Bike Lanes Coming to Dundurn North

By Ryan McGreal
Published April 20, 2012

this blog entry has been updated

I was excited when the City installed bike lanes on Dundurn Street South, but disappointed to find out the city had no plan to extend those bike lanes north past Main and connect with the bike lanes on York Boulevard.

Today, I'm excited again: next week, the City's Public Works Department is installing bike lanes on Dundurn North between King Street and York Boulevard.

Paint spots on Dundurn Street North mark the location of the upcoming bike lanes (Image Credit: Joey Coleman)
Paint spots on Dundurn Street North mark the location of the upcoming bike lanes (Image Credit: Joey Coleman)

Dundurn North is currently two northbound lanes and one southbound lane with anorexic sidewalks and fast through traffic. Public Works will remove one of the northbound lanes and use the reclaimed space to install curbside bike lanes in both directions.

If you're paying attention, you may have noticed a gap between Main Street and King Street. A news release issued today quotes Ward 1 Councillor Brian McHattie saying, "The next step is to work with Fortinos/Loblaws to connect the Dundurn bike lanes. My goal is to see the Ward One cycling system in place by 2014."

Another disconnection runs on York Boulevard between Dundurn and Queen Street, where bike lanes were installed as part of the streetscape master plan.

In an email response to RTH, McHattie clarified that the city has recognized the need to connect this section of York with bike lanes.

We have identified the need to complete that bike lane along York via the Strathcona Transportation Plan (to be completed this fall). The study acts as an environmental assessment, which we need in this case as we'll be seeking to remove two car lanes on York from Dundurn to Queen, turning those into bike lanes.

McHattie is among the strongest council supporters of a continuous cycling infrastructure, and he has been active in seeking to close the continuity gaps in Ward 1.

Update: added photo of markings on Dundurn Street North.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.


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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted April 20, 2012 at 19:55:32

Nice to see this proceeding. I hate to see what traffic is going to look like in the morning, though. That stretch is pretty busy with commuters getting on the 403 and heading into Burlington and up the escarpment to Waterdown.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted April 20, 2012 at 19:57:13 in reply to Comment 76093

Good, the worse traffic gets, the more people will try to avoid it by living and working closer together.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted April 22, 2012 at 15:49:18 in reply to Comment 76094

Then by this logic, I'll be out of town and in Mississauga in no time!

A ridiculous attitude such as this is not helpful in trying to find, then maintain, the balance of cars and alternate transit on our streets.

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By Stacey (anonymous) | Posted April 20, 2012 at 21:06:11

The bike lanes are great for the neighbourhood- even if you don't use them.

It will allow for more room for walking and cycling, and the lanes almost guarantee that Dundurn North will not become part of a truck route again. With the addition of the crossing light, walking down this busy street is becoming if police would just post some radar once in a while.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 20, 2012 at 22:58:30

I've lived in this neighbourhood for over 8 years and have never, ever seen the northbound lanes busy. It's like a freeway next to skinny sidewalks the entire stretch.....well, actually that pretty much describes most of downtown's streets. This is a great spot for bike lanes. I hope they can shave one lane off each direction, add bike lanes and install a proper signalized entry/exit to Fortino's mid-block on Dundurn with turns allowed both ways to create a seamless transportation system along the length of Dundurn.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted April 21, 2012 at 01:49:21

... as much as I love this as a cyclist, this is the kind of bike lane that's going to provoke nothing but pure, unbridled rage from drivers when they lose a driving lane off of that already-jammed street.

Anybody know if they're going to provide a good connection from King@Breadalbane to Head@Dundurn? Since that's the huge gap for me. The eastbound King bike lane ends at Breadalbane and a nice bike route into downtown starts east of Dundurn on Head... but there's a no-man's-land in the middle. Crossing Dundurn at Head sucks.

Continuing the King St. 403 bridge bike-lanes out to Dundurn would fix it partially, but the Dundurn/King intersection would be a problem because you're contra-flow (plus possible trouble with contra-flow traffic passing in front of the gas station (which is one of those frustrating places where almost the entire frontage of the place is sloped driveway side-walk - why does Esso hate strollers?) Probably have to dismount to get through that - most cyclists would just ride in the crosswalk there.

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By bikehounds (anonymous) | Posted April 21, 2012 at 17:11:35 in reply to Comment 76103

The easy solution here is to make King two way all the way from Westdale to Dundurn, and include proper bike lanes. The highway entrances would need a proper signalized intersection. There is absolutely no reason for that 403 bridge to be a highway into Westdale. It breaks down into one lane before long anyways!

As for bikes into downtown - the two way separated bike lane should continue from Westdale all the way to Bay - or even James. There are more than enough lanes. We did just fine with two entire lanes missing back when the construction was taking up the right lane at the same time that the left was taken out of commission at Hess.

The city is clearly OK with losing a lane to Darko's burned out apartment building, but giving a lane to cyclists is simply not on the table? Pathetic.

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By Askin' Is All (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2012 at 11:53:53 in reply to Comment 76113

"The easy solution here is to make King two way all the way from Westdale to Dundurn, and include proper bike lanes. The highway entrances would need a proper signalized intersection."

With a ramp on either side of King at the 403 bridge (east to Toronto, west to Brantford), would you run eastbound lanes right up the middle? If so where would LRT lines be located? I'm confident that there's enough lane capacity, but I'm just a little unsure how this might work (Main would probably be a similar proposition).

The bike lanes are the easy part, it seems to me.

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By moylek (registered) - website | Posted April 22, 2012 at 15:33:20 in reply to Comment 76120

With a ramp on either side of King at the 403 bridge (east to Toronto, west to Brantford), would you run eastbound lanes right up the middle?

I don't understand the confusion. A two-way King Street bridge would be like like the Guelph line overpass in Burlington: East- and West-bound lanes in the usual places and a stop light for making left-hand turns onto the 403 to Brantford.

This is not innovation. There are examples all around us (except anywhere near the West end of Hamilton).

Comment edited by moylek on 2012-04-22 15:36:08

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted April 22, 2012 at 13:55:59 in reply to Comment 76120

In this city, everything is "impossible". Except, you know, building an entire highway on the escarpment. Or building a cloverleaf at 5 and 6 to replace a light that never makes you wait more than one cycle... Of course reconfiguring these ramps is 100% possible and not even that big a deal. Both ramps would come to the same light - the same way it works at 99.999999% of highway interchanges across the entire continent:

Before: King Ramps Before

After: King Ramps After

Comment edited by seancb on 2012-04-22 13:58:43

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By Askin' Is All (anonymous) | Posted April 23, 2012 at 09:00:49 in reply to Comment 76123

Dim bulb here. Obviously if we re-engineer the ramps it's a different story. Have they finalized budgets for repair on those bridges? If they're not too far along, we should be able to tweak it in the right direction.

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By moylek (registered) - website | Posted April 23, 2012 at 13:15:32 in reply to Comment 76130

If they're not too far along, we should be able to tweak it in the right direction.

Yes, well that's the little tragedy here, isn't it? Or is it farce? Here was the golden chance - the bridge was being partly closed; traffic was being shunted and rerouted; and there was some one-way-conversion momentum.

And I didn't hear a ghost's peep of whisper of the notion being officially considered.

Comment edited by moylek on 2012-04-23 13:16:54

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted April 23, 2012 at 21:23:44 in reply to Comment 76141

Did anyone hear anything about this happening before they started construction? Was there a public consultation? Or did the MTO and city collectively decide what was best for us, for us?

It's an honest question... I heard nothing, but maybe I wasn't paying attention in the right places.

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By Chevron (anonymous) | Posted September 09, 2012 at 09:24:25 in reply to Comment 76174

Considering that highway jurisdiction seems to trump all else, I suspect it's the MTO involved in the design more than the city, but Infrastructure Ontario would also be involved. IO's tendering process means that there's minimal opportunity for public input (look at the intensely secretive design process of the Pan Am Stadium, for example... and in that case, the City was kicking in $60 million) and possibly none at all.

Planning on the west end 403 bridges dates back to the DiIanni era. It was scheduled in 2006 planning documents, but once you factor in the capital budgeting process for infrastructure work, it'd be earlier still:

From Southern Ontario Highways Program 2006 to 2010
Page 23: Central Ontario Rehabilitation 2007

Highway: 403
Status: New
Location: King St./Main St./York Blvd./Aberdeen Ave., Hamilton
Description: Bridge rehabilitations
Target Completion: 2008

And with west-end work inching to a close…

“The Ontario transport ministry will begin its tendering process to upgrade the last three bridges along the Queen Elizabeth Way through Stoney Creek early next year.

Ministry spokesperson Astrid Poei said bids to repair the Grays Road, Winona Road, andFruitland Road bridges will be issued sometime in January or February, 2013. She said the work is scheduled to be complete by the end of the year. The costs of the bid could not be revealed.

Those tenders had been scheduled to be issued in July 2012, but have been pushed back until next year. Poei said it was because the ministry wanted to complete further designs on the bridges.”

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By ScreamingViking (registered) | Posted April 22, 2012 at 13:35:20 in reply to Comment 76120

The current LRT concept has the tracks crossing the 403 on a dedicated bridge between King and Main - the route switches from King to Main in Westdale. So in terms of 2-way traffic on the King bridge, LRT would not be a complication.

The ramp to the Brantford-bound 403 would need to be reconfigured to allow a right turn from King heading east - it's far too sharp the way it is now. Perhaps it could even be moved to the west side of the highway?

The Toronto-bound ramp would require a similar reconfiguration to make it more perpendicular to King (or add a second entry just for use by eastbound street traffic)

If done right, and depending on the amount of traffic that would use the ramps from the new directions, traffic lights may not even be required (I think you would need two) - perhaps a middle turning lane would suffice. But this idea would change the dynamic of all three interchanges somewhat (King, Main, Aberdeen) so it would have to be analyzed.

Comment edited by ScreamingViking on 2012-04-22 13:39:02

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By Hunter (anonymous) | Posted April 21, 2012 at 13:39:32

The best part about this for me is that Dundurn will now become walkable. Right now there is no buffer zone between the sidewalk and traffic. Dangerous and uncomfortable. The bike lanes will provide some breathing space.

I hope McHattie can discuss adding some pedestrian entrances to the Fortinos plaza. Just landscaping the SW corner of King and Dundurn would make a huge difference. Maybe pave the 19th century mud path that everyones uses...

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 21, 2012 at 17:10:46

This area of King/Main/Dundurn might be Hamilton's wackiest spot for competing design interests. It's a very dense, walkable neighbourhood which means there are gobs of pedestrians, transit users and cyclists all trying to navigate this Upper James-esque road/sidewalk cross section that was rammed through the neighbourhood decades ago. I'm guessing there is nowhere else in Hamilton where a purely suburban road/sidewalk network is used with so many pedestrians,cyclists and transit riders. Imagine the life that could be brought back to this corridor with a proper urban design framework that fits the age and density of the neighoburhood? Suddenly the run-down buildings on King sitting there could be brimming with business, apartments/condos and street life, patios, cafes etc.... too bad the Chamber of Commerce is opposed to this sort of vibrant business district being created in Hamilton.

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By moylek (registered) - website | Posted April 22, 2012 at 10:16:39

Making King St W two-way from Dundurn to Westdale seems so ... doable. Could we do it?

I would love to have two ways out of Westdale, both when driving and when biking. And it could only be good for that stretch of King W between Paradise and the bridge to not be part of a highway off-ramp, which is what it is now, more or less.

There would be howls of outrage, I'm sure. But all one would need to do is point to Burlington, where every major bridge with on and off ramps has lights and right/left-hand turns. And they would only need to be on-ramps, not off ramps.

And if the city was feeling leery, well, the good thing is that it would be undoable, too. We're talking about some traffic lights, some paint and a bit of concrete/asphalt work at King W and Paradise in Westdale.

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By bikehounds (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2012 at 11:31:13 in reply to Comment 76117

If only we could force these kinds of decisions with a 500 signature petition too!

I would like for the traffic department to give us a list of exactly who a project like this would be BAD for. Is there a single person who would suffer? Other than the traffic engineers who created this mess? Aren't we willing to sacrifice their egos for the benefit of every other resident in the city?

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By matthewsweet (registered) | Posted April 23, 2012 at 17:20:15

Good on Public Works for doing something that I think most would have deemed impossible: removing a vehicular lane of traffic in favour of bike lanes.

As for the King St bridge over the 403, any decisions regarding design and re-engineering lay with the MTO, not the City of Hamilton, as it is a bridge over a provincial freeway and therefore owned by the province / MTO. If the province isn't interested in changing the layout or operation of the bridges, two way conversion becomes a whole lot trickier.

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By Mike (registered) | Posted April 23, 2012 at 20:57:34

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By DBC (registered) | Posted April 24, 2012 at 08:49:04 in reply to Comment 76170

"Traffic snarled city."

I'm sorry, but I thought we were talking about Hamilton.......ah, that's right, I forgot. Having to wait at single red light anywhere in the lower city = snarled traffic = gridlock.

Gimme a break.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 24, 2012 at 09:49:49

Traffic snarled city?? We are talking about Hamilton right? You can walk out into the middle of Cannon, York or Main, set up a tripod and snap a round of pics with no worry of getting hit by a car every 3 minutes. In most cities 'rush hour' is the slowest, most congested time of day. Here it literally is 'rush hour' as everyone has ample space to do 60 through downtown on their way out of town. It's a veritable Beijing out there.

Comment edited by jason on 2012-04-24 09:50:44

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