Downtown Bureau

Achieving Target Residential Density Around the West Harbour GO Station

We should look to the opportunities presented by midrise four to six storey buildings and the positive benefits they can bring to our neighbourhood.

By Dan Botham
Published July 24, 2015

The West Harbour GO station is expensive. $50 million is a large investment. To get the best return on a public transit system investment, it is generally agreed that dense urban development around stations is required. However, it is not nearly as clear just how much density is required.

One analysis [PDF] of American urban heavy rail systems suggests that the top 25% of cost-effective urban heavy rail investments are associated with surrounding densities of at least 11000 people per km2. That's more dense than most areas of Hamilton.

Hamilton, including its vast rural areas, has an average density of 465 people per km2. The density within an 800 meter radius of Hamilton Centre GO station is 8,500 people per km2, putting it just below the densities of the most cost-efficient American urban heavy rail systems.

I suspect that the density of the same area around the West Harbour GO station is lower. Clearly, there is room for increased density if we're to make the best of our investment in the West Harbour GO station.

Fear of Tall Buildings

There is some fear in the North End that "tall buildings" are a threat to the neighbourhood. In speaking of tall buildings in the North End, a recent article by the North End Neighbours, a local neighbourhood association, described efforts their members are taking to "mitigate their impact".

That is not an overwhelmingly positive attitude toward "tall buildings".

Midrise Buildings

If we don't want "tall buildings" in the North End, shorter buildings standing four to six storeys tall are an alternative.

Recently, I visited friends in Norway and had a chance to experience two neighbourhoods in Oslo. Both were within walking distance of heavy rail stations, where four to six story buildings were used extensively.

Midrise buildings in Oslo
Midrise buildings in Oslo
Midrise buildings in Oslo

Not a single "tall building" exists in these two neighbourhoods yet they are both well served by heavy rail.

Buildings four to six stories tall can fit with the existing homes of the North End. In the past, some buildings over seven stories have been placed next to one- to two-and-a-half storey homes, especially in the Durand neighbourhood. This has an awkward effect as seen in these developments on Duke Street and Queen Street South.

Tall building next to houses on Duke Street
Tall building next to houses on Duke Street

Tall buildings across from houses on Queen Street South
Tall buildings across from houses on Queen Street South

With examples like this close to home, I can understand the fear of densification in the North End.

However, many four to six storey buildings have recently been built which have integrated well into the mostly residential neighbourhood such as this development on Murray Street West.

Midrise building integrated well on Murray Street West
Midrise building integrated well on Murray Street West

It is a common refrain for developers to request increased height as a means of increasing profitability of their projects. However, four to six storey buildings don't appear to be inherently poor investments for developers.

The fear that developers may advocate for more height to increase their profitability isn't a reason to abandon efforts to increase density sensibly.

Buildings over seven storeys have been used throughout the city to add density without fitting the existing form, but tall buildings are not the only way to add density. Four to six storey midrise buildings can provide the required density to bring value to our investment in the West Harbour GO station without exposing ourselves and our new neighbours to the potentially negative effects of "tall buildings".

Instead of worrying about mitigating the negative effects of tall buildings in our search to obtain value from our transit investments, perhaps we should look to the opportunities presented by midrise buildings and the positive benefits they can bring to our neighbourhood.

Dan Botham is a long-time Hamilton resident with an interest in advancing state of cycling in Hamilton. He is a member of the Hamilton Cycling Committee.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted July 24, 2015 at 09:54:24

It might be interesting to look at how Vancouver developed the south shore of False Creek in the 1970s. This former industrial land was developed into low and mid-rise buildings with an equal mix of subsidized renters and owners and has a population of about 6000. Most of the buildings are actually coops. There is lots of green space, and it was maybe not quite dense or mixed use enough, but the residents love it.

The coop aspect and 50% subsidized renters features would go some way to addressing the "gentrification" concerns some are beginning to have about Hamilton's renaissance. Why couldn't we do this here? Coop addresses social cohesion and rent subsidies make living affordable.

"Since its founding in the 1970s, False Creek South's residents have quietly enjoyed the community's waterfall, its duck ponds and cloistered courtyards, its green expanse of lawn in Charleson Square, its view of the changing skyline of downtown between the Granville and Cambie bridges.

Unknown to most other Vancouverites, the nearly 6,000 people living in a dozen housing co-ops mixed in equal proportion with condo owners and subsidized renters -- all on once-industrial city-leased land -- was a conscious experiment in neighbourhood-scale urban design, since studied and applauded by planners and architects from around the world."

http://thetyee.ca/News/2014/01/03/False-...

It is a very different approach to how the north side of False creek was developed in the late 1980s and 1990s: the land was sold to Lee Kai-Shin of Hong Kong, the city had to pay hundreds of millions to rehabilitate the soil and Kai-Shin re-developed with very dense high rises (rather than the original mid-rise mixed plan). It is still pretty nice, but may not what we should be aiming for in Hamilton. (The photo in the article directly contrasts the two developments: green parks and a four storey building in the fore-ground, 30 storey buildings on the other side of False Creek.)

This site give a good sense of the South Shore neighbourhood:

http://x372sailor.smugmug.com/Architectu...

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2015-07-24 09:57:22

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By RobF (registered) | Posted July 24, 2015 at 23:55:11 in reply to Comment 113047

Totally agree. The south shore is probably my favorite Vancouver neighbourhood ... my spouse and I got married in Charleston Park. We just got back from visiting family on the westcoast and took a lot of pictures with the thought that i'd write something for RTH on it and few other waterfront/riverfront neighbourhoods in Metro Vancouver. On the south shore the planners and urbanists really got it right in terms of creating a complete neighbourhood that has aged well. It would be great if we could go down that road on our waterfront, but I suspect the Co-op aspect will be difficult to achieve given the federals don't fund them anymore and in our case the City is looking to maximize return on the lands they own.

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By highasageorgiapine (registered) | Posted July 24, 2015 at 09:57:26

midrise buildings are an excellent idea in this area, but i think the fears that developers will advocate for increased height are very valid though. your example from oslo is an excellent example of density done well, but we can't really have nice things in ontario thanks to a number of bureaucratic and financial mechanisms that make planning a nightmare.

nice midrise constructions like those is oslo would be a pleasant addition to the area for sure. we could use a lot less of the glass towers.

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By jason (registered) | Posted July 24, 2015 at 09:59:02

Nice piece. I personally don't mind tall buildings in a proper context. But for areas like Pier 8 in Hamilton, we should aim for 4-8 stories in a uniform fashion.
The best urban waterfront I've ever been to was in Cape Town, SA. Nothing was higher than 8 floors, and I don't think anything was lower than 4.

http://www.figo2009.org.za/photogallery/...

More good density info here: https://rgordonarchitect.wordpress.com/2...

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By RobF (registered) | Posted July 25, 2015 at 00:27:37 in reply to Comment 113049

Yep that's the formula for good urbanism ... mostly not too tall and not too small, with a few taller buildings to add variety and distinctive architecture to the mix. People need to stop confusing height with density ... site coverage/massing, orientation to the street, and how different uses are integrated is more important.

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By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted July 24, 2015 at 10:44:04

A very easy step to begin attracting developers sooner is the very simple move of getting the Niagara Seasonal GO Train to stop at West Harbour. The infrastructure for that completes in 2016 (platform track becomes a complete through-track), so it's no-brainer.

Comment edited by mdrejhon on 2015-07-24 10:55:30

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By MattM (registered) | Posted July 24, 2015 at 11:16:04 in reply to Comment 113053

Even after the second platform is completed, the station will still be a terminus without an East connection to the main line until the Confederation Park/Stoney Creek station is completed in 2019. They want to have the whole line from Hamilton to Niagara ready to go for regular service before West Harbour is connected up.

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By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted July 24, 2015 at 12:23:28 in reply to Comment 113055

I've been warehousing information for an article, but out of necessity:

I found info that there will be a crossover to the adjacent CN main line. And supplementary info leads to it being 2016. Couldn't this be used for now, in the interim? They only need to build the stub further east a little bit, only a little, to clear an underpass or few, and install a crossover. The rest of the Metrolinx track can be built towards Stoney Creek later. Niagara trains are using the CN mainline today anyway, so why not?

They always put crossovers between adjacent rails at strategic points along a corridor, to bypass problems like stalled trains or rail problems.

Also, they have the Lewis overnight train parking yard complete for 2016. That's located past Stoney Creek, and that train yard is where they plan to park trains overnight. Why would they finish this 2016 if West Harbour isn't a through station?

So "through station" capability and "overnight layover" capability are apparently funded for completion 2016.

Source: Metrolinx PDF documents.

Photo proof (early 2015) of Lewis/Grimbsy construction: https://twitter.com/thetmcshow/status/59...

They are apparently running a somewhat late, but they haven't pushed completion to 2019.

Why open this in 2016, indeed, if West Harbour can't be a through station??? Why open two platforms at West Harbour in 2016 if it's not a through station till 2019???

2016 introduction of Niagara Summer Trains is a no-brainer, full stop.

Also, the wheelchair-access ramp at the east end of the station, that cuts across the railroad spur was last-minute build because the elevator wasn't working, but later, the sidewalk will only access the south side. The elevator is now working, and this sidewalk will be cut off when the 2nd platform is built, so nothing blocks eastward extension for 2016. I am also a member of a discussion forum where some GO construction people posts, this is how I found out about why the wheelchair ramp cuts across the stub.

We have a perfect opportunity to make sure Niagara Summer Service comes sooner than 2019, simply by making sure Metrolinx doesn't delay certain tasks that's already funded for 2016 including the crossover back to CN main line. From my research so far, we can get Niagara well before 2019 without extra tax cost.

This gives us all-day 2-way service to Toronto too, and Niagara trains are very fast -- 40 minutes to burlington and 56 mins when they zoom by West Harbour (when watching GPS movements on http://www.gotracker.ca ) so that is competitive with Hamilton 16 Express on a busy-traffic day. The train could be renamed the "Toronto-Hamilton-Niagara" train, as it's not just for Niagara.

I've been doing ongoing research. I have an RTH article submission in progress about Niagara Seasonal Train Service to Hamilton being written. If you know some information that I don't know, please share as I want to incorporate your information into my report.

Let's make sure it happens in 2017 or even 2016, are you with me?

Comment edited by mdrejhon on 2015-07-24 12:59:36

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By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted July 24, 2015 at 14:51:02 in reply to Comment 113057

I am also currently in talks with contacts at GO, to collect info for my article.

https://twitter.com/mdrejhon/status/6244...

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By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted July 24, 2015 at 12:50:55 in reply to Comment 113057

Side note:

For those who did not know:

The PanAm West Harbour express GO train from Union-to-Hamilton at 5:50pm weekdays is a non-stop train that makes no stops between Union and Hamilton. It usually leaves late at 6pm (but you should board it by 5:50pm) and then arrives early. Its average transit time is 55 minutes West Harbour.

Recently, the 5:50pm PanAm West Harbour Express (ultra-conservatively timetabled at 1h10min) made it between Union to West Harbour in an amazing 47 minutes (left Union almost 30 minutes late, arrived only 2 minute late).

According to a GO train driver that posts in a forum that I frequent (vegata_skyline), he thinks it was a record for a 12-car bilevel in revenue service (not deadheading) -- and probably a modern passenger record since CN/VIA discontinued the express train services a long time ago. The last-ever West Harbour Express is 5:50pm today (take it as your commute home from Toronto, if you're in Toronto), if you want to ride an amazingly fast GO Train to Hamilton. I ride it as my commute home & I love this train, over my usual Lakeshore West train.

My GPS speedometer on my iPhone shows that this train peaks at 135kph-140kph at some sections past Oakville. Then it goes slow beyond Burlington due to speed limits, but it's a hella fun ride for a normal pokey GO train, and brings back memories of Hamilton Express Trains of yesteryear before they died.

This GO express train been running for two weeks. The last train is today. If you're working in Toronto, take it! 5:50pm departing Union on July 24th, 2015 -- making no stops until it reaches Hamilton.

Comment edited by mdrejhon on 2015-07-24 12:59:52

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By Dylan (registered) | Posted July 24, 2015 at 18:23:05 in reply to Comment 113058

As someone currently on his daily go train to Hamilton, interesting stuff.

I've wondered, why do they offer the 16 Bus during rush hour when the trains are so much quicker and economical? Cancel them, and spend the money on getting us a more express train to the Hammer!

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted July 25, 2015 at 01:54:02 in reply to Comment 113062

As a professional Accountant, I believe that I can answer that question. It is a question of fixed cost structure.

In other words, if you don't run the buses during rush hour, then they are just sitting around doing nothing. Also, unless you try to schedule bus drivers for split shifts (which workers and their unions hate... and so would I) you have the drivers sitting around doing nothing.

The rush hour Toronto/Hamilton express busses are rather quite full. The trains are only express beyond Oakville. I see from the GO train Timetable that the scheduled morning train times leaving at 0700 and 0715 are 72 minutes and 77 minutes. The Go bus Timetable has a scheduled time of 105 minutes for the 0705 bus. And I know that it frequently beats that scheduled time.

The reason why many people take the bus is that bikes are banned from trains during rush hours in the peak direction. And if there are two bikes already in the front rack, people can put their bikes in the luggage compartment under the bus.

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By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted July 26, 2015 at 11:26:00 in reply to Comment 113066

Peak hour is not involved, because these are weekend Niagara trains.

There is no cannibalization of bus as this introduces Niagara destination in only 1 hour (which takes about 2 hours by bus, with a transfer), plus for the Toronto destination -- the bus is half the price of the train, but some people prefer the train.

I did some math calculations (researched locomotive fuel, 3 minutes of crew time, etc).

The Hamilton stop is profitable at beyond 3 boardings average per train (100% farebox recovery). The 4th person that boards, reduces taxpayer cost of running GO train service elsewhere in the network. As you being an accountant, I'd love you to check my numbers and comment when it comes out.

Comment edited by mdrejhon on 2015-07-26 11:41:35

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By Mark Rejhon (anonymous) | Posted July 25, 2015 at 17:44:53 in reply to Comment 113066

The Niagara summer trains are **even more express** than the Hamilton "express-past-Oavkille"

It passes West Harbour between 55-min and 65-min after leaving Union.

On GO Transit's website, it has a timetabled journey time from Union-Burlington in only 40 minutes -- Which means the Niagara Summer Seasonal is the fastest scheduled GO train if you want to go to Burlington.

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By Dylan (registered) | Posted July 25, 2015 at 08:33:59 in reply to Comment 113066

When I walk past the Union Station bus platform at 5:20ish there is always a line for the 5:30pm bus to Hamilton. I walk past it and get the 5:37 train (or rush to get the new 5:23). On a good day, that bus would have gotten me to Hamilton Go 5 minutes earlier. On a bad day it could be an hour late. The train is consistent, which must make scheduling employees much easier. And as you can see from the times you posted, more often than not rush hour buses, even when they achieve their schedule, and much slower than a train.

If the bus is superfluous to the train (and based on those arrival times and the various connections offered at Burlington and Aldershot, it is) it makes no sense to have them on the road anyway; it would be cheaper to pay the drivers to sit it the station than to drive a costly to maintain gas guzzler through stop and go traffic. The lineup of customers perplexes me, but I chaulk it up to ignorance and a routine of taking the bus rather than the train. If you remove the bus option those customers will find their way to the train and enjoy a more civilized ride. I rarely see anyone waiting for the bus with a bike but you can't provide a bus for their convenience alone. There are more cost effective ways of accommodating them.

Comment edited by Dylan on 2015-07-25 08:39:38

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By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted July 28, 2015 at 19:21:57 in reply to Comment 113068

The bus is about half the price of the train, so that's another consideration. I take the train too, even though it costs twice as much.

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By Dylan (registered) | Posted July 28, 2015 at 20:32:25 in reply to Comment 113140

It's the same for bus and train.

http://www.gotransit.com/publicroot/en/f...

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By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted July 30, 2015 at 15:09:57 in reply to Comment 113143

Thanks,

Why does the Hamilton 16 Express bus Presto indicate "$5.20" on my last trip, then? (I've very rarely ridden the 16 Express, as I prefer the train)

I need to research what's going on with my Presto card. Something was wonky if that was wrong fare. I do default trip of Union-Aldershot, but this is a tap at the Hamilton Downtown GO station, and when the bus is bypassing Aldershot (isn't stopping there), why did Presto charge me only $5.20 during that one time?

Comment edited by mdrejhon on 2015-07-30 15:14:44

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By Dylan (registered) | Posted July 30, 2015 at 17:41:43 in reply to Comment 113199

You've got to tap off and it will deduct the appropriate amount. Buses don't take the preset it seems. So those times when you took the bus it would have adjusted your charge later that night to the max fare, because it didn't know where you got off.

Comment edited by Dylan on 2015-07-30 17:45:57

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By RobF (registered) | Posted July 25, 2015 at 00:20:40

The City disclosed at a recent community workshop hosted by Evergreen CityWorks that it plans to move forward with an Official Plan Amendment to bring elements of the James North Mobility Hub Study into Setting Sail. This will deal with some of the issues you are raising as it identifies opportunity sites for intensification with suggested building massings and heights somewhat in excess of Setting Sail, but still within the mid-rise range.

There is talk that a major component of the OPA will deal with changes needed to make redevelopment/revitalization of the social housing complex between James and MacNab north of Strachan economically feasible ... i.e. raze the townhouses and replace them with two 6-8 storey buildings (one market housing, the other social housing), but the City has been coy about its plans.

Truthfully, the real potential for intensification identified in the James North Mobility Hub Study is on the south side of the rail corridor which includes the old beer store property, the Liuna lower parking lot, and the sea of parking in front of the Food Basics ... to name a few listed in the study.

I don't think people in the North End fear intensification, per se. But there is a difference between gradual change via infilling and mid-rise redevelopment, and a land-rush by speculators hoping to see their properties up-zoned as a way to cash in ... I worry about the latter, not the former.

Comment edited by RobF on 2015-07-25 00:21:11

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted July 25, 2015 at 02:22:10

Probably the best city of 4-6 storey buildings is Amsterdam, which brags about being "the world's oldest planned city." Here are a couple of videos that show this rather well. Also the "vibe" or what it is like to live in a city like this. Pretty good!

54 seconds

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4lCBKTo...

18 minutes... love the views down the canals.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TQgkHHF...

Comment edited by KevinLove on 2015-07-25 02:22:55

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By moylek (registered) - website | Posted July 25, 2015 at 12:09:25

The lineup of customers perplexes me, but I chaulk it up to ignorance and a routine of taking the bus rather than the train.

The bus runs every half hour or even every twenty minutes between downtown Toronto and West Hamilton. I never take the train; I often take the bus.

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By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted July 25, 2015 at 21:36:29 in reply to Comment 113070

Yes, it's a good express bus. That said, several of us prefer the train over the bus -- and I have photography of the Niagara train passing less than 10 feet from West harbour, which I'm incorporating to an article.

Also, it takes a total of 2 hours to get to Niagara falls by bus (including a transfer) -- it would take only 1 hour by train, by hopping onto the Niagara Seasonal.

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted July 25, 2015 at 22:40:36

Those kind of neighbourhoods abound all over Europe. That's how they achieve their high density. But a little closer examination shows that most of the apartments are considerabley smaller than what the norm is in North America. The other big difference is the lack of parking and green spaces. There simply aren't many places to park a car. It has gotten to the point in some cities in Germany that you need to show proof of a parking spot before you can register a car. I suspect that those kind of restriction will really minimize their desirability in Hamilton.

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By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted July 27, 2015 at 15:50:19 in reply to Comment 113081

Nothing to worry about. We are at least a century away, if ever, from having such a requirement like Germany. It's not currently an issue. Even in much-more-parking-starved Toronto we don't have that much car-parking pressure.

We can densify 10x as much in buildings that don't have parking, and we still won't be as parking-starved as that Germany city where you have to go as far as Stoney Creek to find parking for Hamilton Downtown. We don't have that problem here, even if it gets much worse. Move along, nothing to see this generation...

(Yes, car owner here. Yes, I've visited Europe.)

Comment edited by mdrejhon on 2015-07-27 15:53:03

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted July 28, 2015 at 08:01:56 in reply to Comment 113102

I agree that the parking issue won't rear it's ugly head for a while. Not as far away as you would like to make it out to be but still a while away. The big issue today is the size of the apartments. I can't imagine Hamiltonians settling for the smaller apartments found in Europe. Without that you will never reach their level of density.

The most common desire in North America is still to own their own single family home. With new homes being built bigger and bigger I can't imagine that smaller apartments will hold much allure for many.

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By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted July 28, 2015 at 09:38:43 in reply to Comment 113110

I happen to also be a homeowner and property taxpayer, but also have lived in a modern all-inclusive condo (the type with a pool, gym, BBQ, party room, etc) and understand their convenience and allure, too.

I straddle somewhere exactly between the baby boom era and the millenials era, and I'm able to look in both directions.

I've also roomrented as recently as ten years ago, all the way to home ownership, and of my lifetime, I've had more years of carsharing memberships (autoshare, zipcar, vrtucar) in various cities, than I've had years of car ownership. I own a car now, but only out of sheer necessity -- might say goodbye to it again once we've got two 'parallel surface subways' in Lower City -- the LRT and the Downtown-Stoney Creek GO connection when it is running all day long in both directions, and maybe even a basic Gage GO infill platform built at the edge of the recently-bought land Hamilton bought for a soccer field at the railroad & Gage Ave. Especially when electrified GO service goes all the way to Lewis train yard, maybe twenty years from now (the Metrolinx PDF docs says Lewis yard in Stoney Creek is electrification-upgradeable -- though that's probably beyond 2025). Even now, The Connolly in the animation on the cover page of website is prominently advertising improving Hamilton transit as the #1 reason to get the condo (2 GO stations, upcoming LRT, bike share, car share) and they have less parking spaces than rooms. This would not have been thinkable only 10 years ago -- now it sells. This will be true for low rises (4-stories) that integrate well in the residential areas within 15 minute walk of downtown.

This is true we don't have the Europe ethic, but we can /still/ densify more than what we have so far. The Hamilton's small condo boom outlines this, and Toronto big condo boom clearly shows it as well.

When transit becomes far more convenient and you have cheaper places next to good transit, it's got allure to some people. That's why condos are now selling well in Hamilton, and more will get built. I, for one, welcome them (if properly done0.

We don't have as many teenagers today wanting the '57 Chevy experience of drive-in movies and rollerskate-diners. Increasingly, the new generation are slowly opting to live a car without car ownership. Even if we're not at European-levels of reduced car desire, it is undeniably lower than it used to be.

Bring on the Lower City densification, Hamilton! (As long as we do it properly -- I.e. don't expropriate or put the poor at a disadvantage...)

Comment edited by mdrejhon on 2015-07-28 09:51:20

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By Haveacow (registered) | Posted July 27, 2015 at 09:02:31

The big problem in Ontario with 4-7 story buildings is the Ontario Building Code and the real but extreme cost of installing elevators. If you build above 4 stories you must install elevators in Ontario. 90% of the cost of elevator installation is the elevator car and all the support motors and lifting equipment. The height of the building/elevator shaft is not a big factor. The difference of putting in an elevator in for a 6 story building and 12 story building is maybe a 10%-15% increase in cost. However, at 6 stories those elevator costs can depending on, the size of the building's foot print and the type and main use of the building, eat away between 1-2 entire floors of profit for the developer. To make up those elevator building costs, most developers choose to go higher (add floors). If the city has a hard cap on building heights, that building may have just become unfordable to build as a office building or made sure that it will be luxury only high end condo building for the wealthy to make up the costs of keeping it a low rise building.

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted July 29, 2015 at 05:21:47 in reply to Comment 113092

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

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

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By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted July 27, 2015 at 15:30:13 in reply to Comment 113092

Excellent point about building heights. Initially, for transit-friendly areas, I think the realistic compromise height for residential neighbourhood infill condos is 4 stories for a building without a parking garage.

This lets builders get away without an elevator, doesn't suffocate houses, and provides something "rather dense" by Hamilton old-suburb standards, and doesn't lower the value of adjacent houses because the fancier 4-story buildings are often better looking some uglier houses typically found north of King.

On the other hand, it's a mixed bag as part of us love to see the nicer victorian houses renovated instead too with nicer gardens. But we understand the need for sustainable development, especially in areas where the houses are falling apart or already demolished anyway, as well as the brownfields and parkinglots that exist. It just has to be done in a way that doesn't price the poor out of oblivion, and creates house poverty (from high costs) that reduces neighborliness. We find Hamilton far more neighbourly than Toronto, as more of us are not as time-starved trying to keep up being house-poor or rent-poor with the higher costs there.

Bring on sustainable development that justifies the taxpayer expense of West Harbour GO and Stoney Creek GO, and bring electrified all-day-2-way 15-min electrified GO trains. The Lewis facility they're building in Stoney Creek is being built to support upgradeability to electrified GO trains. It may not be for 20 years, but, they're going to build 15-min electrified Burlingon service for 2024, so let's make sure we get our turn via "Regional Express Rail 10-Year Plan #2" 2025-2034 and get a Gage GO infill station too between West Harbour and Stoney Creek. Did you know the city bought land there for a soccer field? Excellent move protecting for a future infill Gage Avenue North GO station maybe within 20 years (imagine cycling SoBi from Gage Park area to Gage electrified GO station and having 15-min all-day 2-way service to either Hamilton downtown or Stoney Creek GO!).

Comment edited by mdrejhon on 2015-07-27 15:58:39

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By arienc (registered) | Posted July 27, 2015 at 09:45:45 in reply to Comment 113092

Interesting points about the elevators, but I suspect that parking minimums have an even greater impact on the profitability of mid-rise infill for a developer. Not only do they have to dig below the building footprint and reinforce the entire construction to facilitate underground parking, in many cases they have to add space for ramps and secure entryways to the parking facilities. Parking can easily add 25 to 50 percent to the cost of a building, and the builder typically has no choice but to add sufficient height to recoup that cost. And with every additional floor, more parking spaces are required, to the extent that on some footprints, even 10-12 stories is a money-losing venture.

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