Comment 113319

By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted August 06, 2015 at 19:16:44 in reply to Comment 113313

No intent on being condescending in my above post (you may have observed my very clear distaste for the uninformed anti-Cannon-Bike-Lane people in the other article, with a fully facts-based defense) -- just facilitating productive discussion. That's what we're here for! :-)

There are nice pedestrian-friendly 1-way "bouelvard"/"Queens Quay" style solutions but requires removal of traffic lanes and larger outlays in cost. To make that reasonably workable, requires both LRT lanes to be on Main instead of King, due to the International Village funnel. Then as a result, I'd be afraid of is seeing King 1-way status quo continuing. There are sections where I can touch a storefront and a parking meter with only partially outstretched arms (got a pic on that). We'd be potentially preventing full revitalization of the Main-King corridors, and we'd also potentially be tempoting putting the LRT lanes separately (one on King, one on Main) -- 600 meters apart in some sections. If I see a really good 1-way compromise that the city council doesn't fight over, we can go with it.

All the solutions all have compromises. Funding opportunities, revitalization opportunities, city council agreement, how easy it is to mess up the plan (e.g. separating the LRT lanes one each to Main/King and mostly keeping 1-way status quo), etc. I feel converting to 2-way will make it much harder for the city to permanently mess up the LRT revitalization opportunities and we both agree on 2-way conversion already. Messups caused by plan tweaks such as putting LRT lanes separate on Main and on King, is harder to undo/fix, than a temporary situation (perhaps only during construction) at Dundurn, for example.

Assuming no funding is available for a 403 interchange modification, and the city leans towards Main/King remaining 1-way, I'm not sure I'm comfortable that the city would not be tempted to keep King completely unmodified (ugly expressway status quo), or even worse, be tempted to separate the LRT lanes (1 on King, 1 on Main) as some city councillors advocated for already.

Simultaneously, for 1-way Main-King (regardless of how they're revitalized), the city would be easily tempted by future voters to keep the traffic lights synchronized to the cars instead of the LRT (massively slowing down the LRT), given their investment in expanding the synchronized traffic lights system by recently adding centralized control this year. This is much harder to do with 2-way Main/King, and much easier to politically let the stoplights automatically prioritize to LRT, making it really subway-fast like an European LRT rather than Toronto TTC King streetcar. Makes it far less popular, given how efficient our 1-way expressways are by car. There are more ways for Hamilton to hamstring (pun) the LRT if Main/King remain 1-way. Decisions like this can mean the difference between 20,000 ridership and 100,000+ ridership by 2044 (20 years after LRT starts up). Traffic calmed by 2-way and LRT-priority stoplights means more people will take the LRT than car.

So considering these factors, I'm more comfortable with going ahead with 2-way conversion, which I feel is the right tool for the right job for Hamilton, given we likely won't have a wide-sidewalk-boulevard treatment to a 1-way street. Better revitalization opportunities, including incremental with fewer shoot-in-foot issues.

I concede I don't like the Dundurn solution, but most of us would probably agree it'd be better than the typical Hamilton halfhearted solution of 1-way status quo Main/King, traffic lights still synced to cars instead of the LRT, and 1 separate LRT lane on each Main and King (all the above simultaneously -- horrors!) I should point out Dundurn would only become a funnel for westwards cars on Main. Eastwards cars on Main coming from 403 are unaffected, as are cars flowing to/from Dundas. And this is only a funnel only during morning peak. Other than that, onramp traffic is reasonably light. And consider the Dundurn situation can be revitalized only 5 years after LRT completes, into a really nice place, with future later funding for an interchange that's also combined with a massive upgrade to Dundurn Mall, and all sorts of ultra-pedestrian-friendly enhancements... This could be a rider/condition attached to Centre Mall permitting a temporary lease.

We should certainly lobby for interchange tweaks, but we'll have to be delicate about it given the fragility of the city's support for LRT. Creative ideas are needed.

Now, hypothetically assuming we successfully go 2-way (yay!), And in this situation, what if no funding is available for the 403 interchange? I'm running through several common-sense thought experiments as we speak, based on current council risk for disastrous tweaks, and known Hamilton's tight budget.

I found the ramp modification ideas brilliant, and prefer that. (Yes, I pray we have money for the currently-unfunded 403 ramp modifications, then we don't need this Dundurn Funnel discussion...)

That said, ideas are genuinely totally welcome. Really.

Comment edited by mdrejhon on 2015-08-06 19:59:12

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