Jason Allen, Candidate for Ward 1 in Hamilton Municipal Election 2014

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Candidate Details (top)

NameAllen, Jason
ElectionHamilton Municipal Election 2014
AreaWard 01
Email jason@jasonAallen.ca
Website http://www.jasonAallen.ca
BioFor the past five years Jason Allen has been at Metrolinx as a Quality and Training Leader, but you’ve seen him around the neighbourhood. While he has spent his days as one of the key members of a team that shifted the focus at GO towards customer service and cross-departmental cooperation (he was awarded the Linx Award for Innovation for his efforts) Jason has dedicated his evenings and weekends to Ward 1.

From his regular articles on local issues for Raise the Hammer to his morning traffic reports on Twitter from the GO Bus, Jason has long been an accessible, knowledgeable commentator on Ward 1 issues and current affairs.

Jason has sat on the Participatory Budget Advisory Committee for the past two years, helping guide the process where Ward 1 residents first suggest and then vote on ideas for spending the $1.5 million area rating fund. He is also a member the Kirkendall Neighbourhood Association’s Development Review Committee. Here, he has contributed to the oversight of several condo developments in Kirkdendall, as well as aiding with the drafting of their terms of reference.

Jason has worked hard to for people of all ages and abilities. He joined the executive of the Down Syndrome Association of Hamilton after the birth of his youngest son, and was the Chair of the Association from 2011 to 2013. He is also a strong supporter of youth, and as long-time Beaver Scout Leader is known to many neighbourhood children as Ringtail.

Jason has worked hard for both Ward 1 and the city of Hamilton for many years, and will continue to work hard for many to come. He’s flipped burgers at BBQs in Victoria Park, shovelled piles of compost for the Kirkendall Neighbourhood Association, provided electricity for the Hill Street Community Garden, been a part of the Westdale Teaching Garden, been an active part of the arts community and has leant a hand to his neighbours in many other ways. A vote for Jason as your Ward 1 Councillor puts this commitment, energy and passion to work for Ward 1 residents where they need it most – at City Hall.

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Responses to Questions (top)

QuestionBrief ResponseFull Response
Do you believe Hamilton should do more to protect and enhance its built heritage? Yes Yes. We have 800 properties on the Historical building registry, any one of which could be demolished with the slimmest amount of notice. My first step would be to ensure that any demolition permits requested for buildings in Ward 1 on the registry would result in my office being notified immediately. Further to that, I will work to see buildings on the registry granted Historical designation under the Provincial Legislation in the most expedient way possible.
The City's Cycling Master Plan is up for review. Do you support improving the plan to speed the installation of cycling facilities and provide more high-quality protected infrastructure like the new Cannon Street cycle track? Yes Cycling infrastructure in Hamilton is a patchwork of compromise and nimbyism. Cycling lanes that end unpredictably and do not connect to other cycling routes are dangerous for cyclists, and cause unnecessary confusion for motorists - further endangering cyclists. Cycling needs to be rethought in Ward one in a comprehensive way with an eye to safety and connectivity. Cyclists pay just as much for the roads in Hamilton as drivers do (roads in town are funded largely through property taxes) and have just as much a right to safety and convenience.
Do you support implementing a Vision Zero for Hamilton, with a goal of eliminating all pedestrian and cyclist deaths on our streets? If so, what specific actions would you take to implement this policy, and if not, why? Yes Yes. but it's a lofty goal, and will take likely many terms of office to achieve. The reason Vancouver's pedestrian fatality rate is so low is that they have decades of good planning decisions that slowed down motor vehicles, and made it easier and safer to use active transportation. The political climate in Vancouver is also markedly different than that here, and many in Hamilton still hold on to the goal of being able to drive from one end of the city to the other in 20 minutes along Main. That is incompatible with the goal of safety for pedestrians and cyclists, so while I fully support the goal of Vision Zero, I have no illusions as to how long it will take to get there.
Do you support the use of participatory budgeting to allow ward residents to propose and vote on local capital projects? Yes Yes, and will maintain the current Participatory Budget process in Ward 1, while working to implement any changes brought forth by the Participatory Budget Advisory Committee (PBAC).
Do you support converting more of Hamilton's one-way thoroughfares into complete, two-way streets that support walking, cycling and transit? Yes Yes. Some streets (esp in Kirkendall) admittedly don't work as two ways due to limited parking availability, but many streets around the Ward and city do. Especially Queen North of Herkimer. The time for study on that road has long since passed, it's time to convert it to two-way.
Do you support an expanded role for Hamilton to provide more affordable housing? If so, what should Hamilton do? Yes The city needs to take a lead in encouraging developers to build more affordable units in their buildings, as well as the city needs to acquire and operate more affordable housing units. Inclusionary zoning, along with incentives would be an effective way to not only require developers to build more of these units, but to also provide a 'what's in it for me' for them to engage in meaningful participation in the building of affordable housing, vs. strictly just adhering to the letter of the law.
The Province has shelved a proposal to build a mid-peninsula highway from Niagara Falls or Fort Erie around Hamilton to connect with Hwy 401 or 407 north of Burlington. Do you agree with the Province's decision to put its development on hold? Yes Yes. A Mid-pen highway is going in the exact opposite direction of where we should be. We need to further encourage Hamilton as a connecting point for the shipment of goods from the U.S. to the Golden Horseshoe by strengthening the Port Authority (they are in desperate need of more land) and improving rail access to and through Hamilton (as well as demanding full reporting on freight manifests, to ensure Hamilton is safe from what is being transported through our city). We also need to encourage greater transit use (e.g. GO Service to the Niagara Region) to move people. A new highway should be at the bottom of the list of our priorities.
Do you support the city's plan to build an east-west light rail transit (LRT) line with full capital funding from the Province? Yes Yes. If the province pays the capital cost, we would be fools to turn our nose up at a billion dollar investment, and demand one a quarter the size instead. LRT is less expensive to run than BRT, but just as disruptive to install, while attracting three times the riders that a BRT system would. In short, there is absolutely no upside to installing a BRT system when we could get an LRT instead.
The Province plans to allow municipalities to use ranked ballots in future elections. If so, will you vote to adopt ranked ballots in Hamilton? Yes Yes. A huge part of the problem in Ward 1 right now is that there is a difficult choice among a selection of excellent candidates. As a result, it will be difficult for one candidate to get a clear mandate from the electorate. Ranked ballots would help with this, as well as encouraging more participation in wards with strong incumbents.
Do you believe City Hall should be more accessible to Hamilton residents? If so, what steps would you take to achieve this? Yes As a father of a child with an intellectual disability, and former president of the Down Syndrome Association of Hamilton, City Hall's lack of accessibility is frustrating and disappointing. It goes far beyond just making the council chambers wheelchair accessible and extends to making the city website WCAG Gold Standard compliant, requiring the use of Accessible PDFs by staff for public reports, and making better use of signage and iconography throughout the building to accommodate people with varying levels of literacy. Hamilton needs to do better at this. It will be a big priority for me as Councillor.