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COMMUNITY COLUMNIST: Transit, road concerns shared by all city residents

By Terry Whitehead, special to the News

The recent ice storm proved a challenge for many residents who lost power and caused significant damage to our urban trees.
Mother Nature challenged many residents’ resolve during the holiday period. I am proud of the patience and understanding many residents have demonstrated.
I know our hydro crews and forestry staff spent many long hours after being called back from their holidays to provide some relief from this ice storm. I want to extend a my deepest gratitude for their hard work.
When it is all over, there will be a significant cost incurred and several weeks to clean up the downed trees and branches. Resident are advised to place the branches at curbside (don’t block sidewalk or road) if they can. To expedite the collection, it would be beneficial to cut the branches into four-foot lengths.
Oversized branches will be picked up by forestry with specialized equipment. Residents can also take their wood to any community recycling centre free of charge.
The narrative must include the entire city when it comes to walkability and transportation.
In the last couple of years there has been a narrative that has dominated the discussions. Issues such as walkability, complete streets, conversion of one-way streets to two-way and bus lanes in the lower city. These are all laudable goals and predominately been influenced by a number of lower city residents.
The concerns I have is that one solution should not result in a problem, such as people having additional travel time in their car every day. (Thirty minutes more day will result to eight more days a year a person will spend in their car.)
We need to make a greater investment in public transit outside of the downtown, which will provide a better option than the use of a car. This has not been part of the narrative.
There are many neighbourhoods in the city that have schools and churches and the road network is still a rural cross-section outside of the downtown. The children have no sidewalks to get to school.
We should be prioritizing needs in this great city before we start spending scarce resources on wants.
I support placing some of these issues into a citywide master transportation study. The completion of this plan will provide a clearer path and assist us in making informed decisions that will benefit residents for years to come.
I look forward to taking on challenges to improve the life of the residents of Hamilton. Your input is invaluable; please do not hesitate to contact me at twhitehead@hamilton.ca.
Terry Whitehead is councillor for Ward 8 (west Mountain).
If you would like to write in this space, call editor Gord Bowes at 905-664-8800 ext. 335 or email editor@hamiltonmountainnews.com to discuss.

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