Comment 78604

By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted June 17, 2012 at 20:03:30 in reply to Comment 78580

The concept of a Perimeter Road has been studied extensively.

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Earlier planning studies called this proposed major arterial road the Industrial Perimeter Road. It was discussed in various planning documents since the 1960's, including redevelopment plans for the North End Neighbourhoods (1963), the Hamilton Area Transportation Study (1963), the Hamilton Transportation Strategy Study (1973), the Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Official Plan (1982), and the City of Hamilton Official Plan (1982). Some property, including south of Strachan Street, was acquired in the 1960's through the Neighbourhood Improvement Program.

In 1978, an Industrial Perimeter Road Feasibility Study recommended and Regional Council endorsed a basic route for the Perimeter Road from Burlington Street to Highway 403. The Hamilton Perimeter Road was again studied quite intensively during the period 1987-1990. The option adopted by Council in 1990, in principle, (see accompanying diagram) included an initial four-lane (ultimate six-lane) Burlington Street with centre median or turning lanes between Sherman Avenue and Victoria Avenue, an interchange with a combined Victoria/Wellington, a four-lane controlled access roadway at track level along the north side of the North-Northwest Spur, grade separations with roadways that already cross the CN tracks, an interchange with Bay Street, a crossing to the south side of the Stuart Street Yard, through the former Route Canada property (now owned by the City of Hamilton), under York Boulevard in a cut-and-cover tunnel, to a new interchange with Highway 403 south of the Desjardins Canal.

The Regional Transportation Review (1996) concluded that the Perimeter Road connecting to Hwy 403 was not justified within the planning horizon (2020), but that a first phase from Wellington/Victoria to Bay or Queen, at an estimated cost of $50 million, should be considered further to divert truck and through traffic around the downtown.

The Downtown Transportation Master Plan (2001) concluded that construction of a first phase of the Perimeter Road to Bay Street not be considered further, as it would simply redistribute traffic from east- west streets (York and Cannon) to north-south streets (Bay and Queen), with very little overall benefit.

Preliminary findings of the Needs Assessment indicate there is no demonstrated need for a Perimeter Road.

The population and employment growth in Hamilton over the next 20 years is projected to be concentrated in developing areas of the City, while growth in established lower city areas, by comparison, will be moderate in terms of employment and less significant in terms of population. Employment in the Bayfront area has declined substantially over the past 20 to 30 years, and future growth will simply return employment levels in the lower City to something approaching past levels.

Transportation modeling based on current travel and transit trends indicates that the existing road network in 2021 will be adequate to handle demand. Current levels of service are very good, and traffic growth to 2021 is not expected to use up all of the spare capacity in the system, even in the most constrained areas that are west of the downtown. When the Red Hill Creek Expressway is added to the network, the comfort margin becomes even greater. Significant additional road capacity in the downtown and west to Hwy 403 is simply not warranted.

Traffic generated by some combinations of land use options in the study area may result in some roadways in the study area becoming quite busy. If there are deficiencies identified that require improvements, those improvements could take many forms, including intersection improvements, traffic calming, improved transit, and even selected widenings on some road links. The analysis to date does not conclude that a Perimeter Road is required to support any of the options or combination of options.

Before the Needs Assessment is completed, other factors will be considered.

The Needs Assessment for the Hamilton Perimeter Road will be completed in conjunction with the other elements of the study.

Factors that will come to bear include the following:

  • a connection to Hwy 403 may be possible in some form, but will be constrained by non-conventional interchange design, future MTO widening plans, proximity of adjacent interchanges (1.8 km to King St., 1.9 km to Hwy 6, beside York Blvd ramps), impact of future Mid-Peninsula highway options, and impact on Cootes Paradise and the Waterfront Trail

  • because of its potential location, access to/from a Perimeter Road between Hwy 403 and Wellington/Victoria would be very limited in number and location, and Bay Street may be one of the only options

  • modeling indicates that east-west routes west of the downtown (west of Queen) are more constrained than those in and east of the downtown, and a first phase of a Perimeter Road would not address the situation

Other planning considerations must also be considered:

  • environmental assessment, design and construction of a Perimeter Road would take 10 years or more, assuming that all approvals are received, and in the interim, lands that could be used immediately for other purposes will be frozen

  • the estimated cost of the Hamilton Perimeter Road is approximately $350 million

  • future travel patterns can be influenced by policy and targeted incentives/disincentives to use certain routes for example, an overt policy of not improving east-west capacity in and west of the downtown coupled with existing or improved connections to the east (Burlington/Industrial to QEW/RHCE) can shape demand.

Recap: The analysis to date concludes that a Perimeter Road is not required to support any of the options or combination of options, nor is it needed to accommodate growth in the lower city generally. This preliminary conclusion will be confirmed through completion of the comprehensive, integrated EA master plan process for the study area.

Above from: Hamilton West Harbour Planning Area Study, Perimeter Road. Prepared for the City of Hamilton - April 2003, Urban Strategies Inc., Stantec Consulting, Paradigm Transportation Solutions Ltd.

The Hamilton Perimeter Road Needs Assessment Final Report concluded that there is no demonstrated need for a Hamilton Perimeter Road.

Based on current and projected travel demand, there is no demonstrated need for a Hamilton Perimeter Road. In addition to potentially tremendous costs and environmental liabilities, there is a significant risk of not being able to connect to Highway 403. An evaluation of the transportation network concludes that the Bayfront Industrial Area is well served by Burlington Street/Industrial Drive and a ring road system of the QEW, Highway 403, the Lincoln M. Alexander Parkway, and the Red Hill Creek Expressway (under construction).

Connections to QEW Niagara, QEW Toronto, Highway 407, Highway 6 south and former Highway 56 south would all be well served without a Hamilton Perimeter Road. Although connections to Highway 403 west and Highway 6 north could be improved if Burlington Street/Industrial Drive were connected to Highway 403, trucking demand for those movements represents approximately one-third of truck trips that enter or exit the area bounded by Dundurn, Main, and Victoria Streets.

Notwithstanding that need for the road cannot be demonstrated, the evidence suggests that a Hamilton Perimeter Road could attract up to 850 truck trips in a 7-hour period (or approximately 1,700 truck trips per day) from existing routes in the study area, based on very generous assumptions about the proportions of trucks that would be diverted from existing routes to a new Hamilton Perimeter Road. This volume would not be insignificant, but to put it in perspective, the capacity of an access-controlled four-lane Hamilton Perimeter Road would be approximately 6,000 vehicles per hour.

Given that there is not a good case to build a Hamilton Perimeter Road for future traffic volumes, and that truck volumes served by the facility would be very modest in comparison to the capacity of the roadway, the issue comes down to goods movement in and through the study area.

In other words, if trucks are perceived as the problem, the Hamilton Perimeter Road is not the only solution.

Hamilton City Council has resolved that the Hamilton Perimeter Road Transportation Corridor be excluded from the Secondary Plan and Master Infrastructure Plan for Setting Sail, and that lands not required for the Perimeter Road, as identified in the next phase of Setting Sail, be disposed of.

This resolution recognizes that a full Hamilton Perimeter Road is not justified. Trucks will continue to use truck routes through the Downtown and to and from Highway 403, and there may be operational improvements required from time to time. However, alternate routes are available, and completion of the Red Hill Creek Expressway will improve connections. The matter of goods movement is being investigated as a component of the new Transportation Master Plan, for the City of Hamilton.

The Secondary Plan will recommend that the lands within the study area acquired for the Perimeter Road be retained as public open space.

Above from: Hamilton West Harbour Planning Area Study, Perimeter Road. Prepared for the City of Hamilton - December 2003, Urban Strategies Inc., Stantec Consulting, Paradigm Transportation Solutions Ltd.

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