May 5, 2008
Mayor Eisenberger and Councilors
City of Hamilton
Dear Mayor and councilors,
I am writing on behalf of “Transportation for Liveable Communities” (TLC), a working group of the Ontario Public Research Interest Group (OPIRG) at McMaster University.
TLC members are alarmed that the construction plans for the McMaster Innovation Park at the Kirkendall neighbourhood include a road that shows little attention to pedestrian and cycling, and instead serves the car to the detriment of active transportation.
We are referring to plans presented at Public Information Centre (PIC) # 2 for Frid St extension on April 1, 2008 and on the internet at the “Frid Street Extension Municipal Class EA”. What we saw at the PIC were plans in striking contrast to formerly articulated plans for “Greenspace, pedestrian and cycling links connecting the site to larger open space networks” as indicated in the Kirkendall neighbourhood traffic management study.
Where, indeed, is the Kirkendall neighbourhood traffic management study emphasis on “Integrated urban transportation systems which promote non-auto travel modes, and pedestrian and vehicular circulation”?
TLC requests that the Mayor and councilors instruct city staff to dramatically re-design the plans so that principles established in earlier public consultations are respected. We further request that the modified plans be subjected to additional public consultation.
Details like continuous sidewalks on both sides of the road, 2m-wide marked bicycle lanes on both sides of the road, and narrow (3.5m) road lanes for cars, median trees, and traffic calming pedestrian enhancements such as curb bulb outs at pedestrian crossings should be part of the design. We also question the need for the middle turn lane for automobiles for the entire length of the planned roadway.
The design should embrace opportunities to introduce traffic circles at the section between Chatham and Longwood to help reduce automobile speed and enhance the community feeling of the McMaster Innovation Park.
The intersection of Frid and Chatham should have 90 degree turning radii and curb extensions. The current drawings suggest wide turning lanes that promote speeding by turning vehicles. An alternative may be a traffic circle.
Finally, we request that, according with the spirit of the Kirkendall neighbourhood traffic management study, the name of the project for the connecting road between Chatham St and Longwood Rd will be Chatham St rather than Frid St. This would emphasize the connection of the McMaster Innovation Park to the residential neighborhoods on its east side.
I should note that TLC members and local residents are upset about the current plans and will consider further public and other actions if our reasonable requests are not met.
TLC members look forward to hearing from you about design changes.