Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Bike Racks on Buses GO further

Soon you can bike and GO by bus

GO Buses in the Hamilton corridor will soon be sporting bike racks, and eventually you'll be able to bring your bike on buses across the system. The user-friendly racks allow you to load and unload your bike yourself. We're introducing bus bike racks to encourage customers to combine cycling with public transit for a healthier lifestyle and community.

Download a PDF of the Spring 2008 issue of GO News: http://gotransit.com/PUBLIC/en/publications/GONews_spring_08_web.pdf

Monday, April 28, 2008

York Statement: Bikes belong

City cutting lanes on York to make room for bikes

Work is under way to create bike lanes on York Boulevard.
The speed limit along the city entrance has already been reduced from 70 km/h to 50 as part of the transformation.
Crews are sandblasting the existing painted lines to make room for a new dedicated bike route and realigned traffic lanes.
There will still be four lanes for cars from Dundurn Street to the Highway 403 ramps. Beyond the High Level Bridge to Burlington, where the speed limit remains 70 km/h, traffic lanes will be reduced from four to two.
The project, which has been in the works for more than three years, is intended to encourage more residents to use alternative transportation.
“It makes a statement about the kind of city that we are,” said Hart Solomon, manager of traffic engineering and operations.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

green door

Thanks to the organizers of the monthly Red Door open mic sessions at St. Paul's Anglican Church in Westdale for inviting TLC to have a display and to say a few words about our group to the assembled talents tonight (April 26, 2008).

Fair Trade coffee, tea, baked goods, samosas, and plenty of talented musicians, poets and knitters to make the time pass easily, TLC distributed several city of Hamilton cycling route maps, and got to discuss some city issues with people in attendance.

Photo by Richard Dominick

60, 40, 50, but 70

Speed limit increasing, but go slow anyway

The Hamilton Spectator, (Apr 26, 2008)

The city is upping the speed limit on Cootes Drive after reducing it for public safety a year ago.

The limit of 40 kilometres an hour, reduced from 60 last May, was just too slow, said Councillor Russ Powers, chair of the public works committee.

"It's an unreasonable speed," he said, noting police handed out numerous speeding tickets. "Nobody drove 40."

As a compromise, the limit is being increased to 50 km/h.

Powers said McMaster and the city have also agreed to split the cost of installing a speed meter on the bridge over the road to tell drivers how fast they are going as they drive in from Dundas. The device costs roughly $25,000.

The city, police and the university have been working to make the pedestrian crossing on Cootes safer. Mac student Heather Watson, 19, was killed at the crossing in 2006.

Friday, April 18, 2008

BRT or LRT? that is the question...

May 1, 2008: BRT or LRT? Comparing Alternatives, with Lessons from Waterloo Region

Public meeting and panel discussion.

Date: May 1, 2008
Time: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Location: The FRWY Cafe
Address: 333 King St. E. (at Wellington St. N.) Hamilton ON L8N 1C1
Admission: free


* Jillian Stephen, Manager, Strategic Planning, Public Works Department, City of Hamilton
* Becky Schlenvogt, Principal Planner, Transportation Planning, Region of Waterloo
* Bob Bratina, Ward 2 Councillor (MC)

Hamilton has a critical decision to make: when we build our new higher order transit systems, will we choose bus rapid transit (BRT) or light rail transit (LRT)? What's the difference? Which choice is better?

Jillian Stephen will present an overview of the rapid transit initiative and explain how to contribute to the public consultations. Then Hamilton Light Rail will show a presentation on LRT.

Keynote speaker Becky Schlenvogt will briefly discuss Waterloo Region's evaluation criteria and explain the differences between BRT and LRT.

A panel discussion will follow, during which the presenters will take questions from the audience.

There may never be a better opportunity for Hamilton to build a modern transportation system and enjoy the benefits of increased ridership, new investment, and improved quality of life.

Please come out to this important meeting.

Co-sponsored by Hamilton Light Rail (http://hamiltonlightrail.com) and Transit Users Group (http://hamiltontug.com).

For media inquiries, please contact Nicholas Kevlahan at email: kevlahan@gmail.com.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Site specific

You are welcome to attend a Community "Walk-About" at Governor's Road, Thursday, May 29, 2008.

Meet participants including city traffic staff, public health officials, politicians, parents and children at 3:15 at Governor's Road outside St Bernadette's school, 270 Governor's Road, Dundas ON.

View Larger Map

This event will be a feet and wheels on the ground opportunity to examine the area from a non-automotive perspective.

The aim is to bring to light some of the traffic safety issues effecting pedestrians and cyclists on this road. A facilitated de-brief will conclude the hour or so walk, to be conducted at Sir William Osler school (330 Governor's Road at Bridlewood)

The aim is to bring together recommendations to enhance the area for walkers and cyclists, including the many children and young adults attending the three schools in the immediate area, and area residents.

TLC received a grant from Safe Kids Canada to bring about this event as part of Safe Kids Week 2008.

Come out if you are interested in making this area safe for all!

how about a critical mass in formal attire?

The Copenhagen Cycle Chic Manifesto.

- I choose to cycle chic and, at every opportunity, I will choose Style over Speed.

- I embrace my responsibility to contribute visually to a more aesthetically pleasing urban landscape.

- I am aware that my mere prescence in said urban landscape will inspire others without me being labelled as a 'bicycle activist'.

- I will ride with grace, elegance and dignity.

- I will choose a bicycle that reflects my personality and style.

- I will, however, regard my bicycle as transport and as a mere supplement to my own personal style. Allowing my bike to upstage me is unacceptable.

- I will endeavour to ensure that the total value of my clothes always exceeds that of my bicycle.

- I will accessorize in accordance with the standards of a bicycle culture and acquire, where possible, a chain guard, kickstand, skirt guard, fenders, bell and basket.

- I will respect the traffic laws.

- I will refrain from wearing and owning any form of 'cycle wear'. The only exception being a bicycle helmet - if I choose to exercise my freedom of personal choice and wear one.

FROM http://copenhagengirlsonbikes.blogspot.com/

survey says...

Survey supports current Cootes speed limit
Police believe increase is on the way
By Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News
Apr 11, 2008

A majority of people who responded to an on-line survey about the pedestrian-controlled traffic lights on Cootes Drive support keeping the current 40 km-h speed limit, and adding a pedestrian countdown display to the walk signal.

But Hamilton Police expect the city will soon raise the limit from 40 to 50 km-h. Police apparently have no records of speed enforcement on Cootes Drive just south of Main Street West.

Recent city studies found last summer's speed limit drop had no effect on speeding drivers. A total of 239 people answered at least part of the five question survey.

The current speed limit was preferred by 102 people, or 44 per cent of those who answered the first question, asking which of three speeds the limit at the crossing should be. An anticipated increase to 50 km-h was supported by 29 per cent, while 26 per cent backed a return to the previous limit of 60 km-h.

Just over 80 per cent of those surveyed said they support a digital countdown display for pedestrians.

Although 71 per cent of pedestrians said the wait time for the walk signal is fine as it is, nearly half (44.9 per cent) admitted crossing when there is a break in traffic, rather than waiting for the right-of-way.

That left just over 57 per cent of respondents saying they normally wait for the walk signal before crossing Cootes Drive.

Sgt. Jo Ann Savoie, current crime manager for the West Town zone, said she had been briefed by another officer who attended a meeting about the Cootes speed limit last month. A year ago, previous crime manager Sgt. Tim O'Keefe acknowledged a speeding problem on Cootes Drive and suggested an unofficial enforcment blitz at the time may become common on Cootes Drive.

"Don't be surprised if you hear more news about this spot, because when police officers find a successful spot, they habitually return there," Sgt. O'Keefe said last June.

But since the speed limit dropped to 50 km-h, there's been no evidence of a police presence.

"It's something we don't track," Sgt. Savoie said, when asked if there was any information about speed enforcement on Cootes just south of Main Street West since June.

A 2004 study of Cootes Drive safety by Synectics Transportation Consultants found 85 per cent of drivers travelled up to 100 km-h in the posted 80 km-h zone.

Subsequent studies show lowering the posted limit to 60 and 40 km-h had no effect on that rate of speed.

Synectics found the excessive speeding and high volume of pedestrians and cyclists "create a potentially hazardous situation."

The study recommended a pedestrian-controlled crossing of Cootes Drive, at Sanders Boulevard, lane narrowing, other changes to the roadside to decrease speeding and increased police enforcement.

Originally, the city only adopted the recommended pedestrian-controlled crossing and none of the other suggestions were acted on.

Just a few months after the pedestrian crossing started operating, a McMaster student was struck and killed by a truck in the crosswalk.

The city lowered the speed limit around the crosswalk to 40 km-h and dropped the approaching limit from 80 to 60 km-h, without following any of the other recommendations from the Synectics study.

Dundas resident Randy Kay, of Transportation for Liveable Communities, has called on the city to make the other recommended changes in addition to the crossing and speed lowering.

The group also supports a pedestrian countdown signal, letting walkers and cyclists know how much time they have to get to the other side of Cootes.

"I have no idea where the speed discussion is at," Mr. Kay said this week.

"The compromise politically was looking like 50 km-h but, really, without changes to the roadside environment, cars will still be speeding at whatever feels comfortable."

Hart Solomon, the city's manager of traffic engineering and operations, said this week no final decision on a possible speed increase has been made.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

metronauts mcmaster may 3

Metronauts pave the way of the future

Special to The Hamilton Spectator (Apr 16, 2008)

Metrolinx is releasing a long-term regional transportation plan this fall, and the transit body wants to know what you think about it.

It's launched a new project called Metronauts to include the general public in transportation discussion and planning.

Metronauts is a joint effort between Metrolinx (formerly the Greater Toronto Transportation Authority) and the Toronto Transit Camp community, a grassroots movement that started online with the goal of improving the TTC, then organized its own brainstorming event last year.

A series of informal Metronauts gatherings will be held across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas -- including an all-day event in Hamilton on May 3 -- to get the public's thoughts on transportation.

Topics at the first Metronauts meeting held in Toronto on April 5 included social networking, cycle paths, sidewalks and improvements to train stations.

Area residents can also join the debate online. On the Metronauts website, launched March 25, site members can share their thoughts on the drafts of the regional transportation plan, or other transportation ideas, in the conversations section. Membership is free.

Metrolinx has plans to add an interactive map function so members can virtually trace out their ideas for bicycle routes, new sidewalks, and extra roads, lanes and bus routes in their city, said Colleen Bell of Metrolinx.

The Hamilton meeting will be held at McMaster University from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more details, see the Metronauts website (metronauts.ca).

Hamilton residents can also attend the Metrolinx public meeting on June 26 from 4 to 9 p.m. at the Hamilton Convention Centre.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


April 13, 2008

Ms. Larissa Skrypniak
City of Hamilton

Dear Ms Skrypniak,

RE: TLC Comments on Frid St extension PIC #2

I am writing on behalf of “Transportation for Liveable Communities” (TLC), a working group of McMaster’s chapter of OPIRG (Ontario Public Research Interest Group).

TLC members have thoroughly examined the information provided at the PIC # 2 for Frid St extension and found the proposed design unacceptable because it is in stark contrast to the explicit transportation guiding principles for the Kirkendall neighbourhood traffic management study, which clearly highlight “Integrated urban transportation systems which promote non-auto travel modes, and pedestrian and vehicular circulation”.

The current plan as presented in the PIC is for a strip-mall like development that is anything but “Greenspace, pedestrian and cycling links connecting the site to larger open space networks” as indicated in the Kirkendall neighbourhood traffic management study.

TLC requests a dramatic re-design of the plans so they would follow the principles established in earlier public consultations. We further request that the modified plans will be subjected to public consultation in an additional PIC.

Specifically, we strongly object to the automobile-obsessed plans and request the following throughout all 3 sections of the road:

  • A maximum of 2 automobile lanes, each 3.5 m wide.
  • No middle turning lane for automobiles.
  • Sidewalks at least 3 m wide on BOTH sides of the street at all sections.
  • Marked bike lanes, at least 2 m wide on both sides of the road.
  • Parking lanes only where it is safe.
  • Curb extensions at any pedestrian crossings.
  • A median landscaped with trees.
  • A couple traffic circles at the section between Chatham and Longwood would help reduce automobile speed and enhance the community feeling of the McMaster Innovation Park.
  • The intersection of Frid and Chatham should have 90 degree turning radii and curb extensions. The current drawings suggest wide turning lanes that promote speeding by turning vehicles. An alternative may be a traffic circle.

Finally, we request that, according with the spirit of the Kirkendall neighbourhood traffic management study, the name of the project for the connecting road between Chatham St and Longwood Rd will be Chatham St rather than Frid St. This would emphasize the connection of the McMaster Innovation Park to the residential neighborhoods on its east side.

I should note that TLC members and local residents are upset about the current plans and consider further public and other actions if our reasonable requests are not met.

TLC members look forward to hearing from you about design changes.

Sincerely yours,

Reuven Dukas, For TLC.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

hot dog (Joe)

Well, five winners from the Cootes Drive survey draw are now (or are soon to be) slurping hot fair trade, organic and bird friendly coffee (or tea) at My Dog Joe: they are:
  • Tings Chak
  • Max Gomes
  • Lise Huynh
  • Eugene Khayutin
  • David Thompson
Congratulations to the winners, and thanks again for My Dog Joe for making the prize coupons available.

Cootes Pedestrian Crossing Survey results here.

Friday, April 04, 2008

art car causes civil disturbance

This is such a cute story, where art and pedal-power "car" meet the police. Video at the Toronto Star web site:

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Go Young Workers!

Young Hamilton workers are "green" commuters

OTTAWA - Young workers in the Hamilton region are more likely to pick "green" commuting options than their older co-workers, the latest census information shows.

Statistics Canada has released new data Wednesday from the 2006 census that gives more details about how people in the Hamilton region most often get to work and how far they travel.

Workers under the age of 25 in the Hamilton region use public transit 14.3 per cent of the time, while a further 10.5 per cent walk and 1.9 per cent use a bike.

That's a considerably higher reliance on environmentally friendly means of getting to work than the average commuter in the Hamilton region, who commutes by public transit 8.7 per cent of the time, by foot 5.0 per cent of the time and 0.9 per cent by bike.

The reliance on the car in the Hamilton region seems to increase as the age of commuters gets older.

Commuters under the age of 25 used a vehicle to get to work - either as a driver or a passenger - 72.4 per cent of the time. Those aged 25-34 commuted by car most often 84.0 per cent of the time and those 35 and over drove or were driven 87.9 per cent of the time.

The census doesn't ask commuters why they chose their mode of transportation, so it's not known if younger workers pick greener commuting options because of their concern for the environment or whether their choice was related more to financial considerations.

Dan McDermott, director of Ontario's chapter of the Sierra Club of Canada, says owning a car used to be a rite of passage for young people, but enviromental awareness in that generation has made gas guzzlers uncool. The high cost of gasoline is another factor for those with limited incomes.

"The desire to own a car is diminishing for a number of reasons, environmental consciousness being high on that list," said McDermott.

"Certainly, economic reality weighs in as well and with gas scheduled to hit $1.50 a litre, that makes the question about buying a car one that young people on limited resources will look long and hard at before making that choice."

Statistics Canada released initial information on commuting in the country's major metropolitan region last month. The new information breaks down the data further to the municipal level.

In the city of Hamilton, 9.3 per cent of workers use public transit while 83.5 per cent get to the job by car.

The median commuting distance for people in the city of Hamilton is 7.8 kilometres, meaning the point where one half of the city's population travels more than that distance and the other half travels less. Commuting distance is measured on a straight line from home to work, not the actual route travelled, which for most commuters would be longer.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008


The results of the Cootes Drive crossing are in, available as a pdf here.
Clearly a countdown signal is preferred (80%) at the location, and 40 km/h the desired speed limit.
Less clear is this: what will the Cootes crossing users get from the city?
At this point there doesn't seem to by any interest in "traffic calming" i.e. fulfilling the recommended speed reduction by narrowing lanes and changing the roadside environment put forward by Synectics.
After an initial refusal to consider a countdown signal for the pedestrian crossing, there may be a willingness to rethink it from the city.
We were hoping to put this whole issue to bed, but it continues to defy closure.