Saturday, December 22, 2012

STOP! Is this Hamilton's first bike-traffic light?

Some nice new cycling infrastructure in Ward One, including improved physically separated two-way bike lane over highway 403 (Ministry of Transportation Ontario), and a new extension of the two-way cycling lanes west of Macklin to Paradise (with a further extension to come in the spring) courtesy the City of Hamilton and Ward One councillor Brian McHattie (also some credit must go to McHattie for using a participatory budget process for his ward which identified cycling lanes as a priority).
The above photo reveals the first bike-specific traffic light in the city, newly installed to address the two way bike traffic on a one-way street. 

The other innovation is the raised bike lane with a newly relocated bus stop. A sign and pavement markings warn cyclists to yield to pedestrians who will cross the cycling lane to board and disembark the bus. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Roads all the Rage at Province

A call for updated thinking around transportation from the Spec:

The Spectator’s View: A government obsessed with highways

What’s the best way to deal with growing congestion in the Golden Horseshoe? Back in the ’50s and ’60s, the answer was simple: Build more roads. Apparently, things haven’t changed much, at least not in the mind of the Ontario government. 
This week, Transportation Minister Bob Chiarelli outlined the latest “highway expansion options” for the Hamilton and Halton areas. The good news is that Queen’s Park seems to be leaning away from a new superhighway cutting through Halton, up the escarpment and across to Niagara. The bad news is the province can’t see past roads. More lanes from Hamilton to St. Catharines, a new highway between Highway 406 and Fort Erie, widening Highway 6 and widening to 10 lanes or even adding a second level to Highway 403 through Hamilton. 
No mention of rail. No mention of where an expanded GO might fit into taking cars off highways. Sooner or later, the government needs to recognize simply adding more highway won’t solve the problem. We need future thinking, not rear-view vision. 
Howard Elliott
December 21, 2012

Ward One Improvements to Cycling

The City of Hamilton has now completed a two-way bike lane on the north side of King Street between Macklin St and Paradise Rd. There are plans to continue the bike lane network on both sides of King between Paradise and Cline Ave. N. (by the TD Bank). This work will be completed in the spring. 

This link is part of the plan outlined in Shifting Gears Hamilton's Cycling Master Plan.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Burlington Lakeshore - Left Turn or Bike Lanes?

"This was to be dealt with Dec. 3, but is deferred at least until January, coinciding with a public information centre on the sewer and road work. It also provides time for people who knew nothing about this to call their councillors. Staff contacted the Burlington Cycling Committee, which supports it."


LITTLE: Lakeshore bike lane pilot both costly and frustrating

Hamilton Spectator, Dec. 20/12

A pilot project would eliminate the centre turning lane and add a bike lane on each side of Lakeshore Road, writes columnist Joan Little.

Any Burlington driver who ever uses Lakeshore Road will be left gasping in amazement at the latest hare-brained scheme for it.

There’s already frustration about its unnecessary narrowing at Brant Street, and resultant congestion, but wait till you hear about a “pilot project” from late summer to early fall in conjunction with the 2013 regional water main replacement from Torrance Street to Guelph Line. The pilot would eliminate the centre turning lane and add a bike lane on each side. The cost for painting lines on the new configuration is $35,000.

Councillor Jack Dennison wants the pilot extended easterly to Walkers Line. That would add $45,000 and be all summer — spring to fall. Tourist season. More bike lanes? Great! But bike lanes that totally disrupt traffic flow?

Fortunately, thanks to Councillor John Taylor, there’s a reprieve. This was to be dealt with Dec. 3, but is deferred at least until January, coinciding with a public information centre on the sewer and road work. It also provides time for people who knew nothing about this to call their councillors. Staff contacted the Burlington Cycling Committee, which supports it.

[NOTE: Ward 2 Councillor opposes the pilot project]
[Mayor asks for comments on bike lanes at his blog]

A bit of background: Burlington approved a cycling master plan in 2009. It directed staff to investigate widening Lakeshore Road to Burloak, “maintaining two narrowed travel lanes and a narrowed two-way left-turn lane,” and to begin design work. [I couldn't find any reference to this in the plan; see below for the actual recommendations in the cycling plan - rk]

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

walk into a great city

"The reason we’re not making that much progress is that our cities, day by day, are not being designed by their leadership. They’re being designed, street by street, by the public works director, who believes he is doing his job by responding to public sentiment — and the biggest complaint you hear in American cities, day after day, is about traffic."

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

TDM McMaster

Tuesday, 18 December, 2012

Dear President Deane,

Transportation for Livable Communities (TLC) Hamilton is very interested in the potential for McMaster University to institute a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) scheme to address university parking issues.

A TDM policy would address future growth scenarios on campus by taking an integrated approach to reducing parking demand. Freeing-up space for new buildings and reducing traffic-related problems by enhancing transit, cycling and pedestrian environments will be a net benefit for the campus, the surrounding neighbourhoods and the city transportation network in general. These goals align with municipal and provincial policy guidelines like Hamilton’s Transportation Master Plan and Ontario’s Places To Grow, and as we will see, McMaster’s own planning documents.

For at least a dozen years, McMaster’s administration has been encouraged to institute measures related to TDM, starting with McMaster’s “Balanced Transportation Strategy” in 2000. McMaster’s Campus Master Plan (2002, updated 2008) recommends an 18 point TDM strategy, McMaster University’s Sustainable Policy speaks to the issue of transportation, McMaster Masters student Jessica S. Becker’s thesis, "Understanding Commuting Decisions: a case study of student and staff at McMaster University" 2007, made recommendations regarding TDM.

Overall, it seems that while McMaster has instituted some of the recommendations, there are many that have not been implemented, like the faculty and staff bus pass[i]. Winning a “Smart Commute Hamilton Employer of the Year” from Metrolinx is an indication of movement in the right direction, but we feel McMaster needs to do more. It appears to us that the parking issue is not being managed in a way conceived of by the university’s consultants, i.e. as part of a comprehensive TDM strategy. Instead, the Parking Office in 2012 appears to manage current parking with an eye to keeping as much parking space as possible[ii]. This despite the University's Campus Master Plan’s mandate to provide “’less than average’ parking facilities.” [iii] Yet with a different emphasis, toward sustainability, the Parking Office could just as well reorganize to institute a TDM.

Research indicates that “many universities and colleges have found that it can be less expensive to accommodate travel in modes other than the single-occupant vehicle.[iv]” The same researchers helpfully suggest,

“[taking] a comprehensive look at parking and transportation together, comparing their costs per trip accommodated and their resulting traffic impacts. Rather than: How much parking is required? The question then becomes a far wider one: What is the optimum mix of new parking and investment in alternative means of travel to meet an institution’s transportation needs and contribute to wider institution and community goals?[v]

Modal splits advertised on the Sustainability Office web page reveal room for improvement, especially along the staff and faculty side of parking, with 65 percent of staff and faculty choosing to drive compared to 24 percent of students, and according to another study, over 1/3 of staff are parking permit holders living within 5k of campus[vi], a distance considered optimal for alternative modes of transportation.

Whatever the actual methods to achieve lower parking demand, TLC believes McMaster has a responsibility to make the shift toward sustainability with regard to parking. Fortunately McMaster has some guiding principles to refer to as we move forward. The Talloires Declaration, the Campus Master Plan, Forward with Integrity, along with the Sustainability Office mission all apply, even Facility Services[vii] has a mission in line with this vision.

We would like to point out that other universities have successfully applied TDM strategies with measurable positive results: Cornell University increased parking prices for a 26 percent reduction in demand; University of Colorado Boulder’s faculty/staff bus program frees up 350 parking spaces; and Stanford University instituted transportation strategies to maintain trip levels constant in the face of campus growth[viii]. The University of British Columbia created a Strategic Transportation Plan (STP) in 1999 and renewed it in 2005. They were influential in initiating a class time shift to reduce the transportation demand, investing in cycling infrastructure and creating the U-Pass program, which has been adopted by other Canadian universities, McMaster included. Over the past thirteen years they have met or surpassed their goals and are in the process of updating their STP.

McMaster is fortunate to have relevant expertise on campus for such a project through the McMaster Institute for Transportation and Logistics (MITL).

With these things in mind, TLC requests the following of McMaster University:
Mandate the Parking Office to implement a TDM strategy with stated goals and objectives, through discussions and work with stakeholders such as MITL, TLC, and other relevant departments and agencies.
We would appreciate an opportunity to hear what McMaster University is planning in regard to the issues we’ve raised, in the interest of moving forward together on these long-outstanding issues.

Thank you on behalf of TLC,

Reuven Dukas and Randy Kay

Monday, December 17, 2012

Climbing Up on Greensville Hill

TLC members will recall taking part in an Environmental Assessment process to look at the plans for cycling and pedestrian access up the Highway 8 hill between Dundas and Greensville, back in 2010.

The City Cycling page contains this statement: "Hwy 8 crossing the escarpment - between Greensville (Park Avenue) and Dundas (Bond Street), a study is finalized for future implementation," however, the "a study is finalized" link leads to a page with no final study, just references like:

"Due to public input and study scope changes this project is no longer following a Municipal Class Environmental Assessment process. It is now referred to as "Highway 8 Bond Street to Park Avenue Study"

There doesn't appear to be any information on what is being planned for this site. I e-mailed the project leaders and they got back to me right away.
"The study’s website will be updated when we’ve finalized the last documentation. Basically the study has changed since its inception, due to public feedback. The projects identified/changed by the study no longer require/trigger EA process to be followed so we are not going to be following this process as originally planned. We have finalized the last planning concepts with the input from the Community Liaison Committee and will be sending out a newsletter in the New Year 2013. The study scope has changed and study area increased to accommodate transportation as well as drainage issues. 
We have you on the mailing list for this project and so you will receive a copy of the newsletter when it’s been sent out. Once you have received it please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions. 
 Thank you, Margaret Margaret Fazio, B.Sc., C.C.E.P., MCIP, RPP
I have as many questions now as when I contacted them. Why and how the study has changed remains a mystery at this point. What was the public feedback? Who is the Community Liaison Committee?

Looks like we will wait for an update in the New Year, and hope that pedestrians and cyclists concerns are addressed as part of the new finalized study.

The city cycling plan "Shifting Gears" has two projects marked for this area:

162. Bike Lane
Highway 8 from Brock to Hillcrest. Includes road reconstruction: $69 000.

176. Multi-Use Path
Hwy 8, Bond to Hillcrest, multi-use path on south side

It remains to be seen how these projects will do given the unknowns before us.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Good News for Governor's

Reporting on the recent tragedy on Governor's Road in Dundas, the Dundas Star news article quoted a Hamilton traffic staffer with some news TLCers will be happy to hear:
"Gallo said he does not anticipate the city acting on the Downtown Dundas Transportation Master Plan recommendation to widen Governor’s Road.
“It’s dependent on future need, and that can change,” Gallo said. “It would need another environmental assessment because it’s been five years (since the DDTMP). It’s not as simple as saying it’s approved and it happens.”
This is a huge relief, since widening would only compound problems on this road, as TLC noted in comments on the Downtown Dundas Transportation Master Plan in 2008 and 2010.

Now is the time to implement long-delayed (and low cost) improvements to the walking and cycling environments in keeping with Dundas's small town character. We would go further today and suggest a road diet for Governor's for the stretch where there is an extra lane (between Ogilvie and Creighton) and turning it into bike lanes on both sides of the road, as called for in the city's Shifting Gears Cycling Plan.

More on this area in the near future.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Lift Bridge Detour

Not sure what the alternative route is for cyclists and pedestrians using the waterfront trail, if anyone has an idea on that aspect of the closure please share in the comments.
"The Burlington Canal Lift Bridge will be closed to all traffic effective Monday, December 10th at 12:01am and until approximately Friday, December 14th at approximately 6:00 AM for emergency bridge repairs. The HSR has been informed that the closure may be extended if the weather does not co-operate.
During the closure '11 Parkdale' will be detoured from Beach at Van Wagner's along the QEW until the Eastport Drive exit. As such the route will not service Beach Blvd between Van Wagner's Beach and Eastport. During the detour the HSR will be operating a special beach shuttle between Eastport Drive and Glow at Woodward..."
Read the details at:

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Governing Governor's

Another pedestrian fatality on Governor's Road in Dundas, near the location of previous fatalities at Ogilvie/Governor's, according to a CBC news report.

If the city has their way, they would widen Governor's, making the crossing for the large population of seniors in the area all the more dangerous by allowing room for increasing traffic speed, passing, and an extra lane to cross.

For TLC's response to the Dundas Transportation Master Plan, follow this link.
Governor's Road at Ogilvie, Dundas ON
UPDATE: The Hamilton Spectator is reporting that the woman was 87 years-old and was crossing near Overfield Road:

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