Thursday, July 31, 2008

Frid fried

July 31, 2008

Ministry of the Environment
135 St. Clair Ae W 12th floor
Toronto ON M4V 1P5

Re: Request for individual environmental assessment under the part II order for the Frid St. extension municipal class EA

I am writing on behalf of “Transportation for Liveable Communities” (TLC), a working group of McMaster’s chapter of OPIRG (Ontario Public Interest Research Group) to request a part II order for the Frid Street extension municipal class EA.

TLC members have thoroughly examined the environmental study report and concluded that the process leading to the report and the report itself are not in compliance with sections 2 and 13.1 of the Environmental Assessment ACT. Below are our specific concerns:

Betterment of the people by providing for the protection, conservation and wise management in Ontario of the environment.
The Frid St extension class EA was supposed to follow the five transportation guiding principles for the Kirkendall neighbourhood traffic management study, which are:

1. To ensure the transportation network and other required infrastructure will be sufficient.

2. Integrated urban transportation systems which promote non-auto travel modes, and pedestrian and vehicular circulation.

3. Greenspace, pedestrian and cycling links connecting the site to larger open space networks.

4. To provide a vibrant, healthy, sustainable future as per VISION 2020.

5. To develop an integrated sustainable transportation system for people, goods and services which is environmentally friendly, affordable, efficient, convenient, safe and accessible.

Unfortunately, the drawings presented in the report do not meet any of these principles as there is an extensive focus on providing over capacity for vehicular traffic (rather than “sufficient”), little provision for cycling infrastructure, which is not well integrated with its soroundings, and no consideration of pedestrian needs.

Whereas our request during the consultation to add bike lanes have been accommodated, the majority of our requests have not received thorough consideration. Our other requests were:

1. We object to the centre-turn lane and protest the implication that it is provided for safety. The only research we are aware of (FHWA Publication No: FHWA-HRT-08-046) clearly indicates no increased vehicular safety for urban centre-turn lanes. Hence neither vehicular safety nor the intended low volume of traffic on the road justify a centre-turn lane. The vacant space can readily be occupied by the necessary wider sidewalk and a median landscaped with plants.

We should note that the report acknowledges that a centre turn lane may not be required (p. 66), indicating that a plan based on the guiding principles above could readily lead to development in the area that relies on the intended low volume of automobile traffic.

2. To create a pedestrian friendly route, a minimum of 3 m sidewalks along the whole street is necessary. Furthermore, whereas earlier plans included 3 m sidewalks in the section closest to Longwood St., the only explicit plans in the final report include 1.5 m sidewalks. These starkly disregard the principles above.

3. The response to TLC request for curb extensions at any pedestrian crossings has been a vague mentioning of “appropriate pedestrian features”. We find this unsatisfactory and request explicit accommodation of curb extensions in the drawings according to the neighbourhood guiding principle of creating a pedestrian friendly street.

4. The drawings in the report depict wide turning lanes at the intersections of Frid and Chatham, Frid and Longwood, and Frid and MIP. Such turning lanes promote speeding by turning vehicles and widen the curb-to-curb distance pedestrian must travel. Our request to provide for tight curb radii (i.e. narrow crossing for pedestrians) has not been properly addressed.

Obligation to consult
While the city complied with the mandatory requirement to consult with the public by providing an opportunity to comment, staff ignored requests from the two dominant local organizations, Environmental Hamilton and Transportation for Liveable Communities, to revise the plans in accordance with the city’s own environmentally friendly principles detailed above. Moreover, even at this stage of the process, city staff is willing to meet with us only to review our comments “and explain how they have been addressed in the completed Environmental Study Report” (quoted from a June 15, 2008 e-mail by L. Skrypniak). That is, throughout the process, city staff has not been willing to consult with us in order to mediate an environmentally friendly compromise in accordance with the city’s own guidelines.

In sum, we request a part II order mostly because our attempts to make the plans for Frid St extension environmentally friendly through communication with city staff have not succeeded.

Sincerely yours,

Reuven Dukas

For Transportation for Liveable Communities

CC. Councilor Brian McHattie
Ms. Larissa Skrypniak

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

car free meeting

TLC meeting Thursday, July 31, 2008, 6:30pm at McMaster University Student Centre room 230 - agenda: Car Free Week 2008!

Car Free Week in Hamilton - help make it happen

Tentative line-up of Car Free Week events:

Monday, September 22, 2008
Bus and Hike to Sherman Falls, and Car Free drinks

Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Bike Repair Basics at Recycle Cycles
Women Only Bicycle Repair at MaCycle

Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Bridge Party in Kirkendall

Thursday, September 25, 2008
Car Free Drive-In Movie at Gage Park Bandshell

Friday, September 26, 2008
Critical Mass bicycle ride

Saturday September 27, 2008
Instant Patios in Westdale (Parking Meter Party)

Sunday, September 28, 2008
Car Free Nature Hike in Cootes Paradise

Saturday, July 26, 2008

bordering burlington

The neighbouring City of Burlington ON is undertaking a Cycling Master Plan process, and you can help shape the cycling network by reviewing the display from a June 3, 2008 open house, and making comments. A follow-up public meeting will occur in October 2008 in Burlington, but get your ideas and comments on the table first by using this online form (ignore the June 20 comment deadline)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

bike bridge

Government of Canada and City of Hamilton to officially open Ferguson Avenue Bridge

HAMILTON, ON – July 24, 2008 – Officials from the City of Hamilton and the Government of Canada will officially open the new Ferguson Avenue Bridge tomorrow. The event marks the completion of this construction project that will enhance local vehicular, cyclist and pedestrian access across the Canadian National Railway tracks from Barton Street East to Simcoe Street East. The road and bridge will also open to traffic following the event.

WHAT: Official opening of the Ferguson Avenue Bridge

            Photo Opportunity: Hamilton's green fleet of vehicles will be the first to cross the new bridge

WHEN: Friday, July 25th, 10:00 a.m.

WHERE: Ferguson Avenue Bridge (Barton St. and Ferguson Ave. entrance)

WHO: David Sweet, MP for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale
Fred Eisenberger, Mayor of Hamilton

Gerry Davis, Senior Director of Capital Planning & Implementation, Public Works Department

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


If reading the police blotter doesn't make one pause to reconsider our transportation choices, nothing will...(excerpts below)

Police Blotter
A roundup of calls July 16 to 22 (2008)

The Hamilton Spectator, (Jul 23, 2008)

Rice and Mohawk
Wednesday, July 16, 6 p.m.

A 75-year-old woman showing off her new car to a friend hits the gas instead of the brake and drives into her 83-year-old husband. The collision sends him through the laundry room door into the house. He is taken to hospital with non-life-threatening head and leg injuries.

Fennell and Garth
Thursday, July 17, 10 a.m.

A car collides with a city bus causing substantial damage. The bus driver is taken to hospital as a precaution. The driver is charged with making an unsafe lane change.

Cumberland and Holton
Thursday, July 17, night

Police see two men steal a car from Eastgate Square. They discontinue their chase when the car thieves take off at dangerous speeds. Information helps them find it later, and they charge a 32-year-old Hamilton man with possession, dangerous driving and dangerous driving while prohibited.

Trinity and Sawmill
Thursday, July 17, 8 p.m.

Police chase a large SUV stolen from Meadowlands Power Centre. They stop the chase when the driver hits dangerous speeds on Book Road. They find the SUV flipped at a sharp curve. An Ohsweken man, 20, tries to run but is arrested and charged with theft, possession, dangerous driving, flight from police and possessing burglary tools.

North Service and Fifty
Thursday, July 17, 11 p.m.

A large SUV careers off the road into a field, crosses another street and comes to rest in a second field. A 54-year-old man from Grassie is charged with impaired driving and refusing to provide a breath test.

King and Bay
Saturday, July 19, 1 a.m.

Police pull over a 21-year-old Ancaster man in a modified car and charge him with street racing. He loses his ride and licence for a week.

Centennial and King
Sunday, July 20, 8 a.m.

A 21-year-old man is on his way to a car show in Grimsby in his BMW when he is pulled over for doing 130-plus kilometres an hour in a 70 km/h zone. The G2 driver loses his licence and his ride for seven days.

Bay and Harbourfront
Tuesday, July 22, 2 p.m.

A woman learning to drive in Bay-front Park parking lot hits the accelerator pedal instead of the brake, bounces off a tree, panics and drives down a boat ramp into the water.

403 and the Linc
Tuesday, July 22, 4:45 p.m.

An eastbound truck carrying powdered cement stops for traffic congestion. A second truck carrying auto parts collides with the cement truck. The second truck is damaged and its fuel tank ruptures, causing 200 litres of diesel fuel to spill. The cement truck is severely damaged. No one is injured. Rush-hour traffic is tied up as two eastbound lanes close for four hours.

Anyone with information can call Hamilton police at 905-546-4925 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

Friday, July 11, 2008

downtown: no two ways about it?

TLC will be responding to this news item with a letter to council shortly, with a call to support staff on the need for one way to two way conversions downtown:

Downtown plans stall on road conversions
Nicole Macintyre, The Hamilton Spectator (Jul 11, 2008)

The plan to convert several downtown one-way streets to two-way is on hold.

Council threw out the city's downtown transportation master plan yesterday in a contentious split vote that sent staff scrambling. They reversed their decision moments later to allow more debate at a later meeting.

Several councillors say they don't want to kill the entire plan, which was approved in 2001, but can't agree to planned road conversions.

The plan calls for the conversion of York Boulevard and Wilson Street, Park and MacNab streets, Hughson and Hess streets, and King William and Rebecca streets.

Councillor Terry Whitehead said he doesn't support York Boulevard being converted as part of the renovation of the central library and the farmer's market.

The street must be replaced anyway to fix underground services, but the two-way conversion will cost upwards of an extra $750,000.

The planned streetscape may look nicer, but it won't generate new tax dollars, said Whitehead.

"We're making big investments and getting nothing in return."

But Councillor Bob Bratina argues businesses won't relocate to the street as long as it is a "freeway."

He noted if one-way streets are such a benefit, he'll request they be installed on the Mountain.

"Let's make Upper James one way."

He was outraged council originally shot down the entire plan, which would have stalled several downtown initiatives, including removing buses from Gore Park. Each street conversion was planned to generate economic and neighbourhood benefits, added Bratina.

"This is a carefully developed plan."

But councillors, who opposed the conversions, say they felt they had no option but to oppose the entire plan.

Councillor Brad Clark said more research and time is needed to determine if the conversions on John and James streets have been successful.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

car free: it's a gas!

Hi - we know life without a car can be a gas, but we need to share the fun with those who are still stuck in the automobile age for all their transportation needs.
Help Transportation for Liveable Communities get Hamilton's CAR FREE WEEK ready for September by coming to an organizing meeting THURSDAY, JULY 17, at 6:30pm, in the McMaster University Student Centre room 224.
Serious hands on work needs doing to make Car Free Week in September absolutely shimmer with excitement. Don't disappoint the future generations of car-free kids by missing this opportunity.
Last year's events are listed here - - but don't let this stop your creativity: new events and ideas are extremely welcome!
Please RSVP, and if the time doesn't work for you, let us know so we can try and accommodate you at future meetings!

Thanks and see you next week!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

take time for transit survey

Public Service Announcement

Help shape the future of Rapid Transit in Hamilton!

HAMILTON, ON July 7, 2008 – Hamilton's Public Works Department is seeking your thoughts on the rapid transit initiative to shape a more sustainable future for Hamilton. Help us by completing a short survey to share your opinions about rapid transit plans for Hamilton.

Access the survey online at or at City of Hamilton offices, local libraries, municipal service centres and at the HSR ticket office at the Hamilton GO station. Feedback received by July 21st will be presented in a report to Council in September 2008. Public Works is committed to providing ongoing opportunities for public consultation throughout the planning process.

To review background information, reports, studies and a map of the proposed rapid transit routes, please visit

Monday, July 07, 2008

how to boost transit ridership...

Hamilton Spectator File Photo
No free ride for taxpayers?
City mulls HSR fare options

The Hamilton Spectator

(Jul 7, 2008)

A new city staff report says a free transit system would cost taxpayers more than $30 million a year.

The shortfall would translate into about $161 more in taxes for a home assessed at $250,000.

The report, which outlines several options for fare cutting on the Hamilton Street Railway and the Accessible Transportation Services, will be presented to a city committee tomorrow.

Staff have asked councillors to direct them on which free transit items should be included in next year's plans.

The report says an additional $30.9 million would be needed to run a free HSR if ridership jumped 20 per cent.

The additional cash would include $5 million to $10 million to implement more service.

Ridership on a free system could increase as much as 50 per cent, the report says, although the initial jump would likely be from existing riders using the system more.

For ATS, a minimum of $900,000 would be lost in annual fares.

In 2007, 21.1-million trips were taken on the HSR. The system generated $28.9 million in revenue.

Councillor Sam Merulla, who initially raised the issue of free transit last year, is convinced it's the way to go.

"I think it's an idea or a concept that inevitably will happen," he said.

"It's a question of when."

Merulla said system upgrades would be part of the plan, making it more convenient for people to travel around the city.

With rising oil and gas prices, the cost to taxpayers would be worth the trade off for convenient travel, he adds, in addition to the environmental and social benefits of the plan.

Last year, council approved raising transit fares twice, bringing the cost of a cash fare to $2.40 as of Jan. 1. A ticket increased to $1.85 and monthly passes increased $8 to $79.

Councillor Tom Jackson explained that he doesn't support free transit, although he's open to having the issue deferred to the 2009 budget.

Jackson said the move should be looked at in the context of rapid transit development, in addition to having widespread public consultation.

He also raised the idea of seeking outside funding for such an initiative.

"I'm just saying we need to look at it in the whole global context," Jackson said.

Hamilton has one free fare program, the waterfront shuttle, which runs from June 24 to Sept. 3 at no charge.

In addition to outlining free transit initiatives, staff are also recommending expanding the city's Employer Commuter Pass program.

Currently municipal employees can have a portion their transit pass paid for by the city.

Staff would like to see that subsidy increased, as well as developing a pass for other employers. Hamilton Health Sciences is now piloting the project with some of its workers.

Options city staff have outlined to provide some form of free transit:

* Free rides from Canada Day to Labour Day. Cost: $5 million-plus.

* No fares on smog and heat alert days, in addition to increased parking rates at municipal lots. Cost: $50,000 in lost revenue per weekday.

* Free transit during council-endorsed special events like Commuter Challenge Week. Cost: $350,000 in lost revenue per week.

* Free weekday service, by day of the week.

* No fares on weekends, such as free Sundays to encourage shoppers to use transit.

* Free travel for seniors during off-peak periods.


Friday, July 04, 2008

artists way?

Downtown transportation master plan accepting submissions

Car free Ogilvie suggested

Craig Campbell
Published on Jul 04, 2008

Reviewing the potential for a car-free space on Ogilvie Street between King Street West and Hatt Street, also known as Artist's Way and home to such landmarks as the Carnegie Gallery, Dundas Library, and Dundas Valley School of Art, has been suggested in a submission to the Downtown Dundas Transportation Master Plan.

In a five page submission by Transportation for Liveable Communities (TLC) to Natasha D'Souza, project manager for the downtown Dundas transportation review, the local organization raises several key issues it feels the project should address including transit problems, new bike lanes, more pedestrian crossings on Hatt Street, roundabouts, sidewalk snow clearing strategies and improvements to pedestrian crossing signals.

The submission describes the section of Ogilvie between two local arts institutions as "an excellent space for cultural gatherings" and a possible pedestrian priority area.

"The current state of sidewalks on this street is sub-par and an impediment to mobility."

According to TLC's submission, Ogilvie pedestrian areas are currently too narrow and obstructed by parking meters. It suggests wider, barrier-free sidewalks are necessary if pedestrian mobility is to be well-served.

TLC also encourages a new effort to improve The Spencer Creek Trail, linking pedestrians to local shopping, business and recreation facilities, along the historic creek.

A preliminary report on transportation within downtown Dundas by city staff found most key intersections will be able to handle anticipated increases in population and traffic.

Those findings have moved the master plan's focus to sustainable transportation, including bicycle infrastructure and pedestrian-related improvements.

A preliminary stakeholders meeting to gather information was poorly attended, but the master plan is accepting public submissions in advance of the plan's expected completion in September, and final report in November.

Full details of the master plan and contact information can be found on the City of Hamilton's website (

lake lanes

No media showed up to the official opening of the extended Waterfront Trail linking Confederation Park with Niagara Region, but the weather was great, and alternative transportation staff Daryl Bender (pictured, left) and Hart Solomon, head of traffic department (right) were there to officiate for a small assemblage of cycling citizens, including Councilors Bob Bratina (ward 2, downtown) and Maria Pearson (ward 10, the area with the cycling improvement being celebrated).

"North Service Road - a well defined cycling route, comprised of a combination of on-street bike routes, on-street painted bike lanes, and off-road multi-use pathways, between Confederation Park and Fifty Point Conservation Area"

Sure enough, enjoy the lake breeze!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

FRIDAY - new link on lake

Another cycling PR event in the City.
You are encouraged to attend and invite others.

The details for the opening of the bike route on North Service Road:
Date: Friday July 4
Time: 2:00 pm
Location: open space at the intersection of Millen Road/Frances Avenue.
No rainy weather arrangements have been made.

The Great Waterfront Trail Adventure will be travelling along North Service Road during this grand opening event, so we should see some cycling activity along the route while dignitaries officiate the opening.

The actual bike route itself that we are officially opening is a combination of bike lanes, signed bike routes and a section of multi-use path, providing a connection between Confederation Park and Fifty Point Conservation Area.

Daryl Bender B.E.S.
Project Manager, Alternative Transportation
Traffic Engineering Section
Public Works
City of Hamilton
905-546-2424 x 2066

GO bike bus

This unlikely crowd gathered here to media-launch the front mounted bicycle racks on Hamilton-Toronto and Hamilton-Aldershot GO buses shows some depth to the Hamilton Cycling and alt-trans scene.
These are indeed heady times, with lots of sustainable transportation options bearing fruit and supporting non-automotive mobility.
The GO folks did a good job inviting reps from various local groups besides politicians and city staff; on hand, reps from the city cycling committee, the ACT office at McMaster, St. Joseph's Health Care, and MaCycle, and of course TLC.
Thanks to GO and to Daryl Bender, City Cycling Coordinator for pulling the PR together!
Now, like the singer says, "Get on your bikes and RIDE!"
(By August 2nd, 2008, all GO buses on the Hamilton-Toronto/Hamilton-Aldershot corridor will have the capacity to carry two bicycles on these front mounted racks, year round)

Thanks to Robert Konjek, MTO Communications, supplying the photo.