Durand and Our On-going Traffic Issues

Following our public meeting with the Traffic Department on March 6th, 2014, Durand’s Traffic Committee recommended the following suggestions to the City of Hamilton Transportation Department.  We are awaiting his response. Thank you to Board Member Jon Dalton for his work on this file.

 

Queen:  Top priority due to high accident rate.  Needs to be a two way street with one lane each direction and curb parking on both sides.   Short term (immediate):  Make parking permanent in east curb lane, install knock down sticks at Main intersection to reduce turning speeds.  Parking should be allowed on west curb lane as well.  These changes can be implemented with paint and signs at low cost.  Other changes:  Crossing is needed at Bold St.  Island / on-ramp intersection at Herkimer needs to be gone.  It should be a normal intersection.

Bay:  Keep bumpouts and make permanent.  Bike lane should go through bumpouts as per existing designs in UK.  While we would like to see all of Bay become two way, the bike lane should at least be bi-directional.  Stop sign at Duke to reduce speeding.  Narrowing needed on downhill section between Hunter and Main.

Main:  Wider sidewalks needed especially at bus stops (Queen, Hess, Caroline MacNab).  Allow parking in north curb lane to buffer pedestrians from speeding traffic.  Long term we need to make Main two way, but realize this will be fought tooth and nail.  This is no reason not to make it less lethal today.

James:  Curb parking to calm traffic and improve the business environment.  Removal of parking during two-way conversion was supposed to be temporary.Charlton:  Bike lane under design should be between sidewalk and parked cars.  Crosswalk needed at Charlton / Caroline intersection. Stop sign at Park St. to facilitate crossing to and from Durand Park.

Herkimer:  Bike lane should be between sidewalk and parked cars.  Queen / Herkimer interchange needs to be made safer.  Intersection at Bay needs traffic calming – start with knockdown sticks.

Markland:  Improve one way signage (we are told this is underway).  Speed bumps between Caroline and Queen.

Hess:  Complete the two way conversion – Jackson to King.

Short list of quick win projects – these should be within the scope of the City’s new traffic calming initiative:

Queen / Main intersection:  Block off turning lane with bollards, create safe zone for pedestrians.  Turn radius tight to slow right turners.  This should not be an issue for buses as I don’t believe any make this turn.

Queen / Herkimer intersection:  Use bollards to eliminate on-ramp turning and force normal intersection functionality.

New pedestrian crossings:  Queen at Bold, Caroline at Charlton.

Stop signs:  Bay at Duke, Charlton at Park.

There have been a few blog articles on transportation issues in or near the Durand which may be of interest including:

Hunter Cycletrack Issues 
Historic Traffic Issues
Next Steps for LRT

If you have any additional feedback, please contact us as soon as you can.

 

Grimbsy Garden Tour

If you love garden tours and are craving another one this year, check out the Grimsby Garden tour happening on July 5, 2014.

5 Responses to Durand and Our On-going Traffic Issues

  1. All of these suggested changes will impact most on Durand residents themselves but I get the feeling that they are suggested for being implemented to keep “outsiders” at bay. Some of them will REALLY get locals complaining. For example, the speed bumps on Markland are right now unnecessary due to the absolutely terrible condition of the road itself!! Who needs speed bumps when the road is already a rough asphalt track? Let’s not implement overkill. In terms of cyclists’ paths, why not asphalt pave 1.5 meters on the city allowance side of the sidewalk rather than have cyclists ride in the debris-filled gutter and dodging thrown empty garbage containers all the time as well as snow piles in winter?
    I think some of these suggestions were made by people on foot. They need to ride bicycles and drive cars along the routes they are suggesting changes for.
    We must all remember that we are responsible for our own safety. I’d never argue with a vehicle when crossing the road. I’d be patient and let the danger pass. What’s the rush? Young people these days don’t even look before crossing, believing that pedestrians are entitled to their right of way! We need to train pedestrians in addition to looking at the infrastructure and the enormous costs involved in changing it with little benefit.

  2. Mike O'Connor

    I agree with Peter Hill. The bump outs, white posts only make this area into a gated type community not worthy of Hamilton Citizens. Since when did going “two way” make streets safer. Pedestrians can now experience traffic coming at them from two sides rather just one. I think that the over zealous anti-car group have far more influence in this area than the normal , rational people who want to avoid the ghetto affect, and be part of the entire city.

    • Characterizing traffic calming as creating a gated community is like characterizing polio vaccine administration as racist. High speed and high volume vehicle traffic impacts are clearly established. The difference in accident frequency and severity has been fully documented. Drive faster, kill and maim more people, particularly children and seniors. And the work of Donald Anderson demonstrated how traffic volume and speed changes the lives of people who live next to high volume streets. We have wonderful examples of how high speed high volume traffic along the Main, King, Cannon and Wilson expressways have impacted the lives of local residents. There is a reason why people pay more for homes on dead end streets and why smart development communities keep high speed high volume vehicles off residential streets. Hamilton is slowly growing up from its dedication to using streets only for the most efficient getting from A to B. What is intriguing is that converting drivers to “Drive Easy” produces interesting impacts. At 50 k the pedestrian is an object. At 30 k the pedestrian is a person, with eyes and a face and an indentity. A community just becomes a better place to live when vehicle traffic is forced to share the space between houses. And if, perchance, you started your planning thinking by engaging children in the discussion, 30K becomes the solution very quickly.

  3. Hi Peter, thanks for the comment.

    These suggestions arose from consultation with residents all over Durand as well as those who attended a public meeting with representatives from the traffic department. In choosing them we also referenced best practices in traffic management from cities which have proven strategies.

    I agree with your statement on bike lanes, and in fact we have suggested a similar approach which places the bike lane between the parked cars and the sidewalk as is already a proven design in places like New York. The city has thus far refused to consider it opting instead for the status quo putting bikes between traffic and parked cars, vulnerable to car doors opening. There is no apparent reason for this, but we are trying to influence the design of future bike lanes so that this is considered.

    Regarding the speed bumps on Markland, it was residents on that street who suggested them, citing speeding cars frequently between Caroline and Queen.

    Since we live in an urban neighbourhood where ‘arterial’ streets that move the most traffic are also residential streets, we can’t design them to prioritize traffic movement over pedestrian safety. Our objective is not to keep ‘outsiders’ away, but to maintain safe speeds and driving practices on all streets. We do not want drivers to treat our streets as a short cut. We recognize that in an urban environment our streets serve both local and through traffic – but we insist that they do so at a safe speed.

    It is important for pedestrians and cyclists to take safety into their own hands as you suggest. But in reality, education and enforcement of pedestrian safety is not sufficient to reduce deaths and injuries. Far more successful are safety measures engineered into the roads themselves. People, whether driving or on foot, respond to the environment more so than the posted speed limit or the rules of the road. For example, stop signs are almost never obeyed, rather they are rolled through and 100 years of ticketing has not stopped this. Likewise, pedestrians tend to cross the street to get where they are going, not waiting for the next traffic light. Rather than enforcing laws that are impossible to fully enforce, lower traffic speeds and more frequent pedestrian crossings (where drivers must stop) both increase safety and reduce law breaking.

    The changes the DNA has proposed also follow the general recommendations of the 2010 Ontario Coroner’s Pedestrian Death Review

    http://www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca/stellent/groups/public/@mcscs/@www/@com/documents/webasset/ec161058.pdf

    which recommends following the World Health Organization’s suggestions that “The vulnerability of the human body should be a limiting design
    parameter for the traffic system, and speed management is central”

    Contrary to your impression that the inattentive young pedestrians are the main problem, the Coroner found that by far the highest risk group for pedestrian deaths are the elderly, of which the Durand has a high proportion:

    Pedestrians over 65 years of age accounted for a strikingly disproportionate
    share of fatalities based on their representation in the population.
    They account for about 13.2% of the population, but 36% of the fatalities. Children accounted for 3% of the deaths.

    In contrast, the highest risk group for drivers killing pedestrians are males ages 25-54.

    The main recommendation of the Coroner is that municipalities adopt a “Complete Streets” approach and lower the default speed limit to 40km/h and 30km/h on residential streets (which are all streets in the Durand).

    Thus, the recommendations we have proposed are aimed at lowering speeds (ideally to around 30km/h) and making easier for pedestrians, especially elderly pedestrians, to cross the streets. They are not aimed at keeping anyone out, just at slowing them down.

  4. I’m not sure whether your proposal of making Queen St two lanes, with parking on each side includes the part of Queen St coming down the mountain south of Aberdeen. I certainly hope it does, as the sidewalks on this stretch of Queen abut the road (without any buffer) and the traffic coming down the mountain is moving VERY fast. It is very dangerous for pedestrians, dogs on leash, and bicyclists. Since the majority of the traffic coming down the mountain appears to be turning left on Aberdeen, the extra lane just encourages speed. This is a residential neighborhood! Isn’t anyone looking out for the people who live there?

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