Special Report: Bus Lane

Abandoning Bus Lane Sends Poor Message About City Priorities

The bus lane debate has come to represent something more fundamental: a question over vision and whether we want to move towards a more sustainable community and livable downtown or whether downtown Hamilton's streets will remain prioritized for automobil

By Kieran C. Dickson
Published January 21, 2015

I implore Council not to reject the staff recommendations regarding the permanent implementation or temporary extension of the King Street bus lane.

Abandoning the bus lane would send a very poor message about City priorities and our commitment to public transit generally and higher-order public transit in particular.

As a regular daytime user of King Street, primarily as a driver, I have experienced essentially no negative impacts in terms of driving time along the affected stretch, leading me to suspect that the claimed five-minute delay must be limited to a very narrow window of rush hour.

My office looks down onto King Street East and throughout the day I see little congestion and certainly no signs of difficulty in terms of drivers coping with the new lane configurations.

To the extent that there are issues with particular light sequences or turning priorities, these seem like readily-addressed matters of fine-tuning for qualified engineering staff.

The identified benefits in terms of improved bus service greatly outweigh the minor and time-limited inconveniences to drivers.

In terms of transit usership, the obvious hope is that any improvements to transit speed and regularity will induce demand for a mode of transportation that should be encouraged and promoted as an attractive alternative to automobile use.

The bus lane debate has come to represent something more fundamental: a question over vision and whether we want to move towards a more sustainable community and livable downtown or whether downtown Hamilton's streets will remain prioritized for automobile traffic.

Please support the bus lanes and move Hamilton in the right direction.

This article is adapted from a letter to Council.


Please add your voice to the Support Hamilton Transit campaign to keep the bus lane.

Kieran C. Dickson is a partner with the downtown Hamilton law firm Evans, Philp LLP. He is the Vice President, External Affairs and Government Relations, of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario and has carried out his own heritage property redevelopment projects in the downtown core.

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