Saturday, January 30, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
IMPROVEMENTS TO HIGHWAY 8, PARK AVENUE TO BOND STREET
MUNICIPAL CLASS ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
FOR full announcement and a map of the area, follow the link: http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/
The City of Hamilton has initiated a Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (EA) process to examine infrastructure improvements to Highway 8 between Park Avenue and Bond Street (see Location Map). This study is building on the recommendations made in the City’s Transportation Master Plan (May 2007), and the Cycling Master Plan (December 1999, update ongoing).
The purpose of this study is to examine roadway improvement alternatives from Hillcrest Avenue to Park Avenue (shown in dark hatching), such as bike lanes and sidewalks, and including intersection improvements at Highway 8 and Brock Road. From Park Avenue to Bond Street (shown in light hatching), the improvements to examine include cyclist facilities and repairs to culvert deﬁciencies.
This project is being planned as a Schedule C project under the Municipal Engineers Association Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (October 2000, as amended in 2007). Project Schedule will be conﬁrmed, and reﬁned if required, once a preferred alternative is identiﬁed.
A Public Information Centre (PIC) has been scheduled to present the existing conditions and constraints, infrastructure alternatives, evaluation criteria and next steps. At the completion of this study, an Environmental Study Report, or Project File Report will be prepared and made available for public review.
PUBLIC INFORMATION CENTRE
The following PIC will be held to provide further information and to receive public input:
DATE: Thursday, February 11, 2010
TIME: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Christ Church Flamboro, 92 Hwy 8, Greensville ON
PUBLIC COMMENTS INVITED
There is an opportunity at any time during this process for interested persons to review outstanding issues and bring concerns to the attention of the Project Managers. If you have any questions or comments or wish to be added to the study mailing list, please contact:
- Melanie Jajko, B.ES, Project Manager, E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mike Bricks, MCIP, RPP, Project Manager, E-mail email@example.com
Information will be collected in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. With the exception of personal information, all comments will become part of the public record.
This Notice issued January 29th and February 5th, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
Transportation for Liveable Communities Hamilton
PO Box 19, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton ON L8S 1C0
905-525-9140 ext. 26026
Ms. Diana Morreale,
Ms. Christine Lee-Morrison
Public Works Dept.
City of Hamilton
January 22, 2010
RE: Comments on the Downtown Dundas Transportation Master Plan, Class EA report
Dear Ms Morreale and Ms Lee-Morrison,
I am writing on behalf of Transportation for Liveable Communities (TLC) to comment about the class EA for the Downtown Dundas Transportation Master Plan (DDTMP).
TLC members have followed closely the long process of the Downtown Dundas Transportation Master Plan, attended the public open houses and commented on the process over the past two years.
We found it extremely frustrating that the recommendations included in the DDTMP are not in keeping with the Vision 2020, GRIDS and Hamilton TMP principles that supposedly guide the process."expand transportation options that encourage travel by foot, bike, and transit and enhance efficient inter-regional transportation connections" Rather, we see changes that would increase the volume and speed of automobile travel in Dundas are prioritized over the stated goal of "[a] better choice of integrated travel modes, emphasizing active transportation and public transit." (Dec. 9, 2009 www.hamilton.ca/
TLC feels that the plan, with its current emphasis, places pedestrians, cyclists, and the small town character of Dundas, in jeopardy.
Importantly, the DDTMP bluntly violates the 2007 city wide Transportation Master Plan's calls for identifying policies that reduce automobile trips, promote walking and cycling, and encourage use of public transit and ride sharing.
Our concern is based on the fact that all the outlined short term action plans in the DDTMP include road changes like widening that promote increased automobile trips and speed and that not one of the short term projects address the immediate needs of pedestrian, cycling and transit improvements. Indeed, the alternative transportation components that are included in the DDTMP are presented as vague suggestions for future studies, and, at best, minor tweaking and subtle dismissal of residents’ expressed desires and concerns.
We focus here on three key issues.
First, the DDTMP fails to develop a transportation vision which recognizes and enhances Dundas' strengths, such as natural features and a compact and walkable heritage core. By prioritizing automobile "improvements" like road widening and adding vehicle lanes, not only are pedestrians and cyclists further endangered, the Valley Town risks losing its unique identity which sets it apart from surrounding suburban sprawl. The plan should closely examine the origins and destinations of current automobile, pedestrian, bike and bus trips, and then delineate the desired modal split for the area following city guidelines (e.g. Vision 2020 and the citywide TMP). Where Dundas deserves a clear and distinctive vision for achieving such goals, the plan takes a passive, reactive attitude, against city policy, by obsessively focusing on, assuming, and providing for, increased automobile traffic.
Second, we are disappointed that the DDTMP further delays the promise of the visionary “Urban Design Study for Hatt Street in Dundas”. The 2005 study, which was supposed to guide future development of the Hatt St area, highlighted the need for strengthening pedestrian connectivity and accessibility. Unfortunately, the DDTMP fails to accommodate that practical need and leaves it to a still future study. Moreover, the DDTMP dismissed resident calls for improved pedestrian crossing along the Hatt St section between Ogilvie St and Market St. This ~1500 m stretch of six city blocks currently provides no protected pedestrian crossings. The DDTMP notes that the stretch does not “warrant” a protected pedestrian crossing, but we find this conclusion misleading. First, the DDTMP is supposed to provide for increased pedestrian traffic into the downtown core rather than observe current traffic and then conclude that it does not warrant safe pedestrian crossing. Second, a perceptive look at the character of the Hatt St area, including the 600 new housing units at the newly developed Creekside area and the newly developed commercial area just west of the new development, would indicate that there is a substantial opportunity for diverting automobile trips by creating opportunities to support an increase in pedestrian traffic in this area.
Finally, the DDTMP does not provide the necessary global vision for pedestrian traffic issues on King St. Currently, King St is optimized for serving as a highway even though it is the commercial and social heart of the Valley town. The DDTMP must consider it and provide explicit immediate plans for improving safe pedestrian movements along and between the north and south side of King St. Although two new pedestrian traffic lights were installed recently at Ogilvie St and Foundry St, they were rendered ineffective by programming the signal response times to prioritize automobiles movement over the need of pedestrians. Compare this ill advised approach to the visionary leadership of neighbouring councillor Brian McHattie and responsive city public works dept staff, who optimized the pedestrian operated traffic light at Cootes Drive near McMaster. While the light is synchronized with the nearby light at Main St and is slow to respond to pedestrian needs during rush hours, it provides almost instantaneous green pedestrian light on demand at off peak hours. Hence pedestrian can cross the street always safely and quickly much of the time. This compromise approach, which is also used widely in other Canadian cities, should be adopted in downtown Dundas as well.
There are many more specifics we could include, but suffice to say we think that the DDTMP requires substantial revision and intend to take immediate further actions to ensure that the Valley town receives the transportation master plan it deserves.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Parking in Hamilton just got more expensive.
City council voted today to double parking meter rates to $1 per hour across the city and install paid parking on Locke Street, and in Stoney Creek (King Street), Ancaster (Wilson Street) and Waterdown (Dundas Street).
The move, which will be implemented July 1, is expected to bring in an extra $1.45 million each year.
The decision didn’t come without a fight. Councillor Brian McHattie moved to delay installing parking machines on Locke Street until a city-owned parking lot is up and running in the area. That motion lost on a tie vote after council learned it could take up to two years to open the new lot — a decision McHattie called “very, very disappointing.”
“Any time you work hard as the ward councillor to find a compromise solution and your colleagues don’t support you, you feel betrayed,” he said.
The city is still moving forward with plans for at least one parking lot off Locke.
Council also voted against a motion from Councillor Margaret McCarthy, who argued that paid parking shouldn't be implemented in Waterdown until its development freeze is lifted.
Yesterday's decision ended a long-running debate about Hamilton's parking rates. In December 2008, council rejected a similar increase, arguing it wouldn't be fair to merchants to risk driving customers away during a recession.
This year, many council members instead said paid street parking will be positive for businesses as it will encourage more turnover of parking spaces. They also argued it will encourage more people to walk or take public transit.
Sunday, January 03, 2010
Little funding for bike improvements
Over the next ten years, the city is budgetting to complete only about one-fifth of the cycling improvements endorsed by council last summer. Thanks to a volunteer community group, the full plans can now be viewed on-line.
Transportation for Liveable Communities (TLC) hopes their on-line map will encourage residents to lobby councillors to speed up implementation.
“We decided to make the map available online so people can see where the new bike lanes and multi-use trails will be and think about how the new routes can be used in their day-to-day routines.” said Nicholas Ellens of TLC in a media release last month. “We encourage people to pick up the phone and let their councillors know that they support the plan".
The city’s long-term plans were approved in principle last June and call for 223 projects to improve Hamilton’s cycling network in the urban area plus 49 in the rural region. The projected total cost is $51.5 million – somewhat less than the $55 million council has decided to take from the Future Fund to cover the city’s contribution to the 2015 Pan Am Games.
For 2010, the city has approved capital budget spending of $1.3 million to complete eight bike lane projects. But the expected expenditures over the rest of the decade average just $950,000 a year for new cycling infrastructure.
New lanes are to be established this year on Woodward Avenue, Burlington Street, Queensdale Avenue, York Boulevard, and Wilson Street at a total cost of just over $1 million. The remaining $250,000 will go to rehabilitating existing cycling facilities on Longwood Road and Stone Church Road.
The Woodward project is the most expensive at $400,000 and will add bike lanes between Melvin and Brampton as part of a $3.5 million road reconstruction project. This year’s new lanes on Burlington Street will run from Birch to east of Ottawa – the first phase of a planned bike route all the way from Ferguson Avenue to Parkdale.
A multi-use bridge over the QEW near the Red Hill Parkway for the use of both cyclists and pedestrians is also expected to be opened in 2010. That’s being paid for by a provincial government grant. TLC argues more bike lanes will help reduce auto dependency and encourage increased numbers of commuters to cycle.
“Cycling is a healthy, clean, efficient, and affordable alternative to driving,” said Ellens. “A connected network of lanes, paths, and in some places bridges will make cycling in the city a much safer option, overcoming a major obstacle that discourages many from participating.”
Last month Reuters reported that cycling to work in the United States has increased 43 percent in the last decade. The US Census Bureau figures put Portland Oregon at the top of the list with 6 percent of commutes carried out by bicycle, but these numbers are still far below European cities.
More than a third of the residents of Greater Copenhagen, for example, use a bike to get to work or school and that number climbs to 55 percent if you only count those within the city limits, reports Globe and Mail columnist Gary Mason.
“Bikes are everywhere: in vast lots outside train stations, leaning against buildings, locked to racks that are as ubiquitous as Carlsberg signs,” he observed. “The people riding them are dressed for all occasions. You see men in pin-striped suits and women in skirts and high heels. Few ride anything but old, traditional one-speeds.”
Copenhagen’s efforts to build a “bike culture” have included setting traffic signal coordination for cycling speeds instead of car, stop lines for bikes five metres ahead of cars, and giving cyclists a green light several seconds ahead of cars.
In Canadian developments, Montreal added 104 kilometres of bike lanes in the last two years to bring their total to over 500 km. And last spring they joined Paris, London and New York in putting thousands of rental bikes on the streets, a move described as “huge boost to cycling” in the Quebec city.
CATCH (Citizens at City Hall) updates use transcripts and/or public documents to highlight information about Hamilton civic affairs that is not generally available in the mass media. Detailed reports of City Hall meetings can be reviewed at www.hamiltoncatch.org. You can receive all CATCH free updates by sending an email to info@HamiltonCATCH.org.