King Street bus through West­dale un­der re­view

Way be­ing sought to re­duce buses on Ster­ling Street; res­i­dents worry bus will dis­ap­pear

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - TEVIAH MORO

Will West­dale lose its King?

The jury is still out on that ques­tion as city staff re­view the King Street bus route through the heart of the west-end vil­lage.

“It’s very early. They are do­ing con­sul­ta­tions,” city spokesper­son An­drea McKin­ney said Wed­nes­day.

Coun. Ai­dan John­son has asked staff to study ways to re­duce the noise and vi­bra­tions of buses on Ster­ling Street, a res­i­den­tial route the King bus uses to reach McMaster.

“Ideally, I want to com­bine bus routes that max­i­mize rid­er­ship with bus routes that are sen­si­tive to neighbourhood con­cerns,” John­son said.

The King bus — a crosstown work­horse that runs from East­gate Square to the uni­ver­sity — takes King Street West through the heart of the West­dale be­fore hang­ing a right on Ster­ling.

One op­tion, John­son noted, is rerout­ing the No.1 King bus along Main Street.

That would solve the Ster­ling prob­lem but opens up an­other can of worms: skip­ping the West­dale busi­ness area al­to­gether.

That has some busi­nesses in the area on edge.

An on­line pe­ti­tion called “Keep the King in West­dale!” had gar­nered 245 sup­port­ers as of Wed­nes­day evening.

The cam­paign ar­gues skip­ping to Main would “neg­a­tively im­pact pa­trons” of the small com­mer­cial area, stu­dents and se­niors who rely on the fre­quency of the King bus.

John­son, who rep­re­sents Ward 1, says he’s heard from busi­ness op­er­a­tors.

“Many vil­lagers have ex­pressed con­cern about re­duc­tion of buses run­ning through West­dale Vil­lage. I hear them loud and clear.”

He as­sured elim­i­nat­ing West­dale’s bus ser­vice is “to­tally out of the ques­tion.”

“Rather we’re ask­ing the ques­tion, ‘Could we re­duce the num­ber of buses that are go­ing down Ster­ling?’”

Other buses, such as the No. 5 Delaware, also serve the area.

John­son asked staff to re­view the King route af­ter field­ing con­cerns from Ster­ling Street res­i­dents.

One of them is Di­eter Klaus, a long­time res­i­dent who lives with his wife near the cor­ner of Whit­ton Road.

The re­tiree says the prob­lem is dur­ing the school year when, at times, as many as three buses in a row will pass by his house, jock­ey­ing for po­si­tion — some full, oth­ers half-empty.

“They ei­ther have to leapfrog each other or stop,” Klaus said. “It’s crazy.”

At peak times dur­ing the school year, a bus passes ev­ery 90 sec­onds, he noted. He can feel the rum­bling of buses as they drive over a spot of patchy as­phalt out­side his home. “When the buses go over the crack, our whole house shakes ev­ery time.”

Klaus em­pha­sized he’s not against ro­bust pub­lic tran­sit (“I’m quite adamant about that.”) but hopes to find a ra­tio­nal com­pro­mise. Con­tin­u­ing No. 1’s route along King in­stead of veer­ing off at Ster­ling seems a rea­son­able com­pro­mise, he said.

John­son hopes to hear back from staff about op­tions in the fall.

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