Transportation

Driving Time Between Eastgate and McMaster

By Ryan McGreal
Published June 28, 2013

Supporters of the city's network of one-way thoroughfares brag that Hamilton is a "20-minute city", as Mayor Bob Bratina recently noted on TVO's The Agenda - a city you can drive across in around 20 minutes.

According to Google Maps, it takes around 23 minutes to drive from Eastgate Square to McMaster University through the downtown core. People who oppose turning Main, King and Cannon into complete, two-way streets argue that it will take longer to drive through the city if that happens.

Setting aside the inclination to respond, "Good!", let's look at how that driving time would change using the city's ring highway system instead of driving through downtown. Again, according to Google Maps:

Now let's try taking the same trip in reverse, from McMaster to Eastgate. According to Google Maps, it takes 23 minutes if you drive through the downtown. Again, let's compare driving times for alternate routes:

Somebody please explain to me again: why do we need to keep brutalizing our lower city neighbourhoods with high-speed, high-volume one-way thoroughfares now that we have a complete ring highway system?

h/t to RTH reader AnjoMan for pointing this out in a comment this morning

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 Sara (registered) | Posted June 28, 2013 at 09:09:51

At some point it would be great to do a follow-up post to this highlighting the City's Truck Map and how it barely makes the highways more prominent than the streets: http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/ABC2... The city could also consider adding info about driving times to truck route map too.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted June 28, 2013 at 09:11:45 in reply to Comment 89816

Definitely. Of course, if we make Main, King and Cannon into complete, two-way streets, most truckers will independently decide to use the faster highway routes instead of cutting through the city.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted June 29, 2013 at 14:25:55 in reply to Comment 89817

Yep, one of the main problems is truck traffic going from Gage/Burlington St. area to hwy 6. They all cut through the city. We're going to have to force them to take the "circuitous" route some way.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted October 03, 2013 at 15:53:39 in reply to Comment 89845

Yeah, the only way to do that is to design our roads so that truckers wouldn't want to drive on them if they can avoid it. Seems straight-forward for a downtown...

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By dochockey (registered) | Posted June 28, 2013 at 09:14:12

Alleluia, living and working downtown for years and seeing these trucks fly down Main St, why don't they go through the east end of Burlington St. Perhaps Mayor Bob can stand at the QEW 403 interchange and direct trucks in that direction.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted June 28, 2013 at 11:54:00

Not to mention that the 20-minute trip time through the core would most likely be retained via a nice ride on the LRT (cross-our-fingers).

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By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted June 28, 2013 at 23:25:07 in reply to Comment 89825

It won't be hard to improve on the HSR's current Mac-to-Eastgate metrics: 32 minutes using the B-Line Express or 54 minutes using the 5/1 combo.

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By Core-B (registered) | Posted June 28, 2013 at 16:07:34

Surely someone will post that it will cost more and use those precious resources. I doubt there would be much of a case for that argument but someone will make it.

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By Okay, I'll bite... (anonymous) | Posted June 29, 2013 at 01:57:09 in reply to Comment 89833

I won't make the argument but I will point out the obvious... both the QEW and Linc loop routes suggested as alternatives are significantly greater distances than the status quo King or Main routes --- so much so that a vehicle would have to get twice the mpg on the highway as in city conditions to use less fuel and produce less smog than using the highway routes from Eastgate to Mac.
That said, there's still ample reason to turn our inner-city expressways into complete people friendly two way streets... more livable streets would promote more people living in the core, enable more businesses to locate there, and make non-polluting modes of transportation more feasible for more residents on a daily basis. Then, the amount of time to get out of or across town will not matter as much.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted October 03, 2013 at 15:55:20 in reply to Comment 89842

Yeah, but we care a lot less about smog produced on the QEW and 403 than we do about smog produced in the down-town core... not to mention all the other benefits that would come from redirecting through traffic around the city as opposed to through it.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted June 28, 2013 at 17:39:44 in reply to Comment 89833

Given that transportation is subject to the law of demand, we can predict that overall driving will go down.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted July 01, 2013 at 17:04:32

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted July 01, 2013 at 17:07:11

You have very carefully chosen your start/end locations. I challenge you to make the same argument by changing the start/end locations to Downtown (lets say Bay/King) and Kenilworth/Main.

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By jason (registered) | Posted July 02, 2013 at 10:51:01 in reply to Comment 89855

Bay/Main to Kenilworth/Main is a simple drive. And still would be if Main and King were normal, complete streets. Perhaps it would take an extra couple minutes to make that trek. Completely reasonable in a big city. The point is, Hamilton is small enough that bringing safe, vibrant streets to every neighbourhood (not just the rich suburbs like Ancaster and Dundas) will benefit all of us with new business, investment and residents.

Talk to someone at Yonge and Eglington in Toronto (some of the highest real estate values in the city) and ask them if they want a freeway from their front door to the 401. No chance.

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By Narayan (anonymous) | Posted March 27, 2014 at 00:11:30 in reply to Comment 89865

No, what people at Yonge and Eglinton want is a "ring" subway line to divert transit riders around Midtown, so they can actually fit on the trains at rush hour!

Admittedly the line in question (the "Downtown Relief Line") is only inadvertently a ring around Midtown, its actual goal being to be a direct route from Downtown to the northeast. But it's still similar enough in concept to our ring expressways to be amusing.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted July 01, 2013 at 17:11:00

The calculated driving times do not factor in traffic. Try using the QEW during rush hour. Add at least 10 minutes to the time and all of a sudden you have a route that takes 50 % longer.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted October 03, 2013 at 15:56:44 in reply to Comment 89856

Yeah..the sad thing is that downtown probably doesn't slow down because the streets are built so that even during rush-hour everyone and their dog can be out driving.

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted July 01, 2013 at 21:48:42

Because people who live in the high density, urban city deserve a fast throughway to get to the highway, for whatever they may use it for, just as much as someone on the suburban mountain does.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted July 03, 2013 at 22:54:09 in reply to Comment 89858

Really, we're using the word "deserve"?! How about families in the lower city "deserve" to have safe, complete streets in their neighborhoods where they live and children play?

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