Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday June 11, 2022
A toast to bad roads and integrity
Today, a little positivity seems in order. And so, two tips of the proverbial chapeau.
First, to the Canadian Automobile Association, which just released its annual worst roads in Ontario report. Not because Hamilton gets top billing, as home of the worst road in the province — Barton Street East. And not because the report also has a regional component which tells us the worst roads in Hamilton are Barton East, Aberdeen Avenue, Burlington Street East, Upper James and Rymal Road East.
Anyone who drives the city will confirm that these are among the worst, although there are just so many to choose from.
No, we raise a glass to the CAA because its annual report is so useful in many ways. It keeps the state of our roads on the public and government radar. It is holistic in the sense that it doesn’t just ask drivers to vote, it includes pedestrian and cyclists. Too often city streets are judged too much on the whims of motorists, when those arteries are so much more.
The CAA’s report is also a good reality check. You don’t have to look far to find a Hamiltonian who will swear that this city’s roads are simply the worst anywhere. No doubt it seems that way sometimes, but the report’s wide lens confirms that road conditions are terrible in many if not most Ontario cities. Toronto and Prince Edward County are other municipalities that made the worst-of-the-worst list again this year.
The truth is that nearly all Ontario cities, especially the older ones like Hamilton, have brutal infrastructure deficits, and roads figure prominently. Municipal governments, ours included, are always running behind trying to keep up. Using the Barton Street example, city hall has plans to spend $7.5 million over the next two years on Barton area streets and sidewalks. By the time that is done, there will be another street on the worst-of list, and more competing demands for money and resource time to fix them.
Not to let city hall off the hook entirely, but it’s worth bearing in mind that our worst roads are often in the industrial heartland of the city, where heavy truck traffic takes its toll more than where traffic is largely residential and commercial. Upper James may be an exception to a point, although it too carries its share of heavy truck traffic across the top of the city to downtown.
A final note: We also love the CAA roads report because it never fails to generate lots of reader comments and letters. We can’t get too many of those, so thanks CAA. See you next year. (Hamilton Spectator Editorial)
L E T T E R to the E D I T O R
Letter to the Editor, The Hamilton Spectator, June 16, 2022
I am very disappointed in both The Spectator for printing Graeme MacKay’s Saturday editorial cartoon and in Mr. MacKay for creating it. First, to The Spectator — Hamilton is actually part of your newspaper’s name. Too bad you do not accurately promote the city.
But mostly my disappointment is with Mr. MacKay whom I thought would have better knowledge of the LRT project which is such a vital part of Hamilton’s future. I’m pretty sure he actually lives in the area and should be better informed.
The many misinformed who are anti-LRT never did get the fact that a very vital part of the LRT construction is to repair aging infrastructure along the LRT route. These repairs and the LRT project overall will take the city into a much better future. And the monetary value of LRT (business, taxes, etc.) will take care of some potholes, too.
Jane Slote, Hamilton