Hamilton’s transportation department is alerting drivers that a new transit priority signal and designated bus-only lane in the downtown area is now operating west of city hall.
The changes are at the intersection of Main and MacNab streets and are a part of the city’s recent traffic reconfiguration project approved by city council in July to strengthen the city’s road safety approach.
In a release on Thursday afternoon, a city spokesperson said the new transit signal is a light with a white vertical bar on a black background that allows transit buses to proceed through an intersection before other traffic.
“Only public-transit buses may proceed when the transit priority signal is shown, all other vehicles must stop,” said Emily Trotta from the city manager’s office.
Crews also added “Bus Only” pavement markings in an 85 metre section of Main Street between MacNab Street and City Hall, allowing buses to safely pull over to pick up passengers and re-enter traffic via the priority signal.
Motorists looking to turn right on MacNab will have to make that move from the lane located to the left of the bus-only lane.
Right turns are only permitted once the traffic signal is green.
Pedestrians will also be given priority at the intersection by way of a leading pedestrian interval, allowing walkers to get a head start on cars about to enter an intersection.
Hamilton’s acting director of transportation operations told Global News earlier this week the changes at Main and MacNab are firsts for the city.
Mike Field says reducing lanes, prohibiting right turns on red and more pedestrian countdown signals are just a few other changes that were completed by crews on Main and King Street during four overnight work sessions.
“The transit priority signal allows buses to move and clear out that bustling before any of the other traffic gets to move through the intersection,” said Field.
Additional reconfigurations include pedestrian buffers on the south side of Main, designated left-hand turn lanes at a number of intersections and the opening up of additional on-street parking at the north side, including overnight parking in some locations.
Main will eventually become a two-way street as part of the city’s preparations for the incoming light rail transit line development.
Field says city staff will report to public works on the cost and timing of that initiative in the first part of 2023.
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