Special Report: Bus Lane

Bus Lane Repainting a Chance to Get it Right

Cyclists and buses can easily be accommodated with the road space we have available. Here's a simple, straightforward cross-section to do that.

By Jason Leach
Published April 11, 2014

I'm sure everyone's tired of hearing about the King Street transit-only lane, but please indulge me for two minutes. I'm quite frustrated with how this plan was implemented, and I'm not just talking about the faded paint.

The paint is literally gone since last October, which gives us a great opportunity to do it right this time around when staff repaints the lanes over the next several weeks.

Cyclists and buses can easily be accommodated with the road space we have available. Here's a simple, straightforward cross-section to do that:

This configuration has the same traffic flow and the same parking on south curb. But we've clearly accommodated cyclists instead of using this massively wide bus lane.

The suburbs of Oshawa have this exact set-up:

Bus lane, bike lane in Oshawa (Image Credit: Transit Toronto)
Bus lane, bike lane in Oshawa (Image Credit: Transit Toronto)

The portion from John to Bay is simply like this. The loading parking area takes up way less space than a full travel lane, so room is automatically created for the bike lane:

Room for bike lane (Image Credit: 78 Mangos)
Room for bike lane (Image Credit: 78 Mangos)

It has grown tiresome to see ongoing disconnect between how we do things in Hamilton and how other cities around the world do them.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.

31 Comments

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By Macnab (anonymous) | Posted April 11, 2014 at 08:19:23

they need an advanced green for the buses at James so they don't have to battle with cars when trying to merge into Macnab.

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By crtsvg (registered) | Posted April 16, 2014 at 15:59:12 in reply to Comment 100198

Drivers supposed to yield to the bus. Some police enforcement with substantial fines would get the message across.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted April 15, 2014 at 15:55:01 in reply to Comment 100198

This is the number one upgrade that needs to happen right away, as it will improve the experience for EVERYONE.

I think we also need a dedicated bus signal for john street onto king in order to eliminate the mayhem happening with merging buses between hunter and king.

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By crtsvg (registered) | Posted April 16, 2014 at 16:01:30 in reply to Comment 100282

courteous drivers let the bus in.

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted April 11, 2014 at 23:01:12 in reply to Comment 100198

Public transit vehicles should have signal control so that their operators can control the traffic lights.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted April 13, 2014 at 05:11:38 in reply to Comment 100225

They don't stop at reds or respect the other drivers on the road, so would giving them a button to do what they do already make a difference?

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By yol (anonymous) | Posted April 16, 2014 at 11:27:35 in reply to Comment 100256

HSR drivers are certainly not all law abiding drivers. I have seen some terrible examples.

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted April 13, 2014 at 14:12:16 in reply to Comment 100256

Huh? I have never seen a bus driver in Hamilton run a red light. Has anyone else here ever seen that?

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted April 14, 2014 at 17:10:12 in reply to Comment 100263

Drive downtown sometime, along King or Main, especially along King at JAmes, where they're rushing to turn left or make it to the stop in front of Jackson Square. They do it a lot at John/Charlton, John/Augusta, and especially at John/TH&B.

How do they do it in the Netherlands? I haven't seen you bring that up this post.

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By moylek (registered) - website | Posted April 14, 2014 at 09:05:58 in reply to Comment 100263

I'm with you: the HSR drivers seem pretty consistently law abiding to me.

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By noonecares (anonymous) | Posted April 11, 2014 at 08:26:02

Worst part is it was the city's bike plan manager who designed the bus lane! When even the cycling manager doesn't care about accommodating cyclists, we're pretty much screwed.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted April 11, 2014 at 09:23:03

While waiting for the upper paradise bus on the corner of King and James, even in the dead of winter, I watched cyclists go by in the bus lane very frequently. Seems like nobody is willing to ride a bike in the middle of King street. I can see that they've realized that as well. I'm just wondering what they're supposed to do after Bay ... merge into the middle of the street? Merge across all lanes into the south side? Good luck!

On top of that, a slight change was made to the rules for cyclists. According to Trevor Horzelenberg, senior project manager for public transportation, bikes will now be allowed to travel straight from John to Bay streets in the north curb lane.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted April 11, 2014 at 09:33:37

The pilot's one-year term would appear to expire four days before the election. Coincidence?

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted April 13, 2014 at 05:12:15 in reply to Comment 100203

Yes

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By ass half full (anonymous) | Posted April 11, 2014 at 12:04:37

Hamilton: the city that half-asses everything it does.

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By TheBaldasaro (registered) - website | Posted April 11, 2014 at 22:48:21

What's really need is pedestrian lanes seeing as electric and mechanical bicycles take to the sidewalks and come at us from all angles, usually from behind quickly. Need airbags for pedestrians also. And/or the police or by-law officers and council could put an end to the lawlessness that cyclists violate all the rules of the road everyone else is forced to live by.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted April 14, 2014 at 21:55:28 in reply to Comment 100224

I've noticed Ottawa Street is really bad for sidewalk riders.

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By crtsvg (registered) | Posted April 16, 2014 at 16:07:07 in reply to Comment 100274

There is a reason cycling on the sidewalk is illegal. It's dangerous and stupid. Maybe we could educate pedestrians and cyclist better.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted April 18, 2014 at 11:06:14 in reply to Comment 100335

I have always advocated for cycling to be taught in elementary school, high school at the latest. Like swimming, it's one of those basic life skills, important to know how to do properly. Youth should leave school, already knowing the rules of the road, regardless of when or whether they go on to get their driver's license.

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted April 11, 2014 at 23:04:30 in reply to Comment 100224

Cycling on sidewalks is almost unknown in The Netherlands. Why? Because there are proper protected cycle lanes.

Sidewalk cyclists are an indicator species for a Subjective Safety failure that shows where protected lanes are necessary.

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By yol (anonymous) | Posted April 16, 2014 at 11:30:29 in reply to Comment 100226

This is untrue. Cyclists drive anywhere they feel like in the netherlands. Road, sidewalk or bike lane.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted April 14, 2014 at 09:24:36 in reply to Comment 100226

Yup. On some streets, cycling on the road is really not a viable alternative.

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted April 11, 2014 at 23:16:43

The easiest way to solve this is to just abandon the bus lane. It was a bad idea from the start.

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By Joshua (registered) | Posted April 12, 2014 at 12:06:15

I like this take on modernist Canadian poetics.

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted April 12, 2014 at 12:44:29

Jason,

The example you gave from Ottawa is of rather poor design, since 1) the bike lane is not protected, and 2) there is unnecessary pedestrian/cyclist conflict with loading/unloading bus passengers.

Here is a video of proper cycle and bus lane design. Note how everyone is protected from conflict by incorporating the principles of Sustainable Safety in the design. See:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Pvhkx01...

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted April 12, 2014 at 13:39:26

Another issue is the loss of right-side parking between Bay and Queen. Those businesses are creating a loud voice against Hamilton's transit improvement plans in general and the bus lanes and councilor McHattie in particular.

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By Ray Allen (anonymous) | Posted April 15, 2014 at 12:52:57

So is today's rain/snow - coming only 48 hours after the new line markings were painted - going to affect the adhesion once again? I was on the bus today and they're already looking a little thin in spots!!

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By crtsvg (registered) | Posted April 16, 2014 at 16:09:41

Why does a bus need a special lane? Keep the lights green longer and the traffic will flow out, increase the speed on King from James to Dundurn. Let's keep Hamilton moving.

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By Vincent (anonymous) | Posted April 17, 2014 at 19:46:54

The bus lane needs to be painted red like every other "properly" dedicated bus lane in North America.

A simple google search of "dedicated bus lanes" shows many images of this.


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