Downtown Transportation Master Plan

The City completed the Transportation Master Plan for the downtown area in 2001. The Master Plan provided a number of recommendations addressing all aspects of the transportation system including road networks, bicycle networks, pedestrian facilities, transit and parking. One of the corner stone elements of the plan was the recommendation to convert several major and minor streets from one-way to two-way operation. Several projects from this plan are still outstanding so the five-year review was undertaken.

The purpose of the Downtown Transportation Master Plan Review is to:

  • provide a review of the outstanding projects from the Transportation Master Plan for the downtown area

Study Overview

The City of Hamilton completed its Transportation Master Plan for the Downtown Area in 2001. At that time, the Master Plan was a key piece in the ongoing revitalization of Hamilton’s central core area. The study was undertaken as part of a set of initiatives, referred to as Putting People First:Downtown Land Use and Transportation. “Putting People First” was an integrated land use and transportation planning exercise that examined the downtown as an overall system as opposed to a number of separate components.

The Master Plan provided a number of recommendations addressing all aspects of the transportation system including road networks, bicycle networks, pedestrian facilities, transit and parking. One of the corner stone elements of the plan was the recommendation to convert several major and minor streets from one-way to two-way operation.

Municipal Class Environmental Assessment rules require a review of Master Plans every 5 years to determine need for detailed reviews and/or updates. This report summarizes that review, and includes recommendations for outstanding projects. In order to review the Master Plan and determine if there have been any changes that would trigger a more detailed review, the review takes the following approach:

  • Compare data used in the original study with current data and assess any impacts on the validity of the 2001 recommendations;
  • Revisit assumptions and recommendations for schedule B and C projects that are yet to be implemented to ensure they are still valid in the current context;
  • Suggest a more detailed review of the 2001 recommendations if current conditions warrant it; and
  • Allow planned Schedule B projects beyond 2006 to proceed and enable Schedule C projects to proceed with Phase 3 and 4 of the EA process.

The review found some key changes since 2001, identified as follows:

  • Greater emphasis on environment, including air quality and climate change;
  • Downtown Hamilton is now designated as an Urban Growth Centre by the Province of Ontario;
  • Funding opportunities for rapid transit have arisen;
  • Increased aspirations for pedestrian improvements (e.g. Pedestrian Charter);
  • Commitment to improve street façade (e.g. Farmers’ Market/Library, Art Gallery);
  • Major developments are now taking place;
  • No significant change in traffic volumes in the study area;
  • Increase in parking occupancy throughout study area; and
  • Increased transit ridership evident from HSR data.

The 2001 problem statement was found to be generally still valid, except that issues around excess parking have lessened as parking supply has remained largely unchanged and occupancy has increased.

The 2001 preferred solution is therefore considered still valid, except:

  • There is now a greater desire for pedestrian improvements
  • Potential for rapid transit is more immediate, impacting James Street, Main Street and King Street

Study Recommendations

As a result of the five-year review of the Master Plan, the following outstanding projects are recommended for implementation (See Exhibit ES.1).

Recommended for design and implementation as soon as budget allows:

Two-way conversions:

  • York Boulevard/Wilson Street two-way conversion
  • Park Street two-way conversion
  • MacNab Street two-way conversion
  • Hughson Street two-way conversion
  • Hess Street two-way conversion
  • King William two-way conversion
  • Rebecca two-way conversion

Pedestrian improvements:

  • Jackson Street
  • Queen Street
  • Catharine Street
  • Mary Street
  • George Street
  • Gore Park (King Street South Leg)

Cycling improvements:

  • Hunter Street bicycle lanes
  • York Boulevard bicycle lanes

Implement pending outcome of Rapid Transit and Gore Park studies:

  • King Street two-way conversion
  • Main Street pedestrian improvements

Projects not included in original Master Plan to be implemented:

  • Caroline Street two-way conversion
  • Gore Park Pedestrianization Pilot projects – proceed with more detailed urban design studies and potential weekend closures (pilot projects)

It is recommended that the two-way conversion of Bay Street in the study area not proceed at this time. This project should only be considered if monitoring after two-way conversion of York Boulevard indicates benefits would result from conversion of Bay Street.

View the Downtown Transportation Master Plan Review (PDF, 9.8 MB)