Hamilton Pedestrian Mobility Plan

Hamilton's Pedestrian Mobility Plan (PDF, 61 MB) focuses on rebalancing pedestrian and vehicular mobility on Hamilton’s streets by providing for pedestrians needs, while accommodating vehicular traffic within the streetscape. The plan identifies the need to further improve pedestrian safety and the number of walking trips in order to achieve the City-Wide Transportation Master Plan targets.

The purpose of the Pedestrian Mobility Plan is to:

  • improve the pedestrian environment
  • increase the opportunity for walking as a mode of transportation
  • create recreation that is efficient, comfortable, safe inclusive, accessible and improves the health of communities and economic development. 

E.1. Vision/Goals

The City of Hamilton’s commitment to improved pedestrian mobility arises from two sources: Provincial legislation andcommitments the City has made to the International Charter for Walking. Step Forward: The Hamilton Pedestrian Mobility Plan addresses how the City plans to achieve these legislative and aspirational commitments to healthy,sustainable and complete communities where people choose to walk. The Plan establishes a City‐wide, pedestrian framework for the future.

This Pedestrian Mobility Plan employs an evidence based approach to creating safe and interesting pedestrian environments throughout the City by applying public health science and transportation research to the City’s built environments.The Pedestrian Mobility Plan also embeds within City decision making a process called “Routine Accommodation”. Infrastructure development and renewal will address improved pedestrian environments by using appropriate toolbox solutions, together with education, encouragement and enforcement programs.This will be accomplished by focusing decision making through a series of legislative, planning, operational, communications and infrastructure considerations.

This Pedestrian Mobility Plan strives to achieve the following vision:

  • Increased inclusive mobility;
  • Well designed and managed spaces and places for people;
  • Improved integration of networks;
  • Supportive land use and spatial planning;
  • Reduced road danger;
  • Less crime and fear of crime;
  • More supportive site planning and engineering standards; and
  • A culture of walking.

By employing an evidence based approach, these principles become standards that will be monitored following implementation to measure effectiveness of the Plan and its solutions.

The Pedestrian Mobility Plan goals are to:

  • Create healthy, efficient and sustainable communities where people choose to walk.
  • Increase the number of people walking in the City.
  • Provide a pedestrian environment that improves personal safety and is an attractive and interesting walking environment.
  • Increase public health, active transportation and pedestrian links or connections.
  • Improve pedestrian movement by focusing on access to community institutions, recreational and leisure opportunities and employment and retail services.
  • Create a walkable City to attract new residents and businesses.

E.2. Public Consultation

A key principle for successful Environmental Assessment planning is “consultation with affected parties early in and throughout the process” (Municipal Class Environmental Assessment, 2007).   In keeping with this principle, a detailed consultation plan was developed for the preparation and implementation of this Pedestrian Mobility Plan.    This consultation plan identifies potentially interested and affected stakeholders and describes methods for meaningful consultation with stakeholders, the public and relevant regulatory agencies during the preparation and implementation of the Pedestrian Mobility Plan.

In addition to meeting the legislative requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act, this Pedestrian Mobility Plan harnesses the communities’ desire to walk by employing their input to better understand opportunities and constraints. City staff were fully engaged in the development of this Plan from all perspectives including legislative, planning, operational, communications, and infrastructure.  

Numerous public consultation opportunities were provided through:

  • The project website (interactive on‐line mapping, CommunityWalk website and an on‐line electronic public survey);
  • Social media using Project Twitter and Facebook sites;
  • A Pedestrian Advisory Committee comprised of Institutional, community and business improvement associations;
  • Community booths at pedestrian destinations such as farmers markets, open streets events and a transportation and healthy living fair;
  • City staff and council workshops; and a departmental staff steering committee.

Significant public consultation occurred throughout the entire process.  Two Public Information Centres were held, P.I.C. #1 at 4 locations and P.I.C. #2 at 2 locations.  The interactive “Community Walk Map” had approximately two times the national/USA average/capita (1,643 Community Walk Map views).  478 on‐line and paper surveys were submitted.  

Interactive display boards at six (6) farmer’s market locations were completed and Open Streets Hamilton and the Transportation and Healthy Living Fair were attended. Four (4) meetings were held with the City’s staff team and two (2) workshops were held with City Staff and Councillors. In summary, the Pedestrian Mobility Plan exceeds the minimum requirements of the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment for public consultation by applying a variety of consultation methods.

E.3. Environmental Assessment (E.A.)

The Pedestrian Mobility Plan follows Phases 1 and 2 of the Municipal Engineers Association Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (October 2000, as amended in 2007).  The Municipal Class Environmental Assessment is a planning and design process, approved under the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act, for routine municipal infrastructure and transportation projects.  Projects that are subject to the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment have a predictable range of environmental impacts that can be mitigated.

Consideration is given to the potential effects of each project on the natural, social, cultural and economic environments. Projects that are planned in accordance with the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment are approved under the Environmental Assessment Act.     

Section A.2.7 and Appendix 4 of the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment document (2007) explains how the planning process can be applied to the Pedestrian Mobility Plan. Appendix 4 of the Municipal Environmental Assessment document recognizes three possible approaches. This Pedestrian Mobility Plan follows Approach #1, which completes Phases 1 and 2 of the Class Environmental Assessment process. The Pedestrian Mobility Plan serves as background for future infrastructure projects which may be subject to larger assessments.  

E.4. Routine Accommodation

In the Pedestrian Mobility Plan, routine means “a series of actions regularly followed”, while  accommodation means “the process of adapting or adjusting to making pedestrian mobility safer and more interesting” (this is consistent with Complete Streets approach). Routine accommodation occurs when City operational, infrastructure, planning, legislative and communication decisions also improve pedestrian infrastructure when streets, services and roads are maintained and renewed throughout the City. “Routine Accommodation” is a process where changes to improve pedestrian streetscapes utilizing a range of solutions are regularly employed on each and every project as a matter of course.  

This decision making process is designed to implement changes during reconstruction, ongoing maintenance, streetscape enhancements or other capital projects. Decisions are appropriate, objective, traceable and defensible.

The key improvements incorporated within this Plan that will make this possible include:

  • A pedestrian checklist intended to provide City staff background information essential to the application of the design toolbox solutions;  
  • A context sensitive series of areas in the City that address streetscape differences throughout the City to highlight unique design opportunities while being respectful of the Official Plan including mapping and designations;  
  • A series of design toolbox solutions, policies and programs intended to improve pedestrian safety and increased pedestrian mobility; and
  • A decision process that brings together all the various City Departments and public stakeholders necessary to make decisions on pedestrian mobility improvements.

Most pedestrian infrastructure is built when other projects are implemented on City streets.  As time passes, the consistent application of toolbox solutions and new City standards will enhance pedestrian mobility throughout the City.  

These techniques eliminate the need for a specific list of capital projects. Previously, pedestrian mobility focused on uniform sidewalk and crosswalk standards to be applied across the City on whatever space remained, after vehicular traffic requirements were satisfied.  This Pedestrian Mobility Plan will help rebalance vehicular and pedestrian traffic requirements by placing more emphasis on pedestrian needs on an ongoing basis.  

E.5. Pedestrian Mobility Advisory Committee (P.M.A.C.)

This Plan recommends a Pedestrian Mobility Advisory Committee (P.M.A.C.) be established to assist Hamilton City staff with decision making on pedestrian issues, where additional advice is needed. Two advisory committee models were considered: an advisory committee such as the existing cycling committee; and an advisory committee such as the Clean Air Hamilton Coordinating Committee.  The decision to recommend an advisory committee similar to the latter, is based on the Pedestrian Mobility Plan being about more than simply walking. Implementation of this Pedestrian Mobility Plan will also:

  • improve public health and well being among Hamilton’s residents;  
  • address Provincial and City targets and policies for energy conservation, public transit usage, green house gas emission reductions, and improved air quality;  
  • address the economic aspirations of the larger community especially where higher education, the professions, business improvement areas and emerging technologies are concerned; and  
  • address community needs in the Neighbourhood Development Strategy.

E.6. Implementation

This Pedestrian Mobility Plan will be implemented through Routine Accommodation together with all street maintenance, renewal and capital development projects.    A future permanent staff Pedestrian Coordinator, Public Works, Transportation, Energy and Facilities Division, Mobility Programs & Special Projects (Pedestrian Coordinator) appointment is recommended who will be responsible for implementation of the Pedestrian Mobility Plan. This person ideally will be employed in the Infrastructure/Asset Management team, to ensure optimal efficiency of resources between multiple departments. Among the most important first implementation steps are the following:

  1. Train Department staff to apply Routine Accommodation as part of a start‐up session to be held at the conclusion of this study, Winter 2013.
  2. Appoint a Pedestrian Coordinator (full time appointment) and make the administrative changes necessary to commence implementation of Step Forward.
  3. Create a Pedestrian Mobility Advisory Committee (P.M.A.C.)and utilize the committee as a resource to provide advice on the implementation program and specific streetscape improvements.
  4. Amend the Engineering Standards, Urban Design Standards and Site Plan Control requirements to include the toolbox solutions, as necessary.
  5. Continue the pedestrian monitoring system that was commenced in 2011 and gather additional pedestrian use data, especially on streets where infrastructure and street improvements are planned for the next five (5) years.

E.7. Other Thoughts

Overall, the objective is to create interesting places for people to walk and increase the amount that people walk.

  • Generally, the City is doing a good job on many aspects of pedestrian mobility.  Step Forward will assist Staff and Council to improve the situation systematically and cost effectively over a sustained period of time.
  • Public support for this work is very strong.  Ongoing public outreach through the City project website, social media and the Pedestrian Mobility Advisory Committee will ensure ongoing support and success of the program.

Appendices are only included in the complete version of this Report which had limited distribution due to the considerable size of the document. Complete versions can be viewed at the City of Hamilton, Public Works Department, City Centre, 4th Floor.