Friday, December 30, 2005

Valley Inn Bridge going Car Free!

December 30, 2005

Transportation for Liveable Communities (TLC) is a volunteer working group of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group at McMaster University. TLC seeks to improve conditions and infrastructure that supports and actively encourages healthy and sustainable transportation modes, including walking, transit, cycling and car pooling.

TLC is very pleased to see that the preferred option for Valley Inn Road involves creating a car-free area by closing the road to vehicles and replacing the existing bridge with a pedestrian bridge.

TLC feels that this will enhance the environment and the integrity of the natural area at the mouth of Grindstone Creek, and strengthen pedestrian and cycling links between Burlington and Hamilton while reducing road maintenance costs.

This project is an important link in the larger trails development plans with the proposed bike lanes along York Blvd. Because this is such an important link for cyclists TLC would like to have assurance that the bridge structure at Valley Inn is designed to accommodate cyclists and pedestrian traffic in a safe and clear manner, i.e. wide enough and marked to ensure safe passage for both modes.

Further, TLC would like to suggest limiting traffic from the east off Spring Garden Road. The options presented during the last open house suggest possibilities including making a turn-around for cars at the bottom of the hill on the east side of the bridge (presented as option 1) or a turn-around for cars at the top of Spring Gardens (presented as option 2). TLC supports the second option (option 2) of a turn-around at the top of Spring Gardens: the short distance down Spring Gardens to the bridge should be limited to vehicles from the (one) residence and service vehicles from the Royal Botanical Gardens and the City and emergency vehicles, leaving the roadway otherwise available for cyclist and pedestrian traffic. Doing so would enhance the entire project by making the pedestrian (including wheelchair) and cycling amenities safer while avoiding the future construction of an expensive and intrusive separate pedestrian/cyclist trail beside the existing Spring Gardens Road.

In closing we would like to thank you for the opportunity for input into this worthy project.

Transportation for Liveable Communities

Monday, December 05, 2005


Cyclists cheer plan for bike lanes on York Boulevard

By Dana Borcea, The Hamilton Spectator (Dec 5, 2005)

Cyclists will have a little more space on the road thanks to a city proposal to put bike lanes on York Boulevard.
Commuters on two wheels currently share the busy road linking Hamilton and Burlington with four lanes of speeding traffic.

Peddling down the street next to vehicles driving more than 60 km/h can be daunting, said Matt Thompson, a spokesperson for MACycle, a campus community bicycle co-op. "As a cyclist, I'd feel a lot better having a white line there."

But while the city's plan to reserve lanes for bicycles may soothe the nerves of cyclists, the prospect of reducing car traffic to two lanes may have drivers grumbling.

Cycling advocate Randy Kay said even if they are outnumbered by drivers, cyclists deserve some infrastructure of their own. Kay is spokesperson for the group Transportation for Livable Communities.

The creation of on-street bike lanes is well worth a little rush-hour congestion, he added, even if drivers do outnumber cyclists. "If you build it, they will come," he said. "Hopefully fewer people would want to drive and more people would start to ride."

Kay would like to see the proposed bike lane stretch past Dundurn Street and well into the city's core.

"Why stop there? There should be dedicated bike lanes running to the library, the market and the galleries and not just for commuters between Burlington and Hamilton but for the city itself."

Advocates say that an off-street trail that currently runs along a stretch of York Boulevard is well suited for leisure riders, joggers and pedestrians. But to avoid collisions, commuter or "transportation" cyclists are better off on the street with a lane of their own, they say.

Both Kay and Thompson praised recent efforts by the city to enhance cycling infrastructure, but insist it has a lot of catching up to do.

Supporters and opponents of the proposed bike lanes can weigh in at a public meeting on Dec. 8 at Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School, 130 York Blvd. between 6 and 8 p.m. The city will unveil several options for the lanes.

Mary Lou Tanner, strategic planning manager with the city's public works department, described York Boulevard as "an important access point in and out of the city" that takes Hamiltonians past the waterfront and into the Royal Botanical Gardens.

She said the move would help fulfill the city's commitment to building 13.5 kilometres of new bike lanes a year and further its plans for "balanced transportation networks."

"We will not build a road system that simply services cars. We are going to build a transportation system for all users."