Monday, November 14, 2005

One Way Is The Right Way

Some group of brainwaves, in their infinite wisdom, have convinced Hamilton City Hall that it would be a good idea to revive the downtown core by switching as many streets as possible from one way to two way. I have to admit that when I first moved to Hamilton the heavy presence of one-way streets in the downtown area was a little confusing. But it didn’t take more than a few trips down those streets to realize the brilliance of one-way traffic. For example, I was able to get from our home on Hamilton Mountain to the GO station, to Fran’s downtown office, to Theatre Aquarius, to Hess Village or to Copp’s Coliseum in a fraction of the time because of the steady flow of Hamilton’s downtown streets.

With one-way streets, you can get four lanes of traffic flowing in a single direction. Even when people are parked in the two curbside lanes, you still get two solid lanes of traffic. And you don’t get the same old cross-directional “left-hand turn” issues that can slow down the flow. With two-way streets, those four lanes are cut down to two, and with curbside parking, you get a single lane of traffic in each direction. Hmm, I wonder which one allows higher volumes of traffic through?

On my nightly drive home through Hamilton, I enjoy taking different routes through the city. I enjoy experiencing the heart of our town. But lately, with the change of John and James Street to two-way streets, it’s taking me much longer to drive the route that takes me closest through the downtown core. This will mean one less regular visitor. How regularly do I stop and buy something downtown? Not often; maybe once or twice a month. But I’m sure if makes a difference and that I’m not the only one. If you increase traffic through an area you increase the possibility of money being deposited there. Just because I'm stopped in my car at the side of the road fuming because traffic is at a standstill doesn't mean I'm going to step out and purchase something from a shop on the side of the road. I'm more apt to chose a different route.

New York, one of the world’s largest cities, with the largest volume of traffic that I’ve ever experienced, has a plethora of one-way streets. Why? Because it’s one of the most efficient ways to move that many vehicles through that tight a space.

So if it’s good enough for the Big Apple why isn’t it good enough for Steeltown?


Magdalena said...

That is scandalous! I too had to get used to the one way system when I moved to Hamilton, but it did not take long before I realized how absolutely wonderful a design it really is. And it is so much more charming too! It leaves room for charming and quaint streets instead of busy traffic gridlocked monstroscities. But having owned a business in downtown Hamilton for nearly four years we came to realize that the brilliant people at City Hall were most adept at destroying the city's potential and charm on a regular basis.

Anonymous said...

hence why I take the bus, or walk. Every street is a two way street when you're on your feet!


Franny said...

This has happened because the people in charge (construction contractors) enjoy being paid exhorbitant amounts of cash to do massive projects. And the dumber the project the better! Because when it's time to undo the lunacy, guess who gets paid again?
The only time I go downtown is Christmas to see the reindeer, and then every 4 years to renew my health card or my passport.
I think I'll skip the deer this year.

Anonymous said...

you're right Franny, I think they've ripped up Bay street every year for the past five years at least...

You'd think that they would find something better to occupy their time and our money with?

Rainypete said...

The city isn't happy unless it's trashing traffic routes. I think it's a make work project for the road pavers. Why couldn't we take the money being wasted to slow down traffic and apply it to fixing up City Hall. Sort of a prevent it from falling over approach?