By Nicholas Kevlahan
Published February 03, 2011
Dear Councillor Jackson,
I was surprised to hear that you are not "detecting a clamouring from a large number of our citizenry from a commuter standpoint to spend the money, taxpayer money, to convert a lot of our road network" to improve facilities for cyclists.
I am a resident who pays thousands of dollars per year in property taxes and I strongly support my taxes going towards implementing the Cycling Master Plan as soon as possible. Please be sure to include my "clamour" when you next consider intervening in a cycle project.
I am particularly concerned that you believe individual councillors have the right to veto sections of the Cycle Master Plan in their wards on the basis of their "feeling" about the level of support for cycling.
It is reasonable to provide input to improve local sections of the cycle route, but it is unacceptable to force the traffic department to simply delete cycle lanes.
The Cycling Master Plan only makes sense as a continuous route! Imagine if residents could decide to block off major roads to motor vehicle traffic because they didn't like the noise, danger and pollution...
The Cycle Master Plan was developed through extensive public consultation, using public information centres that were advertised in the press and reported on (in advance) in the Spectator. I made the effort to participate in that process.
The final plan involved many compromises to make it acceptable to all residents. It is undemocratic to start tearing apart the plan after it has been adopted, especially since these changes do not involve official public input from the community at large, only from the Councillor and (perhaps) some local residents.
Please recognize that commuter cycling has grown enormously in the last few years, despite the inadequate facilities in Hamilton. Safe and continuous cycle routes would lead to a huge increase in commuter cycling, as it has in other cities such as Montreal and Vancouver.
It is official Hamilton policy to support cycling and pedestrians and the Cycling Master Plan (created through formal public input) supports this policy. As far as I am aware, Hamilton has no official policy to encourage automobile use.
Please support this important (and relatively inexpensive) infrastructure project.
Durand Neighbourhood Association