Toby Yull, Candidate for Ward 13 in Hamilton Municipal Election 2014

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Candidate Details (top)

NameYull, Toby
ElectionHamilton Municipal Election 2014
AreaWard 13
Email toby4dundas@gmail.com
Website http://www.toby4dundas.com
BioToby comes to this campaign from a successful career in Interior Design. Seeing clients in their homes all over the GHA since 1985, she’s been hearing their thoughts on not just their houses, but their streets, neighbourhoods and their hopes for the future of their communities.

These conversations became fodder for her very popular design and social commentary columns which appeared in The Hamilton Spectator for 21+ years. She still writes on Urban issues and design in Hamilton Magazine, Urbanicity, op-Eds and letters to The Spec, and guests on local talk radio shows.

In 2013/14, Toby was a volunteer member of the new Hamilton Engagement Committee. She attends Public Meetings on the Barton/Tiffany land use project, James North Transit Hub, Tactical Taxation, and attended urban guru Gil Penalosa’s inspiring April keynote in Brampton, How To Build A Truly Great City.

Toby was an active member of the Ottawa Street BIA before moving to her current home/office in Dundas. She has lived in central Hamilton and Stoney Creek.

Toby's lifelong passion for integrated cities with beautiful, functional streets, parks and neighbourhoods was ignited by her work in 3 city administrations; City of Victoria (City Clerk’s), City of London (Development Approvals) and City of Hamilton, Community Development.

Toby has been married for 42 years to (now retired) Spectator photographer and photo editor, Ron Albertson. They are the parents of two daughters, both launched, and busy creating their own lives. The girls are thrilled to see their mom embark on this campaign.

Toby and Ron opened their Little John Road garden for the 2013 Carnegie Gallery’s Secret Gardens Tour.

They are cyclists and kayakers who get away to Georgian Bay for old-school camping on the rocks every summer. Toby has a regular walking group that meets in the Dundas Conservation Area.

She is an ad hoc park & rail trail volunteer, planting daffodils in fall and doing a daily garbage pickup with her dog.

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Responses to Questions (top)

QuestionBrief ResponseFull Response
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? Maybe I am not prepared to answer this as I do not know the subject well enough without doing further research. I do know that when the skyway got banged up recently and all the traffic that typically bypasses Hamilton flooded into the city, it was a brutal weekend. We do benefit from highway bypasses.
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, with a Dundas addendum: bring the service further west to the transit hub at the University Plaza. Dundas has always been home to large numbers of McMaster people (hospital, university, staff, faculty, docs, nurses, students) who must park cars on paved lots on campus.

Linking to an existing hub where people could park and go, would include Dundas in the lower-city transit upgrade and go a long way to assuaging the still-prevalent negative feelings around amalgamation (that is, that Dundas gives to Hamilton, but does not receive).

Ancaster riders could come down the #2 hill and park and ride from the hub as well, thus servicing a whole new chunk of the GHA, and of course, many riders from the west end would go beyond Mac to downtown and Stoney Creek.
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 I would like to see some Cycling Master Plan action in Ward 13, Dundas, where there are zero 'official' bike lanes and some very dangerous gaps between existing bits and pieces of bikeways.

I think opening of new lanes has been very aggressive downtown this year and I applaud the Cannon bikeway entirely. I now think we need to watch and see how things are integrating, and fix any bugs as they arise in the downtown installations. And in the meantime, spread the love around the entire city.
Do you believe City Hall should be more accessible to Hamilton residents? If so, what steps would you take to achieve this? Yes Anyone who has appeared at City Council can attest to the inexcusable waiting that is usually involved. This behaviour is not acceptable in any other professional arena and should not be tolerated in city government. When deputations are on the Agenda, Council must stick to timelines and show respect to people who have taken time out of their workday to attend.

Upgraded parking machines that accept credit cards, are needed at city hall. Twenty-first century; hello!

Ironically, I spent most of a day waiting to appear at Council last year, in support of the report of the Engagement Committee, which was looking at ways to increase and improve engagement between the admin and the public - the waste-of-time waiting told me a lot about the problems that exist in that relationship.
Do you believe Hamilton should do more to protect and enhance its built heritage? Yes
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, I support investing in engineering, enforcement, and education, and focusing on dangerous intersections, as a way of reducing/eliminating cyclist and pedestrian deaths and injuries on Hamilton's streets.

Specific actions in Dundas would include major improvements to sidewalks, ramps, and separation from traffic, especially in the Governors Rd/Ogilvie Street area, where these basic city services are in terrible condition and actually encourage elderly walkers to use the travelled portion of the road to get where they are going.

I am also recommending a slower vehicle speed for several streets in Dundas, and longer walk signals at some locations.

The 5-second delay on walk signals is in place in a couple of spots in town.

Scramble intersections where it's all-red to allow walkers to cross all directions at once, are also worth considering.

I look forward to gaining an understanding of traffic issues city-wide.

There is so much new thinking on 8-80 streets for pedestrian safety and generally health-promoting environments. I am a great consumer of lectures, slide shows and articles on what some of the 'rock stars' of urban design are doing worldwide. Let's raise the bar in Hamilton.
Do you support an expanded role for Hamilton to provide more affordable housing? If so, what should Hamilton do? Yes Affordable housing was built in the 80s using incentives from higher levels of government. Attracting this kind of development today could be similarly boosted with incentives for design and construction. The Tiffany/Barton land use plan has
Do you support the use of participatory budgeting to allow ward residents to propose and vote on local capital projects? Yes
Do you support converting more of Hamilton's one-way thoroughfares into complete, two-way streets that support walking, cycling and transit? Yes I am in favour of two-way complete streets, introduced on a regular schedule.
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 Ranked ballots make sense to me.