Budget Committee Abandons Cycling

By Jason Leach
Published March 28, 2007

Hamilton CATCH has an informative piece recapping the divisive council meeting regarding HSR fares.

It also highlights two other pieces of info that were overshadowed by Merulla's antics:

  1. The rejection by council to hire a cycling coordinator. It was suggested to have a staff person in charge of alternative transportation (which makes sense considering the entire economic development and planning departments have dozens of staff people pre-occupied with making cars the only option to traverse our city).

  2. Budgeted money for cycling improvements was taken out of the budget for this year (a whopping $300,000) since last years money wasn't spent yet.

Well, that's what happens when nobody at city hall is tasked with the job of overseeing these projects and when the rest of the staff couldn't care less.

I guess last year's cycling money will just get carried over year after year indefinitely.

One final note - we received less gas tax money for transit this year. Chopping a minimum of 550,000 riders from the HSR this year will guarantee a repeat of that next year too.

We can't really blame the province for everything when our own leadership is lacking.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.


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By james g. (anonymous) | Posted March 28, 2007 at 23:26:19

the city should create its own gas tax by charging higher municipal taxes on businesses that primarily sell gas. it is in their juristiction, i believe. gas stations are not pleasant things to have in your area and their taxes should reflect the social cost that gas companies inflict on our city. and besides, can anyone really feel bad about taxing buisnesses who make consistently billions of dollars a year?

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted March 29, 2007 at 08:24:22

The problem with that is the owner of the corner gas store is not the one making billions...

If they are having trouble finding bike-projects to spend on, I'll pick the projects out for free. Starting with fixing the "bike lanes" (and I use the term very loosely) along Lawrence Rd. between Gage and Kenilworth. This stretch is a designated bike route, with signed bike lanes... except the "lanes" are nothing more than shoulders with bikes painted on them (complete with gravel turnouts, huge potholes, and piles of debris). Riding on the road on this stretch is do-able except for the fact that all of the "bike lane" signs make the drivers feel that the bikes should be out of their damned way. And you know what, for once I can't blame them!

And if the end of the year comes along and there's money left, how about spending it on clearing the snow out of the bike lanes as a "first priority". Cars can handle some snow on the road, but bikes are rendered useless when the bike lanes are filled with snow from the car lanes.

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 29, 2007 at 09:51:54

Sean, we could on all day long with areas in the city that could use bike lanes and where current bike lanes are rough, pot-holed and not maintained. For city hall to not have spent last year's money just shows that they don't care and more importantly, they NEEDED to hire the transportation coordinator. Without one you and I can look forward to many more years of neglect and a pathetic excuse for a bike lane system in the city as nobody among the thousands of city hall employees actually has the responsibility to follow up this most basic of services.

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