By Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News
A number of proposed bike share hubs in Dundas are among a small number of locations across the city still under review.
City of Hamilton manager of environmental planning Christine Lee-Morrison confirmed last week some of the five Social Bicycles (SoBi) recommended locations are among approximately 10 in the 110-rack network across Hamilton that are not yet finalized and are still being checked for feasibility.
The five Dundas locations, and 18 locations in Westdale and Ainslie Wood, are among the network of SoBi hubs that have been undergoing a feasibility review for at least three months.
Despite the City’s ongoing review of the final unconfirmed hubs, SoBi staff says they are on target for installation of the Dundas bike hubs for August 18.
All the Dundas hubs are currently planned for city property – on the road within existing 'no stopping' areas, according to SoBi.
Sean Burak operations manager of Hamilton Bike Share, said the City had several requirements for hub locations. They could not remove on-street parking spaces; they could not go into vehicle travel lanes and they must have minimum set backs from sidewalks, curb cuts and other infrastructure.
The minimum one metre by five metre bicycle racks must also physically fit within the space recommended. The average rack will be one metre by 10 metres, with the largest at one metre by 20 metres.
“There are a handful of locations which would offer improved service if placed on private property instead of on nearby city land,” Burak said. “In these cases we are discussing opportunities with land owners and it would not be appropriate for us to discuss the details until we have signed encroachment agreements with them.”
The proposed Dundas locations include King Street West at Albert Street – near Shopper’s Drug Mart; King Street West at Miller’s Lane – near Starbucks, Cootes Drive at King Street East, Cootes Drive at Dundas Street and Osler Street at Grant Boulevard.
University Plaza property manager Danielle Johnston said she had not heard from anyone about a possible SoBi hub in the area. Shoppers Drug Mart spokesperson Tammy Smitham said the company has not been contacted regarding a bike share hub.
Downtown Dundas BIA president Phyllis Kraemar said some of the original locations proposed by SoBi posed challenges – including taking necessary space away from weekly garbage pick-up outside downtown businesses.
But beyond a few location tweaks and planning, Kraemar was excited about the project.
“I think it’s a good idea. I think it’s an interesting idea,” she said. “It’s cool someone can get a bike and ride down the (Spencer Creek-Cootes Drive) bike path to McMaster.”
Kraemer said she regularly visits Chicago on business and in May noticed a similar bike share program had recently been introduced in that city.
“It’s exciting we’re in the forefront of something with Chicago,” she said. “It’s particularly good for Dundas, in an area that where the HSR (bus) is not frequent.”
Nine proposed locations in Westdale include three on King Street West in Westdale Village, two on Sterling Street, one at Main West at Westdale Secondary School, one each at King and Longwood and King at Macklin.
Proposed bike hubs in Ainslie Wood include Whitney at Lower Horning, Alexander Park at Rifle Range, Emerson at Whitney, Emerson at the Rail Trail, Stroud Road at the Rail Trail and Main Weset at Emerson – possibly on the McMaster University campus, and one at Main Street West at Columbia College.
Administrators at Columbia College said they had not been contacted about a SoBi hub on, or near, their property.
Gord Arbeau, director of public and community relations at McMaster, said the university is discussing the idea of bike hubs on and around campus.
“Talks are progressing well and planning continues,” Arbeau said. “We’re excited at this opportunity and would anticipate having more details confirmed in the next few weeks.”
It's not clear if any of the Ainslie Wood and Westdale hub locations are among the sites still under review.