Charlton Avenue, Herkimer Street added to city’s growing network

Barry Gray, The Hamilton Spectator New bike lanes are being painted on Charlton Avenue West from James Street South heading west.

Barry Gray, The Hamilton Spectator
New bike lanes are being painted on Charlton Avenue West from James Street South heading west.

One-way streets Charlton Avenue and Herkimer Street in the lower city are being reduced to one lane of car traffic to accommodate new bike lanes.

Although the city says this will increase vehicular traffic slightly on those roads, area residents are happy the changes are expected to slow speeders.

“For us, it’s all positive,” says Durand Neighbourhood Association president Frances Murray.

Work to create the new bike lanes is underway on Charlton, with the markings expected to be completed by Wednesday morning. The city will then start on Herkimer.

The bike lanes will be located between the on-street parking and the curb/sidewalks, explained city cycling project manager Daryl Bender. A metre-wide buffer marking between them will allow space for car door openings without hitting cyclists, he added.

Five on-street parking spots will be lost on Charlton near James Street South.

The bike lanes will connect to existing ones on Dundurn Street South, other local side streets and to the Bay Street South bike lanes planned for 2017.

“We do know we are reducing the capacity for car traffic (by going from two lanes to one),” Bender said of Charlton and Herkimer, but he added congestion is expected to increase only slightly.

Existing automobile volumes on Charlton are about 750 vehicles per hour near James in peak times and 350 per hour in peak times near Locke Street South. Peak volumes on Herkimer are about 800 per hour near James and 200 near Locke.

Area residents couldn’t be happier, according to the Durand Neighbourhood Association’s past president Janice Brown.

“We’re delighted,” she said. The move to one lane of car traffic “will slow traffic down and the neighbourhood is happy about that.”

Some drivers treat Herkimer like a speedway, she said.

Kirkendall Neighbourhood Association president Ned Nolan also said the new bike lanes in the Kirkendall portions of the two streets are welcome.

Many people still feel unsafe to cycle on busy roads, so the new bike lanes “will encourage more people to engage in this healthy, enjoyable, and affordable form of transportation,” he said.

Coun. Aidan Johnson, whose ward includes Kirkendall, said most residents support the bike lanes, with a minority concerned about sharing the roadway and about the one-lane impact when garbage trucks stop to pick up waste.

“I think there will be an adjustment period, but ultimately, people will enjoy the lanes,” he said.

“As a person with a driver’s licence who nonetheless either walks or bikes or takes HSR to City Hall every day, I am very much looking forward to riding to and from work in the new lanes.”

Source: The Hamilton Spectator