Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger crosses paths with provincial MPP candidate Esther Pauls

News Nov 14, 2017 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger had an entertaining verbal collision with a provincial MPP candidate over the city’s strategy of installing bike lanes on existing roads across the city.

Hamilton Mountain Progressive Conservative MPP Esther Pauls questioned the mayor’s enthusiastic endorsement of spending money on bike lanes. Pauls, who operates the Runner’s Den in Westdale, said a bike lane along King Street West has created more safety issues for both cyclists and vehicles. Pauls said she has seen accidents occur outside her business.

She said the recent addition of the nearly $600,000, 2.3 km bike lane along Bay Street from Aberdeen Avenue to Stuart Street only adds to Hamilton drivers’ frustrations.

“I just don’t understand this thought,” Pauls said, during a question and answer session with Eisenberger at the Stoney Creek Chamber of Commerce’s mayoral luncheon Nov. 9 at Liuna Gardens.

Eisenberger, who sat with Pauls for the luncheon and has known her for years, joked with her during the exchange. But he stood firm in his belief that incorporating bike lanes into Hamilton’s streets as an alternative transportation option is the right thing to do. Even when Pauls attempted to interrupt the mayor, Eisenberger needled her: “I’m talking. This isn’t a debate. That’s how it works in the (Ontario) legislature.”

He said in his native Netherlands, despite the myth cycling has always been part of the Dutch culture, it actually took the Dutch people decades before they adopted the bike as an important mode of travel.

There are now more bikes than residents in the Netherlands and in cities such as Amsterdam and The Hague with up to 70 per cent of all journeys are made by bike. In the 1970s the increase in the number of vehicles led to a dramatic rise in the number of deaths on the road. In 1971 more than 3,000 people were killed by motor vehicles, 450 of them children. In response a social movement demanding safer cycling conditions was formed. And in 1973 the Middle East oil crisis prompted the Dutch government to start investing in cycling infrastructure.

“They made an effort (to introduce bike lanes),” said Eisenberger. “It took them 20 years to 30 years. Hamilton is in the same scenario.”

Hamilton now has over 200 kms of bike lanes, a significant increase from the 70 kms that existed in 2007.

Over the years the city has responded to cycling proponents’ needs by helping to establish SoBi Hamilton, while also adding bike lanes along Cannon Street at a cost of about $900,000, and various bike lanes within residential roads in neighbourhoods such as Herkimer, Hunter, Stinson and Charlton.

In Hamilton’s 2009 cycling master plan, it recommended spending about $2.5 million annually to add nearly 1,000 kms to its bike lane network by 2029. The city, though, will miss its target since the city is only spending on average about $1 million annually.

“We are strategically investing in bike lanes,” said Eisenberger. “If you don’t introduce bike lanes then (people using them) won’t happen.”

Despite critics to Hamilton’s bike lane spending program, the mayor told the crowd that cyclists appreciate the investment especially since they believe the city isn’t doing enough to protect them.

“I would say (cyclists) would say they are not safe enough,” he said.

Eisenberger praised Pauls, who helps organize the Road2Hope Marathon event, and her effort at running for provincial office to the delight of the 80 people who attended the event.

 

Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger crosses paths with provincial MPP candidate Esther Pauls

News Nov 14, 2017 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger had an entertaining verbal collision with a provincial MPP candidate over the city’s strategy of installing bike lanes on existing roads across the city.

Hamilton Mountain Progressive Conservative MPP Esther Pauls questioned the mayor’s enthusiastic endorsement of spending money on bike lanes. Pauls, who operates the Runner’s Den in Westdale, said a bike lane along King Street West has created more safety issues for both cyclists and vehicles. Pauls said she has seen accidents occur outside her business.

She said the recent addition of the nearly $600,000, 2.3 km bike lane along Bay Street from Aberdeen Avenue to Stuart Street only adds to Hamilton drivers’ frustrations.

“I just don’t understand this thought,” Pauls said, during a question and answer session with Eisenberger at the Stoney Creek Chamber of Commerce’s mayoral luncheon Nov. 9 at Liuna Gardens.

Eisenberger, who sat with Pauls for the luncheon and has known her for years, joked with her during the exchange. But he stood firm in his belief that incorporating bike lanes into Hamilton’s streets as an alternative transportation option is the right thing to do. Even when Pauls attempted to interrupt the mayor, Eisenberger needled her: “I’m talking. This isn’t a debate. That’s how it works in the (Ontario) legislature.”

He said in his native Netherlands, despite the myth cycling has always been part of the Dutch culture, it actually took the Dutch people decades before they adopted the bike as an important mode of travel.

There are now more bikes than residents in the Netherlands and in cities such as Amsterdam and The Hague with up to 70 per cent of all journeys are made by bike. In the 1970s the increase in the number of vehicles led to a dramatic rise in the number of deaths on the road. In 1971 more than 3,000 people were killed by motor vehicles, 450 of them children. In response a social movement demanding safer cycling conditions was formed. And in 1973 the Middle East oil crisis prompted the Dutch government to start investing in cycling infrastructure.

“They made an effort (to introduce bike lanes),” said Eisenberger. “It took them 20 years to 30 years. Hamilton is in the same scenario.”

Hamilton now has over 200 kms of bike lanes, a significant increase from the 70 kms that existed in 2007.

Over the years the city has responded to cycling proponents’ needs by helping to establish SoBi Hamilton, while also adding bike lanes along Cannon Street at a cost of about $900,000, and various bike lanes within residential roads in neighbourhoods such as Herkimer, Hunter, Stinson and Charlton.

In Hamilton’s 2009 cycling master plan, it recommended spending about $2.5 million annually to add nearly 1,000 kms to its bike lane network by 2029. The city, though, will miss its target since the city is only spending on average about $1 million annually.

“We are strategically investing in bike lanes,” said Eisenberger. “If you don’t introduce bike lanes then (people using them) won’t happen.”

Despite critics to Hamilton’s bike lane spending program, the mayor told the crowd that cyclists appreciate the investment especially since they believe the city isn’t doing enough to protect them.

“I would say (cyclists) would say they are not safe enough,” he said.

Eisenberger praised Pauls, who helps organize the Road2Hope Marathon event, and her effort at running for provincial office to the delight of the 80 people who attended the event.

 

Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger crosses paths with provincial MPP candidate Esther Pauls

News Nov 14, 2017 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger had an entertaining verbal collision with a provincial MPP candidate over the city’s strategy of installing bike lanes on existing roads across the city.

Hamilton Mountain Progressive Conservative MPP Esther Pauls questioned the mayor’s enthusiastic endorsement of spending money on bike lanes. Pauls, who operates the Runner’s Den in Westdale, said a bike lane along King Street West has created more safety issues for both cyclists and vehicles. Pauls said she has seen accidents occur outside her business.

She said the recent addition of the nearly $600,000, 2.3 km bike lane along Bay Street from Aberdeen Avenue to Stuart Street only adds to Hamilton drivers’ frustrations.

“I just don’t understand this thought,” Pauls said, during a question and answer session with Eisenberger at the Stoney Creek Chamber of Commerce’s mayoral luncheon Nov. 9 at Liuna Gardens.

Eisenberger, who sat with Pauls for the luncheon and has known her for years, joked with her during the exchange. But he stood firm in his belief that incorporating bike lanes into Hamilton’s streets as an alternative transportation option is the right thing to do. Even when Pauls attempted to interrupt the mayor, Eisenberger needled her: “I’m talking. This isn’t a debate. That’s how it works in the (Ontario) legislature.”

He said in his native Netherlands, despite the myth cycling has always been part of the Dutch culture, it actually took the Dutch people decades before they adopted the bike as an important mode of travel.

There are now more bikes than residents in the Netherlands and in cities such as Amsterdam and The Hague with up to 70 per cent of all journeys are made by bike. In the 1970s the increase in the number of vehicles led to a dramatic rise in the number of deaths on the road. In 1971 more than 3,000 people were killed by motor vehicles, 450 of them children. In response a social movement demanding safer cycling conditions was formed. And in 1973 the Middle East oil crisis prompted the Dutch government to start investing in cycling infrastructure.

“They made an effort (to introduce bike lanes),” said Eisenberger. “It took them 20 years to 30 years. Hamilton is in the same scenario.”

Hamilton now has over 200 kms of bike lanes, a significant increase from the 70 kms that existed in 2007.

Over the years the city has responded to cycling proponents’ needs by helping to establish SoBi Hamilton, while also adding bike lanes along Cannon Street at a cost of about $900,000, and various bike lanes within residential roads in neighbourhoods such as Herkimer, Hunter, Stinson and Charlton.

In Hamilton’s 2009 cycling master plan, it recommended spending about $2.5 million annually to add nearly 1,000 kms to its bike lane network by 2029. The city, though, will miss its target since the city is only spending on average about $1 million annually.

“We are strategically investing in bike lanes,” said Eisenberger. “If you don’t introduce bike lanes then (people using them) won’t happen.”

Despite critics to Hamilton’s bike lane spending program, the mayor told the crowd that cyclists appreciate the investment especially since they believe the city isn’t doing enough to protect them.

“I would say (cyclists) would say they are not safe enough,” he said.

Eisenberger praised Pauls, who helps organize the Road2Hope Marathon event, and her effort at running for provincial office to the delight of the 80 people who attended the event.