Special Report: Walkable Streets

Part of Rebecca Added to Baby-Steps Two-Way Conversion Schedule

On November 15, Rebecca will be converted to two-way between John St N and Wellington St N.

By RTH Staff
Published October 31, 2014

The City of Hamilton just announced that part of Rebecca Street will be converted to two-way in November. On Saturday, November 15, the 640 metre section of Rebecca between John Street North and Wellington Street North will be switched to two-way.

West of John, Rebecca will remain one-way westbound to James Street North, where Rebecca ends at the side of Hamilton City Centre.

The two-way conversion was approved in 2001 as part of the Downtown Transportation Master Plan.

The conversion will include adding stop signs and pavement markings at intersections and removing 13 curbside parking meter spaces: two at Mary Street and 11 in the block between Catharine Street and John Street.

The City will add nine new parking meter spaces on the east side of Catharine between Rebecca Street and Wilson Street.

Next year, the City will also proceed with the two-way conversion of Bold Street and Duke Street.


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By jason (registered) | Posted October 31, 2014 at 14:36:23

I need to sit down. can't handle the pace of change in this city

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted October 31, 2014 at 16:14:02 in reply to Comment 105827

Exhausting, isn't it?

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By Crispy (registered) | Posted October 31, 2014 at 15:04:45 in reply to Comment 105827

Nothing but complaining, sarcasm and negativity from you. Why don't you take your taxes to Burlington?

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By DissenterOfThings (registered) | Posted November 03, 2014 at 09:29:26 in reply to Comment 105834

We should just take our pitiful rate of progress or leave it...

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 31, 2014 at 15:14:47 in reply to Comment 105834

quoting councillors is now considered complaining, sarcasm (ok, you got me there) and negativity?

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By theninjasquad (registered) - website | Posted October 31, 2014 at 14:38:54

This is great news, but I wish they'd chosen a more useful street for a conversion right now. One of the north/south streets in the city would have been a much more useful conversion I feel like. Baby steps I guess.

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 31, 2014 at 14:58:45 in reply to Comment 105830

easy tiger. They'll get around to a north/south street all in good time. I mean it's not easy converting a street like Catharine with it's bumper to bumper gridlock. another 12 years or so should do it.

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By arienc (registered) | Posted October 31, 2014 at 14:51:28

It would just be a baby step to complete the two-way conversion for the entire street. Makes little sense to convert such a small street only partially.

Is there a puropse for Rebecca between John and James to remain one-way?

That aside, sure would be nice to see some development on the site of the old bus terminal that has sat empty for over 20 years.

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By Robbie K (anonymous) | Posted November 02, 2014 at 22:58:21 in reply to Comment 105832

Perhaps cost? The lights at the end of Rebecca would need to be changed... only explanation I can think of (I own a unit at 11 Rebecca where the street would remain 1 way)..

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted October 31, 2014 at 16:16:30

This is good news. Hamilton's downtown should be rid of all these useless one-way streets by the year 2300.

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By Crapitalist (anonymous) | Posted October 31, 2014 at 17:47:58 in reply to Comment 105840

Wait, weren't you the one just saying in another thread that when you need to go downtown you need one ways? SMH

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 19:36:30 in reply to Comment 105844

You have me confused with someone else. I have consistenly advocated for far fewer one-way streets in the downtown.

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By I'm Tapped Out (anonymous) | Posted October 31, 2014 at 19:15:55


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By Cspark (anonymous) | Posted November 01, 2014 at 19:49:46

Next stop Victoria and Wellington!

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By H1 (anonymous) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 13:41:26 in reply to Comment 105850

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By Fake Name (anonymous) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 17:54:47 in reply to Comment 105914

Claremont is 3 lanes each way on average. This implies that it only needs 3 lanes on Wellington and Victoria, implying that a TWINO solution is available with *zero* affect on traffic. You could do one contra-flow lane, keep the synced lights, and support rush-hour-prohibited parking to the right side of the 3-lane side of the street. This would be the obvious "Hamilton" solution to two-way Victoria/Wellington that would have no impact on traffic since the Claremont itself is of a similar form.

Now, to make it actually *good* you could notice that the Claremont barely carries more traffic than the Garth street hill, which runs just fine with *one* lane in each direction. Let's be generous and do *two* lanes in each direction on Victoria/Wellington, with parking on the non-claremont side of the street alone, and the lights synchronized for the Claremont directions (as they are now). Yay, a normal 2-way street with parking and still traffic runs fine!

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By Fake Name (anonymous) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 17:59:21 in reply to Comment 105948

Or, you could go for extra credit and do my preferred solution: Keep them 1-way and go for a Big City layout - 2 lanes of live traffic, 1 lane of *all the time* parking with bump-outs to protect it, 1 lane of bike lanes. Still more than enough for the Claremont's meagre traffic counts.

If you want to be cranky about it, you could start this approach north of Cannon, since 90% of the traffic the Claremont/Victoria/Wellington is taking is going to the Main/Cannon corridor, and the folks going all the way to Burlington Street can take the RHVP. It's completely unnecessary and stupid, but this is Hamilton.

I might add the 2nd option I just listed is what the city has already done... but only on Victoria, and only north of Barton. No idea why it doesn't continue south at least to Cannon where we have an *actual cycle track*, and why it's not present on Wellington which is Victoria's coupled counterpart.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted November 01, 2014 at 21:15:01

Seems obvious why they picked that segment of Rebecca - a wide, low-traffic street with no traffic lights or bump-outs. As soon as it requires any thought or risk or planning, it stays 1-way. Literally all they have to do is paint a line down the middle and put up some signs.

This is the lowest of low-hanging fruit. If this is the kind of segment they have planned in their "to-do-list" then I'm confused why they're doing one-per-year instead of one-per-hour.

Of course, an activist could be proactive and find other "ultra-low-hanging-fruit" segments - no traffic, wide-enough for two cars to travel abreast with all parking in-use, no bump-outs or other intersection shaping that wouldn't fit with the current orientation, and no traffic-lights.... but somehow I suspect that even armed with this, I think City Hall would ignore the request.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2014-11-01 21:16:35

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 01, 2014 at 22:11:12 in reply to Comment 105851

FYI, they are removing all street parking on Rebecca for this. Can't have cars needing to drive slow if at all possible in Hamilton.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted November 01, 2014 at 22:38:42 in reply to Comment 105852


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By notlloyd (registered) - website | Posted November 02, 2014 at 18:28:36 in reply to Comment 105853

That's one of the big advantages of one way streets. More parking. If the street is essentially three lanes wide and you only use one lane in one direction you have two lanes of parking. Make it two-way and you only get one lane of parking. If its a narrower older street you lose all the parking.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted November 02, 2014 at 21:21:05 in reply to Comment 105859

Many streets in Westdale and Strathcona are perfectly functional with both-side parking and two-way traffic despite being too narrow for 4 lanes. Drivers just have to be courteous and careful as they squeeze by each other. Why is this concept unacceptable for Central and Durand.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 03, 2014 at 09:32:10 in reply to Comment 105863

it's the Hamilton mindset. There are some local neighbourhood traffic calming elements being installed in the North End and the CHML crowd is flipping their lid (even though none of them live there) because they can't close their eyes and do 60km anymore like they're used to.

Check out the traffic calming measures the city of Portland is out actively looking to implement city-wide:


Specific to your point about Westdale and Strathcona, I LOVE the use in other cities of mid-block bumpouts or choke points to cause traffic to defer to one another. In other words, a street wide enough for two-way traffic to pass each other is narrowed so only one car can pass at a time, slowing everyone down.


This is done in every city I've ever been to, except Hamilton of course.

Yet we have this exact design on the Westdale, Strathcona streets you mention due to their narrow width. And shockingly, the economy hasn't come to an end because cars need to stop and politely defer to one another in a residential neighbourhood.

I know on my street I'd love to see bumpouts, no entry from Queen N (90% of traffic on our street is short-cutters from Queen to Locke to King. Apparently the Queen frwy isn't fast enough for them). And I'd like to see parking alternate blocks instead of being on the same side the entire street. Currently parking is allowed 24-7 on the north side. It should be north side for a block, then south side for a block, then north side for a block.

This is a great overview of how simple and nice it is to calm neighbourhood streets.


A great post showing how simple and cheap curb parking can be used as traffic calming. Scroll down to the section on chicanes using only blue paint to stagger the parking: http://www.streetfilms.org/a-30km-slow-z...

Comment edited by jason on 2014-11-03 09:41:24

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By StephenBarath (registered) | Posted November 03, 2014 at 10:03:02 in reply to Comment 105866

Those chicanes in the second-to-last link are lovely- any idea of the cost of these?

My street has the same problem as you- a significant proportion of traffic is people shooting through from Locke to Dundurn. If Main were two-way, they’d have less cause to. And, if they were unable to fly down the street at 50 or more, it might be worth their while to go up to King instead.

One thing that I would really love on my street is a small traffic circle: a one-way street ends at mine at a bit of an angle, and there is a huge turning radius afforded cars. There is ample space for the kind of landscaped area found in the middle of many suburban cul-de-sacs. It would slow the traffic just enough, and make the street feel a bit smaller. However, there’s zero chance of any of this being done on my residential street, so I don’t think about it too much.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 02, 2014 at 20:07:52 in reply to Comment 105859

this street is wide enough for parking and 2-way traffic. It was also wide enough for parking on both sides and 1-lane of one-way traffic. But we never do that in Hamilton. It's all about keeping cars at the highest speeds possible.

I just returned from DC and every single residential street has been converted to one-way in order to allow parking on both sides, plus bike lanes. You drive along a major thoroughfare for dozens and dozens of blocks and every single side street is like this:


There was parking-protected cycle tracks on the busier, major streets and bike lanes like this on every single side street. I've never seen so many bike lanes in my life.

Comment edited by jason on 2014-11-02 20:09:19

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 02, 2014 at 20:16:20

This was a typical main street in DC. I've never seen such a dense city with no high-rises (due to the Washington Monument height limit). Blocks and blocks for miles were 6-12 storey street walls.


Here is a brand new neighbourhood we checked out in midtown DC. Again, no high-rises. All 6-12 storey range. Mostly 8-12.
Rain gardens in the sidewalk, street parking, bike lanes, wide sidewalks and parking underground.



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By tired (anonymous) | Posted November 07, 2014 at 16:00:42

Of course it's the section between John and James that we use most often...sigh. I hate these partial conversions!

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