Comment 93558

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted October 23, 2013 at 09:55:32

Part of the issue that many commenters have been involved in these issues for over a decade and have grown frustrated with Hamilton's "one step forward, two steps back" approach to cycling and pedestrian infrastructure as well as recognizing what streets need to look like to be successful economically and residentially.

At the same time we've seen other cities make massive strides in a very short time: think of cycling infrastructure in NYC, Montreal, Vancouver, or Paris. Does the fact these are large cities with complex transportation needs make it easier to implement massive change? The opposite should be true.

As Graham pointed out, timidity and refusal to commit have also led to skepticism, distrust and impatience. And its important to recognize that the tactical urbanism initiatives led quickly to important shifts and changes on the street. Just waiting patiently for studies to complete and "attitudes to shift" didn't produce results.

A good example is the 30km/h zone in the North End.

This took over a decade and a huge amount of community pressure to make a reality. It wouldn't have happened if residents just asked politely and waited.

At the Durand Neighbourhood Association meeting last night the community police officer told us that it has already been very successful in reducing speed and aggressive driving and that we "should look into it for the Durand".

However, what the police officer didn't know is that the city has insisted that we "monitor" this pilot project for FIVE YEARS, during which time there is a moratorium on any other 30km/h zones! Why can't we continuously monitor and decide to end the pilot early if the success is obvious? In any case, a full year should be more than enough to assess the impact.

This is a good example of how positive change can be used to block further improvements. Pilot projects are supposed to be short and flexible, and lower the threshold for change and experimentation. Not be used as an excuse to block improvements for half a decade!

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