Hamilton residents start petition to close portion of James North to motorized traffic

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Published April 13, 2020 at 2:55 pm

A group of Hamilton residents is petitioning City Council to consider closing off James Street North for all but emergency motorized vehicles for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A group of Hamilton residents is petitioning City Council to consider closing off James Street North for all but emergency motorized vehicles for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the weekend, a petition started circulating on social media which is intended to be before council at their meeting on Wednesday (April 15).

“We, the undersigned, are asking City Council to temporarily close James Street North, in Ward 2, for the duration of the pandemic to allow more space for residents who are using sidewalks for walking and roadways for biking,” the petition says.

“We chose James Street North because it has been habitually closed for events like SuperCrawl and, therefore, its closure would put less of a burden on City staff to come up with workarounds for public transit and other regular services and allow them the lead time needed to anticipate and plan for other road closures.”

The petition points to other Canadian and international cities that have taken actions to restrict motorized traffic in an effort to give people room to move around.

“Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary have already deployed these types of actions in order to help walking, biking, and outdoor respite-taking in accordance with physical distancing guidelines.”

Oakland, Mexcio City and Berlin are among the global cities highlighted in the petition.

So far, just under 100 people have signed the petition. The hope is to potentially see other roads throughout the city closed in a similar fashion to facilitate safe physical distancing and encourage people to get outside for exercise.

“We believe that this will benefit the community’s mental health in regards to balancing the stresses associated with maintaining physical distance while trying to avoid vehicle traffic,” the petition says.

The choice of James Street North was deliberate in that that particular downtown road sees regular closures for events like SuperCrawl.

“Its closure would put less of a burden on City staff to come up with workarounds for public transit and other regular services and allow them the lead time needed to anticipate and plan for other road closures,” the petition explains.

Those interested in signing the petition can find it here.

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