City of Hamilton unveils plans to convert Main Street into a two-way road


Published May 16, 2023 at 3:38 pm

The City of Hamilton is hoping to get feedback from residents about the top design options and the results of its study into the two-way conversion of Main Street between King Street East and Longwood Road South.

The city will present the results of its study and three design options for a two-way Main Street at an online public information session Thursday, May 18, between 6 and 8 p.m., said Mike Field, the city’s acting director of transportation.

Moreover, councillors from Wards 1, 2, and 3 will host public engagement sessions on May 25 and May 29.

At the virtual meeting, Field said his team will present the highlights of the “preferred design,” which he called a “concept design” for now, in the hopes of getting feedback from the public before finalizing it and presenting it to council tentatively in July. The proposed design drawings were recently posted online to allow the public to see them before the meeting.

The city will be welcoming the public’s opinions on its website for 2.5 weeks after the consultation meeting, including an interactive map where people can provide specific comments in certain locations. The virtual meeting will be posted online for those who can’t attend.



Safety elements drive Hamilton’s preferred design

The preferred design has many elements, essentially adding a westbound traffic lane on Main Street, according to Field. Main Street is currently a one-way street for vehicles travelling eastbound.

“So generally, the lane configuration was one westbound lane and two eastbound lanes with some additional elements scattered throughout, including some bike lanes, some accommodations for pedestrians and some other things, which help out with the experience of vulnerable road users on Main Street,” Field said. “It really transforms Main Street from what we are used to today to what it will look like in the future with two-way operation.”

Field said city council decided in 2022 to convert Main Street to a two-way operation with the goal of providing “safety enhancements for all road users,” including pedestrians, public transit passengers, cyclists and motorists.

“Those are the main things that we’re looking to do: Change the operations from a one-way to two-way but also enhance the experience for all road users on Main Street to transform it from what some people refer to as a highway cutting through the heart of the city to something that’s more friendly and useable for all road users,” he explained.

Once the design is finalized, Field said his team will determine how much the project will cost, how long it will take and the resources needed to convert Main Street, and present the details to council in the summer.

“We’re hopeful that we’ll get quite a bit of engagement on this from the public … and we’re hopeful those comments will help improve the design as we transfer from concept plan into the final design,” he said.

According to the city’s website, the plan will consider adding urban trees and permeable surfaces, taking into account the impact of climate change.

“This is accomplished by focusing on the design of our communities and roads, how we set and manage speeds, how vehicles are designed and permitted to operate, what transportation options exist where and for whom, and how norms and rules are set for moving about,” it said on its website.

The city said staff have completed safety improvements, such as expanded and enhanced pedestrian space and temporary lane reductions.

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