Transportation

Five Mostly Empty Lanes on Main Street

By Ryan McGreal
Published March 28, 2014

An RTH reader was at John Sopinka Courthouse recently for jury duty selection and spent most of the day sitting around and looking out the window at Main Street. This is what the person saw for most of the day:

Main Street, view from John Sopinka Courthouse at 1:30 PM
Main Street, view from John Sopinka Courthouse at 1:30 PM

Main Street is five freaking lanes wide, all one-way, and it's total overkill. Traffic volumes on Main have been falling for over a decade and we can't afford to waste scarce public dollars maintaining excess roadway that isn't necessary to carry the traffic we have and would deliver a vastly better return on investment if we repurposed it to make the city more livable.

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.

25 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By PearlStreet (registered) | Posted March 28, 2014 at 13:09:25

Looks like Victoria Ave, except Victoria is RESIDENTIAL!!!!!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted March 28, 2014 at 14:42:50

That portion of Main carries enough traffic daily to warrant 2 lanes of traffic.

This is based on the city's own traffic data.

The fact that Main still looks like this, despite the data shows where the priorities are at city hall.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By R-B (anonymous) | Posted March 28, 2014 at 15:03:01

People in Hamilton don't realize how lucky we have it. Traffic is horrid in Mississauga.

We have a chance here to make Hamilton great and more livable.

Permalink | Context

By jason (registered) | Posted March 28, 2014 at 15:08:31 in reply to Comment 99323

except we aren't. We're leaving our streets and neighbourhoods dangerous and the absolute worst place to raise a child.

Permalink | Context

By R-B (anonymous) | Posted March 28, 2014 at 16:58:26 in reply to Comment 99325

That's right. We have an opportunity here to make Hamiltom better.

Permalink | Context

By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted March 28, 2014 at 17:53:27 in reply to Comment 99337

Hamilton is Canada's leading producer of unrealized potential. I'm betting we'll keep on manufacturing that at an industrial scale for decades to come.

Permalink | Context

By jason (registered) | Posted March 28, 2014 at 22:43:33 in reply to Comment 99341

this was what I was getting at above. R-B is right: the opportunity is slapping us in the face. But we won't do anything with it, because city hall doesn't care.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Steve (registered) | Posted March 28, 2014 at 15:30:09

I love how the second lane from the curb has an arrow.

I'm assuming that's to discourage all the crummy drivers from turning left from the second lane.

Something I see all too often on Main Street. It's like people have tunnel vision and are riding the green wave and then suddenly realize at the last moment they are at their turn.

Permalink | Context

By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted March 28, 2014 at 16:46:47 in reply to Comment 99326

I know what you mean - I got into an accident last year when a guy tried that stunt.

Permalink | Context

By jason (registered) | Posted March 28, 2014 at 22:43:53 in reply to Comment 99334

I did too.

Permalink | Context

By Henry and Joe (anonymous) | Posted March 29, 2014 at 17:48:36 in reply to Comment 99362

It might interest you to know that this is a common stunt in New Haven, CT. They have a similarly hostile one way street grid downtown, and people drive accordingly. You get used to covering the brake when someone passes you on the right, because you know they might do a left hook and cut you off. Another personal favourite in that town is the jack rabbit left that people do on the 2 way streets when they know there is no advanced green. It occurs with such high frequency that in order to avoid collisions you yield when going straight even though you have right of way.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By KevinLove (registered) | Posted March 29, 2014 at 16:14:47

That photograph of Main Street looks like the way Potterstraat in Utrecht used to be. Needless to say, it was improved. We can do the same here in Hamilton. Take a look at this video of what the exact same part of Main Street could look like:

http://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2011/1...

Permalink | Context

By jason (registered) | Posted March 31, 2014 at 14:49:41 in reply to Comment 99396

Wow...fantastic.

Permalink | Context

By bvbborussia (registered) | Posted March 31, 2014 at 21:30:23 in reply to Comment 99487

Very cool.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By adam (anonymous) | Posted April 01, 2014 at 07:54:01

Snap a picture here at 5:00 pm Monday-Friday and see if you are having the same conversation

Permalink | Context

By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted April 02, 2014 at 15:56:02 in reply to Comment 99528

So we should design our city to allow free-flowing traffic at peak times, even if it means that the roads are empty 80% of the day?

Permalink | Context

By Bobby D (anonymous) | Posted April 28, 2014 at 20:14:26 in reply to Comment 99657

I'd say the same about bike lanes.

Permalink | Context

By highwater (registered) | Posted April 02, 2014 at 21:56:09 in reply to Comment 99657

Hey, it's money well spent so Terry Whitehead doesn't have to endure any push back from his constituents.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted April 02, 2014 at 11:42:13

I think this is a major reason why dt is so bad. This street makes the dt look empty, dark and lifeless in the evenings. Who wants to be associated with that?

Convert Main to two way traffic. Two lanes each way with a centre turning lane. And do the same for King already.

Permalink | Context

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted April 02, 2014 at 13:11:42 in reply to Comment 99625

Main Street looking like Upper James would scarcely be an improvement. We need to reduce the excess lane capacity and use it for all-day curbside parking, protected bike lanes, wider sidewalks, street trees and so on.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted April 27, 2014 at 23:17:44

There are very few cars in your picture and that is why you want to eliminate lanes. Yet there are even fewer pedestrians than there are cars and you want to increase the width of sidewalks. Can you say double standard? Can you say war on cars? Can you say NONSENSE?

Permalink | Context

By Sure can (anonymous) | Posted April 28, 2014 at 20:16:02 in reply to Comment 100678

It's the typical 'do as I say, not as I do' mentality. Gimme gimme gimme for my pet projects, but at the expense of the ratepayer - ie. you and me, the driver.

So glad to be moving out of the core. So glad. The nonsense about bus lanes, 2 way conversion and bike lanes has finally given my family the reasons to get out while we can.

Permalink | Context

By Cored (anonymous) | Posted April 29, 2014 at 11:41:56 in reply to Comment 100694

Gonna call BS on you living in the core all these years and only now deciding you don't like it. I've been downtown for 2 decades and I've never been as optimistic as I am about new development and improvements.

Permalink | Context

By Sure can (anonymous) | Posted April 30, 2014 at 23:56:52 in reply to Comment 100712

I have lived downtown for over 5 years. And, I'm relatively young. And, I drive. And, I come from the suburbs. I really, REALLY wanted to be a part of the change but it's just not a change that I can agree with (the change I was looking for was gentrification, not pet projects that benefit the few at the expense of the many). I wanted the night life to get better. And on Augusta, it sure has. But, everywhere else it's stagnant. Sure, we go to the monthly art crawls, buy some stuff here and there, but it's just not worth it to someone who commutes and has family spread out across the GHA. So, we're moving out to the east end and will hopefully be happier out there.

Permalink | Context

By burp (anonymous) | Posted May 01, 2014 at 03:15:26 in reply to Comment 100747

sounds like you moved downtown but brought your suburban mentality with you. you really really don't get urban living if what you were looking for was gentrification.

i feel really sorry for you.

Permalink | Context

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds