Commentary

Improve Wentworth Street with a Cycle Track

A much better option than two-way conversion would be to create a protected bike route along Wentworth Street from the Escarpment to Burlington Street, similar to the one existing on Cannon Street.

By Jonathon David White
Published April 11, 2016

As a resident living on Wentworth Street with small children, I appreciate the efforts to improve lower Wentworth Street. However, I believe that there are better options than the one currently on the table, namely, two-way traffic.

Looking north on Wentworth Street at Delaware (RTH file photo)
Looking north on Wentworth Street at Delaware (RTH file photo)

A much better option would be to create a protected bike route along Wentworth Street from the Escarpment to Burlington Street, similar to the one existing on Cannon Street. There are five reasons why this would be a better alternative.

1. Currently there is no connection between the Escarpment Trail to the Cannon Street bike route. A bike route along Wentworth Street would allow a family to bike from East Hamilton along the Escarpment Trail, travel north along Wentworth Street, and then continue west to Downtown Farmers market, Dundurn Castle and finally Burlington RBC – all safely separated from traffic.

Looking north on Wentworth Street from the Escarpment Trail (RTH file photo)
Looking north on Wentworth Street from the Escarpment Trail (RTH file photo)

2. A bike route along Wentworth Street would allow safe access to Tim Horton's field by first riding along the Escarpment Trail, north on Wentworth Street and then east on Cannon.

Cannon Cycle Track at Wentworth (RTH file photo)
Cannon Cycle Track at Wentworth (RTH file photo)

3. A bike route along Wentworth Street would allow safe access to the Wentworth Stairs and the Escarpment from the Cannon Street bike route.

Looking up the Wentworth Stairs (RTH file photo)
Looking up the Wentworth Stairs (RTH file photo)

4. On the east side of Wentworth Street North, there are two schools - Cathy Wever and Cathedral - and one large park. A bike route would allow safer access for students on bicycle to these two schools and park.

5. In addition, and in my point of view, even more important, it would provide a buffer between pedestrians - including young school children - on the sidewalk and cars travelling along Wentworth Street.

It is not uncommon for me to see, from my house, children playing on the sidewalk on the way to or from school. Occasionally a child gets pushed or stumbles out onto the road. Thankfully, the majority of cars do not use the shoulder lane, so there has been no injuries so far.

A bike lane would keep cars well away from the children (it is much safer to be hit by a bike than an 18-wheeler). In contrast, converting Wentworth to two-way traffic would create a severe safety hazard with cars forced to be close to the children.

Jonathon David White grew up in the Hamilton area, living in West Hamilton for ten years while attending McMaster University (from undergrad to PhD in Engineering). Upon graduation he moved to Asia working in Japan, China, Malaysia and Taiwan. Since 2011, he has split his time between his home in Hamilton (Wentworth Street North) and Taiwan where he serves as a professor in the faculty of engineering at Yuan Ze University. Jon has one wife and four children ranging in ages from 5 to 17 years old. Website: www.aiyouliliang.com

14 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By Wentworth & King (anonymous) | Posted April 11, 2016 at 08:07:03

Living at King/ Wentworth for the last 6 years has given us many opportunities for observations on traffic, pedestrian traffic etc. I too would love to see a bicycle lane, I would like to see a better design for Cathedral preventing multiple cars idling while picking up kids after school. I would like to see 2 way traffic ideally but will take great design, widened sidewalks, trees and safety above all.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By highasageorgiapine (registered) | Posted April 11, 2016 at 08:43:23

this is an excellent idea. i used to bike the south end of the street daily and it wasn't bad as most people didn't use the far right lane, but since it didn't seem necessary for cars why not just convert it?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted April 11, 2016 at 08:45:23

Good idea, though the reality is probably that the cost is liable to be borne largely if not entirely by Ward 3. Unlike the Cannon track, which shared geography pretty evenly with two wards, all but two blocks of Wentworth fall within Ward 3. Upside: political buy-in is simplified.

Permalink | Context

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted April 11, 2016 at 09:36:53 in reply to Comment 117612

As was the case with Cannon, the cost is probably very low.

Permalink | Context

By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted April 11, 2016 at 10:24:17 in reply to Comment 117614

Done deal, then. ;)

Permalink | Context

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted April 11, 2016 at 11:17:15 in reply to Comment 117615

Yes, because Cannon was so simple to get in place. It required hardly any community effort. And extending it beyond Sherman is going so smoothly.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted April 11, 2016 at 09:13:06

It seems clear to me that the city needs to complete one of the various north-south bike lanes in the area. There are so many fragmented snippets of a bike lane - the pointless little jog on Victoria north of Barton, the faded-out bike lanes on Ferguson that end with a wonderful little plaza at King, but then have no means to cross Main... and now the city is planning to push ahead on the Clairmont track. Wentworth is a fair bit east of there, but still fundamentally part of the same problem.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted April 11, 2016 at 11:45:00

A two way bike lane still needs to have new signals installed. What's the price difference between that and full 2 way reversion? Wentworth is huge. Can't we have both two way car traffic AND protected bike lanes? One advantage of full reversion is that motorists will be looking both ways and expecting traffic from all directions. The "look one way only" habit will be broken much more quickly if it's a proper two way street.

Not to mention, there is zero advantage to any n/s streets being one way. They should all be switched asap

Permalink | Context

By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted April 11, 2016 at 11:51:31 in reply to Comment 117620

I imagine that, if it went 2 way, the best cyclists could hope for would be conventional bike-lanes with at most a small buffer between them and traffic.

Permalink | Context

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted April 11, 2016 at 12:03:12 in reply to Comment 117621

I don't see any technical reason why Wentworth can't be two-way with a protected cycle track. Politically and bureaucratically, it's a different story.

Permalink | Context

By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted April 11, 2016 at 12:07:14 in reply to Comment 117622

The latter, of course, is what I meant. The "standard" implementation for a road with 3 traffic lanes would be 1.5 lanes each way, with the ".5" as bikes.

Permalink | Context

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted April 11, 2016 at 15:50:22 in reply to Comment 117623

Other places have slightly different standards.

Comment edited by KevinLove on 2016-04-11 15:50:43

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By moylek (registered) - website | Posted April 11, 2016 at 13:39:29

Good idea, though the reality is probably that the cost is liable to be borne largely if not entirely by Ward 3.

The Ward 3 councillor has $1.5 million of area-rating funds each year to spend at his discretion on infrastructure projects every year - constrained by timelines for other projects, of course. And - most importantly - the need to have the projects approved by the whole council.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By bishop (anonymous) | Posted April 12, 2016 at 13:43:20

'A much better option than two-way conversion' ...horse manoor

Permalink | Context

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds