Vision Zero Hamilton: Walkabouts in Keith Neighbourhood

Feb 4th and 5th– Friendly Streets for Vision Zero Hamilton took to the streets of the Keith neighbourhood to explore what can be done for improved walking and cycling conditions and neighbourhood liveability in the area. Keith is a Ward 3 neighbourhood with major arterial roads running through/across it. The borders of this area are Burlington Street to the north, the CN railroad tracks along the south, Sherman Avenue North to the east and Wellington Street North to the west. “The Keith” as it is fondly called by its residents, is a very interesting contrast of industrial sites with residential dwellings tucked into the mix, and so the challenges to traffic safety have to take this unique situation into account too.

On our first day, we were accompanied by Public Health nurse, Sharon Mackinnon’s nursing students, as well as Traffic Safety operations staffer at the city, and his co-op student. On the second day, we were a much smaller group of one resident and a student volunteer. Overall, our group the side streets were quiet at the times we walked them (10.30 am). Sidewalks are typically extremely narrow, as was the way streets were built in the day to give massive allowance for vehicles. People noted that Wentworth St is on the truck route, and that “transports speed through” quite frequently. This road is overbuilt and could use a road diet. Staff say there are concerns with potential queuing and the CN rail line is an issue to consider as well. At Mars street (off Wentworth), we learned from staff that a signalized pedestrian crossing to be installed in 2021. It is the signalized set from Munroe at Wentworth. However, a resident expressed concern that Munroe at Wentworth signal is still needed. She lives off Munroe (on Niagara) and says they get “transport truck traffic” turning off Wentworth and also pulling onto Wentworth. This is an area that has a laundromat, and a sandwich place is opening up soon. As well, there was mentioned of there not being enough bus stops on Wentworth: “People including seniors have to walk and are struggling to get down here.” Other concerns were mentioned including the dust issue from the scrap metal company by the park. Scrappers go to the park and do their thing there, which is not desirable, safety-wise, as kids play here. Mars St., itself is a lovely, tree-lined street (Keith needs more of these). We noted the need for a curb cut to get into park entrances ( for example, if you are in a wheelchair or pushing a stroller).

Mars Street (at Wentworth), by the park.

Other streets we audited include: Brant/Niagara. There is no sidewalk along a stretch of Brant street (see pic above). We hear from residents that Francis St (between Wentworth and Emerald), Keith St (between Emerald and Douglas) experience frequent cut-through traffic and speeding, a serious issue, especially since there is a high concentration of children living along thsese streets. In general, all these streets could use street trees.

Originally published by Friendly Streets Hamilton, February 25, 2020.

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