Ontario Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca was in Hamilton Tuesday to announce provincial funding of $295,000 over two years, for matching city funds to construct 2.3-kilometre bike lanes ending at the new GO station and connecting to bike lanes on the bridge over to the waterfront Bayview Park.
Detailed design for the $600,000 project will be done this year, with construction set for 2017, said Daryl Bender, the city’s cycling project manager.
The lanes will have different designs on different Bay Street sections, Bender explained further.
In the middle, where Bay crosses the busy Main and King streets, the lanes will mimic the two-lane Cannon Street bikeway on one side of the road, including knock down sticks separating cyclists from traffic. (The three-kilometre Cannon lanes cost just under $900,000).
On a south section to Aberdeen, painted bike paths beside the sidewalks will be the norm. The point from where Bay North becomes a two-way street will be a bike lane in each direction in one of the two current northbound lanes.
The project does not affect the city’s LRT plans, city traffic operations manager Martin White said. “They are separate entities. The bike lane will exist regardless of anything that might happen (with the LRT).”
City LRT spokesperson Kelly Anderson said the LRT team is aware of the bike lane funding. The recommended LRT route will go to a city subcommittee on May 2.
In the funding announcement at Hammer City Cycle on Upper James Street, Del Duca said, “We know cycling is a healthy and sustainable way to get around.”
Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Ted McMeekin, MPP for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale, and Mayor Fred Eisenberger also attended.
Eisenberger said afterwards the city’s funding request for the Bay Street bike lanes was made before demands for bike lanes multiplied on the Claremont Access when cyclist Jay Keddy, 53, was struck and killed while riding his bike up it on Dec. 2.
“This one (Bay Street lanes project) predated that one,” Eisenberger said. “I don’t think we’re at liberty to change gears on that.” He reiterated that city staff is examining bike lane possibilities for the Mountain accesses.
Eisenberger said the city recognizes cycling is important to Hamiltonians, citing an increase from 70 km of bike lanes in 2007 to 180 km today.
Cycling enthusiast Ned Nolan, reached after the announcement, said the news is exciting.
“There is a substantial need for a safe and protected cycling route travelling north-south from the Escarpment to the waterfront and back,” he said. “I personally believe that Bay Street is the perfect place for such a route.”
McMeekin pointed to the success of the city’s 750-bicycle SoBi bike sharing system.
“It’s one of the most used bike sharing systems in Ontario,” he said, adding “Over 10,000 people have signed up for it and there are 8,000 users.”
Eisenberger added SoBi had 220,000 uses in its first year.
Source: The Hamilton Spectator