Friendly Streets: Working together towards more walkable, bikeable neighbourhoods is a collaborative initiative between Environment Hamilton and Cycle Hamilton, designed to engage community stakeholders in securing safer cycling and walking conditions in urban Hamilton.
Background Originating as a pilot in 2017, the project targeted Hamilton’s downtown core, in the area surrounding the Hamilton General Hospital and straddling Wards 2 and 3.
In 2018, the project continued to support local leadership for friendly streets in our pilot neighbourhoods of Beasley and Gibson-Landsdale, as well as advanced efforts in the area around the Hamilton General Hospital, now called “The Hospital Zone.” The Hospital Zone is intended to provide safe and accessible travel routes for all community members. We have been exploring alternative pathways for walking and cycling to the hospital and Barton Village BIA. The goal here is to look at ways that we can use existing space in the city, like alleyways, for healthier active travel routes.
In 2018, thanks to a grant from Clean Air Hamilton, we integrated air quality data collection as a new component of the street audits that we’ve been doing in our project area. Community members learned about urban air quality challenges in the downtown core and measured PM2.5 along roads that are frequently used by people who walk and bike. We invited community members to explore and map active travel routes with better air quality.
In 2019, our continued work is made possible by the generous support of the Hamilton Community Foundation. We continue to create a stronger network of community partners who are working together to make our streets safer and more vibrant for people who walk and bike. We began working with a new community (Riverdale) starting in May 2019.
We plan to build upon the Friendly Streets Toolkit by including more resources and to use this tool to help neighbourhood-led working groups in addressing current challenges and barriers to active travel.
In addition to working with Hamilton General Hospital staff to create a “Hospital Zone” that provides safe and accessible travel routes for all community members, we also explore alternative pathways for walking and cycling to the hospital and Barton Village BIA. The goal of this “mini-pilot” is to look at ways that we can use existing space in the city, like alleyways, for healthier active travel routes.
NOTES ON THE PILOT PHASE
From January to December 2017, we explored innovative ways to involve residents of all backgrounds, abilities and age groups in assessing current challenges and barriers to active transportation and re-imagining neighbourhood streets as places that are enjoyable for walking and biking. We aligned project outcomes and recommendations with municipal transportation planning processes in order to influence the design of the neighbourhood streets to best serve community members.
By project end, we built a strong network of community partners, as well as a “tool kit” that identifies the most effective tools to engage and empower people in the creation of more walkable, bikeable neighbourhoods through dialogue, collaboration and action. It includes information, resources, and tools to address community needs and work together to pursue policy and infrastructure solutions.
The toolkit can be accessed here: http://www.cyclehamont.ca/resources/
Note: Our project promotes transportation justice since targeted pilot neighbourhoods include residents who depend on active transportation to move around. We are also focusing efforts on women, seniors, and young people, as these groups are grossly under-represented in the sustainable transportation conversation. The year-long pilot project was made possible by the generous support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation.