Friday, December 25, 2009

catching christmas ride?

Burlington transit riders beware - the city does not offer transit on Christmas Day...

Monday, December 21, 2009

bad intersection getting worse?

[If the city gets their way, this already dangerous intersection will be made more so for pedestrians, given the City's plan to widen the crossing by adding through lanes, as presented in the final draft of the Downtown Dundas Transportation Master Plan...]

Dundas woman struck crossing road

, Hamilton Spectator, December 21, 2009

A 51-year-old Dundas woman is in hospital with non-life threatening injuries after she was struck by a car while crossing Governor’s Road in Dundas this afternoon.

Police say the pedestrian was in the crosswalk heading south at Ogilvie when she was struck by a car turning right onto Governor's around 1 p.m. Monday.

Charges against a 71-year-old female driver from Woodham, Ont. are pending, said Hamilton police media officer Sergeant Terri-Lynn Collings.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Found this production at raise the hammer - from a city that tries, and succeeds...

climate win win: sustainable transportation


Here is good news for everyone seeking smart ways to reduce climate change. "Win-Win" transportation emission reduction strategies provide substantial energy conservation and emission reductions while also achieving economic and social objectives.

*Why Transportation?
*When it comes to reducing emissions, transportation is special because it has so many impacts on people and the economy. Win-win strategies reduce climate change emission in ways that provide substantial co-benefits, including congestion reductions, infrastructure cost savings, consumer savings, traffic safety, improved mobility for non-drivers, and improved public fitness and health. Implemented to the degree justified by their economic benefits, these strategies can reduce emissions by 30-50% compared with what would otherwise occur. These are no-regret strategies that are justified regardless of any uncertainty about climate change risks.

*A Paradigm Shift
*Efficient transportation requires more comprehensive and integrated planning, which considers indirect and external impacts, and so identifies the policies that provide the greatest total benefits to society. Considering all benefits and costs, Win-Win strategies are often the best way to reduce transportation emissions .

*Consumer Benefits (Live Long and Prosper)
*Win-Win transportation solutions benefit consumers directly by improving transportation options (better walking and cycling conditions, better public transport services, and innovations such as carsharing, telework and delivery services), by providing new opportunities to save money, and by creating more accessible, multi-modal communities. This provides significant public health benefits including accident reductions, improved public fitness, and improved access to health services.

*Supporting Economic Development
*By increasing transportation system efficiency, Win-Win strategies increase economic productivity and support economic development . They do this by reducing inefficiencies such as traffic congestion, road and parking infrastructure costs, accident and pollution damages, and the cost burden of importing petroleum to fuel vehicles. Recent research shows that economic productivity (per capita GDP) increases in a region with higher public transit ridership, land use densities and fuel prices, and declines with increased motor vehicle travel. This is basic economics: a more efficient transportation system increases productivity. Fortunately, it also reduces pollution emissions. Thats good news from here to Copenhagen.

*For more information:

*"Win-Win Transportation Emission Reduction Strategies" ( )

Friday, December 18, 2009

cars first?

Pedestrians not revved up over transportation plan
Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News Staff
Published on Dec 18, 2009

A transportation master plan that promotes short term improvements for vehicles while delaying improvements for pedestrians, cyclists and public transit was disappointing to some who reviewed the plan at an open house Tuesday.

Retired family doctor Bob James, a member of the Dundas Community Council, said the master plan does not do enough to address pedestrian crossing of Hatt Street and creates new issues at the intersection of King and Ogilvie.

“It’s disappointing,” James said. “I thought there would be more.”

His concerns were echoed by Randy Kay and Reuven Dukas of Transportation for Liveable Communities.

They noted adding new turning lanes were short term recommendations at three intersections, while most pedestrian, cycling and transit improvements are recommended over the medium or long term.

“It’s making it easier for more vehicles to drive faster, and harder for pedestrians,” Dukas said.

Kay said widening intersections will make crossing more dangerous for pedestrians.

They also questioned the master plan’s long-term recommendation to develop a “multi-modal” transit facility just outside the downtown core and extend B-Line service from University Plaza to the new transportation facility.

Dukas suggested that project should be done in the short term, and the intersection changes to improve traffic flow should be scrapped.

The Downtown Dundas Transportation Master Plan recommends further studies be completed on the issue of traffic calming on Hatt Street and Creekside Drive, and that the intersection of Hatt and Memorial Square be studied in the future.

The plan also recommends a Transportation Demand Management Strategy be developed for downtown Dundas. The strategy’s goal would be to “delay, defer or even eliminate the need for significant capital investment in new transportation infrastructure.”

A 60-day public commenting period continues until Feb. 1, 2010.

Valley Inn Update

More adaptations to the former car-now bike and pedestrian-bridge at Valley Inn Road. The transformation to a car-free natural area continues.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Crossing from Creekside

Safety of pedestrians should be priority

Letter to the Editor, Dundas Star News Published on Dec 11, 2009

Creekside Drive in downtown Dundas is on a construction site bounded by Hatt Street and Ogilvie Street.

It is “home” to many seniors living in Amica and the three completed condo buildings, each with 62 units.

A fourth block with 62 units is close to completion, and it seems that another similar block may be constructed. Some seniors have difficulty walking and many use sticks and walkers. At the present time, there is no pedestrian crosswalk at either end of Creekside Drive. Although both Ogilvie and Hatt Streets are very busy roads, crossing Ogilvie is particularly hazardous. The common wisdom is that it is the site of an accident waiting to happen.

We do have traffic lights at the corner of Ogilvie and Hatt and also at the corner of Ogilvie and Governor’s Road. I understand the city expects pedestrians to cross the road at those points.

However, this is not a realistic solution to the safety problem.

There is currently no continuous proper sidewalk on the west side of Ogilvie between Creekside Drive and the traffic lights at Governor’s Road.

In the winter, the sidewalks on each side of the road are often hazardous, due to the significant build-ups of ice and snow.

Walking via the traffic lights would involve approximately 300 steps as compared with approximately 15 steps to cross Ogilvie directly.

On balance — and particularly in the winter — I think seniors would be in more danger if they used the longer routes expected by the city.

I understand the city’s concern about increasing the “hardware” on Ogilvie Street. However, in this particular situation, with such a high proportion of seniors, I do believe the safety of pedestrians crossing the road should be the city’s first priority.

I therefore urge the city to approve the installation of a pedestrian crosswalk at each end of Creekside Drive.

Averil Thompson, Dundas

a block a day? (1970s Participaction Ad)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


The Downtown Dundas Transportation Master Plan (DDTMP) is going into the 60 day review period, with a Public Information Centre (PIC) on Tuesday December 15, 2009, 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Dundas Municipal Centre (Dundas Town Hall) 60 Main Street, Dundas, ON L9H 5E7.

(The city's pdf announcement is here.)

The 60-day review period began December 4, 2009.

Please attend the PIC and add your comments. TLC will need to meet and discuss our submission to the review.

walking master class

Read the full report and recommendations from the Canadian Walking Master Class held in November through Hamilton's Public Health Department.

A list of their recommendations, using the International Charter for Walking as a guidline (i.e. Supportive spatial planning, Reduced road danger, Spaces and places for people, Less crime and fear of crime, Integrated networks, Culture of Walking, Increased inclusive mobility, Supportive Local Authority), follows:

  • Review planning policies to ensure walking is given priority (esp. schools, shopping, residentialnew development)
  • Reduce sprawl by building, infilling with mixed use (esp. around and connecting to existing centres)
  • Retro-fit existing sprawl with sidewalks, safe crossings, priority school streets, mid-block crossings with safe signal phases, refuge islands, safe walking access to big box
  • Create pedestrian space with realigned curbs, expanded sidewalks, parkettes, and “open streets”, so people can create and enjoy their
  • community
  • Reduce traffic volumes & speed, especially along shopping streets, near
  • schools and residential areas
  • Re-route trucks away from downtown or restrict movement / speed downtown
  • Consider returning all one-way streets to two-way. Where it’s demonstrated to be impossible, create centre island for planting and pedestrian refuge
  • Coordinate signal timing for slower speeds
  • Identify and prioritize neighbourhood centres for continued improvements (ie. Ottawa, Locke)
  • Re-designate York street as a priority pedestrian street – re-route through truck traffic away to better support Market
  • Retrofit big box for pedestrians (i.e safe road crossings, routes, protected paths through parking lots)
  • Create more opportunities, events for people to spend time in public space.
  • More people will enhance safety, “eyes on the street”
  • Conduct walking audits (day and night) – look at lighting, cleanliness
  • Ensure urban design promotes safety (CPTED) – no blank facades, hiding places, good lighting, etc.
  • Identify a priority network of safe, pleasant walking routes linking walkable nodes and destinations (waterfront, shopping, etc.)
  • Support the network with signage / wayfinding, traffic reductions, public space improvements, safe road crossings, benches, etc.
  • Include emerging school travel plans in the network
  • Prioritize walking over all other modes when designing access to transit hubs
  • Include “best routes” to transit hubs in the network
  • Develop walking maps and campaigns
  • Develop, install and promote a way-finding system
  • Support events in public space, provide space for sidewalk cafes
  • Promote local culture and art (installations, plaques, designated
  • historical routes, etc.)
  • Identify priority areas for improvements by identifying concentrations of seniors, people with disabilities, children and corresponding key routes to routine destinations (shopping, school). Map these demographics and crash statistics to highlight key priority areas.
  • Continue improvements for those with disabilities, especially with transit.
  • Consolidate different projects under a Pedestrian Master Plan
  • Create a staff network on walking (e-lists, training sessions, meeting opportunities)
  • Establish a more direct link to community (action group, consultation forums, etc.)
  • potentially provide staff support
  • Provide training opportunities - best practices, etc.
  • Collect data on walking City-wide (qualitative and quantitative)

Monday, December 07, 2009

east mountain trail trouble

Trail Loop fight heads to tribunal

STONEY CREEK — Peko Roic argues that putting asphalt along the Mountain Brow behind his home isn’t the right way to compensate for putting a highway down the Red Hill Valley.

He leads a small group trying to stop the City of Hamilton and Hamilton Conservation Authority from building the first phase of the East Mountain Trail Loop, intended to help replace 70 hectares of green space lost to construction of the Red Hill Valley Parkway.

Roic thought the three-metre-wide trail would follow the Bruce Trail, which runs close to the brow, not through woods further south, skirting his property on Ashbury Lane, off Paramount Drive west of Felker’s Falls.

He feels the trail will lead to loss of privacy, late-night noise and vandalism.

“What we are opposed to the most is that it’s going to be asphalt,” he said in an interview. “If the surface was granular, we wouldn’t necessarily have a problem with that.”

The dispute is important because construction of the 10-kilometre, multimillion-dollar, multi-purpose trail was to have started this fall. It’s now stalled until the matter is settled.

The homeowners are using a wrinkle in the law to appeal a development permit issued to the city by the Niagara Escarpment Commission for portions of the trail through Paramount Park and at the top of Red Hill Valley, even though the section past their homes is owned by the conservation authority.

“”It makes dealing with this case awkward,” says commission planner Martin Killian, explaining that municipalities need a permit to build trails on escarpment land, while conservation authorities are exempt.

Sandy Bell, manager of design and development for the authority, said last week it was “making adjustments to the alignment to bring neighbours on side,” but Roic said no deal was reached at a Wednesday-night meeting.

The parties are to appear before Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the council chambers at the Stoney Creek Municipal Service Centre, 777 Hwy. 8, to continue a preliminary hearing that began in October. If the matter isn’t resolved, a full hearing is scheduled to begin Jan. 19.

Friday, December 04, 2009

beyond parking

Hamilton Spectator Photo
Cars don't rule in Kirkendall South
New condo tower going forward with fewer indoor parking spaces

, The Hamilton Spectator
(Dec 4, 2009)

You need a roof over your head. But does your car?

We take for granted the automatic parking space that goes with our living space.

At present, a new apartment building in Hamilton must provide one parking space for each unit. (It used to be 1.25 spaces per unit, to add parking spaces for visitors. But this requirement has been dropped.)

Built-in parking spaces don't come cheap: each costs upwards of $30,000 to build.

You may not mind the extra outlay, but it may price folks, with lower incomes, out of the market.

And providing a parking space for each tenant/condo owner (whether they want it or not) promotes car use and its problems -- pollution, traffic congestion and the human and property costs from car collisions (said to be in the billions each year in Ontario).

Is there another way?

Yes. Many apartments exist in Hamilton without in-built parking spaces. But they tend to be older buildings, some going back to the First World War. Car ownership was not widespread then.

Is it possible to go back to the future?

Yes. And a modest attempt is being made at 427 Aberdeen Avenue, at the corner of Dundurn Street.

You probably know the spot if you reside in the southwest Kirkendall neighbourhood: a Tim Horton's outlet was there for years. Prior to Horton's they pumped gas on the site.

Urban Core Developments acquired the site and this spring will erect a seven-storey condo on it.

The developers wanted to reduce the required number of indoor parking spots in the building. They introduced innovations: indoor bike parking and curbside share-a-car service, both designed to reduce the reliance on cars and the need for space to park them.

The building was at first supposed to have 42 condo units for which 28 parking spaces were to be provided. The number of units were subsequently reduced to 32.

In spite of this quite modest reduction from the city's parking requirements, alarm bells rang in the neighbourhood. Not providing a spot for each of the building's residents would force them to park on neighbourhood streets, cause on-street parking shortages, etc.

These fears, however, were quieted by the city planning department. Citing a study provided by the developer, it assured citizens an adequate supply of parking spots would continue to exist on the surrounding streets.

The city approved the building. In doing so, it followed the trend in Ontario to intensification -- housing more people on less land, in such a way that they can rely more on public transit, walking and bikes to get to work and shop.

Aberdeen, indeed, is a good candidate for intensification. It's a main drag well-served by transit. The intersection of Aberdeen and Dundurn already has a mix of uses -- convenience store, dry cleaner, pharmacy and restaurant.

And it should be pointed out that apartments are no strangers to Aberdeen -- it has several older examples dating back to the '20s and '30s as well as more modern versions (notably at 436).

Could/should apartments be built with no indoor parking? Bottom line: Developers need to market their buildings -- and they need to get them approved by the city. But Hamilton needs multiple, affordable housing near transit. Sacrificing a roof over your car may help to bring this about.

With the LRT possibly coming, we should be thinking about public transit, bikes and car-sharing, etc. as better ways of getting around.

And doing away with indoor parking has other advantages. For example, it eliminates the need for parking entrances -- a space that has the potential use as a retail outlet that provides revenue for the owner and convenience for the building's tenants. Not to mention something more interesting to look at for passersby than a blank garage door.

Hamilton has any number of avenues that cry out for mixed-use intensification (such as Main and King streets). It also has a need for reasonably priced housing. Reducing parking spots in buildings -- even eliminating them -- merits consideration.

David Cohen is a freelance writer. He served on Dundas council from 1991 to 1994.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

mid-pen planning

Bridge across lake floated at planning meeting

, The Hamilton Spectator

BURLINGTON (Dec 2, 2009)

There's no shortage of ideas to relieve traffic congestion between Niagara and Toronto.

The group studying alternatives to a mid-peninsula highway between Fort Erie and Burlington has compiled 150 ideas from the public and municipalities, ranging from optimizing existing transportation links to new road infrastructures.

Now they need to narrow it down and make recommendations to the province by the end of 2010.

The ideas were on display last night at the last of three public information centres staged as part of the lengthy Niagara to GTA Corridor Planning and Environmental Assessment Study.

Dozens of people wandered through the centre at the Burlington Holiday Inn. The other information nights were held in Welland and Ancaster, which were on the route of a highway that was proposed by the former Conservative government, and shelved by the Liberals for this study.

Some new ideas:

* Upgrade Centennial Parkway to a freeway link.

* Build a 400 series highway between Niagara and Milton.

* Extend the Red Hill Valley Parkway to Fort Erie.

* Twin the Burlington Skyway Bridge.

* Build a Hamilton Bay tunnel.

* Build a bridge across Lake Ontario for cars and transit.

Transportation Ministry spokesperson Will MacKenzie said the group has received a "lot of good ideas," but noted that was the purpose of the process.

"We need to have the public involved to have the process work," he said. "If we say 'Do this, do that' and then people disagree then we have a big brouhaha."

The mid-peninsula highway was derailed partly because of Burlington's opposition to it impacting the Niagara Escarpment to link up with the Freeman interchange (QEW/403/407).

MacKenzie admitted a new highway has not been ruled out, but the province is looking at coping with growth in 2031.

"Even if it were recommended to be a highway, that doesn't mean a shovel will be in the ground two years from now," he said.

Royce Curry, a former member of the Halton Transport Development Committee, suggested a lake bridge between Oakville and St. Catharines. He believed it would end congestion where the QEW meets the 403.

He acknowledged it would take courage and admitted, "How many people do we have to do that?"

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

act rapidly!

McMaster and the City of Hamilton are seeking input from faculty, staff and students as work continues on a city rapid transit plan.
A campus-wide survey is being launched this week to learn more about the McMaster community’s transit usage and preferences. The consultation is part of the work underway to bring a rapid transit system to Hamilton, which would include a terminal on campus.
City representatives will be in the McMaster University Student Centre on December 1 and 2 to distribute and collect surveys. You can also complete survey online by visiting
McMaster is committed to working with the City to locate a rapid transit terminal on campus in an appropriate spot that provides convenient access to transit for the McMaster community and respects the campus plan. A key goal of the City is to effectively and efficiently serve the campus community and the survey will help create a better understanding of the needs of students, staff and faculty.
The City’s priority is a Light Rail Transit (LRT) system which includes a McMaster to Eastgate Square line. The City is working with Metrolinx, the provincial body responsible for expanding transit in southern Ontario. A decision is expected in the new year.