Special Report: Cycling

Building the Network: Herkimer and Charlton

Protected bike lanes are essential if we are to have infrastructure that accommodates everyone.

By Kevin Love
Published May 12, 2015

This is the second article in a five-part series entitled Building Hamilton's Protected Cycling Network.

Today's article is Part 2: Building the network: Herkimer and Charlton Streets.

Herkimer and Charlton are scheduled for cycling infrastructure as part of the City of Hamilton's Cycling Master Plan.

There have been several previous articles written about the efforts of the Durand Neighbourhood Association's to get a better design than City staff's originally proposed unprotected bike lanes placed in the Door Zone of adjacent parked cars.

In response to this unacceptable proposal, the Durand Neighbourhood Association formed a Cycling Committee that recommended New York-style car parking-protected bike lanes.

Today's article reports on the presentation made by City staff to the Hamilton Cycling Committee on May 6, 2015.

Update on Herkimer and Charlton

City staff, represented by Public Works manager Daryl Bender, reported that design work on the car parking protected bike lanes (CPPBL) is currently being "worked through." No target date for completion of the design was given.

Mr. Bender raised two concerns, but emphasized that they were not showstoppers serious enough to prevent implementation of the recommended design.

The first concern was that since the Durand Cycling Committee proposed the Herkimer CPPBL to be on the North side of Herkimer, people turning right onto streets such as Park or MacNab would have to turn across car traffic.

My response was that the same situation exists right now on the Cannon Street protected bike lane. For example, anyone travelling westbound on Cannon and turning right onto a street without a traffic light is making that right turn across two car traffic lanes. Somehow people are managing to do that.


Mr. Bender then raised the concern that someone riding in the CPPBL may be hidden from car drivers turning into driveways.

My response was that the exact same situation applies to any child running on a sidewalk next to parked cars. Also, CPPBL and driveways are still fairly common in The Netherlands as shown in this video that I had previously circulated to Mr. Bender and members of the Hamilton Cycling Committee.

Mr. Bender stated that he will report back when the design is finished. Again, no target date was given for completion of the design, let alone implementation.


It is quite frustrating that this process has been dragging out for so long. Protected bike lanes are essential if we are to have infrastructure that accommodates everyone.

The recommended design has been approved by the Durand Neighbourhood Association and our local municipal councillor, Jason Farr. This is a quite common design that has been successfully implemented in many places all over the world.

It is time to get going with it in Hamilton.

Kevin is a professional accountant and a retired infantry officer with the Canadian Forces. Kevin keeps encountering people who were students of his father, Dr. Robert Love, who was a professor at MacMaster University from 1977-2008. He lives near Durand Park in Hamilton and is currently Vice-Chair of the Hamilton Cycling Committee.


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By kdslote (registered) | Posted May 12, 2015 at 09:10:27

Thanks for the update Kevin! It's very frustrating that Daryl is concerned about people making right turns across traffic at Park and MacNab, but was not concerned about people making left turns at Bay, Hess, Caroline, etc. when he originally proposed putting the lanes on the south side of the street.

Left turns are the dominant traffic pattern for people riding on Herkimer as they are generally heading north to downtown (this is one of the main reasons we are advocating for a north CPPBL). If someone wants to head south from Herkimer, they are likely already riding on a quieter residential street such as Markland...so right turns should be a non-issue.

Comment edited by kdslote on 2015-05-12 09:30:49

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted May 12, 2015 at 10:36:04 in reply to Comment 111557

What is perhaps most concerting is that Mr. Bender's concerns were NOT about a failure to implement the world-class design of eliminating cut-through car driving in residential neighbourhoods.

On May 6, I went on the Jane’s Ride of the Pipeline Trail. Spoiler alert for the last article of the series: City staff from Hamilton Water were unapologetic about advocating for investing in a world-class system for clean drinking water. Why can’t Transportation be the same?

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 12, 2015 at 09:27:42

I suspect Mr Bender will come with a couple more dumb reasons why we can't use the same design used all over the world at your next meeting, so come prepared once again.

Great job continuing the mind-numbing fight with city hall.

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted May 12, 2015 at 10:37:47 in reply to Comment 111558

To be fair, Mr. Bender said that his concerns were not showstoppers serious enough to prevent implementation of the recommended design. So we can use it.

I'm just frustrated at the mind-numbing delay.

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 12, 2015 at 11:50:54 in reply to Comment 111562

Don't forget, this is the same guy whose original design ended both bike lanes a block west of James and just dumped cyclists into 3 lanes of car traffic.

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted May 12, 2015 at 13:10:36 in reply to Comment 111565

I’m not defending that! I think that he should be like Hamilton Water and all other City staff I’ve encountered. They all defend best practices.

Nobody in Hamilton Water that I have ever met is saying, “here is how we can cheap out and slither around the recommendations of the Walkerton Inquiry.” They all advocate world-class best practices. I want Transportation to be the same way.

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 12, 2015 at 15:33:30 in reply to Comment 111578

agreed....I suspect we'll be waiting decades, if not centuries.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted May 12, 2015 at 11:38:03

Honestly, the turn issue is frustrating because of the dearth of bike boxes at the traffic lights in this city. York Boulevard's new lanes are especially frustrating to make left turns on as a cyclist... Left-turn boxes at Dundurn and Locke were going to be my PB submissions this year, but sadly PB isn't running this year.

Bender can solve this issue the same way every other bike-turning problem should be solved - add a bike box.

I am sympathetic to his concerns about parking-protected lanes intersecting with driveways... Don't we tell cyclists to avoid riding on the sidewalk for this exact reason? Parking-protected lanes in areas with driveways seem like a they'd work best in places with super-high ridership, which Hamilton isn't (yet). Without the high ridership making a cyclist expected, it means a bike in a spot that is both unseen and unexpected.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted May 13, 2015 at 00:29:33 in reply to Comment 111564

Don't we tell cyclists to avoid riding on the sidewalk for this exact reason?

First of all, isn't this more an issue at intersections?

Second of all, if this is true how can it be considered safe to have bike lanes against any curb? For that matter, how can it be safe for people to drive in the curb lane?

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By kdslote (registered) | Posted May 12, 2015 at 11:59:06 in reply to Comment 111564

It's a chicken and egg scenario. How will we ever get to "super-high ridership" without well designed protected lanes?

Herkimer already has surprisingly high ridership because, just as it does for drivers, it connects to where cyclists are trying to get to.

I'm confident that with the provision of CPPBL's, the ridership will increase further, making the issue of driveway interferences less of a concern.

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 12, 2015 at 12:29:17 in reply to Comment 111566

good info here from a Dutch perspective. Note the design of the driveways in the video: huge walls and hedges completely blocking the view.

Cars pulling into and out of driveways with parking-protected bike lanes will have to (gasp!) stop and look for bikes the same way they are currently supposed to for pedestrians.


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By Harry (anonymous) | Posted May 12, 2015 at 13:04:48

It's just a small fender bender, not a traffic show stopper.

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By CrossTownBiker (anonymous) | Posted May 12, 2015 at 13:45:03

One of the issues here is that Mr. Bender is not a cycling advocate or even a recreational cyclist (maybe I'm incorrect, but I don't think he is). It is like a non-driver being asked to design efficient and safe roads for cars. The City really needs their staff to be experienced in what they are responsible for - especially when it comes to designing transportation infrastructure.

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By I dunno (anonymous) | Posted May 12, 2015 at 15:11:40

Canadians drove passenger vehicles (weighing 4.5 tonnes or less) a total of 294.4 billion kilometres in 2008, down 5.8 billion kilometres from 2007 and the first decline in the number of kilometres driven since 2004.

I find it interesting that gas frequently threatened $1 in 2004, first topped $1/L in 2005 and remained steadily in the $1 - 1.3 range to the present day. And from the quote above (Stats Can) driving declined in 2004 and 2007. There is no correlation? How did those 5.8 billion kilometres get replaced? Perhaps some trips were replaced by bike?

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted May 12, 2015 at 16:32:36 in reply to Comment 111590

Perhaps in the 2008-2009 recession fewer people were driving to work. Because they were unemployed.

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By I dunno (anonymous) | Posted May 12, 2015 at 16:48:09 in reply to Comment 111594

Sure of course but a decline was noted in 2004 and 2007 - both before the recession and both directly correlating with higher gas prices. If you are an advocate for bike lanes then price pressure is your friend. You need pocketbook incentives. Just having the bike lane there is something but it isn't enough to reach that tipping point.

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 12, 2015 at 15:50:24

great info on street design from Philly


This is one of the areas Hamilton deserves a huge F- grade annually. Our street design is horrendous.

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