Hamilton is an industrial port city in Southern Ontario, located on Lake Ontario in the Greater Golden Horseshoe region. It is the 10th most populous city in Canada.
The City of Hamilton’s Transportation Master Plan (TMP) update was published in October 2018 which will carry the city through to 2031. Complete Streets is targeted as one of the main areas of review in the updated plan. Additionally, Complete Streets was identified by 70% of public respondents as being the right policy direction for the City, and was consistently mentioned as one of the top five priority areas in the TMP. The plan recognizes the importance of the role of Complete Streets in creating a healthier and more sustainable city.
The Hamilton Urban Official Plan (2014) uses the term in Chapter C, City-Wide Systems and Designations, under Section 4: Integrated Transportation Network. In a subsection entitled “Urban Design and Complete Streets,” it states:
“The road network shall be planned and designed to: a) be shared by all modes of transportation; b) maximize safety for all uses; and, c) minimise lifecycle environmental impacts” (C.4.2.12).
Cannon St. in Hamilton, Ontario was one of nine Complete Streets projects profiled in TCAT’s Complete Street Transformations book.
Cannon Street is a truck route, but as downtown neighbourhoods transition to better accommodate residents, a road diet has defined space for cyclists and sheltered pedestrians on existing sidewalks. A well-organized campaign by area residents, called “Yes, We Cannon,” was instrumental in changing the proposed design from on-street bike lanes to the separated cycle track that was installed. The cost of the project was $710,000, and it took 5 years to complete (2009-2014), from first being identified as a priority in the Cycling Master Plan, to the end of construction.
- Road diet reduced four motor vehicle traffic lanes to three west of Victoria Ave, and from three to two east of Victoria Ave
- A two-way cycle track added between Sherman Ave and Hess St, and separated from the one-way traffic lanes by planters and bollards Bike boxes for cyclists turning right have been added at certain intersections.
In 2015, the average number of cyclists per day was 498, with 582 being counted on the busiest day. The City of Hamilton did not perform cycling counts on Cannon Street prior to the installation of the cycle track because it was not deemed to have any significant cycling traffic at all.
The City of Hamilton has a Pedestrian Mobility Plan (2012), which was written to be consistent with a future Complete Streets policy that would consider all users. It is based on routine accommodation as an implementation framework, creates a hierarchy of pedestrian zones based on land uses, and offers a handbook of design solutions, all of which one would expect to find in a Complete Streets policy. It acknowledges that a comprehensive policy is the end goal; for example, in its Routine Accommodation section, it states:
“In the Pedestrian Mobility Plan, routine means “a series of actions regularly followed”, while accommodation means “the process of adapting or adjusting to making pedestrian mobility safer and more interesting” (this is consistent with Complete Streets approach). Routine accommodation occurs when City operational, infrastructure, planning, legislative and communication decisions also improve pedestrian infrastructure when streets, services and roads are maintained and renewed throughout the City. “Routine Accommodation” is a process where changes to improve pedestrian streetscapes utilizing a range of solutions are regularly employed on each and every project as a matter of course. This decision making process is designed to implement changes during reconstruction, ongoing maintenance, streetscape enhancements or other capital projects. Decisions are appropriate, objective, traceable and defensible” (Section E.4, p. 12).