Hamilton has gobs of excess lane capacity on its lower city streets. There is no reason we can't repurpose it to build out our bike network.
By Jason Leach
Published July 03, 2013
Today's Spectator has an article about the proposed Hunter Street bike lanes:
The city's next planned addition, meant to connect the Hunter Street GO Station to the greater cycling grid, is a step [Stacie] McCormick calls out of balance. The salon owner is protesting an $80,000 plan to squeeze bike lanes along the downtown street in July, possibly axing up to 16 metered parking spaces near her business.
Here is Kent Avenue in Brooklyn, where they removed a lane of traffic and added a protected bike lane separated from traffic by curbside parking:
Kent Avenue bike lane (Image Credit: Inhabitat)
Here is another Brooklyn example where two car lanes were shrunk to one lane, but curb parking remained and a two-way bike path was created:
Plaza Street Bike Lane (Image Credit: The Brooklyn Paper)
This is exactly what I envision for Hunter Street. As we know, only 7,000 cars per day use Hunter. The industry standard is 8,000-9,000 vehicles per lane in North American cities, so one traffic lane can more than handle the volume.
Where any left or right turn lanes are actually needed we can allow for those turning lanes by removing the final few street parking spots before a signalized intersection.
If a right turn lane is needed at John, the main westbound traffic lane simply veers into the place of the parking lane and creates room for the right turn lane. Ditto for a left turn lane at James, right turn lane at Bay, and so on.
Hunter would look like this:
I agree with the salon owner that removing car parking is counter-productive to a complete street - especially on such a lightly traveled street as Hunter.
Here is Hunter east of Bay Street in the middle of the afternoon today. Like so many of our one-way streets with timed lights, there are large gaps with no cars at all, punctuated by clumps of cars all racing together.
Hunter looking east from Bay (Image Credit: Ryan McGreal)
And here is Hunter east of John Street, also in the middle of the afternoon today. I had to wait for three light cycles before I even saw any vehicles, and then a whopping three cars flew by.
Hunter east of John (Image Credit: Jason Leach)
My goodness, if we can't remove a traffic lane here, we all need to pack up and move instead of kidding ourselves that the city will ever get around to turning Main/King/Cannon into complete streets.
As you know, New York City has been rapidly removing car lanes in favour of safe, protected bike lanes. From huge avenues in Manhattan and Brooklyn to more neighbourhood streets throughout the city, they are rapidly building a safe bike network.
Hamilton has gobs of excess lane capacity that NYC doesn't have. There is no reason we can't move at least as quickly on our bike network.
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