So I’ll admit this maybe doesn’t have the potential to become a shiny new proverb, however it’s perhaps a mantra we can take to a new level in Hamilton. Often some of the most valuable lessons we can learn are from visiting other municipalities and seeing where and how we can make them work in practice in our own community. I recently spent a few days on vacation in Ottawa and as an avid cyclist, noted several interesting things. Segregated bike lanes run through several major downtown streets, the high volume of use is evident in the bike racks outside numerous office towers. They are bursting at the seams with not an open space available; Ottawa is clearly a bicycle friendly town.
When we think of complete cities; those that attract development, create culture and engage people, we should in tandem think about accessibility, facilities for healthy lifestyle and fulfilling the notion that how people move around can improve community development. Hamilton can point to a vibrant trail system, waterfront access in the west harbour and a growing interest in urban life throughout our lower city. The nodes at James Street North, Locke Street, Ottawa Street and others are realizing new growth and exposing visitors to the value in these neighbourhoods. Connectivity between them all is the next stage of development and will require some careful thought, innovative ideas and a willingness to achieve.
Encouraging the use of alternate transportation, in concert with vehicle traffic, is essential to positioning Hamilton as a top cultural city in Canada. Bike sharing programs such as Bixi, which is available in major urban centres like Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, are great examples of this type of forward thinking. We’ve reached a stage in Hamilton where we can and should think with big city mentality. Imagine the biggest obstacle we face in the downtown is trying to find a place to park our bike.
– Brent Kinnaird – Marketing Manager, McKeil Marine
Business Administration ’94
Follow Brent @brentkinnaird