Special Report: Cycling

Light Rail Project Needs Protected Cycling Facilities

If there was only a painted line between human beings and dangerous moving machinery, the Ministry of Labour would shut us down in a heartbeat. People on our streets deserve no less protection.

By Kevin Love
Published February 06, 2017

This is the submission of Kevin Love of the City of Hamilton for the Addendum to the Environmental Project Report for the Hamilton Light Rail Transit project.

I recommend that protected bicycle lanes be included in this project, as was done with the Eglinton Crosstown LRT project in Toronto.

Rendering: Eglinton with protected cycle track
Rendering: Eglinton with protected cycle track

Please note the photograph in the linked web page of the concrete protective barrier. I am proud to have worked in a Hamilton manufacturing plant.

If there was only a painted line between human beings and dangerous moving machinery, the Ministry of Labour would shut us down in a heartbeat. People on our streets deserve no less protection.

In order to provide the necessary right-of-way for this human safety, I recommend that one or more existing motor vehicle lanes be removed. This is very important because right now:

  1. An average of 93 people are poisoned and killed by motor vehicle operators every year in the City of Hamilton.

  2. Every year, an average of 358 people in Hamilton are hospitalized because they were poisoned by motor vehicle operators.

These numbers were determined by the City of Hamilton Public Health Services working in cooperation with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and private sector partners.

In addition to these poisoning deaths and injuries, motor vehicle operators also:

  1. Crush and kill an average of 16 people per year in the City of Hamilton.

  2. Motor vehicle operators also crush an average of 1,824 people per year and inflict non-fatal injuries.

  3. The average annual cost of motor vehicle collisions is $608 million.

These numbers were taken from the City of Hamilton's Vision Zero webpage.

The solution to this serious problem of death and injuries is by a transportation mode shift to walking, cycling and public transit.

This can be done by making walking, cycling or public transit the fastest, easiest and most convenient way of safely travelling from A to B for where people want to go in Hamilton.

By removing one or more current motor vehicle lanes from the LRT right-of-way and replacing them with protected bicycle lanes, we can make a big step forward in human safety.

This action not only helps make cycling a safe way of fast, easy and convenient transportation. It also reduces the street's motor vehicle capacity, thereby eliminating both poisoning and crushing deaths and injuries.

Kevin is a professional accountant and a retired infantry officer with the Canadian Forces. Kevin keeps encountering people who were students of his father, Dr. Robert Love, who was a professor at MacMaster University from 1977-2008. He lives near Durand Park in Hamilton and is currently Vice-Chair of the Hamilton Cycling Committee.

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By Deleted User (anonymous) | Posted February 15, 2017 at 21:52:29

Which is why I'm not looking forward to the LRT when Hamilton is predicting traffic levels increasing to the point where they'll need to *expand* roads and remove bike lanes. Metrolinx and the City *themselves* are saying that the LRT will not fulfill its purpose and get people out of their cars. It will only serve to create more congestion that the City wants to be alleviated with *more* roads. It'd be funny if it weren't so outrageous. I'd be fine with the congestion on its own; that would work towards getting people out of their autos. Driving has to be inconvenient. But turning around and reducing bike lanes so people won't have to give up their cars is a smack in the face to anyone who wants to live a car free lifestyle. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change the transit paradigm in Hamilton and Metrolinx is already making a mess of it by prioritizing car traffic over bike traffic. As a cyclist and pedestrian I'm against the LRT as proposed.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 16, 2017 at 08:09:28 in reply to Comment 120763

Actually, according to the city's traffic modelling studies, traffic volumes will increase more and congestion will get worse if LRT is not built.

There are currently proposals to remove some bike lanes but they have not been confirmed and staff are planning to work with the cycling community to ensure that we end up with a bike network that is at least as good as, if not better than, what we have today.

Staff seem receptive to the idea of extending the Cannon cycle track on York to Dundurn, and then connecting to the King cycle track across Hwy 403 via either a greenway on Woodbine and Breadalbane or a multi-use path on Dundurn. Either configuration of this would be a significant improvement over the buffered painted lanes on York and the painted lanes on Dundurn.

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