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A National Active Transportation Strategy can Reduce Chronic Diseases & Health Care Costs

Source: A National Active Transportation Strategy can Reduce Chronic Diseases & Health Care Costs

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Seniors’ Street Audit: September 20th

Friendly Streets_Barton Library (2)

Seniors’ Street Audit: Wednesday, September 20th at 1pm.

Are you a senior? The Friendly Streets Hamilton Project invites you to tell us what YOU think will make our streets safer for walking (and cycling).

Join us on September 20th at 1pm for a walk around the neighbourhood of King St. East and Ferguson and help us access the walkability of these streets. Your feedback be used to work with city staff and stakeholders in improving the conditions for pedestrians using the area.

Meet: First Place Hamilton. We set off at 1pm. The walk goes until 2pm.
Contact Beatrice and Elise at friendlystreetshamillton@gmail.com or call 905 549 0900 for details.

Jennette Lukasik: “People take the shortest route they can.”

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Jennette Lukasik

This is the start of a series of “Unfriendly Streets Stories” that we want to capture. If you have one to share about your experience, either getting to a solution for your traffic woes or hoping for one, we want to hear it! Email Beatrice or Elise at friendlystreetshamilton@gmail.com 

When it comes to crossing Victoria St N. over to the General Hospital from the parking lot that’s directly on the opposite side of this road, Hamilton resident, Jennette Lukasik says she would like to see something installed, such as a crossing, that allows pedestrians to cross safely at that point, “because that’s what they are going to do.”

It’s unreasonable to expect even able-bodied people to walk the distance to the signalized crossing at Barton at Victoria (which is actually not very safe due to the extremely high volume of traffic at this intersection), “let alone people who are at a disadvantage to being with,” Jennette says. Think seniors, people on crutches, people in wheelchairs, people pushing strollers, etc. “People take the shortest route that they can.”

Jennette wants people to avoid what happened to her husband, Murray, back in February of 2011, at this very spot on Victoria North.

“It was a bright and sunny, cold morning, there was no traffic, it had all stopped at Barton. We started crossing over to the hospital.” That’s when a driver suddenly appeared, and on turning left to Victoria, where they happened to be crossing, looked right, but not left. The driver hit Murray.

“Ironically, they sent an ambulance,” Jennette says. Murray’s leg was fractured: he underwent surgery and spent two months in a hospital bed.

Jennette took action; she phoned the traffic department to get stats on the number of people crossing at this location and to voice her concern, she wrote a letter to the hospital administration: “I suggested they put up a little sign to watch for pedestrians, as they do around schools, asking drivers to look for children.” But nothing has changed. It’s 2017 and the location is every bit as unsafe for pedestrians. And trucks continue to barrel down to Burlington Street at top speed, as if Victoria St. N were a throughway. It seems to Jennette, that to the city, “the flow of traffic is far more important than how it impacts people. But traffic flow shouldn’t take priority.”

 

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“Every time we come to the hospital now, we take the bus because Murray can’t face driving,” Jeanette says.

Today, Murray uses a cane at all times. “It’s changed our lives completely. For a person who had no problems, no arthritis, his quality of life has changed,” Jeanette says. “The accident impacted our children too, they have to help us more.”

Jennette reports that both she and Murray are happy that the Friendly Streets Hamilton project is working towards creating safer, more friendly streets.

Prizes to be Won! #BestRouteToBarton

Friendly Streets launched a social media photo contest last week called #BestRoutestoBarton. We want to know how you get to Barton by foot or by bike, as well as the safest routes to take to get to several destinations. Throughout the month of August, each Wednesday we will announce that week’s theme and invite you to share a photo and tag us on social media.

Week of Aug 16

This week’s theme until Tuesday 22nd: What’s your favourite spot for great food in #BartonVillage? How do you get there by walking or biking? Share a photo for a chance to win a prize!
Winners will also be announced every Wednesday. Prizes include giftcards and swag from Hamilton Bulldogs and Mohawk!

All Prize (include Lush)

You can tweet at us, post on facebook or Instagram for a chance to win!

 

This week’s #BestRoutesToBarton

Which routes do you take to walk or bike in Barton Village? Where would you like to see more bike connectivity? Throughout the month of August, share a photo of your travels to Barton Village using #BestRoutestoBarton for a chance to win a prize! Weekly themes will be announced every Wednesday.

Wed, Aug 16 – #BestRoutestoBarton What’s your favourite spot for great food in Barton Village? How do you get there by walking or biking? Share a photo for a chance to win a prize!

Week of Aug 16

School drop-off zones expose kids to high levels of pollution

A recent study conducted by researchers at McMaster University and the University of Toronto found that students who spend time near designated drop-off or pick-up zones breathe elevated levels of pollution from idling cars nearby. It’s a particular concern for kindergarten students whose outdoor play areas are often near the drop-off zones.

Tackling this issue can be solved by walking your kids to school or biking with them! Besides reducing pollution in front of schools, there are many benefits to encouraging your kids to get to school in an active way so that they are healthier and exposed to fewer harmful particles in the air.

Community initiatives in Hamilton, like Bike for Mike, are inspiring the next generation to get to school by biking. With over 600 bikes provided to elementary students in Hamilton’s North End, the Daily School Ride is a fun and safe way for kids to bike to school. Leaders chaperone the front and rear of the bike train to demonstrate safe riding and ensure that everyone gets to school safely.

A great way to begin biking to school is to set a challenge – bike once a week to start off! Then gradually increase until you are biking every day of the week. Together, we can work together to make school zones safer for everyone.

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Why doctors support bike lanes: they’re healthier for everyone

“Cycling is very effective in promoting good physical and mental health, and it’s infrastructure like protected lanes that makes widespread bike use possible.”

Toronto physicians from Doctors for Safe Cycling wrote a commentary in the Opinion section of the Toronto Star on August 11, 2017, where they advocate for the need to not only build the cycling network in Toronto but to increase the number of bike lanes that protect cyclists from cars by a physical barrier.

Time and again, evidence shows that protected bike lanes increase ridership, have a lower injury rate, and fewer crashes or fatalities. People feel safer when they cycle in a protected lane.

Hamilton’s Cannon Cycle Track is an excellent protected bike lane that is family-friendly and enables residents to commute safely from both the east and west ends of our City. But so far, it’s the only cycle track we have in Hamilton.

There are many other routes in the City that are designated bike lanes, but the lack of physical barriers makes it less safe and increases the vulnerability of those who cycle. As the authors point out: “But that means more than just painting lines on the pavement. It means creating lanes in which cyclists are physically separated from automobiles by “flexi-posts”, raised curbs or planters“.

While the City of Hamilton continues to implement its Cycling Master Plan, we need strong advocates for physically separated bike lanes in order to support community needs, increase safety and overall ridership, and to develop infrastructure solutions.

 

 

Friendly Streets Launches Summer Twitter Campaign: #BestRoutestoBarton

Which routes do you take to walk or bike in Barton Village? Where would you like to see more bike connectivity? Throughout the month of August, share a photo of your travels to Barton Village using #BestRoutestoBarton for a chance to win a prize! Weekly themes will be announced every Wednesday.

Wed, Aug 9 – #BestRoutestoBarton Which route do you take to the General Hospital for walking or biking? Share a photo for a chance to win a prize!

 

Week of Aug 9

Audits: Let’s Green the Cannon Cycle Track!

On Tuesday,  a small group of us walked from Cannon Street at Mary Street to Cannon Street at Sherman Street while another group cycled on the well-used Cannon track itself. We were exploring ways that the track could be made even better for cyclists and pedestrian safety. Participants were invited to evaluate the most unsafe intersections (Cannon at Mary/Wentworth/Sherman) and participate in three activities (green paint, friendly streets & stronger arterial commuter routes).

At the intersection at Cannon at Mary, we observed the following: motorists on Mary rolling on out into the intersection, their heads turned right to the oncoming traffic along this one way street, oblivious to the bike riders coming down the track on the left, in the opposite direction.  There was not even a clearly delineated line at the stop sign, to indicate to drivers where they need to stop. We wondered if there was a way that could draw attention to the fact that there is a bike lane right in front of them! Perhaps a better sign, a painted green line? A really “Dollarama budget” idea? Put planters strategically at the intersection.

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Cannon at Mary

green cannonAcross the road, we observed that the Good Shepard property has opportunity for creating shade by planting trees. There is also space to plant pollinator habitat. There is a lot of parking space that is underused and this site could be a good one for depaving.

Some participants noted that the Dr. Davey Elementary School that is close by on Wilson and children crossing Cannon at Elgin to reach the school, don’t have a safe crossing (there is a crossing guard). Some pointed out that the cycle track offers a buffer for the kids against the traffic.

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Food Basics could use some major shade.
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Cannon at Ferguson

Ferguson N (a two way street) at Cannon has a nice green box and official bike lanes. (these are a lighter pink cobble stones (but they are faded). Someone mentioned how nice it would be to have shelter from the rain for cyclists, as well as washrooms. Someone pointed out that the braille at this corner could be hard on a cane.

At Cannon at Wellington (two way) the intersection felt unsafe. At the Shoppers on Cannon, people pointed out that the entrance to this site is far too wide, and could be narrowed as it very unsafe for cyclists going by on the track. It could use more trees, benches etc.

Cannon at West Avenue N is another way to get straight to the General Hospital by bike, as this street is quiet.

At this point we spoke with a local resident who had a few word to say: Why don’t you ask people instead of taking pictures?  She mentioned that she liked our project since there are so many women who are “driving around on couches, fat as F$#&k!.” She enjoyed the “pretty flowers” and would like to see this type of beautification everywhere in the city.

At Victoria and Cannon, we wondered why a green cycling box was put here, over other locations? How was the decision arrived at? We stopped at “Hospital Alley” which is an alley that runs all the way from Main East to Barton at Victoria– a perfect, car free way to travel to get to the General Hospital IF it was made intentional, with signs, and proper crossover.

Some other observations/notes:

  • One participant said there needed to be more wayfinding signs (ex RBG, downtown etc).
  • Every agreed that at all the intersections, the sharrows were useless, not helpful at all and instead should be replaced by dotted green lines.
  • Luckily, intersections like Emerald and Cannon are not long for crossing over since they are short.
  • St. Brigid school (at Steven) has no flashing light.
  • We ran into talented mural artist, Julianna, who was creating a vibrant art piece at Madison at Cannon.
  • At Cannon at Sanford (Tim Hortons) and Birch and Cannon we thought more trees could be planted.

 

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Cannon at Stanford.

Do you use the Cannon Cycle Track? Please provide feedback through email (info@cyclehamont.ca).

Note: The ask for the campaign is to implement green paint on unsafe intersections on the Cannon Cycle Track. Stay tuned for a petition that is in the works!

Interactive Online Desire Map: Workshop

Friendly Streets Hamilton presents

Interactive Online Desire Map: A hands-on workshop

In this 2 hour long workshop, you will:

-learn how to use our brand new Friendly Streets Desire Map, and share your input on how Hamilton streets can be improved for both walking and cycling.

-Tell us what you think will make our streets more vibrant and enjoyable.

-Learn more about this year-long pilot and how you can get involved to make your streets safer for biking and walking.

When: Thursday, August 3rd
Time: 11.30-1.30pm.
Where: Hamilton Public Library, Barton Branch. 571 Barton St E, Hamilton
Contact: friendlystreetshamilton@gmail.com or call 905 549 0900 for details.

Interactive Map FS