Special Report: Cycling

City to Present Charlton, Herkimer Bike Lane Designs

Everyone is encouraged to attend the public information meeting this Thursday to learn more and to show your support.

By Nicholas Kevlahan
Published January 27, 2016

The City will be holding a public information meeting this Thursday, January 28, 7:00 PM at Stanley Avenue Baptist Church to present the current plans for bike lanes on Charlton Avenue and Herkimer Street between Dundurn Street and James Street.

The Southwest Ad-hoc Bike Committee, comprising members of the Durand and Kirkendall Neighbourhood Associations, had a chance to review the plans, and overall we are very happy that the City has accommodated most of our requests.

We are disappointed that the lanes will not be protected on Charlton between Caroline and Queen because the lane width is not enough, but parking will be added to the south side, which will calm traffic.

One point of disagreement was that the City's snow removal department insists on 3.5 metre lanes when there is just one lane, in order to allow for snow to be pushed to the side.

Another point of disagreement was the staff insistence on "rationing" the use of markings to highlight where bike lanes cross intersections.

According to Daryl Bender, the city's project manager for cycling infrastructure, staff discussed this internally and came up with the following hierarchy:

  1. No markings. This is the default.

  2. One-dash lane markings for unusual angles.

  3. One-dash lane markings plus chevrons for unusual bike lane conditions (e.g. counter-flow bike lanes or bike lanes on the left side of the street).

Similarly, advanced stop lines - also called bike boxes - are reserved for intersections with traffic lights, but not always.

It would have been nice if they had included the City's Cycling Committee or neighbourhood groups or any actual cyclists or bike share representatives in this discussion.

I really don't see the need to ration lane markings: I don't think motorists would ignore them just because they are more common and they are helpful even in "normal" conditions. It would be much simpler and more effective to have the same markings whenever a bike lane crosses an intersection.

But that's a fight for another day ... and it is just paint. The good news is that this project is going ahead. I encourage everyone to attend the public information meeting on Thursday to learn more and to show your support.

Nicholas Kevlahan was born and raised in Vancouver, and then spent eight years in England and France before returning to Canada in 1998. He has been a Hamiltonian since then, and is a strong believer in the potential of this city. Although he spends most of his time as a mathematician, he is also a passionate amateur urbanist and a fan of good design. You can often spot him strolling the streets of the downtown, shopping at the Market. Nicholas is the spokesperson for Hamilton Light Rail.


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By Anonymous Adam (anonymous) | Posted January 27, 2016 at 14:37:06

Just a thought, but if the city actually allowed you to turn left onto main arterial roads from James street heading North then people would stop having to use Charlton for scooting through and thus you can change that street to 1 lane heading West with plenty of room for multi-use. If you do not turn left on Charlton then you have to turn left on Hunter.....if not ALL the way down to Cannon where there is NO advanced green, a tiny turn lane and 1 car goes through at a time during peak hours. However, any step forward is a rare and welcome sight here.

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted January 27, 2016 at 19:45:49

the cycling department is baffling. Everyone on the planet knows that a cycling route is a safe as it's most dangerous spot.

Intersections are given proper treatment in cities that understand the very basics of safe cycling routes:





Comment edited by JasonL on 2016-01-27 19:46:14

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted January 29, 2016 at 09:57:34

Similarly, advanced stop lines - also called bike boxes - are reserved for intersections with traffic lights, but not always.

I'd be happy if they'd at least apply them more frequently to intersections with traffic lights. York at Locke and York at Dundurn come to mind.

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