Sunday, July 07, 2013

Lost on Longwood?

Councillor Brian McHattie, 
City of Hamilton

RE: Longwood Road Environmental Project Report Notice of Project Completion

Dear Councillor McHattie,

I am writing on behalf of Transportation for Liveable Communities (TLC) to voice our extreme dissatisfaction with the notice of completion for the Longwood Road environmental project report.

The City of Hamilton has a unique opportunity to seize on McMaster University’s expansion into Longwood Road and the potential to attract numerous young professionals who can further invigorate the Kirkendall neighborhood. Such young professional have made it loud and clear that they seek to live and work in lively communities where they can walk and bike.

Despite the assertion in the city report, there are no solid MTO plans in the near future that involve widening highway 403, according to the MTO’s “Southern Highways Program 2012 to 2016.” Planning for such a project would not even begin until after 2016. 

Disappointedly, the city’s plan for Longwood Road uses future highway widening as reason to create a people-hostile 5-lane highway on Longwood, with inappropriate accommodation of pedestrian and cyclists. Moreover, the plan effectively is to do nothing in the foreseeable future despite latent demand which requires immediate accommodation of safe pedestrian and cyclist routes.  
Our vision for Longwood Road is simple, sensible and feasible: wide sidewalks and bike lanes on both sides of the road, from its start at Princess Point in the north to its terminus at similar people-friendly facilities on Aberdeen Ave. Only such a plan would accommodate the people who wish to live and work in Kirkendall and the McMaster Innovation Park. In our vision, we could readily travel by foot and bike between the Innovation Park and neighborhood destinations at all directions, including Westdale and McMaster University.

We find it absurd that, even though the motivation for the Longwood Road environmental project was “a need for enhanced pedestrian and bicycle access and improved safety along the existing corridor” (quotation taken from the project Problem and Opportunity Statement), it has resulted in a backward conclusion reflecting mid-Twentieth Century car-centric thinking that fails to adequately address the Problem and Opportunity statement.

Giving that the notice of completion makes it clear that we have been blocked from appealing with a part II order, TLC intends to take other available democratic actions to advance the local cause of sustainable transportation. Such actions will include wide broadcasting of the fact that plans for the major transportation corridor to the McMaster Innovation Park are anything but innovative. We hope to find allies in the McMaster community including McMaster Innovation Park so that the best interests of this new facility are served by a multi-modal transportation network.

Sincerely yours,

Randy Kay

Dr. Patrick Deane, President, McMaster University
Mr. Zach Douglas, President and CEO, McMaster Innovation Park

TLC is a citizen-powered advocacy group formed in 2000 that seeks to improve conditions and infrastructure that supports and actively encourages healthy and sustainable transportation modes, including walking, transit, cycling and car pooling.