Bike routes in the city, whether they are signed or not, should not be on high volume traffic roads. High volume roads can create a safety concern for cyclists as faster cars try to pass them. Some vehicles don’t respect the cyclist’s presence in the lane and will squeeze past a bicycle in the same lane, passing the cyclist very closely. Alternate options should be considered by creating ‘signed’ bike routes on lower volume roads in the area which readily available in most cases
These series of articles will take a look at each of the various routes to look at possible alternatives.
Barton St E (from Ferguson to Walter)
Barton St E is a four lane multi-direction roadway which is a major thoroughfare and is very busy. According to the 1999 Traffic Volumes Report the road sees an average of 800 – 1200 cars per hour during peak periods with some 15,000 – 22,000 cars over the whole of the day. Additionally this road is also a full-time truck route through the city with 200 – 350 truck trips per day. Barton St is also home to the third busiest bus route in the city with seven buses an hour during peak periods. Clearly this does not make for comfortable and safe cycling. The bike route is 5.6km long.
Alternate pathways for this route are problematic as there are few east-west streets which run parallel to Barton Street for any comparable length. One signed bike route is located on King William St running from James St until Ferguson St where the route ends, continuting onto Ferguson. There are no other bike routes travelling east-west through lower Hamilton other than Barton Street and at the base of the escarpment.
Dunsmure Road is an ‘unsigned’ bike route east of Gage Ave and this route would serve as a preferred bike path by joining this road with with King William St. The path could continue east on King William St and travel north on Steven, east on Wilson, south on Sherman and finally east on Dunsmure. All of these roads have significantly less traffic than the alternative on Barton St. Returning west the path would travel via Cannon St and Wentworth St.
View Barton – Unsigned Bike Route Alternative in a larger map
In the coming weeks I’m going to examine the other high volume unsigned routes to identify alternative routes. Below are a few examples of the routes that I’m going to examine.
- Concession St (from Belwood to East 33rd)
- Upper Wentworth St (from Fennell to Limeridge)
- Upper Ottawa St (from Limeridge to Rymal)
- King St E and King St W (from Ferguson to Dundurn)
- Main St W (from Longwood to Locke)
Additionally as I have a passion for cycling in our city I plan to also look at the network of ‘signed’ bike routes to identify opportunities to improve the signing presence and ease of use to cyclists.