Province gives Hamilton $295K for new Bay Street cycling route

Hamilton is looking to build a 2.3 kilometre cycling route on Bay Street with new money from the provincial government.

But the city still has to agree to pay for half of the $600K project

The province is giving the City of Hamilton $295,000 to build a 2.3 km cycling route along Bay Street to connect the downtown to the waterfront. (Chris Seto/CBC)

The province has given the city of Hamilton $295,000 for a new 2.3-kilometre cycling route on Bay Street.

But city council still has to agree to fork over the other half of the $600,000 project.

On Tuesday, Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca pledged $295,000 to fund the creation of the new route. It will run from near the base of the Escarpment, through downtown and connect to the waterfront with painted bike lanes, physically separated bike lanes and a bike path alongside the road.

The provincial money will come through the Ontario Municipal Cycling Infrastructure Program.

But city councillors will have to agree to pay for the other half, likely in the capital budget due early next year, said Martin White, acting director of energy, fleet and traffic, told CBC Hamilton. If it doesn't, the $295,000 stays with the project.

"It's council's prerogative," White said of whether council agrees to pay for the project.

Del Duca made the funding announcement at Hammer City Cycle bike shop on Upper James Street.

MPP Ted McMeekin and Mayor Fred Eisenberger were also present, commenting on how this plan will impact the city.

"Cycling is very important to the City of Hamilton," said the mayor. "We've moved from 70 km in 2007 to about 180 km now, in terms of cycle track in various parts of our city. And we need to do more."

Eisenberger said the application for this cycling route along Bay Street was made some time ago. "It will be a network connecting downtown to Bay and then to the GO Transit locations. That's the proposed location and that's likely where it will be."

Cycling for recreational and transportational uses

In a report to city councillors, White said the project will be two-way bike lanes along the west curb of Bay Street between Cannon Street and Aberdeen Avenue, with some portions similar to the Cannon cycle track. 

North of Cannon, the route will be conventional bike lanes along both sides of Bay Street. The route will end at the existing bike lanes on the Bay Street bridge beside the new West Harbour GO station.

The infrastructure program is connected led by the province's CycleON strategy, a 20-year vision to grow cycling networks across the province.

MPP McMeekin said Hamilton has some of the oldest and most active cycling clubs in the province, and a proud cycling heritage.

The SoBi program, the Hamilton bike share, is now one year old, he said. It has more than 10,000 people signed up and roughly 8,000 active users.

With files from Samantha Craggs