Skip to main content

Mental Shifting Landscape

When we think of parking at McMaster, we see parking as something we will always need. With over 1,000 spaces available during peak demand, some of us have questioned - first the "need" and then the rationale for maintaining so many excess spaces.

Little in the way of rationale has been offered from McMaster, except "demand for vehicular transportation continues and the need for parking remains."





















The photo on the left shows the Hamilton - Brantford Radial Electric railway climbing the escarpment, and the photo on the right shows the same scene today, sans railway, now known as the Chedoke Rail Trail.

I'm guessing that in 1908 they thought this railway would be there forever. In 1931 the last of the hourly trains made the trek, and the railway was abandoned. Decades later , in 1995-96, Hamilton developed the former rail line into a multi-use trail that is a busy corridor for non-motorized traffic: running clubs, joggers, cyclists, and Bruce Trail hikers, to name a few.

Demographic shifts in transportation choices continue to alter the future of land use in North America. Hamilton is still actively pursuing a Light Rail line that would connect McMaster across the lower city as far as Eastgate Square. Students, staff and faculty living near the LRT line would have yet another option to driving alone to campus.

Taking up valuable space in the west campus parking lots that we hope to restore to wetlands is going to become an issue that will be harder to defend by merely invoking empty phrases upholding the status quo.

Of course the transformation from parking lot to wetland is far more complex and involved than creating a trail from a rail bed. But that's part of what makes the restoration exciting, the opportunity to expand our knowledge at the University, and to create hands on teaching and research opportunities for as many faculties as want to take part: Engineering, Biology, Earth Sciences and Geography; Literature, Philosophy, Arts, all can engage with a dynamic process and contribute in unique ways.

Change is coming: are you helping us advance in positive ways?

Sources: 
http://henleyshamilton1.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/hamilton-and-brantford-radial-railway/
http://www.cityofwaterfalls.ca/upper_princess_falls.html

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Taking a different direction to protect turtles in Cootes

Here's an easy thing you can do that will benefit at local risk-turtles immediately. It's as simple as taking a different route to bypass Cootes and Olympic Drive. This small choice will mean turtles and other wildlife in Cootes Paradise will have a better chance of surviving from being crushed under your vehicle tires.

Take the pledge: http://bit.ly/ProtectTurtlesCootes
Often you might not even be aware you've hit a young turtle, or a snake, for example, yet in the case of turtles, each death means this at-risk group is one death closer to extirpation. Turtles take a long time to reach maturity, and most hatchlings never make it to adulthood so you can see the dilemma.

Please take a minute to pledge your commitment to use an alternate route, and help Restore Cootes and other groups do their part to protect our reptile friends. A previous survey showed that 70% of respondents would do this for the turtles. Hopefully you will join them!

Thanks in advance for your support!


Loa…

Coldspring Valley History Hike: Water Innovation Week

We're heading back out to share the history of this former floodplain/nature sanctuary, and take a look at the rehabilitated future of this contested site in McMaster's west campus. Can we really depave Paradise? It's happening!

Register on Eventbrite: http://bit.ly/waterweekwalk2017 (by donation)




Scharper looks at Car Freedom

The Hamilton Naturalist Club is presenting a lecture by Stephen Bede Scharper, Monday, February 9, 2009, at the Royal Botanical Gardens, starting at 7:30pm. I include this short piece here, because it gives a taste of Scharper, but also because we need to re-examine our car habits, especially the way servicing cars destroy nature, as in Cootes Drive/Cootes Paradise.

On Sacrifice, Spirituality and Silver Linings - Stephen Bede Scharper
Reproduced from the Toronto Star

Did you ever think of giving up your car?

When I posed this question to my wife two years ago, she rolled her eyes and the bubbles above her head flashed the words “Ridiculous!” “Impossible!” “Recycling and composting are fine, Dear,” I heard her thoughts missile toward me, “but this is going way too far.”

I felt like Galileo proposing a heliocentric universe to Pope Urban VIII. Suddenly, I was questioning a sacred tradition. After all, this was the way the world had been since the ancient Greeks. Wasn’t it Heraclitus who sai…