Election

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The election is upon us and I have some thoughts.

There are three main candidates for Mayor, two of whom put their positions on the line for if they are not elected, they will have no direct say in Hamilton affairs for three years.

If your interest is in “shaking things up,”  voting for the third changed the dynamics of council for a while.  We get 3 new counsel members with one vote.

Strategic voting;  given that ultimately the mayor is only one vote on council, voting for the “new guy” can have a dramatic affect, even if he is not your first choice.

Just a thought.

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East West Corridors and Thinking Outside the Box

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The offer of full funding of an LRT line is a very attractive inducement.  This has created some chaos in our City.

Whether you are pro or anti car, there are a number of facts of life we have to face in Hamilton.  One is that we have a lot of business downtown.  Another is that we have an escarpment that is no different than a major river running through the breadth of the City.

As it stands, people out of the centre of the City need to get to the centre.  From a layman’s perspective, it looks like the majority of that traffic comes from the West morning and evening.

We do not have a perimeter road below the mountain.  That is a true shame.  When we tried to build one on top of the mountain, by hook or by crook it took us 40 years to get it done.  Still, people need to move West to East and East to West in addition to getting into town.

In a perfect world where we had oodles of money we could have a subway and bury the other two entrances to the downtown.  But we don’t.  Toronto can’t even get a subway.  And the appetite for a perimeter Road doesn’t appear to be there.  So what do we do?

I like the idea of an LRT. But it would be wasteful and harmful if all that it did was reduce the capacity of getting people downtown.

Maybe someone knows the answer to this, but why not run the LRT down KING to Victoria, or Wellington or Ferguson or whatever and then turn it down to the TH & B and run it out to Mac on the rail trail?  We would preserve the Main and King entrance from the West, eliminate the multimillion dollar fiasco of having to rebuild the 403 interchanges, and allow for two way streets on King and Main from the downtown to Stoney Creek.  We would have a cross City LRT and people from Burlington, Waterdown, Ancaster and Dundas could get into the City without hassle.

About

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Being new to this, of course I screwed it up and my “about” post follows my speeding post.

I have recently been reading Hamilton Ontario blogs, the most notable of which is Raisethehammer.org.  I have noted on many of these blogs that the content is very one sided or so contentious that the discourse detracts from the discussion.

There are significant issues facing the community and I would like to comment on some of them here,

For the time being I am posting this anonymously.  I run a small business and have young children.  Unfortunately I am afraid that some of my comments might detract from my business and one must feed the family.  So for the time being I will just see how it goes.  Maybe no-one will read this anyway.  But lets see.

 

 

Speed Limits

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My general reaction to speed limits is that those who design the laws are lazy.  They take a one size fits all approach.

Driving 50kms per hour on some City streets is crazy.  You can’t get up to that speed without hitting a stop sign and trying to do so is like drag racing.  Similarly some streets, like our Mountain accesses, are almost of highway design and driving at 50kms is far too slow.

There is lots of science on speed limits and I will post some of it if anyone cares.  But the gist of it is that traffic usually flows at a speed “naturally” suited to the environment.

For our City, I would suggest that 40 kms per hour should be the absolute maximum on non-through streets.  If you post that on a sign entering the city you do not have to post it everywhere.  Through streets can be 50kms per hour and not posted.  Anything else should be posted.

My views on punishment are that if speed limits are real limits, and not just suggestions, the penalties for disobeying them should be more severe than they are.  Let me give you some examples.

Most 400 series highways and many country roads have ridiculously low speed limits.  I call it the Catholic Church Syndrome – make a lot of rules and hope that people obey 50% of them.

If the speed limit on a highway was truly 130 kms per hour, and that was THE limit, then anyone going faster than that should get demerit points.  Why not say you can drive 130, but if you go 135 you get 3 points and 6 points for 140 and you lose your license if you go 145?  similarly in a city like ours, if you go 41 in a 40 you get 3 points – no exceptions.

There are potentially much more serious repercussions if someone speeds in a true safety zone.  My view is that non-through side streets are true safety zones.

So, I would lower the speed limits in some area and raise them in others but I would enforce them.

Also, the laws should never be used as a revenue generator.  That denigrates the law and brings it into what I have heard lawyers call “disrepute.”

Most people are terrified of cheating on their taxes (which is a criminal offense.) Why?  Because you have to pay the tax, plus punitive interest PLUS a penalty usually equal to the tax.

My guess is that if you got 6 points for driving 50 in a 40, or 60 in a 50, you very likely wouldn’t speed.

What this means is that we need Provincial help because alderman cannot change the Highway Traffic Act.  But lowering the the speed limit City wide on non-through streets, and raising it where it should be raised and enforcing that would be a start.

We could start on Main Street and ticket anyone going over 50k no matter what.