Special Report: Walkable Streets

Salvage Something from Bus Lane Removal

We can't go back to a five-lane highway west of Locke. It is simply too dangerous.

By Jason Leach
Published January 24, 2015

I want to start by acknowledging the fantastic advocacy of our lower city councillors: Aidan Johnson in Ward 1, Jason Farr in Ward 2, Matthew Green in Ward 3 and Sam Merulla in Ward 4.

But like so many Hamiltonians, I am distraught at the selfish behaviour of their colleagues. It was sickening to hear some of the other Councillors go on and on about all the public support they heard for the bus lane and how we need more bus lanes, only to turn around and vote against the bus lane we had.

I am concerned about what King Street may look like once the bus lane is removed again. I stopped walking on King many years ago after too many close calls with almost being hit by cars speeding in the curb lane. Since the bus lane was put in, I've walked and cycled on King more in the past year than the previous ten years combined.

I suspect I'm not the only one, as we've seen a real uptick in business during the last year - notwithstanding the legitimate complaints of some business owners about losing the north curbside parking.

With the bus lane being removed, I propose that we look at adding all-day curbside parking back to the north curb again, but that we also make two other changes:

Following are some illustrations to show what I have in mind.

Bay to Locke

Staff will need to verify the width of King from Bay to Locke but it seems to be around 42-44 feet wide on the roadway. The north curb lane is hugely oversized.

King Street from Bay to Locke (Image Generated with Streetmix)
King Street from Bay to Locke (Image Generated with Streetmix)

This suggestion requires them painting the 24-7 parking lane on the north curb, similar to what they did on Cannon east of Victoria. Parking does not require a full ten-foot lane. 7-8 feet is industry standard, and it's what we did on Cannon. I'm going with 8 feet on this illustration.

I've added a bike lane next to the parking, then THREE car lanes. However, I'm suggesting that off-peak hours we have curb parking allowed on the south curb. We do NOT need an open curb lane outside of rush hour. It simply creates a dangerous situation around here for those who live here 365.

Locke to Strathcona

This is King from Locke to Strathcona:

King Street from Locke to Strathcona (Image Generated with Streetmix)
King Street from Locke to Strathcona (Image Generated with Streetmix)

Please note: King widens here to around 50 feet on the roadway. We can and should have 24-7 parking on both sides of King. This still leaves three full car lanes 24-7.

It also maintains south curb parking for businesses that have opened there and enjoy their parking, and it maintains parking and the bike lane right past Victoria Park on the north side.

I can't be more strenuous in my insistence that we do not go back to having a live car lane next to this sidewalk. It has been such a horrible danger for our neighbourhood for decades. The buffer of parking and a bike lane would be tremendous for this stretch.

Strathcona to Dundurn

If for some crazy reason staff refuse to allow parking next to a park, I would suggest this final cross-section, which is the proposal for Strathcona to Dundurn:

King Street from Strathcona to Dundurn (Image Generated with Streetmix)
King Street from Strathcona to Dundurn (Image Generated with Streetmix)

Again, it maintains three car lanes 24-7, but also maintains south side curb parking. I remember the owner of the cycle shop at King and New Street being vocal about his displeasure that the south curb parking didn't extend to his block. The curb parking can end just before the KFC parking entrance.

The bike lane connects seamlessly to the bike lanes over Hwy 403.

We Can't Go Back

With this entire cross section from Bay to Dundurn, we have added parking back on the north curb, opened the south curb for an extra vehicle lane during rush hour and have used the extra wide roadway to add a bike lane by painting these parking areas like we did on Cannon.

What happened at Council is a big loss to the entire city. But I firmly believe that if staff would slow down and take input from those of us who live along this corridor and have studied it to death over the years, we can turn a rotten situation into something that still maintains the sense of a safer street.

We can't go back to a five-lane highway west of Locke. It is simply too dangerous. It is also potentially an opportunity to salvage something from the Metrolinx Quick Wins money we wasted putting in a bus lane and then taking it out even though it was working.

I'm not sure how much repainting the city will do but I would recommend we line up the left three lanes east of Locke with the centre three lanes west of Locke. That would enable us to maintain three car lanes during rush hour west of Locke, while retaining parking on both curbs west of Locke.

Curbside parking is good for business and a safety buffer for pedestrians. This is a huge concern and I hope we can at least get this done now that we've lost the transit lane.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.

12 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By strackj (registered) | Posted January 24, 2015 at 12:07:53

I was recently looking back at Google street view from before the bus lane and I had forgotten how wide the north parking was at some points. I was having similar thoughts that they could definitely fit a bike lane in there:

http://i.imgur.com/kOaugJk.jpg

Living at this section of King, it would greatly simplify a bike commute to Westdale. I usually end up detouring up to Napier, through the park and Head St to get to Dundurn. Safely being able to take King straight there would be fantastic.

Comment edited by strackj on 2015-01-24 12:24:25

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.

By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted January 24, 2015 at 16:16:18 in reply to Comment 108344

Honestly, I'd rather see the Napier detour developed properly - bike-exemptions for all-way stops, straight-through traffic allowed on Queen/Napier, a path along the Federal building, contra-flow lane on Bay, stuff like that. And signage at Bay/Cannon and Bay/Wilson saying "Bike Road to McMaster" or something so cyclists know where they're going.

I won't bike on King or Main unless they get a Cannon-style treatment.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By RobF (registered) | Posted January 24, 2015 at 12:11:07

Would solve a lot of problems from an urban, non-automotive point of view.

Have you conferred with any of the core 4 to see whether there's an appetite at the moment to work toward bringing something like this to council ... a good opportunity to re-mobilize and get 150 pairs of eyes watching at a council meeting again.

Comment edited by RobF on 2015-01-24 12:11:22

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted January 24, 2015 at 13:17:59

I stopped walking on King many years ago after too many close calls with almost being hit by cars speeding in the curb lane.

'Close-call' is a good way to put this. When cars are travelling at speed less than one metre from pedestrians, its always a close call.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.

By Wondering (anonymous) | Posted January 24, 2015 at 21:32:15 in reply to Comment 108348

There's probably some Traffic Act reason why we can't but I've always thought, if we have to have the multi-lane one-ways, it would be great to make the outer lanes for turning only. I'd propose making travel of more than, say, two blocks in either before turning worth a hefty fine.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted January 25, 2015 at 00:27:50 in reply to Comment 108358

No reason why we cannot do this. In fact, this was a key part of the Toronto proposal for a King Street Transit Mall.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.

By Wondering (again) (anonymous) | Posted January 24, 2015 at 21:34:42 in reply to Comment 108358

Oh yeah, with bicycles excepted, of course. :-)

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.

By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted January 24, 2015 at 22:12:25 in reply to Comment 108359

You've basically described the new bike lanes the city built on York Boulevard and on Victoria North. They go dotted whenever there's a right-turn and specifically show the right-turn markings when they approach an intersection.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted January 24, 2015 at 18:32:25

love your choice of words. The ones who agree with are expressing "fantastic advocacy" while those who are fighting for the other side, the side they believe in are showing "selfish behaviour". Wow. Your way or the highway. No room for amyone with a dissenting opinion because you and yours are the only ones who know whats right.

Give me a break. What a pile of crap.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.

By fool (anonymous) | Posted January 24, 2015 at 21:23:32 in reply to Comment 108351

You continue to be an idiot.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.

By Cultosaurus (registered) | Posted January 24, 2015 at 19:58:36 in reply to Comment 108351

You have a reading comprehension problem.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted January 25, 2015 at 00:36:28

Jason,

Thank you for this article. I would like to make a suggestion about the cycle lanes shown in your photographs that are next to car parking. This works better if one simply switches the lanes so that the parked cars have the effect of protecting the cycle lane.

Here are two videos showing how car parking protected bike lanes work in New York. The first video is a two-minute overview showing several examples. See:

http://vimeo.com/20302720

The second video is a 4 minute in-depth look at one particular car parking protected bike lane. See:

http://www.streetfilms.org/the-taming-an...

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

Comment Anonymously
Screen Name
What do you get if you divide 12 by 3?
Leave This Field Blank
Comment

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds