Most of the respondents to the RTH question about support for the City's bicycle plan strongly support it. Nearly all agree that continuous, safe bicycle routes are important.
By Ryan McGreal
Published October 12, 2010
As at this writing, 50 out of the 86 registered candidates for the upcoming Hamilton municipal election have responded to the question:
Hamilton's Cycling Master Plan has Council approval. However, the implementation timeline is very long and ward councillors can block individual bike lane projects. Do you support accelerating the completion of a continuous bicycle network and other initiatives like a bike sharing program and better access up and down the Escarpment? Why or why not?
Of the 50 respondents, 39 answered "Yes", 2 answered "Maybe" and 9 answered "No". You can read all the full responses on the RTH Elections site.
Among the 15 mayoral candidates, 10 responded, all indicating that they support the bike plan and would like to see its implementation accelerated.
Michael Baldasaro writes, "As bicycling has become more popular and with some, more necessary, to me, it is imperative that the bicycling network be completed as soon as possible." He also argues that the city should favour trails and disused rail lines for bike paths.
Bob Bratina believes the current Council has "shown reasonable support for the Shifting Gears program." He notes that Councillors "have to respond to special circumstances that may occur in the routings through through neighbourhoods", but agrees that Councillors should not "be able to arbitrarily 'block' or otherwise defeat sections of the project."
Mahesh Butani argues that incorporating a bike network is "a design challenge more than a budgetary problem as it is being made out to be" and that today's "patchwork of bike lanes exposes the half-hearted attempt in developing critically needed alternate transit solutions." His goal is "the premier bike friendly city in the GTHA, with one of the most unconventional and visually stunning urban bike lane networks in the world."
Larry Di Ianni identifies bike-supportive initiatives that started during his mayoral term (2003-2006) and notes, "Ever since I began riding my Vespa, I have viewed the necessity of road etiquette, safety and road infrastructure in a far more bike-friendly way." He believes other bike-friendly initiatives "need further study and must consider the experiences of other municipalities who've implemented similar programs."
Fred Eisenberger notes the progress in support for cycling made during his first mayoral term and ties the Bicycle Plan into his "livable streets" platform. He argues that a bicycle sharing program "sends a powerful message both inside and outside our community that we values bicycles as a practical form of urban transportation."
Edward HC Graydon is "a very competent biker and a true pioneer in this area" and wants to see an accelerated Bicycle Plan coupled with mandatory licencing for cyclists, with an annual $75 road maintenance fee, strict enforcement of rules and fines for infractions used to help pay for the system.
Andrew Haines notes that Hamilton is making progress after being "the most bicycle UNfriendly city" in Ontario but that more improvement is needed "as soon as possible".
Ken Leach says he "strongly agree[s] with a community that can travel by foot, bicycle, skateboard or any other self propelled mode of transit" but wants to ensure that the Bicycle Plan is coordinated with the Transit Master Plan and LRT to manage overflow traffic and protect everyone's safety.
Tone Marrone has "been a cyclist for years" and has made "interconnecting bike lanes" part of his platform. He sees a safe, continuous bicycle network as an important part of his commitment to lifelong fitness and health.
Gino Speziale points out the large number of cycling clubs and points out that Hamilton's streets "are not 'share' friendly with vehicles" and that the preponderance of large trucks crowding narrow lanes "acts as a deterrent for many people not to cycle on any main arteries." He wants cycling clubs to participate in planning the bike route network.
Just nine respondents expressed opposition to the Bicycle Plan and another two were ambivalent. Even these respondents are generally supportive of better bicycle infrastructure, but either have different priorities or different ideas on how to encourage more cycling.
John Castle, candidate for Ward 2, believes "bicycles and vehicles just do not mix (they are dangerous to both parties)" but would support "segregated bike paths, where possible."
[Lloyd Ferguson(http://elections.raisethehammer.org/candidate/96/1/ferguson_lloyd), candidate for Ward 2, does not see the Bicycle Plan as a priority "in these difficult economic times when many people inn our community are experiencing difficulty with food and shelter".
Ned Janjic, candidate for Ward 2, believes "children and young people are the most likely users" of a bicycle network, and would prefer off-street routes "where safety can be ensured." He also expresses skepticism "that Hamilton will ever become an Amsterdam" given our climate.
Tom Jackson, candidate for Ward 6, expresses support for the plan but is "not convinced there is clamour for bicycle commuter lanes across the city. Earlier this year, Councillor Jackson opposed construction of a bike lane on Queensdale Ave in his ward.
Nathalie Xian Yi Yan, candidate for Ward 6, thinks the Bicycle Plan money should be used instead to "educat[e] drivers on how to share the road" and that Hamilton should do more to learn from other communities with a "stronger bicycle culture, such as China, the Netherlands, Germany and even the City of Ottawa" rather than "reinvent the wheel".
Scott Duvall, candidate for Ward 7, supports the Plan but believes the City "do[es] not have the dollars to accelerate the program" and wants to "repair our crumbling infrastructure first."
Trevor Pettit, candidate for Ward 7, supports the bike Plan but believes councillors have a duty to "represent the majority" if residents oppose a bike lane in their ward. He also prefers to "focus on the basics like infrastructure renewal" based on what residents are telling him.
Kim Jenkinson, candidate for Ward 7, expresses "many reservations about bikes sharing major roads" and believes "Hamilton has more important priorities" than expensive road widening to accommodate safe bike lanes.
David Mitchell, candidate for Ward 11, calls bike lanes "an important part of Hamilton's development" but believes different parts of the city have different infrastructure needs. "One size will not fit all."
Brenda Cox-Graham, candidate for Ward 12, believes the Bicycle Plan is "very difficult ... to implement all across the city" and prefers a "phase-in" to give drivers time to adjust.
Dayna Scime, candidate for Ward 13, supports the Bicycle Plan but does not support accelerating it. Instead, the city should add bike lanes during planned repairs and upgrades on streets that are slated to get bike lanes.
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