Special Report: Cycling

Opposition to Herkimer, Charlton Bike Lanes Based on Ludicrously False Claims

The west mountain councillor wants to wind these streets back to a time when cut-through traffic tore through these urban neighbourhoods at 80-80 km/h at all hours of the day.

By Ryan McGreal
Published September 09, 2016

This article has been updated.

A child rides in the protected bike lanes on Herkimer while a transport truck drives past (Image Credit: Tom Flood)
A child rides in the protected bike lanes on Herkimer while a transport truck drives past (Image Credit: Tom Flood)

Everyone, in every part of the city, deserves to live in a safe, inclusive community with streets that balance the needs of local residents with city-wide transportation.

Unfortunately, some politicians continue to act as though certain neighbourhoods - mostly in the lower city - are expendable sacrifice zones whose residents must put up with dangerous speeding cut-through traffic so that people who matter can get to work and back a minute or two faster.

We saw this happen at yesterday's Public Works Committee meeting, which degenerated into a tedious and unnecessary rant about the new protected bike lanes on Herkimer Street and Charlton Avenue West.

It will surprise absolutely no one to learn that a certain west mountain councillor was particularly egregious, ladling a number of ludicrously false claims over his absurd criticisms.

Sadly, an article on the meeting in today's Spectator simply repeats Ward 8 Councillor Terry Whitehead's ridiculous and made-up claims without checking whether they are factually correct.

Gridlock on Herkimer this morning (Image Credit: Kyle Slote)
Gridlock on Herkimer this morning (Image Credit: Kyle Slote)

No Major Congestion on Herkimer

Let's start with the claim that there is some kind of major congestion on Herkimer and/or Charlton since the bike lanes went in.

The west mountain councillor even claims - presumably with a straight face - that the bike lanes on Herkimer are causing traffic slowdowns on the Mountain.

Here's how the Google Maps Live Traffic layer looked at 8:00 AM this morning:

Google Maps Live Traffic for September 9, 2016 at 8:00 AM
Google Maps Live Traffic for September 9, 2016 at 8:00 AM

Traffic is backed up on the downbound lanes of the Beckett drive escarpment access but free-flowing on Queen north of Aberdeen and on Herkimer Street between Queen and MacNab. The only place traffic had to slow down on Herkimer was at the intersection of Herkimer and James, where traffic has to turn left or right.

And here's how the Live Traffic layer looked just before 9:00 AM this morning:

Google Maps Live Traffic for September 9, 2016 at 8:58 AM
Google Maps Live Traffic for September 9, 2016 at 8:58 AM

By this point, traffic was free-flowing on Beckett Drive (aside from a slowdown right at the intersection of Queen and Aberdeen), and only slightly slowed down on Herkimer between Queen and MacNab.

Ten More Days a Year

Last night on Twitter, doing what he does best and digging himself in ever-deeper, the councillor claimed that the new bike lanes are "adding the equivalency of ten days more a year in your car" due to traffic congestion.

Let's think about this for a moment.

Ten extra days a year of traffic works out to 14,400 extra minutes (ten days times 24 hours in a day, times 60 minutes in an hour).

Meanwhile, a typical full-time employee works around 250 days a year (50 weeks times five days a week, assuming two weeks of vacation and no other days off).

If we divide that supposed 14,400 extra minutes by 250 days of commuting, that works out to 57.6 extra minutes a day.

So the councillor is claiming - presumably with a straight face - that the new bike lanes on Charlton and Herkimer are adding an average of 57.6 minutes to the daily commute of people who use these streets to get to and from work.

I guess there's not too much else to say about that, except that the councillor's willingness to make this claim without giving any thought to its implications tells us a lot about how committed he is to being correct in his assertions.

Residential Local Collectors

The councillor also keeps referring to Charlton and Herkimer as if they were major thoroughfares rather than local, residential streets.

Under the City's Urban Hamilton Official Plan, Charlton and Herkimer are designed as residential collector streets [PDF].

Map detail with superimposed legend from Appendix 11 of the Urban Hamilton Official Plan
Map detail with superimposed legend from Appendix 11 of the Urban Hamilton Official Plan

According to the City's Classification of City Streets [PDF], a collector should be designed to enable "traffic movement and land access of equal importance". That is, the design should balance local access needs with automobile traffic flow.

As for cycling infrastructure, the Classification recommends "wider lanes or separate facilities where required".

Before the bike lanes were installed, according to the City's traffic volume counts, Charlton carried around 6,000 cars a day westbound, while Herkimer carried around 9,000 cars a day eastbound.

Realistically, that kind of traffic volume warrants one vehicle lane, not two. With those traffic volumes on two lanes, drivers can pass each other and attain extremely high speeds.

In March 2014, the City installed a mobile speed radar on Herkimer beside Dundurn Park and recorded dangerously high speeds on every day of the radar's operation.

Top speeds of 80-90 km/h were recorded at such times as 8:00 AM and 3:00 PM - right when children are trying to walk to and from school, and when commuter traffic is highest.

Let's be completely clear: the councillor wants to wind these streets back to a time when cut-through traffic tore through these urban neighbourhoods at dangerously high speeds at all hours of the day.

It is breathtakingly self-absorbed for anyone to want to go back to that, let alone an elected public official whose job is to oversee and determine the well-being of the city.

Gridlock on Herkimer this morning (Image Credit: Adrian Duyzer)
Gridlock on Herkimer this morning (Image Credit: Adrian Duyzer)

'Balance'

The councillor is also making a lot of noise about how there should be "balance" between modes on these streets. Yesterday afternoon, I measured the width of Charlton and Herkimer at Bay Street.

Charlton at Bay is around 28 feet (or 8.5 metres) wide from curb to curb. Of that width, five feet (1.5 metres) is allocated to the bike lane and the other 23 feet (or 7 metres) is allocated to cars. In other words, 18 percent of the right-of-way is for bikes and the other 82 percent is for cars.

Herkimer at Bay is 35 feet (10.6 metres) wide from curb to curb. Of that width, five feet (1.5 metres) is allocated to the bike lane, and another 3 feet (1 metre) is allocated to a buffer between the bike lane and the parked cars.

Since the buffer is for both bikes and cars, let's split it down the middle and allocate half to biking and half to driving. That means 6.5 feet (2 metres) is for bikes and the other 28.5 feet (8.6 metres) is for cars. In other words, 18.5 percent of the right-of-way is for bikes and the other 81.5 percent is for cars.

The councillor believes this is not balanced - and that more of the street should be allocated to cars!

More than 15 Bikes a Day on Herkimer

Perhaps the councillor's most outrageous howler is the claim, quoted in today's Spec article, that staff told him there are only 15 cyclists a day on Herkimer.

This number is so absurdly low that any reasonable observer should be immediately and deeply skeptical. (Anecdotally, I saw four or five cyclists on Herkimer in just a few minutes yesterday evening while riding downtown for a meeting.)

But the Councillor said it, and the de facto stenographer who wrote the Spec article reproduced it without question.

RTH contacted the City to ask whether there are any bike traffic counts and received an email reply from David Ferguson, Superintendent of Traffic Engineering in the Public Works Department. He wrote, "Staff are preparing to undertake [traffic] volume (which will include bikes) and speed studies at the end of September, so at this point we have no data with the opening of the new lanes."

On a follow-up email, Ferguson further clarified, "it wasn't any of Traffic staff" who supplied the councillor with the cited number.

Bike Share Data

So how many people are riding bikes on the new bike lanes on Herkimer and Charlton? The short answer is we don't know, but it is certainly more than 15 a day.

One way to get a sense of how many bike trips travel on these streets is to review Hamilton Bike Share data, which includes the GPS coordinates of every trip.

This subject deserves a more thorough analysis, but for the purpose of this article, I reviewed a week of bike share data from around a month after the bike lanes were installed. I restricted the analysis to weekdays in order to hone in on how many people are riding on these streets during work commuting times.

For the week of Monday, August 15 to Friday, August 19, there were 756 bike share trips that included a stretch along Charlton (between Dundurn and James), and 564 bike share trips that included a stretch along Herkimer.

Here's a summary of trips per day:

Bike Share Trips on Charlton and Herkimer, August 15-19, 2016
Date Charlton Herkimer
2016-08-15 139 100
2016-08-16 156 122
2016-08-17 135 99
2016-08-18 171 133
2016-08-19 155 110
Total 756 564

Remember: this is only counting bike share trips, and does not include bike trips made using all other bikes. The actual number of total bike trips is at least several times higher than the bike share data counts, but the City does not currently have any counters on these streets so we have no way to know the full total.

When looking at the distribution of trips by hour, it is clear that a large proportion of these bike share trips are commuting trips. The following chart shows bike share trips by hour on Charlton:

Chart: Charlton Bike Share Trips by Hour, August 15-19, 2016
Chart: Charlton Bike Share Trips by Hour, August 15-19, 2016

And here is the same chart but for bike share trips on Herkimer:

Chart: Herkimer Bike Share Trips by Hour, August 15-19, 2016
Chart: Herkimer Bike Share Trips by Hour, August 15-19, 2016

Broad Consultation

The councillor also claims that key stakeholders were not consulted when the bike lanes were being designed. This is just false. In fact, there were two years of broad consultations on the designs - including meaningful engagement with the community and reviews by every affected municipal department, like transit, snow removal and waste collection.

Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr said it best in an email he sent to CHML radio host Bill Kelly this morning:

Terry is welcome to join us at future public meetings in the lower city wards in advance of planning for council-approved sustainable projects like Herkimer and Charlton bike lanes.

This may assist him in better understanding how we are meeting goals and objectives that he himself voted in support of. For exmple, the cycling master plan.

There were lots of opportunities in this case. A town hall, several public meetings, and several meetings of two neighbourhood associations sub-committee on this project.

He was never part of those discussions offering his hapless stats and monkey matrixes that staff didn't say anything bad about so they must be true.

There is no war on the car down here, Bill. Just a collective effort to build better, stronger, well-rounded economically viable and successful and sustainable and safe communities.

While Terry is stuck in traffic for half of his life, he should look around. He will see that it is working.

Enough said.


Update: The west mountain councillor is now saying the 15 bikes a day number is a ratio of bikes to cars, i.e. there are 15 bikes for every 1,000 cars. Apparently he made this claim and staff did not bother to correct him, so he is going ahead and attributing the claim to staff.

Given that there are around 9,000 cars a day on Herkimer, that ratio would mean a total of 135 bikes a day. However, as we see with the bike share data, there are approximately that many bike share trips a day on Herkimer - and bike share trips make up only a small fraction of the total number of bikes on Herkimer.

If we conservatively assume that bike share trips make up 20 percent of total bike trips (anecdotally, I would say bike share trips are a much smaller percentage than that), there are between 500 and 600 bike trips a day on Herkimer.

Unfortunately, we don't have any data, as staff confirmed. The councillor's ratio is entirely made-up, and he merely took staff's silence as affirmation when he asserted the number at the Public Works Committee meeting.


Update 2: There will be more to come on this ridiculous story. The west mountain councillor went on the Bill Kelly Show on AM 900 CHML today and doubled down on his absurd rhetorical war against the lower city.

Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr sent the following email to staff seeking their clarification on some more of the west mountain councillor's ludicrous claims, and will be providing their responses in a follow-up. Meanwhile, here is the text of Councillor Farr's letter to staff, reproduced here with permission:

Councillor Terry Whitehead just told Bill Kelly that the Waste dept. does not support Herkimer/Charlton bike lanes. Please confirm, in preparing for this council approved sustainable infrastructure, waste would have been a commenting body and my recollection, having been closely involved, is counter to this public/media comment this morning. Please advise so that there is no public confusion or unnecessary upheaval resulting from mixed messaging.

Councillor Terry Whitehead just told Bill Kelly that because he bounced a cyclists/car ratio off staff and staff didn't say anything, he can therefore use these stats as it relates to acceptable ratios. Please confirm that you find these ratios acceptable (or not) so that there is no public confusion or unnecessary upheaval resulting from mixed messaging.

Councillor Whitehead just said to Bill Kelly that a car door was smashed off as a result of this project. I have investigated this and can find no evidence. Please advise so that there is no public confusion or uneccessary upheval resulting from mixed messaging. ‎

Councillor Terry just told Bill Kelly that we are "exceeding our Cycling Master Plan objective" but then acknowledges these lanes were part of our cycling master plan (a plan the good councillor supported in a council-ratified vote). Are we exceeding our CMP objective? It is important that you provide clarity here so that there is no public confusion or uneccessary upheval resulting from mixed messages in our city.

Councillor Terry told Bill Kelly he thinks we "failed" in understanding the function of the road(s). Please advise if you, as the experts in this feild, feel that you have failed as it relates to this public comment to the media. It is important so that there is no public confusion or uneccessary upheval resulting from mixed messaging.

Councillor Terry said to Mr. Kelly just now that he feels some actions are "premature and punitive," taking "the anti-car sentiment." Can someone please share with Councillor Whitehead the good prep work that goes into making these Councillor Terry Whitehead-approved cycling infrastructure projects a reality. How we dialogue with all appropriate staff and do traffic counts and get feedback (ems/garbage/traffic/etc) and how we enage the community giving everyone many oppertunites and ways to share their incites before these projects begin. Also note attendence to the good councillor and the overwhelming support from the many whom particpated.

Councillor Terry talks to Bill Kelly about an "experiment" (referring to the Herkimer/Charlton bike lanes) and that this provides he and others the opportunity for feedback. Can you please clarify and ensure the good councillor is aware that this is not a pilot project and exactly what was meant when the "experiment" comment was made in PW Committee so that there is no public confusion or uneccessary upheval resulting from mixed messaging‎.

Many thanks. I always welcome input and I have certainly heard much (on both sides) since the installation of our Councillor Terry Whitehead approved Herkimer/Charlton bike lanes. We have even made some tweaks that were a directly result of public comment and concern.

Also, just yesterday, I had a very healthy conversation with one colleague (who has been around a while and knows that any change is hard for some, but in time people adjust) about peek period parking removal on these streets as a means to address what Councillor Terry Whitehead says is an additonal half of a life-time stuck on Herkimer and Charlton from Queen to James as a result of implimenting this Councillor Terry Whitehead approved infrastructure.

After hearing the Bill Kelly Show this morning, I am now very much standing down from this consideration so that there is no public confusion or uneccessary upheval resulting from mixed messaging. We had a very good plan as a result of well over a year of public consultation, so I will stay put and not cave in fear before the paint even drys. I prefer to demonstrate strong, non-divisive and decisive leadership. It is infact expected of me in this ward.

Staff - I am very well aware of your demands city-wide in bringing our council-approved mandates of safer more complete streets‎to reality. So please take your time responding.

Councillor Whitehead, I will be holding a press conference on Wednesday before Council about an incredibly successful resident driven campaign in ward 2 called Plan Local. You and I talked about this before it got started. The theme was safe streets. We have well over one million in safe streets projects set for your approval‎coming soon.

So that you may communicate on these projects before (rather than after) implementation (if approved by you and my council colleagues), I would welcome your attendance. You will learn how there was much dialogue with our traffic experts on city staff, the community and their elected representative. 4:45 PM, Wednesday at City Hall.

Finally, it would really be helpful to me as your colleague to dialogue on these ward 2 things in advance. Very unfortunately, as a result of many of your comments at PW (in my absence) and today on the Bill Kelly radio show, I find myself spending much unplanned-for time, having to set the record straight with my constituents who are confused by mixed messaging.

So, if you wish to go beyond making these comments on the radio and actually move a motion that changes the Herkimer/Charlton "experiment" in any way, may I humbly ask that you as a friend and a colleague please share this motion with me at your earliest convenience so that I can have facilities staff arrange for additional public seating when the meeting takes place.

RTH will follow up when we receive the detailed response from staff.

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.

35 Comments

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted September 09, 2016 at 14:07:40

well I guess we now know who one of the people driving 80-90km/hr was.

Great response by Farr, although what a complete waste of his time.

And re: The Spec, what on earth was that today? You can't round up today's paper and use them at your local bonfire fast enough. What an awful bunch of 'reporting' and fact-checking. They had a piece about Locke St which starts with whining and complaining about restaurants and the city not providing parking by a guy who gets crushed in every election in Ward 1. The restaurants are all booming and bringing people/biz to the street. And the city installed a huge parking lot over a year ago which sits mostly empty all day long.

Then, further complaints in the article about rents rising. Heaven forbid ONE street in Hamilton not remain economically depressed and dirt cheap forever. If these business owners are so in love with cheap, why aren't they on Kenilworth Ave??

Just a tire fire of a newspaper today

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By keithbeck (registered) | Posted September 10, 2016 at 04:53:59 in reply to Comment 119954

Where is the city parking lot on locke st you mention?

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By DBC (registered) | Posted September 10, 2016 at 09:18:02 in reply to Comment 119964

I assume he's referring to the lot behind Starbucks.

Comment edited by DBC on 2016-09-10 09:19:44

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted September 10, 2016 at 09:34:05 in reply to Comment 119966

yes, that is correct.

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By beachgirl (registered) | Posted September 09, 2016 at 14:46:31

I drive a portion of Herkimer everyday during afternoon rush hour. The only time there has been any kind of backup on that road was when the Queen St access/Beckett drive was closed recently. Once the access re-opened, traffic on Herkimer was back to normal, with no backlogs.

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By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted September 09, 2016 at 14:48:43

The Bike Share data -- alone -- just seals the deal!

That said: I can certainly concede that the useful Herkimer/Charlton bike lanes could be improved (the way the configuration changes somewhat inconsistently, albiet understandably due to the legacy disjointedness of the street) -- but the changes are useful.

To make parking-protected bike lanes more balanced, let's paint them green. Including through intersections. The bike lanes look too much like parking lanes, maybe that's what people are complaining about. New York City already does this.

image

That's New York City's "better version" of the parking protected bike lane found on Herkimer and Charlton. Let's "finish" the job and paint the lanes green -- and also delineate parking spots better.

Road users thinking the lanes are crazy, need to realize it's often just a simple fix like the above, when they realize what New York City has done. Red Herring, My Ass! Excuse diversion, excuse diversion -- by the truckful.

Hamilton's street parking spots have been very poorly labelled, with no tickmarks (even Toronto has them), and creates confusion with poorly marked bike lanes. We need a new Road Paint Standard. Cement this better. Make this less confusing for ALL users (pedestrians, cars, bikes) -- just like New York City.

New York City has cars parked "in the middle of the road" too, in some parts --

And it's working there.

NYC

Perhaps, related to this, this needs to be a #YesWeCannon style movement, to fix the flaws in our local bike infrastructure -- complete the Hunter cycle track all the way to Stinson -- figure out the Cannon cycle track gap near Sherman Ave -- properly paint the bike lanes -- etc.

90% of the Herkimer-Charlton layout is fine. A major part of the last 10% will be more difficult/expensive (whether it be the cost of green paint or a bike-friendly bumpout), but we should at least expedite the green paint as being a Requirement for parking-protected bike lanes and through intersections.

Yes, it'll even make me happier as a car driver -- I will immediately notice the green paint through intersections and watch much more carefully for bikes when turning, for example. And I'll be less nervous driving not being confused between a bike lane and a parking lane, when the differences between the two are clear. But that's simple details that are easily fixable.

It just needs relatively minor refinements -- and these traffic excuses are diversion bullshit when the Herkimer-Charlton lanes are being falsely framed as being more disruptive to traffic than LRT. (huh? Even this pro-LRTer acknowledges LRT will be nominally disruptive to traffic...but _this_? Litterbox material.)

Comment edited by mdrejhon on 2016-09-09 15:13:32

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By kdslote (registered) | Posted September 09, 2016 at 19:50:35 in reply to Comment 119956

Great comments! Those NYC lanes were one of our precedent examples we used in advocating for parking protected lanes on Herkimer and Charlton. We absolutely wanted the green paint too, but alas, city staff did not incorporate into the final design. As you said, hopefully we can continue to push for improvements to these lanes and others in the city!

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted September 09, 2016 at 21:50:59 in reply to Comment 119961

our cycling office has come a LONG way, but they really need to get over their fear of green paint. I don't get it. It's universally used for adding a bold, visible touch to bike lanes. So cheap and simple.

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By RightSaidFred (registered) | Posted September 09, 2016 at 14:51:52

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.

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By notlloyd (registered) - website | Posted September 12, 2016 at 18:29:57 in reply to Comment 119957

I don't see a voting pane anymore. Why is this comment greyed out?

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted September 09, 2016 at 15:21:44 in reply to Comment 119957

Let's look at the facts:

  1. Whitehead has systematically criticized any efforts at street calming, two way conversion and bike lanes in the lower city.

  2. He has repeatedly stated that he believes the primary purpose of these streets is to make it quick and easy for commuters to get to and from the Mountain ("essentially main thoroughfares for residents living on the mountain").

  3. He insists on misrepresenting these particular streets as "main thoroughfares" (by which I assume he means arterials) when they are in fact local collectors. They used to be classified as "minor arterials" before 2011. His comments imply he would indeed like them to revert to their "minor arterial" classification (i.e. "wind these streets back").

  4. There is concrete traffic measurement evidence for speeding, including extremely high speeds, at all times of the day on these streets before the bike lanes were introduced. This evidence comes from the speed trailer last year and the 2002 Durand Traffic Study. Whitehead does not appear concerned by this, and indeed would prefer higher speeds.

It is a fair summary of these positions to say that he wants "wind these streets back to a time when cut-through traffic tore through these urban neighbourhoods at dangerously high speeds at all hours of the day."

p.s. I live on Charlton between James and Queen!

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2016-09-09 15:45:44

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By eriks (registered) | Posted September 09, 2016 at 15:36:55

I live at Herkimer/Bay St. The protected bike lanes have done a wonderful job at slowing down traffic. Walking along Herkimer between Queen and James can be terrifying during the week, with traffic blasting through at ridiculous speeds. Crossing the street was always dangerous. The new lanes have made a great difference to us.

edit: I would like to add that almost all parking spots along Herkimer, between Queen and James, are filled up instantly at 8am by hospital staff. All morning we see individuals in scrubs ditching their cars for the entire day along our street because they won't pay for parking at their place of employment. I would also move for metered parking along Herkimer and Charlton to curb this abuse of our neighborhood.

I will soon be moving into Mr. Whitehead's ward. I will vote against him at every opportunity.

Comment edited by eriks on 2016-09-09 15:38:13

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted September 12, 2016 at 20:03:36 in reply to Comment 119959

When I lived at Charlton and John, I felt the same thing with regards to HHS staff who park on side streets to avoid paying for parking in any of the nearby lots. We used to have them come and park in our condo's visitor parking!

I have also moved from the base of the escarpment to Ward 8, and if you're moving into the Rolston neighbourhood, let me know - We can use as many engaged citizens as possible in our ward and neighbourhood!

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By DBC (registered) | Posted September 09, 2016 at 16:09:41 in reply to Comment 119959

I also live on Herkimer and agree with almost everything you have said.

One error.....the St. Joe's employees take all of the on street parking by 7 AM. All day every weekday.

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted September 13, 2016 at 16:45:33 in reply to Comment 119960

I work at St. Joe's (don't drive to work except maybe a half dozen times per year), so I thought I could share a bit more information about hospital parking demand and its management.

At present there is a waiting list of something like (as I recall) 700 people for on-site hospital parking, and it takes something like 7 years to get past the waiting list. Many of the SJHH employees who park in Corktown and Durand do so because they can't get on-site parking, not because they refuse to pay for it.

Now, I would argue that the existence of a waiting list is indicative of below-market pricing, i.e. a subsidy for parking for those who have parking passes, but that's largely irrelevant to the issue of spillover parking: if the hospital raised its parking prices, then some people would give up their parking passes and others would pay more for them, but the total number of staff using hospital parking would be the same, and the demand for spillover parking would be the same.

There are also large numbers of patients (and families) and students who access the hospital who have no access to staff parking passes. They can pay for visitor parking which gets expensive very quickly.

The demand for spillover parking is determined by a number of factors: the availability of hospital parking, the cost and convenience of spillover parking, and the cost and convenience of alternatives to driving and parking. The supply of hospital parking is not realistically going to increase. St. Joe's has hardly any undeveloped land. Land in Corktown and Durand is very expensive and besides neither neighbourhood would stand for a new hospital parking lot being created by tearing down buildings.

The convenience of spillover parking is already being managed by the city with measures such as parking meters and 3 hour limits on many neighbouring streets. Other streets have all-day unlimited parking. The city's management of parking leaves much to be desired. Rather than an arbitrary geographic division between short-term metered parking, medium-term free parking, and long-term free parking, they should enable parking of any duration on any street with available parking and charge fees according to demand (likely this would mean higher fees closer to the hospital). People who use the hospital would likely consider it unfair if they had to pay parking charges according to the free market while local residents could buy cheap street parking permits, however. The solution to this problem would be a parking benefit district, which would return some portion of revenue to the local neighbourhoods to support local improvements.

Creating more convenient alternatives to driving and parking is the better way out here, which should not come as a surprise to most people on this forum.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted September 13, 2016 at 17:27:07 in reply to Comment 120015

So I'm not just railing against staff who park off site, there is an enormous lot at John/Charlton that could easily be built into a parkade, or the parking near Corktown park, or the lots just down John or James, but it's easier (and cheaper) to circle the blocks a few times to grab a free space on the street.

Out of curiosity, how much is a space per year for onsite parking at St. Joe's? How many spaces are there, and how many people work there (if you know)? I can't seem to find any numbers related to these topics, at least not easily.

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted September 13, 2016 at 19:06:29 in reply to Comment 120016

The John/Charlton lot is private. Almost all of the people who park there are employees, mostly ones on the wait list. They pay more than those who have parking passes at the hospital. Yeah, that doesn't make sense.

The other lots you mention are private as well. They haven't been turned into parkades probably because it wasn't a good business venture for the landowners when land was cheap, and now that land is getting more expensive they might be looking at more lucrative land uses in the long term. That's speculation on my part, but I doubt any new parking garages would go up without public money, and I'm not sure where the public money would come from. Parking garages are crazy expensive to build.

Parking is now about $100 per month for those who can get it. I think about 2000 people work at the Charlton site.

Comment edited by John Neary on 2016-09-13 19:11:03

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted September 13, 2016 at 20:36:37 in reply to Comment 120017

you'd think eventually mixed use buildings would get built around here and excess underground parking can be included like you see at many buildings in Toronto. I routinely park in condo or office buildings in Toronto when I drive there.

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted September 14, 2016 at 18:21:24 in reply to Comment 120018

I hope that will happen too, but that is not going to suck up all of the demand for hospital parking. As long as parking is cheap in Corktown and Durand, people accessing the hospital are going to want to use it. The only way to really prevent parking spillover is to make on-street parking very expensive. There are obviously a lot of tradeoffs in doing so.

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted September 09, 2016 at 19:55:21

Comments like these from TW keep annoying me, but what annoys me more is the fact there is no penalty for a cllr that repeatedly spews false and misleading information. There is no standard on what is minimally acceptable data collection for decision making. No rules for what be said about "concerned citizens/businesses" from other wards that don't wish to be identified... Best I can come up with is from the code of conduct:

Members of Council shall be committed to performing their functions with integrity and to avoiding the improper use of the influence of their office, and conflicts of interest, both apparent and real;

Comment edited by GrapeApe on 2016-09-09 19:58:15

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted September 10, 2016 at 07:58:38

Councillor Whitehead just said to Bill Kelly that a car door was smashed off as a result of this project.

Umm, I'm no genius, but I"m going to guess a car door would be smashed off by someone flinging their door open without looking to see if cars were coming first. This is the fault of the door operator, not the bike lane. I actually hope this happened. Would show the clear reason why we need the buffer between parked cars and bike lanes.

How a city councillor could even dream of going on radio and trying to place blame anywhere other than the person getting out of their car not doing so in a safe manner like we were all taught when we got our license shows the complete lack of common sense and understanding he has on basic issues.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted September 12, 2016 at 10:08:00 in reply to Comment 119965

Yeah. "A car door was smashed off - don't you know that's where the cyclist was supposed to be?"

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted September 10, 2016 at 11:38:47 in reply to Comment 119965

There is a very good chance Whitehead just made this up because he thinks it could happen, just like he has made up or deliberately got wrong many other 'facts' (e.g. number of cyclists, classification of the streets).

Three points.

  1. If this the weren't a parking protected lane the driver would have opened the door into the path of cyclists, with a very good chance of killing or maiming the cyclist especially if a car was travelling by at the same time. If this really happened it is an early demonstration of how these lanes have increased safety and protected cyclists from inattentive motorists.

  2. A motorist is responsible for checking and visually ensuring the path is clear and safe before opening the door. The fact motorists often forget to do this is one of the main motivations behind the parking protected design.

  3. The parking spots are wide enough that if the driver parked close to the inside line there should be plenty of space to open the door without coming into conflict with moving vehicles.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2016-09-10 11:41:12

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By ScreamingViking (registered) | Posted September 11, 2016 at 00:14:42

Maybe in a roundabout fashion Terry is actually asking for Queen St. to be fully converted to 2-way traffic all the way to Main or King... or York if one dares to think that far. Surely that would shave off the equivalency [sic] of at least five days of the additional ten per year in a car being caused by these bike lanes. Surely?

Comment edited by ScreamingViking on 2016-09-11 00:16:51

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted September 12, 2016 at 10:11:37 in reply to Comment 119969

Yeah maybe he has some mental block that makes him incapable of speaking out in favour of a progressive idea, and behind every lie and hateful commented towards citizens is a tear of sadness that he'll never get to experience the joy of riding a bike in Hamilton.

Comment edited by AnjoMan on 2016-09-12 10:12:17

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 12, 2016 at 11:37:48 in reply to Comment 119980

I've wondered if that underlies some of the irrational hatred that we see directed toward people on bikes: pure resentment that someone actually seems to be enjoying their commute instead of enduring it.

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted September 11, 2016 at 09:54:10 in reply to Comment 119969

you're a better person than I.

I would be more inclined to think this is a roundabout way of him suggesting all the homes on Herkimer and Charlton be demolished so we can build a 10 lane expressway, along with a double deck freeway over the Queen Street Hill.

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By ScreamingViking (registered) | Posted September 11, 2016 at 14:44:13 in reply to Comment 119970

That's plausible too.

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By SusanHill (registered) | Posted September 14, 2016 at 18:25:49

When will someone recognize that real people actually live on the Queen St hill, and it is a nightmare of congestion during the rush hours and speed during the rest of the time. Our safety is at risk every time we walk down our own street. Please, please, please add a buffer between the sidewalk and the street, add back street parking, and make it two lanes again. We live here.

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By notlloyd (registered) - website | Posted September 15, 2016 at 15:19:48 in reply to Comment 120025

There is no nightmare of congestion according to https://raisethehammer.org/article/3074/...

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By SusanHill (registered) | Posted September 15, 2016 at 16:00:43 in reply to Comment 120029

During rush hours, it is a steady line of cars in the left turn lane from the end of Beckett to the bottom of Queen (at Aberdeen) weekdays from 7:15 to 9:00 am, and 4pm to 6 pm. I cannot turn into my own driveway if I get home between 4 and 6 pm for fear of being hit by the vehicles coming down the right lane. The rest of the day and night it is just a steady stream of loud, fast-moving traffic up and down the hill. There is no buffer between the sidewalk and the street to protect pedestrians, and cars often hit the curb. When it rains, the cars in the right lane are going so fast the spray of water completely covers the sidewalk (and the person walking on that sidewalk). I suppose "congestion" was the wrong choice of words. It's not congestion, it's just a major highway running through an old neighborhood, with too many cars often going too fast, and it is a daily nightmare for all of us who live on Queen and Aberdeen.

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted September 15, 2016 at 18:09:49 in reply to Comment 120031

yea I've often looked at the grand old homes there and thought "no chance I would live here with this awful highway running by". You regularly see cars on the sidewalk taking turns too fast. Heck, the city even installed knockdown sticks near the bend. The lanes are wide....I wish they would put bike lanes on the QSH from Fennell to Glenfern. It could be done asap simply by narrowing the car lanes and removing the centre painted off section.

Don't begin the left turn lane NB until the straight section of Queen, N of Glenfern.

Better yet, make it 1 lane each way right up to Stuart St and remove the left turn lane (or make it a short, typical left turn lane).

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted September 15, 2016 at 16:12:24 in reply to Comment 120031

You could try linking the Queen Street Hill section with the plan to calm Aberdeen which is being led by Councillor Aidan Johnson: they have similar issues of high speed traffic and no buffers. Unfortunately, Councillor Whitehead strongly opposed any suggestion of traffic calming on Aberdeen and that has slowed the whole process down.

It is too bad that no efforts to calm traffic and provide a buffer for pedestrians were included when the Queen Street Hill road was rebuilt recently for $6 million! They could have included an up-bound cycle lane, or extended the sidewalks, for example.

Incidentally, before the bike lane on Charlton drivers would be annoyed (sometime honking) and not slow down when I tried to turn into my driveway on Charlton. The mentality was clearly that they don't expect anyone to actually live on these streets.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted September 15, 2016 at 15:55:44 in reply to Comment 120029

Speed is a real issue: so much so that the City has added "SLOW" signs and pavement markings.

There is obviously some heavy traffic during the relatively short rush hours, but Councillor Whitehead was claiming the streets were backed up all the way onto the mountain because of the bike lanes, and that they had caused grid lock. Having Queen Street two-way would likely ease some of the traffic issues, rather than having all northbound traffic funnelled onto Herkimer. The Google traffic view does not show "red" all the way down the Queen Street Hill, or on Herkimer.

Some sort of buffer between the sidewalks and the road would be helpful.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2016-09-15 16:00:18

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By SusanHill (registered) | Posted September 16, 2016 at 11:34:11 in reply to Comment 120030

Agreed. Speed and volume are the real issues, and a 30kph speed limit, two lanes rather than three, and a buffer between the sidewalk and the street would go a long way to calming the street.

I don't know where Mr. Whitehead lives, but I'm pretty sure he would not enjoy a "highway" in his front yard with cars hopping the curb of his sidewalk on a daily basis.

What is shocking to me is that the traffic planners actually came up with the idea to ruin an old neighborhood just so more cars could move faster through it. Very disheartening to know that speed is more important than safety and liveability.

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