Hamiltonians will have to wait a little longer for Hamilton’s first transit-only lane on King Street. Monday night’s rain delayed city officials from painting pavement markings overnight, the city says.
“Rain prevented crews from completing the transit-only lane on King St.,” the city said in a tweet Tuesday morning. “They will try again tonight, weather permitting.”
The $300,000 city pilot project that converts the north lane of King St. into a bus-only lane from Mary Street to Dundurn Street starts was to start at 5 a.m. Tuesday.
Crews may have to complete the work in stages, according to Kelly Anderson, public affairs coordinator for the city's public works department. Environment Canada is calling for a 40 per cent chance of showers overnight.
"Motorists should drive according to pavement markings and signage," Anderson said in a release.
The one-year project, aimed to increase the flow of public transit along the busy throughway, means parking and loading on the street will be moved to the south side. The project was originally shot-down by council before being approved in May. It was set to launch in September but faced delays. It's also seen as an early test of attitudes and reactions to an LRT line in the corridor.
There are some immediate issues councillors, planners, and business people will be watching.
Cars and bikes are not allowed in the transit-only lane, something some cyclists have criticized, according to city councillor Brian McHattie, who re-tabled the pilot project in May. It could lead to more changes throughout the project, so drivers should keep their eyes peeled for pavement markings.
"[Cyclists] have suggested adding "sharrows" [shared lane markings] in the lane next to the bus-only lane so cars know that bikes may be travelling there," McHattie said. "This is a good suggestion and I am checking with staff on that."
In the meantime, bikes and cars will share the road without having to dodge buses and vice versa, something councillor Jason Farr said will improve traffic flow on the corridor. Originally, business owners he spoke to in the area felt positive about the project, Farr said, but lately there's been a petition circulating against it.
"The petition cited buses going 70 km/hr, less romantic streets and the possibility nefarious folks gathering at the area bus stops among a few other concerns," Farr said, adding city staff have worked with the King West Business Improvement Association to try to ease their reservations, which came too late in the planning process.
After the one-year project is complete, city staff will present a report on the effects of the dedicated bus lanes to the general issues committee.