By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday, April 4, 2014
Councillors pitch panel to study two-way traffic conversions
Councillors are now looking to a citizen panel to drive progress on the controversial proposed two-way traffic conversions of more than 20 city streets.
But a divided council may still revisit the issue next week at ratification.
Councillors Brian McHattie and Terry Whitehead jointly pitched the citizen panel in the hopes of depoliticizing the ever-contentious issue.
A series of recommendations from citizens would help “pull back on the rhetoric,” said McHattie, a mayoral candidate and vocal complete streets advocate.
The city would put aside $95,000 for a consultant to lead the panel study of complete streets and two-way traffic conversions, which would include residents from all wards. The effort would likely begin in September, with recommendations presented in early 2015.
Whitehead, who has expressed concern about the traffic implications of converting Mountain-climbing streets such as Queen to two-way traffic, said a “broad-based” citizen committee would “bring the temperature down” on the debate.
Other councillors disagreed, however.
Tom Jackson said the city has recently introduced too many major transportation changes, too fast.
Jackson said he and his constituents are “exhausted” with the changes, adding the Cannon Street bidirectional bike lanes “pretty well tapped me out.”
And Chad Collins argued the panel overcomplicated the issue, noting the city still needs to catch up on approved two-way conversions of eight lower city residential streets. He said he was “anxious to move ahead” on those projects that were supposed to be done by 2012. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)