Street Master Plans

Street Master Plans provide a broad design strategy and context for future physical, above ground improvements within the public realm. This includes the public road right-of-way and other public spaces. Street features, such as street lights, trees, landscaping, and furnishing contribute to the unique character of a city block or entire neighbourhood.

Street Master Plans are one of several design strategies initiated by the City for public realm improvements. The Urban Hamilton Official Plan provides direction for the preparation of Street Master Plans.

The purpose of a Street Master Plan is to:

  • Implement the policies of the Urban Hamilton Official Plan with respect to streets
  • Accommodate the needs of existing or planned land uses along streets
  • Update or renew the overall design of streets, using current best practices
  • Implement improvements for safety
  • Implement aesthetic improvements.

Street Master Plans are carried out with the intention of coordinating with infrastructure projects such as underground work. Above-ground changes to the streetscape, such as lane re-configurations, bike lanes, widening of sidewalks and other changes to the right-of-way impact the below grade infrastructure. Therefore, the coordination of above and below ground works assist in reducing unnecessary disruptions to adjacent property owners, businesses, vehicular traffic and pedestrians.

A Street Master Plan is the first step in the design process towards the eventual construction of a street.  Upon approval of a Street Master Plan by Council, city staff prepare a Functional Design plan, which is sometimes referred to as the Detailed Design phase. The detailed design phase translates the Street Master Plan into technical drawings that are used for construction of the street. 

Steps to Design a Street Master Plan

The Street Master Plan process is carried out by Urban Design staff in the Planning and Economic Development Department. A typical Street Master Plan process may follow these steps:

  • Translates Council planning policies into urban design concepts
  • Establishes a design vision through public consultation and stakeholder input
  • Identifies opportunities and constraints that may require site specific solutions
  • Provides innovative design strategies

A Street Master Plan concept may show:

  • Vision, design theme and design principles for the street
  • Design solutions for supporting spaces and adjacent sites
  • Street cross-sections and precedents
  • Plans which illustrate such things as:
    • Number of traffic lanes for cars, transit, bicycles and on-street parking
    • Sidewalks 
    • Street lighting, street furniture, street trees and planting areas
  • Design of intersections, bump-outs, medians, wayfinding, paving design, surface treatments, landscape treatments and colour schemes
  • Opportunities for public art

Functional Plan Phase

The functional plan phase is carried out by Public Works. This phase of street design determines the technical details and standards required to construct the Street Master Plan. It takes into account the following elements:

  • Translates the intent of the Street Master Plan into a detailed design solution
  • Addresses all functional and technical requirements for road construction
  • Confirms street maintenance and operation requirements
  • Seeks further stakeholder consultation on technical and functional issues

Street Master Plans

The City has completed the following Street Master Plans:

The City is currently preparing Street Master Plans for: