Comment 107477

By SylviaNickerson (registered) - website | Posted January 01, 2015 at 23:05:51

After the death of the jogger at the Wentworth/Charleton intersection, I see that through Participatory Budgeting, finally a new, hopefully safer, crossing will be implemented there, for pedestrians and cyclists (https://raisethehammer.org/article/2248/ward_2_residents_vote_for_safe_crossing_at_charlton_and_wentworth). This part of Wentworth was a classic Hamilton infrastructure "fail", where the rail trail and Wentworth staircase, recreational treasures, were thrown together with the trail crossing Wentworth at a blind turn with no marked intersection - a toxic mix of cyclists, pedestrians and cars waiting for an accident to happen.

The crossing of the bike path at King Street over the 403 is the same thing - great cycling infrastructure except for the place where you have to cross the on-ramp to the 403, where everything from tractor trailers to cars crossing multiple lanes of traffic at accelerating speeds, are coming at you. In 2008 I attended a city-led community consultation regarding cycling infrastructure. This spot was identified by everyone as toxic. But nothing has been done about that since.

Add to these classic Hamilton cycling infrastructure fails, the newly completed and beautiful bike lanes across the 403 on the rail bridge near the CN rail yard and golf course. Its wonderful cycling infrastructure, until it dumps you out at Aberdeen, with no way of connecting the cyclist to the rest of the city safely. If anyone had taken a global view of the thing, surely they would have realized that building this path would bring more activity here, and that a safer crossing should be included in that planning.

Thanks for writing this article and making a call for lowering the speed limit. It's only by speaking up and bringing attention to accidents like this that people will change their attitudes and make this a political priority. Watch our news media - we're fed the message that our daily commute took place by car and that we must have experienced hardship in our commute by being help up by traffic congestion. That is the dominant narrative of our Hamilton culture. To get something else done politically we have to start undoing that narrative and telling another one, especially on classic media outlets such as CHCH and CHML, the Spec etc. I think your story could help with that. I don't know where your outspokenness will or could lead, but if a story about safer cycling infrastructure, inspired by you, could be covered by the Spec, CHCH or CHML, I think it would help change the dominant attitude that just ignores cyclists. The fact that these media sources don't give any airtime to these issues keeps these very grave concerns politically marginal at city hall. No one but us kooky cyclists are worked up about it.

In my limited experience councillors pay attention to media coverage, mainstream and Raise the Hammer.

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