On Saturday June 24, we spent the entire day at Barton Village Festival, which turned Barton St. into a walking and biking paradise with the help of Open Streets Hamilton. Throughout the entire day, residents were able to get to the festival by foot or by bike! Seeing the street closed off to vehicles is one of the most powerful ways for people to re-imagine streets that are friendly for walking and biking.
We spoke with residents in the area about the project and gave them the opportunity to share input about their streets and neighbourhoods. This desire map was quite popular! People were excited to see their street on the map, and loved giving ideas about what could be improved or added to make it safer for active transportation. Lots of people expressed support for the Cannon Cycle Track, but added that more can be done to educate drivers about sharing the road. One person added to the map: “driving schools/drivers should be more aware of people on E-bikes”. Another person said that they just got their driver’s license, but that their formal testing did not include anything about cyclists on the road. Many voiced concern about the intersection at Cannon and Sherman where a safer transition is needed for cyclists when the cycle track ends. The overall enjoyableness of a street was important for people who liked to walk. Some streets, like James St., were thought to be friendly for pedestrians. Areas around Barton/Wentworth were highlighted as spaces where people go often, but that are in need of more seating and shade.
Common suggestions for what people desired for their streets were more bike lanes, trees, park benches, and improved safety on both residential and arterial roads. It was inspiring to hear people share stories about their neighbourhoods and how much they enjoy getting around on foot or bike. More can be done to ensure that all streets are safe!
The street was so lively and filled with people. The streetscape was really transformed – it felt more vibrant and like streets should be for people, not for cars. Entertainers were also exploring the streets by bike! This was definitely one of the highlights of the festival.
A large lawn was also added to the street in front of the library so that people of all ages could play with parachutes or balls and enjoy more green space on the street. Wouldn’t it be great if we could see this more often on #Hamont streets?
Thank you to Rachel Braithwaite from the Barton BIA, and all of the festivals volunteers, for their hard work in organizing the event and for making the day so enjoyable. We loved seeing Barton as a friendly street for people!