Today I woke up early to take part in the Ward 1 Candidates ride. Not that the ride itself was early, but I had discovered the night before that my son had borrowed my bike helmet, and had since lost it, so I needed to head out and grab a new one.
Helmet in hand, I headed out to Dundurn Castle for the start of the ‘leisurely 35 minute ride.”
(I’m not grumpy, I’m squinting)
We started off with a brief description of the ride, and headed down Dundurn to Head Street, then to Breadalbane where we ran into the first wrinkle.
I refer of course to the 403 on ramp just west of Dundurn. We learned that there had been recent discussions between Andrea Horwath’s office, the city and Cycle Hamilton to see if something could be done to improve safety. So far no action had been taken, but we needed to move along.
We had a pleasant ride to the University, where we rested for a moment, and then proceeded back along Main to Dundurn Castle. Crossing Main Street where the bike lane switches to the other side of the street at Paradise, our group got stretched out a bit, and a car nicely stopped for the stragglers in the group to proceed. The SUV behind it was far less forgiving and (because the driver hadn’t been paying attention) screeched to a halt and leaned on the horn. It was a small taste of what bike commuters face on a regular basis.
We made it back to Dundurn Castle for a wrap up and discussion.
I asked if the MTO had been engaged at all in the discussion they had had with the city and Andrea Horwath’s office. Nobody there was aware of the history dating back to Brian McHattie’s time when the MTO had taken a firm stance that they had jurisdiction over the area immediately around the 403 on ramps, and would not tolerate any changes to the street that would impede the flow of traffic onto those ramps. Because I’ve been active on this file since 2012 I was able to offer some historical context. For the record, that’s also the reason why there is no pedestrian crosswalk on the West side of King and Dundurn.
The morning wrapped up, and we all headed our separate ways, but it was nice to see the cycling world up close. I wrote in 2014 how uncomfortable I was riding in our city, and it was nice to hear some of the initiatives Cycle Hamilton was taking to address some of the concerns I wrote about in terms of things like way finding.
If you’re into cycling, and aren’t part of Cycle Hamilton, I’d encourage you to get involved. They’re a dynamic organization with a lot of great people working hard to make our city better.