By David Van Beveren
Published June 19, 2009
City staff have submitted a plan that would create a continuous network of dedicated bike lanes across Hamilton over a 20- to 40-year period. Council will consider the plan next Wednesday.
The total cost of the plan is $51.5 million. Annual expenditures depend on the length of the implementation period chosen, but the figures represent a small fraction of the city's overall transportation budget.
It is my view that a balanced transportation policy offering a range of viable transit options for community users is consistent with the principles advocated by the Hamilton Roundtable on Poverty Reduction.
The city's transportation policy as it is presently configured leans heavily in favour of middle-class car ownership, to the burden and detriment of low-income residents.
Current policy doesn't reflect the needs or interests of Hamilton's economically diverse population. I'm writing to encourage the Roundtable to publicly endorse the Cycling Master Plan before council's meeting on June 24, 2009.
Enhanced cycling infrastructure supports the Roundtable's mandate in a number of tangible ways. It will:
The Cycling Master Plan is a unique opportunity to redefine Hamilton's streets as a public good managed to the benefit of every citizen. It affords choice to those whose circumstances or preferences preclude the use of other forms of transportation. It will move Hamilton far ahead in our efforts to make the city a better place to live and raise children.
I'm hopeful that with consideration, the Roundtable will recognize the relevance of cycling infrastructure to issues of poverty and mobility in Hamilton, and that it will offer its public endorsement for council's adoption of the Cycling Master Plan.
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