As part of the City of Hamilton’s capital budget program for the next ten years will be major changes to Birch Avenue to accommodate a proposed new bus maintenance and storage facility immediately to the west of Birch Avenue. Upon its opening, the facility will be able to support approximately 200 buses and can be expanded to accommodate an additional 100 buses. At full build-out, there will be approximately 820 staff using the facility, and at peak times will have around 300 employees reporting to the facility. There are also plans to install a bike lane on Birch. Currently Birch Avenue provides a short cut into the city from Burlington Street to Barton, Cannon and Wilson Streets,
The plan is to make Birch Avenue a two-way road and to have city buses accessing the storage facility from Birch. There are problems with this scheme, however. First there are two railroad bridges crossing Birth Avenue that have insufficient clearance, especially if the city were to go to double-decker buses similar to the ones GO Transit is using. The other problem is that Birch Avenue is built on land reclaimed from the old Sherman Inlet and is subject to flooding. To make all this work, it will be necessary to spend almost $40 Million dollars, adjusting the clearance on the railway bridges and installing two pump houses to keep the railway underpasses dry in rainstorms.
A Public Information Session was held in November of 2019 to discuss the plans for Birch Avenue. Exactly two people showed up to look at the 20-odd displays, and provided no comments.