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One day closure of King Street floated across Hamilton for open streets initiative

A proposed one-day closure on King Street, between Gore Park and Gage Park, as part of an open streets initiative has gone before Hamilton politicians.
A proposed one-day closure on King Street, between Gore Park and Gage Park, as part of an open streets initiative has gone before Hamilton politicians. Ken Mann/AM900 CHML

The wheels are in motion on a significant Open Streets initiative in Hamilton.

During a meeting on Wednesday, city councillors voted to have staff report back on the logistics of closing King Street to traffic between Gage Park and Gore Park, for an entire Sunday either this summer or fall.

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Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger said the idea is to reclaim the four-kilometre section for public use, adding that he was inspired by a weekly event in Bogota, Colombia.

“In Bogota, a 14-kilometre road closure that they’ve been doing for the last 20 years,” said Eisenberger, “helps animate the street, provides people the opportunity to bike, skate, rollerblade, do all manner of things.”

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As they work out the details, staff say there will be consultation with residents and businesses along the busy, lower city thoroughfare.

“We’re going to work with the two ward councillors, especially,” said Peter Topolovic, Hamilton’s manager of sustainable mobility, “plus we are in touch with many groups along the corridor already, and have relationships with them through our other work.”

Ward 2 Coun. Nrinder Nann represents much of the affected area, and says the event would represent a “milestone moment.”

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“I think it’s an incredible opportunity to reclaim our streets,” said Nann, “to give residents the opportunity to reimagine what life looks like in a municipality where they can safely roam.”

While the plan is to hold the event once this year as something of a pilot project, Eisenberger stresses that he’d eventually like to see it happen several times each year along what is Hamilton’s future LRT corridor.

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