Special Report: Cycling

Work Underway for Charlton and Herkimer Bike Lanes

Staff have started installing bike lanes and new zebra crosswalks on Charlton and Herkimer.

By Ryan McGreal
Published June 30, 2016

The installation of new parking-protected bike lanes on Herkimer and Charlton between Dundurn and James is in progress after starting on Sunday night.

Pavement markings on Charlton for bike lane installation
Pavement markings on Charlton for bike lane installation

Pavement markings on Charlton for bike lane installation
Pavement markings on Charlton for bike lane installation

Pavement markings on Herkimer for bike lane installation
Pavement markings on Herkimer for bike lane installation

Pavement markings on Herkimer for bike lane installation
Pavement markings on Herkimer for bike lane installation

Yet more pavement markings on Herkimer
Yet more pavement markings on Herkimer

As of yesterday, City workers had also begun marking up the locations of new ladder- or zebra-style crosswalks - 18 of them, according to Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr.

Pavement markings for planned ladder crosswalk on Park at Charlton
Pavement markings for planned ladder crosswalk on Park at Charlton

Today, the first few zebra crosswalks themselves appeared.

Zebra crosswalk, Charlton and Park
Zebra crosswalk, Charlton and Park

Zebra crosswalk, Charlton and Bay
Zebra crosswalk, Charlton and Bay

It is exciting to see such an expansive, integrated safe streets initiative finally come to pass after years of delays and revisions. In this case, it looks like taking the time to get it right was definitely worth the wait.

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.

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted July 04, 2016 at 11:54:35

It's all looking quite good.

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By CareBear (registered) | Posted July 05, 2016 at 08:06:12

Do we know when these lanes will be ready for use? I'm excited to try them out although I'm waiting to see some north-south bike lanes to connect some of these great new east-west lanes.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted July 05, 2016 at 08:25:56 in reply to Comment 119637

We should be getting a two-way protected cycle track on Bay Street next year, assuming Council doesn't torpedo it.

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted July 06, 2016 at 10:42:10 in reply to Comment 119638

Who on Council could possibly be against that?

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By kdslote (registered) | Posted July 05, 2016 at 09:45:38 in reply to Comment 119638

Lanes are scheduled to be complete by the end of this week (dependant on weather). Can't wait to use them! And agreed, the N-S Bay street cycle track is a vital connector for all these E-W routes (Markland, Herkimer, Charlton, Hunter, York, Cannon).

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted July 06, 2016 at 09:21:52 in reply to Comment 119644

Those who took my Ally Tour of Durand and Kirkendall will know that there is an ally just west of Bay Street that goes all the way from Aberdeen to north of Robinson.

Many people enjoy using this as a low-stress protected north/south route.

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By CareBear (registered) | Posted July 06, 2016 at 11:24:09 in reply to Comment 119679

Thanks, I'll keep the ally in mind but nearly all my travel is north of Robinson so this won't connect well for me for the rest of my trip. Looking forward to a Bay Street route that allows for continuous travel N-S. :)

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted July 06, 2016 at 16:42:37 in reply to Comment 119684

This thread confused the Dickens out of me until I realized you both meant alley.

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By jorvay (registered) | Posted July 06, 2016 at 09:23:57

So I guess the next question is where should we be looking for the next improvement (after Bay of course)? A north-south route further east like Victoria or Wentworth Perhaps? A proper east-west route in the south half of the lower city to mirror Charlton/Herkimer (sortof like Hunter, but useful and complete)?

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By jason (registered) | Posted July 07, 2016 at 11:28:20 in reply to Comment 119680

Wentworth would be so logical with connections to Cannon, the rail trail, Stinson and Wentworth Stairs. It's so lightly traveled it could have 1 lane each way with bike lanes both ways, but unfortunately the city is planning another their TWINO conversion to two way. 2 lanes SB and 1 lane NB even though the entire street only carries less than 1 lane's worth of traffic each day....so let's give it 3. Yay for empty, high-speed lanes on quiet residential streets.....

Comment edited by jason on 2016-07-07 11:28:52

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted July 07, 2016 at 11:31:49 in reply to Comment 119690

I stand corrected. According to numbers Ryan posted last year, Wentworth never carries HALF a traffic-lane's worth of cars on a given day. 10,000 cars per day is normal for a city traffic lane. Wentworth sees it's highest volume at King William: 4,000 per day.

So a street carrying half a lane of traffic is getting 3 lanes....and no bike lanes. Hamilton planning at it's finest. https://raisethehammer.org/comment/11561...

Comment edited by JasonL on 2016-07-07 11:31:57

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted July 07, 2016 at 12:05:37 in reply to Comment 119691

Note: the original traffic counts cited here were volumes during prime daytime hours, not full 24-hour counts. The source I used to get the numbers has an intermittent issue in which daytime counts are displayed instead of 24-hour counts. (I've updated the prior comment with the corrected volume counts.)

But even with the higher totals, the point stands: 4-6,000 cars a day is nowhere near enough traffic to justify two southbound lanes.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2016-07-07 12:06:20

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By jason (registered) | Posted July 07, 2016 at 12:40:54 in reply to Comment 119693

excellent. Thx Yes, this is appalling. Even if it was 10,000/day that doesn't justify 3 lanes.
1 lane each way with bike lanes and parking on one side can fit perfectly on Wentworth.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted July 06, 2016 at 10:14:04

Some actual lines are in on the first stretch of Charlton. Looks pretty interesting in that there is a double orange line about 3 feet out from the left curb and the bike lane on the right.

I'll never forget my one ride of terror on Charlton (never been back since). When this lane is in I'm climbing right back on that horse!

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By kdslote (registered) | Posted July 07, 2016 at 08:02:06 in reply to Comment 119681

The double orange lines 3 feet from the left curb are for the 1 block eastbound contraflow lane that connect Herkimer to Charlton via Macnab while avoiding the complicated intersection of Herkimer and James. A great addition to keep eastbound riders safe, connecting to the rail trail and other destinations.

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By JasonStranak (registered) | Posted July 07, 2016 at 11:57:14

I just watched a line of three cars drive on Charlton from Locke to Dundurn, each with at least 2 wheels in the very bright freshly painted bicycle lane buffer the entire distance. I hope we get through the initial 'educational' period safely.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted July 07, 2016 at 12:27:50 in reply to Comment 119692

What we really need are knockdown sticks that can be removed in the winter. People will want to speed down that stretch of Charlton ( as well as on the parallel stretch of Herkimer ) as that is what they are used to doing. The closer they have to drive to the parked cars the slower they will go so naturally they will just straddle the bike lanes. This habit needs to be nipped in the bud.

Come to think of it I wonder if rumble strips would be a good idea between the bike lane and road?

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By jason (registered) | Posted July 07, 2016 at 12:42:15 in reply to Comment 119694

I like the idea of removable knockdown sticks.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted July 08, 2016 at 12:03:24 in reply to Comment 119696

Also think a few painted 'PARKING' signs in the new parking spots that was once the right lanes on Charlton might be a good idea. I was on Charlton twice today and both times saw people driving over them as if they were car lanes.

And the new lines over the old lines at Queen is just a jumbled confusing mess. Really hope they plan on blacking out the old ones.

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By jason (registered) | Posted July 08, 2016 at 13:22:31 in reply to Comment 119708

as we speak, cars are all parked against the curb in the bike lane. Def need something painted on the ground, or the city should park a car there permanently for a few days to show how it works.

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By moylek (registered) - website | Posted July 14, 2016 at 09:49:25

I used the new lanes - mostly complete on Charlton; about half complete on Herkimer - to get between McMaster and St. Joe's this morning. Verdict: nice!

Seasoned lane-sharer or lane-taker that I am, it surprises me to find out how relaxing a good bike lane can be(1): I can just ride without checking by mirror repeatedly for approaching traffic and worrying about getting into the door zone.

Two grumbles: a car double-parked in the bike lane on Herkimer and a car coming within a foot of hitting me when it turned right across the bike lane. I expect that the former will happen for a while and then stop - just as was the case with people parking in the bike lane in front of the beer store when the lanes first went it.

1: Door-zone bike lanes like those on Dundurn South are not at all relaxing as I have to be riding the edge of the lane and worrying about a wild door suddenly appearing.

Comment edited by moylek on 2016-07-14 09:50:08

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By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted July 14, 2016 at 16:14:52 in reply to Comment 119719

Big improvements still --

In the "Nice to Have" department (perhaps next cycle of painting?)

  • Tick marks in the parking spots, like Toronto and Ottawa has.
  • Green paint for the bike lane. Alerts cars to look before crossing. #VisionZero

Comment edited by mdrejhon on 2016-07-14 16:15:36

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By notlloyd (registered) - website | Posted August 02, 2016 at 15:46:13

Why do we need sidewalks on each side of the street?

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By notlloyd (registered) - website | Posted August 22, 2016 at 19:20:03

Anyone driving down Herkimer at rush hour lately. Is there some temporary problem that has turned it into a nightmare?

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By notlloyd (registered) - website | Posted August 23, 2016 at 22:09:21 in reply to Comment 119812

Found the answer. Queen Street Hill is closed for repairs.

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