Special Report: Light Rail

Light Rail Transit Infographic

To be a truly great city, we need a 21st century transportation network that drives our economy and promotes prosperity for every person who calls Hamilton home.

By Graeme Douglas
Published October 22, 2014

Download this as an infographic [PDF].


Hamilton is a growing, dynamic ciy. Over the next 30 years, we will add hundreds of thousands of new people to our city.

To get the most from this growth, to be a truly great city, we need a 21st century transit policy. We need a transportation network that drives our economy and promotes prosperity for every person who calls Hamilton home.


So, the question is, What's the best transit solution for all of Hamilton: light rail transit or bus rapid transit?

Light rail transit (LRT):

Bus rapid transit (BRT):

The city has spent five years studying rapid transit. Thousands of citizens from across the city have given their input. Several reports have analyzed the alternatives. It's time to stop talking and start acting, because the facts are in.


LRT:

Hamilton's LRT will serve as a vital artery through the core of the city, a source of energy delivering jobs, economic development and overall prosperity.

LRT increases commercial development and creates new tax sources.


Right now, 75 percent of hamilton's tax revenue is generated from residential property taxes.

Studies show that significant increases in development occur within an 800 metre corridor on each side of LRT systems.

The LRT will help turn surface parking lots into office buildings and condos, which means greater revenue from the core. This development will reduce tax pressure on homeowners and save money for residents across the city.

LRT is much cheaper per rider than BRT.

The train costs less to operate because it has more passengers per driver, and train cars last on average three times longer than buses.

LRT moves more people faster and from across the city.

The Province has committed to 100 percent capital funding.

The fact is the provincial government is building mass transit in cities across Ontario. Some of that tax money comes from Hamilton.

Should we let our transit taxes build trains somewhere else? We have already paid for the LRT with our taxes to the province.

When you compare LRT to BRT, the choice is clear:



Download this as an infographic [PDF].


The facts are in:


Increases commercial development:


100 percent capital funding:


The choice is clear:


Graeme Douglas is a writer and communications specialist in Hamilton.

31 Comments

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By ItJustIs (registered) | Posted October 22, 2014 at 09:13:12

“I am not willing to become a participant in the fashionable discussion surrounding LRT. Until the money is officially presented to the City of Hamilton, we have absolutely no guarantee that it will in fact be handed to us. No matter what anyone in this conversation might want us all to believe. Therefore, I believe that to devote any time to talking about LRT is not only pointless, but irresponsible, because not only does it rob other issues of valuable ‘air-time’, it also does nothing to help improve our abilities as Hamiltonians to talk about substantive issues.”

Mayoral Candidate on Another Timeline Entirely

I’ve come to believe that LRT should never have become an election issue. Even understanding that it’s a topic that energizes many in Hamilton, it remains one that is predicated on hypotheticals.

So we’ve been having these non-discussions about something that in fact, regardless of what motions have been passed by Council over the years, regardless of which research you want to laud, isn’t a sufficiently solid topic.

I’ll confess that my gobsmackedness has increased over the recent weeks because LRT has been more and more a core plank in everyone’s platform.

Nobody can guarantee that transit funds will actually be allocated to communities as have been laid out. It may well be that the billions of dollars ‘promised’ are simply not in the Provincial kitty.

Further, whoever is elected Mayor will possess no real power. He will not be equipped to alter the course of What Happens Next. He won’t have a veto. Nor will he have the ability to make it all happen. And yet so much importance has been placed on 'Where Do You Stand on LRT?’

Attached to this is the sad conversation about who would benefit most from the proposed B-Line project. We have inner-city adherents declaring zealously that our very future is predicated on getting LRT. We have those in peripheral communities sniping about how LRT has nothing to do with them, that they need transit improvements, period. And so not only has the LRT conversation between Mayoral candidates been superfluous to the campaign, it’s become (to whatever degree you’re inclined to perceive) a divisive one amongst Hamiltonians in the main. And for what?

I’m trying to imagine what other issue might be capable of creating such a damaging shit-storm, one that’s based purely on hypotheticals. Can anyone?

I think what bothers me the most isn’t this perversion of the discourse, it’s that our misunderstanding of municipal politics has been amplified. I do not believe that the average resident grasps how things work at 71 Main Street West. For some, this is because of the distrust, the rage they feel towards City Hall. For others, it’s because they’re so wrapped up in their philosophical beliefs, so attached to how they believe things must unfold given the right white knight that they’re unwilling to examine logic that they cannot consider any other view than their own.

Comment edited by ItJustIs on 2014-10-22 09:13:27

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted October 22, 2014 at 11:09:54 in reply to Comment 105513

Why is the text so faint? I can barely read this..

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By Seriously (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2014 at 09:53:51 in reply to Comment 105513

Seriously, now the argument is that we shouldn't expect provincial money because there's no guarantee its going to be delivered? Seriously? Shut up, stupid. Seriously.

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By H1 (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2014 at 10:22:36 in reply to Comment 105519

the Province was going to pay for the Link, but backed out and Hamilton paid for it all

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By H2 (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2014 at 12:53:55 in reply to Comment 105523

The province was going to pay for the new GO station, and did not back out.... pessimist fool.

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted October 22, 2014 at 18:15:43 in reply to Comment 105536

The province did not back out of paying approximately $511 million per year in health-care costs for people in Hamilton poisoned by motor vehicle drivers.

Comment edited by KevinLove on 2014-10-22 18:16:14

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted October 22, 2014 at 09:27:44

I think the LRT vs. BRT argument has become moot. The question now seems to be whether there will be any dedicated rapid transit system in place at all. This Hamilton Spectator article is revealing.

http://www.thespec.com/news-story/492650...

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By mscustodian (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2014 at 09:34:05 in reply to Comment 105514

Self-fulfilling defeatism, yay Hamilton.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted October 22, 2014 at 10:21:31 in reply to Comment 105516

I don't think it's "self fulfilling defeatism" ms. Votes on council are a numbers game. Are the numbers still there? If you read the article I linked to, it's looking grim as far as council votes are concerned. That's the current reality. Can that reality be changed? Will councillors change their stated positions back to full support of LRT once the election silly season is over?

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By H1 (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2014 at 09:48:50

you state a lot of facts that are not facts but are guesses. increases in investment and property values and ridership are guesses not facts. The Province has not committed 100% to LRT, just to some of the initial building costs of a rapid transit system. rapid transit doesn't have to be LRT or BRT, it could be improving the current system to increase speed and ridership for the whole city not just downtown, as all taxpayers in Hamilton will be paying for it.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted October 22, 2014 at 16:54:05 in reply to Comment 105517

rapid transit ... could be improving the current system to increase speed and ridership for the whole city not just downtown, as all taxpayers in Hamilton will be paying for it.

No, it can't. Just because the trip accross town is 'more rapid' does not mean you have rapid transit. Meanwhile, the whole point of LRT is to increase speed and ridership, and eventually to do it across the whole city. And, the official plan for LRT calls for increasing the speed and ridership of transit on the rest of the network in preparation for LRT.

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By H2 (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2014 at 13:00:46 in reply to Comment 105517

Fact is Kathleen Wyne promised 100 per cent funding for Hamilton rapid transit. Rapid transit has always been understood as LRT or BRT. Metrolinx is not confused about this either. Quit trying to sabatoge, damn fool.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted October 22, 2014 at 13:04:47 in reply to Comment 105537

Ya but then she got elected.

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By H2 (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2014 at 16:24:30 in reply to Comment 105541

No one from the province has even hinted at backing out. In fact, they made the same promise even after being elected... you are pessimistic. Poor self-esteem?

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By H1diot (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2014 at 11:25:34 in reply to Comment 105517

You dumb ass. The more attractive a city is the more people move to it, resulting in increases in property values. LRT will make Hamilton a more attractive city, end of story. For pete's sake man!

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted October 22, 2014 at 13:02:37 in reply to Comment 105532

Seriously? 'Dumb ass'? You know we're talking about a little train right? The guy didn't disparage your mother or anything.

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By mscustodian (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2014 at 10:00:24 in reply to Comment 105517

Yay, here come the brad clark trolls to tell us 'rapid transit' means a few more buses.

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By H1 (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2014 at 10:31:09

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted October 22, 2014 at 10:31:48

This whole LRT thing is starting to remind me of that time that Blackberry guy said he was going to bring an NHL team to Hamilton. It would be awesome but it ain't gonna happen.

Comment edited by ergopepsi on 2014-10-22 10:32:22

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By ergoscrewyou (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2014 at 13:05:30 in reply to Comment 105525

It ain't going to happen only if theres a conspiracy against the good people of this city. And there just may be. Unintelligent fat elitist bastards taking over major cities.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted October 22, 2014 at 13:21:09 in reply to Comment 105542

From the posts on this site I'm starting to think only psychopaths want this train. If you guys start asking for a tunnel I am OUTTA HERE!...

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By ergoscrewyou (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2014 at 16:25:10 in reply to Comment 105543

Please go. No one needs you.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted October 22, 2014 at 22:37:43 in reply to Comment 105550

After I go you can sue the mayor to force him to build the LRT.

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By Anon (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2014 at 10:32:45

It's all the same old narrative. Screw the old lower city.

Everyone living outside of the core doesn't want to see anything change. The over concentration of halfway houses, lodging homes and social services in Wards 2 and 3 suits them just fine. They don't want any of that where they live.

Change the streets to two-way to calm traffic? They only want that where they live. Speed through the core of the city because they have chosen to live so far from where they work? That's their normal. Name me one other city anywhere where they pride themselves on how fast you can get THROUGH their core. Name me one other city anywhere that has 400 Series highways exiting into live traffic.

Most people don't want a 21st Century Transportation network since they're wedded to a time where the car is king. You drive everywhere. Get outta my way. Their world starts and ends at their property line.

This isn't how you build a healthy and vibrant city - ghettoizing your core - but the majority of Hamiltonians like it just fine.

And that is just sad.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted October 22, 2014 at 11:14:44 in reply to Comment 105526

Yes. EVERYONE living outside the core is an ass. They all want everything to be bad and evil. All of us living downtown are victims. Please feel sorry for us not-downtown-living-people and give us our LRT. If you don't we'll cry on our bikes all the way home...

Comment edited by ergopepsi on 2014-10-22 11:18:14

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By Joey1 (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2014 at 10:44:43 in reply to Comment 105526

the City is spending 10 million redoing Core Park for the 4th time in thirty years. Tim Hortons' field, First Ontario Place (Copps), Library, Farmers Market..Ya Downtown gets nothing

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By H1 (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2014 at 10:41:09 in reply to Comment 105526

St. Catherine's and Toronto have the QEW running through it

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By Anon (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2014 at 12:35:58 in reply to Comment 105527

Comprehension issues? Name the QEW/406 exits in St. Catharine's that enter into live traffic.

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By realworld (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2014 at 13:23:35 in reply to Comment 105533

all of them

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By Try Again (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2014 at 14:12:13 in reply to Comment 105545

Wrong. They terminate at a controlled intersection of varying type.

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By st Catherine's guy (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2014 at 12:49:44

Your city could easily have the funds. Just get your hamilton cops to start running Burlington street speed traps on rainy days. You will have the money in no time. You can replace the neighborhood paid for bike lanes in no time!

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