Little appetite for one-way streets and other council tidbits

Tyler
Tyler Clarke
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While city council ponders the implications of adding more one-way streets, administration has made a case against it.

Coun. Tim Scharkowski’s inquiry into the implications of adding more one-way streets to the east flat area will be up for council debate at the Monday, June 9, city council meeting. 

Earlier this year, Coun. Tim Scharkowski suggested that converting two-way streets to one-ways might alleviate some congestion in the east flat caused by the narrowing of streets as a result of snow buildup.

At Monday’s executive committee meeting, council considered a report by city transportation project manager Mohammad Kraishan, which recommends against more one-way streets.

Although one-ways make things safer for pedestrians at intersections, Kraishan notes that it makes things more dangerous along the balance of the road.

A study in the City of Hamilton noted that in the middle of the block of one-way streets there are 2.5 times as many children killed than on two-ways “because of driver inattention and deadly vehicle speed.”

“My experience with one-way streets is, if you want the traffic to move faster, make it one-way, and then they’re just going to go zoom down the street,” Mayor Greg Dionne said at Monday’s meeting. “That’s why I don’t support one-way streets.”

Further to that, Coun. Don Cody argued against the use of a one-way down Central Avenue in the downtown area, which he argued should be a two-way.

Providing city council with a pros and cons list for both two-way and one-way streets, Kraishan furthered the case against one-ways.

Although one-way streets result in faster traffic flow, they create a more dangerous environment both as a result of the faster traffic and due to drive confusion.

In a split vote, the city’s elected officials voted against adding more one-way streets to the city’s east flat area at Monday’s executive committee meeting.

A more formal vote will take place during the next city council meeting, scheduled to take place at city hall on Monday, June 9, beginning at 5 p.m.

The June 9 meeting also includes, but will not be limited to, the following additional discussions of council;

 

• Children need to find more active means of transportation, such as walking and bicycle riding.

Such is the theme of School Travel Planning – a community-based program that city transportation project manager Mohammad Kraishan is encouraging the city to take part in.

“Health-care professionals indicate that children and youth need 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day to improve their health and fitness; therefore, using active modes will help them achieve their daily need of physical activity,” Kraishan notes in a report to council.

The multi-faceted program would see the city join a partnership with various organizations and groups in a stakeholder committee.

The partnership might serve as a springboard to re-evaluate school divisions’ door-to-door bus pickup for students within walking distance of schools, Coun. Ted Zurakowski suggested.

 

• A proposed bus shelter at the Columbian Centre, at 205 13th St. W., might not be needed, despite fielding a few complaints from residents.

The request might not indicative of the opinion of the building residents as a whole, Mayor Greg Dionne said, noting that the majority of the 53-unit low income seniors housing building will continue to wait in the heated lobby, where they can see buses coming.

 

• The provincial government has changed the way that they subsidize bus passes for those on social assistance.

In the latest letter of understanding between the province and city, it was noted that the “total value of this contract shall not exceed $88,000.”

In 2013, the province provided the city with $91,055 through the subsidization program while the city funded $105,092. The province pays $25 per subsidized bus pass, with the city providing the balance of the cost to bring monthly bus passes down to $15.

In total, 3,679 bus passes were subsidized in Prince Albert last year -- a slight increase from the previous year’s 3,665.

The city plans on arguing against the new $88,000 cap.

The $15 cost of subsidized bus passes might bump up to $20 if the province does not forego the $88,000 cap, pending council decision.

Non-subsidized passes are $67.50 for adults, while youth pay $52.50, children pay $35, seniors pay $52.50 and post-secondary students pay $55. 

Organizations: Columbian Centre

Geographic location: Hamilton, Central Avenue, Prince Albert

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  • Jay Heaton
    June 06, 2014 - 23:18

    "A study in the City of Hamilton noted that in the middle of the block of one-way streets there are 2.5 times as many children killed than on two-ways....”" This is a meaningless statistic without knowing the amount of pedestrian activity for each type of street being studied. The highest pedestrian activity in Hamilton occurs on streets like King, York, & Main (all one-way streets). One-way streets may see 2.5x more child injuries, but it's very possible the one-way streets experience 5x the amount of pedestrian activity. NYC is actively pursuing converting two-way streets to one-way streets as a pedestrian safety measure. The Park Avenue Tunnel at 33rd Street was one of the top pedestrian crash locations in the city from 1996-2007, averaging 12 pedestrian crashes per year. The city converted the tunnel to one-way operation in 2008 and the intersection saw a dramatic drop in both pedestrian injury crashes (-100%) and all injury crashes (-74%). See: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/nyc_ped_safety_study_action_plan.pdf