Monday, November 06, 2006

Rack It Up

Monday, November 6, 2006

Don Hull, Director of Transit, Hamilton Street Railway

Dear Don,

Given Burlington Transit’s adoption of bike racks on all their fleet of buses during the summer, Transportation for Liveable Communities urgently requests that the HSR come up with a definite plan for the introduction of bike racks on their buses.

These racks have been highly successful in other cities in Ontario including Toronto, Ottawa, Kitchener and now Burlington and we feel strongly that Hamilton should not be left behind. For one, Hamilton’s geography makes these racks a necessity. As the majority of our membership is composed of cyclists, we know that the Mountain can be a formidable barrier to cycling in our city; in this way Hamilton is different from many other cities. Most average cyclists would rather not race down or up the Mountain in competition with motor vehicles but would prefer a safer and more convenient option. In the absence of a dedicated, quick and efficient cycling access to the Mountain this affordable option should be provided.

As Director of Transit, you understand very clearly the impact of an over emphasis on private vehicles on our roads. Each year Hamilton experiences more and more smog days, the rate of asthma and other breathing conditions amongst children is now 1 in 5 and the menace of climate change continues to grow with each passing year; not to mention the fact that more and more Hamiltonians lead sedentary and inactive lives leaving them vulnerable to obesity and other related diseases. Every effort should be made to make cycling and public transit more attractive to Hamiltonians to combat these many negative trends.

Our group exists to make Hamilton a truly liveable community. We know that private vehicles receive much too much attention to the detriment of transit, cycling and walking. Bus racks on the HSR is the next step in making Hamilton a more cycling-friendly and sustainable city, not to mention growing the ridership of the HSR.

Therefore the Transportation for Liveable Communities formally requests a firm timeline for the proposed introduction of these racks on HSR buses. According to past HSR reports to TLC bike racks have been under consideration since 2001. Despite some reasonable concerns, five years is a long time to wait. We hope to not be still waiting for bike racks five years from now. Please don’t stall this important improvement any longer. Hamilton is already too far behind its neighbours.

We are at your disposal to facilitate and advertise this improvement in Hamilton’s cycling infrastructure.


Ted Mitchell, MD
for Transportation for Liveable Communities

Cc: Mayor, City Council, Scott Stewart, Dr Elizabeth Richardson Medical Officer of Health

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About TLC:
Transportation for Liveable Communities is a volunteer working group of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group based at McMaster University. TLC works to improve conditions that support sustainable transportation, including walking, cycling, public transit and car-pooling.

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