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Should drivers on the Linc and Red Hill Valley parkway pay tolls?

Talk of widening the Lincoln Alexander and Red Hill Valley parkways spurred suggestions of tolls this week. But at least one Mountain councillor says that’s a non-starter for him.

Tolls only work on highways where people can't turn off onto other streets: Coun. Whitehead

Talk of widening the Red Hill Valley Parkway and Lincoln Alexander Parkways spurred a debate about tolls this week. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

Talk of widening the Lincoln Alexander and Red Hill Valley parkways spurred suggestions of tolls this week. But at least one Mountain councillor says that's a non-starter for him.

Complete streets and transit advocates took to Twitter this week to suggest tolls as a way to ease congestion on the highways. Terry Whitehead, councillor for Ward 8, disputed that on Wednesday, saying tolls would just push people onto the neighbourhood streets surrounding the highways.

Tolls only work on highways where people can't turn off onto other streets, Whitehead told CBC Hamilton.

"When you start dealing with expressways like in a city, what you're doing is driving people who want to avoid those tolls into other areas," he said.

"What you're saying is let's push it into the Mountain neighbourhoods, and I can't support that."

At least one councillor, however, seems willing to talk about it.

The notion of expanding the expressways from four lanes to six came up again this week. City staff was already looking into the feasibility as part of its transportation master plan. But Coun. Doug Conley of Ward 9 wanted to move it ahead, and prompted a vote to study the feasibility and ask the province for money. Those opposed worried that it seemed to be putting that ahead of other infrastructure needs.

It passed 5-2 at public works committee. City council will vote to ratify it on Nov. 11. 

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