Despite calls for better pedestrian and cycling access, the Longwood Road plan prioritizes automobile flow-through over other modes.
By Transportation for Liveable Communities
Published April 04, 2012
Residents have until Thursday, April 5, 2012 to submit comments to the process. Here is the contact information:
Lorissa Skrypniak, MCIP, RPP
Senior Project Manager
Strategic Planning & Rapid Transit
Environment & Sustainable Infrastructure Division
77 James Street North, Suite 320
Hamilton, L8R 2K3
Phone: 905-546-2424 ext 2732
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 on-ramp to Highway 403 westbound from Main at Columbia College, "the implication...is 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.
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