Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ubiquity for bike stands (Main West)

Transportation for Liveable Communities volunteers went location scouting for bike rack (ring and post) placement on Main Street West, Hamilton ON, between Dundas ON and Highway 403. (see map, above)

There were only two bike racks visible from the street along this 3 kilometre stretch of arterial road, with commercial and retail buildings along the way interspersed with places of worship, residential homes and low-rise/hi-rise dwellings, and educational facilities.

Green Push Pins represent TLC's suggested locations for ring and post bike racks to be installed by City of Hamilton. TLC's request was sent to Daryl Bender, Manager Sustainable Transportation, City of Hamilton, in e-mail June 30/11.

Bike racks should be easy to find near main entrances (i.e. not hidden in back corner of parking lots) and suitable for securing bicycle frame (i.e. not "wheel benders")

More about bike racks/stands here:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

car/air problem

CATCH News – June 28, 2011
Clean Air Hamilton says emissions from transportation are the main cause of local air pollution, and is advising city councillors that they should do something about this. In a special section added to their annual report, the city-funded group specifically “recognizes that strong linkages exist between planning decisions and the resulting air quality in cities.”
Chair Dr Brian McCarry says progress has been made in Hamilton air quality, but problems remain with both premature deaths and hospitalizations attributable to the air local residents breathe. And while about half of the pollutants originate in the United States, most of the rest can be reduced by local actions.
“Almost all the oxides of nitrogen … almost all the carbon monoxide, and SO2 , and most of the particulate material are locally generated,” said McCarry. “We have responsibility for those cars, trucks, industries, our lifestyle that contribute to that.”
While acknowledging local industrial pollution, he told the general issues committee the Hamilton “is primarily a motor-based city” not much different from Toronto. This means that “there are a lot of areas of the city that get very little industrial impact, and they are hit primarily, by car and truck emissions” and this is especially true for people living near major arterial roads who get “much higher exposure to these kinds of pollutants”.
Mobile monitoring studies, for example, have shown pollution levels ten times higher at major intersections than on residential streets as little as 200 metres away. McCarry went on to stress “that urban planning decisions made around this council table have direct impacts long term on air quality” and that it is “critical” for councillors to recognize this and act accordingly.
“When you say we're putting in a subdivision here, that subdivision is going to be there in 50 years,” he noted. “The kind of walkable cities that have been talked about in the economic summit is the kind of thing we've been talking about for some time and we think this is a critical issue and an opportunity for this city to step forward.”
A major achievement noted by McCarry has been the establishment of the Hamilton Air Monitoring Network – a linked collection of 17 company-operated monitoring stations that provide real-time air quality data on-line, and make Hamilton “the best monitored city in the country”. Clean Air Hamilton also supports tree planting, participates in sustainable transportation programs, and organizes the biennial Upwind Downwind Conference.
Mayor Bratina asked if city air was improving, and McCarry said it was “incrementally”, but a major problem is ozone arising from coal-fired power stations in Ohio which produce 83 percent of that state’s electricity. He also agreed with the mayor that Hamilton’s air is not significantly worse than other parts of southern Ontario, but argued that action is necessary, pointing to the improvements obtained in Portland Oregon by the establishment of light rail transit.

CATCH (Citizens at City Hall) updates use transcripts and/or public documents to highlight information about Hamilton civic affairs that is not generally available in the mass media. Detailed reports of City Hall meetings can be reviewed at You can receive all CATCH free updates by sending an email to Sharing links are available on the

Monday, June 27, 2011

bike lanes over troubled bridges

Transportation for Liveable Communities (TLC) Hamilton
PO Box 19, 1280 Main Street West
Hamilton ON L8S 1C0

Monday, June 27, 2011

To the Honorable Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Transportation, Ontario,

Transportation for Liveable Communities is writing to draw attention to the problems created by construction projects underway on King Street and Main Street bridges over Highway 403 (Chedoke Expressway) in Hamilton ON.
Rehabilitation of the bridge decks has created a hazardous and disruptive environment for city cyclists and pedestrians.
The loss of both east and west bound bicycle lanes on the King Street bridge (the busiest route for cyclists) forces cyclists to ride in traffic westbound, and to either dismount and walk across the narrow sidewalk eastbound (or in practice, ride along the sidewalk), or to detour to the Main Street bike lane over the bridge, which is narrow with an uneven road surface; the problem with the Main Street detour is compounded by the lack of bike lanes before or after the Main Street bridge, and the two highway off ramps. For good reason, very few cyclists choose this route, pre- or during construction. 
Alternative routes beyond these two bridges are either too out of the way (waterfront trail, a 4 k detour with steep stairs to/from the waterfront trail) or closed during construction (West Hamilton rail trail – 3k out of the way). The only other possibility would be on-street using Aberdeen/Longwood, but without bike lanes on Longwood, this is unlikely to be widely used.
For good reasons of policy, both provincial and municipal governments should be taking pains to ensure the safety of sustainable transportation users. The lack of options for crossing the impediment of highway 403 flies in the face of stated objectives by the Ministry of Transportation that recognize “A sustainable transportation system offers convenient, comfortable, safe, efficient and well-integrated mode choices.”  Multi-modal choices are to “reduce our reliance on the automobile as the primary transportation mode.” (, which the current situation fails to do.
Interestingly enough, halving the automobile lane capacity during construction has not created traffic chaos on King or Main street bridges, indeed, TLC advocates a further lane reduction on King Street to permit the use of the curb lane (north lane) for a contra flow cycling lane, and leaving one lane for vehicles entering Westdale. Observed flows suggest this treatment would not impede traffic in a way to cause anything other than occasional minor delays, if at all.
So: to recap we have gone from two-way protected bike lane on King, and an eastbound bike lane on Main to:
1. no westbound bike lanes
2. one poor quality eastbound bike lane but only over Main bridge (i.e. not connected to bike lanes)
3. detours suggested by city that are not convenient or practical
4. pedestrians and cyclists forced together on a narrow sidewalk (King Street)
TLC strongly urges the Ministry of Transportation Ontario work with the city of Hamilton to immediately restore a demarcated contra-flow bicycle lane during the re-construction of the bridge surface on King Street.
We would appreciate a response to our very serious concerns,

TLC Hamilton

cc      Hamilton City Council
         MPP Ted McMeekin
         Daryl Bender, City of Hamilton, Alternative Transportation Project Manager
         Hon. Sophia Aggelontis
         Andrea Horwath

Transportation for Liveable Communities is a citizen advocacy group, founded in 2000. TLC takes action on issues of sustainable transportation in Hamilton Ontario and surrounding area, encouraging walking, cycling, transit and other options to single occupancy automobile use.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The 403 Crossing: Cyclists' Dilemma

                                                View Crossing the 403 by bicycle in a larger map

Construction work to upgrade King Street and Main Street bridges over the 403 have disrupted the cycling lanes and, combined with other construction work, have limited the options for a busy cycling corridor. This disruption is expected to remain for over one year, leaving cyclists with
1. no westbound bike lanes
2. one eastbound bike lane but only over Main bridge (i.e. not connected to bike lanes)
3. detours suggested by city that are not convenient or practical
4. pedestrians and cyclists forced together on a narrow sidewalk (King Street)

A cyclist hauling kids in a bike trailer pointed out the poor condition of the bike lane surface on Main Street over the highway - it is very narrow, uneven, with a sharp edge that could catch on the sidewall of a bike tire:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

from rail to trail: bridge over Highway 403

 The long awaited development of the cycling and pedestrian link over highway 403 is underway! Paving this section of what will be an extension of the Hamilton to Brantford Rail Trail will allow safer cycling and hiking between the Kirkendall Neighbourhood and West Hamilton. Construction signs announce the coming activity, between Fortinos and the railyard at Studholme drive.
 This route is already well utilized by cyclists and joggers, but the paving and lighting of the path will enhance the experience, and give more human-powered commuters an off-road option.
[Above: Front end loader shifting gravel on the actual bridge over the highway.]
The highway through the Chedoke creek valley is one of the major barriers to sustainable transportation between west hamilton/Westdale and downtown since it's construction in the 1960s.
The projected completion date for this project is late September 2011.

dundas walks: Binkley Hollow Bridge

A photo and update from dundas walks: Binkley Hollow Bridge: is out of commission with a cracked support beam, a rough gravel/sand path beside the bridge is serving as a detour for cyclists and pedestrians.