Transit-Only Lane Delayed - Updated

By Ryan McGreal
Published September 04, 2013

Earlier this year, Council voted to approve a dedicated transit-only lane on King Street from Mary Street to just before Dundurn Street. It was supposed to be in place in time for school to start, but it is now the Wednesday after Labour day and there is no sign of the lane.

Kelly Anderson, communications prime for the Public Works Department, replied to RTH via email to explain that staff "were not able to meet that timeline. They expect the installation to take place this fall." Anderson added that she will be able to share more details about the installation timeline in the next several weeks.

Council approved the transit-only lane earlier this year after the Public Works Committee had rejected it over concerns about business loading areas and the ability of taxis to drop riders off on the north side of King Street.

The money to fund the one-year pilot project is coming from the Metrolinx Quick Wins reserve. However, the money must be spent this year.

Council approved the transit lane in principle when it endorsed the Rapid Ready report in February.

A 2010 HSR Operational Review found that the east-west King, Delaware, B-Line and University buses carry over 13,000 riders a day, more than a third of total ridership on the city's transit system. The review also noted that the east-west routes run significantly over-capacity, documenting frequent "drive-bys" as overstuffed buses pass would-be riders waiting at bus stops.

Earlier this summer, a group of frustrated business owners submitted a petition opposing the bus lane, citing concerns about people "loitering" at bus stops and noise and dust raised by buses.

The transit lane will run one lane out from the north curb between Mary and Bay Street, leaving the curb lane for parallel parking. West of Bay, it will run in the north curb lane.

Update: Christine Lee-Morrison, the manager of mobility programs and special projects at Public Works, has provided more details on the King Street transit-only lane delay. She confirmed that the City has undertaken traffic volume counts and baseline HSR travel times so it will be possible to evaluate the impacts of the transit lane.

An essential component of the Transit Only Lane pilot project will be an evaluation of the impacts, acceptance and effectiveness. The City conducted additional auto volume counts this year in addition to counts that have been collected along the corridor in the past few years. We also collected travel time data, so we have base data of travel times for traffic along King St.

In addition, the HSR collects data to track their operations. Following the one-year pilot period, the City will prepare a follow-up report summarizing the pilot success and potential for expansion and/or permanent installation. This will include a comparison of existing data to operations after the Transit Only Lane has been in operation.

RTH also asked if the issue is that there are not enough staff dedicated to the project to get it completed in time. Lee-Morrison replied:

Please be assured available staff are moving diligently forward with this project and continue to treat it as a priority. It should be noted that this is the first dedicated transit lane that the City has undertaken and there have been a number of technical issues to resolve during the design process.

While we are somewhat behind the target dates as stated in the May staff report to Public Works Committee, design drawings were finalized this week and we are proceeding with a communications strategy, modifications to City By-laws, fabrication of new signage and installation. The pilot is scheduled for installation this fall.

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 wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.


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By jason (registered) | Posted September 04, 2013 at 11:50:09

big surprise. I've also noticed that a full year after huge requests were made for bike parking, there hasn't been any movement. I'm seeing tons of bikes parked to anything possible on James, King, Augusta, Locke, Dundurn etc..... And the supposed installation of bike lanes on Locke, Hunter, Charlton and Herkimer is nowhere in sight.

Business as usual....

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted September 04, 2013 at 13:43:49 in reply to Comment 91679

To be fair, Public Works is doing tremendous work with bump-outs all over town, new bike lanes, etc. At least here in Westdale we're seeing lots of improvements... some of which have some problems, obviously (like the way the lane just dead-ends unused for the bump-out at King and Paisley). From the outside, it seems like there has been a cultural change since the departure of Hart Solomon. I'm willing to give staff the benefit of the doubt and hope we'll see the lane installed before the deadline.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted September 04, 2013 at 13:44:29

And Metrolinx's Quick Win funding?

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted September 04, 2013 at 13:46:08 in reply to Comment 91692

Nevermind. Glossed by it in a fury.

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By MattM (registered) | Posted September 04, 2013 at 15:07:54

At work if I don't meet a timeline, I can't get out of it by just saying "Yeah, it's gonna be late. I'll let you know when I'm gonna get in done in a few weeks."

Given absolutely no reason at all, not even a bad one, for the delay of this project angers me pretty greatly. It's time for someone on council to look at this and get some answers now, not "several weeks from now".

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By movedtohamilton (registered) | Posted September 04, 2013 at 17:33:43

I agree with MattM. It's no surprise that people hold public sector employees in such low regard.

I'm sure that certain members of the Public Works Committee are very happy about this "delay".

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By Conrad664 (registered) | Posted September 06, 2013 at 13:20:14 in reply to Comment 91704

All i hafe to say , its the City of Hamilton for yaa !!!!!!!!

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 05, 2013 at 09:12:27

Maybe the lane is delayed due to all the unforeseen hours that went into the development of this rendering:

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted September 05, 2013 at 09:18:47 in reply to Comment 91730

"went into the development of this high-quality rendering:"

Fixed that up for you Jason. ;-)

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 05, 2013 at 09:41:14 in reply to Comment 91731

I realize there's not much to 'render' in a project like this, but a tad more professionalism wouldn't kill our city and help people see this as a legitimate piece of transportation infrastructure.

And for the love, can we please fire the person at city hall who refuses to allow coloured paint to be used on our roadways? For bus lanes, bike lanes, bike boxes etc..... it's stunning how we refuse to do anything properly like the entire rest of the developed world. Something simple like painting this bus lane would go a long way to showing the public how good, urban infrastructure works. We can build elevated highways and Mountain access flyover ramps and deer crossing culverts beneath a valley freeway, but we can't paint a bike box or bus lane.

Comment edited by jason on 2013-09-05 09:41:52

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By Conrad664 (registered) | Posted September 05, 2013 at 10:01:43 in reply to Comment 91732

The only way to fire pls like the Mayor is someone like you or some like on RTH to go for Mayor im sur use will be voted in

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted September 05, 2013 at 14:23:24

2km bus lane: $300,000
3km bike lane: $500,000-600,000

Planters add up.

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By Keith (anonymous) | Posted September 05, 2013 at 15:44:07 in reply to Comment 91755

New signals are costly. Equipment plus the consultants required to do the entire signal timing plan for the corridor aren't cheap.

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted September 05, 2013 at 18:11:57 in reply to Comment 91764


Mostly a bit of cheek in reference to the "as cheap as road paint" conversion costing floated by some.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted September 05, 2013 at 15:34:07 in reply to Comment 91755

Also traffic signal changes.

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By Robert_D (anonymous) | Posted September 05, 2013 at 14:44:24

Yeah, I find those costs difficult to believe.

Also, just wanted to point out that "this fall" can be anytime between September 22, 2013 and December 21, 2013. So we could be seeing the new land in December and they would still call it "on time".

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By 16 (anonymous) | Posted September 09, 2013 at 18:41:51

Can we get some bike lanes on aberdeen and locke please...!!!!!! I DONt WANt TO ShIT MYSELF!!!!!

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