By Sean Burak
Published October 22, 2013
In Calgary, they are building bus and bike lanes. Allowing bikes in the bus lane costs nothing and gives everyone the space they need.
If we in Hamilton don't have enough budget or guts to include bike lanes as part of the pilot, the pilot should include permitting bikes in the transit lane.
Instead, the city has brushed cyclists aside with a simple sounding solution: "Bicycles are encouraged to use parallel routes north or south of King St."
The reality is made more clear by Daryl Bender, project manager for alternative transportation in the public works department. Here is his description of the alternate routes which staff has so conveniently distilled down to the two simple words: "parallel routes". Let's see us put these directions on signs to tell cyclists where they are supposed to go:
On the north side of King St, the suggested cycling route is Wilson St to the York Blvd bike lane beside the Farmer's Market. It is suggested that it will be faster to dismount and cross the York/Bay intersection to connect to the easterly end of Napier St beside the Federal Building rather than riding around Sir John A MacDonald High School. Continue along Napier St to Victoria Park, and through Victoria Park on the multi-use trail. Continue on Head St on the west side of the park, do a quick "jog" on the Dundurn St bike lanes to connect to the bike lanes over Hwy 403 (either via Hunt St or the King St bike lane). Much of this route serves you in both the easterly and westerly direction.
On the south side of King St, the suggested cycling route is Hunter St or Jackson St. We are planning to install bike lanes on portions of Hunter St still this fall, so watch for them shortly. West of Queen St, the primary through routes for cycling to get to the Dundurn St bike lanes are Jackson St (there is a short trail connection at the west end of this street through a small parkette to Dundurn St) or Hunter St/Hill St. Canada St (between Jackson St and Hunter St) is the eastbound cycling connection.
Why is it that in this city we pay attention to drivers screaming bloody murder if they have to wait one light cycle before careening unhindered 30 blocks through the city, but "cyclists dismount and walk" is considered a viable transportation network solution?
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