Special Report: Bus Lane

Bus Lane Set Up to Fail?

The city refuses to incorporate changes that would help ensure success while mitigating the issues with parking and automobile traffic flow.

By Ryan McGreal
Published December 08, 2014

Normally, when a city undertakes a pilot project, it does so in order to iterate and adapt the project in response to real-world feedback. With the City of Hamilton's transit-only lane pilot, not so much. Instead, the city's first bus lane seems to have been set up to fail.

King Street West with transit-only lane (RTH file photo)
King Street West with transit-only lane (RTH file photo)

The bus lane project cost $300,000 to install, money that was funded by Metrolinx under its "Quick Wins" capital fund. It runs westbound on King Street for two kilometres from Mary Street to just before Dundurn Street.

The lane runs mostly in the north curb lane of King Street. Curbside metered parking on King was moved from the north side to the south side to accommodate the bus lane.

Despite this being a pilot project, the only significant design tweak the City made over the past year-and-a-bit was to eliminate rush-hour parking on the south side of King between Locke and Strathcona, almost immediately after it was installed.

Cycling Excluded

After learning that cyclists would not be allowed to use the transit lane, the Hamilton cycling community advocated for that change to bring the project in line with transit lanes in many other cities.

The City explained that they chose to design it as a "reserved vehicle lane" rather than a "high-occupancy vehicle lane" (which would allow cyclists) because the Cycling Master Plan does not include a bike lane on King, therefore it can't have one. (This is just one of the ways the cycling plan has acted to limit cycling, rather than promote it.)

The bus lane pavement markings disappeared completely over the course of last winter, but the city again decided not to tweak the design to address some easy fixes to include cycling.

Real Problem is King Street

The bus lane has been controversial from the start. Motorists began complaining about the bus lane before it came into effect, and a few property owners on King insisted that their retail tenants post "NO BUS LANE" signs in their store windows.

A story appeared in the Spectator in the end of this past September, quoting retail business owners who claim the bus lane has hurt their business. However, a careful reading of their comments indicates that the real issue they struggle with continues to be the fact that King Street is a pedestrian-unfriendly multi-lane expressway.

Now that the curbside parking is on the south side of King, customers don't want to cross King to visit retail stores on the north side.

According to Diego Almonte, quoted in the story: "I have customers who tried parking across the street and then risked their lives to cross the road and just said, 'we aren't coming back.'"

A downtown street that pedestrians are afraid to cross is not a good street. The bus lane did not cause that state of affairs, and removing it will not fix what's wrong with King.

West of Bay Street, it would be much better to move the bus lane out one lane from the curb and re-instate curbside parking on the north side of King. This would address the legitimate concerns of the business owners on the north side that pedestrians are afraid to cross King to get to their stores.

Evidence-Free Policy

Now Ward 5 Councillor Chad Collins has announced that he wants to give Hamilton drivers "an early Christmas present" by cancelling the bus lane - despite the fact that City staff have not yet produced a report on the pilot.

Many drivers are outraged that they are not allowed to use the lane, but the city's original justification for a dedicated transit lane was that it would improve the speed, capacity and reliability of the city's transit system. The reason for the pilot project was to measure and assess whether that actually happened.

The City's Transit-Only Lane page notes: "During the AM peak period there are as many people riding the HSR along this segment of King St as there are cars and trucks driving this same route."

Buses and bikes are an extremely space-efficient use of the road, compared to cars (Image Credit: Cycling Promotion Fund)
Buses and bikes are an extremely space-efficient use of the road, compared to cars (Image Credit: Cycling Promotion Fund of Australia)

It would be irresponsible to eliminate the bus lane without even bothering to find out whether it succeeded in its goals. Likewise, King Street has become slower for automobile traffic - especially between Mary and James - but policy decisions should be based on data, not anecdote.

I can't help but note that right where King Street gets congested through International Village, Main Street, just 110 metres away, consists of five mostly empty eastbound lanes.

Traffic on King Street west of Mary Street (RTH file photo)
Traffic on King Street west of Mary Street (RTH file photo)

One-way Main Street can't handle the overflow on King (RTH file photo)
One-way Main Street can't handle the overflow on King (RTH file photo)

If Main Street was a normal two-way street, westbound automobile traffic wouldn't be stuck in the bottleneck on King.

Refusal to Adjust Design

The city's overall unwillingness to tweak the design means a slew of missed opportunities to maintain the lane and address legitimate concerns.

Jason Leach proposed a balanced cross-section for King Street that would retain the bus lane, allow cycling, maintain parking on the north curb and calm automobile traffic - back in July 2013, months before the bus lane was installed.

The city refuses to incorporate any of these relatively simple changes, which would help ensure success while mitigating the issues with parking and automobile traffic flow.

Again, it almost feels like this project has been set up to fail.

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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By jason (registered) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 14:43:17

one extra issue that has repeatedly been brought to the city's attention with crickets as a response is the timing of the lights on King St.

Two issues here that are VERY easy to fix:

  1. the lights are currently timed to be a freeway...changing to green block by block from east to west. Any normal city has lights changing green ahead of the traffic. Stand at Mary and look ahead to James. When all lights are red with cars waiting on each block, the light turns green first at Mary, allowing cars to head into the next block - and thus encounter another red light. This is repeated all the way to James.
    If the lights turned green first at James, it would allow traffic to clear providing ample space for the next group of cars progressing westbound when the lights go green at Hughson, then John, then Catharine etc...... This one fix would probably solve the entire issue, but city hall would prefer to ignore resident feedback and have councillors keep their heads in the sand.

  2. Buses trying to turn left on James or into the MacNab terminal need to cross the live lanes of King. Again, there should be transit signals at both of those intersections giving buses their own left-green to make that left turn from the transit lane.

Amazing that a city like Chicago figured all this out almost 100 years ago with America's first transit lanes.
'Ambitious City' is nothing more than an empty slogan. Completely not applicable here anymore.

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By PiersixBrawler (registered) | Posted December 09, 2014 at 15:31:00 in reply to Comment 106696

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Comment edited by PiersixBrawler on 2014-12-09 15:35:21

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 09, 2014 at 16:05:22 in reply to Comment 106794

Here we go.

roads were intended for motor vehicles as described in the highway traffic act

Please re-read the Highway Traffic Act. Roads are intended for a variety of uses, which include but are not limited to motor vehicles. Also, be sure to peruse the Ontario Traffic Manual, which specifies the implementation details of the Highway Traffic Act. You may be interested in: Book 5, which specifies signage for such legal road uses as reserved lanes for specified vehicle classes (including such vehicles as bikes and buses); Book 11, which specifies pavement markings for those legal road uses; Book 15, which specifies pedestrian facilities on the road; and Book 18, which specifies cycling facilities on the road

After you've reviewed the laws, then we can have a production discussion about what is and is not an allowed use on the road.

that in order to 'add' a bus or bicycle lane you must first have the 'real estate' to 'add' one

Public right of way is a scarce and valuable resource. It behooves democratically elected governments to make the most effective use of that right of way. Given that high-capacity, high-volume transit is an extremely effective use of a road lane, there is a case to be made that a bus lane is the best use of that lane. We will have a better idea of whether the numbers add up for the King Street bus lane once staff present their report on the pilot.

King St. 'is' a 'highway' by the provisions of the highway traffic act

Every public road is a "highway" by the provisions of the Highway Traffic Act:

"'highway' includes a common and public highway, street, avenue, parkway, driveway, square, place, bridge, viaduct or trestle, any part of which is intended for or used by the general public for the passage of vehicles and includes the area between the lateral property lines thereof;"

Again, I recommend reviewing what the act says so you can form opinions from a position of knowledge.

considering that the demographics of domestic automobiles in the city and drivers in the province is increasing

In fact, the number of automobiles counted on the lower city streets in question have been falling, not increasing.

In any case, the evidence indicates that transit use and cycling go up and down based in large part on how much infrastructure there is. If transit service levels increase, ridership increases because transit becomes a viable option for more people.

Likewise, if cycling infrastructure increases, cycling increases as well. That is why Cannon Street went from having roughly 0 cyclists a day to having 250-400 cyclists a day once the cycle track opened.

this also demonstrates who pays for road maintenance by way of the sticker on the license plates

Nope. Road construction and maintenance is paid through property tax revenue, which everyone pays regardless of how they choose to get around. Even if you add up every revenue source that comes from driving and apply all of it toward roads (thus neglecting the cost of maintaining the regulation and bureaucracy of driver's licences, etc.), it falls well short of what it costs to maintain our roads.

In fact, each person who chooses to ride a bike instead of driving is helping subsidize the cost of road maintenance, since wear-and-tear is an exponential function of vehicle mass. Automobiles cause exponentially more wear-and-tear than bikes, and large automobiles cause exponentially more wear-and-tear than small ones.

contributes to the economy by way of the purchase of oil products, insurance

Most of the money that goes into automobiles leaves the local economy. Cities that invest significantly in making their streets more walking- and cycling-friendly enjoy a net "walkability dividend" in higher levels of local spending and increased local economic activity.

by bringing 'out of towners' to Hamilton to spend their money

Our road network does not confer any comparative advantage to people to visit Hamilton rather than a different destination. In fact, since our streets are so difficult for out-of-towners to navigate, they likely act as a deterrent to would-be tourists.

Beyond that, by artificially depressing the downtown core, our one-way thoroughfares further deter the tourism in Hamilton that we might otherwise enjoy if our historic streetscapes were more vibrant and well-maintained. (See, e.g. Supercrawl for an example of what happens when a formerly depressed neighbourhood begins to recover.)

Public transit is economical, and a good way for the city to generate revenue

The east-west bus lines running through the downtown core actually generate an operating surplus for the city, i.e. they bring in more fare revenue than they cost to operate. It makes direct financial sense for the city to grow service levels and attract more riders on these high-volume routes.

bicycling is fun and encourages fitness

All the more reason to encourage more of it, since driving is frustrating, dangerous and encourages poor health.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2014-12-10 15:28:12

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 15:15:18

Right on Jason. The biggest problem in the very fraught block between Hughson and James is your item #2... the need for buses to cross through the live traffic in order to turn left. This causes significant problems (I get to watch this live every evening as I walk along King and then wait at King and James for my bus home).

Other than that, though, the bus lane works brilliantly except in the narrow window between about 4:15, and ending at 5:30 (maybe as late as 6 when the weather is poor).

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 17:23:18 in reply to Comment 106697

Oh, and on the cycling issue: I must admit that I just cycled in it anyway, and cleared the lane once I heard a bus. Never once caused a problem. I will admit that that sort of ad-hoc solution isn't really good policy.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 16:03:04

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 08, 2014 at 17:10:24 in reply to Comment 106700

Your simplistic assumption that oil prices can't fall in the context of peak oil reminds me of your simplistic assumption that temperatures can't fall in the context of global warming. In both cases, you are (I assume deliberately) refusing to apply any analysis whatsoever to the situation, preferring a "gotcha" style of reasoning that would reflect poorly on a ten-year-old.

In response to persistently high oil prices, the industry has massively ramped up its fracking and oilsands operations, which are very expensive and also environmentally devastating, not that you care about such things.

That has flooded the market for oil at the same time that global demand for oil has stagnated due to ongoing sluggish economic growth, which in turn is due to the same persistent high oil prices that triggered the increase in fracking/oilsands/deep sea production.

The problem is that these non-conventional production methods are unprofitable below $80 a barrel, which means the companies producing oil that way are about to start losing money. The upshot of falling oil prices is that the economic growth will bounce back, but as soon as it does, oil prices will drift up again and the growth will stall.

This is the "bumpy plateau" that peak oil theorists have been talking about, and it pretty much describes how the economy has been behaving since 2007.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted December 10, 2014 at 11:46:38 in reply to Comment 106707

Ryan, if we are experiencing peak oil then that would imply that oil is becoming more scare and prices are rising. This is why people like you and Jeff Rubin made predictions of $200 oil. That fact that oil prices are dropping is an indicator of greater abundance.

High oil prices have encouraged innovation in places where oil is used the most like US and Europe (exactly as econ theory would predict and we have seen time and again throughout history). However these alternative oil producers do produce at a higher marginal cost. Some may go under with prices below $80 many will stay in business as long as prices stay above $40. Advances in technology have and will lower the marginal cost of oil extraction the same way it has for other resource extraction and other industries over time.

This new technology has essential broken OPEC. The Saudis are not cutting oil production for fear of losing more market share in the US (which is now the world's largest oil producer).

The innovation in the sector will now allow oil prices the be determined in the free market with less manipulation from OPEC.

You should expect to see real oil prices trend down over the long term relative to the prices of other goods and the average daily wage. Oil will continue to be the major source of energy around the world for the 21st century as its abundance and versatility has become more apparent thanks to recent events.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted December 12, 2014 at 10:45:00 in reply to Comment 106865

Why would one want to gloat about a worst case scenario not playing out? Yes, the falling oil price is indicative of greater above ground inventory. It does not mean the earlier warnings were invalid or false. It means the situation that was warned about may have been averted, however perhaps only for the short term.

The extra inventory comes from new but environmentally destructive methods, and fracking wells deplete quickly too that's why so many get drilled. Also in the short term, the decline in price is partially due to the US dollar making a comeback, and yes partially due to all the geopolitical intrigue that goes on constantly and forever, and will be debated around dinner tables constantly and forever. All of this is temporary. Nice analyses from us all, but only applicable to this specific boom bust cycle, in my opinion.

The permanent economic adjustments will start occurring as new technologies are arriving to replace oil as a transportation fuel. The full change may take more than one generation, but it's begun. Economic models will have to adjust as the changes take place, and already it is getting harder to replace all the blacktop that cars and trucks are crushing to pieces, so a fully weight or vehicle class based system may be inevitable.

In the meantime my guess is the boom bust cycle continues on various time scales. And people will continue to think individual downturns will continue down forever, and individual upturns will continue up forever.

Regardless of all of this ...

No reasonably sentient species that is the steward of any planet they may live on, should deliberately pump 100 million years worth of organic matter built up during a dense lush carboniferous forest that existed a quarter-billion years ago, into the atmosphere in one century, just because they can.

By taming dependence on oil, we can have it available for responsible use at a reasonable price, for whatever there isn't a good substitute yet. In addition to and perhaps surpassing environmental stewardship - the threat of real damage to the economy from the real threat of permanently soaring oil prices if demand wasn't tamed too, didn't just spur quick fixes to squeeze more drops out of our suffering biosphere, it spurred actual innovation of many new energy technologies. Why would you gloat at a good outcome like that!

Comment edited by mikeonthemountain on 2014-12-12 10:58:18

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By No (registered) | Posted December 12, 2014 at 06:14:06 in reply to Comment 106865

That fact that oil prices are dropping is an indicator of greater abundance.

No, it is not. It could be that Saudi Arabia is allowing lower prices due to their higher reserves than other countries, and that lower prices hurts their enemies in the region. But you'd know better, obviously.

Comment edited by No on 2014-12-12 06:14:15

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By notlloyd (registered) - website | Posted December 12, 2014 at 09:40:15 in reply to Comment 106958

Saudi does not "allow" lower prices. Market determines price. It's supply and demand. Saudi either permits more or less oil to be sold to control price.

Reserves affect futures and stock value.

Comment edited by notlloyd on 2014-12-12 09:40:27

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By Semantics (anonymous) | Posted December 12, 2014 at 10:09:19 in reply to Comment 106961

You're playing semantics. GP is saying Arabia has enough supply that it can influence the price by how much or little it sells. The point stands.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 17:46:24 in reply to Comment 106707

In response to persistently high oil prices, the industry has massively ramped up its fracking and oilsands operations, which are very expensive and also environmentally devastating, not that you care about such things.

Really? I'd say otherwise. With Saudia Arabia allowing the price of oil to fall, yet not cutting production has made the investments into the tar sands and offshore drilling cost ineffective. I heard an interesting interview on CBC Radio One a couple of weeks ago - they were saying the price of crude needs to be about $110 a barrel for those industries to be financially viable, and that there are plenty of projects being put on hold as a result. It's a massive investment to do those types of extraction and it's not happening right now.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 18:24:26 in reply to Comment 106709

Ryan is correct. Shale output had the US producing over 10% of global supply for the first time in I think a quarter century. It did increase the inventory of crude.

You are also correct. OPEC is working to stay relevant and seems to have decided to put pressure on American competition, by refusing to cut output in response to falling prices. It is not yet causing financial pressure on frackers, but is slowing new wells. The depletion rate for fracking wells is high if I am correctly informed.

But the biggest mover of commodity prices, is often overlooked. The strengthening US dollar exerts deflationary pressure on commodities. While oil has been tanking, guess what USD has been doing? It most certainly is not a coincidence!

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 19:41:55 in reply to Comment 106720

Mike wrote:

"OPEC is working to stay relevant."

Kevin's comment:

In my opinion, Saudi Arabia is not pumping every barrel it can because of any sophisticated market strategy. The Saudi rulers are pumping every barrel they can in order to get quick cash to keep bribing the population. Particularly buying off their Islamic fundamentalist revolutionary elements.

There is a fair amount of evidence that Saudi oil production is over its peak and that the Saudi government has responded by using imprudent production methods that give a quick hit at the cost of doing serious long-term damage to their productive capacity.

One look at the age of the current Saudi rulers shows that their motto is "Apres moi, le deluge" for exactly the same reason that Louis XIV uttered those famous words.

An Islamic fundamentalist government would, of course, have no problem raising money by imposing taxes upon the people. And has very effective ways of dealing with political dissent.

Comment edited by KevinLove on 2014-12-08 19:45:40

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By RTHS (registered) - website | Posted December 08, 2014 at 16:46:03 in reply to Comment 106700

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By Spectator (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 17:04:19 in reply to Comment 106705

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted December 09, 2014 at 00:49:17 in reply to Comment 106706

Or you could start your own internet publication, "Lower the Hammer."

Devoted to articles explaining why the 1960's were perfect and we should never change. Here's a quick 60 second video showing so many wonderful things about that era to start you out with:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrlEQ15m...

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By RTHS (registered) - website | Posted December 09, 2014 at 10:54:47 in reply to Comment 106740

Solid straw man, amigo.

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By faster faster (anonymous) | Posted December 09, 2014 at 11:38:10 in reply to Comment 106758

it's not a straw man. it's a comment on your actual beliefs which are indicated by your own writing.

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By Fake Name (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 16:06:45 in reply to Comment 106700

You've been answered, repeatedly. Get a hobby or see a doctor about your Alzheimer's.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 16:31:03 in reply to Comment 106701

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted December 09, 2014 at 00:54:52 in reply to Comment 106704

So why didn't you send an email to editor@raisethehammer.org?

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By Politicians (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 16:27:41

Too bad Chad Collins was re-elected ward 5 councillor. His website is out-dated and so are his views on LRT. He seems to just want to pander to people to stay in power, rather than do what is right for Hamilton's future.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 18:02:38 in reply to Comment 106703

I was going to post something very similar.

Chad's constituents should only be see a very minor impact from the bus lane. If they want to travel through downtown they should take a real highway, not an urban one.

But, if Chad is trying to curry favour with resident's who aren't his constituents then someone should tell him he missed the start of the mayoral race by about a year.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 17:49:31 in reply to Comment 106703

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By Anon (anonymous) | Posted December 09, 2014 at 10:21:15 in reply to Comment 106710

It is all really a matter of fairness and equity. Wards 1 - 3 are forced to bear an unfair burden of "undesirable" facilities from subsidised housing to second level lodging homes etc. and on top of that a hostile environment for anyone who is not travelling in a car.

No one would accept this where they live but they all adore the present set up of Hamilton. This is not how you build a healthy vibrant city.

You do realize that Hamilton is in competition for jobs with other communities like Mississauga and Waterloo don't you. Making our downtown a drive thru racetrack is ONE element that makes us less attractive than either of those communities.

By caring about complete streets and healthy neighbourhoods everywhere but in our core will ensure that we grow only as a place to live to drive to somewhere else to work which will validate everyone like you who only cares how fast you can get through or in and out of this town.

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By yo (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 18:22:36 in reply to Comment 106710

Seniors in his ward don't know what's best. He should provide leadership on LRT, not pander to folks that are afraid of it.

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By yoyo (anonymous) | Posted December 09, 2014 at 06:13:13 in reply to Comment 106719

Are you kidding? Now you're going to lecture that the people who vote don't know what's best, or that they do not deserve to be represented?

If you think that he was re-elected by seniors, don't be mad at them. Be mad at the younger people who didn't vote and "allowed" him to be re-elected. Your anger is misplaced.

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By huh (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 22:50:10 in reply to Comment 106719

You mean to say those old farts in ward 5 are senile?!

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By Fake Name (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 18:17:54

I'm not impressed with Chad, but let's be fair - ward 5 really did get the worst deal out of the bus lane. Traffic through Ward 1 was fine, Ward 2/3 got the best *use* of the bus-lane... but ward 5? That's far-enough that the HSR sucks out there and if you're actually driving King you probably have a reason to go downtown instead of taking the Linc or 403. Those folks really did see the worst effects from the Bus Lane for the least benefit.

The "kill it instead of fix it" view championed by Chad is myopic, but after a cock-up this bad we shouldn't expect anything better.

I'm more peeved at him for pandering to the LRT haters, when LRT would be a massive boost to transit in his Ward.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 18:52:40 in reply to Comment 106718

and again, those 'worst effects' were easily fixable if anyone cared.

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By side effects (anonymous) | Posted December 09, 2014 at 06:14:57 in reply to Comment 106722

Oh, people care, but they are too few to make anything actually occur. Maybe the 5 amigos could have a sit-down with Chad, hosted by Farr? That way you could "open the lines of communication" to let him know the error of his ways?

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By DiIanni (registered) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 18:55:24

I have watched this Bus Only Lane experiment with great interest and marvel at the strategy of getting buy-in from Hamiltonians by upsetting Hamiltonians. Believe me, it just doesn't work. As for Chad Collins, he should be heeded. He is always good at mirroring what people generally are saying. However, I don't think Council should knee-jerk this decision. Before scuttling bus-only lanes, consider expanding their use to include HOV drivers, taxis, bicyclists and even motorcyclists. Buses, of course, will still use them.

I bet this increased use will assist in making a rationale for them more palatable.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 22:05:55 in reply to Comment 106723

you're right Larry. This thing was flawed from the start and many folks let the city know that before they ever laid the paint down. I agree with the concept of transit lanes, and would love to see more on Main from Mac to the Delta and some of the Mountain streets.

But we need to learn the basics of designing these things properly. This is where I wish Chad was more of an elected leader and not just mimicking the uninformed feedback from his constituents. He should be working towards a solution, not just saying "no", which Hamilton is great at.

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By HSR (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 20:30:25

Simple solution(s):
-Start the Bus Lane at Wellington/Victoria.
-Advance Bus Green Light at King and James so the buses don't have to try and merge with the vehicular traffic between Hughson and James in order to access McNab terminal.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 22:06:47 in reply to Comment 106730

Great idea. Also add a bus lane on Main from McMaster to Wellington and up the Claremont. Tons of extra ideas and simple fixes with the stoplights could have avoided this entire discussion.

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By Bobbi (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 22:53:39

They are just setting it up to kill LRT based on 'evidence' that it won't work here.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 23:00:54

parking preserved on both curbs with transit lane in NYC:

http://cdn.brownstoner.com/wp-content/up...

Heck, our stretch from John to Bay preserves the curb lane for parking/loading with the bus lane in the 2nd lane. It's not like we're asking for the world here. Simply extend that all the way to Dundurn....yes Dundurn, NOT New St. In fact, let's extend this lane right over the 403.

Comment edited by jason on 2014-12-08 23:01:29

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By villager (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2014 at 23:59:12

Get rid of that pointless Downtown Hamilton sign, convert a parking lane to a Transit Lane between Wellington and Mary and voila.
This will help keep vehicular traffic flowing once lrt is in place, because the current plan of blocking traffic from Spring to Mary is a disaster of an idea (until they convert Main two-way).

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted December 09, 2014 at 02:12:26

Meanwhile, in cities that have moved beyond the 1960's...

I see that Paris is fixing its downtown to not be a traffic sewer for cut-through car drivers.

And so is Hamburg

In Japan, take a look at Tokyo and Osaka

Not to mention pretty well every city in The Netherlands.

Comment edited by KevinLove on 2014-12-09 02:26:09

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By RTHS (registered) - website | Posted December 09, 2014 at 07:56:21

Don't forget to check out @RTHS on Twitter, and mediumDOTcom/@RTHStinks for some grounded views from the other side.

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By RTHS (registered) - website | Posted December 09, 2014 at 08:01:42

Over at @RTHS (Twitter, obviously) we'll be writing the other side of the argument where it's warranted.

On the bus lane issue, something Ryan doesn't make mention of - that we do - is that the bus lane essentially takes two lanes of traffic away from morning commuters.

One for the bus lane, one for the metered parking. Don't try to convince me that the metered parking doesn't remove a lane of traffic - it does. Cars have to switch lanes, slow down, stop completely in heavy traffic, all in order to avoid that lane (Near Tim Horton's/Hess) if even one car is parked there.

The city needs to look at demand (IE - the number of people using the bus lane ALL DAY, not only during rush hour) before they look at accommodating it. The city continues to try and manufacture demand (Bike lanes, anyone?) for services or options for which no (or minimal) demand currently exists.

Anyways, go look at @RTHS and the blog on Medium - links in the profile.

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By nice try (anonymous) | Posted December 09, 2014 at 10:25:24 in reply to Comment 106747

I saw your anonymous blog - the one based in fantasy land. It would be funny except that you obviously believe the drivel you're spewing, which makes it kinda sad. If you're so confident in your positions why don't you put your name behind your words? That's what I thought, coward. I'm sure your 7 twitter followers are truly impressed by your progressive vision for Hamilton.

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By RTHS (registered) - website | Posted December 09, 2014 at 10:46:58 in reply to Comment 106754

I'm guessing your drivers license...sorry, health card, doesn't have Nice Try on it.

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted December 09, 2014 at 15:49:53 in reply to Comment 106756

I'm one of the seven, but purely for entertainment value!

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By nice try (anonymous) | Posted December 09, 2014 at 11:43:36 in reply to Comment 106756

I'm not the one starting my own website hoping to be taken seriously.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 09, 2014 at 10:24:11 in reply to Comment 106747

No thanks. the Spec and Bay Observer fill that role quite nicely

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted December 09, 2014 at 09:55:29 in reply to Comment 106747

Dude, you're double-counting. There was already metered parking on King before the bud lane.

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By RTHS (registered) - website | Posted December 09, 2014 at 10:45:56 in reply to Comment 106751

I don't know if I'm double counting. I mean, the street normally has parking on the right hand side - like you said - I'm saying that the bus lane decreases the number of total lanes (including the parking, regardless of what side) by two lanes.

Maybe a bit unclear, so I appreciate that.

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted December 09, 2014 at 16:03:02 in reply to Comment 106755

I appreciate your response, but you are indeed double-counting. Before, there were 3 general lanes and one parking lane. Now there is one bus lane, 2 general lanes and one parking lane.

RTH folks are sometimes guilty of the same sorry of thing when we talk about "5-lane one-way streets", many of which aren't actually 5 lanes.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 09, 2014 at 19:05:28 in reply to Comment 106800

this is correct.

Mind you, King through my hood and Main through my hood are actually 5 lane streets. Lol

It's funny. Back when it was the previous lay-out, drivers would complain about getting stuck behind all the buses on King, slowing them down. So we give the buses their own lane and all the drivers complain about not being allowed to get stuck behind all the buses.

Entitled much?

Comment edited by jason on 2014-12-09 19:07:38

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By DissenterOfThings (registered) | Posted December 09, 2014 at 08:48:39 in reply to Comment 106747

Your concept of reality is substantially different from mine.

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By RTHS (registered) - website | Posted December 09, 2014 at 10:48:40 in reply to Comment 106748

Concept of reality is a contradiction in terms.

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[ - ]

By notlloyd (registered) - website | Posted December 09, 2014 at 09:04:18

By notlloyd (registered) - website | Posted December 09, 2014 at 09:01:47

The bus lane from Bay to Dundurn poses no problems. Traffic flow in the morning is good and so long as no one parks on King in the evening it is also good. The problems occur in the downtown, largely between the Fairclough Building and the international village. But that is more a problem with the buses looping through the core because of all the connections, and the need for buses to cross over King. It worked a lot better when all the connections were made on the South side of Gore Park as opposed to where it all happens now. That has just created traffic problems. The reduction of Traffic from John to James has created a log jam. From my perspective, if you could figure that out I wouldn't complain about the bus lane at all.

The stats were posted here before and the ridership justifies the bus lane on its own. I think putting bikes in there would gum stuff up as buses would have to swerve around them out into traffic.

I like the idea of HOV but enforcement would became a big issue.

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