Toronto's Eglinton Crosstown LRT will include protected bike lanes. Hamilton's LRT, not so much.
By Kevin Love
Published May 13, 2016
This article has been updated.
The Hamilton Cycling Committee met on Wednesday, May 4. In attendance were Fred Eisenberger, Mayor of Hamilton, Daryl Bender, the Committee's staff support person, and the members of the Committee. A considerable amount of the meeting was devoted to a presentation of the current LRT proposal.
Rendering: Hamilton LRT Scott Park station
Renderings were mounted on easels along the entire west wall of the meeting room, and the consultants explained the proposal and answered questions. Although I am a strong LRT supporter for Hamilton, I was dismayed to learn that this excellent concept is currently planned for a very poor implementation.
In Toronto, the Eglinton Crosstown LRT that is currently under construction has had Toronto City Council unanimously approve full, separated bike lanes for the entire length of Eglinton.
Rendering: Protected bike lanes on Eglinton
Please note one feature of the rendering in that link, and in other renderings of the Crosstown project: The street is being used for transportation and not for the storage of private property.
Rendering: protected bike lanes on Elginton with surface LRT
The consultants presenting the LRT plan to the Hamilton Cycling Committee made it clear that a different decision is being made in Hamilton. We are not getting cycling infrastructure because in Hamilton the use of the street by people for transportation is a second priority to using the street for the storage of private property.
Of course, the Cycling Master Plan was prepared long before the provincial government decided to fund the LRT. The City has no problem building new car infrastructure in response to changing circumstances. Has anyone ever heard of such car infrastructure being vetoed by the City with the excuse, "it is not in the Transportation Master Plan"?
Finally, the consultants had the nerve to say that it was "not possible" to fit cycling infrastructure into the right of way. Since this is simply not true, my response was to call them on it and say that their own drawings show that it certainly is possible. They are choosing to do other things with the right of way. They had no response and went on to the next subject.
Many other things were said and done by the Committee, including electing me as its Vice-Chair. This article does not pretend to be any form of official minutes or to describe all that happened. The opinions presented are entirely my own and do not necessarily reflect the official policies of Hamilton City Council.
Update: updated to add a rendering of protected bike lanes on a section of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT that runs at surface.
Update 2: updated title to reflect the fact that bike lanes are planned for the LRT section in West Hamilton.
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