Neighbourhood greenways are an affordable and extremely effective way to make cycling accessible to a lot more people. Here's how we could implement a network in Hamilton.
By Jason Leach
Published June 19, 2013
If you haven't already, please watch the following video by Streetfilms explaining what Greenways are and how they work:
Toward the end of establishing a network of greenways in Hamilton, RTH editor Ryan McGreal and I have created a map of proposed greenways.
The green lines are proposed greenways, and the blue lines are current existing bike lanes or off-street trails. (Note: we excluded signed on-street bike routes on the grounds that they're not real bicycle infrastructure.)
Neighbourhood greenway in Portland (Image Credit: City of Portland)
Here's a guide to the proposed greenways and connectors.
Magill/Pearl/HAAA/Kent - this north-south line west of downtown connects the rail trail with Ryerson, HAAA, the French school at Main and Pearl, Strathcona neighbourhoood and will eventually connect to the new pedestrian bridge planned for north end of Locke to the waterfront.
Hunt/Head/Vic Park/Napier - this east-west line would connect the King West lanes over Hwy 403 to Bay Street near York, and to the current York bike lanes.
Ainslie Wood Hydro Corridor - this would run from Cootes north-south through Cootes and turning east to cross Alexander Park and join up with Hamilton-Brantford Radial Trail just west of the Hwy 403 overpass to Studholme.
Dalewood/Churchill, Glen - proposed by RTH reader "Continuity", this would connect the King Street bike lanes over Hwy 403 with the Sterling Street bike lanes to McMaster.
Longwood/Aberdeen Protected Bike Lanes - The city already plans a protected bike lane on Longwood through the McMaster Innovation Park district. It should be extended east on Aberdeen to cross the Magill/Kent greenway out to the top of James Street South at James Mountain Road.
MacNab North - With MacNab now a calm two-way street, once Bay opens again MacNab could be a greenway connecting the York bike lanes to the Waterfront Trail, providing safe bike access from downtown to the north end.
Cannon/York Protected Bike Lanes - this spine, proposed by the Yes We Cannon campaign, could connect the London Street greenway with the York/Wilson bike lanes and everything between.
Ferguson to Escarpment link - extend the bike lanes on Ferguson south to where the Escarpment Rail Trail begins at Corktown Park.
Cumberland/Gage Park/Montclair/London/Central - this east-west line would connect the rail trail that starts at Corktown Park and has an access to Cumberland at Wentworth all the way to the RHVP edge. Plenty of parks, schools and urban neighbourhoods along the route.
London/Carlisle - this north-south line would run from Lawrence Road to just south of Barton, one block east of Ottawa. Again, a low-volume route connecting to Ottawa, schools, Centre Mall and the diagonal off-road bike path which runs NE from London at Main all the way to Barton and Strathearne.
Crown Point East - speaking of which, the diagonal multi-use path would be an excellent greenway with some more consideration to its street crossings.
Bicycle-only speed hump in Vancouver (RTH file photo)
Dunsmure Road from Holton to Reid Ave - this east-west line is a great direct route in the centre of the city, allowing residents to come all the way across town without using King or Main. It connects the Red Hill Trail to the Birch Holton greenway, crossing the London/Carlisle greenway and the Crown Point East trail.
Birch/Holton - north-south link through the entire central city connecting with the Cumberland greenway, and Cannon Street bike lanes. This one is off-road, but if you start at the Rosedale Arena you'll see a hydro corridor between Malta and Cochrane Road. It runs north all the way to Barton. Other cities (including Toronto) have been putting in multi-use paths in their hydro corridors, and this one would be a beauty.
Rosedale Railway Bike Path - This would run next to the railway like the trail from Studholme to west Hamilton and connect the bike lanes on Lawrence Road at Graham Avenue through Rosedale neighbourhood to the Escarpment trail.
E24th, South Bend, Bendamere - east-west across the central mountain turning north on E 24 from Concession Street to Chedoke Hospital. Plenty of schools, parks and neighbourhoods would benefit from this route. It includes a connection to the Upper Paradise bike lanes, which lead north to Scenic Drive and the rail trail or south to Stonechurch Rd bike lanes.
Hadeland, Bonaventure, Limeridge - east-west from Upper Paradise all the way to Mt Albion Falls.
Brucedale - east-west greenway across the north mountain from the Escarpment Rail Trail connecting to Mohawk and the Juravinski Centre. This is a quieter street a block south of Queensdale, which Ward 6 Councillor Tom Jackson vetoed in 2010 because he believes cycling is for recreation only.
Thorner, Bishopsgate, E27th - north-south on the centre-west mountain that connects Limeridge Road to South Bend/Bendamere.
Manning/Luscombe/Hayden/Terrace/Mitchell/Warren - currently a signed bike route that runs north-south from Limeridge to Sam Lawrence Park, this would make a great link to connect to the east-west greenways.
Limeridge - east-west across south-central mountain on Lime Ridge connecting the Escarpment Rail Trail to the Upper Paradise bike lanes.
Burkholder, Dallas, Huntington - east-west across the central east mountain connecting the Escarpment Rail trail to Thorner, Bishopsgate E27th and E24, South Bend, Bendamere.
Arbour - greenway incorporating the pedestrian bridge over RHVP could connect the Stone Church bike lanes to the Escarpment Rail Trail and the Red Hill Trail.
We already have a cycling master plan, Shifting Gears, which defines a bike network for the City. However, the state of the art in cycling infrastructure is always changing as we learn from experience how to build the most effective infrastructure.
Shifting Gears was approved in 2009 and its implementation schedule is extremely slow - 40 years at least. Even worse, Councillors get to exercise a veto over bike lanes in their wards. We need to do better, and cities like Portland and Vancover are proving that neighbourhood greenways are a better way to get more people riding bikes safely and happily.
with files from Ryan McGreal