Special Report: Cycling

It's Official: Cannon Street Cycle Track is Open

The three-kilometre protected two-way cycle track is the first of its kind in Hamilton, running continuously along Cannon Street between Sherman Avenue North and Hess Street North.

By Ryan McGreal
Published September 12, 2014

The Cannon Street Cycle Track opened at noon today in an official ribbon-cutting ceremony at the corner of Cannon and James Street North. Despite the very short notice - the City didn't know if it would be ready until yesterday afternoon - a big crowd came out to celebrate Hamilton's newest and best cycle track.

Huge turnout for official opening
Huge turnout for official opening

Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr hosted the event. Ward 3 Councillor and former Mayor Bob Morrow spoke of his work advocating better cycling infrastructure when he was an alderman in the 1970s.

Mayor Bob Bratina talked about riding his bike when he was a kid and noted that traditional ideas about walking- and cycling-friendly urban neighbourhoods are coming back into appreciation.

Yes We Cannon coordinator Justin Jones, joined at the mic by fellow YWC organizers Leshia Knopf and Kevin Makins, predicted that the Cannon Cycle Track is going to change how Hamilton moves. He called on Hamiltonians to keep up the momentum and turn Hamilton into the best cycling city in Canada.

Justin Jones, Leshia Knopf and Kevin Makins of Yes We Cannon
Justin Jones, Leshia Knopf and Kevin Makins of Yes We Cannon

After the remarks, Councillors Farr and Morrow, Mayor Bratina and Jones formally cut the ribbon on the Cannon Cycle Track. Bratina led a short ceremonial bike ride on Cannon, heading east into Beasley.

Councillor Jason Farr, Councillor Bob Morrow, Mayor Bob Bratina and Yes We Cannon coordinator Justin Jones cut the ribbon
Councillor Jason Farr, Councillor Bob Morrow, Mayor Bob Bratina and Yes We Cannon coordinator Justin Jones cut the ribbon

About the Cycle Track

The three-kilometre protected two-way cycle track is the first of its kind in Hamilton, running continuously along Cannon Street between Sherman Avenue North and Hess Street North.

The track is physically separated from the adjacent automobile lanes by a space buffer, reflective knockdown bollards, rubber curbing and planter boxes.

Knockdown bollards and rubber curbing on Cannon west of Sherman
Knockdown bollards and rubber curbing on Cannon west of Sherman

Intersections are marked with green-painted "bike boxes", or advanced stop lines for cyclists to get into position for turning movements.

Some cross streets have also been equipped with bike boxes to assist turning movements onto the Cannon Cycle Track.

Bike box on Hess Street to connect with Cannon Cycle Track (Image Credit: Jason Leach)
Bike box on Hess Street to connect with Cannon Cycle Track (Image Credit: Jason Leach)

Bike box on Bay Street to connect with Cannon Cycle Track (Image Credit: Jason Leach)
Bike box on Bay Street to connect with Cannon Cycle Track (Image Credit: Jason Leach)

Staff will continue to install physical barriers and other final touches over the next week or so, but the two-way bicycle traffic signals are in place and operational and the cycle track is ready to use.

Of course, cyclists have already been using the track for the past few weeks, despite pylons and signs indicating the lane was not open. This past Wednesday, I counted two dozen bikes along a single length of the track.

Automobile traffic on Cannon moves at a less frantic pace now, reducing the noise and anxiety experienced by people near the street. Several drivers have reported that they prefer the street now, despite traffic moving more slowly, because the pace feels calmer and safer.

When high-speed autobobile thoroughfares are redesigned as more complete streets with inclusive access for pedestrians and cyclists, the evidence indicates that the street becomes safer for all road users, including motorists.

The Cannon Cycle Track is a game-changer for Hamilton. It will demonstrate that when we invest in high-quality cycling infrastructure - bike lanes that are both continuous and physically protected - many more people will chose to ride a bike.

The overall net benefits to our public health and infrastructure lifecycle costs make the investment well worth making.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

12 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted September 12, 2014 at 14:35:15

dynamite. Very nice and safe route now for all modes of transport, not just cycling.

Is it too early to begin discussing a new community endeavour to bring these same lanes to Main St from Longwood to the Delta??

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Borrelli (registered) | Posted September 12, 2014 at 15:11:25

One of the best thing to happen to Beasley in a while. Parents and children of the neighbourhood are breathing a big sigh of relief...the Cannon highway is calmed!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By positive1@cogeco.ca (registered) | Posted September 12, 2014 at 21:20:11

This is a wonderful project and dovetails very nicely with the Bike for Mike program that saw Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Elementary School receive a donation of about 200 bikes two ears ago. Now they can ride up and down Cannon which is in very close proximity to their school. Now we need several north-south cycle tracks.

Comment edited by positive1@cogeco.ca on 2014-09-12 21:24:51

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By ScreamingViking (registered) | Posted September 13, 2014 at 00:02:07

Well done. Congratulations to Yes We Cannon and everyone who supported this effort. It's not only a victory for cycling and complete streets, it's a victory for grass-roots public campaigning that generates a result that improves the city.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted September 13, 2014 at 08:59:27

Based on the design drawings for the cycle track it looks like the only thing not yet done is the intersection crossings. They are shown to look like this in the drawings:

http://meslin.files.wordpress.com/2010/0...

Does anyone know if they still plan to add these? I think it's vital to increase safety at intersections. Many cities paint the lanes green through all cross streets, but at a minimum we need these bike sharrow symbols.

Rode Cannon to supercrawl last night. Riding towards the traffic flow without a helmet, on Cannon. Not something I thought I'd ever do.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By OldManBill (anonymous) | Posted September 13, 2014 at 14:57:09

We need Elmer the Safety Elephant back to edumacate bike riders, no body knows what da heck all the new markings mean. People are going to be hurt.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By DrAwesomesauce (registered) | Posted September 14, 2014 at 01:43:31

A thing of beauty.

I did a real double-take when I saw those bike boxes; I thought maybe it was trick photography.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Steve (registered) | Posted September 15, 2014 at 16:58:52

Rode it today eastbound from Bay Street to Chestnut, as it's still closed for the last little bit to Sherman and I wanted to respect the closed sign.

It's a great ride with many others cycling along it as well!

As Ryan stated already, I hope it's a game-changer for cycling infrastructure in Hamilton. Next is to extend it to Ottawa Street, heck why not all the way to Kenilworth (before Sam expropriates the buildings), or even Parkdale. Also, we need to look at some North-South bike lanes to connect to Cannon, the Radial Trail and more.

Hamilton could easily become the most cycle friendly city in Canada in a few quick and easy steps.

Note, the only blockage was a Bodyline Auto pick-up making a delivery blocking the sidewalk and the eastbound bike lane. A pain, but still pretty good.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted September 15, 2014 at 20:15:48

Hi Steve. Good news! A conventional (non-protected) bike lane is currently "In the works" on Cannon Street between Melrose & Gage. Then a further extension from Gage to Kenilworth is "In the planning stage.".

Extending it to Parkdale would be difficult. Cannon Street takes a 45 degree turn and becomes car-free at the Andrew Warburton Memorial Park. Although extending through to Barton Street it is a rather crappy cycle trail. What could be done is to give it right of way at intersections, repave it and straighten out some of the kinks.

Permalink | Context

By ScreamingViking (registered) | Posted September 16, 2014 at 19:27:24 in reply to Comment 104524

Cannon merges into Britannia - I don't see why lanes couldn't continue on that street all the way to Parkdale. Then it's a short jog up to Melvin (which I believe is still just a signed bike route now but could easily handle full bike lanes)

I could imagine creating a paved bike path all the way down the edge of the hydro corridor along Strathearne too. Barton to Lawrence, maybe even down into Rosedale. It would take more than just paint, but I think it would be a great north-south connector.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted September 15, 2014 at 21:56:15

pretty sure that 'bike lane closed' sign at Chestnut was simply missed by staff. It's open the entire way. Also, it sounds like the York lanes coming soon won't have bollards or planters until next year for some reason (the reason being it's city staff doing the lane, not IBI who did Cannon. Back to our usual watered-down bike infrastructure done in-house).

Not sure why they couldn't order the proper amount with IBI all at once since they knew the lanes were coming all the way to Dundurn as per the signs along Cannon/York. Need a serious overhaul at city hall. Hunter stinks, and the rest of our lanes don't connect to anywhere and are simply narrow painted lines. Only good on-road infrastructure we've seen was designed by an outside firm. It's not 1975 anymore. Time for city hall to step it up.

Permalink | Context

By Steve (registered) | Posted September 16, 2014 at 14:45:28 in reply to Comment 104525

I went back again today and actually heading eastbound there's no signal for the bike route. You are on your own to figure out what to do. Also, there's no way to legally cross Sherman without dismounting and walking across the pedestrian crossing.

If you don't walk across your choices are riding into the oncoming lanes and cutting across to the curb lane, or riding over the pedestrian island.

None of the choices are ideal.

Permalink | Context

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds