What is a Bicycle Boulevard?
Also known as “slow streets,” “quiet streets,” or “neighbourhood greenways,” bicycle boulevards are low volume streets that offer an opportunity to improve corridor safety by calming vehicular traffic for people living in the area, including people walking and cycling while improving the livability of the neighbourhood.
A bike boulevard uses signage, pavement markings, intersection treatments, speed control and traffic diversion to help create a safe and welcoming street. Access for local vehicles is maintained but cut through traffic is discouraged.
The concept of a bicycle boulevard along Pearl-Kent was originally identified through the 2018 Ward 1 Participatory Budget process. There was also a volunteer-led Jane’s Walk here in 2019. Bike boulevards are identified as part of the city’s COVID-19 Recovery Mobility Plan and Cycling Master Plan.
What is the Breadalbane-Jones Bike Boulevard Pilot?
What Problem(s) is it trying to Solve?
Kirkendall residents have shared their concerns about speeding cars and trucks throughout the neighbourhood. Also, residents have long advocated for safer, connected and more convenient pedestrian and cycling routes.
This important north-south corridor provides an alternative to Locke through the Kirkendall neighbourhood as it intersects with the east-west cycling routes of Charlton and Herkimer.
The project limits for this study include Pearl and Kent, between Amelia and Canada, along with the two short connections along Canada and Hunter to connect to Locke.
- Review public and stakeholder comments
- Review and finalize design based on feedback
- pilot implementation in 2022
- ongoing adaptation
Questions from the Q&A portion of the presentation
Are bike boulevards allowed in the City of Hamilton?
Bike boulevards are identified in the City’s COVID-19 Recovery Mobility Plan. Additionally, the Pearl-Kent pilot is part of the updated City of Hamilton’s Cycling Master Plan and Transportation Master Plan Update. Extensive public consultation informed both plans.
The City of Hamilton declared a climate emergency. Efforts to contain greenhouse gas emissions include creating safe, connected opportunities for residents to move around the city by foot, bike and public transit.
Hamilton City Council has also unanimously supported the principles of Vision Zero which require us to look out for the best interests of vulnerable road users, including pedestrians and cyclists. This project is in alignment with the goals and objectives of the Vision Zero commitment.
How will this impact snow removal?
It will not impact snow removal. The City of Hamilton will make any adjustments to the snow removal program according to the plans.
Why are the two connections needed to Locke Street (Hunter and Canada)?
The Hunter and Canada connections allow cyclists to access the broader cycling network, including the bike lanes on Locke Street. The Cycling Master Plan identifies Hunter (westbound) and Canada (eastbound) as signed, on-street bike routes between Locke and Queen. Only pavement wayfinding arrows and signage are planned along with Canada and Hunter, and parking will be unchanged.
Cyclists travelling northbound in the contraflow lane on Pearl can use Hunter (westbound) to access the existing Locke bike lanes or use Canada (eastbound) to access the Hunter Street protected lanes east of Queen Street.
For the cyclists wanting to go southbound on Pearl, cyclists arriving from the west can turn onto Canada from Locke, travel to the bridge over the tracks, and then access the bike boulevard southbound. Similarly, cyclists travelling from downtown can use Hunter to access Pearl.
One of the longer-term goals of the project is to continue the bike boulevard further north to York Boulevard. These connections to Locke are an interim measure for the bike boulevard. At this time, we are waiting to coordinate work with the newly formed LRT Office.
The pavement along this route and through to York is generally poor, which is a huge problem for cyclists. Will the street paving be upgraded as part of this project?
There is no resurfacing or reconstruction planned as part of the pilot. Future water-related work is planned for the Strathcona section of Locke, and this will offer an opportunity for repaving.
When will the northern portion of the project be undertaken, Canada to York?
The northern section between Canada and York is phase 2 of this project, and it is a priority. The design work for Phase 2 needs to be coordinated LRT office to make sure that the bicycle crossing at King is safe and consistent with the LRT plans. With the LRT Memorandum of Understanding recently signed, we will be reaching out to the new LRT Office to coordinate the designs. Additional public participation opportunities will happen related to this work.
How exactly will the cyclists travelling south out of HAAA cross Herkimer to the contraflow bike lane?
The responsibility is on cyclists to safely negotiate the short crossing across Charlton from the HAAA to the short bike lane. The City is not able to provide a dedicated crossing because it is close to the intersection and the orientation of the historic HAAA building.
Do the traffic circles use any additional space? How do the traffic circles enhance safety for pedestrians, especially children, as this is a primary route for children walking? Are the traffic circles cement, asphalt or planting? Do the circles bring traffic any closer to the homes?
One of the complaints we often hear of 4-way stops is that vehicles aren’t stopping or only doing a rolling stop. The primary purpose of traffic circles is to reduce conflict. Residential traffic circles force drivers to slow down to navigate around the feature. Slower movement can enhance safety outcomes for vulnerable users. In terms of what the materials are, there are different options. During the pilot evaluation, the feature will be temporary, and a permanent feature could be made of cement or asphalt with greenery to beautify the space.
It seems like the plan, so far, has minimal impact on reducing street parking spots. Is that the case and will that attempt continue with Phase 2 between Canada and York?
We know that parking is at a premium in this neighbourhood. Many of the homes do not have driveways. We have conducted parking counts throughout the last few months, which told us parking is limited. As we look to move to the second phase, the goal is to try and preserve on-street parking, whenever possible
Is there going to be a separation between the pedestrian path and the bike street path in the HAAA?
As you know, HAAA will be redeveloped, and the two project teams have been in discussions. The goal will be to separate the playgrounds from the cyclist pathways.
Has anyone tried to ride the route from Bold to HAAA? The hill is very steep, and Bike Share bikes do not provide gearing. The same applies going from Bold north on Pearl to the bridge.
We fully acknowledge that those are steep hills. We are trying to think about safety at the intersections. Would you rather climb on a quieter street where speeds are managed, or would you want to do it on a busier street? We believe this corridor does provide good connectivity and a slower, safer place for cyclists to climb.
Do traffic circles bring traffic closer to the homes property lines?
The traffic circle feature would be in the middle of the intersection. Vehicles would be restricted to the road space that exists today. Modelling is done to ensure vehicles can safely navigate the feature without any encroachment into the sidewalks or crosswalks.
Any thoughts on reducing the amount of vehicular traffic on the route? Is cut-through traffic an issue now? I’m just noting that there are no diverters or other new limitations.
Traffic volumes for this corridor were studied and found to be low and fell within the comfortable shared use zone for the Ontario Traffic Manual Book 18, which informs the selection and design of cycling facilities in Ontario. If there are concerns with cut-through traffic, we would like to hear them via email or fill out the comment form, and we can do additional study to see if there’s justification for those kinds of measures. Please let us know as much detail as possible (e.g. location, typical time of day).