Special Report: Bus Lane

Bus-Only Lane Experiment Actually Supports Light Rail Transit, Traffic Calming, Two-Way

Why have we designed a downtown shopping street on which just crossing it is such an unpleasant experience that it is driving customers away?

By Nicholas Kevlahan
Published October 01, 2014

Yesterday, the Spectator published an article on the King Street bus-only lane that profiles business owners who claim the lane is driving away customers and forcing them to move to Jackson Square.

Bus-only lane (RTH file photo)
Bus-only lane (RTH file photo)

Already, people are claiming this is an argument against the city's light rail transit (LRT) plan for the east-west B-Line. It's important to make sure people don't draw the wrong conclusions from the bus lane experiment.

Case Against BRT, Not LRT

If anything, this is an argument against the competing proposal for bus rapid transit (BRT).

It is well-understood that BRT does not fit in well with an urban environment. Buses are noisy, polluting and cause a lot of vibration. Their lower capacity means you need many more buses to meet the ridership capacity of LRT.

In contrast, LRT is smooth, quiet and attractive. It attracts more riders and development, which improves business. There are dozens of examples of downtowns in the USA and Europe which are booming thanks to their LRT investments.

In fact, LRT is often used as an infrastructure to boost under-performing urban neighbourhoods, such as Portland's Pearl district.

Parking Moved to South Side

The bus-only lane runs on the north curb lane of King Street. The parking spots that were on the north curb were moved to the south curb, right across the street. If the steep decline in business noted in the article is true, it shows something is seriously wrong with the design of this street in the core of Hamilton's downtown.

The article quotes Diego Almonte: "I have customers who tried parking across the street and then risked their lives to cross the road and just said, 'we aren't coming back.'"

If customers aren't willing to cross the street to go to a business they appreciate, something is very wrong.

Why have we designed a downtown shopping street on which just crossing it is such an unpleasant experience that it is driving customers away?

One-Way Streets and Wayfinding

Another point is that if business owners think shifting parking to the other side of the street or adding a bus lane makes it confusing for people to find their businesses, surely they understand that our one-way street network is a far bigger factor making it difficult to find businesses.

Downtown business owners recognized the damaging effects of the one-way system soon after it was implemented back in the 1950s, and have been calling for a reversion back to the original two-way configuration ever since.

Both the downtown and International Village BIAs have expressed support for two-way conversion, but Council has not acted on their concerns. (You can read statements by the International Village and Downtown BIAs.)

As communications researcher Dwayne Ali argues, "With a network of one-way streets, users cannot take direct paths to destinations, and routes vary widely amongst transportation methods. The path for a pedestrian is very different from that of a driver. This leads to a user having to learn their city multiple times in order to confidently navigate it, forever balancing a load of several conflicting cognitive maps."

Or as Ryan McGreal pointed out in a recent comment on the difficulty of giving directions to someone at James and King who is trying to reach York and Bay, "Our one-way streets are only useful for people driving through downtown as fast as possible. They make all other uses of the street - and most particularly the most local uses - more difficult, awkward and non-intuitive."

The bus lane is really just highlighting how dysfunctional the current street network is: business shouldn't collapse because of this minor change.

Malaise Already Evident

A more delicate point is that several of the business owners admitted they were just barely hanging on until the bus lane. Again, King Street should be a thriving commercial street, filled with shops and residences on both sides.

If shifting parking to the other side of the street is enough to push businesses over the edge, there are more fundamental problems than bus lanes.

Remember that the number of buses has not increased. The only thing that has changed is the side of the street the parking is on.

LRT and Traffic Calming

All the Mayoral candidates agree that we need some form of rapid transit, and the reports on LRT have urged the city to implement two-way conversion and street calming to make the streets more attractive to walkers and shoppers.

The bus lane experiment has reconfirmed this advice: we need LRT, traffic-calmed streets and a navigable two-way street network for an economically and socially vibrant downtown.

Nicholas Kevlahan was born and raised in Vancouver, and then spent eight years in England and France before returning to Canada in 1998. He has been a Hamiltonian since then, and is a strong believer in the potential of this city. Although he spends most of his time as a mathematician, he is also a passionate amateur urbanist and a fan of good design. You can often spot him strolling the streets of the downtown, shopping at the Market. Nicholas is the spokesperson for Hamilton Light Rail.

65 Comments

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By redmike (registered) | Posted October 01, 2014 at 12:48:03

great point. though youre probably making too much sense for some.

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By byron zorzos (anonymous) | Posted October 01, 2014 at 13:25:32

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted October 01, 2014 at 14:53:24 in reply to Comment 105072

There will be some serious backlash to the collusion that has been perpetrated by some in this town in an effort to push the Bombardier agenda

My reaction.

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By Starbuck (registered) | Posted October 01, 2014 at 13:56:24

"Remember that the number of buses has not increased. The only thing that has changed is the side of the street the parking is on".

...And the added congestion created by the bus only lane!

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By redmike (registered) | Posted October 01, 2014 at 21:41:58 in reply to Comment 105073

"oh wont somebody please think of the drivers"

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By IanReynolds (registered) | Posted October 01, 2014 at 15:09:21 in reply to Comment 105073

I don't work in this city. I drive to work up John Street, turn left at King, and drive to the highway.

Whereas in the mornings it used to take me 8 minutes, and the rest of the day 6, since the bus lanes came in, my drive times to the highway have skyrocketed. To 8 minutes in the morning and 6 the rest of the day.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted October 01, 2014 at 14:01:08 in reply to Comment 105073

The staff report will show whether there was any "congestion", but I've never seen any serious congestion at all west of Bay, which is the stretch these merchants were complaining about. As has been pointed out many times, the actual traffic statistics show that there is plenty of excess capacity on this street.

And, remember, that buses no longer have to pull out into traffic, which is one of the advantages for motorists. At rush hour there are many buses (every few minutes) that needed to pull into and out of traffic which was disruptive to motorists as they must (by law) yield to the buses.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2014-10-01 14:02:05

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By jeffzuk (registered) | Posted October 01, 2014 at 14:50:45 in reply to Comment 105074

I've never seen any serious congestion at all west of Bay, which is the stretch these merchants were complaining about.

I saw plenty of it when I was driving my kids from the east end to McMaster camps during the summer. I'm pro-LRT, bike lanes and most of the current urban-planning items, but the planning behind this bus-only lane confused me. To the author's point, it's probably more an argument against BRT rather than anything else. It's also a further argument that implementation is just as important as concept (which is one of the knocks against Buffalo's LRT system). The city has lots of ways to screw this up. Case and point.

Let's not be too cold-hearted to the businesses, even if they were struggling prior to the bus-only lane or have a hidden (or not so hidden) anti-LRT agenda. None of us want businesses to fail, unless I suppose they were ones we can't support morally (hello cheque cashers!).

Comment edited by jeff on 2014-10-01 14:51:39

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By Anon (anonymous) | Posted October 01, 2014 at 15:53:15 in reply to Comment 105086

This is really part of the problem. I am a lifelong resident of Hamilton (50+ yrs). Grew up in the east end and have spent 25 yrs. in Kirkendall/Durand since. I work in the core.

I would never take King St. all the way to Mac as a cross town route. That's my choice. I have always found the alternative routes to be just as quick or quicker. But really, what top 10 national metropolitan centre would pride itself, or even try to be constructed, as a quick place to drive THROUGH.

Hamilton is so broken that so many believe it should be quick to drive through. No where else looks like this city for good reason.

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By ItJustIs (registered) | Posted October 01, 2014 at 17:43:42 in reply to Comment 105098

"But really, what top 10 national metropolitan centre would pride itself, or even try to be constructed, as a quick place to drive THROUGH."

At both the Ward 1 and 3 Candidates' Evenings this week and last, there were candidates that essentially said 'Don't screw with the flow of traffic on King and Main! I used to be able to drive from Dundurn to Eastgate and hit all the lights. Leave things as they are!'

(But my Quote of the Week belongs to a candidate in Ward 9 who had previously been a Mayoral candidate: 'Where to put LRT? I think Burlington Street is a good choice, so there'd be as little disruption (of traffic) as possible.')

We haven't even begun to come close to having the necessary dialogue on these issues...despite how some of you insist that there's been sufficient public consultation and are resistant to any sort of conversation...and they have to happen 'out there', not just here at RTH. I don't think that much of a conversation can happen during the campaign (too much earnestness on the parts of the interested parties and too much pussy-footing by the candidates. But after the election? Fingers crossed.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted October 01, 2014 at 14:54:06 in reply to Comment 105086

I guess we'll see what the data actually says. But it does depend on what one defines as "serious congestion" for the centre of a city of half a million. I was thinking of traffic sitting stopped for at least one light cycle, not just moving slowly which is normal for rush hour traffic in most cities.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2014-10-01 14:56:49

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted October 02, 2014 at 10:02:59 in reply to Comment 105088

I do think that people have unrealistic expectations of what auto traffic is like in cities Hamilton's size. I grew up in Halifax, which is in the same ballpark in terms of city size but where automobile traffic is infinitely worse than Hamilton's. In Hamilton, I have literally heard people use "bumper-to-bumper traffic" to refer to having cars ahead and behind them, when everyone is moving at a steady speed. That's not what the phrase means anywhere else but here.

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By Starbuck (registered) | Posted October 01, 2014 at 14:21:52 in reply to Comment 105074

I suppose we will have to wait for the staff report, since I disagree with your opinion that you've never seen any serious congestion.. west of Bay.

You will also have to keep in mind the perception the bus only lane has on the ordinary Hamiltonian. If he/she perceives LRT to be a tax issue, as well as a catalyst for congestion, LRT will not see the light of day in Hamilton. At the end of the day, Hamilton does not have a congestion problem and most Hamiltonians want to keep it that way. In addition, the arguments that the costs of LRT/BRT will be self sustainable are not being taken seriously, since the sustainability argument is built on a foundation of speculation.

Sorry boys and girls, as much as I like the novelty of having a surface rail system along the B line, the desire, simply does not substantiate the investment.

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By redmike (registered) | Posted October 02, 2014 at 09:53:58 in reply to Comment 105078

why do you have no faith in capitalism? "In addition, the arguments that the costs of LRT/BRT will be self sustainable are not being taken seriously, since the sustainability argument is built on a foundation of speculation" all economic systems, capitalism especially, is speculation. when you promise the lender that you will pay the mortgage every month for 240 months you are speculating. when the government produces a budget based on projected costs and income its speculation. no one pays cash for the family homestead and two mules like you did.

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By Anon (anonymous) | Posted October 01, 2014 at 14:28:52 in reply to Comment 105078

Of course many here use the "Anywhere but Hamilton" standard of congestion.....you know actually gridlocked traffic.

What Hamiltonian's like yourself describe as congestion is known everywhere else as stopping for a red light.

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By ViennaCafe (registered) | Posted October 01, 2014 at 15:46:46

Blah-de, blah, blah, blah

There is indeed congestion. There is congestion on roads without any bus lanes. You know why there is congestion? Because drivers block intersections they enter but can't clear creating what is commonly known as "grid-lock", as in locking up the grid.

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By Summary (anonymous) | Posted October 01, 2014 at 21:10:39 in reply to Comment 105096

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By ViennaCafe (registered) | Posted October 01, 2014 at 15:48:04

BTW, does anyone think that Spec reporter actually tested the contention that it is too dangerous to cross King St? Who here has crossed King and lived to tell about it? Just wait for the green wave to pass, and away you go.

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By msme (anonymous) | Posted October 01, 2014 at 16:47:58

We have business owners that have indicated they are loosing business, this I believe.
Kevlahan obviously has no sympathy for these entrepreneurs and should try investing his blood, sweat, tears and perhaps some cash into a business along the bus lane route and he may see things differently.

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By redmike (registered) | Posted October 01, 2014 at 21:53:12 in reply to Comment 105102

we get la luna take out a few fridays a month. you know how the bus only lane has affected our la luna visits? hasnt. we park on a resi street near la luna walk a block, get the food, walk a block back to the car and go home. do the fickle customers in question think of the blood sweat and tears of mom and pop king street? are you like these disloyal customers that head to the power centre for their bridal gowns and skateboards needs if they have to cross the street?

Comment edited by redmike on 2014-10-01 21:53:37

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By z jones (registered) | Posted October 01, 2014 at 17:12:10 in reply to Comment 105102

Or try reading the article. "I have customers who tried parking across the street and then risked their lives to cross the road and just said, 'we aren't coming back.'" The problem with King St isn't the bus lane, the problem is King St. Guess who has spent the past 10 years calling on the city to fix the street so customers don't have to "risk their lives" to cross it.

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By BC (anonymous) | Posted October 01, 2014 at 22:24:15

Actually illustrating there is no congestion let alone gridlock strengthens the case against there being a need for mass transit. Is that really what you are going for?

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By DissenterOfThings (registered) | Posted October 02, 2014 at 13:42:23 in reply to Comment 105120

No, no it doesn't. It strengthens the case for giving those roads a serious diet and converting them to bike lanes/sidewalks/LRT.

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By Starbuck (registered) | Posted October 02, 2014 at 07:57:02 in reply to Comment 105120

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By ScreenCarp (registered) | Posted October 01, 2014 at 22:26:37

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted October 02, 2014 at 09:31:05 in reply to Comment 105121

Follow the link to Spec articles from the 1950s and my own article describing the DNAs efforts since the early 1970s.

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By strackj (registered) | Posted October 01, 2014 at 23:06:11 in reply to Comment 105121

See the article transcribed here:

https://raisethehammer.org/blog/1758/dow...

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By ScreenCarp (registered) | Posted October 02, 2014 at 09:24:15 in reply to Comment 105126

I've read that article. Because some businesses were complaining shortly after the change does not mean they've been complaining "ever since". We never really heard anything negative about the one way streets until the late 90's.

And just to point out the irony, the above article is about business owners claiming the bus lanes are harming their business. Aperhently that has no validity because it doesn't support someones ideology.

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By Anon (anonymous) | Posted October 02, 2014 at 11:34:46 in reply to Comment 105136

To be fair, many Hamiltonians aren't complaining about them now. They just speed on through everyone else's neighbourhoods with little if any regard for their quality of life.

Now share the wealth, install these abominations across the entire city, including the mountain and every suburb, and you will finally get many people complaining.

No one wants them where THEY live.

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By redmike (registered) | Posted October 02, 2014 at 10:41:49 in reply to Comment 105136

"We never really heard anything negative about the one way streets until the late 90's" you werent listening.

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 01, 2014 at 22:59:52 in reply to Comment 105121

Read the Spec archives. Business owners on King were calling for the abandonment of the 1-way grid before and within days of its implementation.

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 01, 2014 at 22:58:06

Great article. I've been saying this for years: our downtown streets that should be filled with life, business and people are dead freeways. Our family has lived near King and York for 13 years. Guess how many times we've walked along either street? Zero.

How horrible is that. In Toronto people fight over each other and pay through the nose to live near King, Queen, College etc.... We avoid our main streets at all costs.

The fact city hall cares squat about the business environment in their own city tells you all you need to know about Hamilton City Hall culture. As long as their own neighbourhoods are good, they don't care about the rest of the city.

How much more proof do you need of the horrid condition of King to hear that business customers won't cross a single street to shop, yet apparently will pay $ to go underground in Jackson Square and then walk all through that maze of a mall to go to the same store. Amazing.

Bus lane isn't the problem at all. Our urban freeways are. But everyone already knows that. And doesn't care.

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By Reality (anonymous) | Posted October 02, 2014 at 03:48:47 in reply to Comment 105124

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted October 04, 2014 at 07:50:04 in reply to Comment 105127

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted October 02, 2014 at 08:08:19 in reply to Comment 105127

the workings of a democracy

More like the failings of a democracy. That the views of someone who lives 20 minutes away (a Hamilton 20-minutes) in a suburb have equal representation on this issue is not a feature of democracy, it is a flaw. More weight should be placed on the interests of those who are directly affected by the policy.

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted October 03, 2014 at 22:16:48 in reply to Comment 105130

Not equal representation. MORE representation, due to ward boundaries having unequal populations.

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By bdlp (anonymous) | Posted October 02, 2014 at 09:08:29

"It is well-understood that BRT does not fit in well with an urban environment. Buses are noisy, polluting and cause a lot of vibration. Their lower capacity means you need many more buses to meet the ridership capacity of LRT."

You'll need to support that statement with actual data. Otherwise, you're passing off your opinion as fact.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted October 02, 2014 at 09:34:33 in reply to Comment 105133

Are you disputing that buses are more polluting, noisier and create more vibration than LRT? Or that these "features" are actually a good fit for a pedestrian street?

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By igit (anonymous) | Posted October 02, 2014 at 09:14:08 in reply to Comment 105133

Idiot alert.

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By Simon Ward 3 (anonymous) | Posted October 02, 2014 at 09:37:01

I live about 100 feet from King St on a very fast stretch with very economically deprived businesses/ shops; many of which no longer function as businesses or shops. So I am directly affected by these policies, King St. is part of a transport network that must serve the whole city and the whole city should have a say. So here's my say....
I can see King st right now - cars are passing at maybe 1 per second since 8am this morning, at a guess they would probably fit on one lane.If we define 'congestion' as"more users than the roads were designed for"- then we are far from being congested. Most of the Thoroughfares discussed on RTH carry far fewer cars than they were built for. They are therefore inefficient.

It costs tens of thousands of tax dollars to maintain each kilometre of each lane. Maintenance work the city has not been able to afford to keep up with, hence the back-log and deficit.
It's a bit like we are paying to keep street lighting on during the day in case it gets cloudy. It is a direct waste of Tax-Payers money.
'Road Diets' or using lanes for other things on under used streets is a concept that is starting to gain traction with our councillors, because they can smell possible tax savings.
E.g. The cannon bike lane- will not need to be resurfaced for decades.
I think the pro-LRT "lobby" needs to impress this point on the opposition.
The anit-LRT driver who is concerned about losing lanes and therefore traffic flow should be reminded that even though they would never use transit themselves, LRT's high capacity will keep a lot of other drivers/cyclist etc out of their way.
LRT will use under-used lanes in the most efficient and low maintenance way, to keep your lanes clear.
But if people in the suburbs prefer higher taxes then they should vote for the status quo.

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By Rimshot (anonymous) | Posted October 02, 2014 at 11:41:15

Worse, thanks to largely hostile street wall, walking King from James to Bay offers would-be consumers an experience that's on par with a dry-heave.

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By bvbborussia (registered) | Posted October 02, 2014 at 12:21:14

"Why have we designed a downtown shopping street on which just crossing it is such an unpleasant experience that it is driving customers away?"

This line from the author at the top of this article is the central question here.

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By Simon Ward 3 (anonymous) | Posted October 02, 2014 at 12:40:33 in reply to Comment 105157

bvbborussia- That is what Brad Clark calls our 'competitive advantage'- it gives our competitors an advantage.
The answer to that question is that the streets were designed to move 25-30,000 steelworkers when steel was more important than downtown business that it supported. The steel is all but gone and those streets are full of the ghosts of steel jobs. 30 years later hopefully the mourning period is over, and we can all get on with making some money in today's world.

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By BornAndRaised (registered) | Posted October 02, 2014 at 23:44:12

Everyone fails to mention that King and Main Street are two of 4 streets in Hamilton's west end (west of Dundurn) with direct access to the 403 from downtown. That attribute alone justifies the traffic congestion, which is minimal to say the least. Imagine the congestion for the commuter coming back from Toronto, taking the Main Street East exit off the 403, being welcomed by a two lane street that has a traffic light less than 200 metres away at Main and Dundern. If you think traffic is bad, and crossing the street is difficult in current circumstances, you are in for a rude awakening if two lane streets come to Main and King. The infrastructure expense to modify lanes, street lights, and medians does not justify a 2 way conversion.

I live on James and Main, and drive past 6 major intersections downtown to reach the highway in less than 10 minutes. People commenting on this article should drive down Spadina to jump on the QEW if they want to experience congestion.

Also, the people who say crossing the street is dangerous on King and Main, what's wrong with you? I do agree that speeds can reach limits that are pushing safety, but you have ONE direction to look. Jay walking could not be easier! But let's ignore jay walking, why don't you walk to an intersection and wait for a green light if you think it's unsafe.

The truth is, I love this city and want to see it prosper more than anything! I agree that something needs to be done to our transit infrastructure, but let's have intellectual debate. Those opposed to LRT have valid questions: 1) Is the demand there by current Hamilton public transit numbers? 2) Is the need there based on congestion stats? 3) What is the opportunity cost? I know the province will fund construction, but what about maintenance? 4) What's the clear goal of LRT? If the goal is to bring more people downtown, I would argue that a strained system is more beneficial to downtown growth. I grew up in the east end, if it was easy to get downtown I may have not moved downtown. My money would not be supporting the real estate market and all the small businesses in my new neighbourhood. If people want to experience the benefits of downtown, well they should move here. 5) The designated bus lane pilot project needs more time to be accurately evaluated.

Let's focus on these issues, and don't be afraid to change your mind. I was a staunch supporter of LRT and changed to a firm opponent, and have now returned to undecided. Let's keep discussing the goal of an LRT investment, then let's debate the alternatives to reaching that goal.

ALSO They big issue affecting Hamilton is the closing of US STEEL!!! A significant portion of tax revenue for the city will vanish, not to mention hectares of water front land will be left vacant, with the eye sore of all eye-sores on it!! Let's brainstorm solutions to that problem instead of bashing the opposite camp on the LRT issue.

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By fmurray (registered) | Posted October 05, 2014 at 13:39:26 in reply to Comment 105175

You seem to be implying that because of prohibitive cost, we are stuck with one-way King and Main streets forever. That's a depressing thought.

Main and King being one-way is very inconvenient. A lot of drivers see only the convenience of high speed traffic, and don't seem to realize how much more flexibility there would be with two-way traffic.

One example: One evening this week I was on my way to the RBG from my home in Durand, with a quick stop at Fortino's. To get back onto Dundurn northbound, I had to exit the parking lot to Dundurn southbound, left on Main and through a residential street to get back to King in order to turn right on Dundurn. If King was two-way, I could have exited the parking lot to King and turned left on Dundurn -- no "extra" residential neighbourhood cut-through necessary. (Normally I would plan to stop at Fortino's on the way home to avoid all of that twisting and turning driving, but was not sure if I would be back before the store closed.)

So, I've started to point out the inconvenience of our one-way system to people in general conversation whenever the opportunity arises. Sometimes they see the light, but the brainwash about our 50-year old system is well-entrenched.

We'll get there. It possibly won't happen in my lifetime, but some day.

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 05, 2014 at 15:13:12 in reply to Comment 105222

definitely not in any of our lifetime. Too many locals who have apparently never traveled beyond the local Hortons/Box centre.

All of the streets between Main and King are perfect spots to point out the dangers of these streets. All the folks on those generally quiet, tree-lined streets, see their streets become mini-freeways as people roar from King to Main and reverse since the street they exited onto wasn't two-way. What should be great residential neighbourhoods are dangerous streets for kids.

My wife and I saw a dynamite home on one of these streets years ago but didn't pursue it due to these streets.

A friend from out of town was considering buying a home on one of these blocks about 5 years ago. His family hated the freeways at either end of the block, but in conversation he said to me "surely Hamiltonians and City Hall will get to fixing these streets ASAP. Nobody in their right mind would allow them to remain as the lower city hoods start to become desirable again". He also mentioned the (at the time) impending LRT plan asked my opinion as a life-long resident. I told him to only buy the home if he was completely happy with everything remaining exactly as it is because if history is any indicator LRT won't be happening and these streets will remain freeways for the rest of our lives.

They thought about it longer and passed it up, and have decided to remain in downtown Toronto in a smaller home with much better quality of life for their family. 5 years later they are SO thankful that they didn't make the move banking on common sense ever arriving in Hamilton.

Comment edited by jason on 2014-10-05 15:13:43

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By Loves cars and bicycles (anonymous) | Posted October 03, 2014 at 03:46:41

1) The person above clearly has never lived in Toronto...only outsiders use Spadina to get out of the city....this is a bad analogy.

2) leaving the bus lane intact in its current position will only cause more road damage and desimate the current businesses.... See dufferin street Toronto.

3) how can you honestly look at King and Main and think to yourself that these streets are safe?.... Really... Think.... Look at the speed of a go bus as it launches through King at Locke and makes people stand back on the SIDE WALK.

4) if you take the number of lanes on both King and Main, add them together and divide by two... Guess what! You have the same amount of lanes going east and west.... Yay math!... Yay options!

5) it doesn't matter if you cross at a light... Crossing dundurn on the North side of king is very dangerous at the light due to cars turning left... And due to the "Green Wave" of traffic lights, people run reds to stay with the other pack of cars.

6)why are we debating things that other municipalities have figured out long ago... It's time for some Hamiltonians to get out and experience how things work elsewhere.

7) I am so sick of hearing the "This is Hamilton not Toronto" argument... Hamilton Has people just like Toronto. We would all like to live in a safe place that has jobs and various ways to get to them without getting in a car... Or get killed by one.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted October 03, 2014 at 08:22:53 in reply to Comment 105176

Look at the speed of a go bus as it launches through King at Locke and makes people stand back on the SIDE WALK.

More than once I've watched GO buses mount the curb while turning at Main+James and almost mow down people standing on the sidewalk who had to step back.

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By Loves cars and bikes (anonymous) | Posted October 03, 2014 at 03:53:46

Also... Several people who work in Down Town Toronto will park in a TTC or GO bus parking lot outside of the city and then they take transit into the core.

This is how it works in places like London, Toronto, Vancouver... Many many places.

Sorry, I am just trying to describe it to the folks who have never left here and don't know that these things work elsewhere and are actually possibilities.

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By ScreenCarp (registered) | Posted October 03, 2014 at 09:49:31

Look at the speed of a go bus as it launches through King at Locke and makes people stand back on the SIDE WALK.

More than once I've watched GO buses mount the curb while turning at Main+James and almost mow down people standing on the sidewalk who had to step back.

And here we have the problem with our streets. Live lanes of traffic inches away from the sidewalk.

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By Annon (anonymous) | Posted October 03, 2014 at 19:13:13

I have spoken with many of the business owners on King st from Mary to James and I believe that the businesses are losing clients as a result of the Bus lane.
I have walled the route during rush hours and outside of those times and it is utter Chaos.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted October 03, 2014 at 21:43:20 in reply to Comment 105202

Really? I was just in the International village at 6pm and it seemed to be flowing along fine. Not swift highway traffic, but not really backed up either. Seemed like normal city traffic to me.

Honestly, the folks who seem to have genuinely lost out are the ones between Bay and Queen that lost their street-side parking to the far side of the highway^H^H^H^H^H^Hstreet. The city should have properly piloted the bus lane with two lanes removed through that stretch, those businesses could have kept their store-front parking. Traffic isn't slow through that stretch anyways.

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 03, 2014 at 22:05:01 in reply to Comment 105205

If anyone is interested, a piece I wrote in June 2013:

https://www.raisethehammer.org/article/1...

Parking remained on the north curb with this plan, bike lanes were added from John to Dundurn and parking was added on the south curb from Locke to Dundurn.

Everyone wins (as much as having a disgusting one-way freeway barreling through our once bustling downtown can be considered winning).

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 03, 2014 at 21:00:41 in reply to Comment 105202

King has been a horrible street for decades. But it's better with the bus lane than without. Walking the street is a bit better now without idiot speeders doing 80k inches from the sidewalk trying to pass one car before the next light.

As I mentioned above, a better solution might be 24-7 parking on the south curb to Dundurn. Parking on the north curb to Dundurn except from 7-9 and 4-6 where the north parking lane becomes a transit/bike lane.

For anyone to even suggest this bus lane has any remote comparison with LRT is laughable. Quiet, smooth, clean, electric trains don't compare with dirty noisy buses. King needs to become a complete street or the business community will always struggle. They've all admitted they were barely hanging on before the bus lane. Personally I want to see a thriving economic climate in my downtown. I have no interest in going back to a street design that will allow businesses to barely hang on for dear life.

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By Main Street (anonymous) | Posted October 12, 2014 at 09:18:53

The efficient movement of people, goods and services was the original purpose one way streets in our city. So what has changed? The parasite class just wants their fair share of what everyone else has. When Ford motor co. announced they were hiring a thousand more well paid workers at their bicycle plant in Oakville, I hopped on my bike and raced right over to the arts handout office to protest the threat of an actual forty hour week of work. This is an attack on the downtown right to a lifestyle on the backs of capitalists ratepayers.

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