Hamilton-Wentworth School Board Trustees are concerned that Hamilton City Council’s decision to remove bike lane protections in front of Orchard Park on Dewitt Road will create an unsafe environment.

During Monday’s City-HWDSB Liaison Committee meeting, Ward 7 HWDSB Trustee Dawn Danko asked if the city has “has a plan to look at potential increased enforcement to reduce the hazard that’s created when cars are going to cross into the bike lanes and park there for for dropping off and picking up?”

Ward 10 Councillor Jeff Beattie, who represents the area, successfully secured a 8-7 majority vote at the May 8, 2024 council meeting to cancel plans to install concrete protectors for the bike lanes on Dewitt Road.

Beattie was responding to opposition to the plan, with some of the letters of opposition stating the barriers would prevent them from entering the bike lanes to stop in front of schools during drop-off and pick-up times.

In response to Trustee Danko during Monday’s meeting, Councillor Beattie stated:

“It’s an ongoing issue for all of our schools. The city has deployed bylaw officers to a number of drop off and pickups. I know in my ward. It’s an ongoing issue. We’ve been able to partner with police in some cases, to add a little more I’m gusto, to the enforcement shall we say. So this would fall under that same program. And no doubt, enforcement officers would be deployed in rotation when available.”

Hamilton’s school boards are trying to encourage students to use active transportation, such as walking or bicycling, as they try to decrease the number of motor vehicles in front of schools at bell times.

Danko stated she appreciates “the intent of the [Dewitt] bike lane, I just hope it can be used as intended.”

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Published: May 28, 2024
Last updated: May 28, 2024
Author: Joey Coleman
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