Transportation

City Releases Design Concepts for MacNab Transit Terminal

By Ryan McGreal
Published June 26, 2009

The city has just released design concepts for the new transit terminal to be built on MacNab Street. The design will be accessible and will incorporate a green roof and heated platform.

MacNab Street between King and Main Streets will close on June 28, 2009 while the new terminal is constructed. The terminal is scheduled to be completed in late summer 2010.

This is an important step in revitalizing the Gore Park area, which currently houses idling buses along the "south leg" of King Street next to Gore Park. The city has been studying converting the south leg to a pedestrian-friendly public plaza as part of the Gore Master Plan project.

The city press release announcing the design concepts quotes Mayor Fred Eisenberger, an early proponent of Gore Park pedestrianization, saying:

This new downtown terminal embodies the values of the Next Hamilton - sustainable, progressive, and transit-friendly. This is another significant step in modernizing our public transportation infrastructure and it is part of a greater project to make Gore Park more pedestrian friendly.

Note to transit users: if your bus currently runs on MacNab between Main and King, that portion of the route will be re-routed during construction. Please consult the city's HSR website or call 905-527-4441 to check the route and scheduling for your bus.

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 June 26, 2009 at 16:13:12

any link to the whole report??

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted June 26, 2009 at 16:19:21

jason wrote:

any link to the whole report??

I received the report as an email attachment but don't have a URL. As it is, I couldn't open the PDF (my PDF reader insists the file is corrupted), so a city staffer sent me a JPG of the renderings.

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By Hopeful (registered) | Posted June 26, 2009 at 17:16:33

Love the green roof. Hopefully it survives Council's inevitable vetting process (unlike the one proposed for City Hall).

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By arienc (registered) | Posted June 26, 2009 at 22:38:12

I like green roofs and all, but are they really necessary over the transit shelters? Would there be any advantages to energy consumption or air quality, or is it just aesthetics?

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By Hopeful (registered) | Posted June 27, 2009 at 12:47:53

arienc: Granted, this won't get the biggest bang for the green roof buck that we could (how 'bout some of those new Wally Marts we seem so keen on having instead huh?) but I'm hoping its placement might help normalize the concept for those who see it from the surrounding towers and perhaps inspire them to push for more. Unfortunately, I'm still not holding breathe on it even happening. I think I've been in Hamilton too long.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted June 28, 2009 at 21:55:07

Great that we are getting a new transit terminal but I still think this is a colossal waste of money - we should be doing whatever it takes to put the terminal at the Hunter station.

We are heading toward a situation where there are three different terminals downtown - Hunter for rush hour trains and inter city buses, macnab for city buses, and james north for go trains and via - everything should be happening in as few places as possible, with very easy transit access between the terminals. The James terminal I can accept as a necessity due to locatio of tracks, but this macnab terminal is just going to complicate matters.

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By lc (anonymous) | Posted June 29, 2009 at 08:21:55

Sorry to anyone that supports this plan, my comments are not going to make you very happy.

First, I am skeptical of design concept renderings nowadays, since pretty much every drawing will incorporate "green rooftops" so that people will think it is a pogressive design. I Highly doubt there is any real intention of putting vegetation on the narrow strips of bus shelters in the new terminal area. Here is what I suggest to people viewing the aerial photo of this design, imagine what the shelters would look like from above without the photoshop grass covering the tops, likewise for the terminal building. Pretty boring drawing eh? Drawing green roofs on a concept is a fast way of making something boring look jazzy even though there surely isn't the budget to actually implement it.

I also do not agree with taking buses out of Gore Park and moving them to the transit terminal. I always thought it was nice to wait for buses in Gore Park, especially at night when there were shopkeepers nearby, and people walking around, so I feel like there are eyes on the street. Where are the eyes on the street in this new area? The terminal is likely the only place along that strip where you can go if you are in trouble. Similarly, think of how many exit points there are at the new terminal if you get into trouble (ie. being mugged, harassed etc.). There are only two real exit points (unless you count jumping over the barrier into the CIBC parking lot on the east side).

Why do we need to pedestrianize this section of Gore Park anyway? is there a high rate of pedestrian traffic moving through this area to begin with? Arguably, a bulk of the pedestrian traffic currently comes from transit users catching buses in the Gore.

Anyway, that's my rant. As a transit user and someone who has lived in this city for a long time, I cannot support this design.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted June 29, 2009 at 17:13:35

I agree with Ic. I love the idea of a Pedestrianized Gore Park, but I don't think the time is right. The reason Gore Park is so busy now is due to the current Terminal. I'm going to say about half of the poeple in Gore Park on any given day are there waiting for a bus (this coming from an every-day transit user)

Good point is the new Al Centro Italian restaurant. People don't have time for a pasta dinner while waiting for a bus; but they do have enough time for a coffee. Hence why Infusions was about 20x busier than Al Centro. Take away the transit riders & buses, now there are even less potential customers.

Gore Park is ripe for Pedestrianization... but not yet. Though there have been tons of residents added to Downtown over the last 10 years-or-so, it's still not enough in the right area. The Gore Park area has received minimal housing development for those with the income to walk, shop & eat at Gore Park.

I personally use Gore Park a lot (gotta love Chesters Beers of the World) and am always sad to see that the Park itself is bustling, but the shops are not. They should be... but they're not. Pedestrianize Gore Park... but do it when them time is right, which is not right now :(

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By jason (registered) | Posted June 29, 2009 at 18:07:20

perhaps folks don't make time for a dinner at Al Centro because of all the buses. I don't really enjoy having to scream my head off just to carry on a conversation over dinner.

More pedestrian amenities, cafe patios, live music, art tents, market tents, buskers etc.... will help turn Gore into a great people place without the roaring of bus engines all day long.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted June 30, 2009 at 08:52:21

I sincerely hope the City promotes the HELL outta Gore Park then. The commercial aspect needs a LOT of help as it is now.

As for the McNab Terminal itself; as a Transit rider, I dislike it. The ONE thing I like is the LED 'Next Bus' displays (reminds me of the Union Stn GO Bus Terminal)

The Downtown Terminal should have been -- and still should be -- located @ TH&B to connect GO Trains with GO Buses with Greyhound & Coach Canada Buses with a potential GO Shuttle between there and the 'James North GO Stn' using a Transit Only Hughson St (until the A-Line uses it as a LRT-only street) connecting both Centres.

I can't understand how people are so supportive of a disconnected Transit Terminal which is cheaply designed and located in the middle of a sea of nothingness!?

The City really missed the ball on this one :(

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By jason (registered) | Posted June 30, 2009 at 09:12:40

from what I understand, there is no room for a full terminal at the GO Station. It's almost entirely filled with GO Buses already.

And I'm not entirely sure that I would call King and McNab - one block from Gore Park and surrounded by office towers housing 40,000 jobs - a 'sea of nothingness'.

What I really think we need to watch for is a nice pedestrian walkway from James over to McNab south of the CIBC tower, especially if someone ever decides to develop that empty lot facing James. It could be developed facing James, but also with businesses/cafes etc.... facing the pedestrian promenade that could be built through the site. It would create a pedestrian zone stretching from McNab to the Connaught hotel. I think that would be great, but of course, private interests own the land so expect parking for the next several decades.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted June 30, 2009 at 13:43:30

Not that it matters anymore (it's clearly too late) but there is actually PLENTY of room out-front of TH&B as well as the rear bays. There is designated street parking on the North-side of Hunter, as well as drop off/taxi zones on the South-side of Hughson. They could have fit all Gore Park buses as well as the McNab buses in that area -- close to Augusta St, James South retail & of course the gorgeous (already built) TH&B Layover Centre.

Imagine the A-Line LRT using a Transit-only Hughson St from Cannon to Hunter with stops at Hamilton City Ctr (Farm. Market), Gore Park, then TH&B (then east on Hunter to the Claremont Accs., UP the Mtn). Now imagine a pedestrianized covered walkway along the transitway so people can walk/bike/whatever to/from the CBD via a pedestrianized Gore Park. This way Gore Park & the TH&B win!

Oh Hamilton... why can't logic be one of our strengths?!

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By jason (registered) | Posted June 30, 2009 at 14:32:00

I don't see how all of these buses could have fit at the GO Station. There's only a few bays left and HSR is taking them in the next year or two. I agree, it would have been great, but I for one am in no mood for downtown expropriation or demolition. A-Line will connect nicely with B-Line at King/Main and every other bus will be in that same area. I'm not aware of other cities that have every single city bus coming to the same station. We need better routing of some of the 'uppers' so that they continue onto McMaster or the waterfront instead of all turning around at Main St.

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By HSR+ (anonymous) | Posted July 06, 2009 at 10:50:12

Is it just the washroom building that is heated?
Or are the waiting areas running the whole length of the block (which appear to be completely exposed to the elements along the street side) going to be blasting out heat all winter long?!

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By ANON (anonymous) | Posted July 06, 2009 at 11:07:48

Is MacNab St. wide enough for what looks like 5 lanes + 2 waiting platforms?

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By jason (registered) | Posted July 06, 2009 at 20:30:16

I'm not a huge fan of the shelter design. It might work fine in LA or Tampa, but standing under that roof in winter isn't going to be very enjoyable. A few well-placed walls would have been smart here in the great white north.

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By donkey (anonymous) | Posted July 09, 2009 at 00:07:17

roof should be solar panels to cut energy costs , not grass on roof, who going to mow the roof

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted July 14, 2009 at 21:55:05

Jason, If the street parking was removed in front of th&b, the entire block could be converted to bus bays just like behind the station. B-Line LRT on main could be connected to th&b by an arrow-straight covered pedestrian walkway down hughson. A-Line could come up john to hunter, connecting to th@b, and turning onto hunter to connect to claremont. behind the th@b, the hsr bays are parallel rather than diagonal - capacity could be doubled my reconfiguring those platforms (the ones south of the go platforms)

everything could fit at th&b, and we'd have one central (and might i say, beautiful) transit hub.

instead we'll have one beautiful but completely underused station and two compromised, ugly platforms with a lot of disgruntled commuters having to take multiple connections to make their trips.

hsr should be at th&b, it's a complete no brainer.

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By vf (anonymous) | Posted July 15, 2009 at 13:25:17

i agree with jason here. look at how completely congested and chaotic Union Station is in Toronto... spreading public transit out over a few blocks is not a big deal. granted, Via and GO at Liuna is farther away, but that's what shuttles are for. Hamilton shouldn't be something that people breeze through quickly (we clearly see how one-way streets proved that). why not get a little more out of the city expereience and get some exercise? i live downtown and walking around is EXACTLY what more professional who care about the core should be doing.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted July 16, 2009 at 10:28:55

If it is not easy to take transit, people won't - they'll continue to drive. Just because they SHOULD walk doesn't mean they will. We need to make transit as convenient as possible. Shuttles are a band-aid solution to a problem that we shouldn't even be creating.

Union is congested and chaotic from an outside viewers standpoint, but for those who commute through union every day, it's an efficient way of getting from inter city train to inner city transit. It's not like people are bumping into each other and falling over. There are lots of people moving in lots of directions but everyone goes at the speed they need to, and it's faster to walk 150 metres through a crowd than to walk 1.5km on a barren sidewalk...

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By vf (anonymous) | Posted July 16, 2009 at 16:43:16

actually, seancb, i also worked and took the GO train for years from here and it was not a pleasant experience. i can't tell you how many times i was bumped and knocked in rush hour (a friend of mine even fell down the stairs when someone knocked her and she broke her ankle).

but enough about this... why is it that whenever the city actually makes the commitment and finally fixes something, everyone craps all over it? we need to get over ourselves and just accept the fact that there may be other solutions to the bus terminal but ANY solution is an improvement over letting this disgusting, aging interchange remain as it is.

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