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Let’s Green the Cannon Cycle track (literally)!

Let'sGreenCannon

There will be two community tours (cycling tour starts 5:30 at Cannon/James and walking tour starts 5:00pm at Cannon/Mary).

Residents will be stopping at there of the most unsafe intersections (Cannon at Mary/Wentworth/Sherman) and participating in three activities focussing on (green paint, friendly streets & stronger arterial commuter routes).

When: Tuesday July 25th (from 5-7pm)

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 pain on unsafe intersections on the Cannon Cycle Track. Stay tuned for a petition that is in the works!

 

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Friendly Streets Launch

20170712_111926The predicted rain and thunder stayed away this morning, so that over 40 community members could come together at the Hamilton General Hospital (corner of Barton and Victoria) to celebrate the official launch of the Friendly Streets pilot project. Amidst the roar of rumbling, speeding trucks down Victoria, we communicated the message to friends, supporters, community stakeholders, and media that our city is eager for calmer, friendlier streets to support cycling and walking. We heard from Councillor Green (ward 3) and Councillor Farr (ward 2) about some of the work the city is doing to this end. Rebekah Jackson-Gravely, a Hamilton Health Sciences employee and liaison with Smart Commute, shared a few words concerning some of her efforts at the hospital to promote carpooling, secure bike parking, and more. Then Beasley resident, John Neary, offered some comments concerning the issues that this location faces when it comes to active transportation, including the lack of connectivity of infrastructure to support these modes of travel. After refreshments, we headed out in two groups to do a street audit of the area.

Street Audit

Media coverage here:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/can-friendly-streets-be-created-where-traffic-is-noisy-dangerous-and-blustering-1.4201787

https://www.thespec.com/news-story/7419872-project-aims-to-fill-friendliness-gap-for-pedestrians-cyclists-on-hamilton-streets/

 

Friendly Streets – Official Launch

Friendly Streets Hamilton is hosting its official launch on Wednesday, July 12 from 11:00-12:00 to share about the work that we’ve done so far and what we plan to do in coming months. All community members are welcome to join us.

We will meet at the corner of Barton St. and Victoria St. in front of the General Hospital at 11:00, which is within our project area, where project stakeholders will share a few words and light refreshments will be offered. After that, we’ll do a short street audit along Victoria St. towards Birge Ave. to discuss barriers and opportunities for active transportation in this area.

We hope that many can attend! All are welcome to arrive on foot or by bike. If you have any questions, please send an email to friendlystreetshamilton@gmail.com.

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Lessons from Montreal

A Street corner in the Mile End Neighbourhood, Montreal.

Last week, Friendly Streets Hamilton staffer, Beatrice, was in Montreal and had an opportunity to observe some of the neat street design, traffic calming tactics and public art that make this city so great for walking and cycling. Here is what she writes:

Beatrice. Feeling fly.

Okay, so I admit it. I’m jealous.  The streets there are vibrant and exciting to walk along (it’s summer, right?). Lots of tree canopy, lots of protected bike lanes (on many occasions, I felt that drivers here seem to anticipate bike riders and  drive accordingly).

I noticed habitat along city streets as well, bump outs for traffic calming and areas where the speed limit is 30km/h. I wandered along Sherbrooke to see the international public art display and got really excited by the fabulous street art, murals over all, that Montreal boasts.

The transit is not as good as ours (ha!) aside from their social bike program which is way cheaper, at $5 a day! (they also don’t do garbage and recycling well, let it be known).

Public Art: Montreal

To be honest, i felt that some parts of Montreal felt like our beloved #hamOnt. There was that authenticity about some of the places I visited that I really enjoyed. I want to see more public art in Hamilton though, and I plan to write about this topic in future posts. But do check out some of the neat art that we have in our environs. Not too shabby huh?

Barton Village Festival 2017

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! IMG_1162People 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.IMG_1157

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?IMG_1159

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!

Getting to work at the General Hospital without the car!

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Summer Intern Grace asks staff what would make them cycle, walk or take public transit to work?

June 21st–We set up at the Hamilton General Hospital  cafeteria to get a better sense of the barriers that employees of this fine establishment face, when it comes to getting to work by bike, walking and on transit.

We also wanted to get direct input from the staff concerning how they feel about the neighbourhood they work in, when it comes to perceived and actual safety.

One man said he wanted to cycle to work but he was afraid of coming down the mountain (we suggested he check out the new City of Hamilton’s new pilot project, the Mountain Climber program, where you can ride up  and down the mountain for free, putting your bike on the racks.

One lady said it was too stressful to come on transit in the morning (she has to take two buses); “easier to drive.” Then at night, when it is late, the same issues occur.

Other comments include:

“Carpooling is sometimes difficult with shifts.”

“Protected bike lanes to get to work would be good.”

There was a sense of unease about the area: “It’s sketchy. I get hit on.” “The area is okay. A bit sketchy.” Most folks said they “got in and out,” no lingering: “I just figured there was a new La Luna.”

More quotes:

“Decades ago, Barton used to be a lively, bustling street with places to go. It’s not safe now.”

“I could walk around on my lunch break but I don’t feel safe,” said one woman.  “I sometimes walk to shoppers though. I like it when there is police presence.”

This lady mentioned that the hospital has a program called Shine Wellness that could do more walkabouts at lunch time, with more walking lunch buddies. “It needs someone to coordinate it. This is a big place.”

One person said she would love to build in walking into her daily routine. She would appreciate more trees (loves to walk around the Juravinski hospital on the mountain because of this).

One person said that he wanted to cycle but didn’t want to arrive sweaty. We let him know about the showers and lockers that the hospital has put in place for this purpose, thanks to the efforts of superstar employee and Smart Commute liaison, Rebekah Jackson-Gravely, who has been working tirelessly to get more employees getting to and from work sustainably since 2005!!

Rebekah has also worked hard to set up carpooling and has recently learned that her carpooling spots at Juravinski are being threatened–looks like parking wants to see this initiative relegated to the third level, away from the first level of prime spots. Sounds kinda punitive doesn’t it?

One doctor and local active transportation activist gives a very clear picture of the challenges faced in attempting to get to work without your car. Here are his thoughts:

1. Walking and cycling aren’t potential transportation modalities only for people who live in the lower city neighbourhoods near HGH. There could also be a first-mile/last-mile solution for people coming from farther away by car or by transit. There is only so much on-site parking at HGH, and there are a number of major bus routes that come close to HGH but don’t go directly past it. Anything that makes it easier to walk or ride a bicycle (maybe a SoBi) from a bus route or a parking lot 500-1500 metres from HGH will make these modes of transportation more viable. Specifically, there is a lot of underused parking around Barton and Wentworth, and the B-line HSR corridor runs 1 km south of HGH. Right now very few people walk or cycle to HGH from the B-line corridor, probably because the north-south streets are so unpleasant.

2. The HSR connections to HGH leave a lot to be desired. The 2 Barton bus connects with the B-line downtown, but the 2 Barton is very slow leaving downtown and for anyone coming from the east it makes no sense to ride all the way west on the B line into downtown and then back east again (coming from the east and connecting to the 2 forces you to go west, north, and then back east again. Even coming from the west it would almost certainly make more sense to ride the relatively fast B-line corridor buses to Victoria and then transfer to a northbound bus than to transfer in the middle of the downtown). The 12 Wentworth bus inexplicably passes HGH northbound along Victoria but not on its southbound leg, which uses Wentworth rather than Wellington, and service on this route is infrequent.

3. There is no direct transit route from Hamilton Mountain. In particular, anyone travelling to/from HGH from the transit terminal at Mohawk College has to take a bus downtown and then transfer to the 2 Barton. If the HSR established a new route from HGH along Wellington/Victoria, the Claremont Access, Upper James, and Fennell to the Mohawk College Transit Terminal, it would provide a nice transit link both to the B-line corridor and to the mountain.

I have to travel fairly often between a number of hospital campuses (McMaster, St. Joe’s Charlton, West 5th, Juravinski, and HGH), and HGH is by far the least transit-accessible. It is also located in the most oppressive physical environment for people approaching on foot or by bicycle.

Clearly, we want employees to travel sans voiture, and many are eager to do so and cut back on parking expenses, but we need to have the best ever transit system in place so that they can do so!

Friendly Streets Hamilton

2 Audits around the General Hospital

In the last couple weeks, we have conducted two street audits around the General Hospital on Barton St. E.

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Mary Sinclair. Barton at Victoria

Both audits (May 31st and June 5th) took us north on Victoria, walking on the west side of the road to Birge St; walked on the south side of Birge St over to Wellington St; walked north on Wellington St about 30m on east side of street; then headed south on Wellington St to Barton St; travelled west on Barton St walking on the north side to Ferguson Ave N; walked north on Ferguson Ave N on the east side of the street to the parking lot of Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre and cut through the parking lot back to Wellington St; crossed at Copeland to the east side of the street walked on Wellington St heading south back to Barton and Barton back to the start outside the hospital. Note: Our June 5th walkabout was attended by Mary Sinclair, a member of City of Hamilton’s Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities. Mary had many insights that we would not normally notice, since, we unlike she, do not get around in a wheel chair.

Observations include the following:

Crosswalks

Barton at Victoria feels very frantic and busy. It needs traffic calming. Is a crossing that allows pedestrians to cross before traffic moves warranted at Barton and Victoria?

Zebra crossings at Barton and Victoria might help (andBarton and Wellington too!).

The bus stop at Barton and Victoria is located further away from the crossing–that is, it is inconvenient for people getting off the bus to have to cross two roads before they reach the hospital.
Many people cross Victoria St. between Barton St. and the entrance to the Victoria parking garage. People are crossing from the Victoria Medical building on Victoria, to the General Hospital, that is, they tend to cross Victoria St. between the lights at Barton and Copeland Ave. This intersection would benefit from a pedestrian calming zone – perhaps a speed bump and a huge striped painted section on the road, or a pedestrian activated cross walk with the overhead X’s.

There are NO traffic lights beyond Barton at Victoria all the way to Burlington St. This is a problem. For Mary, in a wheelchair, to cross over from the hospital on Victoria, she must turn her head to see if the light is red, and then dash across the street to get to 414 Victoria Medical centre.

Victoria and Birge on west side of street – hard to tell where to cross the road as a pedestrian. Wondering if a crosswalk is required on Victoria St N between Barton and Birge to allow people to cross the road (there is a parking lot people park in and then go to the hospital).

Is a crosswalk needed on Wellington St between Copeland and Simcoe St (Jackie Washington Rotary Park is on the west side of Wellington and no signalized crossing for a very long stretch)?

Why isn’t the light at Wellington and Copeland pedestrian activated? Continue reading “2 Audits around the General Hospital”

100 in 1 day: Making Wentworth N. a FriendlyStreet.

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Kids at play. Cars move quickly around the bend!!

June 3rd. Friendly Streets  participated in the 100 in1day of civic engagement.  Our intervention was making Wentworth St. North (at Mars St.) a friendly street for walking and cycling along.

Mars at Wentworth needs a pedestrian crossing because it is heavily used by pedestrians, making their way over from the park to the Eva Rothwell Centre across the road. Apparently, one child was hit a few years ago, crossing the road here.

We called over the many neighbourhood kids playing around in the park, and on the streets. They chalked the sidewalks while we put in a mock pedestrian crossing. We also used orange cones to slow traffic, in particular, slow down cars making a left hand turn onto Mars. The impact was immediate! Cars slowed down and proceeded with caution.

We are now following up with local residents and ward councillor Matt Green on this issue and supporting the efforts that have already been done to help move this forward!

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Kids riding bikes on Wentworth St. North. Cars speed on this street to Burlington St.

Turn Wentworth N. into a #FriendlyStreet @100in1Day Hamilton.

From 2:30 p.m. — 4:30 p.m. on June 3rd, 2017
Join Friendly Streets Hamilton in converting part of Wentworth Street North towards the Eva Rothwell Centre in to a friendly street.

Let’s make this a safe and enjoyable street for walking and cycling through tactical urbanism, street art and imagining where a bike lane and a safe pedestrian crossing, could be added. How can we make the pedestrian crossing by Eva Rothwell, safer for crossing over?

We will start at Eva Rothwell and end at Powell Park for quick refreshments and feedback on our project.

Further details, to be found here.

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