We’re making room for bikes, pedestrians, transit users, car-poolers in town. We’re Transportation for Liveable Communities (TLC) and we’ve been pushing for the city to make the streets safer and cleaner – and more just – by implementing planning that serves modes other than private automobiles.
Bike lanes on Sterling Street, new bike parking in Westdale, pedestrian-activated lights on Cootes at Sanders Blvd, and the bike path through the west end’s Fortinos parking lot are all signs that our advocacy efforts are having an effect.
Hamilton is slowly becoming a better place to get around without a car. But just looking around, it is clear that much more needs to be done to overcome a deep-seated historical acquiescence to the car, evidenced in the overabundance of one way thoroughfares and lack of cycling infrastructure, only now beginning to be addressed. And you can be certain the movement to get the work done is not politically inspired, it’s an example of TLC’s grassroots activism over several years, pushing for change.
As a working group of OPIRG McMaster, TLC is made up of volunteers from Mac and the community. We’re hosting an annual celebration of “Car Free Day” events with a week of action: Monday, September 19 take a guided trip to beautiful Webster’s Falls in Dundas via the city bus and a hike along stunning trails. Tuesday, S.20 a women-only basic bike repair workshop at OPIRG’s Recycle Cycles (19 Pearl Street North) from 6-9 pm; Wednesday S.21, a cycling tour of the nearby Harbour Waterfront Trail with local historian Brian Henley (meet at McMaster’s Wentworth House at 5 pm.) and a Family Car-Free Drive-In movie night (without cars) at Gage Park Bandshell (Gage and Cumberland): The Triplets of Belleville is the feature, films start at dusk. Thursday September 22 (Car Free Day) is a day for local street parties as neighbourhoods get in on the car free, traffic calming fun that occurs when residents reclaim their own streets. Friday S.23, a special Critical Mass bike ride from Hamilton’s Hess Village (Hess and George Street) at 5:30 p.m. Sunday S25, take a guided hike in Cootes Paradise with ward one councillor Brian Mchattie (former president of the Hamilton Naturalist Club) – meet at 10 am at the OPIRG office (MUSC 229) For a full listing check out TLC at http://www.tlchamilton.org
For students new to the city, you can stop by the OPIRG office in room 229 in the Student Centre and pick up a free bike and trail map. Throughout the year, TLC will be organizing lots of local tours to show you how to get most places with a bike, on the bus, or on foot, including the little known fact that several of Hamilton’s many waterfalls are within a short distance from Mac. So don’t limit yourself, expand your boundaries with TLC’s help.
We’re setting up a fall event that will bring city planners to Mac to let us know what they have in the works, and so they can receive input from the McMaster community.
Take a look around and you will see the new side of Hamilton in places like the Alternative Commuting and Transportation office (ACT) or the Mac Cycle Co-Op at McMaster, Recycle Cycles, Environment Hamilton’s Transit Users Group, monthly Critical Mass rides, new and developing trails and bike routes, and a new positive attitude that yearns for more options when it comes to getting around.
TLC is open for volunteers with an interest in sustainable transportation issues, and no, you don’t have to be an “expert” to get involved. OPIRG has many other working groups on environmental and social justice issues, check out opirg.org/mcmaster.
See you on the streets.
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