Hamilton installs transit signal, bus lane on Main Street. Here’s what it means


Published August 18, 2022 at 2:11 pm

Hamilton installs transit signal, bus lane on Main Street. Here's what it means

The summer revamping of one of Hamilton’s most dangerous streets continued this week with the overnight installation of a transit priority signal and designated bus-only lane.

The changes at Main and MacNab St. are intended to enhance safety ahead of the full one-way to a two-way street conversion.

The city began implementing “quick changes” to Main last week.

The transit priority signal is a light with a white vertical bar on a black background that allows transit buses to cross an intersection before other traffic. Only public-transit buses may proceed when the transit priority signal is shown, and all other vehicles must remain stopped.

Effective Friday (Aug. 18), this signal will be in place to help ease traffic flow, reduce the chance of collision, and allow transit buses to safely merge into the intersection ahead of other vehicles.

Additionally, “Bus Only” pavement markings are being added to an 85-metre section of Main between MacNab and City Hall that allows transit buses to safely pull over to pick up passengers and prepare to enter the Main and MacNab intersection when the transit priority signal is activated.

“Motorists looking to turn right on MacNab Street from Main Street are advised that the new right turn lane is located beside the bus-only lane,” issued the city. “Right turns are only permitted once the traffic signal has turned green. Motorists must remain stopped until the Transit Priority Signal turns off and the traffic light turns green. Pedestrians are also given priority at this intersection by way of a leading pedestrian interval.”

Hamilton installs transit signal, bus lane on Main Street. Here's what it means

Hamilton city council passed a motion last May to convert Main, which has a disproportionately higher accident rate than other streets. Overall, the city had just reached double-digit pedestrian deaths within a few months when Hamilton typically averages around four per year.

The annual collision reports reveal an over-representation of serious injuries and fatal collisions along Main and King in Hamilton. The motion also called for a safety assessment of King, which is already facing restructuring due to the implementation of light rail transit (LRT) along the corridor.

Hamilton installs transit signal, bus lane on Main Street. Here's what it means

According to the council motion, the conversion of the four-lane Main “will enable safer use for all people who need to use the streets, including public transit riders, pedestrians, motorists, and cyclists.”

They were instructed to report back to council in “early 2023” with an implementation plan for the two-way conversion of Main that includes an assessment of costs, construction timing, and resource requirements.

The project is being funded through the city’s road safety capital budget at a limit of $400,000.

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