A year after Hamilton city Council voted overwhelmingly to allow Aberdeen Avenue to be narrowed to two traffic lanes from four on the stretch between Queen and Dundurn, a grassroots community campaign “Keep Aberdeen Moving,” has begun. The city plan calls for allowing parking on the north and south sides of the street, effectively reducing the four-lane street to one traffic lane in each direction. Neighbourhood resident Alex Beer told the Bay Observer that a petition is being circulated in the community opposing the move, and he is expecting it to reach 300 signatures.
In addition, approximately 60 letters found their way onto the Friday City Council agenda, more than 90 percent of them opposed to the narrowing. Following is a sample of some of the respondents’ concerns:
- We agree with the organization, ‘Keep Aberdeen Moving’, that the five traffic lights between Dundurn Ave. & Queen St. mitigate the potential danger to pedestrians, and that reducing lanes on Aberdeen will endanger children, and pedestrians of all ages, on the streets that are near Aberdeen.
- I can say with certainty than is proposal is both dangerous and poorly thought out. Frankly, I do not think it has been thought out at all. A plan to slow traffic and improve pedestrian safety through a west Hamilton neighbourhood has been finalized.
- From what I understand the City of Hamilton has not conducted a study to determine the effects of the proposed plan. Until a validated, scrutinized study is done showing the effects of this plan are published I propose halting the plan.
- This will only cause more congestion and a higher traffic volume on the side streets where there are many children.
- It will inevitably redirect traffic onto side streets, thereby creating many more safety problems than it solves. Drivers, who currently use Aberdeen to get from the Queen Street mountain access to the highway, will become frustrated with backups on Aberdeen and will look for alternate routes
When the proposal passed council last June, Ward 1 Coun. Maureen Wilson said the controversial change was in keeping with Vision Zero, the city’s action plan for preventing pedestrian and cycling deaths. She argued that “the safety of the children in the Kirkendall neighbourhood is compromised by the present configuration of the road.”
Ward 14 Coun. Terry Whitehead countered that slowing traffic on Aberdeen will worsen a chronic problem for his residents on the west mountain, who he says are already dealing with congested streets. Some of the letters to council opposing the change came from his constituents.