Monday, June 30, 2008

Governor's future in the Dundas Downtown Transportation Master Plan

Transportation for Liveable Communities' (TLC) submission to the Downtown Dundas Transportation Master Plan contains much that applies to our area of town: some excerpts: (full document on line at
  • Transit riders face long waits and often unreliable service from the HSR; new residential growth at the west end of Governor's Road have no weekend bus service and only minimal service during the week.
  • Too many single occupancy vehicles pass three schools on Governor's Road while pedestrians and cyclists are forced to share narrow sidewalks, creating conflict between these modes of sustainable transportation.
  • Necessary traffic calming to address speeding should be undertaken as part of any changes to the road design, and done in a way that will enhance the pedestrian and cycling amenities.
  • Dundas is poorly served by public transit with hour long waits outside of peak hours and poor circulation for residents within the former town limits; TLC supports improvements to transit within the former town that would better connect people between homes and business/commercial areas, with the possibility of creating a transit hub that would allow convenient (protected from weather) and efficient (no long waits between buses) transfer to Hamilton-bound HSR buses like the Bee Line or Delaware.
  • Consideration should be given to Dundas transit users' needs when the Bus Rapid Transit and/or Light Rail Transit is planned. Ease of transfer between local buses and higher-order express service, including integration with GO transit terminal at McMaster, should be a priority for the HSR/TMP.
  • TLC strongly supports the use of roundabouts at key intersections to serve as an effective traffic calming and traffic safety measure, specifically at Governor's Road and Davidson; TLC also suggests a roundabout to replace the current traffic lights at Governor's and Creighton, and another roundabout at Ogilvie/South/Old Ancaster. Having roundabouts on the periphery of the downtown (i.e. just outside the study area) will make important contributions to the feel of the transportation system for people entering the study area.
  • The Governor's Road has need for such traffic calming, and more (wider sidewalks, bicycle lanes, etc) in the vicinity of the three schools between Creighton and Castlewood/Bridlewood. to encourage active routes to school and to deal with excessive traffic speed.
  • To ensure year round walkability, a sidewalk clearing strategy must be in place to remove snow and ice in a timely manner after snowfalls. Routes must be clear and direct, and not left to individual homeowners and businesses when that results in long periods of inaction and obstructed routes. The emphasis should be on pro-active pedestrian mobility, and not on by-law enforcement of non-compliant snow removers.
  • To support pedestrian activity, attention to making walking routes comfortable and attractive should be a priority
  • Attention to intersection turning radii are important so that crossing distances for pedestrians are not unduly increased to allow ease of turning movements for vehicles. Ease of turning for motor vehicles also means more danger for pedestrians crossing at intersections since drivers do not have to pay as much attention to making their turn. Main Street at Governor's/Dundas Street is an example of a car-centric design at the expense of pedestrian comfort and safety, especially the west side of the intersection; or the west side of the Governor's Road and Huntingwood intersection. Tight turning radii should be the norm for new intersections and retrofit to existing overbuilt intersections.
  • Further, pedestrian crossing signals at several intersections require a pedestrian to activate the crossing button and wait, often for a full cycling of the lights, before the walk signal activates. This alienates pedestrians in the transportation hierarchy, in direct contravention of stated goals to encourage active transportation. The argument that the increase in wait times for traffic queued at a secondary street results in an increase in idling with resultant pollution is not strong enough to override the needs of pedestrians, and indeed, marginalizes pedestrian activity. TLC wants this signal policy altered to better serve pedestrian needs, with the full cycling of walk signal as a default for intersections, in particular the Creighton at Governor's and the Castlewood/Bridlewood at Governor's intersections.
  • TLC supports the use of pedestrian signals with digital countdowns at intersections of multi-lane roadways in order to provide pedestrian support in making safe crossings.
  • TLC opposes the so-called "roadway improvements" identified previously in the City of Hamilton Road Network Strategy that would see "two-way left turn lanes along Grovernor’s [sic] Road between Creighton Drive and Bridlewood Drive and widening Grovernor’s [sic] Road from Creighton Drive to Osler Drive." After consulting with stakeholders with an interest in traffic safety on Governor's Road TLC would prioritize cycling and walking amenities identified in the Hamilton TMP (bike lanes) and traffic calming with no road widening. Road widening would not benefit active modes on this stretch of road with three schools (two primary/middle and one secondary schools), and the Road Network Strategy's emphasis on auto-mobilty detracts from the DDTMP's goal of increasing active modes. We also point to the Hamilton TMP for their recognition of the need for bicycle lanes extending from the current terminus of the Cootes Drive Bicycle Path, "Dundas Street-Governor's Road" from Cootes Drive to Castlewood Blvd as a medium term objective. Thus, the two objectives are at odds, with only the TMP serving the interests of active modes along Governor's Road, which positively contributes to cycling connectivity, directness, continuity and enhances safety and comfort.
  • Traffic calming should be part of any road changes to support shifts from automotive to sustainable modes. Speed limits through business districts, school zones, and residential areas should reflect the needs of pedestrians and cyclists for safety and comfort.
  • Cycling improvements identified for Dundas in the Hamilton TMP should be priority items for implementation: these the medium term, Dundas Street and Governor's Road from Cootes Drive to Castlewood Blvd (bike lanes)...

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