Wednesday, September 22, 2010

get it on!

Is anyone else getting tired of people coming from other jurisdictions and telling us how to build a more liveable city?: of course Olsen (and others before him) is right on all counts about what it takes to make a city safe and convenient to cycle. Hamilton's lags behind due to an inertia around the council table.

TLC has been pushing the city for 10 years to get the Shifting Gears Cycling Plan implemented, so hopefully we are nearing a tipping point that will see the job get done in (at most) 20 years, rather than 40 or 50 (or 100) years that the current council seems content with. 

Here's the article from the Spec (so you can skip the angry anti-cycling comments section)

U.S. biking 'guru' offers city advice on cycling transition

Jeremy Grimaldi
September 22, 2010

BURLINGTON - A biking 'guru' who helped transform Portland into a cycling oasis has offered his expertise to Hamilton, a city he believes has "progressive potential."
Jeff Olson, partner at Alta Planning and Design and a speaker at yesterday's Ontario Bike Summit 2010 in Burlington, said a number of U.S. cities are using bicycles as a central theme in their shift from manufacturing hubs to modern urban centres. Included in that list are Buffalo, Dayton, Detroit and Cleveland.
And now Olson is interested in speaking with Hamilton.
He says that one great example is Portland, Oregon, which has managed to encourage its population to ride more bikes -- boosting ridership from less than 1 per cent in the 1990s, to about 8 per cent today.
The city, led by Mayor Sam Adams, who also spoke at the event on Monday, is aiming for 25 per cent ridership by 2030.
As part of that transition, the city of about 500,000 people has developed a biking industry worth $100 million. And now some streets, formerly used by 4,000 cars, are being utilized by 4,000 bikes daily.
"If Hamilton sets its sights on 2030, there is no doubt it can be done," said the architect and planner. "If someone from the city wants to chat to us we would be happy to talk. We have already worked in Vancouver, Halifax and York Region.
"In the U.S. we are working in many places with transitional economies, it's just a matter of having a vision."
Olson says the Portland project cost the city about $150 million over two decades, but insists that that price tag equals the cost of one mile of urban highway.
"If it's a matter of not enough money, then you have to look at everything that can be saved when people start biking, then it not only becomes affordable, but rational."
Olson says Hamilton needs to work on its biking infrastructure and must convince its population biking is safe and the rest will fall into place.
During the conference, organized by Share the Road Cycling Coalition, Toronto MPP Cheri DiNovo spoke about her hopes to make into law a private member's bill that would force motorists to give cyclists a one-metre berth when passing.
Attendees were also urged to encourage all municipal election candidates to sign the Active Communities Pledge, which ensures all signatories will promote and support cycling initiatives.
The Active Communities Pledge can be signed at

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