Special Report: Bus Lane

Let City Council Hear Your Support for the Bus Lane

Please sign this petition in support of the bus lane and let City Council hear you loud and clear!

By Meg Smith
Published January 17, 2015

After reading a CBC article that quoted Ward 3 Councillor Matthew Green tweeting that he hadn't heard much advocacy from HSR riders on whether they liked the bus lane or not, I wanted to rally an online community to take action and ensure voices were heard at the City Council vote next week.

Using the Walkable Hamilton advocacy website - the same website that helped Yes We Cannon launch the Cannon cycle track campaign - I am hoping that we can do the same for public transit in Hamilton.

If you believe that the bus lane is a great first step, albeit with some flaws that need smoothing, please sign this petition and ensure that City Council hears your opinion that further exploration is needed and the remaining Quick Wins budget should not go toward eliminating the lane altogether.

As was discussed on Raise the Hammer, the staff report recommended keeping the bus lane as the benefits necessitated further exploration and the one year pilot did have a noticeable benefit on public transit in Hamilton. It may not be the answer to transit in Hamilton, but it is a great first step towards improving our transit infrastructure.

Please get engaged, share the link to the petition and let City Council hear you loud and clear. If last week's quote-worthy General Issues Committee meeting was any indication, other voices are needed to ensure a well-rounded plan is formed to benefit the future of Hamilton's transit.

Meg Smith works as a senior designer at Factor[e] in Hamilton.

33 Comments

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted January 17, 2015 at 20:10:00

I am composing a letter to Council and will certainly be signing the petition.

PS: It is provincial funds, not federal. Still the money from all levels of government is all coming from the same place: you and me.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 17, 2015 at 21:47:13

awesome job. Signed. I think we're at a tipping point here in Hamilton. We just watched 4 years of horrendous leadership and misinformation at every turn from city hall. There is more expectations in the community now with a solid mayor and new blood on council. Suddenly some of the same old guard try to pull this stunt and it appears enough is enough. Our city's demographic is changing and will continue to change. Council can make up for lost time and start investing in transit again now that there is pent-up demand for it, or they can face major push-back from citizen groups and advocates for the next 4 years.

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By untouchable (anonymous) | Posted January 17, 2015 at 22:01:58

I don't know if they care about push back. That's the problem. They're impervious, untouchable.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted January 19, 2015 at 14:04:13 in reply to Comment 107989

They must care about pushback. Its the only reason they have strongly opposed the bus lane --- they've heard complaints.

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By steve_d (anonymous) | Posted January 17, 2015 at 22:35:28

I'm getting a 404 error on the petition website; can you look into this?

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By Susie (registered) | Posted January 17, 2015 at 23:40:29 in reply to Comment 107990

Also getting this error. The no-bot question does not appear on the survey. If you try to submit, then answer it, you get a 404.

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By Reese (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2015 at 07:59:08 in reply to Comment 107991

I had the same problem.

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By ItJustIs (registered) | Posted January 18, 2015 at 08:05:36

What if you support HSR use (Duh!), but not the bus lane?

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted January 19, 2015 at 14:05:18 in reply to Comment 107994

If you don't support the bus lane, don't sign the petition.

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By Huh? (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2015 at 11:34:37 in reply to Comment 107994

Why would you not support the bus lane if you support HSR use? Clearly, bus lane benefits HSR users. Maybe you only support HSR for suburbia parts of Hamilton???

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By transit user (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2015 at 11:50:07 in reply to Comment 107997

Maybe because it doesn't do any perceptible good even as a rider and there are more pressing issues on other legs of my commute

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted January 19, 2015 at 23:02:24 in reply to Comment 107998

This is not the first time I have heard this. Don't feel bad about making your views known. But I'd echo some things others are saying: drivers mostly think it is beneficial, most riders seem to agree, I certainly find my ride improved. And we can keep it and improve it.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted January 19, 2015 at 14:17:21 in reply to Comment 107998

Ooh, who else thinks this might be our old friend Allan Taylor?

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted January 19, 2015 at 14:08:12 in reply to Comment 107998

You know that its already been built, right? Taking the bus lane away will do absolutely nothing to change other parts of your commute; it wouldn't even change the funding available, since the bus lane was provincially funded.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 18, 2015 at 15:13:44 in reply to Comment 107998

I'm always baffled by this 'either-or' mindset in Hamilton.
It's completely impossible to keep the bus land AND fix the other issues in other legs of your commute??

How did we ever land someone on the moon???

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By transit user (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2015 at 17:44:12 in reply to Comment 108001

No but there's still no perceptipal benefit to keeping the lane.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted January 20, 2015 at 14:15:12 in reply to Comment 108006

I think the venerable [citation needed] applies. The HSR might not agree with you.

Comment edited by AnjoMan on 2015-01-20 14:15:22

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By ItJustIs (registered) | Posted January 18, 2015 at 15:39:45 in reply to Comment 108001

"It's completely impossible to keep the bus land AND fix the other issues in other legs of your commute??"

It's completely impossible to lose the bus lane AND fix the other issues in HSR service?

Just sayin'...

Comment edited by ItJustIs on 2015-01-18 15:40:41

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By Chooch (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2015 at 11:32:58 in reply to Comment 107994

Then you start your own advocacy group that supports HSR use but not the bus lane (Duh!). Good luck with that buddy!

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted January 19, 2015 at 23:06:11 in reply to Comment 107996

No. People who use transit and are not in favour of the bus lane are PERFECTLY WELCOME within our group. But for now, after hearing the discussion at Saturday's meeting, the group is throwing its energies temporarily into working to keep it, including Meg's self-started project which I think is great and which I and others have tried to encourage.

Vast majority of those who came out like, even love, the King St transit only lane. But we are for all users.

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By fmurray (registered) | Posted January 18, 2015 at 21:18:20

I see the bus lane as a small initiative that shows our council's commitment to its overall transit plans. Yes, it needs some tweaks to improve the street experience between Bay and Dundurn, but it's about giving priority to transit users over automobile drivers on what could become a very congested corridor.

It's a small step, but a necessary one for us to move forward.

And yes, "either-or" seems to be a continuous refrain for any initiative that we undertake. (e.g. "we can have LRT OR fight poverty", "$1 million for a bike lane when mountain neighbourhoods don't have sidewalks?" etc. and etc.) Depressing.

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted January 19, 2015 at 23:07:14 in reply to Comment 108008

I agree. It's highly symbolic of a commitment not just to transit, but to the city's Transportation Master Plan. And it's (uh oh!) future...

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted January 19, 2015 at 14:11:43 in reply to Comment 108008

"$1 million for a bike lane when mountain neighbourhoods don't have sidewalks?"

Whats most depressing is that the bike lane was funded through the area rating budget, so building sidewalks on the mountain wasn't an alternative use of the money. Never mind that those councilors never actually did anything to build sidewalks in their ward in the many years they have been in office.

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By ItJustIs (registered) | Posted January 19, 2015 at 14:05:46 in reply to Comment 108008

Last week David Dixon repeated several times the need for 'leadership'. (Irony was heavy in the air when he was taken to task for this by one of our esteemed Councillors; they felt that the word was subjective, and therefore useless. I believe 'pro-active' was the preferred adjective.) That in the end, transit changes would not result from 'numbers', but from political will.

This notion of a need for 'leadership' can be seen in almost all aspects of Life in Hamilton. During the election campaign I didn't get a whiff of any authentic abilities to 'lead' from any of the Mayoral candidates nor from any of those running for Ward Councillors. Even now, not long into Council's first year of the term, the dearth of leadership at 71 Main Street West is readily apparent.

Being a leader doesn't always involve working the positive into the city's narrative. It often requires dealing with the negative.

Hamilton is a polarized city. From entrenched, heels-dug-in naysayers to the close-knit cabal of evangelists who actually aren't interested in dialogue because they're deeply in love with the sounds of their own voices, contrary opinions be damned, we talk about being a vibrant city on the rebound, proudly resurrecting itself like a phoenix rising from the ashes, but in fact are mired in our Twitter-feeds where braying meets kvetching in all its 140-character glory.

Hamilton needs to learn how to have conversations before it can have the conversations it so badly needs to be having.

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By Hypocrite (anonymous) | Posted January 20, 2015 at 15:30:04 in reply to Comment 108027

Are you done yet? Jeez... "deeply in love with the sound of their own voices"... you're one to talk.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 19, 2015 at 22:26:28

more realistic numbers for the bus lane on King.... between 1,500-3,000 transit riders at rush hour.

http://www.hamilton-today.com/hamont/how...

Note: these stats don't include standing room on buses. Only half capacity and full capacity.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted January 19, 2015 at 23:31:14 in reply to Comment 108048

But the city's transit commissioner was saying 1100 riders, which fell far short of the 2000 needed to justify the bus lane. Where did the discrepancy come from?

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 20, 2015 at 09:33:16 in reply to Comment 108052

for some reason, city staff counted ONLY HSR buses, and only at Bay Street. The numbers above are at (I think) John or Hughson and include GO Transit.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted January 20, 2015 at 12:46:13 in reply to Comment 108056

Reading the article, I assume the difference is the mountain buses - they're at Hughson/John, but not at Bay. Since the mountain buses aren't on the majority of the length of the Bus Lane, I could see why those shouldn't really be counted towards the "bus lane total".

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 20, 2015 at 10:10:42

for some reason, city staff counted ONLY HSR buses, and only at Bay Street. The numbers above are at (I think) John or Hughson and include GO Transit.

Besides, that's just another lame Hamilton-only excuse to do-nothing. Here is a California city that just built a real BRT system and they see about 1,300 riders PER DAY:

http://ttcinlandempire.blogspot.ca/2014/...

It's called planning. Something Hamilton city hall refuses to do for any mode other than cars. We build new roads and highways all over the place even though there is no traffic pressure, yet we come up with these idiotic stats and numbers to further the status quo with transit or cycling.

K-W is building LRT with transit ridership that only recently caught up to Hamilton's total annual numbers. They have NO current transit routes with passenger loads like our B-Line corridor. And they are building a full-fledged LRT network. Again, you get the city you plan for.

In Cleveland, they built a full BRT line on a bus route that used to carry 7,000 riders per day. I don't have hourly breakdowns, but I'm guessing no single hour was near 2,000 if the entire day was only 7,000. Since building BRT, ridership has doubled on that route in the last 5 years.

http://www.post-gazette.com/news/transpo...

Our current Main-King-Queenston corridor carries 9 million passengers per year. That averages 25,000 per day.

http://hamilton.siretechnologies.com/sir...

PLEASE remember, the same people who are currently trying to suggest we don't have ridership for bus lanes, and certainly not for BRT or LRT are the same people who were bragging during the election about how we should be doing what Cleveland did instead of going for LRT. As was predicted, those same people now oppose BRT, bus lanes and anything other than cars. As we knew they would.

Surely if Cleveland can build a full BRT network with 7,000 riders per day, and San Bernadino can build a full BRT route with a measly 1,300 riders per day, we can keep our ONLY bus lane which carries 25,000 riders per day.

What a real city council would be doing is looking to immediately add bus lanes on Main/King from McMaster to the Delta and in other quick-win spots like the SB curb lane of James from King-Hunter and one of the left turn lanes on John from Jackson-King as well as add a new express route connecting downtown to Mohawk College and Limeridge Mall with bus lanes where possible and transit-jumping signals along the route, along with modern new high capacity vehicles like these:

http://bussmagasinet.no/wp-content/uploa...

http://goo.gl/tuenBy

Ridership would soar on the B-Line and grow rapidly on the new express route, which would give us a tremendous case to push the province hard for B-line LRT money, at which time we deploy these buses onto new express routes and continue growing the transit system.

Comment edited by jason on 2015-01-20 10:29:39

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