TLC Presentation to Hamilton City Council, S.11, 2001When the eyes of the world are focused on Hamilton during the World Cycling Championships in October 2003, we have to wonder what possible scenario Hamilton will be showcasing.
Will we have a high death toll, as we have this year, among pedestrians and cyclists run down by automobiles on city streets?
Will we have experienced another record breaking summer of smog days?
Will we still have giant one way roads splitting the downtown into loud, fast and dirty traffic corridors?
Or, will we have slower, quieter, safer two-way streets with pedestrian improvements, bike lanes and paths. Will we rest in treed park-ettes where there were once parking lots? Will the HSR be well funded and sporting front mounted bike racks as are found on bus fleets in several Canadian cities including Ottawa, Edmonton and Vancouver?
The question is, will we have a much more liveable city than today, with solid infrastructure in place to support sustainable transportation?
Can we, in the next two years, step up the pace of needed transportation improvements?
There have been some excellent advances made in Hamilton with recreational trails that can be further linked to expand environmentally healthy transportation options. There are innovative and progressive plans in the city's "Putting People First downtown land use and transportation plan" and "Shifting Gears: A new cycling plan for Hamilton."
Today we are here to ask that the city and staff put an emphasis on implementing the city's shifting gears cycling plan in its entirety prior to the cycling race.
When the world media gathers in Hamilton, we want to show off these and other improvements: dedicated bike lanes and a linked series of paths, traffic-calming on major streets, and bike racks installed on the HSR bus fleet.
Now if I could focus on CAR FREE DAY by quoting from carfree canada's website: "With Toronto hosting and staging it's First Car Free Day in 2001, we take our place as the First Canadian and North American city to host Car Free Days. We have also positioned ourselves to become the model and leader of an initiative that has captivated the imagination of bureaucrats and citizens alike around the globe" www.carfreeday.ca
This month, Car free day Toronto will be enjoying full-street bike lanes on St. George Street, road games, street performances, bikewear fashion show, hay-rides, grass-covered pavement, obstacle courses, and valet bike parking.
The bragging rights to car free day may go to Toronto for being the first city in North America, but Hamilton has an opportunity to catch up by making meaningful changes to our transportation system now.
We have a petition with hundreds of signatures gathered on short notice asking the city and staff to support car free day this year and in subsequent years by providing free HSR service on Thursday, September 20; by undertaking an ongoing significant public relations campaign aimed at promoting car free day and sustainable transportation in general; and finally, asking Hamilton to create car-free zones within the downtown (and elsewhere) which would enhance local business environments with the long-term goal of making car free zones in Hamilton permanent, vibrant and viable people places.