Transportation

Yes, We Would Like a Public Bike Share

By RTH Staff
Published January 25, 2010

Smart Commute asks:

Would you like to see a public bike share system in the City of Hamilton?

Please take a few minutes to fill out the survey and let the City know how you feel about a public bike share in Hamilton.

12 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By John Neary (registered) | Posted January 25, 2010 at 17:06:42

Thanks for the link. Somehow urban highways, street-grid-destroying megaprojects, and the utter paucity of on-street bike parking didn't show up as barriers to cycling in Hamilton, but I wrote them in.


The Smart Commute site also has a page about the proposed Open Streets event that got Godwined on this thread. The proposed streets are either King or Main, plus Ferguson.

Ferguson!?!?

I live two blocks from Ferguson. It's never busy. I could walk or cycle down the middle of it any day of the week. (In fact, many people do.) And it is a distinctly uninteresting street, with nothing to recommend it for this purpose. (No, fake railway signage and fake interlocking brick are not interesting.)

The whole point of Open Streets is to pick streets that are (1) exciting, and (2) busy enough with automobile traffic on a typical day that walking or cycling on them is a novel experience.

Unfortunately, few north-south streets in Hamilton meet both criteria, although many meet the second one. James and Ottawa do come to mind.


With respect to the bike share program, I think it's a good idea, but changes to the urban fabric would do more to foster cycling culture.

Comment edited by John Neary on 2010-01-25 16:09:18

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted January 25, 2010 at 17:53:55

yea, I mentioned the same thing in the comments during the survey - urban freeways, garbage bike infrastructure and a sham truck route study that is soon to conclude by recommending the continuation of Main/York/Wilson as being signed truck routes despite our multi-billion $ freeway network that now rings Hamilton.

Ferguson is ridiculous for Sunday Streets. It should be a street like James downtown. It's the only north/south commercial street downtown.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted January 25, 2010 at 18:06:57

Ryan, the site isn't letting me edit comments today. Everytime I try to make an edit it tells me that I can only do it within 15 minutes of posting. Right now it's been 7 minutes since I posted.....actually, I just noticed that the RTH time is an hour behind. That would be the problem.

anyhow, I was going to say that I love the idea of a Hamilton Cyclovia. I'm impressed with the website as well. I'm used to seeing stuff like this in more progressive cities like Portland and NY. Its great to see Hamilton trying to catch up finally. Maybe we'll turn this darn town around after all!

http://www.smartcommute.ca/hamilton/open...

King makes sense from Wellington to James, but Main and Ferguson don't meet the criteria laid out on the Cyclovia site - "to spend a few hours shopping in some of the shops along the street for a few hours on a Sunday". Main and Ferguson don't have shops. James from Gore to the waterfront is the clear choice. C'mon Hamilton. If you're going to do it, do it right! Let's not always settle for the sissy, half-baked version of something that has been so successful in other cities. The world won't end if we close James for a few hours on a Sunday afternoon.

I'll never forget waking up in Bogota and opening my hotel curtains to a sight of thousands of people walking, cycling and rollerblading down the street. It was awesome. These events have become huge successes in Bogota, NY and Portland BECAUSE they are on main downtown streets filled with cafes and shops, not residential side streets with no traffic, stores or cafes.

Be bold Hamilton! Let's have a cyclovia and show off all that King and James have to offer along with the beautiful west harbour at the north end of James. It's perfectly set up for us. We just need to do the right thing!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Blaine (anonymous) | Posted January 25, 2010 at 20:10:41

Ferguson option is just Bratina trying to show off his silly train shit.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By moylek (registered) - website | Posted January 25, 2010 at 21:21:04

I'm not really sure about the Bike Share thing for Hamilton. Don't get me wrong - I do my commuting and many of my errands on my bike, and I fell in love with Montreal's Bixi network this past Summer. But I worry that Hamilton has neither the urban density to support the system nor the street traffic to discourage theft and vandalism.

I love me some civic projects which make the city a better place - but I hate me some expensive pie-in-the-sky dreams which leave us with more semi-derelict crap.

But I'm open to persuasion. Who would use the bikes? What would be the obvious one-way and round-trip destinations?

I suppose that I could see local West-end traffic using terminals at McMaster, the West Village Condos, Westdale and downtown Dundas. Especially if the lend themselves to holding shopping bags - which would, of course, necessitate terminals near the major grocery stores.

But downtown? Convince me ...

Comment edited by moylek on 2010-01-25 20:21:50

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted January 25, 2010 at 22:16:04

Here goes: Hamilton's lower city is among the densest urban spaces in Canada. People will walk from Kensington Market to the Eaton Centre/ Yonge St area without blinking an eye in TO. That's 1.5km. In Hamilton we've become so car-dependent that most folks would consider it outlandish to walk from St Joes Hospital to Jackson Square, yet it's only 0.8km. My point? Hamilton is actually closer and more dense than we realize sometimes. If the walkable streets aren't yet in place to create an exciting landscape along which to walk, someone would surely see the convenience of hopping on a stylish bike like 'they do in Paris'.

Downtown you've got high density neighbourhoods in Durand and Corktown. Perhaps stations could be placed near St Joes, the GO Station, Jackson Square at various entrances,Gore Park, new transit terminal, the library/market, Hamilton Place, Copps, AGH, City Hall, King/Ferguson, James North around Mulberry/Armouries, the waterfront parks - Bayfront/Peir 4/ Pier 8, Dundurn Castle, Victoria Park, HAAA grounds, Locke South, Hess/King West, Dundurn Plaza and finally the General Hospital and Beasley Park/new school, rec centre.

The critical mass of attractions, venues, shopping, dining, recreation in the downtown area is quite sustainable. I realize many of the destinations I mentioned are in spitting distance of each other (which is more reason to think a bike share would succeed here - the more destinations, the better).

Finally, tourism especially in the summer would be a no-brainer. I'd love to have bike rental options along the waterfront.

I think it would be well-used downtown and would hopefully grow as more people get used to the concept and slowly continue to embrace urban living once again. We've got the bones of a great urban city, now we just need to breathe some life back onto them with well-designed programs like this. A few stations won't cut it. If we do this, we need to do it right and make it easy and convenient for tens of thousands of residents and then expand throughout the city from there. Paris is a great model to follow, obviously on a scaled-down version.

Comment edited by jason on 2010-01-25 21:17:55

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By zookeeper (registered) | Posted January 25, 2010 at 22:20:48

But downtown? Convince me ...

All the city studies I've seen show that most of the cycling is... downtown.

Comment edited by zookeeper on 2010-01-25 21:21:27

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By moylek (registered) - website | Posted January 26, 2010 at 07:29:21

All the city studies I've seen show that most of the cycling is... downtown.

I feel pretty lonely when I bike downtown. So I'm assuming that you mean in other cities.

I'm still doubtful about the whole thing in this city - but them, if asked a year ago about a public bike system in Montreal, I would have laughed: the traffic, the snow, les gens skeezé. But Montreal seems to have pulled it off very successfully and I was won over on my first Bixi ride along Maisonneuve.

Mind you, Montreal also has four downtown universities full of students who live in places not conducive to bike storage - rather different from Hamilton with its suburban campuses full of suburban kids living, for the most part, in suburban houses.

As for tourists ... I guess that I don't think of Hamilton as a tourist town. But Jason mentions the waterfront, which leads me to think that it would be good to have one or two terminals near Spencer Smith Park in Burlington as well as terminals near Hutches and Confederation Park. I dare say that there are GTA tourists who might be tempted into Hamilton after mounting a bike in Burlington.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted January 26, 2010 at 08:04:49

two of our bigger obstacles seem to be the escarpment - or at least lack of safe bike lanes crossing the escarpment (Montrealers seem to flock to MT Royal on their bikes and it's higher than our escarpment), and our one-way freeways downtown. To ride a bike according to the layout of our road network is a pain in the backside. Looping all over the place and tempting fate with massive transport trucks feeling that they have more right to be there than a bike. After all, THEY have signs showing their right to drive on those streets. No such signs exist for bikes on King, Main, York, Cannon etc.....

Hopefully a bike program in Hamilton doesn't put a crush load on our municipal cemetery system.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted January 26, 2010 at 17:34:52

"Hopefully a bike program in Hamilton doesn't put a crush load on our municipal cemetery system."

Jason that's not funny! I have to climb the Jolley Cut every day and constantly being anxious of that access is getting tiring. I am actually really getting concerned I'm going to get hit before the access construction is finished. Drivers PLEASE let me live long enough for them to pave a shoulder! Don't remind me I might get "crushed" by a vehicular "load" (nice pun btw)

:p

All kidding aside have not heard of a cycling accident in a bit now. Pedestrians seem to be getting it this month.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By frank (registered) | Posted January 29, 2010 at 11:34:59

"Pedestrians seem to be getting it this month." - yea except in Toronto...

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Rounder (anonymous) | Posted January 29, 2010 at 16:34:37

Um, I'm not sure about any of this. Are we maybe running into opposition wanting a bit too much too fast? Bike routes through the downtown I see, followed maybe a little later by bike-share rentals when people are seen to be using the bike routes. The failure to "build it and they will come" is evident on Ferguson Ave., which is roundly criticized above. The city has spent money "beautifying" the pavement and lighting, but there's little commercial development along the route to attract cyclists or pedestrians, and few cyclists or pedestrians to interest business owners. It is an attractive route to bike from Corktown down to the bay, however. Pedalling across Cannon and the railway are, shall we say, accomplishments?

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