Residents of the south mountain will soon have an easier way to access the downtown core and by public transit.

Don Hull presented to the public works committee on Monday morning to continue with the planning and development of the first park-and-ride in the city of Hamilton.

Similar to the way GO Transit riders in the region park their cars at GO stations before commuting by train to Toronto, commuters in the Mount Hope and south mountain area will be able to do the same.

The construction of the park-and-ride at the Mountain Transit Centre will allow commuters to take the ’20 A-Line Express’ bus, or the local ’27 Upper James’ bus to downtown Hamilton. Connections with GO Transit can then be made from the Hamilton GO Centre and the upcoming James North GO Station.

The facility will have 72 parking spots.

The project will also include stormwater management improvements to the area as the site is prone to flooding during major storms. Upper James will also be widened at the site to accommodate a turning lane for buses and commuters accessing the site.

Counselor Collins wondered if perhaps we were “putting the cart before the horse” by building the facility before the ’20 A-Line Express’ bus needs it.

The express bus service currently only runs during peak periods on weekdays, and only every thirty minutes. The ’10 B-Line Express’ by comparison runs all day from early morning until early evening on weekdays with a ten-minute frequency during peak periods.

Director of Transportation Don Hull stated that the public works department was in the process of creating a transportation report to the committee which would include enhancements to the A-Line. These would include more frequent service, usage of 60′ articulated buses on the route as well as direct service to the waterfront.

That report, which will also include the latest LRT update, will be brought to the Public Works Committee either later this year or early in 2013.

If approved by council these enhancements would be put into effect in time for the opening of the Park-and-Ride facility.

The Public Works Committee approved the report and staff will proceed with the development of the facility at the Mountain Transit Centre.

Counselor Tom Jackson spoke out in support of the initiative, noting that the facility positively sets up for a BRT system for the A-Line if LRT doesn’t go through for the north-south express route.

Counselor Whithead brought up as well that Hamilton mountain is currently underserved by transit. 80% of residents who work downtown done live downtown and commute in from elsewhere in the city. Improvements in the frequency of transit from mountain to downtown are needed. There is a need to build on the backbone of mountain transit, including the A-Line.

In other public transit news Don Hull also stated that the service modifications for routes ‘6 Aberdeen,’ ‘7 Locke’ and ‘8 York’ brought forward in a 2010 service report will be implemented in the spring of 2013.

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I am an avid follower of sports in the Hamilton region with a passion for sport. If it's a sport and if it's in Hamilton, I'll bring it to you. I'm also a big follower, advocate and knowledge nut about transit in Hamilton. (@HSRTransit) Ask me anything! Catch daily Hamilton sports recaps and highlights on the Bay Observer here: http://bayobserver.ca/category/sports-updates/

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