Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ministry Bridge Response

Ministry of Transportation
Office of the Regional Director
Central Region
2nd Floor, Bldg. D
1201 Wilson Avenue
Downsview, ON M3M 1J8

July 6, 2011

Thank you for your email of June 27, 2011 to the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Transportation regarding construction and bike lanes on the King Street and Main Street bridges over highway 403 in the City of Hamilton. I have been asked to reply on behalf of the ministry.

The ministry is currently in year two of a three-year contract to repair a number of bridges along Highway 403 from York Blvd. to Aberdeen Ave. in the City of Hamilton. Construction began in 2010 and is scheduled to be finished in the fall of 2012. The contract has been set up so that construction does not occur on all the bridges at the same time. As you note, construction is currently underway on Main Street and King Street along with the corresponding on and off ramps. The ministry is committed to providing a safe and efficient transportation network for all travelers. As a result, construction staging has been designed to balance construction duration, costs and impacts to the travelling public while at the same time providing a safe environment for both the workers and the public.

Ministry staff worked closely with City of Hamilton staff during the design phase and our staff continue to work with City staff during the construction phase to ensure safety to travelers and to minimize overall construction impacts. Enhanced signing, barriers and two lanes of traffic at the request of the City [emphasis added] have been maintained on both King Street and Main Street.  A bike lane cannot be safely accommodated on King St. within the space available, but a narrow bike lane has been accommodated on Main Street.

Construction along King Street is anticipated to be finished in the fall of 2012. I have asked ministry staff to look at reinstating a bike lane during the winter shutdown period, if it can be done safely and does not impact the City’s snow removal operations. Construction along Main Street is anticipated to be finished this fall at which point the bike lane will be reinstated.

Once construction is complete on all the bridges, bike lanes that existed prior to construction will be reinstated. It is the City of Hamilton’s responsibility to develop, construct and maintain a continuous bike lane network in the City [emphasis added] and I encourage you to speak with City staff about this.

In closing, I would like to thank you for your patience and understanding while construction proceeds and I thank you for bringing your concerns to the ministry’s attention.


Lou Politano, P. Eng.
Regional Director

Saturday, August 06, 2011

A City on the move

This is an example of the kind of attitude and infrastructure (and even the presentation) we need in Hamilton's traffic department and at the council table. Help make it happen. Call your councillor and let them know you want this level of service in our city!

[source: City of Ottawa]

sidewalk-rider crackdown

The steady rhythm of institutional "blame the victim" continues with the Hamilton Police Service kicking out the announcement of their crackdown on sidewalk cyclists, a roughly annual event that targets people who make use of sidewalks rather than the roadways (here's a letter from TLC on the subject from 2001)

So, the gentleman pictured above, riding westbound on Mohawk Road approaching Upper James yesterday: does he deserve a ticket? In the absence of bike lanes on busy streets with large trucks, we can't expect people to all feel comfortable mixing with traffic (though about 30 percent of car-bicycle collisions are on sidewalks [source: City of Toronto])

It seems patently unfair and an unnecessary deterrent to target cyclists for using bikes on sidewalks in a safe and responsible manner (i.e. not speeding past pedestrians) where there is no infrastructure to support cycling. It's not like this part of Hamilton is a very active pedestrian area, having been primarily built to serve automobiles.

At the next intersection (Mohawk and West 5th) we can see (above) that there are indeed cyclists riding on the road, as per the law, but this will likely remain an anomaly until more supports are in place to give cyclists a place on the roads.

Have you been ticketed during this latest crackdown? We'd love to hear from you!