Part of James St. N. will be closed to vehicles for upcoming Art Crawl events in Hamilton


Published May 11, 2023 at 12:58 pm

Hamilton City Council recently voted unanimously to close off part of James St. N. to vehicles to accommodate three upcoming Art Crawl events. 

The motion, moved by Ward 2 Councillor Cameron Kroetsch and seconded by Ward 3 Councillor Nrinder Nann, was presented at a May 10 council meeting. 

The motion called on the city to launch a pilot project that will temporarily transform James St. N. between Barton St. W. and Cannon St. W. into a pedestrian-only area on the evenings of June 9, July 14 and Aug. 11. 

At the meeting, council voted to extend the closure to Murray Street and to allow the closure to remain in place from 6 pm until 11 pm.

The original motion called for the closure to run from 6 pm until 9 pm. 

The Hamilton Art Crawl, which takes place the second Friday of every month, allows participants to explore galleries, shops, bars and restaurants along James St. N. The event also features street art, performances and craft markets. 

Calling the monthly event a “grass-roots and welcoming cultural experience,” the motion said the pilot project will align with the city’s Vision Zero and Complete Streets initiative, which aims to eliminate pedestrian injuries and fatalities on roadways. 

The closure will cost $30,000, with funds coming from the city’s tax stabilization reserve. 

At the meeting, Kroetsch said he proposed the change after spending many years talking to residents, vendors and attendees about safety concerns. 

“There have been minor injuries over the years and we don’t want to see something bad happen,” he said.

Ward 9 Councillor Brad Clark told council that he supported the motion and believed something similar should have been done previously. 

“I support the motion. I think it’s prudent. It’s something we should have, candidly, done long ago, given it’s about pedestrian safety,” he said, asking staff to clarify how the city would block the road to prevent vehicles from intentionally or unintentionally driving into the pedestrian-only zone. 

Mike Field, the city’s acting director of transportation operations and maintenance, told Clark the municipality would use “traditional means” of closing the roadway, such as barricades and barrels. 

He also said police would help enforce closure points. 

When asked about possible attendance, Kroetsch said that while he cannot provide exact numbers, he expects turnout to be large. 

“We do expect many hundreds of people at least. Pre-pandemic, they were packed with people. Last year, quite a few people returned and there’s an expectation that more will return. A lot more folks have moved downtown in the last few years.” 

City staff said that attendees will not be permitted to ride bikes or scooters through the pedestrian-only area and will have to walk their devices through instead.

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