City to begin dismantling the bus lane Monday night

The city will start removing the downtown transit lane on Monday night.

Motorists can start driving on it in about four days

Coun. Matthew Green of Ward 3 sets up pro-bus lane signs made by local children for a Jan. 21 council meeting. The city begins dismantling the lane on Monday. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

The city will start removing the downtown transit lane on Monday night.

Crews will remove the overhead and ground-mounted “bus only” signs along the two-kilometre stretch of King Street.

It’s a fast turnaround on the $100,000 removal job. City council only voted on Wednesday to get rid of the lane. It was a tight vote of 9-7 and about 150 bus lane advocates crowded into the council chambers to watch the debate.

Gerry Davis, head of public works, said afterward that his department would get rid of the lane that runs from Mary to Dundurn Streets “as soon as possible.”

Crews will take about four days to remove the signs, weather permitting. There will be minor delays to traffic as crews take up the north curb lane, the city said in a release.

“Once these overhead signs are removed, the lane is considered legally open for all other vehicles according to the Highway Traffic Act,” the city said.

Removal of the diamond and “bus only” stencils on the road will begin Monday night and continue over the next few weeks, weather permitting. In the spring, crews will repaint the lane lines.

Council is expected to amend the traffic and parking bylaws at a Feb. 11 meeting.

On-street parking on the south side of King Street will only remain until early February, when the city will install new metres on the north side.

In the meantime, the city said, the north curb lane will be a travel lane with no parking.

The city will release more parking information in early February.

The city spent $180,000 of a Metrolinx grant to install and maintain the lane. It was meant to run from October 2013 to October 2014 as a pilot project, but the Oct. 27 municipal election delayed its scrutiny.

Advocates for the lane saw it as part of Hamilton's future as a more transit-friendly city. Opponents said it hurt business and slowed traffic in the downtown core.


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