Special Report: Cycling

Don't Weaken Cycle Plan

Despite the strong correlation between the density and connectivity of cycling infrastructure to increasing the number of cyclists, council ignores these data, erring on the side of nervous ward parochialism.

By Randy Kay
Published March 08, 2010

Transportation for Liveable Communities (TLC) Hamilton is pleased that the Shifting Gears Cycling Plan is completed with an integrated network of cycling routes mapped out, and we commend the staff who worked so diligently to provide a very reasonable plan and listened to the input provided by the community who attended the Public Information Centres and sent comments by e-mail.

TLC recognizes the need for such planning if we are to ensure an effective use of routes to encourage cycling, which benefits not only cyclists, but the entire community, especially in areas where bicycle lanes help calm traffic, and provide safer walking and cycling environments.

We view Shifting Gears as vital to meeting policy directives of the city, including the Transportation Master Plan, and Shifting Gears, and Making Hamilton the Best Place to Raise a Child, by getting more people out of cars and into more active modes of transportation, yet, TLC feels the plan has been weakened by changes to the original staff recommendations that were made by council.

We want our city to meet its goals, and we want to help the city to get there; yet despite several community consultations, spanning from November 2008 to April 2009, the recommendations of senior staff and the Alternative Transportation Coordinator to the Public Works Committee on June 15, 2009 were essentially stripped of effectiveness by council-driven amendments before approval of the altered plan on June 24, 2009.

Despite the strong correlation between the density and connectivity of cycling infrastructure to increasing the number of cyclists, council ignores these data, erring on the side of nervous ward parochialism.

How else does a recommendation like "That the City of Hamilton Cycling Master Plan be endorsed:" become, "That the City of Hamilton Cycling Master Plan be endorsed, conditional upon individual links being subject to community feedback and consultation with the Ward Councillor and affected neighbourhoods"?

The amendments to the original recommendation unduly add another layer of potential delays to a process that involve "community feedback" opportunities at scheduled Public Information Centres, and for the entire time the plan was being studied. Already there is a proviso in the recommendation that allows for further legitimate consultation:

Further EA Approvals are required for any Schedule C projects including additional consultation requirements and publication of an Environmental Study Report consistent with the requirements of the MEA Class EA (October 2000, as amended in 2007) for Schedule C projects. As noted above, at this time all projects identified are considered Schedule A+ or approved under the RTMP (2007), subject to confirmation prior to project implementation."

As city staff pointed out in their recommendation, "Cycling will become much more effective when there are continuous road segments as part of the network. Missing links can greatly reduce the attractiveness of a cycling route."

TLC would like to see the policy strengthened by ensuring that important city-wide links are not subject to political interference. The changes to the original recommendations create uncertainty where we need firm direction. This has the potential to negate the gains that will only come when the cycling plan's goals are enacted in such a way to ensure an integrated network of cycling infrastructure.

TLC's primary concern is to seek ways to ensure the spirit of the cycling plan is prioritized so that implementation is supportive of the plans goals to create a city-wide cycling network. We are eager to meet with project staff to discuss this issue further.

(This letter was sent to Hamilton City Council and Daryl Bender, the alternative transportation manager for the city.)

Randy Kay is a volunteer with OPIRG McMaster's Transportation for Liveable Communities (TLC) working group. http://www.tlchamilton.org/

7 Comments

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By adam2 (anonymous) | Posted March 08, 2010 at 23:20:19

Good reason to start cycling: http://paulmaiorana.com/uploads/car-bus-bike.jpg

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By Cyclone (anonymous) | Posted March 09, 2010 at 08:00:49

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 09, 2010 at 08:06:14

Some idiot drove his car in this year's only snowstorm and got killed. Canada and driving do not go together.

See what I did there?

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted March 09, 2010 at 08:31:36

Some idiot was alive during this year's only snowstorm and got killed. Canada and being alive do not go together.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted March 09, 2010 at 09:56:35

There is a high correlation between leaving the house and getting killed. Clearly we need to stop the wasteful construction of houses with doors.

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 09, 2010 at 10:17:04

back on topic, there is a meeting coming up regarding the development of Dundurn as a 'complete street'.

http://brianmchattie.ca/wardmeetings2.ph...

It's imperative that the public come out and attend these meetings. We know the usual suspects will be in attendance arguing that the existence of one bar/restaurant on Dundurn with it's 4 parking spots out front is all the street needs, but many residents actually have a vision for Hamilton's future that includes streets with many retail options and modes of transportation for EVERYONE, not just a select few who think they are entitled to halt progress because a few parking spots may get shuffled around.

Dundurn has a ton of potential from the escarpment to the Castle. Citizens are encouraged to come out and share your ideas for turning this into a true mixed-use street that can be enjoyed by all residents in the area.

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By Somewhat off topic (anonymous) | Posted March 09, 2010 at 13:10:47

http://www.walkscore.com/get-score.php?street=4+james+st+n+hamilton&go=Go

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