Dundas Sydenham Road Cycle Routes catering to a wide range of cyclists
City of Hamilton staff said they wanted to open the Sydenham Road hill to more cyclists, in response to early community feedback that the planned cycling infrastructure up and down the hill was not perhaps not the best use of the $1.7 million funding.
“Sydenham Hill has long been used by sport cyclists,” said town spokeswoman Michelle Shantz. “The aim of adding dedicated lanes and separate cycling facilities is to open up this route as an option for people with a wider range of cycling skills.”
Shantz said the project did not include sidewalks. She said implementation is slated for this year, despite some concerns in the community about ongoing work as King Street West-Hwy closes. 8 Escarpment access for road and bridge reconstruction until December 2022. Sydenham to Harvest Rd and Hwy. 5 is a key detour during the highway. 8 closure.
“Traffic impacts are expected to be minimal and short-lived,” Shantz said.
Dundas resident and cyclist Will Fisher provided detailed feedback to city transportation staff in a 2,000-word letter summarizing concerns about the proposed bike lanes.
He said he had not heard from city staff, beyond acknowledging his bid, as of Jan. 15.
But when told of the city’s response that the aim is to open Sydenham Hill to a wider range of cyclists, Fisher said road sports cyclists currently using Sydenham should be consulted , as well as other cyclists to see if they are interested in using Sydenham’s cycle paths.
“I’d be curious to hear their thoughts,” Fisher said.
Fisher compared installing cycle lanes on Sydenham in hopes of encouraging a wider user base to install a staircase on Mount Everest for the same purpose.
“People going up and down right now don’t need it,” he said.
Fisher said he understands the project is well-intentioned and the idea is to encourage cycling, but strategic thinking is needed to consider different approaches.
“Each approach will have implications, and it’s important to determine which option provides the best outcome for users,” he said. “Consulting with various members of the community, and specifically the cycling community, will help to build a comprehensive list of concerns like the ones I’ve expressed that might otherwise be overlooked.”
Fisher has also been in touch with local cycling group Dundas Rides, and he noted the group has asked the city to prioritize bike lanes on Old Ancaster Road and Ogilvie Street to improve safety and connectivity.
Dundas Rides formally asked the city in November to speed up recommended cycling infrastructure on Old Ancaster and Ogilvie, near Dundana School and the Hamilton-Brantford Rail Trail, to Hatt Street – following a hit-and-run collision where a cyclist was injured.
“It also seems like a more reasonable location for this kind of infrastructure to me,” Fisher said.
William Oates, a member of Dundas Rides and Hamilton Cycling Committee, said cycling infrastructure on Ogilvie and Old Ancaster or York Road would be used more frequently by vulnerable cyclists than infrastructure on Sydenham.
“It seems like spending so much money on this cycling infrastructure would be a big wasted opportunity,” Oates said.
In his letter to city staff, Fisher says providing safe bike lanes and bike parking at Dundas outlets will encourage new cyclists and provide opportunities to try riding to local destinations instead of to drive.
“I can’t help but keep thinking of other ways to spend the $1.7 million budget that will provide safer infrastructure for cycling in areas that need it more than Sydenham,” Fisher says. .
STORY BEHIND THE STORY: We wanted to know more about the impact of planned cycling infrastructure on Sydenham Road.