Friday, April 06, 2012

Dundas's Historical Danger Still Alive and Well in Hamilton

We all know the lovely stretch of downtown Dundas's commercial section on King Street. One slow moving lane of traffic in each direction, metered parking on both sides of the street, a thriving business community of unique shops. Yes, it's even a tourist destination as well as a local shopping district.

But imagine the same street if the traffic planners had their way in 1966. The Dundas Star October 12, 1966 shares some of the planner's recommendations that include reducing the number of pedestrian cross walks on King and limiting them to signalized intersections between York and McMurray Street. The report also advocates:
"Parking or stopping on King Street between the crossings of Foundry Street and York Street to be eliminated to provide two lanes in either direction of flow. 'There appears' the department report said, 'to be enough parking supply on side streets and on off-street lots within walking distance...'"
Yes, the only concern of the traffic planners was traffic flow, specifically, motor vehicles. Pedestrians were perceived as an obstacle to flow, thus the decision to limit the number of pedestrian crossings; parking in front of the shops was to be sacrificed to make an extra lane in each direction, why? to move vehicles faster.

I think we can agree that such a situation, if acted upon, would have killed the ambience that makes King Street in Dundas not only tolerable, but an enjoyable pedestrian shopping district.

Why, oh why, do we still tolerate traffic planning that creates the opposite of what Dundas was somehow able to retain, and over 40 years ago at that?

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