Special Report: Walkable Streets

Traffic Calming Changes to Slip Lane at Queen and Aberdeen

A bumpout has been added on the north edge of the slip lane to discourage speeding into the slip lane, and the wedge of raised curb on the intersection side of the slip lane has been widened to create a neckdown for cars turning onto Queen.

By Ryan McGreal
Published November 17, 2017

This article has been updated.

This week, the City of Hamilton took a small but significant step toward implementing meaningful traffic calming on Queen Street South with changes to the slip lane for southbound vehicle traffic on Queen turning right (westbound) onto Aberdeen Avenue.

Slip lane under construction
Slip lane under construction

A bumpout has been added on the north edge of the slip lane to discourage speeding into the slip lane, and the wedge of raised curb on the intersection side of the slip lane has been widened to create a neckdown for cars turning onto Queen. The following satellite image indicates where the curbs have been modified:

Satellite rendering of curb modifications (Image Credit: Google Maps)
Satellite rendering of curb modifications (Image Credit: Google Maps)

These physical traffic calming measures accomplish a few important goals: they force drivers to slow down when turning from Queen into the slip lane; they encourage cars proceeding through the slip lane to slow down while approaching Aberdeen; they make it physically impossible for two cars to share the slip lane side-by-side; and they reduce the distance that pedestrians have to walk on the street between the sidewalk and the island.

The work was conducted over a few days this week, during which the slip lane was closed and cars turning right had to do so at the intersection.

New bumpout at start of slip lane
New bumpout at start of slip lane

In the following photo, the edge of the grass marks where the curb used to run, and the soil fill indicates where the island was widened.

Narrowed slip lane
Narrowed slip lane

In addition, over last night City staff began painting a zebra crossswalk at the intersection of Aberdeen and Queen.

Zebra crosswalk in progress
Zebra crosswalk in progress

Today, the City also installed new knockdown sticks on the southeast corner of Queen and Aberdeen to give more space to the narrow sidewalk on that corner. This will force northbound drivers turning right (eastbound) onto Aberdeen to slow down.

New knockdown sticks on the southeast corner of Queen and Aberdeen
New knockdown sticks on the southeast corner of Queen and Aberdeen

New knockdown sticks, view west from Aberdeen
New knockdown sticks, view west from Aberdeen

New knockdown sticks, view north from Queen
New knockdown sticks, view north from Queen

Another thing the City needs to do here is extend the duration of the Walk signal for pedestrians crossing east/west across Queen. At present, it is so short that a fit, healthy adult walking quickly can only get partway across the street before the Don't Walk signal begins flashing.

This is just one of many intersections across the city where the duration of the Walk signal is very short.

Normal Intersection?

The modification to the slip lane, while welcome, is a missed opportunity to fill in the lane completely and just have motorists turn right at the intersection, like most other intersections.

According to the City, there is underground equipment from the old Hamilton-Brantford Radial Line under the pedestrian island and it would be very expensive to move it in order to create a large enough curb radius. There are buses that run south on Queen and turn right onto Aberdeen, so the curb radius needs to be large enough to accommodate those turns.

Rendering of a parkette on the northwest corner of Queen and Aberdeen (Image Credit: Alistair Morton, using a Google Maps image)
Rendering of a parkette on the northwest corner of Queen and Aberdeen (Image Credit: Alistair Morton, using a Google Maps image)

As an interesting sidenote, you can still trace the old Radial Line right through Kirkendall South neighbourhood in the local changes that remain to this day.

The slip lane, of course, is part of the route, but it continues through the wedge of grass at the southeast corner of Aberdeen and Spruceside, the Mapleside Park, the 1950s infill houses on Mapleside Avenue, Kent Street, Fairmount Avenue and Undermount Avenue, the southwest zig of Glenfern Avenue before South Street, and the Radial Trail where it begins at Hillcrest Avenue and crosses the loop at the top of Dundurn Street South before continuing west through the south part of Chedoke Golf Course.

Route of the old Hamilton-Brantford Radial Line through Kirkendall South neighbourhood (Image Credit: Google Maps)
Route of the old Hamilton-Brantford Radial Line through Kirkendall South neighbourhood (Image Credit: Google Maps)

North of Aberdeen, the Radial Line ran along Queen and then diagonally across to Hess between Duke Street and Robinson Street, continuing north to Main Street West, where it turned east to the downtown core.


Update: updated to add a note and photographs about the new knockdown sticks on the southeast corner. You can jump to the added paragraph.

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. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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