Saturday, April 21, 2012

Cycling Courses

The City of Hamilton Recreation Division is pleased to provide new bicycle related courses for you and your family. 

Participants in the cycling courses listed below are required to have the following:
*       A bicycle in good working condition – a tune up is highly recommended
*       A bell and lock and approved bicycle helmet
*       Proper clothing for all weather conditions
Bicycle Maintenance Workshop (Age 14+)
This 3 hour workshop focuses on the basics of bicycle maintenance. Participants will become familiar with the components of a bicycle and the tools used to keep it in good working order. A tool kit is available for purchase on the day of the program.
Introduction to Cycling Skills (Age 14+)
An introduction to basic traffic skills, posture, techniques and bicycle fit. This 8 hour clinic will focus on the basics of riding your bicycle safely and properly. Participants must already know how to ride a bicycle
Kids CAN-Bike (Age 9-13)
Young cyclists learn to ride safely on residential streets. During their 5 hour classes, in-class and on-bike instruction teaches traffic safety, rules, techniques and potential hazards. Participants must already know how to ride a bicycle already know how to ride a bicycle
CAN-Bike 1 (Age 14+)
Cyclists learn skills and build confidence to ride safely on residential streets. Learn traffic theory through classroom instruction and ride with a group through low traffic, on-bike instruction. Note: This 16 hour program is offered over the course of one weekend (Saturday and Sunday).
CAN-Bike 2 (Age 14+)
Advance your skills in commuting and recreational riding. During each 6 hour class, this course focuses on advanced skills and challenging conditions and Highway Traffic Act sessions. CAN-Bike 1 is not a prerequisite however this is an advanced course, participants must have experience riding on arterial roads.
For more information and to register, visit  

Turning the Tide on Tolls?

The Canadian Press

Date: Saturday Apr. 21, 2012 11:34 AM ET

TORONTO — A study released Saturday suggests drivers in the Greater Toronto Area are willing to pay for alternatives to beat the gridlock.

Those surveyed face a daily commute of at least 30 minutes each way. The study found strong support for expanding rapid transit to suburban communities.

While well over half of the drivers surveyed were willing to pay a road toll, sales tax or parking fee, 69 per cent said they would be more supportive if they knew the funds would go directly to expanding rapid transit.

The survey also found that drivers would choose rapid transit or working from home if those options existed.
The respondents also said they would leave the car at home if they could purchase car insurance on a pay-as-you-drive basis.

The study was conducted for the Pembina Institute by Environics.

"For many drivers in the Toronto area, there is no reasonable alternative to commuting to work by car," said Cherise Burda, the report's author and director of the institute's transportation program.

"This survey shows there is very strong support among drivers for road tolls and other user fees, as long as those funds are used to build or expand rapid transit options in areas where people currently have no choice but to drive."

The survey was part of a larger Pembina report that examines best practices from other urban regions.

Bike Boon

"one-way streets are among the biggest barriers for a lot of cyclists. Even confident riders like himself can find it daunting to make a left turn off Main Street, where multiple lanes of traffic make it impossible to signal your way across the road."

One sweet ride

Ditching four wheels for two keeps these Hamiltonians green and serene — not just on Earth Day, but year-round

Moyle, 44, credits his mode of transportation for his unorthodox views. It’s shiny and cherry-red, with plenty of room for a briefcase, groceries or even a case of beer. It has an all-leather seat and it rides like a dream.
Did I mention it’s a bicycle?
“People find out you commute by bike, and they think of a tree-hugging, granola-crunching, carbon-offsetting hippie,” Moyle says over coffee at My Dog Joe.
He certainly proves that’s not the case. Moyle looks like the world’s most stylish English professor (he’s actually an analyst) — proof positive that you don’t need a Spandex bodysuit to be a cyclist. His dark-wash Levis are rolled once at the ankle above leather boots from R.M. Williams. He wears a houndstooth sportcoat with a dress shirt and striped wool tie. He carries a Toscane leather briefcase.
Yes, he rides a bike year-round, but there’s also an SUV in his driveway. It’s just that he prefers to pedal the three-kilometre round trip (which he rides twice a day, as he goes home for lunch) between work and home.
A lifelong biker, he made the move from fair weather (since 2006) to year-round commuter cyclist in 2010. Before that, his mountain bike was fine through spring, summer and fall, but the exposed chain often rusted. The bike’s sporty style encouraged him to ride like he was racing, and the crouched position left his wrists and neck exposed to the cold.
It was after a 2009 trip to Montreal, when he used that city’s BIXI bikes, that he made the move to his current ride — a delivery bike from Dutch manufacturer Batavus. Like the BIXI, its upright position and foot-forward geometry make for a comfortable, leisurely ride. The built-in racks allow for plenty of panniers, baskets and bags. The fully enclosed chain means no rusting and no greasy pant legs.
In the past two years, there have only been four or five days when weather conditions (including his nemesis — icy ruts) have forced him to leave the bike at home.
Otherwise, Hamilton is a city ripe for the riding. With very few hills, besides the Escarpment, it should be a biking no-brainer, but Moyle feels the one-way streets are among the biggest barriers for a lot of cyclists. Even confident riders like himself can find it daunting to make a left turn off Main Street, where multiple lanes of traffic make it impossible to signal your way across the road.
Myke Hutchings agrees. King Street is the most logical path from his Gage Park home to Jackson Square (where he works as a case manager for the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board), but he detours to Cumberland Street, then follows the Stinson Street bike lane, before cutting back up to King.
Hutchings, 38, started riding to work for health reasons. Bored by gyms, but determined to fit exercise into his daily routine, he bought a Pashley adult tricycle in 2011. He opted for the three-wheeler for better balance and stability, but he’s found the bike offers something else — interaction with his surroundings. A trike isn’t something you see everyday, so it gets lot of looks, which often leads to conversations with strangers. He takes his camera with him every morning. He sees parts of the city he’d never noticed before. And though his morning ride only lasts 20 minutes, he’s found it makes him more laid-back all day.
“I’ve slowed down and become more relaxed,” he says. “It used to be about getting from point A to point B. Now the journey is enjoyable as well.”

Friday, April 20, 2012

Dundurn Road Diet with Bike Lanes

Tourism Hamilton released this statement on their Facebook page today: 
Next week, Hamilton’s Public Works Department will install bicycle lanes on Dundurn Street North between York Boulevard and King Street West, bringing the City’s total on-street cycling network to 130kms.

Currently, Dundurn Street has two auto lanes northbound and one auto lane southbound. When the new bike lanes are installed, this configuration will be modified to one auto lane in each direction with separate bike lanes in each direction.

The bike lanes on Dundurn North will connect to the well-established bike lanes on York Boulevard by Dundurn Castle, a connection through Victoria Park towards downtown Hamilton, and the popular cycling connection over Hwy. 403 to Westdale and McMaster University.

"This represents another key link in the Ward One and city-wide cycling system,” said Councillor Brian McHattie. “This link will encourage more folks to leave their car at home when traveling for short trips in west Hamilton. The next step is to work with Fortinos/Loblaws to connect the Dundurn bike lanes. My goal is to see the Ward One cycling system in place by 2014.”

This project builds on the existing bike lane network on Dundurn Street South, which connects to the recently extended Hamilton-Brantford Rail Trail via Glenside Avenue, the existing Chedoke Radial Rail Trail up the escarpment and signed cycling routes on Herkimer Street and Charlton Avenue.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Meeting Thursday

TLC MEETING: Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 7:00pm room 220, McMaster University Student Centre - lots to discuss!

Draft Agenda:
McMaster Front Entrance
Parking Lot M
Open Data-Cycling

Friday, April 06, 2012

Dundas's Historical Danger Still Alive and Well in Hamilton

We all know the lovely stretch of downtown Dundas's commercial section on King Street. One slow moving lane of traffic in each direction, metered parking on both sides of the street, a thriving business community of unique shops. Yes, it's even a tourist destination as well as a local shopping district.

But imagine the same street if the traffic planners had their way in 1966. The Dundas Star October 12, 1966 shares some of the planner's recommendations that include reducing the number of pedestrian cross walks on King and limiting them to signalized intersections between York and McMurray Street. The report also advocates:
"Parking or stopping on King Street between the crossings of Foundry Street and York Street to be eliminated to provide two lanes in either direction of flow. 'There appears' the department report said, 'to be enough parking supply on side streets and on off-street lots within walking distance...'"
Yes, the only concern of the traffic planners was traffic flow, specifically, motor vehicles. Pedestrians were perceived as an obstacle to flow, thus the decision to limit the number of pedestrian crossings; parking in front of the shops was to be sacrificed to make an extra lane in each direction, why? to move vehicles faster.

I think we can agree that such a situation, if acted upon, would have killed the ambience that makes King Street in Dundas not only tolerable, but an enjoyable pedestrian shopping district.

Why, oh why, do we still tolerate traffic planning that creates the opposite of what Dundas was somehow able to retain, and over 40 years ago at that?

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Longwood Letter

Deadline for comments to the city regarding Longwood Road (between Main and Aberdeen) is Thursday, April 5, 2012 - the e-mail address for Lorissa Skrypniak, the city staff person responsible for receiving comments, is Remember: Your voice DOES MATTER


Transportation for Liveable Communities
905-525-9140 ext. 26026

3 April 2012

Lorissa Skrypniak, MCIP, RPP, Senior Project Manager 
Subject: Longwood Road Class EA

Transportation for Liveable Communities (TLC) is a citizen advocacy group established in 2000 to address sustainable transportation in Hamilton Ontario.

TLC is very concerned with the Longwood Road “Preferred Alternative” presented at the Public Information Centre Wednesday, March 21, 2012.

Beginning with the “Problem and Opportunity Statement” referencing the Kirkendall Traffic Management Plan’s statement that “Community concerns indicated a need for enhanced pedestrian and bicycle access and improved safety along the existing corridor,” the trajectory seems clear enough.

Yet we are next informed that because the city will not pursue an onramp to Highway 403 westbound from Main at Columbia College, “the that four general purpose lanes will be required between Aberdeen Avenue and Main Street.”

So, it is clear that any changes that would address the prime problem and opportunity statement to “enhance pedestrian and bicycle access” begins with the core assumption that Longwood road will act as an extended on/off ramp to Highway 403 westbound (and eastbound), requiring 4 lanes for cars.

This is a surprising turn of events, especially considering the main objective began as an effort to make the street safer and friendlier for cyclists and pedestrians.

Cyclists are especially aggrieved after seeing the Shifting Gears Cycling Plan for this stretch of road crumble: project number 196 in that plan for Longwood has: “Bike Lane with Road Diet, Longwood, Main to Aberdeen.”

Continuous connection is an important consideration when building a comprehensive bike network. As it is, the preferred option of the city planners seems to suggest cyclists using the new southbound bike lane between King and Main will have to dismount at Main, cross in a crosswalk to the east side of Longwood to continue through another crosswalk to the south side of Main where there will be a bike path on the east side of Longwood.

At the same time, cars will continue to have two lanes in each direction, ensuring the status quo of a hostile environment for cyclists and pedestrians. This is entirely unacceptable to TLC.

TLC instead strongly supports bicycle lanes on each side of Longwood, which would create a continuous connected cycling route from Aberdeen to King Street (and eventually all the way to Princess Point) – it is our position that the road diet planned in the Shifting Gears Cycling plan should be implemented to help calm traffic and create the space required for cycling lanes.

With three lanes of traffic, rather than four, the city could consider using the centre lane as a morning southbound, evening northbound lane (Jarvis Street in Toronto has used this method to adopt to demands of flow at peak times), which would maintain two-lanes when required, however TLC adamantly insists that the priority should return to improving pedestrian, cycling and transit opportunities.

A pedestrian sidewalk on the east side of Longwood will have to suffice until the City decides to improve the pedestrian crossing on the west side of Longwood at Main.

The “preferred option” of a bike path only on the east side of Longwood will, at Aberdeen, isolate cyclists on the north side of Aberdeen, which means another disconnected crossing to get to the bike path south of Aberdeen by the Chedoke golf course. Therefore, TLC supports the recommended roundabout at Longwood and Aberdeen, but with cyclists and pedestrians given proper consideration for safe access.

We hope you will take our concerns seriously, since we see the emphasis of the “preferred alternative” wrongly placed on maintaining automobile traffic flow at the expense of an integrated cycling and pedestrian environment. 

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

complete streets

TLC's David Cohen will be part of a panel discussion at this event - please let others know!