King St. transit-only lane
The City of Hamilton has been in the process of changing some of the traffic patterns in the lower city for the last several years. There is an active debate about one-way conversions to two-ways, LRT and dedicated bike lanes. The latest experiment is the dedicated bus lane on King St. from the downtown core to just before Dundurn St.
I travel that stretch of the road several times a day during rush and non-rush hours. Based on my behind-the-wheel experience, I can’t say there is a traffic problem in that area. Sure, it gets busy during the rush hours but even during the densest of times it takes no more than 3 cycles (reds) to get to the highway from the James St. intersection. The true test of efficiency will be whether the dedicated bus lane will make the trip longer, shorter or the same for the 3 other lanes of vehicles. Let’s give it a month.
What does concern me is the non-rush hour use of the dedicated lane. The issue with exclusive lanes at all times is that they become underutilized while causing congestion in the other lanes. Has the city considered making it a dedicated lane during rush hours only and allowing everyone to use it at other times?
Other issues are cyclists, taxis and carpoolers. Do they have any rights to use this lane? Will cyclists be forced between the buses and cars? Will HOVs and taxis carrying passengers be allowed to use the lane?