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Millstone
Jul 13, 2008, 5:23 PM
I'd love to see something happen in the Wilson to Cannon stretch, there are some beautiful buildings there that could use some work.

Something just got demolished last week there.

adam
Jul 13, 2008, 5:28 PM
The $500 million necessary to build the redhill expressway would require the development of 15,000 houses with average property taxes of $3500 over the next 10 years to get money's worth. Too bad the real estate market is cooling off and they'll never realize that return.

On the other hand, conversion of James St South to 2 way was less than 1/50th the pricetag of the Redhill and will take less than 10 years to recuperate its conversion cost. So far it has attrached the London Tap House and the Royal Connaught. There are also a handful of smaller businesses opened that are now paying taxes.

If all the councillors see are tax dollars, then no worries.. the trend of increased tax revenue from downtown is slowly growing but will - like all other things pick up momentum and create a trend within the next 5 years that can no longer be ignored.

drpgq
Jul 13, 2008, 10:58 PM
The $500 million necessary to build the redhill expressway would require the development of 15,000 houses with average property taxes of $3500 over the next 10 years to get money's worth. Too bad the real estate market is cooling off and they'll never realize that return.

On the other hand, conversion of James St South to 2 way was less than 1/50th the pricetag of the Redhill and will take less than 10 years to recuperate its conversion cost. So far it has attrached the London Tap House and the Royal Connaught. There are also a handful of smaller businesses opened that are now paying taxes.

If all the councillors see are tax dollars, then no worries.. the trend of increased tax revenue from downtown is slowly growing but will - like all other things pick up momentum and create a trend within the next 5 years that can no longer be ignored.

Would the Tap House not have come if the street was still one way? It had been things in the past. Can we really say the Connaught is attracted by the fact the street is one way? It isn't even for sure yet (although I certainly hope Stinson is successful). I'm not saying that two conversion is not beneficial, I'm just skeptical of the power of its benefits. I think rising real estate values in the Golden Horseshoe and rising gas prices are contributing more to downtown Hamilton's improvement.

BCTed
Jul 13, 2008, 11:12 PM
So you disagree with traffic calming measures as well?


The reason why I suggested that Upper James be kept two-way is because my first choice in almost all cases is to just leave things as they are. Now that lower James is two-way, let's just leave it that way.

My primary objection to the whole street conversion is less about the fact that I prefer one-way and more about the fact that I do not think that this whole program has been a good investment of city resources. Slowing traffic down does not seem to me to be a way of re-invigorating the downtown. I don't see how it convinces people to spend their money downtown and I do not see how it convinces businesses to locate downtown. The city could have used these resources for different projects with much better returns (in my opinion).

FairHamilton
Jul 13, 2008, 11:15 PM
Would the Tap House not have come if the street was still one way? It had been things in the past. Can we really say the Connaught is attracted by the fact the street is one way? It isn't even for sure yet (although I certainly hope Stinson is successful). I'm not saying that two conversion is not beneficial, I'm just skeptical of the power of its benefits. I think rising real estate values in the Golden Horseshoe and rising gas prices are contributing more to downtown Hamilton's improvement.

Okay, come stand with me at 6:30am tomorrow (or any day this week, or any other) and watch the cars zoom towards you as they round the curve at King and Barnesdale, and then tell me one-way isn't a neighbourhood killer.

Oh yeah, as a bonus you get to cross the street and if you aren't halfway across before a car rounds the curve you'll have to jog to make it across safely. Yes, they come that fast..........

One way streets are just brutal!!

SteelTown
Jul 13, 2008, 11:17 PM
Alrighty then if given the powers what would you do to Main St West from Dundurn to Queen St? I'm asking this because you are pretty quick to criticize but don't offer solutions or substance.

I'm pretty sure you know the current situation is for that strench of road.

Millstone
Jul 13, 2008, 11:24 PM
Alrighty then if given the powers what would you do to Main St West from Dundurn to Queen St? I'm asking this because you are pretty easy to criticize but don't offer solutions or substance.

I'm pretty sure you know the current situation is for that strench of road.

Turn the two-lane turn from Dundurn to Main to one lane, use the extra space for streetscaping.

Make Main two-way, repave it, use ROW for LRT or streetscaping.

Make Locke two-way between Main-King.

FairHamilton
Jul 13, 2008, 11:25 PM
Does anyone know how the votes went down? I'm writing a letter to all of the "nays"

Has anyone been able to come up with this list?

JT Jacobs
Jul 13, 2008, 11:31 PM
Would the Tap House not have come if the street was still one way? It had been things in the past. Can we really say the Connaught is attracted by the fact the street is one way? It isn't even for sure yet (although I certainly hope Stinson is successful). I'm not saying that two conversion is not beneficial, I'm just skeptical of the power of its benefits. I think rising real estate values in the Golden Horseshoe and rising gas prices are contributing more to downtown Hamilton's improvement.

If the LTH succeeds, and I hope it will, it will be partly attributable to its locating its al fresco dining to the rooftop (a smart move). No restaurant at that corner has succeeded partially because there is no real possibility for humane outdoor dining. I used to work at Sundried Tomatoes way back and the patio was a spirit crushing experience: all fumes and noise--akin to dining beside a freeway. Utterly horrible. No one wants to eat and drink while hordes of vehicles are speeding toward you. Slower, two-way traffic makes all the difference.

Look, Bloor St is one of the slowest drags in TO and it does not suffer because of this. People drive on Bloor to see and be seen; they do not take it to get somewhere quickly. In fact, point out the most economically robust streets in TO and you'll see great neighbourhoods with tremendous retail and restos largely because of traffic calming.

I don't believe that it will take all that much to continue to revive the downtown. The more traffic-calming initiatives there are, the more people will move back into Hamilton's unique neighbourhoods. More people, more services. More services, more circulating currency. And so on.

raisethehammer
Jul 14, 2008, 2:09 AM
Would the Tap House not have come if the street was still one way? It had been things in the past. Can we really say the Connaught is attracted by the fact the street is one way? It isn't even for sure yet (although I certainly hope Stinson is successful). I'm not saying that two conversion is not beneficial, I'm just skeptical of the power of its benefits. I think rising real estate values in the Golden Horseshoe and rising gas prices are contributing more to downtown Hamilton's improvement.

then please explain why Locke St is booming and right around the corner on Main you'd be crazy to open a store.
Why is Hess Village booming and King West from Queen to the 403 a death trap?
Why is James North coming back to life and right around the corner Cannon St zooms past with virtually no pedestrians or amenities?

highwater
Jul 14, 2008, 4:24 AM
Has anyone been able to come up with this list?

I just copied my letter to all of them. I figured the yays wouldn't mind hearing a voice of support. Haven't had any replies (except Clark's out of office auto response).

beanmedic
Jul 14, 2008, 4:05 PM
If the Gage Park guy has a life-threatening medical emergency, I am sure the ambulance would be driving to Hamilton General and not McMaster. The route would be Gage to Barton then Barton to Victoria - a seven minute drive... on two-way streets.
If he's conscious enough to direct to an alternate site, then it's not likely a life-threatening emergency and he can enjoy the lengthened ride.

But seeing as Mac is going entirely pediatric, this is really an extremely academic exercise on all levels. So, what you are really saying is, if there is a non-life threatening emergency at rush hour immediately following conversion of King Street to two way traffic , and the patient is a minor, and the pediatric patient expressly requests one HHS site three times further than the closest HHS site, and the pediatric patient's legal guardian agrees, then yes his choice may result in a transfer that takes a bit longer post two-way conversion. No wonder this requires further study.

Irrelevant. The patient does not get to decide the hospital. The CACC gives the paramedics the destination based on the CTAS level of the patient.

Hamilton General it is.

coalminecanary
Jul 14, 2008, 4:28 PM
I'm not saying that two conversion is not beneficial, I'm just skeptical of the power of its benefits. I think rising real estate values in the Golden Horseshoe and rising gas prices are contributing more to downtown Hamilton's improvement.

You are missing a few .. There is the Tap House and COnnaught (connaught being affected by two way streets might be a stretch). There is the shawarma place next to tailgate charlies. Gallagher's up at Augusta. At least two storefronts that are currently empty but appear to have been renovated - signs that landlords see value rising in the area. Things are happening slowly but surely. Of course, two-way conversion is not the ONLY factor. But it is a contributing one, and it is a solution that is relatively inexpensive and easy to implement. As others have said - look at any thriving business district in Hamilton (it will likely be on a two way) and then look 50 metres down the corner of an intersecting one-way street - it will be barren.

Slowing traffic down does not seem to me to be a way of re-invigorating the downtown. I don't see how it convinces people to spend their money downtown and I do not see how it convinces businesses to locate downtown. The city could have used these resources for different projects with much better returns (in my opinion).

But it does seem to be a way of re-invigorating to many other people, including those that run businesses or live near one of the resent two way conversions.

Please allow me to try to explain how it convinces people to spend their money downtown and businesses to locate downtown.

1. Cars do not shop but pedestrians do. By definition, a shopper is a pedestrian even if only for the distance form the parking spot to the store.
2. Our one way system caters to moving cars, which do not shop.
3. Our one way system creates stress for drivers who try to stop to look for parking, making it difficult for them to become shopping pedestrians.
4. Our one way system makes the pedestrian experience very uncomfortable. People do not like to walk an arm's length from tonnes of steel moving 50 to 80 km/hr. So once out of their cars, the pedestrian shoppers are punished by the design of the street.

If we created a road system that made it easier to find a place to park (meaning the road moves at a slower speed and pulling over in traffic doesn't mean fighting a large burly crowd of cars), more people would consider doing so. If we created a road system that made walking a comfortable experience, more people would do so. And if we have to sacrifice a bit of throughput to make it a reality, I think that most business owners would be willing to do so.

Put yourself in the shoes of the owner of an imaginary hardware store on Main Street. Would you prefer having traffic moving an average of 40km/h in both directions in front of your store, making it difficult for them to travel the 20 blocks in either direction to the nearest Lowe's? Or would you rather have traffic in only one direction travelling an average of 60km/h, gaze fixed on the next light, timing the greens, and only being 5 minutes away from that same Lowe's due to the "efficiency" of the street?

The city could have used these resources for different projects with much better returns (in my opinion).

Please share your ideas about these different projects :)

omro
Jul 14, 2008, 4:40 PM
Well... I'm all for slowing traffic down and making things cleaner and nicer for pedestrians. I am biased as I am a pedestrian, as I don't drive. I have been knocked down by a car before, so I would rather not repeat that :-P And I believe that the most off putting thing about walking down a road is the noise of cars zooming past and the stench of exhaust fumes. I'm not anti-car by any stretch of the imagination, I'm all for pollution free, silent, electric cars.

When I was in Hamilton I tended to avoid Main (except at night) and parts of King, prefering the quieter roads. Downtown King didn't seem that bad, but then there are fewer lanes.

If you think about how LRT is a "back to the future" move, perhaps it's a case of thinking in the same terms again? Looking back to how things were done in the past (and they worked quite well it would seem) to determine how the future might turn out?

Is there any information about what Main and King were like before they were made one way. Not vastly before, but literally the day before?

When did the downtown one way system come into being?

JT Jacobs
Jul 14, 2008, 4:52 PM
You are missing a few .. There is the Tap House and COnnaught (connaught being affected by two way streets might be a stretch). There is the shawarma place next to tailgate charlies. Gallagher's up at Augusta. At least two storefronts that are currently empty but appear to have been renovated - signs that landlords see value rising in the area. Things are happening slowly but surely. Of course, two-way conversion is not the ONLY factor. But it is a contributing one, and it is a solution that is relatively inexpensive and easy to implement. As others have said - look at any thriving business district in Hamilton (it will likely be on a two way) and then look 50 metres down the corner of an intersecting one-way street - it will be barren.



But it does seem to be a way of re-invigorating to many other people, including those that run businesses or live near one of the resent two way conversions.

Please allow me to try to explain how it convinces people to spend their money downtown and businesses to locate downtown.

1. Cars do not shop but pedestrians do. By definition, a shopper is a pedestrian even if only for the distance form the parking spot to the store.
2. Our one way system caters to moving cars, which do not shop.
3. Our one way system creates stress for drivers who try to stop to look for parking, making it difficult for them to become shopping pedestrians.
4. Our one way system makes the pedestrian experience very uncomfortable. People do not like to walk an arm's length from tonnes of steel moving 50 to 80 km/hr. So once out of their cars, the pedestrian shoppers are punished by the design of the street.

If we created a road system that made it easier to find a place to park (meaning the road moves at a slower speed and pulling over in traffic doesn't mean fighting a large burly crowd of cars), more people would consider doing so. If we created a road system that made walking a comfortable experience, more people would do so. And if we have to sacrifice a bit of throughput to make it a reality, I think that most business owners would be willing to do so.

Put yourself in the shoes of the owner of an imaginary hardware store on Main Street. Would you prefer having traffic moving an average of 40km/h in both directions in front of your store, making it difficult for them to travel the 20 blocks in either direction to the nearest Lowe's? Or would you rather have traffic in only one direction travelling an average of 60km/h, gaze fixed on the next light, timing the greens, and only being 5 minutes away from that same Lowe's due to the "efficiency" of the street?



Please share your ideas about these different projects :)

These are all great points.

I'd just like to add that downtown one-ways also confuse drivers and make them flustered.

How many times have you, like me, made a wrong turn and then had to backtrack down another one-way street going the opposite way, and then estimate that you've backtracked enough, and then turn back onto the road you were originally on (say, Main ST), only to discover to your mounting frustration and anxiety, because you're inevitably driving slower and pissing off motorists behind you, that you missed whatever it is you were looking for (again), and thus abandoned your search and said forget it? Well, I did it the last time I visited Hamilton a few weeks ago. It's just not humane.

One ways are horrible for tourists. They achieve only one thing: fast traffic. And we all know that this kind of traffic destroys residential neighbourhoods. We all know that we'd like to see enhanced living spaces and increased density in the core. Therefore it follows that we should eliminate the one-ways as one part of our multi-pronged attack to improve life in the core.

Wouldn't you agree?

flar
Jul 14, 2008, 6:09 PM
These are all great points.

I'd just like to add that downtown one-ways also confuse drivers and make them flustered.

How many times have you, like me, made a wrong turn and then had to backtrack down another one-way street going the opposite way, and then estimate that you've backtracked enough, and then turn back onto the road you were originally on (say, Main ST), only to discover to your mounting frustration and anxiety, because you're inevitably driving slower and pissing off motorists behind you, that you missed whatever it is you were looking for (again), and thus abandoned your search and said forget it? Well, I did it the last time I visited Hamilton a few weeks ago. It's just not humane.


I know the downtown streets well by walking, but this kind of thing happens to me whenever I drive down there.


One ways are horrible for tourists. They achieve only one thing: fast traffic. And we all know that this kind of traffic destroys residential neighbourhoods. We all know that we'd like to see enhanced living spaces and increased density in the core. Therefore it follows that we should eliminate the one-ways as one part of our multi-pronged attack to improve life in the core.

Wouldn't you agree?

Absolutely. This was the most difficult thing for me as a newcomer to Hamilton. It was extremely frustrating to get around. This is also what my out of town guests complain about when they visit Hamilton. Hamilton actually has a lot of museums and attractions (escarpment, bayfront come immediately to mind) and should have some tourism. As far as I know, there is almost zero tourism here.

adam
Jul 14, 2008, 8:43 PM
Well... I'm all for slowing traffic down and making things cleaner and nicer for pedestrians. I am biased as I am a pedestrian, as I don't drive. I have been knocked down by a car before, so I would rather not repeat that :-P And I believe that the most off putting thing about walking down a road is the noise of cars zooming past and the stench of exhaust fumes. I'm not anti-car by any stretch of the imagination, I'm all for pollution free, silent, electric cars.

When I was in Hamilton I tended to avoid Main (except at night) and parts of King, prefering the quieter roads. Downtown King didn't seem that bad, but then there are fewer lanes.

If you think about how LRT is a "back to the future" move, perhaps it's a case of thinking in the same terms again? Looking back to how things were done in the past (and they worked quite well it would seem) to determine how the future might turn out?

Is there any information about what Main and King were like before they were made one way. Not vastly before, but literally the day before?

When did the downtown one way system come into being?

Omro, they have been 1 way since the 1950's. Traffic was A LOT less back then and people didn't drive very fast.

But let's compare property values on streets that run parallel and are in close proximity to one another:

Bay (1 way) vs Caroline (2 way)
Queen (1 way) vs Locke St (2 way)
Aberdeen (2 way - or extreme traffic calming measures in the 1 way section) vs Main or King (1 way)

In most cases you find at least 15% higher property values on 2 way streets. This is contrary to councillor Whitehead's email defense!

DC83
Jul 15, 2008, 2:52 PM
from Terry Whitehead's letter posted in the 'Make the Mountain Two-Way' thread:

...
James south conversion to two way a number of years ago was. at a cost of over one million dollars to the taxpayers of this community and has resulted in zero tax growth or assessment. The city of Hamilton does not have deep financial pockets. It is my opinion that any significant expenditures should result in a financial return. This is not to suggest if we where flush in our finances I would not support such concepts.
There is no business case today and it is clear that staff cannot produce one.

One way can be designed to slow traffic with road calming measures and certainly be safer for pedestrians than a two way street. We can also reduce lanes on one ways and bump out the pedestrian sidewalk which would be a great approach.
...

Terry

He's totally contradicting himself here.

He says two-way conversion costs too much, yet he suggests traffic calming measures (such as King E @ Int'l Village) instead. Wouldn't streetscaping, 'bumping out' sidewalks at cross walks be just as, if not more, expensive as two-way conversion?

SteelTown
Jul 18, 2008, 11:28 AM
York redevelopment snag a two-way street

By Kevin Werner
News
Jul 18, 2008

Hamilton councillors are holding up a stop sign to the city's plan to convert York Boulevard into a two-way street.

If the politicians prevent the street conversion, it could jeopardize the $11.5 million redevelopment of the Hamilton Farmers' Market and the central branch of the Hamilton Public Library, say city staff.

In an abrupt change last week, councillors refused to endorse in a controversial 5-4 vote on the city's Downtown Transportation Master Plan five-year review because of plans to convert York Boulevard between Bay St. and James St. from one-way traffic to two-way.

Public works general manager Scott Stewart acknowledged that the redevelopment of the farmers' market and the library is based upon converting York Boulevard to two-way traffic. The admission had some councillors perturbed. They argued city staff were pushing for a two-way street conversion without proper approval from council.

Some politicians were also opposed to the transportation plan's two-way conversion of Park St., MacNab St., Hughson St., King William St. and Rebecca St.

"I thought we wanted to make (the downtown area) customer-friendly," said Hamilton Mountain councillor Tom Jackson. "I am extremely perplexed and disturbed."

Only nine out of 16 councillors were present for the vote.

The traffic plan has been the approved blueprint to help revitalize the city's downtown core since 2001, argued supporters of the plan.

The public works committee easily approved it earlier in the week.

"I don't want to lose this," said Dundas councillor Russ Powers. "This is much too valuable to the city."

The estimated cost for the market renovations is about $6.5 million, while the library upgrade is expected to cost about $4 million. Plans are to begin construction in January 2009, and are expected to be completed by March 2010.

Members of the emergency and community services committee last month gave a lukewarm response to preliminary designs for the market and library. Some councillors called it too "cold" with not enough emphasis on preserving local heritage.

Council's decision immediately raised questions about the future of the market and library redevelopment plans, said public works general manager Scott Stewart.

After a few minutes of conflicted debate, councillors rescinded their original vote, then deferred the recommendation until the Aug. 7 council meeting.

City staff will be making a presentation to councillors on the issue.

Still, some councillors who voted against the transportation plan said they were surprised about the plans for the conversion.

"I'm perplexed too," said Ward 5 councillor Chad Collins.

"I'm not supportive of the (two-way) streets. But by no means does it hold up the (redevelopment) plans. I take great offense by that."

Mr. Collins said since 2001 city staff have assured him he could vote again two-way street conversion at any time.

"To suggest we are pulling the rug out is disingenuous. I still support the plan."

Stoney Creek councillor Brad Clark agreed, arguing the redevelopment will not be impacted by a two-way conversion.

"It is pure hyperbole," he said. "Councillors have raised concerns about converting one-way to two-way streets."

Mr. Stewart acknowledged to councillors that they can design the library and market around a one-way street.

"Can it be undone? Yes. It can be redone," he said.

raisethehammer
Jul 18, 2008, 11:42 AM
what a bunch of morons.
Whitehead talking about 'customer friendly'. Oh yea, we'd hate to lose the great customer friendly vibe we have downtown right now.
Geez Terry, compare downtown Hamilton to other real cities, not all your garbage box stores and malls on the mountain. anything is customer friendly compared to that crap.

matt602
Jul 18, 2008, 11:43 AM
Defer, defer, defer. Does council ever get anything done? This Farmers Market re-do has been deferred at least 3 times in the past that I can recall (probably many more than that). I can't even understand the reasoning (if any) for not converting York to 2 way. It's not a heavily congested thruway that would be severely impeded by a 2 way conversion like King or Main through the core.

It also disgusts me how nearly half of the councilors couldn't even be bothered to show up. In school, attendance is mandatory. What's their excuse?

raisethehammer
Jul 18, 2008, 12:00 PM
nice, summer weather.

Yea York is a bloody highway. I parked on York the other day and felt like I was standing on the shoulder of the QEW trying to get my kid out of the car.

SteelTown
Jul 18, 2008, 12:55 PM
Yet councillors and the Mayor have this week until the second week of August off, 4 weeks isn't enough?. Couldn't they just delay their vacation plans for a week? Jeez.

FairHamilton
Jul 18, 2008, 1:02 PM
Defer, defer, defer. Does council ever get anything done? This Farmers Market re-do has been deferred at least 3 times in the past that I can recall (probably many more than that). I can't even understand the reasoning (if any) for not converting York to 2 way. It's not a heavily congested thruway that would be severely impeded by a 2 way conversion like King or Main through the core.

It also disgusts me how nearly half of the councilors couldn't even be bothered to show up. In school, attendance is mandatory. What's their excuse?

Now if councillors that favoured the conversion were absent that would be the real crime........

BrianE
Jul 18, 2008, 1:22 PM
York redevelopment snag a two-way street

Stoney Creek councillor Brad Clark agreed, arguing the redevelopment will not be impacted by a two-way conversion.

"It is pure hyperbole," he said. "Councillors have raised concerns about converting one-way to two-way streets."

Mr. Stewart acknowledged to councillors that they can design the library and market around a one-way street.

"Can it be undone? Yes. It can be redone," he said.

We could also design a playground along the median between the east and westbound lanes of traffic on the 403... doesn't mean we should though.

The opposition against converting streets to two way smacks of the same reasoning against lowering the speed limit in the northend. Nobody has the guts to change things because someday, someone might drive down these newly converted two-way streets and actualy just might have to drive in a sensible mannor and at a reasonable speed. And this fear of inconveniencing someone who's just passing through is way out of proportion to the very real harmful effects that are happening right now.

Really, the opposition to this master plan, to me, seems to be based in fear and doubt on the part of some councilors. What are they so afraid of? Is it the price tag? Are they actually picturing some 24hr gridlock scenario downtown if these conversions happening? Nobody is showing any evidence for some big giant disaster that will befall downtown. The opposition just says "I'm not supportive of two way streets" or "We have concerns". Show me a city that converted it's streets back to two way and is now worse off for it... that's all I want to see.

raisethehammer
Jul 18, 2008, 3:59 PM
i spoke with someone from city hall today and they rolled their eyes and said the York plan will easily pass once everyone gets back.
the few that voted it down last week are first class jerks. making more work for everyone and delaying great plans.

SteelTown
Jul 18, 2008, 4:18 PM
What ticks me off mostly is how elected councilors can vote down a piece of work that's been developed for over 8 years and use their own ideology to oppose it. Councilors should be listening and approving anything city staff propose as they have all the background needed to make a fair decision, not councilors.

Now having councilors voting down a private consultant is a different story, as consultant can be biased.

FairHamilton
Jul 18, 2008, 4:51 PM
i spoke with someone from city hall today and they rolled their eyes and said the York plan will easily pass once everyone gets back.
the few that voted it down last week are first class jerks. making more work for everyone and delaying great plans.

If that's the case the councillors responsible for extra work and delaying great plans are those who support 2-way conversion, but didn't attend the vote.

Those are the real culprits in this scenario, and our disgust should be directed to them as well.

highwater
Jul 18, 2008, 5:11 PM
So we have Clark, Whitehead, Jackson, and Collins against. Some of these guys have mayoral ambitions. Heaven help us all. Anyone know who the 5th is?

Millstone
Jul 18, 2008, 6:34 PM
"I thought we wanted to make (the downtown area) customer-friendly," said Hamilton Mountain councillor Tom Jackson. That is what we're trying to do, you f*cking dolt.

FairHamilton
Jul 18, 2008, 7:05 PM
So we have Clark, Whitehead, Jackson, and Collins against. Some of these guys have mayoral ambitions. Heaven help us all. Anyone know who the 5th is?

I'm guessing that all 4 have no one-way streets in their neighbourhoods. I'm going to start campaigning to have some streets in Collins ward converted to one-way.

One-way Barton from Red Hill to Centennial Parkway, and Queenston from Centennial Parkway to Red Hill. I mean have you ever been on either of those streets on a sunny Saturday afternoon, they are clogged with bumper-to-bumper traffic approaching Centennial Parkway.

One-way streets should help fix that problem, and we'll see how much he really likes one-way streets.......

raisethehammer
Jul 19, 2008, 12:24 PM
great letter:


City councillors have wrong-way thinking on two-way streets

July 19, 2008
Ryan Mcgreal
The Hamilton Spectator
(Jul 19, 2008)
In an appalling move, Hamilton council has choked on the downtown master plan, which the city has been developing since 2001 with careful study and extensive public consultation.

At issue is the cost to convert several downtown streets to two-way. Some councillors still can't figure out why it's harmful to have an expressway running through one's neighbourhood. Councillor Terry Whitehead doesn't see how investing in two-way conversion will pay for itself in increased vitality. He says the conversion won't earn the city any money.

The conceptual shift required to see streets as part of the essential public fabric of a community appears to be lost on them -- despite the consistent message the city has been receiving from urban planners and architects for at least a decade. A 1997 downtown ideas charrette sponsored by Architecture Hamilton came out with one recommendation: If you do nothing else, convert downtown streets back to two-way right away.

In 2001, the city started its downtown transportation master plan and began to look at the idea of street conversions. This led ultimately to the hugely successful two-way conversions of James Street North and John Street North, followed by the conversions of James Street South and John Street South.

It spurred the city to look more seriously at converting other streets as well. The master plan recommends converting York, Wilson, Park, MacNab, Hughson, Hess, King William and Rebecca.

Donald Schmitt, the architect designing McMaster Innovation Park, said in 2005 that the city should convert its streets to two-way "overnight."

He later explained: "Two-way streets slow cars down. The environment on the sidewalk, particularly if (streets) are widened with parallel parking and street trees, becomes more protected from traffic and more conducive to window shopping ... and sidewalk life."

Councillor Whitehead, there's your return on investment.

Councillor Brad Clark says more research is required to determine whether the James and John conversions have been successful. This is just mind-boggling. After seeing the transformation on James, Chamber of Commerce CEO John Dolbec acknowledged in 2006 that he was wrong to be "skeptical" about the plan. Mayor Fred Eisenberger says the conversion "invigorated the businesses and offered a new view on what downtown looks like."

Former regional chair Terry Cooke laid the case bare in a February Spectator column: "Hamilton council should summon the political courage to simply eliminate our anachronistic system of one-way streets ... "It's time to abandon an idea of the 1950s that serves only as a deterrent to restoring livable neighbourhoods in the heart of Hamilton."

Bravo to Councillor Bob Bratina, who decried the double standard that sacrifices downtown neighbourhoods on the altar of expedience. Calling downtown's one-way street system a "freeway," Bratina rhetorically suggested, "Let's make Upper James one way."

Why are downtown neighbourhoods uniquely expendable patches of the city fabric? With high-speed motorists mowing down pedestrians on an excruciatingly regular basis, can there be any question over what to do?

In 2008, why are we even still having this debate? Council has no excuse to remain so ignorant of the basic facts of street safety and vitality after all the evidence over the past decade.

Ryan McGreal lives in Hamilton and is the editor of Raise the Hammer -- raisethehammer.org

JT Jacobs
Jul 19, 2008, 4:32 PM
A terrific op-ed piece, Ryan. Thanks for your patience in continuing to hammer this crucial point home.

omro
Jul 19, 2008, 4:48 PM
Has anyone done any traffic flow modelling on both systems, the current and the proposed 2-way system?

raisethehammer
Jul 19, 2008, 7:53 PM
the city has detailed info on the previous conversions of James and John.
Traffic flow has barely changed. a minute or two at most.

omro
Jul 19, 2008, 8:19 PM
the city has detailed info on the previous conversions of James and John.
Traffic flow has barely changed. a minute or two at most.

What about models of traffic flow after potential future conversions?

LikeHamilton
Jul 20, 2008, 11:21 PM
The problem here as I see it is the same as the Red Hill Expressway. A lot of people expect instant gratification on everything as soon as it is done. The streets that have been converted to two-way need time to grow. Brad Clark said that the converted streets have not generated any more taxes. Maybe so, but they have generated interest. People are coming back. They are starting to fill the buildings. And they are starting to renovate the buildings, they become more valuable, and they generate more taxes! They will run out of existing buildings and start to fill the empty lots with new buildings. Again more taxes! This will spread to the other blocks around the converted streets. More taxes! Soon downtown will generate more taxes than Stoney Creek and Flamborough combined. But it has to start with the first steps with most, not all of the streets converted to two-way.

highwater
Jul 21, 2008, 12:32 AM
Actually, according to Bratina, there *has* been an increase in taxes. Here's his response to One-way Whitehead:

"The numbers say values have increased, and several renovation projects such as 14 Forest Avenue, 74 Hughson (at James..shown as vacant, but soon to become a renovated, expanded professional office), 155 John South (vacant building renovated into upscale restaurant/bar) 61 Young St. at John (vacant premises just purchased for restaurant) 180 James South (taxes increased $10 thousand dollars from 2006 to 2007), the adjacent neighbourhoods all showing significant property value increases of 25 to 60 per cent, and very large projects now in the planning stage for vacant or under-utilized properties. I could go on, but you didn't listen the first time so what's the point. We got $180 million dollar return on $1.3 million invested in the loans program. 31-35 John South just went from vacant to new $3.5 million restaurant/bar, likely a $70 thousand dollar increase in annual assessment. Staybridge Suites moved from $40 thousand to $340 thousand in taxes. We're pushing 2,000 new jobs over the past 2 years downtown. How are you doing up there?"

As for the Redhill, in fact we *were* promised instant gratification. We were told that we simply *had* to build the expressway because companies were lining up to access the employment lands on the east mountain. Now that the companies have predictably failed to materialize (except for big box and sprawl residential), we are being told we just have to "wait".

matt602
Jul 21, 2008, 1:38 AM
Very good points there, especially in the Red Hill part. So far the only thing I've noticed as run off from Red Hill is Lowe's.

Gurnett71
Jul 21, 2008, 5:17 PM
As for the Redhill, in fact we *were* promised instant gratification. We were told that we simply *had* to build the expressway because companies were lining up to access the employment lands on the east mountain. Now that the companies have predictably failed to materialize (except for big box and sprawl residential), we are being told we just have to "wait".

Maple Leaf Foods was ready to build in the Glanbrook Industrial Park and we all know what happened with that...could that have been a catalyst for other industry/companies to locate there?? Not after observing the how the city handled that file!

drpgq
Jul 21, 2008, 5:41 PM
Very good points there, especially in the Red Hill part. So far the only thing I've noticed as run off from Red Hill is Lowe's.

There is the Leon's (which I bought a couch from and was glad not to have to drive to Burlington for). I would also say that some of the businesses on Nebo located partially there due to the belief the Redhill would be eventually completed. Probably Mercanti's hotel could be considered as Redhill spinoff too.

JT Jacobs
Jul 21, 2008, 5:46 PM
Actually, according to Bratina, there *has* been an increase in taxes. Here's his response to One-way Whitehead:

"The numbers say values have increased, and several renovation projects such as 14 Forest Avenue, 74 Hughson (at James..shown as vacant, but soon to become a renovated, expanded professional office), 155 John South (vacant building renovated into upscale restaurant/bar) 61 Young St. at John (vacant premises just purchased for restaurant) 180 James South (taxes increased $10 thousand dollars from 2006 to 2007), the adjacent neighbourhoods all showing significant property value increases of 25 to 60 per cent, and very large projects now in the planning stage for vacant or under-utilized properties. I could go on, but you didn't listen the first time so what's the point. We got $180 million dollar return on $1.3 million invested in the loans program. 31-35 John South just went from vacant to new $3.5 million restaurant/bar, likely a $70 thousand dollar increase in annual assessment. Staybridge Suites moved from $40 thousand to $340 thousand in taxes. We're pushing 2,000 new jobs over the past 2 years downtown. How are you doing up there?"

As for the Redhill, in fact we *were* promised instant gratification. We were told that we simply *had* to build the expressway because companies were lining up to access the employment lands on the east mountain. Now that the companies have predictably failed to materialize (except for big box and sprawl residential), we are being told we just have to "wait".

Bratina makes some devastating points there. (What's the source for this quotation, though?). Only a fool or an extremely obdurate person could argue against this evidence or the fact of two-way streets' success--in any city.

Jeepers, Bratina for mayor!

markbarbera
Jul 21, 2008, 6:01 PM
Maple Leaf Foods was ready to build in the Glanbrook Industrial Park and we all know what happened with that...could that have been a catalyst for other industry/companies to locate there?? Not after observing the how the city handled that file!

Hindsight being 20/20, we now know that Maple Leaf's withdrawl had less to do with the public outcry and more to do with their shift in strategy away from rendering plants. Having said that, the over-the-top opposition to the very idea of a new plant in Glanbrook certainly send a strong negative perception to future potential investors.

highwater
Jul 21, 2008, 6:41 PM
We'll probably never know for sure. Although it's difficult to imagine many companies being interested in locating in a business park dominated by an abattoir. Certainly not high-tech firms employing knowledge workers.

As for the Bratina quote, I read it on Raise the Hammer. It was posted by a commenter who had contacted council re the transportation master plan vote and received it as a reply from Bratina, although his remarks were originally intended for Whitehead.

adam
Jul 21, 2008, 8:51 PM
Here is my original email to Brad Clark, his response, and finally my rebuttal to him. I still don't see his reasoning though.


Dear Councillor Clark,

I am curious as to why 1 way streets are your best solution for the downtown. Your desire to do away with 2 way streets will make it harder to revive the downtown, attract businesses and encourage positive growth.

I also find it interesting you are not pushing for 1 way streets on the mountain. Why is it a good solution for downtown but not for the mountain?

Thanks for your time,

Adam


---


Adam,

I simply requested that staff provide me with the evidence that the conversions have been successful. To that end, I would be pleased to see any evidence that indicates that the slowing of the traffic was directly responsible for increased tax assessment. To date, nobody can state with any certainty that the conversions were responsible for any of the new assessment growth. I have been given only anecdotal statements. From my personal observations, I have witnessed more traffic congestion and I suspect an increase in vehicle emissions.

Further, as a supporter of LRT I am concerned about any decision that may be used as an impediment or objection to LRT. We already have councillors who have expressed concerns about the loss of lanes. I would think that it would be easier to accept the loss of one lane on a one way street than one lane on a two way street.

Let me be very clear, I have no desire to do away with two way streets. We are talking about the potential conversion of additional one way streets to two way. I simply asked for proof of success and the decision was deferred to a COW meeting. So, no decision was made.

Thank you for writing to me directly to discuss your concerns and my position.

Warmest Regards

Brad


---


Dear Councillor Clark,

Although I appreciate your response, I disagree with it completely. Tax assessments are secondary to the quality of life for downtown residents. A 5 lane expressway is not conducive to businesses or residents no matter how you cut it.

We as a city have an opportunity to capitalize on the housing market's changing demographics. Generation Y and baby boomers are looking to move closer to urban centres. If Hamilton's downtown presents itself as an urban centre with amenities and streets that are comfortable to walk and cycle, we have a chance to capitalize on this change in demographics. Read about it here. http://thegroundfloor.typepad.com/the_ground_floor/2007/10/gen-y-and-housi.html

Here is another article that shows ".. there's a pent-up demand for urban homes, a market developers largely ignored for decades."
http://www.thestar.com/living/article/345287
We have to capitalize on the chance of attracting generation y and baby boomers to buying residential properties downtown.


Visitors to Hamilton who are potential new residents get frustrated trying to navigate through the confusing 1 way streets to get to their destination. Commuters from the mountain treat our downtown streets like freeways and make it sometimes impossible for those of us who live and find crossing the street like trying to cross a 400 series highway.


Take a look at the area between 2 prominent 1 way streets: Main and King. Properties here are depressed, there are many neglected buildings and the state of the neighbourhood is horrible. Afterall, would you want to live between 2 urban freeways?

The issue of increased tax assessments is secondary. You cannot expect instantaneous gratification, but here are some changes you overlooked in your response to me:

INCREASED BUSINESS ON JAMES STREET
- many new art galleries along James North, there are now 12!
- new restaurant and coffee shop going in at James and Mulberry,
- new offices going in at James and Hughson,
- significant increases in value at 180 James South

INCREASED BUSINESS ON JOHN STREET
- newly opened London Tap House
- a new multi-million dollar restaurant and bar just north of Main East
- Staybridge Suites increased revenue many times over just recently
- Royal Connaught sales office opened



Quote> Further, as a supporter of LRT I am concerned about any decision that may be used as an impediment or objection to LRT.
Quote> We already have councillors who have expressed concerns about the loss of lanes. I would think that it would be easier to
Quote> accept the loss of one lane on a one way street than one lane on a two way street.

I am not following your logic here.. converting a street from 1 way to 2 way loses no lanes. A one way street going west along with a one way street going east ... the # lanes of traffic stays the same if they are converted to two way. You are correct in stating that LRT will lose some lanes of traffic.


Quote> From my personal observations, I have witnessed more traffic congestion and I suspect an increase in vehicle emissions.

I disagree with you completely here. Driving at faster speeds between red lights actually burns more gas because of repeated acceleration and
braking. The 1 or 2 hours of commuter traffic should not dictate the use of the road 24 hours a day. Some of us live downtown and our lifestyle is more important than an extra 5 minutes of commute twice a day.

Please consider these carefully researched points. My neighbourhood has literally thousands of residents who feel the same as I do.


Thank you for your time,

Adam

Millstone
Jul 21, 2008, 10:05 PM
Very good points there, especially in the Red Hill part. So far the only thing I've noticed as run off from Red Hill is Lowe's.

RHVP/Linc should have been a provincial project from day one. It primarily serves a provincial purpose, diverting traffic around Burlington Bay to get to Brantford and points west via QEW and Hwy 403. What does the RHVP do to serve Hamilton?

Millstone
Jul 21, 2008, 10:10 PM
- new offices going in at James and Hughson

74 Hughson (at James..shown as vacant, but soon to become a renovated, expanded professional office),

James and Hughson do not intersect. Anyone have firm details on what this is about?

Doady
Jul 21, 2008, 10:12 PM
Ste-Catherine in Montreal seems to be a decent street, despite being one-way.

adam
Jul 22, 2008, 2:48 AM
Ste-Catherine also has about 20 strip bars, what are you trying to say? That 1 way streets promote strip bars?
NYC has a lot of one way streets, so why isn't Hamilton experiencing the same prosperity as NYC?
You can't compare apples and oranges.

adam
Jul 22, 2008, 2:55 AM
James and Hughson do not intersect. Anyone have firm details on what this is about?

Sorry, I believe its at Hughson and Rebecca... this is a stone's throw from James. The 2 way conversion made the building more accessible, but I don't have any more details. Anyone else?

FairHamilton
Jul 22, 2008, 3:43 AM
Invite any of the doubters down to Main and John at 7am. I would like them to stand right at the curb on the northeast corner, and wait for the light in order to cross Main. I bet they only do it nervously, and won't stand there for 10 or 15 minutes.

On our way to the GO Train each morning, I encourage my wife to stand back because I'm worried that at the speed the cars move that a few will collide and mount the curb. This morning there was broken taillight lenses and lots of fluid residue left over from an accident on the weekend right on the curb..........

FairHamilton
Jul 22, 2008, 3:47 AM
I'd caution against positioning that Mountain residents are the only ones that want one way streets. That automatically makes it a combative us vs. them situation, and that's a no-win scenario.

Also, I'm sure there are many lower Hamilton residents that enjoy cruising at high speeds along King & Main. The reason I'm sure of this is that I can't believe all the cars flying around the King Street at Barnesdale at 6:30am have come down from the mountain.

ryan_mcgreal
Jul 22, 2008, 5:46 AM
What does the RHVP do to serve Hamilton?

Well, it finally gets those through transport trucks off city streets.

Oh, wait: no it doesn't.

http://www.thespec.com/Opinions/LettertotheEditor/article/357428

matt602
Jul 22, 2008, 7:04 AM
Heh, good one ryan. Right after the RHVP opened, traffic seemed to leave Centennial Parkway, but in recent walks I've noticed that it's once again busy as ever (at least the stretch that I walk from Barton to Eastgate).

SteelTown
Jul 22, 2008, 11:13 AM
I don't believe the on and off ramps for the Red Hill on the QEW is even finished yet?

raisethehammer
Jul 22, 2008, 12:35 PM
Hindsight being 20/20, we now know that Maple Leaf's withdrawl had less to do with the public outcry and more to do with their shift in strategy away from rendering plants. Having said that, the over-the-top opposition to the very idea of a new plant in Glanbrook certainly send a strong negative perception to future potential investors.

I don't agree with this.
If you read the official plans for new business parks in many cities in the GTA, they all restrict certain uses - rendering plants being one of them.
A potential investor of a manufacturing/office/light industrial firm should actually be happy that the city is sticking to the plan of keeping this land for companies like theirs instead of letting any filthy, old mess show up.

Millstone
Jul 22, 2008, 3:24 PM
I don't believe the on and off ramps for the Red Hill on the QEW is even finished yet?

Only the Niagara-bound to RHVP isn't done yet, it'll be wrapped up soon because it's part of the whole Burlington Street interchange rehab project.

Millstone
Jul 22, 2008, 3:25 PM
Sorry, I believe its at Hughson and Rebecca... this is a stone's throw from James. The 2 way conversion made the building more accessible, but I don't have any more details. Anyone else?

My parking lot is at 73 Hughson N so it would make sense that 74 Hughson N is on the east side near Rebecca

thx

drpgq
Jul 22, 2008, 4:41 PM
Sorry, I believe its at Hughson and Rebecca... this is a stone's throw from James. The 2 way conversion made the building more accessible, but I don't have any more details. Anyone else?

I remember something in that Downtowner publication that referred to this as the Camul building (NW corner of Rebecca and Hughson) or something and that it was going to be expanded. It struck me as strange at the time. I go by it fairly often and I've never noted a change recently. I'm a bit skeptical that James going to two way is directly responsible for this.

coalminecanary
Jul 22, 2008, 4:43 PM
My parking lot is at 73 Hughson N

You own a parking lot downtown? youch! ;)

Millstone
Jul 22, 2008, 5:28 PM
You own a parking lot downtown? youch! ;)

At $55/month I'd like to think so, unfortunately not. :(

adam
Jul 22, 2008, 7:32 PM
I remember something in that Downtowner publication that referred to this as the Camul building (NW corner of Rebecca and Hughson) or something and that it was going to be expanded. It struck me as strange at the time. I go by it fairly often and I've never noted a change recently. I'm a bit skeptical that James going to two way is directly responsible for this.

You know the more I think about it, the more I see how wrong it is that councillors have boiled it all down to tax revenues. Tax revenues are not the be all and end all. 2 way streets also help slow down traffic, make it easier to reach a business or residential location (especially for visitors and guests to our community), improve lifestyle of those who choose not to drive a car to get a bag of milk, lessen road noise, lessen speeding, make the streets safer for citizens.

JT Jacobs
Jul 22, 2008, 10:01 PM
You know the more I think about it, the more I see how wrong it is that councillors have boiled it all down to tax revenues. Tax revenues are not the be all and end all. 2 way streets also help slow down traffic, make it easier to reach a business or residential location (especially for visitors and guests to our community), improve lifestyle of those who choose not to drive a car to get a bag of milk, lessen road noise, lessen speeding, make the streets safer for citizens.

Precisely. Tax revenue should be a secondary concern, at best. Enabling the citizenry to live meaningful, abundant lives in safety and peace is paramount. You've covered pretty much most of it in your list.

raisethehammer
Jul 23, 2008, 2:20 AM
I just spent the day in TO...College St, Queen St and the Beaches - Queen St East.
I'm stunned that we still have these 1-way highways in Hamilton.
the chamber should have every 'leader' fired and the place shut down for purposefully holding us back.
All my meals, strolling and playing in the park took place on those streets and it was packed with kids, families, dog walkers, patio patrons etc.....
Makes Hamilton look like a friggin 1950's hicktown with our speeding trucks and cars and absolutely dead streets and empty storefronts.
This city ought to be ashamed of itself. I know I am.

BCTed
Jul 23, 2008, 10:59 AM
I remember something in that Downtowner publication that referred to this as the Camul building (NW corner of Rebecca and Hughson) or something and that it was going to be expanded. It struck me as strange at the time. I go by it fairly often and I've never noted a change recently. I'm a bit skeptical that James going to two way is directly responsible for this.

Agreed, drpgq. There is also no evidence to suggest that these things would not have happened without the two-way conversion.

Actually, according to Bratina, there *has* been an increase in taxes. Here's his response to One-way Whitehead:

"The numbers say values have increased, and several renovation projects such as 14 Forest Avenue, 74 Hughson (at James..shown as vacant, but soon to become a renovated, expanded professional office), 155 John South (vacant building renovated into upscale restaurant/bar) 61 Young St. at John (vacant premises just purchased for restaurant) 180 James South (taxes increased $10 thousand dollars from 2006 to 2007), the adjacent neighbourhoods all showing significant property value increases of 25 to 60 per cent, and very large projects now in the planning stage for vacant or under-utilized properties. I could go on, but you didn't listen the first time so what's the point. We got $180 million dollar return on $1.3 million invested in the loans program. 31-35 John South just went from vacant to new $3.5 million restaurant/bar, likely a $70 thousand dollar increase in annual assessment. Staybridge Suites moved from $40 thousand to $340 thousand in taxes. We're pushing 2,000 new jobs over the past 2 years downtown. How are you doing up there?"

Are you sure that this quote relates directly to two-way streets? Where did it come from?

Most of the things cited here are peanuts (tax increases of $10,000 and assessment increases of $70,000? Do these really mean anything?). Staybridge Suites is not on James or John and it is really a stretch to link any success it has had with two-way conversions several streets over. The $1.3 million may have spurred on construction worth $180 million, but that cannot be attributable strictly to two-way streets and it also does not represent straight return --- the way things are worded, you word think that $1.3 million was converted into $180 million, which would be a 14,000 percent return on investment.

I would love to know what the composition of the 2000 jobs is, how many jobs were lost during that time period, and how everything relates back to two-way streets.

BCTed
Jul 23, 2008, 11:01 AM
I just spent the day in TO...College St, Queen St and the Beaches - Queen St East.
I'm stunned that we still have these 1-way highways in Hamilton.
the chamber should have every 'leader' fired and the place shut down for purposefully holding us back.
All my meals, strolling and playing in the park took place on those streets and it was packed with kids, families, dog walkers, patio patrons etc.....
Makes Hamilton look like a friggin 1950's hicktown with our speeding trucks and cars and absolutely dead streets and empty storefronts.
This city ought to be ashamed of itself. I know I am.

There seems to be a bit of a double standard in place here. Comparing Hamilton to Montreal or New York, which have very vibrant one-way streets, is apples to oranges, but comparing Hamilton to Toronto is apples to apples.

raisethehammer
Jul 23, 2008, 12:28 PM
I haven't mentioned NY on here, although having been there, it's most certainly apples to oranges.
A major North American study of downtowns done a few years back concluded that NYC was the only city with huge amounts of multi-lane one-way streets that was successful due to the sheer size and congestion of that city.
Toronto, by comparison has 2.5 million (compared to Hamilton's 500,000) and THEY have the 1-lane each way, parking on both sides, while WE have the 5-lane, one-way freeways (like NYC but without the traffic or millions of people).

So in this case comparing TO to Hamilton is abolutely acceptable since we're the smaller city with more of these mega-streets.
You would think it would be the other way around, but then if that were the case, they'd all come here to spend a day and not vice versa.

DC83
Jul 23, 2008, 1:13 PM
The $1.3 million may have spurred on construction worth $180 million, but that cannot be attributable strictly to two-way streets ...

Wow... for once you're right!? Weird.

The conversion itself didn't attract business/residents back to the areas, but rather the attractiveness of being in a neighbourhood where one can walk around w/o having to worry about screaming a convo w/ your friend OR trying to cross a street where a dozen cars are speeding down a 4 lane speedway at 70km/h.

Bratina lives Downtown very close to a (2-way) converted street. He also walks around (I see him often). Those councillors who don't live downtown can't appreciate the success of the conversions b/c a) they don't live down here, and b) they never walk down here. They don't see the dozens more people walking up and down John St who never walked it before, they don't see the upgrades to old businesses and addition of new businesses along these corridors.

All they see is a change... and if there's anything Hamiltonians are afraid of, it's change! Just look at our skyline for proof...

edit re: Montreal and Rue St Catherine, yes it's a very busy one-way street. Tourists avoid it like the plague. Despite it being one-way, the lights aren't timed and traffic still moves by quite slowly. NOTHING like Main or King W, more like King E @ Int'l Village. Don't forget that St Catherine is also the major shopping district of the region... so that might help it's popularity as well.
HOWEVER, if you look at Rue St Denis in Montreal's Plateau, you'll see a two-way street lined with street-front retail, DOZENS of terraced patio bars/restos. Why? I dunno!? Maybe b/c it's two-way? There definately aren't that many patios along St Catherine ;)

holymoly
Jul 23, 2008, 2:23 PM
I haven't mentioned NY on here, although having been there, it's most certainly apples to oranges.
A major North American study of downtowns done a few years back concluded that NYC was the only city with huge amounts of multi-lane one-way streets that was successful due to the sheer size and congestion of that city.
Agreed that it really is apples to oranges. For one thing, one way streets aren't likely to discourage you from popping into a store or restaurant if you aren't driving. My sister lives in Manhattan, and it's a significant walk just to get to the garage where she parks her car -- overnight street parking being very rare, and of course driveways nonexistent. In 20+ years of visiting, I don't think we've ever used her car for drives within the city, just out of town and sometimes to the airport.

"Fewer than five percent of all commuters who live in New York City drive to work in Manhattan’s Central Business District" according to this article (http://www.pfnyc.org/pressReleases/2007/pr_050307_drivers_reaction.html) , and the vast majority of those drivers have a mass transit alternative.

highwater
Jul 23, 2008, 2:24 PM
Are you sure that this quote relates directly to two-way streets? Where did it come from?

You must have missed my previous post where I stated the source for this quote. It most certainly relates directly to two-way streets. It was Bratina's response to Whitehead after he bloviated about there being no benefits to two-way conversions.

markbarbera
Jul 23, 2008, 2:36 PM
There seems to be a bit of a double standard in place here. Comparing Hamilton to Montreal or New York, which have very vibrant one-way streets, is apples to oranges, but comparing Hamilton to Toronto is apples to apples.

...and Toronto also has its share of one-way streets.

BrianE
Jul 23, 2008, 3:29 PM
Maybe we should change the name of this topic to "Eliminate our 4&5 lane pseudo-highways" because that's where the sticking point is. There are a ton of examples of 1 way streets in various cities that are thriving places to live and shop. But I can guarantee that they are nothing like the narrow sidewalked, zero street parking, 60 - 80km/hr expressways that are Main, King, York, Wilson and Cannon St.

highwater
Jul 23, 2008, 5:53 PM
...and Toronto also has its share of one-way streets.

The ones I'm aware of in the downtown (Adelaide, Richmond) are dead zones compared to nearby two-way streets.

SteelTown
Jul 23, 2008, 6:47 PM
Ultimately the fate of Main and King St will be determined once the final B-Line LRT plans come out. If the Rapid Transit Office wants two-way LRT on Main St than it's likely both King and Main St will be converted two-way. If the Rapid Transit Office goes with one-way circle LRT along King and Main it's likely King and Main will stay as one way but reduced lanes.

We'll have a good idea once the Rapid Transit Office submit it's final LRT plans this September to council.

Either way the days of King and Main St being an expressway will expire within the short to medium term.

FairHamilton
Jul 23, 2008, 8:24 PM
The ones I'm aware of in the downtown (Adelaide, Richmond) are dead zones compared to nearby two-way streets.

Agreed, I work on Adelaide and there's not a lot.

To be fair that's partly because both streets were factory streets when the area developed, and therefore lack the street level retail/restaurant building style found on King & Queen streets.

But, I'm 100% sure that one-way has greatly hindered them from developing into more vibrant streets full of people, with more shops.

I also find it interesting that one of the businesses that seem to locate on these one-way thoroughfares in significant numbers are nightclubs. I guess because they are inward looking and strive to keep large numbers of people inside spending money for long periods of time, the one-way streets are a boon to them as there's no street appeal for their patrons to wander out of the club to enjoy other pursuits.

adam
Jul 23, 2008, 9:57 PM
I think its great that we keep raising valid points until something is done. Just letting things go and accepting the status quo isn't acceptable. If you haven't already emailed or phoned councillors, please do. Its part of their job to hear from the public. We need to be kept in the loop with the transportation plan. The current state of affairs is holding Hamilton back in a major way.

raisethehammer
Jul 23, 2008, 11:28 PM
TO's one-ways are right around the corner from the most bustling neighbourhoods in our country and the one-ways are DEAD. Millions of people roam the streets, yet somehow they all manage to avoid the same few one-way streets.
What a crazy coincidence!!

markbarbera
Jul 24, 2008, 12:44 AM
Playing devil's advocate here, but having lived in Toronto for over a decade, I have to challenge the way Richmond street is being portrayed here. Admitedly the stretch of this one-way road east of Yonge is lacking a vibrant streetlife, but that has to do with the fact that that particular stretch is designed primarily to flow traffic out of the core to the DVP. Richmond west of Bay Street is a completely different story. Anyone who has been along this stretch of Richmond Street on any given evening knows that it is anything but dead. And auto traffic along this stretch certainly does not zoom along like Main at Dundurn in Hamilton. Queen Street one block north draws all the retail traffic, but thousands of people are moving along Richmond every night visiting its restaurants, theatres and nightclubs.

It is not simply the fact that King and Main are one-way that makes them so inhospitable to pedestrian activity. Frankly, we could drop a lane of traffic from Main, reduce the speed limit, widen the sidewalks and you're likely to achieve the same results as a full-on two-way conversion on this street. Besides, if LRT is on its way, the entire discusison is moot. There simply is not enough allowance for a full-on two-way road and LRT. However, one could design Main with two lanes of one-way traffic, LRT on a dedicated lane, broader sidewalks and a bike lane. IMO this is how Main should (and likely will) be reconfigured.

By the way, comparing Hamilton's traffic situation to that of Toronto (or Montreal, or NYC for that matter) is definitely comparing apples to oranges.

raisethehammer
Jul 24, 2008, 3:08 AM
good post Mark.
Other than NYC and some streets in downtown Montreal, I can't think of any examples of a city's busiest and most vibrant streets being one-way.
I can understand some of these huge cities having some one-ways just due to the massive volume, but Hamilton is not a huge city.
We have a huge city road network in a small-mid size city.
And not surprisingly, none of the huge-city vibrancy, retail or streetlife.

adam
Jul 24, 2008, 3:23 AM
2 way conversion is important for downtown Hamilton's major streets. Due to years of neglect, many buildings are empty BUT new businesses are slowly trying to come in. Unfortunately for these new business owners, 1 way streets with timed lights prevent motorists from "discovering" these new businesses when they are downtown. Instead, they enter the downtown and leave it within minutes of arriving.

Why would anyone in their right mind want to open up a business in downtown Hamilton if only traffic coming from 1 direction can get to them easily? Lets face it, the downtown is dead because of the way its set up and 1 way streets are a big part of that.

Think of all the businesses on Upper James... now what if it was 1 way and you had 5 places you had to get to along the street. Think of how difficult it would be to get to one of the places if you missed it and had to backtrack on the 1 way street system...

Jon Dalton
Jul 24, 2008, 3:24 AM
Ste Catherine is also closed to automobile traffic roughly from St. Laurent to Papineau as far as I know until the end of august so for that stretch, one way or two way is irrelevant. I do know that the current 0 way configuration has a positive effect on its livelihood. When the street isn't pedestrianized it's still only 3 lanes max with curbside parking on both sides: HUGE difference from our 5-lane death traps. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of those buffer zones. I would accept a 2 lane one way Main / King configuration with sidewalks 1.5x as wide but that would be lower capacity than 2-way with the same number of lanes.

raisethehammer
Jul 24, 2008, 3:27 AM
good post again.
If 3 lanes is good enough for a big city like Montreal, 2 should be fine here.

FairHamilton
Jul 24, 2008, 3:36 AM
Playing devil's advocate here, but having lived in Toronto for over a decade, I have to challenge the way Richmond street is being portrayed here. Admitedly the stretch of this one-way road east of Yonge is lacking a vibrant streetlife, but that has to do with the fact that that particular stretch is designed primarily to flow traffic out of the core to the DVP. Richmond west of Bay Street is a completely different story. Anyone who has been along this stretch of Richmond Street on any given evening knows that it is anything but dead. And auto traffic along this stretch certainly does not zoom along like Main at Dundurn in Hamilton. Queen Street one block north draws all the retail traffic, but thousands of people are moving along Richmond every night visiting its restaurants, theatres and nightclubs.

It is not simply the fact that King and Main are one-way that makes them so inhospitable to pedestrian activity. Frankly, we could drop a lane of traffic from Main, reduce the speed limit, widen the sidewalks and you're likely to achieve the same results as a full-on two-way conversion on this street. Besides, if LRT is on its way, the entire discusison is moot. There simply is not enough allowance for a full-on two-way road and LRT. However, one could design Main with two lanes of one-way traffic, LRT on a dedicated lane, broader sidewalks and a bike lane. IMO this is how Main should (and likely will) be reconfigured.

By the way, comparing Hamilton's traffic situation to that of Toronto (or Montreal, or NYC for that matter) is definitely comparing apples to oranges.

Sorry, I disagree. I think Richmond is a barren wasteland.

Apart from entrances to The Bay at Yonge and Bay Streets there is pretty much nothing during the day. A vibrant street needs more than one intersection (Richmond & John) that is active mostly in the evenings. It needs to be active during the day as well. Apart from that one intersection, owing a great deal to the vibrancy found along John, the street is dead. I challenge anyone to walk the stretch from Yonge to Bathurst, at 2pm (heck I walk it at 5pm because I can walk quicker than on Queen or King) in the afternoon and tell me anything different.

Working in the area I'll be happy to join you for the walk and discuss the attributes to the street. I would also like to mention that one should use the south side between Spadina and Bathurst and you'll walk on the road asphalt separated from traffic by concrete barriers.......

BCTed
Jul 24, 2008, 9:09 AM
2 way conversion is important for downtown Hamilton's major streets. Due to years of neglect, many buildings are empty BUT new businesses are slowly trying to come in. Unfortunately for these new business owners, 1 way streets with timed lights prevent motorists from "discovering" these new businesses when they are downtown. Instead, they enter the downtown and leave it within minutes of arriving.

Why would anyone in their right mind want to open up a business in downtown Hamilton if only traffic coming from 1 direction can get to them easily? Lets face it, the downtown is dead because of the way its set up and 1 way streets are a big part of that.

Think of all the businesses on Upper James... now what if it was 1 way and you had 5 places you had to get to along the street. Think of how difficult it would be to get to one of the places if you missed it and had to backtrack on the 1 way street system...


This point about people "discovering" businesses is a real flashpoint for me when it comes to the whole one-way versus two-way debate. I despise this suggestion because I cannot imagine that people in cars are suddenly going to become aware of businesses that they would never have heard of otherwise, and then proceed to patronize these businesses. It may happen in a few extremely rare instances, but I don't believe that such a piece has any place in any kind of business development plan (and I just do not like the deliberate introduction of inefficiency).

When I first saw city leaders mentioning this point on TV, I could not believe it. I have actually been pretty happy that it has not been mentioned on here or on TV too much lately --- I believe that it is the silliest piece of the whole argument for two-wav street conversion.

raisethehammer
Jul 24, 2008, 11:42 AM
How will anyone get the itch to come back to a shopping district and stroll the streets if they zoom past and have no idea of what's there?

That point is simply one, on top of several others, that make slower, two-way streets important.
I was in TO recently...I can't name one thing I saw on Richmond St. because I was flying along. I can name all sorts of cool shops and eateries I saw on College because I was slowly moving and stopping frequently.

markbarbera
Jul 24, 2008, 12:57 PM
Sorry, I disagree. I think Richmond is a barren wasteland.

Apart from entrances to The Bay at Yonge and Bay Streets there is pretty much nothing during the day. A vibrant street needs more than one intersection (Richmond & John) that is active mostly in the evenings. It needs to be active during the day as well. Apart from that one intersection, owing a great deal to the vibrancy found along John, the street is dead. I challenge anyone to walk the stretch from Yonge to Bathurst, at 2pm (heck I walk it at 5pm because I can walk quicker than on Queen or King) in the afternoon and tell me anything different.

Working in the area I'll be happy to join you for the walk and discuss the attributes to the street. I would also like to mention that one should use the south side between Spadina and Bathurst and you'll walk on the road asphalt separated from traffic by concrete barriers.......


We'll have to agree to disagree on Richmond then, basically on how one would define vibrancy on a street. IMO, the amount of pedestrian traffic along a road during bankers' hours is not a true litmus test of a vibrant street. If it was, then we would have to say King Street in downtown Hamilton is vibrant, and Hess Village is not, and we all know the opposite is true.

A street's vibrancy is measurable by several urban qualities, only one of which is pedestrian traffic. Other factors to be considered include the following:

Building Occupancy
The presence of a significant streetwall interactive with the street
the presence of successful commercial business on the street
property redevelopment
mixed commercial/residential use


When factoring in these elements, Richmond most certainly cannot be considered a barren wasteland.

BrianE
Jul 24, 2008, 1:04 PM
This point about people "discovering" businesses is a real flashpoint for me when it comes to the whole one-way versus two-way debate. I despise this suggestion because I cannot imagine that people in cars are suddenly going to become aware of businesses that they would never have heard of otherwise, and then proceed to patronize these businesses. It may happen in a few extremely rare instances, but I don't believe that such a piece has any place in any kind of business development plan (and I just do not like the deliberate introduction of inefficiency).

When I first saw city leaders mentioning this point on TV, I could not believe it. I have actually been pretty happy that it has not been mentioned on here or on TV too much lately --- I believe that it is the silliest piece of the whole argument for two-wav street conversion.

A couple of years ago I would have agreed with you Ted. Having just moved to the area and not traveled very far east of Locke St. But now that I live in the east end and have driven along Main and King hundreds of times. I still can't believe how many restaurants and stores never registered in my mind until about the 83rd time driving by it. Usualy it's a light bulb over the head kind of moment... "oh, so that's where Zum Linzer is... must have drove by here 50 times and never noticed it."

Now think about all the people in the city who only drive down Main or King to get to Hamilton Place, or Ivor Wynne Stadium once every couple of months. They have no idea what downtown has to offer.

FairHamilton
Jul 24, 2008, 3:19 PM
IMO, the amount of pedestrian traffic along a road during bankers' hours is not a true litmus test of a vibrant street. If it was, then we would have to say King Street in downtown Hamilton is vibrant, and Hess Village is not, and we all know the opposite is true.

Nor, are club goers queued at 11pm - 2am on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday night. If you want to walk it outside of 'bankers' hours' then walk it at 11am, 2pm, 4pm, 6pm on a weekend.

You'll find it fairly empty of life at that time as well. My suggestion is to walk west from Bay along Richmond to Spadina, and circle back east on King, or Queen streets. Compare the differences.

A street's vibrancy is measurable by several urban qualities, only one of which is pedestrian traffic. Other factors to be considered include the following:
Building Occupancy


It's Toronto, and building occupancy is high city wide.


The presence of a significant streetwall interactive with the street


Yes, 1 block of the back of MuchMusic with no access to the street does constitute a streetwall, and so does the side of a factory building with chest high loading docks west of Peter Street. Toronto resisted hollowing out it's streetwall during recessionary times, Hamilton wasn't so fortunate.


the presence of successful commercial business on the street


Name 3 businesses catering to the general public that operate along Richmond between Bay and Spadina that aren't nightclubs, and aren't clustered with 50m east or west of John street.


property redevelopment

Toronto didn't tear down old buildings when they were 'down on their luck' they waited for a resurgence. Unfortunately, Hamilton buildings rotted and many were torn down.


mixed commercial/residential use


I can think of one condo at Richmond and Simcoe off the top of my head. I don't know of any others. What other residential?


When factoring in these elements, Richmond most certainly cannot be considered a barren wasteland.

Well it certainly isn't vibrant, when compared to King, or Queen streets (or Front Street for that matter)

I'm not picking on Richmond (or Adelaide) as they were manufaturing streets so are architecturally different than King & Queen. But the one traffic on the street definitely has an impact, and IMO not a positive one.

I'd really argue if they need to be one way streets. I'd argue they should make both 2 way since Adelaide is consistently 2 lanes wide from before Bay to past Yonge because of construction, parked taxis and delivery trucks. If the one way can be squeezed 4 to 2 lanes, certainly traffic will move just as well with 2 lanes in a two way set-up.

holymoly
Jul 24, 2008, 3:47 PM
Are Main Street's lanes particularly narrow? They always seem that way to me whenever I come in from Toronto, but maybe that's just because I've just left wider highway lanes. With the high number of narrow (?) one-way lanes and the "green wave" that allows for high-ish speeds, I find I have to pay more than the usual amount of attention to driving and maneuvering among all those cars, giving less attention to the streetscape.

IMO people also drive differently in downtown Hamilton than in downtown Toronto. In Hamilton, they're more likely to zoom up to a red light and brake hard, then zoom off when it changes. In Toronto they're more likely to ease into the stop and the start -- except when they're running a red, a nasty Toronto habit which I hope won't infect Hamilton.

Millstone
Jul 24, 2008, 4:04 PM
Are Main Street's lanes particularly narrow? They always seem that way to me whenever I come in from Toronto, but maybe that's just because I've just left wider highway lanes. With the high number of narrow (?) one-way lanes and the "green wave" that allows for high-ish speeds, I find I have to pay more than the usual amount of attention to driving and maneuvering among all those cars, giving less attention to the streetscape.

Yes, especially up the Jolley and Kenilworth accesses. The city is not very good at doing roads, especially painting them. I think it's because the budget was cut very sharply last year, IIRC. I seem to recall a Spec article on it.

markbarbera
Jul 24, 2008, 4:43 PM
Name 3 businesses catering to the general public that operate along Richmond between Bay and Spadina that aren't nightclubs, and aren't clustered with 50m east or west of John street.
This task is a bit of a challenge, seeing that the restrictions eliminate the retail anchor of the street as well as the nightclubs this stretch is famous for, but here's a partial list nonetheless:

Mediterra restaurant
Ruth's Chris Steak House
Fishermen's Wharf of San Francisco
Toronto Hilton
Little Anthony's Restaurant
Oreste Hair Salon
A Space Gallery
YYZ Artists Outlet
Jacob Contemporary Art
Red Head Gallery

I can think of one condo at Richmond and Simcoe off the top of my head. I don't know of any others. What other residential?
73 Richmond W (Graphic Arts Building)
287 Richmond W
388 Richmond W (District Lofts)
438 Richmond W (The Morgan)
477 Richmond W (Soho)
525 Richmond W
676 Richmond W

Well it certainly isn't vibrant, when compared to King, or Queen streets (or Front Street for that matter)

I never claimed it to be as vibrant a road as King or Queen, nor could it ever be, even if it was two-way. King and Queen are after among Toronto's primary "high" streets, whereas Richmond is a secondary route. Richmond does however have a tangible vibrancy and is certainly not a barren wasteland, despite its unidirectional traffic flow.

bornagainbiking
Jul 27, 2008, 2:34 AM
As a person who is bi-transpo. (drive or bike)> use the city routes on a regular basis. Main is without a doubt a high volume 5 lane expressway with timed lights to ensure a 50-60 km clear sailing. As a driver West Hamilton to at least the RedHill Fast..... As a motorist I ain't complaining not that that is right.
As a cyclist who uses the marked bike route try crossing Main at Ferguson. Five lanes non-stop or break in traffic. I would feel safer crosing the QEW as at least they are all going the same speed.
First forfeit one lane to bicycles at least; and/or
if you were to go two way that gives you a centre lane or parking on one side.

adam
Jul 27, 2008, 6:49 PM
Synchronizing the stop lights along main and king so you have to drive slower to get the synchronization is necessary to slow down traffic.

Ideally I'd like to see 2 way along main and king and 1 light rail line for each street in the interior lanes sandwiching the main and king blocks. This would provide a barrier to all the traffic noise for the blocks caught between main and king and encourage business owners to locate there, and help jump start the downtown economy.

Jon Dalton
Jul 29, 2008, 7:13 AM
Public works release revised transportation master plan as per council's request
http://i272.photobucket.com/albums/jj194/jondalton/Quebec/JonsSlides1AA037.jpg

worldwide
Jul 29, 2008, 7:53 AM
whats with the sign??? that cant be real

raisethehammer
Jul 29, 2008, 1:06 PM
haha...wow! I'd expect to see a sign like that in Hamilton. Where is that??

FairHamilton
Jul 29, 2008, 1:09 PM
I'm guessing at a drawbridge, or somewhere similar. It is funny though. And sad, because there are some who think that way in general. But stilll funny.

coalminecanary
Jul 29, 2008, 2:09 PM
Synchronizing the stop lights along main and king so you have to drive slower to get the synchronization is necessary to slow down traffic.

Problem is, if you sync for, say, 40km/h, that's only for the peole at the "front of the light". Anyone who arrives on a yellow can feel free to still go 60-70 and not have to stop until they catch up with the leaders.

The only way to truly slow traffic down is to de-time the lights. Having a forced stop at least every few blocks would be a start. I'm not trying to say the enitire length of the roads should be stop and go at every light, but you have to reduce the distance that people can cruise on the greens so that it no longer feels like an expressway. So long as there is a green wave, there will be people surfing it too fast...

Another thing that needs to be done (the sooner the better) is to convert all of the off ramps from the highways into intersections. You are just asking for trouble when you build the off ramp form a highway into an on ramp on the city street. people will bring the highway mentality from the highway to the city without even thinking about it.

Millstone
Jul 29, 2008, 2:14 PM
Another thing that needs to be done (the sooner the better) is to convert all of the off ramps from the highways into intersections. You are just asking for trouble when you build the off ramp form a highway into an on ramp on the city street. people will bring the highway mentality from the highway to the city without even thinking about it.

Are you talking about the 403? Or what? That would be a step backwards to about 1940.

adam
Jul 29, 2008, 2:45 PM
We need to have stoplights at the 403 and Main St East.
There are stoplights at 403 and Main St West and it provides traffic with a transition to street speed driving.