Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday July 23, 1998
People first in downtown
There is no silver bullet to solve the problems plaguing downtown Hamilton. Revitalizing the city core depends on a host of small solutions, including solving the problem of traffic arteries that serve as one-way mini-expressways to speed commuters through the heart of the city. A new study outlining ways to convert one-way streets to two-way is a welcome starting point in creating a downtown that serves pedestrians and businesses first, rather than cars and trucks.
Two-way streets are a bold, controversial concept in a city that has successfully employed a one-way road system in the absence of a major cross-town expressway below the escarpment. But the idea shouldn’t automatically be dismissed as impractical. The community should keep an open mind about radical methods of transforming the downtown core.
Research on the merits and drawbacks of two-way streets is a prerequisite. Many other steps are needed — such as cheaper and more convenient parking, wider sidewalks and more commercial and residential development — regardless of whether two-way streets become a reality. But at minimum, this new study moves downtown planning ahead with preliminary suggestions for more two-way streets.
Some key proposals include converting King and Main to two-way streets from Paradise Road to the Delta; making Cannon and Wilson two-way; and reconstructing and widening Cannon to become an extension of York Boulevard. The Cannon proposal is a substitute for the Perimeter Road, linking Burlington Street to Highway 403. Costing an estimated $250 million or more, the Perimeter Road is currently too expensive for regional taxpayers. But it would be the best route. The region should try to find funding partners for the project.
We have concerns about rebuilding Cannon Street. While cheaper than the initial phase of the Perimeter Road as far as Bay Street, the Cannon proposal would disrupt homes and businesses.
The study — and possible alternative routes — deserve more public meetings. Regional council should continue to get advice from many quarters, including the newly-formed downtown partnership. Two pilot projec ts deserve support. One proposal, converting Bay Street from Main to Cannon to two-way operation, may potentially better connect the rejuvenated bayfront with downtown. A second idea, reducing the number of lanes on King Street, from James to Bay, would allow experiments in parking and more space for pedestrians.
Leadership is needed to find ways of reconciling a vibrant downtown with the traditional mobility that Hamiltonians have enjoyed. A green light for the pilot projects will allow everyone to see where two-way streets fit into a healthier, prosperous downtown. (Hamilton Spectator Editorial, A8, 7/23/1998)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday June 25, 1998
Tiananmen clouding Clinton trip
For months leading up to Bill Clinton’s hotly debated trip to China, Harry Wu has stood as the last line of moral defence for the U.S. president.
The long-imprisoned Chinese dissident has continued to rail against the “Butchers in Beijing” from his new home-in-exile in the United States, but he has also spoken out in favour of Clinton’s trip, which begins tomorrow, in the face of stinging attacks from Clinton’s critics in Congress.
But on the issue of Tiananmen Square, Wu offers no encouragement.
“He should not show himself on the Tiananmen Square, ” Wu says. “The president of the United States is very different from other leaders of the world.”
Nine years after Chinese soldiers gunned down hundreds of protesters, Tiananmen Square continues to resonate in the U.S. and around the world as the singular demonstration of Beijing’s arrogant authority.
So much so that how the U.S. president handles the controversial welcoming ceremony there Saturday, as well as the gamut of human rights issues in China, could determine whether Clinton returns to Washington on Independence Day next month in triumph or disgrace.
A recent poll found that 64 per cent of Americans believe Clinton should not go to Tiananmen Square, even though that is the traditional location for welcoming foreign leaders.
Debunking the so-called “Beijing spring, ” Amnesty International released an open letter to the president last week listing 50 Chinese dissidents who have been “harassed” in the past year and called on Clinton to meet with dissidents — pointedly noting that Ronald Reagan met with a similar group during his trip to the Soviet Union.
The human rights group also called on Clinton to forcefully request amnesty for hundreds of political prisoners.
While offering an opportunity to put his stamp on China, Clinton knows too well the trip is strewn with pitfalls.
The visit could not have come at a worse time for Clinton.
Two congressional committees began hearings on whether the Chinese illegally funneled contributions into Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign and whether he improperly permitted the transfer of sensitive satellite technology that the Chinese can use to improve guidance systems for their intercontinental ballistic missiles.
As well, the Chinese have been accused of helping Pakistan develop nuclear weapons and sending missile technology to Iran. (Hamilton Spectator, C1, 6/24/1998)