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Staff Report: Two-Way LRT on King and Converting Main, King to Two-Way Traffic

In a recent report, city rapid transit staff recommend converting Main and King street to two-way and running LRT down the middle lanes of King through the downtown.

By Ryan McGreal

(Originally published in Raise the Hammer on April 30, 2009.)

In a recent staff report titled "LRT Functional Planning Analysis: B-Line Corridor", city rapid transit staff have narrowed the long list of possible LRT configurations to two:

  • Retain the one-way configuration of Main and King Streets with one-way LRT on both streets in dedicated curb lanes; and
  • Convert both Main and King two two-way with two-way LRT running on dedicated lanes down the median of King St.

In the latter option, the LRT line would be two-way down its entire length. It would run on Main Street from its western terminus at University Plaza to Paradise Rd in West Hamilton, where it would cut north to King Street and cross Hwy 403. From there it would continue on King St. until King swings south and crosses Main St between Gage and Ottaw St. It would then continue along Main St. to its eastern terminus at Eastgate Square.

LRT Preferred Route: two-way conversion of Main and King with two-way LRT down the median of King through the downtown.
LRT Preferred Route: two-way conversion of Main and King with two-way LRT down the median of King through the downtown.

Contraflow LRT was eliminated for safety reasons. LRT in mixed lanes was eliminated because it loses the benefit of rapid transit and reliability. Curbside two-way LRT was eliminated because of the awkwardness for vehicles to cross transit lines onto interior driving lanes.

Of the two remaining options, the staff report recommends the two-way median reserved option. It cites the following advantages:

  • Increased safety, since it requires fewer vehicle crossings of the median-lane transitway, and the remaining crossings will take place at signalized intersections;
  • Ease of use, since both directions will be located on the same street; and
  • Reduced impact on adjacent properties to eliminate driveways that open into a curbside transitway.

The report also notes that overall vehicular traffic on Main-King will need to be reduced by 30-40 percent, through demand management and alternative routing.