Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Gloves off on Hatt?

Collision reignites calls for Hatt improvements
Recommended traffic calming study has not yet started

Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News Staff
Published on Jun 24, 2010

Calls for a Hatt Street traffic calming study recommended in the Downtown Dundas Transportation Master Plan are being renewed after a 12-year-old boy was seriously injured in a collision last week.

But it's not clear when work will begin on calming Hatt Street traffic and making the Dundas route safer for pedestrians and cyclists, as local residents have been demanding for more than three years.

Hamilton police say the driver of a Ford F-150 pick-up truck that struck the boy on Hatt near John Street on June 17 will likely not be charged.

“It appears the child ran into the road,” Detective Hendrik Vandercraats of the collision reconstruction unit said.

The boy’s condition was downgraded from critical to serious, according to Vandercraats.

Police reported last week the truck was heading eastbound on Hatt and had just passed John when the boy ran from the south sidewalk into the side of the vehicle.

The injuries were originally described as “life-threatening”.

“He’s not critical anymore,” Vandercraats said Monday. “He still has serious head injuries.”

The final report of the Downtown Dundas Transportation Master Plan, dated November 2009, recommends a traffic calming study on a 750- metre stretch of Hatt Street, between Market and Ogilvie, “to reduce vehicle speeds and provide additional pedestrian crossing spaces (if warranted)."

But the recommended study, which would include the area around the Hatt and John intersection, has apparently not started.

Randy Kay, of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group Transportation for Livable Communities, encourages walking and cycling and traffic calming. He said some sort of traffic control at a mid-point along this uncontrolled stretch of Hatt Street would fit with TLC's goals.

"Without knowing all the details of this (accident), it's safe to say that traffic calming on Hatt is way overdue," Kay said. "That there are still no bike lanes on the street -itself a low cost traffic calming measure -speaks to an inertia to complete even fairly simple projects. It should be a no-brainer."

He said a growing retirement community along Hatt Street, and the presence of children in family townhouses and homes, both support a growing demand for safe and comfortable walking and cycling routes along Hatt.

Although Hatt Street pedestrian issues were a big concern among residents who participated in the Downtown Dundas Transportation Master Plan, safety improvements and traffic calming measures were not addressed.

No suggestions included

Residents suggested a pedestrian crossing at Hatt and Sydenham, bike lanes along Hatt, measures to address speeding and street racing on Hatt, a stoplight on Hatt between Ogilvie and Market, a pedestrian island in the middle of Hatt and a four-way stop at Hatt and John.

None of the suggestions were included in the final transportation master plan.

Several residents have continued to express concerns about traffic calming and pedestrian improvements along Hatt Street since the master plan was completed.

Kay, and TLC, have contributed suggestions on many aspects and intersections reviewed in the master plan process -including Governor's Road and Ogilvie Street. But he points to Hatt as the most significant area.

"I think of all the traffic projects in Dundas, the Hatt Street study should be a top priority, and should have been a top priority when the study was first published," Kay said. "Why it is not moving forward, I would only have to guess. It’s certainly not for lack of trying on TLC’s part."

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