King Street bus through Westdale under review
Way being sought to reduce buses on Sterling Street; residents worry bus will disappear
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 change.org 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.