Hamilton Poverty Roundtable Should Support the Cycling Master Plan

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.

David Van Beveren is a Hamilton native. He grew up in Ancaster and now lives in Ward 1.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted June 19, 2009 at 10:52:42

This is a well written article. Yes, we should be looking at this from the perspective the writer has drawn. Many cannot afford even to take the bus, so having the opportunity to ride in a safe environment would be great, especially for children.

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