Thursday, July 27, 2017

No guarantee Hamilton’s waterfront trail will open this summer

Jul 26, 2017 by Matthew Van Dongen  Hamilton Spectator

Uncertainty over the extent of flood damage to Hamilton's waterfront trail means there is no guarantee the popular path will reopen this summer.

The mystery timeline has upset users of one of the city's most popular trails and forced the relocation of cycling and running scheduled as far ahead as September.

Record spring water levels flooded large swaths of the trail in April, prompting the city to fence off the paved path between Princess Point and Bayfront Park.

Water levels have since receded — spurring pointed questions from residents as well as trespassing — but not enough for the city to assess damage to the trail caused by flooding and pounding waves.

"We know people are impatient, we are getting all those questions. We hope to have the answers soon," said parks manager Kara Bunn, who is waiting on a final assessment and recommendations from consultant Shoreplan Engineering. "But we know for sure some sections are unsafe."

The Spectator paddled alongside and, at one point, over top the trail Tuesday to eyeball the damage.

The only remaining drowned section of paved trail includes several metres curving around Cootes Paradise and across from Princess Point.

But asphalt is clearly crumbling into Hamilton Harbour at several locations between the mouth of the Desjardins Canal and the temporary gate near Bayfront Park. In a few spots, the water has clearly undermined the path, despite temporary canvas barriers and sandbags visible along the shoreline.

That hasn't stopped people from hopping the fence at either end of the trail — or cutting holes in the gate, an option clearly on display at Princess Point Tuesday.

At least 70 people were recorded passing an automatic counter along a closed section of trail near Bayfront Park on a recent Sunday evening, for example.

Regular trail cyclist Randy Kay said he would feel less frustrated about the closure if the city would provide progress updates or timelines.

"There's been very little communication, which is pretty surprising given how much use this trail gets," he said.

The city's own website suggests the section of trail from Princess Point through the Desjardins canal sees about 6,670 trips in a "peak week," for example.

"Whether you look at it from a commuter standpoint or a recreational standpoint, it is just such an important part of our (cycling) infrastructure," he said.

The city believes it will cost more than $1 million to fix the trail, but isn't otherwise ready to publicly guess at specific repair costs or timelines.

But the organizer of upcoming MEC cycling and running races slated for two weekends in late September has been forced to reroute several hundred athletes away from the waterfront trail.

"It's a shame, because it's such a beautiful location. People look forward to it," said co-ordinator Ryan Brown, who had to relocate the Bayfront Breezer running race to the Dundas Valley and reroute cyclists on the Century Ride through Hamilton onto parallel streets near the water.

"But really, it's just as tough for all active Hamiltonians, because this trail is just such a hub of activity."

Kay said he'd love for the city to consider opening the trail in instalments, or with temporary safety fencing around damaged areas, rather than waiting for a permanent fix.

The city is looking at that option, but there are no guarantees, Bunn said.

She said the consultant will provide drawings of possible permanent or temporary solutions depending on the extent of the damage. It's taken a long time to evaluate the flood and wave-pounding erosion because the water levels remain high.

"It's a wide path, but it's also one that is used at a fairly high speed," she said, pointing to cyclists and in-line skaters who travel in both directions. "We need to know what we have room to do safely."


mvandongen@thespec.com
905-526-3241 | @Mattatthespec

Friday, June 10, 2016

Big Move transportation workshop in Hamilton June 23 - Let's speak up for transit


Register to learn and contribute to an improved transportation network. Don't leave it to the people who attack transit to be the loudest voices. 

Monday, February 08, 2016

Response from City to Ward One Cycling improvements letter

Our letter to the city regarding some improvements to cycling infrastructure in Ward One got a quick response from the councillor, followed shortly by this response from city cycling staff:

TLC, 
Thank you for these ideas, much appreciated. 
The City is currently updating the Cycling Master Plan/Transportation Master Plan so I have shared your original attachment with Steve M who is managing this update.  Bike lanes on Emerson St have been added to the list of ideas.  Also, we are currently adding additional route signage along some of these connections mentioned, so some improvements are already underway. 
Finally, McMaster University is reviewing their Master Plan as well, so we will share any of your relevant connectivity suggestions with them. 
Regards, 
Daryl Bender B.E.S.
Project Manager, Alternative Transportation
Public Works, City of Hamilton
905-546-2424 x 2066
www.hamilton.ca/Cycling
So, what do you think?

Friday, February 05, 2016

Ward One cycling improvements requested by TLC Hamilton

February 5, 2016

Councillor Aidan Johnson,
City of Hamilton


Dear Councillor Johnson,

We are writing on behalf of Transportation for Liveable Communities (TLC) to request improvements to major bike routes in west Hamilton/Ward One. While our requests are straightforward, we will be happy to meet with you and city staff to discuss them if necessary.

There has been a noticeable increase in cycling in the city in general and in west Hamilton in particular. This increase has been further boosted thanks to the successful launch of SOBI.

The existing bike route system, while a dramatic enhancement over the network a decade ago, could benefit from relatively low-cost improvements, which require perhaps mostly leadership.

While the city produces excellent and regularly updated maps and provides information online, a visitor to town who hops on a SOBI bike, for example, would benefit from clear road signage and markings. Similarly, driver – cyclist interactions will be more positive if clear signage and road markings inform drivers where cyclists may travel and where they have the right of way.

Our examples below reflect our own experience, but we think that a global modernization of driver/cyclist communication done with visitors and occasional cyclists in mind, will make bike travel safer and more pleasant for both drivers and cyclists. This will help achieving a major city goal of increasing bike travel.

1. The rail trail south of Main Street is a major entry point into McMaster. Currently, cyclists traveling north from the rail trail on Emerson St towards McMaster face ambiguous and dangerous crossing of Main St. W. and entry into McMaster. This can be significantly improved by providing a bike box at Emerson south of Main and a green path on the road indicating the proper route for left turning into McMaster. Similar markings can improve the southbound bike traffic as well. An even better solution for southbound travel will be dedicating the middle of the 3 lanes for southbound traffic while having each of the other lanes for right and left turning vehicles. Green boxes and markings have been used recently in Hamilton and, of course, have been used successfully for decades in other cities.

2. One of the busiest bike routes in Hamilton is the Hamilton/Brantford rail trail from McMaster area towards Dundurn St and then downtown. We have heard from many new cyclists that they find it hard to follow the bike route. The problem is typically around Studholme Street for eastbound travellers. Westbound travellers get lost in a variety of spots around Dundurn St.

3. Another well-travelled bike route leads from McMaster via Westdale towards downtown. We think that the whole section from west of the 403 to downtown would benefit from a substantial improvement in prominent signage and road markings.

4. Another minor issue may fall between the jurisdiction of McMaster and the city: there is a dangerous blind spot at the busy crossing of the Cootes path and the southbound exit from McMaster’s west campus, where most vehicles park (exit from Westaway Rd.). Currently, drivers accelerating  into Cootes Dr. and cyclists biking down the hill cannot see each other until they are too close to each other. This safety issue can be readily resolved by regular trimming of the trees just southwest of that point.

As noted above, we will be happy to meet with you to discuss these and other pertinent sustainable transportation issues.

We look forward to hearing from you,

Randy Kay and Reuven Dukas for TLC


CC Mr. Daryl Bender

Web: tlchamilton.blogspot.ca
Twitter: @tlchamont
Email: tlchamilton@gmail.com

Monday, December 21, 2015

News: Hamilton Spectator: Driver Charged in pedestrian fatality on York Blvd

Driver charged in fatal pedestrian crash on Hamilton's York Blvd.

A 22-year-old Hamilton man is facing a careless driving charge in relation to a fatal collision that killed a 62-year-old pedestrian last month.
The man was crossing in front of 221 York Blvd. around 4 p.m. Nov. 23 when he was hit by a car leaving the parking lot, police said.
He died of his injuries a week later in hospital.
The 22-year-old driver remained at the scene and speed and alcohol were ruled out as factors.
After a nearly month-long investigation by the collision reconstruction unit the driver is now charged with careless driving under the Highway Traffic Act.
Police have not released the victim's identity.
SOURCE: http://www.thespec.com/news-story/6202928-driver-charged-in-fatal-pedestrian-crash-on-hamilton-s-york-blvd-/

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Going for a coffee at The Cannon using the Cannon Street Bicycle Track


A quick bike trip from Hess to Ottawa Street on the Cannon Bicycle Track. 
Counted: 19 cyclists (including 2 SOBI bikes) and one scooter in a ~20 minute interval. 
Finished with a great coffee and cake at The Cannon Cafe.
Great bit of cycling infrastructure, well done!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The future of parking at McMaster University: audio from CFMU 93.3fm

TLC initiated a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan for McMaster University, with the McMaster Institute on Transportation and Logistics taking on the TDM planning with support from McMaster administration.

On the campus radio show Morningfile on 93.3 CFMU, Terry Sullivan of McMaster parking, and Mathias Sweet of MITL talk about the process.