Friday, January 19, 2007

Reply, in the Main, misses the Concern


Thank you for your email.

You should be aware that the local councilor Brian McHattie and the neighborhood in Westdale have applied significant pressure on the University with respect to traffic and they have forced us to take construction traffic and service vehicles through campus. There have been a lot of meetings with Hamilton Police Services and the local politician and the University has been forced to do this.

Basically the neighbours want all of our traffic of their streets and sent through the centre core of our pedestrian campus - this is a real challenge that we are facing right now.

Things could get worse - I wish I had better news. We have been juggling zoning and planning issues, by law issues, ticketing by HPS and so on.

We are continuing to work with the city to try to find a workable solution.

On the plus side we were successful with our negotiations with GO transit to install a transit terminal on the west side of main campus - behind the clarke centre - this has resulted in all GO buses coming off the campus to the periphery - it should open later this month - and there is a drop off area in that location as well.
We are also close to completion of our plans for the College Cres/Cootes entrance to improve pedestrian safety . A number of new initiatives are coming from this.

Long discussions with the city - again.

Karen Belaire

Main (Entrance) Concern

Karen Belaire, VP Administration, McMaster University
Dear Karen:

I am writing on behalf of Transportation for Liveable Communities (TLC), a working group of McMaster’s chapter of OPIRG (Ontario Public Research Interest Group).

TLC members have been pleased to see some major improvements to pedestrian safety on campus, most notably, the additional pedestrian zebra-crossings.

We are, however, displeased to note that, a year and a half after our letter to Dr. George, and your reply to us (attached), the necessary major safety improvements have not been implemented and there are even hints of proposed changes that would actually DECREASE pedestrian safety on campus.

In spite of your explicit promises in your letter of August 22, 2005, there is little control over entry of vehicles via the Main St. entrance. In a few sample periods taken by TLC members, the majority of cars passed through without checking in with the attendant. Many of these cars also kept driving through the two stop signs at the intersections in front of the Psychology Building. We find this unacceptable and believe that the only sustainable solution is to erect stop signs AND bars at the welcome booth, which would allow only controlled entry to campus. Bars should also be installed at the two other entrances to campus at Sterling St. and Cootes Dr. This may be combined with the proposed change to electronically controlled entry to the parking lots.

We should also note that, as far as we know, your promise of August 22, 2005 to implement a safe passenger drop off location has not been materialized. Not unexpectedly, significant dangerous traffic on campus currently consists of cars racing through heavy pedestrian areas and even manoeuvring outrageous U-turns in intersections crowded with pedestrians in order to drop off a passenger and then leave as fast as possible.

Finally, TLC has again heard that your reinstated promise of August 22, 2005 for a regularly staffed 'welcome booth' may not materialise, and that McMaster’s Security and Parking Services intend to modernize parking technology and eliminate the staffed booths at the campus entrances. We certainly encourage the introduction of new technology, but request that such technology would be designed to increase rather than compromise pedestrian safety on campus. For example, the use of beacons and bars at entrances could be used to eliminate all but service and emergency vehicles on certain roads, and entry to parking lots only to cars with proper permits.

Regardless of changes to parking control, we think that the welcome booth at the front entrance must be staffed as promised to us on several occasions. We also urge you to promptly implement the old promises regarding limiting car entry to campus only to the bare minimum through proper measures such as the ones outlined above.

We look forward to hearing from you,

Sincerely yours,


James S. Quinn, Ph.D.
For Transportation for Liveable Communities.

Dr. James S. Quinn Professor Biology Department McMaster University Hamilton, ON L8S 4K1 (905) 525-9140 ext 23194