Comment 32891

By arienc (registered) | Posted August 18, 2009 at 13:22:22

a smith writes >> arienc, I am not against cycling, but I don't like it when people try to take a fringe activity and pretend that it's mainstream. That being said, if even 1% of the people in Hamilton use bikes as their main mode of transportation, fairness suggests they should get 1% of the transportation infrastructure money.

It's hard to say that cycling is a "fringe activity" as you put it. It's a chicken and egg problem. If we only built bike lanes everywhere with a lane or two here and there for cars, how many people do you think would drive around the city?

We face tremendous challenges getting around the region as it continues to grow in population and size. That will only necessitate more cars on the same roads we have now unless we shift the mix. How do you encourage that shift? Cities like New York and Portland have seen success...see the examples Ryan points out.

As far as share of budget...the capital budget for Hamilton is $1.68 billion over next 10 years. Roads share of this is 43 percent...which is equal to $722 million or $72 million a year. Add to that a conservative 30% of the public works maintenance budget, and taxpayers spend close to $100 million/year on road construction/maintenance. Note that I did not include the debt financing for Red Hill or policing costs for traffic enforcement.

Allocating $1.25 million a year to cycling initiatives (as the city recently rejected) seems like it would fit your criteria, assuming a modal share of 1.25%. However if the goal is to increase that share to 5% or even 10%, the investment must certainly go up significantly from the current level.

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