July 26, 2023

Kitchener to Hamilton - Part 3 (Hamilton)

Over the past few days, I have been writing about last Friday’s 115 kilometre ride from Kitchener to Hamilton. Part 1 focused on Waterloo Region while Part 2 covered the Cambridge to Paris and Hamilton to Brantford Rail Trails. Part 3 is the final installment which will focus on Hamilton.

Cycling in Hamilton

The Hamilton to Brantford Rail Trail ended at Studholme Road which is a quiet residential street. You turn left to get to Aberdeen Avenue.

At Aberdeen Avenue, I was disappointed to see no bike lanes when turning right towards Dundurn Street. While bike lanes were available on the left, the routing would have taken you under Highway 403 which didn’t have any cycling infrastructure. Hamilton should consider adding bike lanes on Aberdeen east of Studholme to provide a more direct connection with Dundurn and maybe as far east as Bay Street.

After turning left onto Dundurn – which I used for only three short blocks – I noticed at least two motor vehicles blocking the northbound bike lane. The southbound bike lane was placed in the door zone which should have been avoided at all costs. PAINT IS NOT INFRASTRUCTURE!

Turning right onto Herkimer Street lead to another piece of confusing infrastructure. The bike lane was placed between the parking and traffic lane on the left side west of Locke Street with a buffer between the bike and parking lanes. While this helps reduce instances of dooring, the two should have been switched around which was done east of Locke Street.

Some protection could have been added here, though there was for a short distance past Queen Street which was silly.

I then turned left onto Bay Street which had a bi-directional bike lane but didn’t have barriers south of Hunter Street.

Here is a picture at Hunter Street showing the barriers.

There was a block right before York Boulevard which had the bike lane closed. Aside from the “cyclists dismount” sign, it was a proper cyclist detour. Something which Toronto could use more of.

It was unfortunate York Boulevard had only painted bike lanes going through Downtown Hamilton. Would be great if those could get upgraded in the future.

At the end of the bike lane, I turned left and stopped at Merit Brewing for an obligatory post-ride beer and some fries. The fries were salty, but did come with your pick of dips so I chose spicy mayo and blueberry hot sauce (which is their hottest). I had their Chanan seasonal IPA which was pretty nice with a citrusy aroma, but they didn’t have any cans to take home. Therefore, I grabbed a can each of Yes Coast and Young Rebel IPA’s. I stopped Strava at this point since West Harbour GO was only 850 metres away.

The last time I biked to Hamilton six years ago, the closest GO station was in Aldershot which would have meant an additional distance biking. Fortunately, GO Transit started running hourly trains to West Harbour in August 2021 which makes Downtown Hamilton more accessible by transit. West Harbour GO station has an enclosed bike parking facility which was a nice touch.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I found riding from Kitchener to Hamilton to be a decent car-free getaway. However, there are some things that need to be improved to make this trip more accessible such as extending GO train service to Kitchener on weekends and adding cycling infrastructure on that gap on Courtland in Kitchener next to the LRT line. And of course, fill in some gaps in Hamilton’s bikeway network such as Aberdeen Avenue.

After sharing this post, I was informed by Mark Anderson on Twitter about a good alternate to using Aberdeen. There is a trail south of that street which leads to Glenside and on to Dundurn.

No comments:

Post a Comment