Monday, May 31, 2010


GO Transit is rolling out the Presto Card, and municipal transit systems in the area are joining in. This video shows how it works.

Friday, May 28, 2010

wrong way to be positive

Making a one-way, multi-lane, high-speed highway in the downtown into a pedestrian and cycling friendly two-way street, even with the construction impacts, should be a positive thing to report on, "Commuter headaches" notwithstanding.
Slowing down traffic in the downtown is a good thing for the city; making room for more people to bike and walk, and for commercial activity like the market, or for festivals, are also good things.
You can bet the drivers will be crying in the letters to the editor section shortly...

York Blvd. commuter headaches start Monday
Stretches of York, then Wilson, going two-way

, Hamilton Spectator

Hamilton motorists are in for some major changes downtown this summer.

The conversion of York to two-way traffic begins Monday, followed by a similar change on Wilson Street.

York will become two-way between Queen Street North and James Street North.

A separate project to start later will resurface Wilson Street from James Street North to Victoria Avenue North and convert that stretch to two-way use.

The York Boulevard work, which starts first, includes major infrastructure work co-ordinated with the renovation of the Farmer’s Market and Central Library.

The city’s public works department says the York work involves replacing the existing water main, resurfacing the street, modifications to traffic islands for two-way use, sidewalks, streetscape work and decorative lighting.

There will also be road work and sidewalk repair on Queen Street North at the same time.

The city says there will be lane restrictions and transit delays during the construction, which is expected to end in October.

When the road work is complete, the street will be reopened for two-way traffic.

The city has promised additional information in the coming weeks on the Wilson Street project as construction there nears.

A public works spokesman says the construction and renovation of the Hamilton Farmers’ Market and Central Library project is going well and most of the exterior glass wall system has been completed, with only final detailing remaining to complete the building cladding.

Interior work are also on schedule with mechanical and electrical infrastructure elements nearing completion. Interior finishing work has commenced throughout both spaces and is expected to be complete late this summer with everything done later in the fall.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Olympic Drive velodrome feasibility study questioned

Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News Staff
Published on May 27, 2010

Local Pan Am Games organizers will consult the National Cycling Committee of Hamilton, other cycling groups, and the public, about building a cycling velodrome on Olympic Drive in Dundas.

But any change from the planned west harbour site, where the facility is expected to be twinned with a Pan Am stadium is unlikely.

David Adames, of Tourism Hamilton, said last week the twinned west harbour location is part of the bid book which won the games for the Greater Toronto Area and “it would take a significant rationale to make it change.”

Adames said discussing the facility’s location is part of the ongoing business plan the city must complete. But the rationale for locating the indoor cycling facility at Olympic Park is already being questioned.

While the National Cycling Committee has completed a study it says indicates Olympic Park across from the Westoby Ice Surface is the best possible location, area residents are already pointing out some flaws in the argument –and it’s not clear if the site can actually be developed.

Olympic Park is designated as open space in the new City of Hamilton urban official plan. It is also currently designated as a community park.

The Hamilton Naturalist Club owns a 42- hectare nature sanctuary known as the Cartwright Nature Sanctuary, just up the road from Olympic Park. But the organization has never been contacted by anyone regarding any possibility of a velodrome being built in the area.

Naturalist Club member Jennifer Baker said the organization had not heard about the NCC feasibility study.

“We are concerned about any development that might impact Cootes Paradise and that would increase traffic flow,” Baker said.

Randy Kay, of the McMaster-based Transportation for Liveable Communities, also said he was never contacted about the feasibility study. He questioned several aspects of the NCC study that have actually gone public so far.

Kay suggested relocating the velodrome to Olympic Park would mean a loss of the “synergy” and “efficiency” of locating the cycling facility with the new stadium at the west harbour.

“We will have two footprints, each with their own building and parking requirements, and the Dundas site has the added concern with being in the midst of the environmentally sensitive area of Cootes Paradise,” he said.

Kay disagreed with the NCC suggestion that the more rural Dundas location would be accessible to more people, and provide nearby links to cycling trails. He noted the Dundas location is not well-served by public transportation.

“The west harbour location would provide more opportunity for sustainable transportation options with nearby frequent transit and cycling routes, and be closer to a much larger urban population,” Kay said.

As an avid cyclist and hiker who regularly uses area trails, Kay was also surprised to hear NCC president Andrew Iler suggest an Olympic Drive velodrome would provide links to mountain- biking trails.

He said neither the nearby Bruce Trail nor Royal Botanical Gardens trails are even open to cycling.

“These kind of comments leave me thinking the plan is not well thought out and could negatively impact the ecological integrity of the surrounding area,” Kay said.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

there's a real city out there, outside your car...

Hamilton police are seeing benefits by getting out of their cars:

"By patrolling on foot or by bike officers are noticing things that may not be obvious to officers in a cruiser, or that officers can’t stop for, Cox said."
The same principle applies to anyone: getting out of your car connects you to the city - more people walking and cycling= safer community.

“Throwback” cops targeting downtown crime
38 arrests, $13,643 in drug seizures over two weeks

, Hamilton Spectator

In its first two weeks the Hamilton police ACTION team has made 38 arrests and seized $13,643 worth of drugs.

The Addressing Crime Trends in our Neighbourhoods (ACTION) team is intended to be a highly visible group of Hamilton police officers walking or cycling through neighbourhoods with a focus on driving out violence and disorder. It is partly funded through $560,000 in funding from the Provincial Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (PAVIS) earmarked for communities dealing with gun and gang violence.

The 43 member team has been split into groups of eight, plus two supervisors. They have split the downtown core into six to eight block quadrants, said Staff Sergeant Mark Cox.

“It’s a throwback to the old days, walking the beat and talking to people,” he said. “It’s grassroots policing.”

By patrolling on foot or by bike officers are noticing things that may not be obvious to officers in a cruiser, or that officers can’t stop for, Cox said.

On May 11 around 2:30 p.m. ACTION team members saw a car illegally parked within three metres of a fire hydrant at John Street North and King William Street. Conversation with the 31-year-old Hamilton man with the vehicle revealed he was in breach of a previous release.

Cox said he was arrested and a car search revealed two clear baggies containing 39.2 grams and 36.2 grams of cocaine, worth $7,500. He was charged with possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, proceeds of crime under $5,000 and breach of undertaking.

Also around 2:30 p.m. on May 18 the team happened upon a man riding his bicycle on the sidewalk, in violation of a city bylaw, at Wilson Street East and Victoria Street. Cox said police detected a strong odour of fresh marijuana from his backpack. He was arrested and a search revealed brass knuckles and two large freezer bags containing 237 grams of fresh marihuana each. The total value: $4,500.

The 21-year-old Hamilton man was charged with possession of marihuana and possession of a prohibited weapon.

Cox said the volume of drugs and related arrests are significant, as drug culture and violence frequently go hand-in-hand.

Along with what he called a significant amount of arrests, criminal charges and bylaw infraction notices, Cox said officers have made contact with 294 citizens.

These community contacts, many who run businesses in the areas being patrolled, are central to understanding what’s going on the communities, he said.

Friday, May 21, 2010

get the light right

Public input to 'inform' city's plan for light rail

, The Hamilton Spectator
(May 21, 2010) 

Hamiltonians will be asked for their input on a proposed light rail project throughout the next 12 months of design and engineering work.
The city will establish a community advisory committee to work with a consultant leading the study, and there will be a number of public information sessions and other communication efforts.
"We will not be waiting until the end to say, 'Here's our plan, what do you think?' " said Jill Stephen, the city's director of strategic planning and rapid transit.
"We'll be getting input throughout and that will inform the plan."
The city announced yesterday it has hired Steer Davies Gleave, an international transportation consulting firm, to do the planning for the estimated $784-million light rail line from Eastgate Square to McMaster University.
It's expected the study will take a year and it kicks off a crucial period in Hamilton's quest to land light rail.
The report will look at everything from station location to the technology to run the trains. It will analyze how traffic will flow throughout the area and how property owners will be affected.
The study will also include a feasibility study into an LRT route from the waterfront to the airport.
Steer Davies Gleave has spearheaded transportation projects around the world and was the lead architect of the Metrolinx benefits case analysis for Hamilton.
The city is the only municipality so far to get a grant from the province for its transit planning study. Local officials point to that $3 million as proof that Hamilton is well on its way to LRT.
Rail spirits were further boosted this week when Metrolinx CEO Rob Prichard told the Hamilton Economic Summit that he anticipates the city's transit project will be the next major announcement.
But the agency has made no commitment to LRT and the province has not promised any funding.
There is clearly a timeline at play. Everyone is talking about the trains running by the Pan Am Games in 2015 and the project is a big component of the city's controversial bid to build a west harbour stadium.
Kathy Drewitt, executive director of the Downtown Hamilton BIA, says business owners are anxious to get answers about how light rail will affect them during and after construction.
The city's proposal includes converting Main and King to two-way traffic and the possibility of removing street parking in the core, restricting left turns to signalled intersections and potentially closing a section of King to vehicles.
"Business owners want to know where the stops will be, how they'll get deliveries into their buildings, how their customers will get to them ... we're hoping the consultant will answer those questions."

dump the trucks on Dundurn

NOTES From an article by Jen Dawson:
  • The city estimates that Dundurn North carries 11,652 vehicles every 24 hours, of which 477 are "commercial vehicles."
  • Dundurn North is a two-way, three-lane road that rips through the heart of a dense residential neighbourhood
  • All but six of the buildings on Dundurn North are detached and semi-detached homes
  • Sidewalks are only four feet, ten inches wide, a third of which is lost to slope whenever there's a curb cut for a driveway or intersection: Pedsafe, an office of the U.S. Department of Transportation, recommends that sidewalks on arterial roads are six to eight feet wide, with an additional four- to six-foot buffer between the sidewalk and the road.
  • the November 2009 recommended truck network did not have Dundurn North on it, the current version does.
Read her entire article at RAISE THE HAMMER!

Further notes - Dundurn North appears as a bicycle route in the Shifting Gears Cycling plan , meant to go to two lanes (one in each direction) with bike lanes. (see google map on sidebar, project #088)

Trucks and Bicycles Don't Mix Well

Statistical evidence shows the chance of fatality for cyclists increases dramatically with the size of the vehicle in a collision. The 1998 Coronor's Report found that:
While Class G vehicles still accounted for the majority of fatal collisions, large vehicles were involved in 37 per cent of collisions resulting in cyclist fatalities (compared with only eight per cent of collisions resulting in cyclist injuries). This difference must be attributed to an increased likelihood of cyclist fatality in collisions with large vehicles. For example, there was one cyclist fatality for every 125 non-fatal collisions involving large vehicles (Class A, B, C, D and M) as opposed to one cyclist fatality for every 488 non-fatal collisions involving Class G motor vehicles. Thus, it appears that a cyclist's collision with a large vehicle is approximately four times more likely to result in cyclist fatality than a cyclist's collision with a Class G vehicle.

Monday, May 10, 2010

artsy banksy gets it right

Graffiti artist Banksy nails it - this one could be downtown Hamilton's prescription for making a more liveable city...
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Saturday, May 08, 2010

the booze lane?

The newly installed bike lanes on Dundurn South continue to attract law breaking drivers who consider their personal convenience before any civic duty (civility). So far, every time I've passed this spot there are cars blocking the bike lane. Next door at the beer store:

This gentleman was told by a beer store employee not to park in the bike lane, which he ignored and went to get his case regardless. The employee told me that by-law had handed out some tickets today (Saturday), but in my short visit there were five different vehicles using the bike lane in front of the LCBO and Beer store. Perhaps installing some bollards will be necessary to prevent these ongoing violations.

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Thursday, May 06, 2010

Dundurn between Main and Aberdeen

Bike lanes, finally! Plenty of bike action on the new lanes, hopefully the world will still revolve and we can all learn to get along. Thanks to Councillor McHattie for holding the line as some local business people tried to kill the bike lanes over the loss of some on street parking.

Somebody needs to tell people who think it is VIP parking in front of the beer store now. Here's Ancaster Taxi blocking this afternoon.
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