Thursday, November 29, 2007

Main Concern

Councilor Brian McHattie
City of Hamilton
November 29, 2007
Dear Brian,

I am writing on behalf of "Transportation for Liveable Communities" (TLC), a working group of McMaster's chapter of OPIRG (Ontario Public Research Interest Group).

TLC members appreciate your work to secure improved pedestrian safety on roads surrounding McMaster University. We think that the reduced speed limit at Cootes Drive next to McMaster has been very successful step to this end.

We request, however, that more actions will be taken as soon as possible to correct gross traffic hazards near McMaster.

First, as one travels on Main St. W eastbound from the 403, the standard 50 km/h speed limit changes to 60 km/h just east of McMaster Hospital and University. We perceive this change as reflecting gross negligence by The City of Hamilton Transportation Department an d urge you to request an immediate reversal to the standard default of 50 km/h with the accompanying timing of the traffic lights in this corridor to ensure that no speeding occurs. The section of Main St. W between McMaster and Osler Dr. has some of the heaviest pedestrian traffic in Ha milton. Furthermore, while the city policy is to allow 60 km/h on arterial roads with no private driveways, there are actually such private driveways in that section. In short, the current 60 km/h speed limit is incompatible with sensible safety considerations and should be reconsidered given the recent dramatic increase in pedestrian traffic in the area.

Second, TLC members are still troubled by the multiple traffic hazards created by the new automobile entrance to McMaster University and hospital. We have discussed this issue with you and members of the traffic department several times, but too little has been done to reduce the danger. The two major problem points are the pedestrian crossings on the north west and south east sides of the intersection.

To resolve the north west problem of cars turning into the pedestrian crosswalk while pedestrians are using the crosswalk, we request that the exit from McMaster have a separate right turn signal that would isolate the car-turning movements from the pedestrian crossing times. A similar traffic light operates successfully in downtown Hamilton to separate between westbound automobile traffic turning from James St N and pedestrians crossing King St.

To resolve both the south east and north west problems, we request that (i) the three exit lanes from McMaster would each be dedicated to a single direction, right, straight and left; (ii) the pedestrian crossing of the southern part of Main St. would be realigned with the street corner, shortened through widening and lengthening eastbound of the centre refuge area, and receive bright white markings.

We consider our above suggestions highly reasonable and well worth the price for correcting the obvious shortcomings in what was supposed to be a modern, welcoming entrance to a forward thinking institute of higher knowledge.

Sincerely yours,

Reuven Dukas


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