Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Anti-Bus Bias?

Transit in the Media: as Hamilton tries to remake itself into a more "balanced" transportation city, the local media can perhaps try unloading the cars-first bias, subtle as it is: why not begin the article with "transit riders, take note: your commute is about to get a bit faster." 
This kind of setting the tone is not without precedent when the topic is cars - but then again, car ads are an important revenue stream, so perhaps the bias is partly self preservation?
Regardless of the motivation, be it conscious or unconscious, the world is presented to readers in a certain light: cars are to be inconvenienced by transit, or cyclists, or pedestrians. It follows that a perceived "war on the car" can be announced at any time and gain traction in the media, despite the obvious fact that cars have been having their way in the city for generations.
In the interest of democratic give-and-take, we all have to learn to share the existing roads. Can we get the media to spin a little without internal combustion engines turning the wheels?

Life in the bus-only lane
Hamilton Spectator

Drivers, take note: your commute downtown is about to get a bit more complicated.

The city’s public works committee approved a pilot project Monday that will see a lane of King Street between John and Bay streets dedicated solely to buses during rush hour.

The one-year pilot, set to launch in April, will ban drivers from the curb lane along King between 7 and 9 a.m., and 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

It also means drivers won’t be able to make right turns during peak traffic hours at several intersections, including at Hughson, James and Locke streets. Delivery vehicles and taxis will also be prohibited from idling in the bus-only lanes at peak hours.

Gerry Davis, head of public works, said the city will let drivers know about the changes well in advance.

“We’re not going to start fining them on the first day of April. There’s going to have to be a transition because people are creatures of habit,” Davis said.

The lane will be marked with a diamond symbol and overhead signs will be installed, letting drivers know about the program.

The pilot program will head to council for ratification on Nov. 16.

Councillors Brian McHattie and Jason Farr, whose wards include the proposed transit-only lanes, said they support the project but are concerned about potential effects on area businesses.

“I’d like to consult with them before council makes the actual decision,” Farr said.

Other cities, including Quebec City, Toronto and Ottawa, have already introduced similar programs.

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