Special Report: Light Rail

Mississauga-Brampton LRT Surges Past Hamilton to Funding Approval

Province announces full capital funding for $1.6 billion, 23-km Hurontario-Main Light Rail Transit line.

By Ryan McGreal
Published April 22, 2015

The folly and self-loathing at the heart of Hamilton's botched light rail transit plan are in sharp relief this week, as the Province announces full capital funding for the $1.6 billion Hurontario-Main LRT line across Mississauga and Brampton.

Rendering of Hurontario-Main LRT
Rendering of Hurontario-Main LRT

The Province even announced that it will cover the total cost by itself if the Federal Government doesn't agree to provide some of the funding.

The Mississauga-Brampton LRT planning process started later than Hamilton, which began planning rapid transit at the beginning of 2008.

However, the Mississauga-Brampton process has accelerated quickly, driven by dedicated council leaders and planning staff who have been working hard to align their respective cities around LRT as the best investment to achieve their strategic growth goals.

Here are some things that civic leaders in Mississauga and Brampton didn't do:

Whereas Hamilton's leaders claim Hamilton isn't ready for LRT because our transit corridor is not already urbanized enough, Mississauga-Brampton recognizes that their LRT plan will achieve the urbanization they want:

The 23-kilometre light rail line will spur intensification along the Hurontario corridor and bring a decidedly urban flavour to the traditional 905-area bedroom communities.

Like Waterloo Region, which is also going ahead with LRT under a strategic growth plan that recognizes the need to intensify its urban corridors and limit sprawl, Peel Region is planning for a future in which more people will live in the urban core and use high-quality transit rather than driving everywhere.

The LRT riders will differ from the downtown Toronto commuters who ride GO, said McCuaig. The LRT, which will run from the Port Credit GO station in Mississauga to downtown Brampton, will offer an alternative to buses and cars for the low- and middle-income workers, who work within Peel Region.

The Province has allocated $16 billion to regional transit projects in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

So far, $13.5 billion has been dedicated to Regional Express Rail (RER) through expansion of GO Transit services, and now $1.6 billion has been dedicated to the Hurontario-Main LRT line.

That leaves less than a billion dollars for all the other identified "next wave" priority projects in the Regional Transportation Plan. Hamilton's capital request, including both the LRT and the ten-year local transit strategy, is $1.2 billion.

According to Transport Minister Steven Del Duca, the Province is still committed to rapid transit in Hamilton - but a funding commitment won't be announced this Thursday when the Province unveils its 2015 budget.

Our commitment to full capital funding for rapid transit in Hamilton is steadfast and unwavering, and in the coming weeks, I look forward to being in a position to share more details about how our plan will help build all of Ontario - including Hamilton - up.

I guess we'll have to see what that means, but one thing seems clear: the shovels won't be going into the ground any time soon.

Eight years after the Ontario Liberals promised "two light rail lines across Hamilton" as part of their 2007 re-election campaign, the deadly combination of mixed signals and politicking from the Province and a staggering lack of strategic vision from the City have sabotaged what should have been an exciting, transformative investment in Hamilton's future.

It wasn't so long ago that we were seriously talking about having LRT ready in time for the 2015 Pan Am Games. Now we won't even have regular all-day GO Train service by then.

Indeed, Hamilton won't be getting the all-day GO train service we were promised until 2025. So it turns out we didn't have to choose between LRT and all-day GO after all: for the forseeable future, we're not getting either.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By hammer mann (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 09:26:40

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By Cultosaurus (registered) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 15:54:48 in reply to Comment 110953

Is this sarcasm? Or sheer stupidity? Hard to tell...

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By redmike (registered) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 10:37:46 in reply to Comment 110953

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By asingh (registered) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 10:10:05 in reply to Comment 110953

The funding for transit projects including LRT is from the Provincial government through sale of assets and other revenue tools. Even if Hamilton does not get the benefits of transit especially LRT, which has high Return On Investment (ROI) in terms of future growth and development stimulated by the line, we will still pay for LRT in other municipalities. This will mean that other Cities will benefit from LRT, while we remain mired in small-mindedness, division and distrust. Growth requires leadership and Hamilton City Council has demonstrated very little when it comes to LRT.

Comment edited by asingh on 2015-04-22 10:55:34

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 09:44:10 in reply to Comment 110953

Hamilton is a suburban city ... unlike Mississauga or Brampton, for example? I assume you're being ironic (but one never knows).

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By MannUp (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 09:44:09

The joke is on you mann - We don't have the money for pot holes either - we just paid for Mississauga's new LRT so any money for your potholes will be going to their streets. Time to face the facts - We ALL lose with this. Your taxes are going somewhere else. If you define that as success, you have some inferiority issues that I can't, nor have time, to help you with.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted April 22, 2015 at 09:59:28

Well, the fed budget just included a small fund for transit upgrades... perhaps we should ask them?

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By asingh (registered) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 10:23:21

Ryan, great article contrasting the attitude prevalent within Hamilton City Hall and the sharp contrast with progressive, visionary and rational approach taken by other municipalities including Brampton, Mississauga and Kitchener-Waterloo. The divisiveness on City Council is troubling and a common vision is difficult to develop in this climate. Councillors need to understand that while they were elected from their Ward, they have a fiduciary duty to put the interests of the municipality first.

Comment edited by asingh on 2015-04-22 10:53:39

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By angry (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 10:31:31

Our Hamilton councillors are a bunch of a-holes, SOBs, and for what they have done to our city in regards to LRT, I hope that they experience a slow and painful demise, much like our city because of what they have done.

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By Kevkill (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 10:35:50 in reply to Comment 110959

Won't happen until people actually vote. We have the council we deserve.

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By ItJustIs (registered) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 20:35:37 in reply to Comment 110960

You're assuming that getting more voters out will change things. Not sure I understand why you'd think this.

For starters, incumbents are returned more than 90% of the time. And then there's the reality that no matter who you vote in, no matter how confident you are in their abilities...beyond the fact that they're only one Councillor amongst fifteen...you cannot passively control how they vote or how they behave.

In the words of your resident pundit:

"I'm inclined to think elections are overrated. If you vote for a candidate once every four years but don't get involved in the meantime, it doesn't really matter much who you vote for. Once politicians get inside the Bubble, it's impossible to keep any kind of perspective without ongoing, substantive interaction with 'regular voters' for grounding.

As for what makes a good politician, I think it comes down more to temperament and broad intellectual framework than to a specific set of political beliefs.

A smart, patient, well-educated, open-minded, intellectually humble councillor will generally follow a sensible process of getting informed and land on a sensible policy that does a good job of leveraging the facts of an issue and bridging the hopes, fears and contradictions of the electorate and the various interest parties.

Here are some of the pitfalls that render councillors incompetent:

  • Ambition - voting to maximize upward political mobility
  • Megalomania - voting from an over-inflated sense of self
  • Anger - voting to punish enemies
  • Fear - voting to avoid risks
  • Partisanship - voting along party lines
  • Dogmatism - voting along ideological lines
  • Laziness - phoning in votes instead of engaging the issues
  • Stubbornness - refusing to cooperate with others or compromise

Left isolated from the outside world, just about anyone will fall prey to one or more of these pitfalls, which is why it's so important for citizens to: a) elect councillors who will allow themselves to be engaged, and b) keep up their end of that engagement between elections."

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By shotourselvesinthefoot (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 11:05:15

Hamilton will be competing with Mississauga-Brampton and Kitchener-Waterloo to attract growing businesses and workers. Those cities I'm sure are deeply grateful to us for trashing our LRT plan so the choice becomes alot easier for those businesses and workers.

All you suburban residents in Hamilton complaining about how your property taxes keep going up, I don't want to hear another word out of you.

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By bvbborussia (registered) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 14:30:27 in reply to Comment 110962

At this point we're barely competing. The only thing driving growth here is that fact we're cheap relative to other 905 suburbs. Apart from that I see very little in forward thinking as it regards infrastructure, transit and the economy.

Burlington, Oakville and Mississauga are full of shiny office towers for companies that Hamilton has no success attracting here. Look for K-W to eclipse us in this regard as well.

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By asingh (registered) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 11:13:30 in reply to Comment 110962

That's something that is often missed in discussions on LRT. In order for Hamilton to attract working professionals and newcomers, both of which are important given the aging population, the City has to develop infrastructure to support this growth. Other municipalities seem to get this but in Hamilton we seem to have difficulty of thinking and planning for the future in a consistent way.

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By Pandermonium (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 11:07:36

this is nothing but pandering for votes. it would have went to mississauga regardless of if we did our due diligence or not.
the ontario liberals are too concerned with the next election to care about what really needs to get done.
hence the sale of hydro rather than the mature and responsible way of funding public transit; levies on personal vehicles and carbon creators.

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 12:49:26 in reply to Comment 110963

You do realize that the taxes you advocate were put forth as part of the previous minority Liberal government's Revenue Tools. All of which were vetoed by the MPP for Hamilton Centre, Andrea Horwath.

Hamilton not only shot itself in the foot, but all of Ontario. Thanks Andrea! I live in your riding and vote in every election.

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By Keith (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 21:47:42 in reply to Comment 110969

The provincial government never included the revenue tools as part of their (pre-election) budget. While Metrolinx recommended one set, and the Golden Commission another set, there was never any movement made to actually utilize any.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted April 22, 2015 at 13:19:54 in reply to Comment 110969

To be fair, Horwath had no actual power over the decision. It was the McGuinty government's call to cave on this and find other sources for the needed revenue.

Obviously I'm disappointed in Horwath since raising taxes to fund transit is exactly what her party is supposed to stand for.... but it ultimately wasn't her call so she can't really bear the blame.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2015-04-22 13:20:14

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 14:47:58 in reply to Comment 110970

Actually, it was. It was a minority government that required NDP support to survive. The government put these Revenue Tools on the table and Andrea Horwath vetoed them all.

Again, the government needed NDP support. Indeed, the election only happened when the NDP withdrew its support.

If she had instead pushed for them, they would be in place today.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 19:08:19 in reply to Comment 110976

Andrea Horvath has done nothing for Hamilton, period.

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By Haveacow (registered) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 12:03:23

IMHO, Hamilton must do several things first before another LRT attempt.

  1. By some means you have to start a process which leads to some kind of fair and stable area wide transit funding that is similar in your suburban and urban areas. Rural areas will have to decide how much funding/service they really want to pay for.

  2. Establish an area express bus system, please don't call it BRT, its not. Bus only lanes are a must for an Express Bus system! They are used in most cities in North America, they have never harmed business and by concentrating riders they provide more foot traffic for street front businesses, cars never do! Cars have been shown in most environments to reduce foot traffic and to actually harm street front businesses. Where ever you have large busy on street express bus stops/stations you have busy stores.

  3. Use transit as a way to tie development and density in key urban and suburban areas.

  4. Alter your BLAST network to include more frequent connections to GO Stations.

  5. Link bicycle commuting and transit at many levels. The first or last km of the transit trip. Have neighborhood or area bike travel corridors linked to area traffic generators and HSR bus layover stations. Establish a real city wide segregated bike lanes that link major transit and traffic nodes.

  6. During the entire process develop a list of passenger assisting technologies and ideas that can be easily and cheaply implemented. Paper and digital maps that are actually pocket size, (Ex. TTC'S Ride Guide). Frequency mapping of transit routes, being able to tell how frequent service is just by the size or color of bus route on the map. Paper and digital schedule information everywhere not just on transit properties and major transit points like malls. Buses actually painted different colors for different types of routes (many examples of this world wide). Encouraging local business links so you can combine all or the majority of bus stops with food and other service amenities as much as possible. Have the public encouraged to input new ideas and actually implement them.

  7. Use local historic organizations and local transit geeks to provide materials that establish a real history and community involvement in transit. Provide a corporate and community history project involving transit and a physical places or marketing tools to show off the results using available public markets and festivals. All of this is designed to raise the awareness of the HSR in the community and the awareness of the community to the HSR.

One more thing, make sure the next LRT attempt has a starter line which not only serves local passenger attractors but neighborhood ones and GO stations as well. One problem of the BLAST NETWORK maps is that they don't show area and important local locations that each line serves. This is implied but never is made clear on maps that the public have seen. This means the starter line might be more than one line at a time but key portions of two or three with an affordable capital cost. Be prepared to pay your 1/3 share of LRT capital costs from the beginning. Save no less than 50% of your yearly gas tax funding into a future rapid transit account this will added with other priority funding plans, build up a 1/3 funding slice rather quickly. Even the attempt at this shows senior levels you are really serious about this. Lastly this has to made clear to everyone that this next starter line no matter where it is, is the beginning of a network not a single one off line. Your area will be serviced it might not happen in phase 1 but it will happen, it sounds stupid but its crucially important that everyone understands this.

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By BLAST (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 13:22:19 in reply to Comment 110965

The BLAST network was only ever a conceptual plan and it was not well thought out. Only the A and B lines have had the proper analysis and justification for implementation. This was a case of staff starting with an acronym and filling in the routes to justify the other letters.

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By JasonAAllen (registered) - website | Posted April 22, 2015 at 12:36:59

It's funny to think that with his waffling, and mismanagement - between LRT and the Stadium, that Bratina arguably did more tangible damage (beyond reputational) to Hamilton in his term than Ford did to Toronto. A sad comment indeed.

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By JayRobb (registered) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 13:30:35

Here's what the civic leaders in Mississauga and Brampton did - they linked their LRT line to GO. They made the Province's priority their priority.

And here's what citizens in Mississauga and Brampton did - they elected the party in power to serve as their local MPPs.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 13:00:58 in reply to Comment 110972

Poor Ted McMeekin. No one seems to be aware of his existence.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted April 24, 2015 at 10:43:13 in reply to Comment 111032

Not even his caucus colleagues. He is in cabinet, yes?

twitter.com/LauraBabcock/status/591611521177911296

Clearly it's Hamilton alone that needs to make up its mind.

Spoiler: It's a meeting.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted April 24, 2015 at 10:11:58 in reply to Comment 111032

... just as he feigns ignorance of Rapid Ready.

At least it's clear where his political loyalties lie.

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By Canard (anonymous) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 09:31:36 in reply to Comment 110972

McGuinty Liberals promise to build two rapid transit lines in Hamilton: Aug 2007
McGuinty Liberals commit $3M funding to James North GO train platform: Mar 26 2008
Metrolinx Board directs staff to complete BCAs for all unfunded Big Move Top 15 projects: Late 2008
Metrolinx completes Benefit Case Analysis for King-Main LRT issued: Feb 2010
Kathleen Wynne becomes Premier: Jan 26, 2013
Rapid Ready report received by Council, submitted to Metrolinx: Feb 25, 2013
Wynne Liberals commit $44M funding to James North GO station: Feb 28, 2014
Wynne Liberals win majority government: June 12, 2014
Premier Wynne asks that Hamilton LRT connect directly with James North GO station: Jan 27, 2015

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By Rimshot (anonymous) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 09:04:34 in reply to Comment 110972

And here's what the party in power did in in 2010-2011: They didn't build something, at a cost of $1.1 billion, in order to save a handful of seats.

ontariondp.ca/gas_plants_report_shows_liberal_cover_up_of_a_liberal_cover_up

In light of the precedent, spending $1.6 billion to actually build something is doubtless easier.

And here's what the PR flac for an institution that is affixed to the teat of provincial funding did: obfuscate.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted April 24, 2015 at 17:07:14 in reply to Comment 111012

This is kind of a weird way to put it. Its not like the liberals can actually make this comparison. At the end of the day building in Mississauga, where there is a lot of political will and a well-defined, agreed-upon plan, is much lower risk than committing to hamilton, where councillors can't even agree on whether $1B in transit funding would be good for the city. A recent scandal makes it more imperative to get this right, plus it would look really bad for their Big Move plan if one of the flagship first-round projects failed because of bad politics within the city.

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By Keith (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 21:59:19 in reply to Comment 110972

It's a five minute walk between the B-Line LRT and the Hunter Street terminal- shorter than/comparable to the distance to connect to Port Credit GO and Cooksville GO stations along the Mississauga/Brampton line. If you had a chance to review the GO Regional Express Rail plan, you'll note this is where the majority of new GO Rail service will be coming as part of the 10 year expansion strategy. The James Street North project will really only offer limited express service for the mid-term and will be less accessible to the majority of residents- especially those on the Mountain.

About half of the B-Line corridor interlines to GO Bus routes 16- Hamilton Express (leaves every 15-30 minutes), 18- Aldershot (connects to the train at Aldershot) and 47- 407 West (connects to Oakville, Burlington, Mississauga, Brampton and Toronto).

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By Steve (registered) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 14:22:19 in reply to Comment 110972

And Brampton & Mississauga elected Mayors, one a former Cabinet Minister, from the governing party too.

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By Governing Pardy (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 15:09:34 in reply to Comment 110974

And our last mayor was a prominent Liberal who is running for Hamilton East-Stoney Creek under the Liberal banner in the upcoming federal election. He was the single biggest obstacle to LRT in Hamilton.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 19:15:29 in reply to Comment 110979

Though, unlike the Mayors of Brampton and Mississauga he never held office for the Liberal party and may not after the Federal election. The mayor of Brampton, Linda Jeffrey, was a Cabinet Minister in both the Wynne and McQuinty governments. That buys you a lot.

Council was, and is, the single biggest obstacle to the LRT in Hamilton and they are still where we left them. In office.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 20:25:15 in reply to Comment 110986

A little thought experiment. You're gonna spend a billion dollars on a capital expenditure. To which of the following would you send this kind of money with greater confidence:

  1. Somewhere whiny and indecisive, without vision or direction, a history of watering down projects and underperforming on them, while wasting large amounts of capitol on fruitless foolishness, such as lawsuits for having to do an environmental assessment before paving a watershed, lawsuits against a crown corporation that will certainly fail, that uses technicalities to spend improvement capitol on filling potholes it can't afford to fill, only to go broke in the end anyway, while being obtuse and not open to progress, having an explicit policy of supporting and blessing sprawl.

  2. Somewhere with a clear vision of how it wants to develop, articulated well and with commitments and steps taken to make it happen, with clear intensification goals and milestones, well connected to the rest of the region, with employers and higher density developers attracted to the location, committed to repairing mistakes of the past, and showing evidence of same.

I know which of the two I would invest in with greater confidence of getting a bigger picture return on investment. Hamilton deserves higher order transit and all day GO. However I see it stuck in an identity crisis the likes of which one has to look to Detroit to find a comparison. Not to be negative - everything is fixable - this too.

As for 10 years until all day GO? Glad I didn't wait up.

Comment edited by mikeonthemountain on 2015-04-22 20:26:48

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted April 24, 2015 at 17:11:04 in reply to Comment 110988

Yep. As much as I think that Hamilton needs this investment more, the Hurontario Line looks like a much better way to spend the money, especially for a government that needs its big post-election transit spending projects to work out well in order to prove they know how to get value for money.

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By Governing Pardy (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 15:12:57 in reply to Comment 110979

And the Liberal candidates who ran in Hamilton in the last provincial election were opposed to any rapid transit and wanted to build express buses instead. Hamilton is a joke to the Liberals, mainly because Hamilton's a joke to it's own leaders.

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 18:23:58 in reply to Comment 110980

This is a false statement. The Liberal candidate in my riding of Hamilton Centre was consistently pro-LRT.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 13:04:36 in reply to Comment 110984

He's referring to the Hamilton Mountain and Stoney Creek candidates who wrote the anti-LRT piece in the spec and tried to pretend that express buses are BRT.

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By Mimi (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 13:38:36

Yes the LRT costs ALMOST double than the B-Line in Hamilton but it is estimated that it will carry MORE THAN FOUR TIMES as many passengers!

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 15:00:58

Hamilton city council should be embarrassed by this.

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By misterque (registered) - website | Posted April 23, 2015 at 02:45:02 in reply to Comment 110977

Psychopaths generally don't suffer from embarassment. Likely this is a success for them on some level we don't know about.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 13:07:00 in reply to Comment 110999

Yes. They won't have to field 10's of angry anti-LRT phone calls now.

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By bvbborussia (registered) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 15:08:38

A round of sarcastic applause to Hamilton City Council on this. I hope they're pleased with themselves. Yet another victory for caveman politics in this city, with all apologies to cavemen.

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By Bradley (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 20:04:28

I'd hate myself right now if I were Chad, Judy, Lloyd, or any other of those stooges. They should be publicly shamed for screwing Hamilton this way.

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By misterque (registered) - website | Posted April 23, 2015 at 02:54:22 in reply to Comment 110987

That would assume that this is not what they were actively working for, and that these kind of people give a fuck about anyone or anything at all.

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By Littlechicgaoboy (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2015 at 20:52:50

This council is an embarrASSment. Anyone that doubts it should take a drive on Tremaine Rd. in Milton and see the Velodrome that we lost. When the province offers to pay all the capital costs of a much-needed infrastructure project, you ACCEPT THE MONEY MORONS. I live on the mountain so I know that there is a wide spread dismissal towards the downtown. This city is deeply divided. I feel sick to my stomach.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 00:09:15

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted April 24, 2015 at 17:13:32 in reply to Comment 110995

This isn't rocket science.

Apparently that doesn't make it easier for you to not screw up the basic math of it.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 09:28:35 in reply to Comment 110995

Your population density figures are irrelevant for deciding whether urban Hamilton has enough population to warrant rapid transit. They have been debunked over and over again. Please have the decency to at least address those arguments: i.e. that what matters is the density of the urban areas and the densities along the corridor, not the density of a farmer's field in Flamborough! The urban area of Hamilton is on 228 km^2 the 84% of Hamilton that is rural doesn't matter when considering urban issues that depend on urban population density!

For example,

http://raisethehammer.org/article/1541/ http://www.raisethehammer.org/comment/96... https://raisethehammer.org/comment/11059...

and many others

When you keep bring up deliberately misleading data and ignoring the obvious criticisms, that is trolling!

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2015-04-23 09:31:29

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 19:17:28 in reply to Comment 111013

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By hamiltonneedsashrink (anonymous) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 08:32:41 in reply to Comment 110995

Here's some of that Hamiltonian self-loathing I've been reading about...

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 19:17:38 in reply to Comment 111010

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 08:25:48 in reply to Comment 110995

The largest infusion of transportation capital in provincial history is underway, to modernize the region, and all you guys want is a couple of buses and an overpriced garage to put them in? With the rest of your share you'll pave a few lanes, only to smash your cars up on potholes after a couple of winters anyway. This is about as wise as spending money you've saved for a house ... on cigarettes. At least your garbage incinerator will be cutting edge lmao. Absolutely no rocket science to be found in the Hammer, you got that right.

Comment edited by mikeonthemountain on 2015-04-23 08:26:44

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted April 23, 2015 at 08:18:07 in reply to Comment 110995

You are dividing Hamilton's population by its total area, including the very large rural area outside the urban boundary.

I downloaded the most current Urban Boundaries shapefile from the City's open data page, loaded it into QGIS and calculated the area.

Hamilton urban boundary in QGIS

QGIS says the total urban area is 250 km2, but that includes the area of Hamilton Harbour, which is not developable land.

According to the City of Hamilton website:

Hamilton is a highly urbanized region. In 2006, more than nine out of 10 Hamilton residents (92.7%) lived in urban areas, which is significantly higher than Ontario overall (85.1%).

The percentage living within the urban boundary is likely to be even higher now, since the urban population has been increasing while the rural population has been stagnant or falling. For example, Ward 14, which is entirely rural, saw its population go from 17,651 in 2006 to 17,634 in 2011.

So Hamilton's population density within the urban boundary is actually around 2,100 people per square kilometre, which is similar to Mississauga and Brampton.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted April 26, 2015 at 09:05:14 in reply to Comment 111008

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted April 27, 2015 at 07:26:52 in reply to Comment 111096

I don't get it.

You definitely don't get it.

I don't know how much clearer it can be explained than it already has been. Some people are happy living in higher density, closer to amenities, with a smaller footprint. Those people tend to congregate in or near downtowns.

Others tend to want a bit more space, white picket fence, parking for two or more cars, et cetera. Those people trend toward suburbs. Urban levels of service, by the very nature of lower density, are less achievable. It's the whole point of the suburb.

Others still, tend to want a lot more space, bonfires, fields to plant, et cetera. Those people trend toward exurbs and rural. Suburban and urban levels of service, by the very nature of countryside, are less achievable. It's the whole point of the exurb/countryside.

Each is a different built form, each has different cost inputs and footprints, and each, well done, can thrive. By building the higher density efficiently, the tax base increases, the whole city has a stronger "spinal chord", and suburbs get to have their potholes filled too.

What it takes is a little bit of consensus, a little bit of view of the whole, and a little more embracing of diversity instead of dichotomous, all-or-none thinking.

The Burger Shack in Flamborough cannot sustain an LRT, or a GO station, will be a little bit farther from a fire station and police station, which is the point. That does not mean denser neighborhoods should not have it. I don't know how to ELI5 it any better.

Comment edited by mikeonthemountain on 2015-04-27 07:58:48

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted April 28, 2015 at 19:46:49 in reply to Comment 111104

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted April 29, 2015 at 02:32:59 in reply to Comment 111153

This is hilarious. Are they building higher order transit on those farms? Or are they building it in developed areas? Since density is not uniform, applying services only based on the total average density is not going to work. Sorry but you're really failing basic reasoning on this one.

Let's zoom out, perhaps it will better illustrate how ridiculous your argument is. Given the extremely large land area of Ontario, why do we need 6 lane highways and GO Trains in the golden horseshoe at all? The average population density of the entire province of Ontario is so low! Based on those numbers, Toronto should be just fine with single lane country highways, right? Oh that's right, density is not distributed evenly, so more things get built where more people are. Well how about that.

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By Deamalgemate (anonymous) | Posted April 27, 2015 at 10:36:13 in reply to Comment 111104

You just explained perfectly why large mixed geographic areas that include urban, suburban and rural are ungovernable. There is no common ground on a myriad of issues and all side resent each other. There is precious little benefit to anyone in the city of Hamilton to be one giant city.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted April 27, 2015 at 10:53:40 in reply to Comment 111109

There is no common ground on a myriad of issues and all side resent each other.

I don't think that's true. I think a few loudmouths resent each other, in my humble opinion. The media is often complicit in fomenting controversy rather than building consensus.

That said, you are absolutely correct that a certain level of local autonomy is imperative for each neighborhood to thrive according to its constituent's wishes.

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By higgicd (registered) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 06:50:35 in reply to Comment 110995

You know how dividing things by larger numbers works, right? An analysis we've got forthcoming has the B Line as one of the highest-density potential transit corridors in the region.

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By higgicd (registered) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 10:33:51 in reply to Comment 111004

Here, let's put this to bed:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/8091...

Keep in mind our employment data under-reports McMaster.

And I don't know how to embed an image into the post, will edit if someone can instruct.

Comment edited by higgicd on 2015-04-23 10:35:56

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted April 23, 2015 at 11:12:37 in reply to Comment 111017

You can embed an image using the following syntax:

![Alt text](image URL "Title text")

So that's an exclamation mark, an open square bracket, the alt text, a close square bracket, an open parenthesis, the image url, a space, a double quote, the title text, a double quote, and a close parenthesis.

For example, the following code:

![Population and employment per hectare along the B-Line LRT route](https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/80913404/HamLRTPopEmployment.png "Population and employment per hectare along the B-Line LRT route")

Will produce this:

Population and employment per hectare along the B-Line LRT route

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2015-04-23 11:14:11

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 18:02:03 in reply to Comment 111025

I am not seeing the title text appearing. The same thing has happened to me when posting images.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 11:24:19 in reply to Comment 111025

And, as I just pointed out, McMaster actually has around 200 population and employment per Hectare as well (once you count students and staff). I'm not sure if the 7400 employment includes all hospital staff ... I doubt it does. The actual density is probably close to 250 at the McMaster campus.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 10:39:36 in reply to Comment 111017

Thanks, Chris.

For LRT it is relevant to include students as well as staff at McMaster and the hospital. There are around 30,000 students (undergrad, grad) at McMaster. Are they included as "employment"?

The total McMaster campus is 196 ha, and there are about 30,000 students, 7400 staff. That should make for about 190/ha, much higher than the figure you quote.

http://www.mcmaster.ca/avpira/statistics...

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2015-04-23 10:47:05

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By higgicd (registered) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 10:46:13 in reply to Comment 111019

This is population (from 2011 Census) and employment (from InfoCanada, where uni employment is strangely understated) within 800m of each stop, so the density context in which each station is located. Considering the Province wants us to achieve a target of 200 people + jobs / hectare in the downtown, I'd say we're doing pretty good.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 10:48:17 in reply to Comment 111021

As I just added to my previous comment, McMaster has a density of very close to 200 jobs/hectare as well. That is pretty good: the two main nodes for LRT both have a total of 200 people + jobs/hectare!

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By higgicd (registered) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 10:48:16 in reply to Comment 111021

Oh, and to answer your question, no students. Flawed data but the best there is for this type of work.

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By I guess.. (anonymous) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 01:23:19 in reply to Comment 110995

I guess that means you're happy to be paying for Peel's progress while we languish?

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 19:18:51 in reply to Comment 110997

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[ - ]

By misterque (registered) - website | Posted April 23, 2015 at 02:53:20

I am presently in Vancouver. I was reading about the Bramptom Mississauga announcement while riding the LRT in from the airport. Hamilton where the losers think they're right and the winners have left.

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By misterque (registered) - website | Posted April 23, 2015 at 03:06:11

Why do people keep saying that Hamilton's LRT does not connect to GO? The A-LINE passes both GO stations in Hamilton. The B-LINE would feed the A-LINE. The promise was for two LRT lines. The system included GO. It is this kind of basic fucking ignorance of the project that is lethal. Advocates have been too nice and patient with people that still DO NOT EVEN get it. I understand that it feel's hopeless when 900CHML plays weekly softball with the mayor of fabrication.

I would like to thank all those patient people that Quixotically flailed articulate facts against a corrupt city ruled by ignorance.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted April 26, 2015 at 09:07:17 in reply to Comment 111002

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By Eggem (anonymous) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 05:47:54 in reply to Comment 111002

Like I said before, egg this shameless councillors. Bastards should not be allowed to get away with this.

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By Haveacow (registered) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 08:55:50

According to several reports the A Line was to be built after the B Line had been in operation for about 10-15 years. The LRT must directly attach to GO Transit stations, no 5 minute walks to the B Line allowed. The province wants direct connections to its GO Stations. Yes, the province was to fund the A and B line but not at the same time, that was never going to happen. Simply because there are far too many competing systems asking for funding in too many areas of the province.

We also have to think about the push many cities are going to force on the province to fund phase 2 lines as well. For example, phase 2 of the Eglinton Ave LRT or many other possible Toronto lines. Phase 2 of Ottawa's LRT system, phase 2 of Waterloo's system all have impressive numbers in the amount of people they are going to carry and will be direct competitors against any funding in Hamilton. Hell, even London Ontario is now considering some sort of VIVA like BRT system that's a lot of rapid transit lines to line up for funding.

The City is really going to have to bring in its "A Game" when convincing senior levels of government in the next round of transit funding as well as being prepared to pay a 1/3 share to show its really serious.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 09:36:38 in reply to Comment 111011

The Province supported Hamilton's LRT process all along and never raised concerns about lack of connection to GO until early this year!

The B-line will be a very short walk from the main Hunter Street station: the actual distance is more or less the same as the distance between the Union Bus station and the TTC subway. This is not unreasonable and should definitely count as "connected".

The A-line would connect both stations.

Maybe the Province was never serious in its repeated promises to "build two LRT lines in Hamilton" since 2007, but that's not Hamilton's fault. What precisely does a 2007 promise to build two LRT mean if there are no actual plans to do it in the foreseeable future (i.e. the next 10-15 years)? That's no promise at all.

The City made every mistake in the book on this project, but the Province aided and abetted them. The complaint about connection to GO should have been raised seriously in the 2010 BCA if it was really a deal-breaker for the Province!

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2015-04-23 09:52:18

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By misterque (registered) - website | Posted April 23, 2015 at 12:38:40 in reply to Comment 111015

do not think any of these actions were mistakes. They were an intentional systematic destruction of crucial infrastructure for political reasons. Duplicitous intentional repetition the of FUD is only a misstep if there is an effort to correct it. When the misstep becomes a stomp and then a kick it is not an accident.

I think someone traded our LRT for a stadium, and it happened years ago.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 12:49:28 in reply to Comment 111030

Indeed. I should have written "mistake".

It is abundantly clear that Hamilton's LRT effort was deliberately sabotaged, in the ways that Ryan outlined in the article. It is less clear why, since wrecking our bid for $1 billion in competitive infrastructure funding is so obviously destructive to Hamilton's interests (and against multiple explicit council votes directing staff to pursue B-line LRT as the top priority).

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted April 23, 2015 at 13:33:08 in reply to Comment 111031

It's extremely instructive that:

  • Council directed staff to identify $45 million in locally-funded transit service improvements over ten years;

  • Staff came back with an out-of-the-blue proposal for $300 million in provincially-funded transit service improvements instead of what they were asked to do; and

  • Council embraced this new staff-generated plan rather than pushing back that staff didn't do what they were directed to do.

The new transit strategy has had zero public consultation and was apparently whipped together so last-minute that City Manager Chris Murray claims not to have known about it as of the end of January, when he and Mayor Fred Eisenberger met with Premier Kathleen Wynne to talk about Hamilton's LRT plan.

This whole thing stinks. This Council and senior management team should be remembered as the municipal government that sabotaged Hamilton's once-in-a-generation opportunity for transformational change.

At least in 1981, the Council of the time could plausibly claim that the ALRT system on offer was new and untested when they were turning down Provincial funding for rapid transit. (Vancouver ended up adopting it as their Skytrain, and it seems to have worked out pretty well for them.)

The current Council has no such excuse, and their mealy-mouthed insistence that the Ten Year Strategy is somehow a vote in support of LRT is so transparent it doesn't merit a response.

We were ready for LRT in 2007, when the Province first promised "two light rail lines across Hamilton". Our LRT plan noted that Hamilton's LRT ridership would be in the middle of North America on opening day and among the top performing systems by 2031. The Metrolinx Benefits Case Analysis independently verified this assessment.

Now we're being told we aren't ready for LRT after all and won't be ready until we have ten-minute bus headways to Waterdown, based on nothing more than the unsupported claim of our City Manager and our new Transit Director, who unilaterally rewrote the city's transit strategy without any Council direction.

This is an utterly appalling state of affairs, and it dates back to Murray's unilateral decision in July 2011 to suspend the Rapid Transit office and shift the City's focus to lobbying the Province for all-day GO train service. The rapid transit project manager left right after that, and the project has never recovered the lost momentum.

Well, guess what: we aren't getting all-day GO train service either. The new GO Train station on James North will carry just 4 trains a day when it opens in 2016, and it will be a decade before we have the service level that former Premier Dalton McGuinty promised we'd have in time for the Pan Am Games.

Hamilton really does have an auto-immune disorder.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted April 24, 2015 at 17:18:45 in reply to Comment 111035

Well, guess what: we aren't getting all-day GO train service either.

So much for Bratina's legacy.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 14:20:35 in reply to Comment 111035

In the grand scheme of things I'm not sure if all day GO service is really that good for Hamilton. Four trains a day to me is fine as it would get the Toronto commuters there and back. All day service implies that Hamiltonians need an umbilical link to Toronto when what we should be promoting are local business and employment opportunities that would preclude the need for such service. Also, the growth of telecommuting will be putting downward pressure on the need for people to move themselves great distances on a day to day basis.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted April 23, 2015 at 14:30:25 in reply to Comment 111039

All-day two-way service allows Hamilton to be a destination as well as an origin for commuters. Hamiltonians are in the habit of thinking and planning like a suburban bedroom community, but the downtown core is the city's largest employment centre with 25,000 jobs and growing.

Our transportation investments should support and reinforce this pattern, since the myriad economic net benefits of a diverse, high-density, urban mixed-use employment centre are well-documented: lower per-capita infrastructure costs, higher per-capita innovation rates, faster employment growth, higher incomes, and so on.

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By bvbborussia (registered) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 17:55:07 in reply to Comment 111041

Thank you! Excellent response. Hamilton should be making itself a destination for jobs and a regional transit hub.

Why spend all that money to build a new station and then woefully under utilize it?

Comment edited by bvbborussia on 2015-04-23 17:57:13

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted April 24, 2015 at 11:27:11 in reply to Comment 111044

Well that's exactly it. As of 2015 Hamilton is NOT a destination that can justify having all day GO service. If we are going to advocate for transit I think it is prudent to do it pragmatically. Don't put the cart before the horse. The station will be there and so as demand rises - and by the looks of it, it will - increase the service.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted April 24, 2015 at 17:20:21 in reply to Comment 111060

Why is it not this? There are a large number of jobs downtown, I don't see why people wouldn't travel into the core by transit like they already do.

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By King Main (anonymous) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 10:39:33 in reply to Comment 111015

I think we all knew (including bratina) that the plan would fail once Staff decided on King Street as the central route.
Too meandering, expensive, and at times narrow.

It should have been planned for Main Street.

At least we have 10-15 years to redesign it properly.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 15:29:03 in reply to Comment 111018

I agree, Main Street should have been the chosen route.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 10:42:20 in reply to Comment 111018

King St was chosen partly because of its higher density and better pedestrian experience, but mostly to avoid "impacting" traffic flow on Main.

However, the 2010 BCA had no problems at all with the King choice. But they did recommend Main be converted to two way. Staff, in a misguided attempt to pre-emptively head off controversy from motorists, decided to not act on that recommendation.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2015-04-23 10:43:04

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 10:01:11 in reply to Comment 111015

For that matter, the Province has also broken its promise to Hamilton of all day GO service by 2015. We're getting neither GO nor LRT and using lack of connection to minimal GO service as an excuse to cancel an LRT project promised and under study since 2007 is the height of machiavellian arrogance!

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[ - ]

By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 13:50:19

Reading the Spec today it seems that the mayor is still hopeful. He doesn't appear to be of the opinion that all is lost with regards to LRT funding. Perhaps behind the scenes city council is coming to realize that when someone offers you a billion dollars you TAKE the billion dollars...

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By Stanley (anonymous) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 19:55:53 in reply to Comment 111037

I hope. It's that freking shadow mayor Chad Collins. What a freaking prick.

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[ - ]

By arienc (registered) | Posted April 23, 2015 at 16:54:16

It's absolutely clear to me now.

Until Hamilton tells the province it wants exactly what the Province wants, Hamilton gets nothing but vague assurances that the Province will fund the transit that Hamilton wants.

Anyone care to guess at what the Province wants for Hamilton? I think it starts with A and runs on diesel.

Comment edited by arienc on 2015-04-23 16:56:16

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By DrAwesomesauce (registered) | Posted April 25, 2015 at 01:06:57

Here's a question all Hamiltonians must ask themselves about LRT: what's in it for the Province to fully or even partially fund rapid transit in Hamilton? If you dig deep enough (but not very) I think you'll find the answer is nil. City Council knows this already. Bratina, in all his insanity, also knew this fact to be true.

It's not going to happen because Queen's Park doesn't have to; it's as simple as that. The Liberals have managed to maintain power without the support of Hamilton voters for years and years so spending money here is essentially pointless.

Perhaps I'm being overly cynical but that's the political game, is it not?

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By highwater (registered) | Posted April 25, 2015 at 10:59:02 in reply to Comment 111072

Also, they may not need us now, but if the 905 continues to turn blue, they may need us in the very near future. Not only are they not doing anything to win new voters here, they are turning off the ones they already have - a mistake that could come back to haunt them.

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By DrAwesomesauce (registered) | Posted April 25, 2015 at 20:14:33 in reply to Comment 111075

You're right and I hope the Province sees it that way. But both your comments deal in some way with the future and we all know how politicians view that subject: Will we need these voters in the next election? I think we know that answer already.

And Municipal politics differs not in the slightest. Take a Mountain Councillor - we'll call him...Harry Blackhead. Harry's votes generally come from fiscally and perhaps socially conservative elderly types who haven't been to the city centre for years and who couldn't care less about it. Supporting LRT gets that councillor nothing but trouble.

Politics is all about getting and holding power. What little money the Province has left - either real or imagined - will be earmarked strategically. And I don't believe that Hamilton fits that definition. Cynical? Yes! Happy? Not in the slightest. I pray it doesn't work out that way.

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By DrAwesomesauce (registered) | Posted April 25, 2015 at 20:23:32 in reply to Comment 111080

And for the record, I'm an ardent LRT supporter. I believe so strongly in it as a people mover and as an economic tool that I would gladly donate my own dough either in increased taxes or even jammed into a brown paper bag if it came down to it - whatever moves the needle at Queen's Park.

I just can't cope with the political games any longer. Yes for 'rapid transit' funding? Great but meaningless. A 'citizens' panel'? Come on now. I'm a Fred fan but come on...

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By highwater (registered) | Posted April 25, 2015 at 10:54:32 in reply to Comment 111072

What's in it for them? How about growing the economy of a critical piece of the golden horseshoe? What's in it for them to knowingly let us languish and be left behind by neighbouring municipalities? Stifling our growth will just increase our social and health costs. Pay now, or pay later.

Comment edited by highwater on 2015-04-25 10:55:47

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[ - ]

By LRT Dont need it (anonymous) | Posted April 25, 2015 at 21:15:11

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By gored (anonymous) | Posted April 27, 2015 at 07:12:58 in reply to Comment 111082

LOL, I just read that it takes a person with low intelligence to think Hamilton doesn't need LRT

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted April 27, 2015 at 07:34:24 in reply to Comment 111103

Many people, in any debate, seem to see their own point of view as the intelligent common sense one, and the counterpoints as the stupid foolish point of view. It seems like the best results tend to be achieved when people can come to a consensus based on evidence. Easier said than done, of course.

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[ - ]

By Col Humber (anonymous) | Posted April 27, 2015 at 23:04:14

no one wants to talk about the $1.2B Finch LRT?

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[ - ]

By treys (registered) | Posted April 27, 2015 at 23:09:32

The route is wrong. It should be from the airport hub to the new GO Station on James. with stops at Limeridge/Linc, Mohawk College, Hunter Station, and Jackson Square.

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By Al (anonymous) | Posted April 27, 2015 at 23:22:58 in reply to Comment 111117

Have you taken the A-Line? It's dead. Every day it's dead. There may be 4-5 people between Rymal and Mohawk College (likely another driver or two taking a ride to their car).
Then sometimes the students load on at the college. And disembark at Jackson or King.

Essentially there is not the ridership along the A-Line route to sustain a light rail investment just yet. I would argue Mohawk Rd should get higher order transit before Upper James.

We all know the B-Line route is overcrowded at rush hours, and under-serviced late at night despite our 24-Hour economy. Put the LRT investment where the ridership exists, and the need greatest.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted April 28, 2015 at 01:07:44 in reply to Comment 111118

Maybeso... put more busses on the B=Line. I'm just saying if you want buyin from the rest of the city and Metrolinx include the mountain airport and GO station. This is mostly seen as a Wards 1-5 billion $ gift.

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By Cultosaurus (registered) | Posted April 28, 2015 at 08:59:00 in reply to Comment 111120

If it's a $1 billion gift for Wards 1-5, what would a totally unnecessary A-Line route be considered?

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[ - ]

By TreyS (registered) | Posted April 28, 2015 at 01:00:40

"The Hurontario-Main LRT will provide a crucial link between many of the region’s existing transit lines, including GO Transit’s Kitchener, Milton and Lakeshore West rail lines, Brampton Züm, and the Mississauga Transitway BRT."

What existing transit lines does Mac to Eastgate route link up? I suspect Metrolynx has a problem with the route. Stadium debate all over again and we have Fred in charge.... that's great.

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