Monday, June 30, 2008

downtown dundas

Submission to the Downtown Dundas Transportation Master Plan, by Transportation for Liveable Communities (TLC) Hamilton, Monday, June 30, 2008

Dundas is a liveable community that has grown in population, without a matching growth in support for sustainable transportation. The last improvements to cycling infrastructure were made in the early 1990's, outside of the downtown area.

A cross-section of current problems facing transportation in Dundas:

  • Transit riders face long waits and often unreliable service from the HSR; new residential growth at the west end of Governor's Road have no weekend bus service and only minimal service during the week. In order to provide hourly service during weekdays for Governor's Road residents, the transit service along the main business district of King Street was robbed of service; this sort of patched together transit doesn't serve residents or business needs and requires major improvement.
  • Too many single occupancy vehicles pass three schools on Governor's Road while pedestrians and cyclists are forced to share narrow sidewalks, creating conflict between these modes of sustainable transportation.
  • Besides a few new, poorly located bike parking racks, cyclists have not seen any new infrastructure in Dundas since 1992.
  • The 1998 Shifting Gears Cycling Plan and the Transportation Master Plan for the city identifies Hatt Street, York Road, Dundas Street, Governor's Road/Dundas Street for cycling improvements, i.e bike lanes or paved shoulders, but there has been no effort to implement these important routes to date.
  • A busy and key pedestrian intersection at Hatt and Ogilvie has crosswalks that do not line up with sidewalk ramps, making for a difficult and dangerous crossing for people using mobility aids - this at the site of a large development nearing completion that will serve seniors.
Action on sustainable transportation is absolutely necessary to deal with social and environmental decline: obesity and other health issues can be linked to lack of opportunity for physical activity in daily life; removing barriers to using active modes leads to healthier, more fit citizens.
With rising oil prices and global climate change, transportation is one of the areas where we can have direct impact, with great benefits to both the environment, health, economy and our pocketbooks.

In And Around the Project Area

Dundas is for the most part, built in a compact form that lens itself to walkability, recognized in the Dundas Downtown Transportation Master Plan:
"It is the intention of the City that downtown Dundas will continue to serve as the primary commercial shopping area for the Town, with special attention focused on the maintenance and enhancement of its economic vitality, its attractive heritage character, and its strong pedestrian orientation."

TLC notes that most of the residential areas of Dundas are within a 2 kilometre radius of the downtown core, an easy walking distance.
This study must, to ensure access to a high quality of life, give priority to walking, cycling, and transit if the emphasis on active modes in to be maintained and enhanced.
  • Hatt Street - TLC supports the Hatt Street Urban Design Study in general for it's attention to improved pedestrian connectivity and recognition of Hatt Street as a vital link in the East- West cycling route, also noted in the Shifting Gears Cycling Policy.
  • Necessary traffic calming to address speeding should be undertaken as part of any changes to the road design, and done in a way that will enhance the pedestrian and cycling amenities. To be avoided are design changes that disrupt the cycling amenity on Hatt (i.e. The Transportation Master Plan notes the example of "Barton Street is designated as on-street cautionary but this road is not suitable for cycling in some areas due to the presence of curb extensions.")
  • The Hamilton TMP identifies Hatt Street between Main Street and Bond Street for Bicycle Lanes in the short term, which TLC sees as long overdue. This should be a priority with implementation as soon as possible to strengthen the larger Hamilton Cycling network, while making a safe and visible route to support current and new cyclists. The Hamilton TMP notes that added cycling infrastructure is positively linked to an increase in users.
  • There need to be more pedestrian crossing points on Hatt Street between the traffic lights at Ogilvie, and the all way stop at Market/Creighton, a distance of approximately 743.m. - TLC recommends at least a responsive pedestrian activated crossing light at McMurray Street, which is almost exactly mid point between existing crossings. A location in the study area should be reviewed for a pedestrian crossing is the section of King Street between Main and York Road. To legally cross this section pedestrians currently have to walk a great distance to a signalized intersection.
  • TLC recommends looking at the potential for Ogilvie Street between King Street and Hatt as a pedestrian priority area, given the "artists' way" designation that recognizes the Carnegie Gallery and the Dundas Valley School of Art; these cultural institutions are buoyed by the presence of the Dundas Public Library making this section of the street an excellent space for cultural gatherings and as a car-free space. The current state of sidewalks on this street is sub par and an impediment to mobility: i.e. narrow, obstructed by parking meters. In the short term, wider, barrier-free sidewalks are necessary if pedestrian mobility is to be well served.
  • Transit - Dundas is poorly served by public transit with hour long waits outside of peak hours and poor circulation for residents within the former town limits; TLC supports improvements to transit within the former town that would better connect people between homes and business/commercial areas, with the possibility of creating a transit hub that would allow convenient (protected from weather) and efficient (no long waits between buses) transfer to Hamilton-bound HSR buses like the Bee Line or Delaware.
  • Consideration should be given to Dundas transit users' needs when the Bus Rapid Transit and/or Light Rail Transit is planned. Ease of transfer between local buses and higher-order express service, including integration with GO transit terminal at McMaster, should be a priority for the HSR/TMP.
  • The Spencer Creek Trail exists as a valuable pedestrian footpath bisecting the town in an east/west direction, linking residents with shopping, business, and recreation, while providing an escape from busy roads; as such, the path should be maintained and enhanced as a walkable spine along the creek, in tandem with any improvements to naturalizing the creek. Where feasible, i.e. where disruption of the natural environment is minimal, improvements to allow access for disabled should be pursued. TLC believes the footpath requires attention to enhance sections where the trail currently is forced to the sidewalks. To improve the integrity of the trail as a footpath along the creek synonymous with the trail, bridges and new paths need to be installed in these missing sections. In TLC's opinion, the south side (generally) of the creek should be maintained as a continuous footpath between the South Shore trails of the Royal Botanical Gardens and the Bruce Trail at the Spencer Gorge. Multi-Use path development could generally focus on the north side of the creek, where existing parking lots (Dundas Arena/Pool) and a long stretch of open space adjacent to Mill Street present opportunities for cycling and walking as well as mobility-aided access.
  • TLC strongly supports the use of roundabouts at key intersections to serve as an effective traffic calming and traffic safety measure, specifically at Governor's Road and Davidson; TLC also suggests a roundabout to replace the current traffic lights at Governor's and Creighton, and another roundabout at Ogilvie/South/Old Ancaster. Having roundabouts on the periphery of the downtown (i.e. just outside the study area) will make important contributions to the feel of the transportation system for people entering the study area.
  • The Governor's Road has need for such traffic calming, and more (wider sidewalks, bicycle lanes, etc) in the vicinity of the three schools between Creighton and Castlewood/Bridlewood. to encourage active routes to school and to deal with excessive traffic speed.
  • To ensure year round walkability, a sidewalk clearing strategy must be in place to remove snow and ice in a timely manner after snowfalls. Routes must be clear and direct, and not left to individual homeowners and businesses when that results in long periods of inaction and obstructed routes. The emphasis should be on pro-active pedestrian mobility, and not on by-law enforcement of non-compliant snow removers.
  • To support pedestrian activity, attention to making walking routes comfortable and attractive should be a priority. For instance, future planned bridge-work at Governor's Road and Ogilvie should address the lack of bicycle lanes and the existing narrow sidewalks while seeking to improve the natural and aesthetic features that could serve to enhance the state of this currently marginalized section of Spencer Creek beneath the intersection. This is in keeping with a key determinant of walking activity outlined in the Hamilton TMP which acknowledges the relationship between the likelihood of choosing walking with
    "The pleasantness of the walk, which is affected by pedestrian amenities (e.g.,benches, street trees, natural areas, trellises, etc.), weather, and noise levels."
    Spencer Creek should be made a focus for the community, and treated with more respect when it comes in contact with the built form. Community access to the creek should be enhanced in design considerations at this location, and others.
  • Attention to intersection turning radii are important so that crossing distances for pedestrians are not unduly increased to allow ease of turning movements for vehicles. Ease of turning for motor vehicles also means more danger for pedestrians crossing at intersections since drivers do not have to pay as much attention to making their turn. Main Street at Governor's/Dundas Street is an example of a car-centric design at the expense of pedestrian comfort and safety, especially the west side of the intersection; or the west side of the Governor's Road and Huntingwood intersection. Tight turning radii should be the norm for new intersections and retrofit to existing overbuilt intersections.
  • Further, pedestrian crossing signals at several intersections require a pedestrian to activate the crossing button and wait, often for a full cycling of the lights, before the walk signal activates. This alienates pedestrians in the transportation hierarchy, in direct contravention of stated goals to encourage active transportation. The argument that the increase in wait times for traffic queued at a secondary street results in an increase in idling with resultant pollution is not strong enough to override the needs of pedestrians, and indeed, marginalizes pedestrian activity. TLC wants this signal policy altered to better serve pedestrian needs, with the full cycling of walk signal as a default for intersections, in particular the Creighton at Governor's and the Castlewood/Bridlewood at Governor's intersections.
  • TLC supports the use of pedestrian signals with digital countdowns at intersections of multi-lane roadways in order to provide pedestrian support in making safe crossings.
  • TLC opposes the so-called "roadway improvements" identified previously in the City of Hamilton Road Network Strategy that would see "two-way left turn lanes along Grovernor’s [sic] Road between Creighton Drive and Bridlewood Drive and widening Grovernor’s [sic] Road from Creighton Drive to Osler Drive." After consulting with stakeholders with an interest in traffic safety on Governor's Road TLC would prioritize cycling and walking amenities identified in the Hamilton TMP (bike lanes) and traffic calming with no road widening. Road widening would not benefit active modes on this stretch of road with three schools (two primary/middle and one secondary schools), and the Road Network Strategy's emphasis on auto-mobilty detracts from the DDTMP's goal of increasing active modes. We also point to the Hamilton TMP for their recognition of the need for bicycle lanes extending from the current terminus of the Cootes Drive Bicycle Path, "Dundas Street-Governor's Road" from Cootes Drive to Castlewood Blvd as a medium term objective. Thus, the two objectives are at odds, with only the TMP serving the interests of active modes along Governor's Road, which positively contributes to cycling connectivity, directness, continuity and enhances safety and comfort.
  • Bicycle Parking in the downtown is currently inadequate due to poor location (i.e. out of sight) and inadequate supply. Where necessary, on street car parking should be re-designated to supply bicycle parking (i.e. where there is inadequate sidewalk width, for example, a car-parking space would be upgraded to bicycle parking)
  • Hamilton TMP notes that for Dundas "many of the local streets, particularly in the residential areas south of Governor’s Road, do not have sidewalks;" The TMP also suggests "Sidewalks on both sides of urban arterials and residential collectors, on one or both sides of residential local streets (with possible exceptions for cul-de-sacs) and, where required, on both sides of industrial/commercial streets." McMurray Street, between King at Hatt and south of Hatt is just one example of poorly executed sidewalk infrastructure within the study area; the north side of Cootes Drive lacks sidewalks east of York Road to East Street: TLC wants these, and other examples of poor or non-existent pedestrian infrastructure addressed to enable pedestrians direct, continuous, safe and comfortable connectivity to the community. Incremental additions to incomplete sidewalk infrastructure should be identified in the TMP with timelines for action.
  • Traffic calming should be part of any road changes to support shifts from automotive to sustainable modes. Speed limits through business districts, school zones, and residential areas should reflect the needs of pedestrians and cyclists for safety and comfort.
  • The existence of front-mounted bike racks on HSR transit buses is a welcome addition to the sustainable transportation nexus, and gives cyclists added range of options; this infrastructure should be kept in place year round.
  • A review of bus shelters should be done to ensure adequate shelter for transit users (i.e. size and missing locations)
  • Cycling improvements identified for Dundas in the Hamilton TMP should be priority items for implementation: these include in the short term Bond Street between Hatt Street and King Street (Bike Lane) and Hatt Street between Main Street and Bond Street (bike lanes). In the medium term, Dundas Street and Governor's Road from Cootes Drive to Castlewood Blvd (bike lanes); King Street/Hwy 8 from Bond Street to Brock Road (bike lanes); and Olympic Drive-York Road from Cootes Drive to Maryvale Avenue (paved shoulders).

TRANSPORTATION FOR LIVEABLE COMMUNITIES (TLC) is a volunteer working group of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) McMaster since 2000. TLC takes action on issues of sustainable transportation in Hamilton Ontario and surrounding area, encouraging walking, cycling, transit and other options to single occupancy automobile use.

TLC is at
905-525-9140 ext. 26026
PO Box 19, 1280 Main Street West
Hamilton ON L8S 1C0

Friday, June 20, 2008

bonding with the bus

Please join [Environment Hamilton] to celebrate the first new transit line to be added in the lower city since 1982! We're also looking for volunteers to come an hour early to help decorate the wedding bus and ceremony tent.

Join us for the new Wentworth 12 bus route launch!

The Robert Land Community Association, Environment Hamilton and the City of Hamilton's Public Works Department cordially invite you to witness the celebration of the bond between

the Keith Community and

the Hamilton Street Railway

on Monday, June 23, 2008

12:00 am

Eva Rothwell Centre (nee: Robert Land School)

460 Wentworth Street North

Outdoor ceremony followed by light refreshments and tours of the Eva Rothwell Centre.

Some history...

The HSR and the Keith Neighbourhood are getting hitched!

Please join us for a 'wedding' scheduled for Monday June 23rd, 12:00 am at the Eva Rothwell Centre on Wentworth North. This ceremony will coincide with the first day of the new Wentworth12 bus service and marks the first new transit line in the lower city in over 25 years!

The marriage symbolizes the desire of Environment Hamilton, the Keith Neighbourhood and the HSR that the route be a permanent commitment between the residents and the public transit system.

Our staff will be on hand to 'officiate' at the nuptials and the bus will carry 'just married' decorations for the rest of its first day. Residents are invited to travel for free on this route during the first week of service.

A 2006 Environment Hamilton door-to-door survey of 3200 North Hamilton homes produced evidence of a demand for the new service.

Some homes were more than a kilometre from the nearest HSR stop.

The Wentworth number 12 will follow a rectangular route south on Wentworth, west on Stinson, north on Victoria past the General Hospital, and east on Burlington Street back to Wentworth . It will provide 30 minute service to cover both morning and afternoon rush hours. The new line intersects with six major east-west routes – King 1, Barton 2, Cannon 3, Burlington 4, Delaware 5 and Beeline 10.

It will link link six east-west HSR lines to Hamilton General Hospital, the VON, Cathedral High School, and of course, the Keith Neighbourhood residents. Initial service is weekdays only from 6:45 to 9:00 am, and 2:20 to 7:15 in the afternoon.

You are invited to witness the 'wedding' ceremony, enjoy wedding cake and refreshments, throw confetti and take a ride on the wedding bus, decorated in the spirit of the day.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

catching up with some trail development

*CATCH News – **June 15, 2008***

*Major west end trail expansion*

A major addition to the walking and cycling trail system in west Hamilton will provide a direct link between the the Kirkendall neighbourhood and the Dundas Valley. A proposal to purchase and lease nearly two kilometres of CP rail line goes to the public works committee tomorrow morning (June 16).

The agreement would see the city purchase a 900 metre right of way from the Fortino’s property on Main West to Stroud Avenue, and sign a 20-year lease for an additional 820 metres across the 403 connecting Stroud to Studholme Avenue. A final 350 metre section of trail would run along the north edge of Chedoke Golf Course.

An existing rough and narrow path along the rail line has been used informally by cyclists for several years as an off-road route across the 403, but that practice has had no legal sanction. That would be replaced by a 5 metre wide paved path, with a narrower section along the golf course.

The city already has an agreement that links Fortino’s with the Ewen Road terminus of the popular Hamilton Conservation Authority rail trail that extends into the Dundas Valley and on to Brantford, Paris and Cambridge forming a 90-kilometre off-road trail system. At the other end, the new trail would link with the radial line path up the escarpment from Chedoke to Mohawk Road.

The agreement requires an independent appraisal of the property being sold, but there is already agreement between CP and the city that the purchase price won’t exceed $725,000 – an amount the staff report says is “significantly less” than the potential value of the land. The city will provide CP with a charitable tax receipt for any additional value and will name CP as the sponsor of the resulting trail.

Some of the property may be contaminated so the report warns that “the offer to purchase will be contingent on the outcome of the site investigations, and if unexpected conditions are found, this may require abandoning of the project, renegotiation or alternate action.”

However, provincial regulations exempt trail projects from some cleanup requirements since there is usually little or no disturbance of potentially contaminated soils. Staff note that some excavation may be necessary if a decision is made to install lighting along portions of the trail, so they are recommending soil testing before the deal is finalized.

Funds for the purchase were approved in last year’s capital budget. A one-time payment of $150,000 for the 20-year lease would be covered by the annual cycling budget.

Staff say the golf course section – which would require “some relocation of golf tees” – has been worked out with neighbours by ward councillor Brian McHattie.

“Staff and councillor McHattie met with the neighbours , the consultant and a representative of Hamilton Police Service on site last summer and the proposed layout was satisfactory to them,” notes the report, “although the police specifically suggested that for maximum safety the path through the golf course not lighted to discourage night-time use.”

While giving city residents direct access to the recreational trails in the Dundas Valley and beyond, the new route will also provide commuter cycling links with the university and the Innovation Park research development planned for Longwood Road.

“The trail is the missing link in a circular route which connects to trails at the top of the escarpment and provides a safe riding environment and excellent scenery and perspective of the centre of Hamilton”, notes the staff report. “Recreational cycling is a key intermediate step to encourage citizens to consider cycling as a commuting mode.”

CATCH (Citizens at City Hall) updates use transcripts and/or public documents to highlight information about Hamilton civic affairs that is not generally available in the mass media. Detailed reports of City Hall meetings can be reviewed at You can receive all CATCH free updates by sending an email to .

Friday, June 13, 2008

fly bye

Aerotropolis an idea that won't fly

, The Hamilton Spectator, (Jun 13, 2008)

The city's 25-year-old airport business park is still 85 per cent empty -- and Terry Cooke, in a column on this page last Saturday, says we must pay to greatly expand it into an aerotropolis.

He claims the "city's future prosperity depends on servicing our airport lands." But like every other fan of this aerotropolis, he doesn't tell us how much it will cost.

What we know suggests a price tag of several hundred million dollars. The consultant studies released last month say a new expressway is required across the rural area between the airport and the south end of the Red Hill Valley Parkway, and warn that the aerotropolis may require widening the 403 escarpment crossing.

They call for a new 25-kilometre trunk sewer pipe from the airport to the Woodward Avenue water waste water plant.

Something similar will be needed for water services -- the consultants aren't sure how much. But they note the airport is the highest point of land in the city so pumping stations are required. And since some of the aerotropolis lands slope away from the lake, pumps will be necessary for the sewage too.

Cooke says Hamilton can pay for all this as well as fixing the downtown and the bayfront industrial area. He doesn't explain how.

He fails to mention that airline fuel prices have nearly doubled in the last year. Since December alone, nine U.S. airline companies have gone bankrupt. Others are desperately raising fares and imposing fees on the first piece of baggage.

What happens to our aerotropolis investment when oil hits $150 a barrel (expected this summer), or $200 a barrel (expected by 2010), or goes much higher? That's the worst possible news for airports, especially small regional ones such as Hamilton's. Why would anyone suggest we bet Hamilton's economic future on this?

Cooke also doesn't mention the aerotropolis will consume 3,000 acres of prime agricultural land -- foodland that becomes more precious as fuel hikes raise shipping costs.

Instead he exaggerates the success of the airport. He predicts more cargo, but doesn't mention the airport has been stuck at the same level for the past seven years.

He points to 700,000 passengers last year (actually 662,000), but doesn't explain that everyone is counted twice -- once going out and once again coming back -- or that this is 30 per cent fewer than in 2004.

He claims there are 3,500 "well-paying" jobs at the airport. The airport operators themselves say a little over 1,600. Maybe he's counting them on the way to work and again on the way home.

He says the airport operators paid the city a $165,000 "royalty" last year, but neglects to mention that the city is required to spend half this rent on promoting it. The taxpayers own the 1,460-acre airport, and in the 12 years of private management, have received an average of less than $15 per acre per year in rent.

He argues the aerotropolis will attract jobs but doesn't mention that over two-thirds of the land is expected to be occupied by warehousing-transportation and wholesale trade -- jobs that would make more sense on the bayfront, near the QEW, and that marine shipping appears to have a brighter future than air freight.

The facts suggest that paying for the aerotropolis means we can forget about restoring the vitality of the lower city, and that we'll be leaving it to our grandkids to clean up old industrial lands. Before council commits us to this, we need all the information fairly presented, so there can be a full public discussion.

Don McLean is a cofounder of Environment Hamilton. He volunteers with Citizens At City Hall and teaches environmental studies for Athabasca University.

Monday, June 09, 2008

ups and downs

Ted Brellisford, the Hamilton Spectator
Step up ... to a new view

The Hamilton Spectator, (Jun 9, 2008)

The long-awaited east Mountain stairs are finally open.

Despite opposition and delays, metal steps leading from the Escarpment Rail Trail to Mountain Brow Boulevard are cemented into the landscape.

"It's long overdue," said cyclist Jay Jespersen, 31, out for a ride during yesterday's blazing heat.

The steps are located about 300 metres east of the lower set, which run from the trail to Kimberly Drive near the Kenilworth Traffic Circle.

Although Jespersen likes having the new steps as a point of access to the Mountain, he would've liked to have seen the stairs continue farther down.

"It'd just be nice to have a straight run up," he said.

Construction on the steps started last fall after the province gave the city the go-ahead in the spring.

Area residents opposed to the stairs were unhappy with the Niagara Escarpment Commission's decision to allow construction and took their appeal to the Environmental Review Tribunal.

The tribunal approved the project, but because of a technical error in documents, the final decision was bumped up to then minister of natural resources David Ramsay.

Residents were concerned the stairs would bring an undesirable element and destroy a treed section of the escarpment.

Wendy Darby, wife of residents' spokesperson Grant Darby, said so far there haven't been any huge issues with the stairs.

"Now that they're here, we'll probably use them," she said.

Darby said there has been an increase in the number of parked cars in front of the couple's home and she has seen a number of youths hanging around the stairs.

She also suggested that, given the traffic changes and increased pedestrian traffic, a proper pedestrian crosswalk at the corner of Mountain Brow and Margate Avenue would be a good idea.

Before the metal steps were built, residents relied on Uli's Steps, a homemade construction of 145 stairs, to get down to the rail trail. A second homemade set continues down to near the Rosedale pool.

Rita Leonard, 47, still uses Uli's Steps although she has also been using the new stairs since they opened.

"These ones are a little bit more challenging," she said, noting that the metal construction seems steeper.

The city is planning an official opening for the stairs for June 25.


Sunday, June 08, 2008

ungoverned governor's?

Audit suggests changes to update road philosophy
Participants watch Governor's drivers ignore rules during school dismissal

Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News
Published on Jun 06, 2008

Governor's Road is still treated as a highway access to Dundas, despite a drastic change in its use, Dundas' public school board trustee said last week.

Jessica Brennan participated in a safety walkabout on Governor's Road, joining a group that focussed on traffic, pedestrian and cycling issues around the new Sir William Osler Elementary School. Another group focussed on issues around St. Bernadette Catholic Elementary School, less than one kilometre away.

"It's the philosophy of the road," Ms. Brennan said during a short discussion that raised no less than 19 issues to pursue, following last Thursday's safety review.

"It used to be thought of as a highway into Dundas. That doesn't address the current use."

She noted Governor's Road now revolves around educational and residential uses, with a new focus on pedestrians and cyclists. Ms. Brennan's comments echoed points made by many other participants.

Most agreed the philosophy of the road, and driver attitude, has to change to meet the reality of its current use.

To help address this, the City of Hamilton will reassess placement of crossing guards on Governor's Road, and consider a recommendation to move the current crossing guard at Creighton Road to Huntingwood, and potentially adding a second crossing guard at Bridlewood.

Governor's Road will also be reviewed for dedicated bike lanes. The Hamilton Wentworth District School Board will be asked to add more bike racks to accommodate a large number of students who ride to school.

Concern was also expresssed about the lack of sidewalks on Governor's Road, beyond Moss Boulevard.

Organized by Transportation for Livable Communities and city staff from public health and traffic services, the walkabout included Dundas councillor Russ Powers and his administrative assistant Arlene Vanderbeek, the local public school trustee, staff of St. Bernadette Catholic Elementary School and parents from Sir William Osler - but no staff representatives of Highland Secondary School or Sir William Osler.

In total, 17 people participated in the safety review, during Safe Kids Week.

St. Bernadette Catholic Elementary School Principal Rukshi Athulathmudali will request increased police and bylaw enforcement of No Stopping and No Parking areas in front of the school.

During last week's audit, a car made an illegal U-turn in front of the school then parked on the sidewalk, in a clearly marked No Stopping zone.

Several students dashed across Governor's Road from between parked cars crammed into a no parking area intended for emergency vehicles. School staff discourage parents from parking there, but the bylaw does permit parking for 15-minutes.

Ms. Athulathmudali would also like to see a curb, or sidewalk, placed across the street from the school, to dissuade drivers from passing on the soft shoulder or attempting U-turns.

It was suggested relocating a Creighton and Governor's crossing guard closer to St. Bernadette at Huntingwood, would provide a closer crossing option for young students.

Ms. Athulathmudali also said drivers are not obeying the 40 km-h flashing school zone that includes the three school stretch of Governor's Road.

Without assistance

Over at Sir William Osler, Ms. Brennan noticed there were more school children crossing Governor's Road than the single crossing guard could accommodate. That resulted in some students crossing at different areas without the assistance of a crossing guard.

A second guard at Osler and relocating a guard to Huntingwood will be part of the Governor's Road crossing guard analysis by the city.

Several vehicles speeding along Governor's Road illegally used the unpaved shoulder to pass another car waiting to turn left into the school's parking lot.

Ms. Athulathmudali, and a St. Bernadette teacher also participating in the safety walk, said drivers speeding by on the shoulder is a common occurrence that has resulted in a few staff members being rear-ended in front of the school.

Ms. Brennan also asked for an update on a proposed Governor's Road roundabout, and the potential widening of the street.

A list of 19 issues and questions raised during last week's walkabout, including investigation of traffic calming measures and increasing by-law and police enforcement, has been produced and representatives of the city, school boards, or Transportation for Livable Communities have been asked to follow-up.

trail story

Transportation group asks for Cootes Trail safety improvements

Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News,
Published on Jun 06, 2008

A community transportation group has asked the City of Hamilton to install a reflective bollard, or post, between Cootes Drive and a pedestrian path where it intersects with Olympic Drive.

Last week's request by Transportation for Livable Communities representative and Dundas resident Anita Toth came 42 days after Jennifer Skingley was struck from behind by a vehicle as she walked her family dog Holly along the paved pedestrian trail.

Police announced this week the driver of the vehicle will not be charged.

Ms. Skingley was taken to hospital with a concussion. She suffered headaches several weeks after the incident and received ongoing treatment. Holly, a two-year-old Australian cattle dog, was pulled under a wheel. One of her back legs was later amputated.

An unnamed driver accessed the Cootes pedestrian trail as he turned left from Olympic Drive.

"The intersection in question has no signs or barriers indicating that cars are not permitted on this path," Ms. Toth stated in the letter. "Instead, there is a wide, paved section which leads from the road to the path, which can cause confusion for out-of-town or new-to-town individuals."

She notes signs indicating motorized vehicles are not permitted on the pedestrian path are only found once a person is actually on the path.

Ms. Toth and TLC request installation of "a soft, break-away style, yellow reflective bollard, at least 150 centimetres tall" in the centre of the paved section.

The letter suggests placing the bollard no closer than 100 centimetres to the edge of the pedestrian path, and at least 200 centimetres from the edge of the Cootes Drive curb lane, "along with an appropriate sign indicating no access for motor vehicles."

Police determined early in the now seven week long investigation that alcohol was not a contributing factor to the driver entering the pedestrian path at Olympic Drive. He reportedly drove nearly two kilometres along the path before striking the McMaster University student.

Hamilton Police Service spokesperson Sergeant Terri-Lynn Collings said there will be no charges laid against the driver, under the Highway Traffic Act.

But it doesn't appear police are completely finished with the case.

"Police are looking at other ways of dealing with this," Sgt. Collings said. "We will be searching other venues."

She would not elaborate on what other options police might have.

A city staff member said last week the traffic department was reviewing the April 19 incident to see what could be done to prevent it from happening again.

But traffic staff would not comment further, citing pending litigation by Jennifer Skingley's father, Malcolm.

City parks staff say park bylaws do not permit vehicles in parks or on pedestrian trails, but related signage is the responsibility of the traffic department.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

getting ready to walkabout

Sustainable transportation takes to the streets and sidewalks on Governor's Road in Dundas May 29, 2008, as parents, city staff, principals and teachers, along with politicians and media join TLC volunteers in a walkabout to look for ways to improve the walking and cycling environment in the vicinity of three schools on a one kilometer stretch of road.

The event was part of Safe Kids Week.

Thanks to the organizing efforts of TLC volunteer Erin Willson, supported by Hamilton Public Health nurses Sharon Mackinnon and Sue Connell, and a small grant from Safe Kids Canada, much insight was gained on needed improvements, with action to follow.

Participants used checklists and information provided by Safe Kids Canada to evaluate the area around the schools for safety and comfort for children walking or cycling, and identified areas in need of improvement.

A fuller report will follow at a later date.

Thanks for all who gave their time to make this important event a success!
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