Monday, January 07, 2008

Governing Governor's

TLC follow-up on the traffic situation on Governor's Road in Dundas ON, with recommendations aimed at making walking and cycling safer options:

January 7, 2008

Dear Councillor Powers,

This letter is a follow-up to Transportation for Liveable Communities' December 18, 2006 letter regarding Governor's Road. We are seeking updated information on plans relating to traffic considerations for this area: specifically, TLC is interested in ensuring full attention is paid to improving safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and the many young people attending the three schools in the one kilometer section of Governor's between Creighton and Castlewood Drive.

Last January (2007) Councillor Powers wrote in the Dundas Star that within the year there would be a "detailed study of all aspects of this transportation link" and that "participation will be solicited and very much appreciated as the decisions reached will determine how things are improved.." (Dundas Star News, Friday, January 26, 2007)

TLC would like to know how our original concerns are being addressed since we have not had any follow-up correspondence from the councilor's office since our original communication on December 18, 2006.

Turning to the specifics as originally presented on Councillor Powers' ward web site, TLC requests that the results of the comprehensive traffic audit (mentioned as the first point under "General" considerations) should be made available to the public before final decisions are made.

In the interim, TLC has made comments on points made by Mr. Powers that need to be addressed further:

Councillor Powers

Transportation for Liveable Communities

Add an advanced left turn signal to the traffic lights at the Governors Road/Creighton Road intersection for eastbound/westbound traffic along Governors Road.

  • Await result of traffic audit to determine need

  • Immediately change the walk/don't walk signal at Creighton to always go to "walk" on the green signal – currently the "walk" signal only appears after a pedestrian has activated the crossing button. The default is "don't walk" which creates confusion for all users by prioritizing cars over pedestrians, and makes crossing more uncertain, thus more dangerous.

Widen Governors Road to accommodate an identified left turn/holding lane from Creighton Road to at least Davidson Boulevard.

Adding an extra lane makes crossings for pedestrians more difficult and dangerous by increasing crossing distance and adding an extra lane of traffic to contend with. Road widening also contributes to a driving environment that induces speed. Therefore TLC strongly opposes a general widening, but supports limited , site specific widening to create turning lanes if required at St. Bernadette's school, and Highland Secondary school.

Install traffic lights or a roundabout (includes a pedestrian-activated crossing signal) at Davidson Boulevard.

A roundabout is the preferred option for safety and efficiency reasons, which TLC fully supports.

Install a pedestrian-activated crossing signal at the corner of Governors Road/Huntingwood Drive.

TLC supports this as a possible solution, but only in a context of accompanying traffic calming measures such as (but not limited to) a raised crosswalk and a median island. An alternative solution might include another roundabout at this location in the long term.

Post school crossing guards at the Huntingwood, Castlewood/Bridlewood and Davidson pedestrian crossings.

TLC supports

Extend the sidewalk on the north side of Governors Road from Davidson Boulevard to Pirie Drive.

TLC supports

Install a flashing "Speed Reduced to 40 kph" for the area bounded by the east/west boundaries of the three schools. This is programmed to be activated during morning and late afternoon/evening rush hours.

Evidence suggests that signs are not enough to influence driver behaviour, thus TLC supports physical traffic calming measures to slow traffic speeds: examples include lane narrowing, bicycle lanes, wider sidewalks, a traffic median, to enhance safety in the school zone.

Continue to lobby for a crossing guard at the Governors Road/Bridlewood /Castlewood Drive intersection.

TLC supports

Conduct a comprehensive traffic audit to identify contributing factors.

TLC supports, and requests a copy of the final report

Enhance public transit frequency along Governors Road during rush hours on weekdays.

TLC supports, with the following considerations:

  • there is currently no bus service provided on Governor's Road on weekends – adding rush hour buses to alleviate traffic fails to address the demand for transit mobility for residents on weekends. TLC requests weekend bus service for Governor's Road.

  • Current levels of transit service are poor in the entire ward, with one hour wait times much of the day on both Governors, and King..TLC therefore requests a comprehensive review of transit operations in Dundas with the goal of improving the level of service.

Review signal synchronization for eastbound/westbound traffic at Main Street, Oglivie Street and Creighton Road.

TLC supports synchronization that discourages speeding and takes into account the requirements of pedestrians for prompt crossing service.

For all the points noted, TLC requests a full update from the councillor/city of Hamilton on actions taken or decisions made.

Further: since our original letter, the Transportation Master Plan for the city has been approved by council – in that document there are plans specific to the area in question, but not addressed in councillor Powers' initial list of proposed solutions. The TMP refers to bike lanes for Governor's Road "Dundas Street-Governor's Road [from] Cootes Drive [to] Castlewood Blvd BL [2.9km at a cost of $166,750, to be done in the Medium term ( ).

Therefore, TLC strongly recommends action on bike lanes be fully integrated with any road work to be done on Governor's Road. Bike lanes would assist in creating safer and more pleasant conditions for pedestrians and help improve the roadside atmosphere while giving more options to sustainable transportation users.

In conclusion, TLC would like to reiterate that users of Governor's Road include cyclists, pedestrians, transit and drivers. The current city wide transportation master plan, and the city's Vision 2020 planning documents all emphasize supporting sustainable modes of transportation. As a result, TLC expects any changes on Governor's Road to reflect this emphasis.

Thank you for your help in addressing our concerns,

Randy Kay

for TLC

1.2 The Importance of Walking and Bicycling

In healthy communities walking, cycling and other kinds of non-motorized transportation (e.g. roller blades, scooters, skateboards, etc.) are a normal, routine part of daily life. These active modes contribute to the quality of life and public health, provide options for getting around, and are important elements of the integrated transportation solution the City of Hamilton wants to achieve.

Specifically, walking and cycling are directly related to the following GRIDS strategic directions:

Four: Design Neighbourhoods to improve access to community life.

Six: Expand transportation options that encourage travel by foot, bicycle and transit and enhance efficient inter-regional transportation connections.

Promoting and encouraging walking and cycling through the provision of facilities and programs helps build active communities, and reduces the dependence on automobile transportation and the associated infrastructure costs, air quality, safety and congestion problems. With the increasing focus on the health costs of our sedentary lifestyles, daily walking and cycling are seen as essential components of a healthy lifestyle. Many communities are attempting to redesign themselves to facilitate non-motorized travel by: Providing walkways and bikeways that accommodate and encourage non-motorized travel, rather than only designing communities around the automobile; Managing traffic and road design to allow pedestrians, cyclists and other travelers as well as motorists to use the roads. Features that facilitate automobile use such as wide roads and intersections, large parking lots, drive-through businesses can create an uncomfortable and unsafe environment for non-motorists; Encouraging walking and cycling within and between communities by managing the shape of urban growth and promoting more compact development.

Within transportation plans, policies that affect walking and cycling involve the planning, design, implementation, operation and maintenance of linear facilities (sidewalks, crosswalks, trails, bikeways, and bicycles on transit) and other amenities (benches, shelters, bicycle parking, etc.), and may also complement policies in other City programs that encourage cycling and walking (safety and education programs, bikeway maps, etc.).

City of Hamilton

[Copy of original TLC letter attached]

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