Mayor proposes change to bus only lanes

(Updated)The bus lanes through donwtown Hamilton may not be as threatened as they were earlier this week. On Monday, all indications were that the pilot program was about to be scrapped.But today, Hamilton’s new mayor, Fred Eisenberger announced he’s tabling his own plan to keep the lane, but with a few changes.For some Hamilton city councillors, they didn’t need the appropriate schooling to realize that the bus-only lane pilot project wasn’t going to work.Councillor Chad Collins: “I don’t think you need a traffic engineering degree to fully understand that it’s had a negative impact on the downtown businesses, unnecessary traffic congestion.”But over a year and $300,000 later, safe to say many motorists feel the same way.“I want them gone. Yesterday”“I don’t think it was a good idea with the bus lanes happening.”“I think it’s kind of dangerous. I don’t think everyone knows how to use them.”But today, Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger is proposing to keep the bus-lanes albeit with several changes.Mayor Fred Eisenberger: “I want to put some ideas forward like HOV lane or moving the parking or allowing for other vehicles to use the lane and making it potentially rush hour only.”Moving parking from the southside of King back to their original spot on the northside would be a welcome change for businesses.Earlier this week, we spoke with Roland Dube who owns Rolly Rockets BBQ and he said that the bus-only lanes decimated his daytime business because the parking was moved from the north to the south side. So we asked him how he liked Mayor Eisenberger’s suggestions to change the lanes: “They would need to a better job to make sure people are informed and that things are visible. when there were parking meters on the north side prior to the bus lanes going in, it was a visual marker – they see a meter they know they can park.”Speaking of drivers, a majority were on board with carpooling and sharing the lanes with the buses.“I’m a mother of four, so I wouldn’t mind doing that.”“Sitting in traffic doesn’t get you to work quicker, if you have two or people like in the highway, that makes sense.”While there are different ideas on what to do with the bus-lane, Mayor Eisenberger says the council does share one similar goal.Mayor Eisenberger: “We are united in is a desire to get an understanding of what LRT and BRT means clearly. But this is a forerunner to any of that. So if we can’t achieve this, then it doesn’t bode well for enhanced public transportation in the city at all.”