Special Report: Cycling

Slowly Jeopardizing Hamilton's Future

Our sluggish progress towards the ultimate goal of creating a continuous, integrated bicycle network is just one example of a paralytic culture of inaction.

By Adrian Duyzer
Published December 06, 2011

The situation in Hamilton is improving. That's the good news.

The bad news is, it's not improving fast enough. As a city we lack the sense of urgency, the ambition and the operational skill to compete at the national and international level.

Unfortunately, we don't have a choice: like it or not, that's the level we're competing in. The choice isn't between playing and not playing, it's between winning and losing.

Consider the bicycle. This mundane form of transportation is an increasingly important part of the world's most successful and innovative cities.

The Copenhagenize Index, which ranks cities according to their efforts to establish the bicycle as a "feasible, accepted and practical form of transport", recently ranked chilly Montreal the eighth most bicycle-friendly city in the world and the best in North America.

The other cities on the list are some of the world's most desirable, including Amsterdam, Barcelona, Tokyo, Berlin, Paris, London and New York.

By establishing themselves as leaders in promoting cycling, these cities are not just attracting cyclists. They're sending a clear message that they have an agenda for decreasing traffic congestion, improving air quality, promoting physical and mental health, ensuring the safety of their citizens, and combating climate change.

They're declaring that they are leaders, not followers. Their message is heard loud and clear by highly mobile young people, high-tech companies, entrepreneurs and investors, who flock to these metropolises at impressive rates.

Here in Hamilton, progress has been excruciatingly slow.

In 1992, the Region of Hamilton-Wentworth released the Bicycle Network Study. The study focused on creating the basis for a bicycle network that could be implemented rapidly. The Region's 1995 Official Plan endorsed the creation of a bicycle network which included four main elements, including a "Lower City Spine route" from Dundas to Stoney Creek via King and Main.

Fast-forward sixteen years to the present day and there is still no integrated, continuous network of bicycle lanes in Hamilton. Neither King nor Main feature bicycle lanes, and both are forbiddingly dangerous for cyclists.

Then again, there is no plan for bicycle lanes on King and Main in the City's most recent plan, Shifting Gears 2009, the Cycling Master Plan that was approved by Council in June 2009. That plan has bike lanes in the lower city on east-west arteries like Cannon Street and Burlington Street instead.

Those aren't built either.

In fact, very few of the bike lanes in the plan, which includes the lower city, the mountain, and surrounding areas, have been built. That's because the plan's timetable is extraordinarily long: 20 to 40 years, which prompted Terry Cooke to lament, in a 2009 Spectator column, "They built the Great Pyramid in ancient Egypt in 20 years. But in Hamilton it's going to take us 40 years to construct a network of bicycle paths."

The plan's stated vision is also depressingly unambitious. It outlines two goals, one of which is that "fifteen percent of all daily trips would be made by foot or bicycle". But a 2003 study on the health benefits of cycling that compared the rates of walking and cycling in various countries found that, six years before Shifting Gears 2009, twelve percent of daily trips in Canada were already made by pedestrians and cyclists.

This rate was contrasted to nations like The Netherlands (46%), Denmark (41%) and Germany (34%). Those are goals to aspire to. When we speak of vision, a goal of three percent more than the national average from six years previous doesn't qualify.

Why not aim for fifty percent instead of fifteen? In 2010, Montreal experienced a 35 to 40% increase in ridership over its 2008 rate. New York City grew ridership by 35% between 2007 and 2008. These increases are not random. They are the result of deliberate policy decisions and decisive, rapid implementation of ambitious plans.

Our sluggish progress towards the ultimate goal of creating a continuous, integrated bicycle network is just one example of a paralytic culture of inaction.

In October, 1956, Hamilton converted its two-way downtown streets to one-way thoroughfares. Seven months later, the Transportation and Traffic Committee held a packed meeting where businesspeople complained of "decreasing business returns, the refusal of old customers to visit the stores, large numbers of heavy trucks passing through the downtown area, the alleged conversion of King Street into a highway", according to a Spectator article dated May, 1957.

Fifty-four years later, we've managed to convert just a handful of downtown streets back to two-way.

Why is it taking us so long to make substantial improvements in our state of affairs?

Most of us have little patience for people who, despite knowing what they must do, keep finding reasons not to just go and get it done. Are we satisfied with that as Hamilton's reputation?

This article first appeared in the December, 2011 issue of Urbanicity.

Adrian Duyzer is an entrepreneur, business owner, and Associate Editor of Raise the Hammer. He lives in downtown Hamilton with his family. On Twitter: adriandz

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 06, 2011 at 09:42:20

Why not aim for fifty percent instead of fifteen?

Because this would require actually doing something other than the status quo: http://raisethehammer.org/article/1507/t...

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By JM (registered) | Posted December 06, 2011 at 11:06:41

not to sound terrible, but once the baby boomer generation "dies off" we can hopefully see a shift what type of lifestyle people actually want... and that will come with a change in the political regime too (i would hope).

our boomers have been happy with what they've had for the past 50-60 years - why change whats not broken (in their minds)

i'm very happy to see the young professional "movement" starting to happen here. hopefully its a sign for the ambition to come in this city! i'm 25 and i very much want to be a part of that movement (just too bad i can't find a job here... one day)

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By Core-B (registered) | Posted December 07, 2011 at 11:52:51 in reply to Comment 71924

My wife and I are in our 60's and would love to cycle but there is no way in hell we would do that until Main and King have safe lanes. (which means that we will be dying before that happens). The majority of the younger generation that I am familiar with are firmly entrenched in the car culture. Public transit is not on their radar either because they see it as uncool. All of this will change. The question is when.

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By Clyde_Cope (registered) | Posted December 06, 2011 at 23:20:30 in reply to Comment 71924

Whoa - just one minute - it appears you are laying blame on the 60 plus crowd for the woes of not having proper and safe biking in the city - not so by a long shot. Open you eyes and realize that there are a lot of seniors peddling their hearts out and are vitally interested in safe bike lanes and culture in Hamilton. We're exactly the demographics you should be hooking up with to get this done We're not afraid to speak our minds. With the aging society you'll find more and more seniors biking it not just by choice but out of necessity.

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By WRCU2 (registered) - website | Posted December 07, 2011 at 12:03:41 in reply to Comment 71952

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Comment edited by WRCU2 on 2011-12-07 12:07:18

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By JM (registered) | Posted December 07, 2011 at 08:40:21 in reply to Comment 71952

relax - this is not an attack on the 60+ crowd! it's just that the status quo is a reflection of the majority of the active voting population in this city....... that's all

i agree that not EVERYONE in that generation shares the same view, but MOST of them do. if they didn't, things would be much different in this city

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By funny thing (anonymous) | Posted December 07, 2011 at 09:46:22 in reply to Comment 71960

Most in the younger generation also share those views as well. Its really only a very vocal minority that share many of the non-car urban vision espoused here

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By show me I'm wrong (anonymous) | Posted December 07, 2011 at 10:10:55 in reply to Comment 71963

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By deny the truth (anonymous) | Posted December 07, 2011 at 10:42:47 in reply to Comment 71964

It doesn't change reality to deny the truth. It doesn't help accomplish your goals denying the truth. What you need to do is work with the majority on what can be changed without resistance and THEN move on to the more contentious. By simply butting heads with anyone who disagrees with you all that is accomplished is a hardening of attitudes and thus reducing the likelihood of achieving any of your goals. This is the reason that nothing gets done. Having too high of a goal means nothing gets done

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By JM (registered) | Posted December 07, 2011 at 11:54:13 in reply to Comment 71965

so you're saying that Hamilton shouldn't be asking for more than the status quo because it's too big a goal to achieve?!

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By actually (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2011 at 17:03:40 in reply to Comment 71973

insult spam from banned user deleted

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By downtowninhamilton (registered) | Posted December 06, 2011 at 20:35:53 in reply to Comment 71924

"i'm very happy to see the young professional "movement" starting to happen here. hopefully its a sign for the ambition to come in this city! i'm 25 and i very much want to be a part of that movement (just too bad i can't find a job here... one day)"

Same here. I'd love to be able to work in the city I live in and love, but sadly there's not much technology/IT here (that's my field). I stubbornly refuse to move closer to the GTA, hoping that one day I will find a job downtown, walking or bike distance from my place!

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted December 06, 2011 at 11:40:55 in reply to Comment 71924

not to sound terrible, but once the baby boomer generation "dies off" we can hopefully see a shift what type of lifestyle people actually want... and that will come with a change in the political regime too (i would hope).

I feel your pain. I do. However...

(and I'll admit here that I'm a Boomer...)

Things aren't black-and-white. The Boomers are not a regime. They didn't 'inherit' the system on one particular day and they won't be handing it off in the same way, either. There's been tons of bleedthrough, lots of migration, huge assimilation, cross-breeding of mores and ethics...

You talk about a 'shift in what type of lifestyle people actually want'. Well, I've been around to have witnessed all kinds of lifestyle choices come on the scene. And they've always been extant. People just haven't chosen them to the degree that you'd have liked. That's part of living in a free-market, materialistic democracy. You vote with your dollars...after being herded by the marketing.

Bottom-line: be very careful how you assign blame, the breadth of the brush you paint with. And remember that in the end, all of us have been complicit in creating what's in front of us, to admittedly varying degrees.

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-12-06 11:42:04

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted December 06, 2011 at 12:54:02 in reply to Comment 71925

Not only that, but it's important to remember that the hippy generation and the boomer generation are the same people*.

As our current crop of generation Y/Millenials full of young, hip urbanists moves into middle-class parenthood, a lot of them are moving out to the suburbs, putting away their bikes and celebrating the same ideals as the boomers.

Expecting the world to change magically based on the end of the Baby Boom isn't a good plan.

* Directed by M. Night Shymalan.

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By JM (registered) | Posted December 06, 2011 at 12:25:19 in reply to Comment 71925

im not assigning blame... just noting who's mostly responsible for electing our current political regime who is afraid of any move from the status quo (to keep their jobs)

nothing against a free market! this is just what the "voting" free market of this city wants today.... until that changes, the priorities of the elected officials won't change

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted December 06, 2011 at 12:58:17 in reply to Comment 71927

nothing against a free market! this is just what the "voting" free market of this city wants today.... until that changes, the priorities of the elected officials won't change

You're right. Until the 60% that doesn't vote...a disproportionate amount coming from your demographic...actually gets active, gets informed and gets engaged, then nothing will change.

It all comes down to us.

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By why don't they vote? (anonymous) | Posted December 07, 2011 at 10:46:45 in reply to Comment 71930

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By George (registered) | Posted December 09, 2011 at 12:22:59 in reply to Comment 71966

It's not anti car. It's the fact that there are not enough alternatives to the car. The car ain't going anywhere, and no one that I've seen or read wants to get rid of cars.

There should be practical and realistic options ie. car, bike, scooter, walking, LRT. Not EVERYTHING should be so dominated by the car.

Furthermore, designing everything for the car is simply not sustainable, and when there are countless success stories of many cities providing such alternatives, you can't help but get frustrated by Hamilton's inertia.

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By wise advice (anonymous) | Posted December 06, 2011 at 12:24:51 in reply to Comment 71925

Thats just about the wisest post I've seen. In the end its all about what people want and if you don't live in a world or city that you find ideal its because the majority don't share the ideals that you feel come up short This really isn't about one generation vs the next at all. Its about what people freely choose.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted December 06, 2011 at 14:21:46

This is strictly empirical, I rarely see bikes using the Stone Church/Paramount dedicated bike lanes. I see so few bikes in the lane that I'm actually surprised when I come across one. I'm curious about this because of the quality of the lanes, they are large and well marked. The bike lanes are full of joggers shunning the sidewalks including large groups from The Running Room, but rarely are there any two wheels. Is this because of the lack of connecting bike lanes, making the Stone Church/Paramount route something of a 'road to nowhere'?

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By Core-B (registered) | Posted December 07, 2011 at 11:58:06 in reply to Comment 71934

Agreed, and yet there are no bike lanes on Main and King where all the bike traffic is. Go figure.

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By Stefan (anonymous) | Posted December 06, 2011 at 17:50:12 in reply to Comment 71934

I used to use the Stone Church lanes in the summer on weekends. Up the Escarpment Rail Trail along Stonechurch to Mohawk over to Scenic and onto the Chedoke Trail for the ride back downtown. I did that until they closed the Chedoke Trail because of the bridge washout.

I'd only ever see a couple of other bikes, but it was fairly early.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted December 06, 2011 at 14:53:42 in reply to Comment 71934

Well, do those bike lanes get people where they need to go?

I mean, there is a difference between people who bike (or jog) for recreational reasons, and people who do so as a means of getting around from point A to point B. While recreational users will go to safe comfortable areas wherever they may be, those who are actually trying to get from A to B won't go out of their way to use another route because it's "nicer".

Even with connecting Bike Lanes, if Stonechurch/ Paramount isn't located between A and B at some point, or if it is out of the way, it won't get used very often.

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By realfreeenterpriser (registered) | Posted December 06, 2011 at 15:34:08

Getting more people out of their cars and onto bikes or walking requires three things, First, a fully integrated transportation system that gives preferential weight to transit, pedestrians and bicyclists as opposed to cars. In Hamilton these are always substandard "add-ons" and after-thoughts that always play second fiddle to the car and literally take decades to accomplish; witness the CP bridge link over the 403 and the disjointed rail trail connection through Fortino's parking lot. Yet, the HCA was able to secure the entire TH&B right of way from Ewen Road to Brantford with little difficulty in an infinitely shorter period.

Second, a recognition that Hamilton is a city divided by an escarpment that poses not just a challenge but, essentially, a barrier to all of the three mentioned modes of transportation for half of our population. Get people up and down the mountain whether on transit, bicycle or on foot and you revolutionize transportaion in our city. A modern version of the incline railway would be cost-effective and virtually pollution free. How many more people would get out of their cars if they could just get up and down the mountain?

And third, political leadership. Leadership ISN'T favouring one approach over another because it will get you re-elected nor is it about constantly wetting one's finger to feel the political winds in one's ward. It's about leading, taking a position because it's the right thing to do. That's why we have a representative democracy instead of democracy by referendum. Voters actually appeciate someone who has the courage to shape our city for the future as opposed to having it shaped by a vocal minority that's stuck in the past. (remember the predictions of doom surounding the return to two-way streets?)

Anyone for term limits?

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted December 07, 2011 at 09:39:19 in reply to Comment 71938

Anyone for term limits?

Nope.

Not in these quarters.

They're the fatuous way to address what really comes down to a distinct lacking in the residents' portion of the 'Great Governance Formula'.

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-12-07 09:39:37

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By downtowninhamilton (registered) | Posted December 06, 2011 at 20:42:44 in reply to Comment 71938

Regarding your second point: This has always been an issue. There used to be some sort of funicular that ran up/down the escarpment some time ago. Maybe it's time to bring funiculars back in Hamilton, not only as a means of transport but also a tourist attraction?

Pittsburgh has them, I've been on one and seen them in action. You could get something like a line running up from the TH&B, or maybe something closer to the escarpment, and have one on the western side of the escarpment, and one on the east? Just putting it out there.

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By JM (registered) | Posted December 06, 2011 at 15:39:13

while we're on this topic.... in chicago: http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%...

i know we cant compare apples to apples here, but just an example

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 06, 2011 at 21:35:12 in reply to Comment 71939

yea, but that's Chicago. Hamilton has way worse traffic congestion than that little burg.

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By WRCU2 (registered) - website | Posted December 07, 2011 at 07:53:03

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Comment edited by WRCU2 on 2011-12-07 08:38:48

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted December 07, 2011 at 14:38:33

Why is it taking us so long to make substantial improvements in our state of affairs? ~ Adrian

Until the 60% that doesn't vote...a disproportionate amount coming from your demographic...actually gets active, gets informed and gets engaged, then nothing will change. ~ mystoneycreek

When the 60% who abstain from their civic duty do wake up we may get here: City Of Dreams

Until then we have to trudge along this road :)

So you want to be an architect? or

So You Want to be a City Planner?

alt text

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By WRCU2 (registered) - website | Posted December 08, 2011 at 07:28:54 in reply to Comment 71981

OMG Mahesh, I've still got a bone to pick with you but the media links you've shown are absolutely precious! Thanks ever so much for sharing, I've got tears in my eyes and my wet pants are just soaking.

My favorite quote from the first heartwarming video:

...so if you wanted to make life better for people, make the cities better for people.

From the second:

I want to be an architect, get hot women and save the world through design...I will design kitchen utensils and sell them at Wal-mart, that will generate the capital I need to practice architecture.

From the third: Too many to list

I sure hope you can attend the Hamilton Civic League Christmas/Holiday Celebration on Monday next.

Cheers

Comment edited by WRCU2 on 2011-12-08 07:35:46

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted December 10, 2011 at 03:29:46 in reply to Comment 71996

WRCU2, Glad you liked the links into the world view of architects and planners :)

Here is a look into the other half of the challenge in making "the cities better for people.": Why Architects Drink - and how our alienating cities of today in the west got shaped over the last century: Architectural Futurism of the 1920s

Comment edited by Mahesh_P_Butani on 2011-12-10 04:35:12

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By just don't get it (anonymous) | Posted December 07, 2011 at 14:52:01

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By get real (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2011 at 09:48:13 in reply to Comment 71983

The reason you want to maintain the status quo is because you have a vision where the entire city looks and and functions like stone church and wentworth.

The reality is, lower Hamilton IS densely populated and the density will only increase as transportation costs rise.

I live downtown and, believe me, "home to work to shopping to dining" is only a couple of kilometres (in most cases less than that) and every day tasks are easily done by bike or on foot. The only time I need to drive is when I'm leaving the city or hauling cargo.

So until you actually live downtown - or at least visit and talk to people who do - you can leave your false impressions of sparse population out of the discussion.

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By just don't get it (anonymous) | Posted December 10, 2011 at 19:46:53 in reply to Comment 72003

Then biking should be a good fit for you. You are however an exception.

The reality is that very little of this city is densely populated. Way to many people live in single family homes. Too many parking lots. Too many green spaces. Too many and too big front and back yards. Visit a densely populated city were the multi story buildings go on for as far as the eye can see. Were parking is at a premium and very expensive. Were apartments and condos are the rule and single family homes are almost non existent. Were single family homes are so outrageously expensive that only the very rich could possibly afford them. While you are there watch how many people cycle to wherever they are going. Now come back to Hamilton and look at our fine city where single family homes within a 15 minute walk of city hall are not only readily available but also some of the lowest priced homes not only in the city but in the province.

Just for the record I am very familiar with living downtown, I lived there for a number of years. I also lived in Toronto, and in a couple of cities in Europe. If you really consider Hamilton to be densely populated you need to visit some other cities. You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted December 08, 2011 at 23:29:08 in reply to Comment 72003

Downtown needs a 24-hour grocery store that's walking distance from Jackson Square. I walk from near St. Joe's to the No Frills on Main and Tisdale once a week and pick up the bare essentials because any more than that and I won't make it home. Something that I can walk to, pick up a couple of bags of food and head home. I heard a rumour some time ago that one of the parking lots was going to be turned into a Fortino's but have since heard it won't be.

We also need a national chain department store downtown - be it a Walmart, Zellers, Target, Sears, The Bay.. something. Something with reasonably priced clothes, appliances, furniture and the like.

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By just don't get it (anonymous) | Posted December 10, 2011 at 19:52:33 in reply to Comment 72040

Alas there just is not enough money in the downtown to justify those things. I can remember when there was a grocery store in the basement of the high rise at the corner of Main and Catherine Streets. The only reason it closed was that it just did not make any money. Not enough people were spending enough money there. If my memory serves me it was actually a discount store of one chain or another.

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By just don't get it (anonymous) | Posted December 11, 2011 at 12:20:36 in reply to Comment 72112

I love the down votes. Truth really hurts doesn't it? Down vote all you want that does not change the reality. When enough money is available downtown to support a 24 grocery store or even a full service store like Fortinos or Metro they will gladly build one there. These companies are all here for a single reason to make money. There simply is not enough money in the downtown to support such a beast. Until there is the population has to get by with Food Basics on Barton or No Frills on Main. The other option is to pay the overly inflated prices at the market.

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By get real (anonymous) | Posted December 12, 2011 at 08:30:49 in reply to Comment 72123

You are being downvoted because you aren't making any coherent, valid points.

You start by saying Hamilton is not close enough to the top ten cities in terms of density in the world. Then you make the example of driving from stone church and wentworth to downtown - which is totally irrelevant. Even the most dense cities have infinite examples of a commute that is not easily cycled. So what's your point?

When faced with an argument that downtown citizens CAN easily get everything they need by bike, you retort "ya but that's just you", as if it's some sort of superman achievement out of reach of most citizens.

Then you argue that we don't have enough money downtown to justify bike lanes....which is - how can I put it - complete and utter nonsense.

First of all, if as you perceive, our citizenry is too poor to support a grocery store, surely they cannot afford a car either, so the city is wasting its money creating and maintaining space for cars downtown when it could build bike networks for a fraction of the infrastructure costs. By arguing poorness you are arguing FOR alternative transportation modes.

Second, how do you propose we increase the cash flow downtown? I have an idea - MAKE IT MORE LIVABLE SO THAT MORE TAXPAYERS WILL MOVE THERE. This requires a many-pronged solution but someone like you who has lived in all of these "good cities" should understand that bike infrastructure is one of the most important prongs.

You aren't being downvoted because you're some sort of messiah delivering an unwanted dose of reality, it's because you are a hamilton-hating squelcher keeping the city down.

Go back to Europe, we don't need your kind here.

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By just don't get it (anonymous) | Posted December 13, 2011 at 15:09:03 in reply to Comment 72139

I said there was not enough money downtown to support a 24 hour grocery store or a full service store such as Fortinos or Metro. Do you really believe that those stores are built on a whim? Or because some poor blogger has decided that the city needs a NICE store downtown? Nobody can be that naive can they?

Money available downtown has nothing to do with bike lanes, those are a necessity, especially on the busier roads. Although I doubt even that will make much of an impact on the cycling volume. You have got your cause and effect all mixed up. Those cities do not have high density because of cycling lanes they have cycling lanes because of high density. I know it is a difficult distinction to grasp but it is a very important one.

Downtown is not just a neighbourhood it is where the thoroughfares are that transport so much of our traffic east and west across the city. Those commuters are the people with money, the ones who pay the taxes to give the welfare for the many who live downtown with the druggies and whores. In this city just like in every other city and in fact in every organization the decisions are made by and for the people with money. Anything else is financial suicide.

There are very few people who live in the city who are close enough to work and amenities that cycling is a real option for all their basic needs. If you fall into that group then count yourself as one of the lucky ones. I am sure that you made some conscience decisions and sacrifices to get yourself there. (like living downtown instead of a nicer neighbourhood)

If you want to get more money downtown then the place needs to be attractive to the portion of the population who have money. They do not want small old houses. They want larger nicer abodes with all the amenities. They do not want to live a stones throw away from industry. It is not a matter of making it just livable it needs to be ATTRACTIVE to people with money. People who are willing to buy a home for upwards of $300,000. Look at the places in the city where the money lives now. Ancaster, Dundas, South Mountain, Stoney Creek and the like. What do you have downtown that would entice anyone to sell their beautiful home there to buy a shack in the inner city? Nothing, absolutely nothing. So you have to give them something and a liveable street just is not enough. It is barely enough to keep the poor sods that are already there. If you want to attract people from where they are now to the core you need to give them the type of homes that they are used to and that they want. How are you going to do that?

Look at all the cities that have the heavy cycling like Montreal, Paris, or NYC do they have industry in the city? In the heart of what you want to make attractive to people with money? Even if you get rid of the industrial presence who is going to clean up the aftermath? The City? It cannot even afford to clean up the land it has already expropriated. Bulldoze it and cover up the contamination just like they are doing in the harbour? Cover up the crap and pray that a layer of dirt over top will keep us safe. Even then would you live there? I sure would not choose to. All those cities are also where destination points are. A nice Zoo, a real museum, a top caliber sports team, fine dining, world class doctors and the like. There is nothing like that in Hamilton because it is all in Toronto just down the road. Hamilton is not Paris, Montreal, or NYC and never will be so stop trying to be something you are not, or at least stop trying to turn this city into something it is not. Give you head a shake and get a grip on reality.

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By sorry (anonymous) | Posted December 12, 2011 at 12:42:50 in reply to Comment 72139

insult spam from banned user deleted

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted December 12, 2011 at 12:49:01 in reply to Comment 72154

Keep using different user names and pretending your more than one person, that's totally working.

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By except (anonymous) | Posted December 12, 2011 at 13:25:27 in reply to Comment 72155

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By check the IP (anonymous) | Posted December 12, 2011 at 14:44:00 in reply to Comment 72158

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By get real (anonymous) | Posted December 13, 2011 at 08:06:42 in reply to Comment 72165

Truth really hurts, doesn't it?

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By all it really proves (anonymous) | Posted December 13, 2011 at 11:31:17 in reply to Comment 72191

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By point confirmed (anonymous) | Posted December 13, 2011 at 11:41:26 in reply to Comment 72208

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted December 13, 2011 at 11:43:50 in reply to Comment 72211

Seriously Allan, get a hobby. Or a job.

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By just look up the IP (anonymous) | Posted December 13, 2011 at 11:50:27 in reply to Comment 72212

insult spam from banned user deleted

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By OK don't look it up (anonymous) | Posted December 13, 2011 at 11:58:08 in reply to Comment 72213

insult spam from banned user deleted

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted December 13, 2011 at 13:22:04 in reply to Comment 72214

Come on Allan, even you have to admit it's weird to be having a debate with yourself on a website that banned you. Forget my earlier advice, don't get a hobby, get help.

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By I'm not debating myself (anonymous) | Posted December 13, 2011 at 13:23:16 in reply to Comment 72226

insult spam from banned user deleted

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted December 13, 2011 at 13:33:40 in reply to Comment 72227

Fair enough, you're actually mostly agreeing with yourself so you can pretend someone else agrees with you. Seriously get help.

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By no (registered) | Posted December 13, 2011 at 13:36:44 in reply to Comment 72229

insult spam from banned user deleted

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted December 13, 2011 at 13:39:31 in reply to Comment 72231

How am I supposed to "look up the IP's", what does that even mean? Please get help.

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By done with the troll (anonymous) | Posted December 13, 2011 at 13:41:03 in reply to Comment 72232

insult spam from banned user deleted

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By just don't get it (anonymous) | Posted December 13, 2011 at 15:11:36 in reply to Comment 72233

I believe that your name should be just slightly modified to NO BRAIN

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted December 07, 2011 at 16:10:21 in reply to Comment 71983

I had a friend who rode into downtown from Wellington and the Linc every morning. Took a little under 20 minutes most days. 8-10km is doable by most people in about half an hour on flat ground without too much serious exertion.

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By not doable for most (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2011 at 16:58:58 in reply to Comment 71987

insult spam from banned user deleted

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted December 07, 2011 at 14:58:08 in reply to Comment 71983

But Hamilton has a downtown region that absolutely is that dense. That's the thing. Honestly, you're probably right that Stonechurch's bike lane won't see a large amount of usage any time soon... but in the old lower-city? Everything from Downtown Dundas to Eastgate is bike-friendly density. And on the mountain, just about everything north of the Linc in Ward 7 is bike-ready density.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2011-12-07 15:00:52

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted December 07, 2011 at 16:32:16 in reply to Comment 71984

I can vouch for that with respect to Ward 7. I just wish there was some more to do in the Ward. I always hope Concession Street can become more than it is.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted December 08, 2011 at 10:16:29 in reply to Comment 71989

Yeah, I always feel bad about Concession. It's the old dead downtown of The Mountain, the only thing it's missing is a hollowed-out Eaton's Centre.

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By JM (registered) | Posted December 08, 2011 at 10:36:00 in reply to Comment 72005

it's not totally dead... minus the "major retail" aspect of it that disappeared shortly after the exodus to limeridge mall its managed to survive, and is a great location for small businesses to open

also should consider the higher population densities and frequency of public transit that runs through it (i have 3 bus routes behind my house!)

and the hospital... (major employer!)

would be nice to see a small grocery store return to the street (shoppers drug mart doesnt count - and i refuse to pay their grocery prices!)

there is tonnes of potential along this street - i hope it gets realized!

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted December 09, 2011 at 09:42:46 in reply to Comment 72009

My issues with Concession are twofold:

1. There is no nightlife, which is extremely odd considering proximity to bus routes and the vast residential population within walking distance. I think there are two sit-down restaurants, one of which is a bar. You can't stroll along in the summer and have an ice cream while window-shopping because everything is closed, and no one sells ice cream.

2. The healthcare sector is taking over, making concession street a destination for the sickly and recovering rather than a place for neighbours to meet.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted December 08, 2011 at 11:06:14 in reply to Comment 72009

I just remember the brief heydey when there was the second location of Bayshore Hobbies up there. Rose had a wonderful store, including consoles that kids could try games on. Too bad it didn't pan out.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted December 09, 2011 at 09:44:42 in reply to Comment 72013

That's something else that confounds me - they were located a stone's throw away from an elementary school in a walkable neighbourhood surrounding by residential housing and with transit access from three bus routes.

It seemed like the perfect location...I don't know what went wrong.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted December 09, 2011 at 10:43:10 in reply to Comment 72053

Maybe the lack of parking? The mountain suburbs seem to be pretty well centered around driving to Limeridge Mall or to the Upper James stores... I think this was before the Meadowlands had really taken off.

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By JM (registered) | Posted December 08, 2011 at 08:46:06 in reply to Comment 71989

i'm with you on that! i just moved a block from concession street 6 months ago... need a little bit of nightlife happening, and business that stays open after 6pm!

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted December 09, 2011 at 09:45:21 in reply to Comment 72001

Agreed 100%. How to make it happen is the question...

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By Anon (anonymous) | Posted December 07, 2011 at 22:29:07

Tend to agree with just don't. I find Hamilton quite easy to drive in even compared with a smaller city like London. The density just isn't here to attract a lot of people to abandon their cars except for those that really have a desire to do so apart from traffic problems when driving.

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By an easy drive (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2011 at 09:56:59 in reply to Comment 71995

There is no doubt that Hamilton is easy to drive in. But when you need to stop somewhere - or if you want to LIVE downtown - life becomes a lot less easy real fast.

We need to increase density in order to increase the tax base so that we can continue to function as a city without increasing taxes at every turn.

The city as it stands is a total turn off to newcomers. If we don't do something to attract new residents NOW, we will not be able to afford upkeep much longer. Our taxes are insane and the quickest relief is to ramp up density downtown. This will have minimal impact on those who are not interested in high density living as they can continue to live further out and drive everywhere.

If those who drive through the city every day are willing to give up 5 minutes of their daily commute by taking the highways instead, they may just find that their taxes will fall into line as we make the core more livable and start to attract more tax paying citizens into the core.

Or we can continue to snub newcomers, make the downtown totally uncomfortable, make it difficult to visit local businesses and keep our image down in the dumps so that every future cost remains a burden of the current stagnant population of taxpayers. Sounds like a great plan. Hope you enjoy your nice fast commute!

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By WRCU2 (registered) - website | Posted December 08, 2011 at 10:46:33

Holy crap, I cannot believe some of these comments!

Doesn't anyone even have a clue as to what is really choking this city's prosperity? IT ain't a lack of bicyclist's frenzy. People, IT is a lack of jobs and money! Progress requires more cash in our society!!!!

I used to go downtown nearly once a month when I was working either by bicycle, by bus or by walking. I haven't been there at all this year except to visit with mystoneycreek for the velo-meet and hear the proponents talking.

I have submitted four quotes in as many weeks and have nothing to show for my time. And there comes a time when guys like me throw in the towel and stop friggin' trying. Get a freakin' clue and cease with the whining and crying!

I'm outta my car but have no money for reason to go anywhere. And I am not alone, as if anyone cares.

I'll be damned if I'm gonna stuff wieners for a living, or bake cakes and call'em bread when there is so much else that my trade skills could be fixing or stuff I'd rather do instead.

Tax the shit out of homeowner's and gouge them deep for fresh water. Make sure no one has any extra cash to attend to things that really farking matter. And please hire more staffers and pay them three times what an out of work taxpayer would be glad for.

But please, find IT within yourselves to donate to food banks, because this is the season for giving and thanks, unless (and of course) you're an INTEREST-ed lender, with world-ender legal-tender pranks.

Comment edited by WRCU2 on 2011-12-08 11:27:40

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By what are you smoking (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2011 at 11:12:23 in reply to Comment 72012

Employers locate where they can draw from a pool of employees.

If we don't attract residents who are willing and able to work, then the jobs will never come.

This is why the people who actually understand the world are shouting for livability FIRST.

You can put the cart before the horse all you want but you won't get anywhere. Why don't you share with us your brilliant plan to make jobs out of thin air?

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By WRCU2 (registered) - website | Posted December 08, 2011 at 16:57:06 in reply to Comment 72014

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Comment edited by WRCU2 on 2011-12-08 17:31:17

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted December 11, 2011 at 19:13:08 in reply to Comment 72030

In order to create jobs we should immediately send out rebate cheques and/or cut taxes for low-middle class earners.

Oh, but wait! What about the deficit.

Well, first of all, the deficit only refers to the governments obligations. In fact, public deficits are just the flip side of private sector savings. Think about it, if the government cuts our taxes, where does that money end up? In our bank accounts, that's where.

That explains why we have seen higher Canadian household debt, even while the Feds have claiming victory over their own debt. They have been draining our bank accounts through higher taxes (13% HST, health tax) and lower transfer payments (welfare stagnation).

The good news is that when public debt/GDP goes up, it also tends to lead to much lower "real" inflation.

For example, have you noticed the great rise in home prices and oil the last decade? That happened as public debt/GDP was falling.

In contrast, from 1981-1986, as Canadian federal debt went from 30%-53% of GDP, home prices remained at around $75k. In that same time frame, oil prices fell from $US35-$14/barrel.

From 1986-1990, Canada's federal debt flattened out, while home prices doubled (~$75-150K) and oil increased from $US14-23/barrel.

From 1990-1998, home prices in Canada remained flat as federal public debt reached its highest level since WWII, averaging around 65% of GDP. In that time, oil prices fell from $US23-$11.

We also know that the Bank of Canada has the ability to buy bonds in the open market, thus essentially guaranteeing that interest rates stay as low as they want them to be. No risk from bond vigilantes that are attacking the weaker economies of Europe.

More cash in consumers pockets = more spending = more sales for businesses = greater need to hire workers.

It's that simple.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 09, 2011 at 10:23:46 in reply to Comment 72030

So your big plan is for central banks to continue to create money out of thin air and then someone (the government? someone else?) should use that money to pay people to do non-producing jobs which were created out of thin air as well?

Seems reasonable...

Maybe if you make it rhyme, someone will buy into it...

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By Anon (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2011 at 11:37:55

an easy drive, I just moved to the Red Hill area from the old east mountain and what I do is drive 5 minutes to the brow stairs, park there for the day, and walk up the stairs to the brow and to work which takes about 45 minutes, and walk back after work 45 minutes and then down the brow stairs. So I'm not just looking for an easy drive around town all the time and using gas unnessarily if that's what you were getting at.

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By easy drive (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2011 at 12:23:23 in reply to Comment 72016

I'm not saying you are looking to drive all over the place, but you said "The density just isn't here to attract a lot of people to abandon their cars".

First of all no one says cars have to be "abandoned", but we do have to design so that ALL road users are accommodated for and we have done nothing of the sort.

The reason we have low density is that the parts of the city which could easily support the density have been given over to fast moving traffic (among other problems - I'm not saying it's the only one but it's the one we are discussing).

Catering to the easy drive makes the city less livable so guess what, less people live here than the city can support (and the city needs higher density if we are going to cover the ongoing costs of functioning as a city)

We as Hamiltonians can drive all we want wherever we want -- but if we expect to continue to be able to blast through the parts of the city that should be dense and livable, then we have to come to terms with the fact that not only are we sacrificing the potential of our downtown, but we're committing ourselves to higher and higher taxes as we keep density low - basically the same number of people will need to cover continually raising costs.

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By jcw (registered) | Posted December 08, 2011 at 12:33:02

Folks,

I work ten munutes outside of Cambridge, one kilometre from the Hamilton-Cambridge boundary, on the sixth concession. Two summers ago, I bicycled to work and back: it took me about two hours, mostly because I was shapeless, riding on the gravel shoulders of Highways 52 and 8, and sweating in the heat of an afternoon sun. I know, woe is me.... If there were another way, another mode of public transportation to get me from our house between Fennell and Brucedale Avenues and Upper James and Wellington Streets to the sixth concession, I'd happily hop on-board, save money on gasoline, insurance, and otherwise, and save the larger, non-monetary costs on the environment. Using the H.S.R. BusWeb to plan that work trip is fruitless, as there aren't any bus-stops near Highway 8. The only way there, I think, is by bicycle and, according to Google Maps, that'll take two-and-one-quarter hours or so.

A change can and ought to come, but it'll cost me that most precious gift in our economy: convenience. It's, ultimately, easier for me to get in the car and drive from point A to B, but I'd like to live a life and show my one-year-old daughter that such a life is difficult and rewarding. Since we only live with an unknown number of days given to us, do I need to spend the bulk of life, fattening in traffic? Lord, have mercy. A colleague of mine at work has bicycled across Canada, raising money for refugees, so such "long" commutes are certainly able to be done.

I'll end this deliberation with an encouraging quotation from Carlyle's 'Heroes': "It is not to taste sweet things, but to do noble and true things and vindicate himself under God's heaven as a god-made man that the poorest son of Adam dimly longs."

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By Anon (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2011 at 13:11:43

Good read easy drive, you have some excellent points for sure.

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By easy drive (anonymous) | Posted December 12, 2011 at 08:07:13 in reply to Comment 72022

Thanks... spread the concept if you can.

The people who drive through the city daily seem to have a death grip on the idea of keeping that drive as fast as possible. I just don't think many of them realize that by doing so they are keeping their own taxes high. The downtown needs to be a comfortable place to live so that we can attract the kind of people who live the kind of lifestyle that pumps money into the city.

The way it is now, we've created a core with a perception that it's the last place one would want to live. It's not only sad, it's total economic suicide.

And it's all for 5 minutes of commute time....

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By jcw (registered) | Posted December 08, 2011 at 15:55:07 in reply to Comment 72022

Thanks, Anon. I wish that more came of that post than a good read and an easy drive, but I guess it's a place to start. Keep well.

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By MarieAnge (registered) | Posted December 08, 2011 at 23:20:56

The post makes credible reference to other cities who have cycling lanes that work. Other than Montreal, which by the way is insane traffic-wise, you literally take your life into your own hands cycling in Montreal, most of the cities in the list are all European.

What people forget is that the majority of those cities are all very old, their streets are very narrow, a lot of them still have cobblestones. All this means that parking is at a premium since there is very little parking available. Because of this, people leave their cars at home, hop on the tram, the metro, bus, train, whatever mode of transportation will get them to their destination. European cities also have another thing in common that we don't have. As one commenter stated earlier, they are very tightly packed. Also, Europe in general has never been car-centric as North America has been.

We have all grown up with the car being the ultimate status symbol. If you could afford a car, you had it made! And this has nothing to do with the baby boomers or the hippies, it has to do with the marketing of the automobile in North America. All those slick ads that showed beautiful shiny bullet shaped vehicles, racing down paved straight roads, high speeds, hair blowing in the wind. That is the ideal we have all grown up with. Today's reality is that most of us cannot afford one of those slick shiny vehicles and that creates envy. I gave up owning a car 7 years ago, not by choice but by necessity. I did not have the money to keep a car on the road and pay for day parking and night parking and gas and insurance and and and.. The ands just became too numerous. I have been using the city transit system since then. It's not the greatest by a long shot, it could use some improvements but it still gets you from point A to point B, although by a circuitous way at times, but you eventually get there. You just can't be in a hurry.

We live in a society that is used to having everything instantly. Instant internet access everywhere and anywhere, email access, shopping convenience, drive thrus, everything now now now and now. We are totally disgusted that we may have to wait 2 minutes at a grocery store line up. If we actually stopped racing everywhere, reduced the level of activities we are involved in, be more selective about what we want to be involved in, we might find that there is no more need to race around and having everything at our fingertips instantly.

Now looking at Hamilton, we have a population of half a million people, so definitely enough inhabitants to justify more public transportation. Although, compared to the population of Chicago which is well over the 6.5 million inhabitants, we are nothing. Watching the traffic in downtown Hamilton is like watching an accident waiting to happen. We have vehicles of all sizes and shapes barrelling down the street at top speed and we expect cyclists to use those same streets? It's already a crap shoot crossing the street as a pedestrian...!

City of Hamilton planners need to stop paving over land that has become available to build on in the downtown core. Take a look at a google map of Hamilton, switch to terrain view, zoom in to the downtown area and count how many parking lots cover vast areas to the east and north of downtown. Build over these parking lots and suddenly you will have a lot of commuters wanting to use transit instead of fighting for the few parking spots left. But in order to get those drivers out of their cars and using transit, there has to be a transit system in place that is fast and reliable and doesn't require you to hand over your first born as payment for using it.

I agree we need more cycling routes, but until we see a distinct change to the downtown core, that we see less and less parking available, that we see new businesses building on those paved lots, that we see new businesses opening in those boarded up buildings, that we see the city stop encouraging building owners to keep their buildings boarded up, we will not get the Utopian city that we all wish for. One that continues to be green, that has public transit from end to end, that LRT runs both in the core and on the mountain, with people happy to walk around in the downtown core to get their shopping done, or just to hang out even.

So all this to say that I support the cycling lanes even though as a disabled person I will never use them. I love what Chicago has done and I could see this approach as viable for Hamilton, but only after we reduce the heavy traffic coming through the downtown area.

Comment edited by MarieAnge on 2011-12-08 23:29:02

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By just don't get it (anonymous) | Posted December 13, 2011 at 15:15:44 in reply to Comment 72038

How do you propose to finance this construction? Or do you have some magic fairy dust that will grow these buildings? If there were a use for a new building downtown that could actually make money then I guarantee you someone would build it without some poor blogger coming up with the idea.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted December 14, 2011 at 01:15:33 in reply to Comment 72242

According to the 2011 public accounts, federal debt charges were $30.87B, which works out to 1.79% of GDP.

In 1995, these charges were 5.19% of GDP and down to 3.80% in 2001.

The current federal debt is approximately $575 billion.

If you added another $300 billion to the debt, it would still bring debt charges only up to 2.72%. For that higher cost, each resident of Canada would get $8,670 in local transit funding.

If we apply that number to Hamilton, it would give the City of Hamilton $4.582B (528,502 residents).

For that amount of money, Hamilton could get 13.32km of subway (based on costs of $344M/km), which is about the distance from McMaster to Eastgate mall.

If the feds funded only the proposed LRT ($800M), this works out to $1,513/person. If this was applied nationwide, it would add $52.4B to the national debt.

Debt charges would go from 1.79%/GDP to 1.95%/GDP.

There may be reasons for not building transit, but money is not one of them.


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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 13, 2011 at 17:20:47 in reply to Comment 72242

We could start by questioning spending half a billion dollars on servicing the Aerotropolis. That might free up some cash...

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted December 14, 2011 at 11:54:51

How Bikes Can Save the World: alt text ...

Also at "Infographic Of The Day": How Bikes Can Solve Our Biggest Problems

Comment edited by Mahesh_P_Butani on 2011-12-14 12:03:05

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