million and $60 million. Staff will present a report to council next year containing recommendations and costs.

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