City council is set to hold a discussion Friday that could pave the way to turning prominent crosstown one-way streets like King and Main into two-ways.
A Public Works document given to Hamilton councillors this week lays out the issues facing the street conversion, which it says would require a 5-year strategy. Among the long list of hurdles to clear: conversions of traffic signals, repainting roads, and re-routing transit service. Councillors will also have to figure out how to pay for the change.
Behind the scenes, city staff will update the 2007 Transportation Master Plan in an effort to determine which of the roads slated for conversion (the list includes parts of Queen St. N., Bay St., Cannon St. W. and more.)
What's driving the move toward two-way streets? The city is interested in pushing a "Complete Street design" that would turn typically car-dominated spaces into space that's friendly to pedestrians, cyclists, transit as well as cars. Many planners and neighbourhood organizations groups believe converting some of the city's 90 one-way streets would improve business in the core and be conducive to developing communities.
The city began seeking public input into the recent conversions in 2012 during its Complete Streets Transportation Summit. But the issue has divided Hamilton for years.
Many drivers who rely on the one-ways as quick routes to Ancaster, Stoney Creek and beyond will likely resent the change. City staff notes there is the "potential for increased travel times," and said traffic speeds will be reduced.
Several roads have been converted since 2001, including parts of James St. N., Caroline St. and McNab St.
Council is set to debate the proposed changes Friday, starting at 9:30 a.m. CBC Hamilton will be live tweeting the debate. Follow it here.