Special Report: Light Rail

Letter: King and Bay LRT Stop

This stop has the strong support of the local business community, would add less than one minute to the route travel time, and would attract new investment to the adjacent under-developed parking lots.

By Bob Berberick
Published February 20, 2017

During the February 15, 2017 General Issues Committee meeting, City Councillors rejected a proposal to add a light rail transit (LRT) station at Bay Street. That vote still has to be ratified at the City Council meeting on February 22, 2017. Please send a message to Council asking them to reconsider their vote against this important line improvement.

Dear Mayor Eisenberger and Councillors,

I am writing to ask you to please reconsider the GIC decision to not add an additional LRT stop on King Street at Bay Street.

At the very least, please table this motion so it can be discussed at length at the newly created GIC/LRT meetings.

With all due respect, I see no valid reasons for opposing this additional stop. Yes there is an additional cost. Many people smarter than me are of the opinion that these costs will be recouped many times over, in property tax assessments.

I've heard a Councillor say that our current tax revenue in this area is around $100,000.00 with the potential to be in the $$ Millions!

Other than McMaster, I firmly believe that this will be one of, if not the most active stop on the route.

This stop is of no special interest to me, but I firmly believe that not including a stop here would be a huge missed opportunity.

In conclusion, I am very concerned that we may be putting this project at risk. I'm pretty sure that we would be required to repay some of the tens of millions spent to date.

In addition, where would the money be coming from to replace all of the infrastructure under the King Street route that the LRT project would be funding?

Bob Berberick has lived in Hamilton for all of his 65 years. For most of that time he lived on the mountain. Since moving to the core five years ago he has a newfound love of his city. Walking and cycling was re-started and he can only hope that the conditions improve so he can continue to explore the hidden beauty here.


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By mikhelweiss (registered) | Posted February 20, 2017 at 09:47:33

The cost of the stop has been mentioned, it's approx. $2.5 million. This is a typical case of gov't waste. A concrete pad, an oversized bus shelter, a ticket machine. $2.5 million$ !!

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By Haveacow (registered) | Posted March 01, 2017 at 13:03:14 in reply to Comment 120804

Now this is a great example of a bus or LRT stop in Singapore.


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By Haveacow (registered) | Posted February 20, 2017 at 14:12:01

Very oversized bus shelter, heated area, electrical connection, internet connected for next bus services, one if not several outdoor capable monitor screens, benches, nontoxic paint, environmental recyclable building materials and varied platform surfaces for the blind. Presto Card reading and vending machines, requiring an internet and internal network connection. Ticket machines will also have to accept cash and other media systems that HSR already uses. If these are median platforms they have to wider by law than side platforms. If they are side platforms you need two of them. Each station platform has to have emergency equipment and locker, power interrupt grapplers and OCS controls in an equipment locker. Each station will require access to cardiac defibrillator or have one stored in the emergency locker. Several locked or secured lighted poster boards for maps and printed time tables. Oh yes, a concrete pad or two!

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By Deleted User (anonymous) | Posted February 20, 2017 at 18:42:48 in reply to Comment 120806

The fact remains it's a lot of overhead for a transit stop. For the price of a ream of paper I can make 500 bus stops; 1000 if I cut the paper in half. The HSR can print out a sign and schedule and with some packing tape you have a brand new bus stop. Your post is actually an argument against the needless complexity and expense of the LRT.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 21, 2017 at 13:05:32 in reply to Comment 120811

Providing a higher quality experience - a comfortable shelter while you wait, short headways so you don't need to consult a schedule, a smooth, comfortable, quiet ride - attracts many more people to use transit. That, in turn, attracts more investors to build transit-oriented developments and more businesses to locate around the line, which attracts yet more riders in a virtuous cycle.

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By mikhelweiss (registered) | Posted February 20, 2017 at 15:27:25 in reply to Comment 120806

Heated! Not air conditioned? Public washroom and attendant? 24/7 security guard to keep out the squatters?

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 20, 2017 at 14:55:26 in reply to Comment 120806

Nah, easier to just hand-wave that it's government waste and assume you know better than the engineers who design rapid transit systems.

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By Deleted User (anonymous) | Posted February 20, 2017 at 18:47:02 in reply to Comment 120807

To be fair, engineers are not in charge of procurement. And governments are notoriously bad at getting market rates for *anything*. They consistently overpay and produce waste that is seldom seen in the private sector. I've worked in both the private and public sectors and the stuff I've seen in the public sector would shock you. Just take a look at government employees; they take *twice* the sick days of a private sector worker. I mean. Get real Ryan. Name a company that operates with $300 billion in debt and yet that's Ontario's debt right now. $350 billion by 2022. How can you dispute that governments operate under different rules?

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By AlHuizenga (registered) | Posted February 21, 2017 at 14:36:09 in reply to Comment 120812

Indisputable, governments and private companies are different things and operate under different rules. Thank Jesus.

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By mikhelweiss (registered) | Posted February 20, 2017 at 15:35:53 in reply to Comment 120807

Engineers in most jobs are given a budget. Nah, not in Ontario. We have unlimited borrowing power.

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted February 20, 2017 at 16:10:57

In downtown Toronto, there are several subway stations 200-300 meters apart. For example, King and Queen Streets. Whereas, outside of downtown, stations are up to 2 km apart. For example, Eglinton and Lawrence. This is because of the higher density of trip origins/destinations downtown that result in these stations being used.

Approximately zero percent of the downtown Toronto population is agitating to have any station closed.

Downtown Hamilton should have the same logic applied to it. I predict that in 20 years, approximately zero percent of the Hamilton population will be agitating to have the Bay stop closed.

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By Haveacow (registered) | Posted February 21, 2017 at 09:47:49

First I'm a planner not an engineer. Second many of those things you think are really cheap aren't because they have to be able to withstand widely varying weather and temperatures for long periods of time (years going on decades before they are replaced). Remember nearly every city in North America including Canadian ones, have massive infrastructure deficits because when it was cheap and easy to fix services like bridges, water lines as well as storm and sanitary sewers, politicians decided it was easier to keep property taxes down and do the fixes later. The list of things needing fixes piled up and got larger, while the things that already needed fixing degraded even more.

Then suburbanites get upset when planners and engineers tell them that the communities that they love so much don't come close to producing enough property taxes to even pay for their community's upkeep costs let alone the original installation costs. Mainly because of there complete lack of density and non grid street layouts which by design, incur higher maintenance costs and help create many of the traffic problems cities face and as predicted almost 45 years ago, don't age well and find that their vehicle centric design elements make anything other than private vehicles extremely inefficient. When things like LRT get proposed to improve things even in a small way people complain about their taxes and the misuse of public funds.

So lets try this little shot of reality, to pay for all the things that cities need and this has been proven, with what has been the common form of community development for the last 60+ years in the northern 2/3 of North America, property taxes for pretty much everyone are going up, a lot, most likely will have to double for most suburbanites to start covering the real cost of those communities they live in. For decades, local commercial and business taxes were used by municipal governments to cover the gap property residential property taxes couldn't cover. However, one of the last things Harris's Conservative Provincial Government did was to make sure business taxes cover more than 55% of the municipal budget, so if you had been paying attention that's when your suburban property taxes probably started increasing at ever greater amounts than before.

This is why Toronto has been increasing its density wherever it can by growing upwards with condo towers along all those long empty suburban main streets. As a result the city of Toronto has increased its population by 500,000-600,000 with no green field land left, they simply started using old unusable industrial lands, empty property frontage along main street in the old inner suburbs or nearly empty suburban plaza parking lots, also along old inner suburban main streets. More taxes and taxpayers per square km of land and lots of new development and best of all, the existing housing stock is protected. That's one of the reasons now many communities around Toronto complain that, the city of Toronto keeps it property taxes down at lower levels than they do and that these suburban communities are now losing well off taxpayers, who are moving back into the city.

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By Haveacow (registered) | Posted February 21, 2017 at 09:51:36

Oops, that should be to make sure municipal business taxes cover no more than 55% of the municipal budget.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted February 21, 2017 at 14:35:03

Pure speculation, but could it be that council got wind in some way from Metrolinx that the Bay stop was a non-starter? This vote wasn't to add the stop - it was to ask Metrolinx to take a look at the possibility of adding the stop. They may have known from the beginning that Metrolinx was going to say no. They have already added a stop at Gage Park and re-jigged a fairly major component (James spur) so it seems reasonable that at this point they would want to clamp down on the scope.

The vote, then, would have been mostly political theatre. Whitehead's vote cast him as a balanced and fair actor, the pro's let their base know that they're still supportive and the cons let their base know that they're still fighting the deal. Some of the councilors who voted 'No' on this motion may be simply building a bit of capitol so they can vote objectively on the environmental assessment. If our council was this nuanced I'd be impressed! Maybe there's more going on under the hood than we thought :)

Comment edited by ergopepsi on 2017-02-21 14:35:36

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