The more we build for a city where people have real choices in how to get around, the more choices people will make.
By Jason Leach
Published January 14, 2016
As we all know, no one rides a bike in winter so there's no point in wasting money clearing bike lanes (or building them in the first place, for that matter!). Except that when a city does build bike lanes and keeps them clear, people go ahead and use them!
Here are some photos I took around town yesterday of people taking advantage of the City of Hamilton's newfound commitment to keep its bike lanes clear and accessible.
Enjoying a clear bike lane on Dundurn near Earl Kitchener School
Crossing James on the Cannon Cycle Track
Riding south on Ferguson past a Hamilton Bike Share hub
Signing out a Bike Share bike at Locke and Hunter
Bike Share ridership is down this week, of course, but despite the cold and snowy, windy weather, the system has still averaged over 250 trips and almost 400 kilometres a day since Monday.
Here's a bike share heatmap for the period of Monday, December 11 to Wednesday, December 13:
Hamilton Bike Share heatmap, December 11-13
And that's only Bike Share rides, which represent just a small percentage of total bike rides.
The day got colder after the sun went behind clouds, but despite temperatures close to -10C with a wind chill closer to -20C, people kept riding all day - especially on the city's most accessible, physically protected cycle track on Cannon Street.
Cyclists on Cannon near Victoria
Multiple cyclists on Cannon near Wellington
Visibility of bike lanes is more important than ever on snowy days
Bikes parked outside the YMCA at James and Jackson (Image Credit: Ryan McGreal)
The bike rack at the Hunter GO Station was about half-full (Image Credit: Ryan McGreal)
Maybe we're finally starting to turn the corner
While the City seems to be getting better at clearing bike lanes, some of them were still covered in snow and slush later in the day. Once that stuff freezes, the bike lane can become impassable for a long time.
Snow-covered bike lane and sidewalk on Young Street west of Wellington (Image Credit: Ryan McGreal)
And while it's not quite on topic, I also noticed lots of jammed buses and bikes parked at bus stops throughout the city. I'd love to find out how many more transit riders there are on snow days, when people are uncomfortable driving in icy conditions.
Waiting for the GO bus
Big crowd of HSR riders in early afternoon
We get the city we build for. It's really that simple. The more we build for a city where people have real choices in how to get around, the more choices people will make.
With files from Ryan McGreal
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