Thursday is the last day to vote for the station locations of Hamilton's upcoming bike share program, but some winners have already emerged from the online suggestion and voting process.
After almost three weeks of online voting, the Dundurn Historic Site station at York Boulevard and Inchbury Street leads the race with 48 votes as of Wednesday afternoon. The location at the corner of James and Mulburry Streets is currently at second place with 40 votes, followed by the Hunter Go Terminal location with 37 votes.
The location at James North and Strachan, just north of the future site of another GO station is also collecting votes.
Cycling enthusiasts have suggested over 90 locations, most of them are scattered throughout downtown Hamilton. There are also a handful of smaller clusters at McMaster University, Mohawk College and downtown Dundas.
The public's input didn't surprise Peter Topalovic, project manager of transportation demand management with the City of Hamilton. As predicted, Ward 1, 2, 3 and 13 are home to most of the suggested locations, he said.
“There are a lot of people living in the area, there is a cycling network and, most importantly, you have a high transit ridership,” Topalovic told CBC Hamilton.
The demand for a bike sharing program in these neighbourhoods comes mostly from residents who want to get to transit terminals or get around the neighbourhoods without a vehicle, he added.
“It's not just cycling initiative. It's a transit initiative,” he said.
Public input leads to valuable data
City councillors voted last December to spend $1.6 million to implement the bike share program. Operated by U.S. company Social Bicycles, the program will be launched early this summer.
The deadline for public input is Thursday. There are several ways to vote:
- Vote on my.socialcyclist.com.
- Vote through Social Cyclist's app, available for free on iTunes and Google Play stores.
- Provide suggestions via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Provide suggestions via phone at 905-526-2424 ext. 2553.
For those who wish to vote in person, there are also physical maps posted at the City Hall, the farmer's market and some bike shops around the city. The public can place stickers on the maps to indicate their preferred spots and they will be added to the online votes.
Once the voting ends, planners at Social Bicycles and the city will select 80 final locations for the stations, where people can pick up and drop off bikes.
Soliciting public input both online and offline not only creates a buzz for the bike share program, it also helps planners collect valuable data to better design the network, Topalovic said.
For example, many cyclists have share their travel routes, which will help planners place the bike stations strategically to accommodate their travel plans.