Looking to the future is there a possibility that some of Hamilton’s major traffic corridors could become more pedestrian and cycling-friendly? Hamilton Works staff have developed a handbook to help provide some guidance regarding design features should there be a will to make changes.
The guidebook classifies the various kinds of streets and roads that currently form the city street network and makes suggestions on how they could be “softened” to conform to what is called Complete Liveable Better (CLB) streets.
The report states, “Through proper design, Complete Streets can improve safety, accessibility, connectivity, sense of place, and the public realm overall. A CLB Streets approach recognizes that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to street design.”
The report suggests that the CLB model may have to be modified along different parts of a given street. “The priorities for a street may not be constant along the entire length of the street and may change as the street transitions from one context to another. For example, a rural road may gain on-street parking and sidewalks through a rural settlement area. An urban road may feature a compact right-of-way with higher operating speeds as it transitions into a more suburban context.
As an example, the report looked at a section of Barton Street West of Victoria and imagined what could be done to make it more people-friendly.
The report acknowledges that an older city like Hamilton there are challenges to realizing the Complete Streets vision. “Hamilton has some unique challenges with respect to the application of complete streets. Because of its unique geography, and because the City developed initially along traditional development patterns, much of Hamilton has significant built-environment constraints. Many of the City’s streets, for example, are narrow, by modern standards (most major roadways in the 1800s were often built with 50-foot street widths, designed for the passage of persons, horses and carriages only) and in many parts of the City, buildings and houses are built out to the street’s edge. Much of the older part of the City of Hamilton, therefore, has limitations naturally associated with smaller rights-of way, aging and layered infrastructure, and limited opportunities for the wholesale revamping of City systems. However, in some cases, these present opportunities to create more compact and pedestrian-oriented streets.
Hamilton’s Public Works Committee is being asked to allow staff to conduct a round of public consultations to gauge reaction to the Complete Streets Manual.