October 29, 2006
Dr. Peter George President, McMaster University
Dear Dr. George,
RE: Disregard to pedestrian safety and Campus Plan.
I am writing on behalf of "Transportation for Liveable Communities" (TLC), a working group of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG), McMaster.
Members of TLC were surprised to learn that the current construction on University Avenue does not include the explicit plans outlined in section 7.1.9 of the Campus Plan and illustrated in the attached Figure 7-A5.
It is very unfortunate that McMaster is investing large sums of money on University Ave. while disregarding its official plan and its official commitment for a ‘pedestrian-focused campus’.
We find this short sighted and wasteful and thus request that adjustments to the construction plans be made to fulfill commitments laid out in McMaster's official plan: i.e. reduction of the vehicular lanes to 3.5 m each, creating bicycle lanes and widening the sidewalks. These are positive steps to ensure pedestrian safety in this area. Yet what we are confronted with are wide, smoothly paved lanes on University Avenue, which effectively invites drivers to speed faster on this road section, significantly increasing the threat to pedestrian safety.
On another issue, TLC welcomes the addition of a rudimentary GO bus terminal on campus. We are troubled, however, that construction of additional parking spaces in zone 3NX is not accompanied with the desperately needed re-design of the nearby intersection at College Crescent. We are aware of plans to improve this intersection and are very concerned that this work is not being done in conjunction with the GO terminal construction.
The risk is that vehicular traffic through that intersection will be increased, with no simultaneous improvement for pedestrian and cyclists.
We wish to strongly encourage McMaster University to take steps now to support explicit commitments for a “pedestrian-focused campus that is accessible and user friendly for all users”. Although we understand the financial concerns, we find it unacceptable that expensive traffic-related construction will do little or nothing to make the campus safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
We look forward to hearing how our serious concerns will be dealt with within the ongoing projects discussed above.
Randy Kay (for TLC)
905-525-9140 ext. 26026