Interviews

New Direction for the City: An Interview With Mayor Fred Eisenberger (Part 1)

Mayor Fred shares his ideas and plans for improving Hamilton's transportation system.

By Ryan McGreal
Published January 10, 2007

Interview with Fred Eisenberger

(This article has been updated)

Since his election as Mayor, Fred Eisenberger has been a very busy man. However, he's been kind enough to agree to an interview about his ideas and plans for transit, smart growth, and development.

Raise the Hammer will publish the interview in three parts, starting with today's questions about Hamilton's transportation system.

The Interview

Ryan McGreal, Raise the Hammer: After seeing the remarkable success of the James and John two-way conversions next to the continued desolation on our one-way urban thoroughfares, this seems like a no-brainer. How much longer do we need to wait for the rest of the city?

Fred Eisenberger, Mayor of Hamilton: The conversion of John and James from one-way to two-way is working well and I look forward to staff input and direction on the city-wide transportation master plans.

RTH: What are your ideas on creating a full rapid transit (BRT and/or LRT) system in Hamilton? What, if anything, are you planning to do to encourage more cycling in Hamilton?

FE: Transportation affects all aspects of our daily lives. Whether you live and work in the Greater Hamilton Area or commute to work elsewhere, our system or roadways and public transit impacts each of us daily.

Public transit is an important municipal service to our community. The HSR provides much needed transit service to local commuters in Hamilton.

In recent years, the HSR has experienced an increase in ridership due to the introduction of several innovative passes, such as the undergraduate and Employer Commuter pass. However, many of the problems the HSR is experiencing are related to a lack of funding, which translates into reduced frequency and scheduling.

In the next couple of months the City will receive its share of the federal gas tax rebate. We will use some of this rebate to introduce and/or expand commuter transit services.

As mayor, I would like to work with the provincial government and the new Greater Toronto Transit Authority to extend GO Transit service to East Hamilton and beyond to Niagara.

I would also like to introduce dedicated bicycle lanes whenever road and sidewalk replacement is required as well as expand the community wide network of trials to promote walking and cycling.

We need to educate and introduce residents to these more environmentally conscious means of transportation.

Update: In Fred Eisenberger's reply to the first question, a typo had him citing the "conversion of John and James from two-way to one-way". It should have read, "conversion of John and James from one-way to two-way". RTH regrets the error, and thanks an alert reader for pointing it out. -Ed.

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 Nervous (anonymous) | Posted January 10, 2007 at 12:14:17

I'm nervous.. Maybe it's just because he's cautious, or new, or crazy busy right now, but this interview feels like mayor fred's just going through the motions with his answers. I dont know, maybe I just hoped more of his personality would come through. This sounds like a campaign brochure.

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By Michael (registered) | Posted January 10, 2007 at 15:02:24

I'm a little bit confused by the first question and answer.

Are one-way streets being converted to two-way streets in order to mitigate the "continued desolation on our one-way thoroughfares"?

The mayor's answer suggests that two-way streets are being converted to one-way streets.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 10, 2007 at 15:29:53

Michael, thanks for pointing that out. It was a typo on our part, and has been corrected.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 10, 2007 at 15:33:54

aww, shucks! I want continued desolation. It sounds cool.

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