The city is accepting public input on its revised cycling master plan until April 30, 2009.
By Ryan McGreal
Published April 22, 2009
In 1999, the City of Hamilton published the impressive Shifting Gears [PDF link] cycling master plan - and then largely neglected to follow any of its recommendations.
In the past year, however, the city has demonstrated a renewed interest in cycling and supporting infrastructure. City staff have revived Shifting Gears and undertaken a comprehensive review toward updating the cycling master plan to establish a coherent, consistent, and continuous cycling network throughout the city that is accessible year-round and prioritizes the steps to achieve it.
The first public information centre was held in November 2008, and a second centre is being held this month to summarize feedback from the first plan, announce revisions to the proposed plan and gather more public input. The final plan will be presented to Council in June.
Feedback from the November information session suggests that around 60 percent of cycling occurs downtown and on recreational trails, with about ten percent each on the Mountain and in Dundas.
Respondents preferred reserved bike lanes and multi-use paths. This is not surprising, since fear of drivers is a major disincentive to would-be cyclists.
Support among respondents was split between putting bike facilities on all major streets and putting them on a select network, though the former option was preferred two to one by stakeolders the city has consulted.
City staff are recommending the latter option, as it satisfies the plan's objectives more affordably than the former.
Bicycle facilities include:
The study concludes that an effective cycling network will comprise a combination of all four facilities where appropriate.
The major priorities are:
The entire proposed bike network [PDF link] was split into 500 segments and grouped based on recommended facilities. Of the total, 357 segments are some form of on-street facility: bike lanes from narrowing existing lanes, bike lanes from removing a lane ("road diets"), bike lanes from existing on-street parking, bike lanes from street widening, shared on-street with signange, shared on-street without signange, paved shoulders, bike gutters on existing escarpment stairs, bike gutters on new escarpment stairs.
246 of those segments will use some form of bike lane, 32 segments will use some form of lane sharing, 75 segments will use paved shoulders, and four will use stairs (three retrofits and one new stairway).
|Facility Type||Facility Recommendation||# of Segments||% of Total|
|Shared||Shared on-street (signed)||12||3.4%|
|Shared on-street (not signed)||20||5.6%|
|Bike Lane||Bike Lanes with special widening of asphalt or with reconstruction||95||26.6%|
|Bike Lanes with road diets (taking away a traffic lane on a street)||50||14.0%|
|Bike Lanes on existing asphalt by adjusting or removing on-street parking||60||16.8%|
|Bike Lanes on existing asphalt by adjusting or narrowing lane widths||41||11.5%|
|Stairs||Establish a new escarpment stairway||1||0.3%|
|Retrofit a bicycle facility for existing stairs||3||0.8%|
|Paved Shoulder||Paved shoulders by widening the asphalt||75||21.0%|
The study includes a table of all the projects by order of priority ranking [PDF link].
The final part of the cycling master plan is education (for cyclists, drivers, children, local businesses, city departments) and marketing of Hamilton as as a cyclist-friendly city.
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