Transportation

Two-Way Traffic on Caroline Between Main and King

By Ryan McGreal
Published June 26, 2012

this blog entry has been updated

This Friday, June 29, starting at 7:00 AM, the City will convert part of Caroline Street to two-way traffic between Main Street and King Street, as part of the City's 2001 Downtown Transportation Master Plan (TMP).

At this rate, we'll have the city fully converted back to two-way traffic by around the year 2100.

In 2003, Caroline Street South was converted to two-way between Main and Herkimer, though it remains one-way southbound between Herkimer and Aberdeen.

For now, Caroline Street North will stay one-way southbound between King Street and York Blvd. RTH has asked the city if there are any future plans to convert Caroline north of King. We will update this blog if and when we get a reply.

Update: I just received the following reply from Kelly Anderson, spokesperson for the Public Works Department:

The Downtown TMP recommends extending the two-way conversion on Caroline to York Blvd. but an implementation timeline has not been identified yet. To implement an extension on Caroline, the intersection of Caroline and York would have to be redesigned to accommodate northbound right turning traffic (changes to the curb radius etc.)

The Downtown TMP is a guiding document when related projects are being considered, including reconstruction and rehabilitation of infrastructure (surface and subsurface). Projects are recommended as soon as budgets allow. With all the other priorities in the city for infrastructure improvements, the listed streets for conversion in the TMP are considered in that context and will have to be considered against the other needs and included in future budgets.

Transportation Planning staff are hoping to conduct another review of the TMP next year which could identify the need to convert more one-way streets to two-way traffic.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus and HuffPost. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.

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By Derp (anonymous) | Posted June 26, 2012 at 11:20:32

The city did not make this happen, Darko Vranich did.

Also, they went through the trouble of installing new signals but wouldn't throw in a couple stop signs and an extra can of paint to continue it for the three small blocks to York. Does not compute.

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By jason (registered) | Posted June 26, 2012 at 22:38:00 in reply to Comment 78923

We didn't realize it, but we actually voted Darko Vranich as mayor. We need to get this guy on board with LRT.

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By Gel (anonymous) | Posted June 26, 2012 at 11:24:30 in reply to Comment 78923

You mean a property developer building a major new complex on a downtown city block prefers two way streets to one way streets?

Fancy that.

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By jason (registered) | Posted June 26, 2012 at 11:31:45

There has been street parking on the west side of Caroline for this stretch, and still is south of Main. I hope they aren't removing it for an extra traffic lane. Incredible that TO can manage 1-lane each way on major downtown streets, but we need 2 lanes on Caroline?? This half-way conversion creates big headaches now for folks travelling south on Caroline from York. I've already seen people in the left lane stuck on King realizing they need to get over a lane to continue south. Why the heck not just take this all the way north?? Incredible. The same city that flipped all streets in 1 night in the 50's is now this un-ambitious and timid in 2012.

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By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted June 26, 2012 at 12:05:08 in reply to Comment 78925

"Incredible that TO can manage 1-lane each way on major downtown streets but we need 2 lanes on Caroline."

Not sure if public transit might play a role. The TTC averaged 2.59 million passengers per day in 2011. I believe that the HSR managed to rack up around 22 million riders in the whole of that year.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted June 26, 2012 at 12:22:32 in reply to Comment 78928

I don't think your facts on the TTC are correct, as the TTC's own website states their highest ever 1-day ridership was Friday, September 30, 2011 when they had 1,746,391 revenue passengers (i.e. fares collected).

The average business day sees 1,582,000 revenue passengers.

Source: http://www.ttc.ca/About_the_TTC/Operating_Statistics/2011.jsp

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By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted June 26, 2012 at 14:21:10 in reply to Comment 78929

My bad. That 2.6m would seem to include Revenue Passengers and Transfer Fares.

Still, the TTC's posted increase in passenger trips from 2010 to 2011 was roughly the entire ridership year for the HSR. So there's that.



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By Gel (anonymous) | Posted June 26, 2012 at 12:24:29 in reply to Comment 78929

Maybe the 2.59M total is fares plus passes?

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By moylek (registered) - website | Posted June 26, 2012 at 11:41:38

Yay. But sigh.

I road down John St N from King to the bay yesterday and was startled to realize that it still goes from two way to one way (at Barton, I think) and then back to two way (at Burlington). I mean ... what the hell?

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By D.Tompkins (anonymous) | Posted June 26, 2012 at 14:02:40 in reply to Comment 78926

John St. actually changes suddenly to one way Northbound at the base of the railroad bridge overpass (Strachan), just in time to have 2 wide lanes rushing past Bennetto Public School and the North Hamilton Health Centre. Then reverts again to 2-way from Burlington on. I moved to the North End 18 months ago and have asked everyone, "Why"? but have never heard an answer. I call it one of Hamilton's "Orphan" one-ways. The single block of Ferguson Ave. N. between King and King William + a half dozen others drive me crazy too.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted June 26, 2012 at 11:56:44

It would be easier to move everything two-way overnight if we were willing to accept a deficit of traffic signals. Apparently the city replaced the 1950s hardware at some point.

Agonizingly slow? Yes. But I don't agree that we should stop conversions until we arrive at the perfect solution. That's not helpful to the city. It might not be idea, but it's a step in the right direction.


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By Forty Three (anonymous) | Posted June 26, 2012 at 13:44:16

43% of folks responding the Spec poll about this currently think the minor change is a bad idea.
2100 might be optimistic.

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By yes-two-way (anonymous) | Posted June 26, 2012 at 14:10:53

Jason above says, "This half-way conversion creates big headaches now for folks travelling south on Caroline from York." I strongly favour the more rapid (re)-transition to two-way streets in Hamilton. BUT: Caroline southbound with one lane travel will be a problem when there are events at Hamiton Place or Convention Centre, for example. Traffic from York Blvd. gets backed up on Caroline north of King, waiting to turn left onto Main. Traffic headed south beyond that may get backed up in all this. Yesterday to get home I went south on Queen from York and then turned left into my Durand area. It was quicker than the current Caroline route I use. While we're at it, surely it's time to two-way Charlton and Herkimer and Park and Duke and Robinson as well, in mid-city. Add others please.

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By jason (registered) | Posted June 26, 2012 at 14:31:45 in reply to Comment 78933

exactly...if we did all of them, the options available would be plentiful and simple to navigate.

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By Queen St. too (anonymous) | Posted June 27, 2012 at 13:48:16 in reply to Comment 78937

We can add Queen St too to two-way from York to Aberdeen, though (or because) it's currently a bit-or-more of a drag strip for people heading (too) fast to the Queen hill upbound, or west onto Aberdeen. Possible bottlenecks may occur, but at more sane speeds. Very too fast traffic now.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted June 27, 2012 at 16:16:42 in reply to Comment 78960

Which is exactly why getting the city to change that one will be pulling teeth. Which is a shame - when Frid Street is completed, there will be an alternate route into Westdale/Ainsliewood from the Queen/Garth hill... but Queen will point the wrong way for drivers coming down the access to take that route, instead being forced onto ever-overcrowded Aberdeen.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted June 26, 2012 at 14:18:14

Awesome. Continue it to York Blvd and give us a bike-path across Sir John A.'s pavement and you'll have a nice north/south bike-friendly road connecting Bayfront Park to Durand.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2012-06-26 14:24:54

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted June 26, 2012 at 17:24:19

I can understand the desire to turn One Way side streets like that section of Caroline into Two Way. That makes sense to me and I'd be a supporter of it.

When I argue for maintaining One Way streets, it is only for streets like King, Main and Canon. I'd probably even be okay with King turning into Two Way if Canon is maintained One Way. And, if Burlington Street was turned into a real "highway" (let's not turn this into an argument that "Burlington St already is a Highway SpaceMonkey"), I'd be okay with all Hamilton streets being Two Way.

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted June 26, 2012 at 21:23:36 in reply to Comment 78939

I argue with SpaceMonkey often enough, but I don't understand the downvote here. He is not trolling.

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By Kevin (registered) | Posted June 26, 2012 at 17:40:49

Speaking of "what the hell?" Why is Locke, between King and Main, one way?

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted June 27, 2012 at 09:50:24 in reply to Comment 78940

Because it's dysfunctionally narrow? I can understand keeping things one-way in cases where it's one-way simply because there isn't space to run enough lanes and still let people pull over and stop. It's a glorified alleyway.

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By Kevin (registered) | Posted June 27, 2012 at 19:59:41 in reply to Comment 78957

There are 2 lanes - one each way. Is that too difficult to figure out?

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted June 27, 2012 at 07:28:03 in reply to Comment 78940

Probably because converting that strip would not make a single speck of difference, not to mention there's no space between the lanes and the curbs there. Have you actually driven that stretch before?

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By Kevin (registered) | Posted June 27, 2012 at 20:11:52 in reply to Comment 78953

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted June 27, 2012 at 20:57:31 in reply to Comment 78967

I do think, and I'm not trolling. Just providing some insight since you seem to post before you think. Seriously, that stretch is too narrow to make it safely 2-way there.

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By Kevin (registered) | Posted June 27, 2012 at 21:54:06 in reply to Comment 78968

Insight? God help us. I've lived in Japan where there are streets half that wide that cater to two-way traffic, pedestrians, and bikes. Vehicles just go very slowly and weave in and out. It's very functional and civilised. Seriously, have you ever been out of Hamilton?

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By downtowninhamilton (registered) | Posted June 28, 2012 at 22:10:22 in reply to Comment 78970

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted June 27, 2012 at 09:36:52 in reply to Comment 78953

Made a difference to me when I was driving up Locke from Dundurn and I was suddenly faced with a one-way street that I had to navigate around.

If it "makes no difference" to you, then why not supporting changing it back to two way?

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By Citygal (anonymous) | Posted June 26, 2012 at 20:42:56

Re: the reversion to one way at Bennetto School. I worked on the team that did that conversion and school interests lobbied against two way traffic. They wanted a "drop-off" lane protected for the parents who drive their kids to school.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted June 27, 2012 at 09:38:20 in reply to Comment 78942

Interesting to know, but frustrating to no end.

I live near a few schools and they're always zoos at drop-off time. Hazardous zoos at that. Everyone wants priority. I can't imagine how many accidents occur around schools every year.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted June 29, 2012 at 09:39:21 in reply to Comment 78956

The reality is that more parents drop off their kids than did when these schools were built. Some of these parents could just as easily walk... but in a lot of cases we're talking about dual-income households. If you're dropping off the kids on the way to work? You're going to be driving them.

Accommodating drop-offs is necessary. Although I think they took the wrong solution - the city should've widened the road with a bump-out parking lane.

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By moylek (registered) - website | Posted June 29, 2012 at 10:37:42 in reply to Comment 79000

Accommodating drop-offs is necessary.

Is it? What if we didn't? What if we made it harder? Would it be so hard to drop the kids off a block or so away from the school itself?

I really need a lot more convincing that so many parents need to drop off their kids right. in front. of the school.

Just because many people want to do it, doesn't mean it's right for society to accomodate it (cf. smoking in airplanes, drinking and driving, running stop signs, speeding in residential areas, biking on the sidewalk, double parking, etc. and so on).

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted June 29, 2012 at 11:24:44 in reply to Comment 79001

Because they're legally required to if the kids are too young to walk themselves.

You could make the argument that supporting drop-off is silly for a middle-school or a high-school where children are old enough to get themselves there, but not an elementary school.

I mean, we can argue until hoarse about how old a child should be before they can walk themselves to school - 6? 8? Whatever... but either way, I think most folks agree that children in Junior Kindergarten need a parental escort. The line exists somewhere, and there are children at elementary school who are below it.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted June 29, 2012 at 11:57:01 in reply to Comment 79002

Heaven forbid that a parent should have to drag their own ass out of the car to walk their kid into school. Can't have that.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted June 29, 2012 at 12:05:21 in reply to Comment 79005

Kindergarten aged children need to be walked to the door anyway, so really it's an issue of parking rather than traffic flow.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted June 29, 2012 at 11:56:09 in reply to Comment 79002

Just because younger children need to be accompanied by an adult, doesn't mean we need to accommodate door-to-door drop offs by eating up much needed greenspace with kiss 'n rides, or disrupting neighbourhood traffic flows with one ways.

There is no reason parents can't park a few blocks away from the school and walk the rest of the way. This is already accepted practise at our neighbourhood school. Bonus: kids who have to be driven get a bit of exercise.

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By jason (registered) | Posted June 26, 2012 at 22:39:47

To implement an extension on Caroline, the intersection of Caroline and York would have to be redesigned to accommodate northbound right turning traffic (changes to the curb radius etc.)

I've seen work crews do this in a few hours....you cut the corner of the curb and round it so it's suitable for turning. A lot simpler than building an elevated highway in a rough-terrain valley, yet we managed that just fine.

Comment edited by jason on 2012-06-26 22:40:14

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By Rim Shot (anonymous) | Posted June 27, 2012 at 12:34:28 in reply to Comment 78947

...and that only took 50 years!

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted June 29, 2012 at 16:48:05

Is that left turn lane from Main to Caroline for real? The only reason you'd have to turn left on Caroline is if you are doing a U-turn to King. This city certainly baffles me sometimes!

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