Special Report: Transit

Upper James Rapid Transit a Dumb Idea

It is disturbing that our transit officials are now being told to put the aerotropolis scheme ahead of providing service to those who want and need it.

By Don McLean
Published December 20, 2007

Can someone please explain why a rapid transit line is being planned for Upper James Street - the announced destination for half a dozen new 60-foot articulated buses worth $5.5 million?

The latest provincial announcement envisions a rapid transit line from downtown to the airport along James and Upper James using the new big buses.

Have the city and provincial transit planners ever visited Upper James? Surely they would agree that it ranks among the most transit-unfriendly streets in Hamilton.

It is almost entirely composed of strip malls, car dealerships and fast food joints. How many people take the bus to or from such "destinations"?

There are hardly any homes and even fewer apartments along this road, and nearly none south of Mohawk Road. Who is going to fill up those mega buses?

Public Works wants to buy six new hybrid buses to operate on Upper James
Public Works wants to buy six new hybrid buses to operate on Upper James

Aerotropolis Buy-In

At a recent poorly-attended official plan workshop, I asked planners why they think Upper James should be a higher-order transit corridor.

The first words out of the mouth of the head of the consulting team were: "It's a north-south corridor linking the airport through to the downtown."

When asked where the bus passengers would come from on this desolate commercial drag strip, the best the planners could come up with was the possibility that Upper James will be transformed over the next 20 years.

While it's good news that the provincial government is willing to pay for more HSR buses, one gets the strong impression that all their officials are doing is signing the cheques, and the critical question of where to spend that money is being left to local pushers of the aerotropolis.

Presumably no one has told the province that the HSR has extended bus service to the airport twice in the last decade and withdrawn it both times because of a lack of passengers.

Hopeful v. Real Demand

It is disturbing that our transit officials are now being told to put the aerotropolis scheme ahead of providing service to those who want and need it.

Along many Hamilton streets, especially in the west end, riders are still being left on the curb because the bus that just went by was too full to stop.

Let's put the new buses to proper use on HSR routes that are already overloaded and where people actually live.

Extending a rapid transit service to the mountain is a good idea and a necessary step - but there are lots better places to put it than along Upper James to Mount Hope.

It makes more sense to run it up James Mountain to Mohawk College, along West 5th to Terryberry Library, then east along Mohawk Road - a street that is dominated by apartment buildings.

The route could go to Upper Ottawa at least, creating a mountain spine for the HSR system and putting most of upper Hamilton's residents a short distance from a rapid transit service - especially once it's converted to light rail.

Don McLean is chair of Friends of Red Hill Valley and coordinator of Citizens at City Hall, a volunteer group that has monitored city affairs since 2004 and distributes free news articles via email. The group can be contacted at info@hamiltoncatch.org.

74 Comments

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By Flight Bird (anonymous) | Posted December 21, 2007 at 08:01:53

There he goes again!

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By peter (anonymous) | Posted December 21, 2007 at 10:29:58

^is that a critique of the article? if so, you might want to expand upon it.

i hate to say it but i never really thought about the upper james rapid transit line in those terms. it's certainly food for thought. that said, if the city were interested in transforming upper james into a densely populated residential area then brt would be a good start. not sure if that's their intention, though.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 21, 2007 at 10:50:42

If the city wants to turn Upper James into a dense, diverse boulevard, it will have to a lot more than use it to run buses out to the airport:

http://raisethehammer.org/issue/2006/01/...

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By Flight Bird (anonymous) | Posted December 21, 2007 at 17:40:03

I thought I captured my sentiments. Its just that Dan McLean is so predictable. Anything to do with the airport is bad. It was like the Valley road; the sky was going to fall if they built it. He had me convinced and guess what the sky hasn't fallen; the airport needs transit like all other parts of the city. So I say Dan, get a new shtick.

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By Get it right (anonymous) | Posted December 21, 2007 at 19:07:59

It's Don...Dan McLean is the Ch news anchor. At least get the man's name right when you slag him.

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By person (anonymous) | Posted December 21, 2007 at 19:57:52

Maybe he meant CH anchorman, Dan McLean. Ever think of that?

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 21, 2007 at 23:06:06

geez, this has been a really insightful discussion....

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 21, 2007 at 23:09:38

I guess I can't say that without contributing something to the discussion. I don't mind the idea at all of Upper James as a rapid transit route, BUT I agree completely with the notion that I'm going to standing at King and Strathcona while bus after bus flies by jam packed, yet we'll be running nice new (and empty) articulated buses along Upper James - a street that is one massive parking lot along the street edge. I say 'street edge' and not 'sidewalk edge' because many spots don't even have sidewalks! Unless cars are allowed to board these buses I think we're getting way ahead of ourselves. Please put these 6 new buses on the B-Line and extend the B-Line to be a 5am-2am route, 7 days a week. Don't start another half-baked 'rapid transit route' when our first one still has lousy hours and only runs 5 days a week.

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By peter (anonymous) | Posted December 21, 2007 at 23:26:31

tried to catch a bus from mac last saturday afternoon. freezing cold, starting to snow, unheated shelter. waiting...waiting...waiting. 20 minutes pass and bus arrives. it's full. see ya! screw you! 20 minutes later another bus comes and we're shoehorned on. man, taking the bus blows huge.

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By Flight Bird (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2007 at 00:52:28

Sorry, I did mean Don. He is the one who convinced many of us that the road was going to mean disaster. It hasn't Now he's fighting against the airport. Hope you have better luck. He just doesn't like anything it seems.
i agree that buses need to be improved by the way. They are my only means of getting around and I work near the airport.

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By Person (anonymous) | Posted December 23, 2007 at 00:36:37

I'd still like to know if Dan McLean thinks an Upper James rapid transit system is such a dumb idea. I'm sure he'd give a measured opinion.

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By mark (registered) | Posted December 23, 2007 at 10:16:44

Effective rapid transit requires a crossed-circle pattern to serve the feeder nodes. The east-west line is a no-brainer. An intersecting north-south line is a necessary element, and, like it or not, Upper James is the best candidate to allow dedicated transit lanes. It has the space available for the physical elements RT requires, and it is the most direct route for connecting other travel nodes (i.e. Hunter Street GO and the airport), as well as Mohawk College. The current Upper James and College routes, the routes that currently follow the planned path of the north-south line, have the highest passenger loads of all the north-south mountain routes.

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By Ted Mitchell (registered) | Posted December 23, 2007 at 11:18:10

Does Mirabel ring a bell?

Look at an air photo of upper james, notice that the commercial area is never more than 1 block deep, then it's low dens residential forever. South of the linc, parking area overwhelms commercial buildings, many of which are deeply recessed like at meadowlands.

I will reprint some of the CATCH transcript for Dec 19 as to demand for such a bus service, it speaks for itself. Recall that these numbers are despite HIA completing a major update / expansion two years ago.

from dubdubdubdothamiltoncatchdotorgslashview_article dotphp?id=216

The number of aircraft flights in and out of Hamilton airport was 17.5 percent lower last month than in November 2006. The decline continues a long term trend that has seen Mount Hope’s flights drop by nearly a third in the last three years.

And while Hamilton’s numbers dropped, the national average went in the opposite direction – climbing 13 percent. In fact, the averages at Canada’s 42 largest airports have increased every month in the last year.

The change over the last three years has been very similar. London’s flights have gone up 19 percent since November 2004, Waterloo’s have declined 2.6 percent, and Hamilton’s have plummeted 30.8 percent. That translates into over 2000 fewer aircraft movements at Mount Hope last month than there were in November 2004.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted December 24, 2007 at 12:32:04

Rapid transit is a bad idea anywhere in this city. Lets just expand HSR buses in corridors where the demand is warranted.

If rapid transit is built it will be a huge waste of money as it will not convince people to leave their cars at home.

Does anybody actually think that people who can afford a car is going to wait outside (in the cold) to take rapid transit that doesn't even take you from point A to point B?

Now that the expressway has been built and the world hasn't come to an end people like Don McLean and CATCH need to dump all over the aerotropolis project as a way of getting their names in the paper. I suggest they get real jobs.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 27, 2007 at 09:00:13

"dump all over the aerotropolis project as a way of getting their names in the paper"

It's amazing how rapidly the criticism of activists in this city devolves into ad hominem and other personal attacks. It's almost as if they attack the arguers because they can't challenge the arguments...

The economic case against aerotropolis as an economic development framework is very robust: as global oil production slides into decline and oil prices continue their volatile rise, it will become less and less economically viable to ship goods and people via airplanes.

As it is, air transport makes up about two percent of goods transport by tonne-kilometre (and about five percent by energy consumption). The most credible projection based on the evolving supply situation suggests that fuel prices will quadruple in about a decade.

For some strange reason, the aerotropolis supporters just don't want to confront this argument head-on. Instead, they attack and vilify the people who try to make it.

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By Flight Bird (anonymous) | Posted December 27, 2007 at 09:22:05

It's amazing how rapidly the criticism of activists in this city devolves into ad hominem and other personal attacks. It's almost as if they attack the arguers because they can't challenge the arguments...

And it is equally amazing how activists who perpetuate the attack on individuals with a different idea are the first to cry foul when the same happens to them...if you live in glass houses...etc etc.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 27, 2007 at 11:04:10

Flight Bird, your comment is a case in point of what I'm talking about.

I made an argument about whether the aerotropolis is going to be a good economic development investment. Your response attacked the arguer and ignored the argument.

I have yet to read a credible response from anyone on the long-term economic viability of air transport in an energy-constrained world that doesn't rely on magical thinking about "market forces" and/or "technology" to produce new sources of cheap, abundant power.

So far, no combination of alternative energy sources and technologies can replace petroleum as a cheap, abundant, dense, portable, fungible and versatile source of energy.

However we run our economy in the future, we're almost certainly going to have to do it on a lot less power. No one can adequately explain how air transport, which is 100 times more energy intensive than shipping, is going to fit into an energy-constrained economic system.

To the extent that the Upper James rapid transit expansion commits Hamilton to an airport-based growth strategy with poor prospects, it represents a poor investment.

Do you think you can respond to this argument directly, or are you just going to continue attacking the people who make it?

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 27, 2007 at 11:39:10

we either have spammers on the board, or people who stare blankly at their TV and hear some prettyboy on CNN tell the world that we've got oil coming our of our backsides and not to worry...so they assume if it's "on tv it must be true". Sadly many people form opinions like this and are unable to carry on an intelligent conversation themselves when asked good questions.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted December 27, 2007 at 16:19:35

Ryan,

With the new highway 6 extension, and the opening of the RHVP, land out by the airport could be marketable as employment lands even if there was no airport (although that is a big plus). The businesses that locate there need not be (and the majority probably won't be) related to aviation. I believe that is why they have changed the name to Mount Hope Employment Lands (or something like that).

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By mark (registered) | Posted December 27, 2007 at 19:08:05

Mr. Mitchell, the CATCH 'article' you espouse has a fatal flaw in its logic. First off, drawing a parallel between Munro and Mirabel shows a complete lack of basic knowledge surrounding air traffic and airport economics. Mirabel was (and is) a consistent money-loser. Munro is a profitable airport, and its 2006 annual profits are double the prior year's profit.

More importantly, the article's thesis is weak because it somehow equates lower counts in air movements with a struggling airport. This is certainly not the case at Munro. An Airport's success is not measured strictly by how many flights are coming in and out of it, it is about the volume of passengers and cargo flowing through the airport. It is about smarter air traffic: cargo carriers operating out of Hamilton are using larger crafts, which means fewer flights are needed to transport larger amounts of cargo. I notice the CATCH article makes no mention of passenger counts or tonnes of air cargo handled at Munro. What do you suppose is the reason for this?

RTH is normally an online news source that supports transit improvements. Shouldn't we welcome any and all transit expansion? Why shouldn't the southern terminus of a RT be located at our airport - it is only logical that transport nodes be connected. And what about the low-wage earners that work at the airport - do they not deserve an affordable mode of transport to their place of work?

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By Flight Bird (anonymous) | Posted December 28, 2007 at 00:49:24

My my Mark. You mean that DON Maclean and Catch get things wrong whenever they talk about the airport? Well I'll be a flying squirrel's uncle. I never would have guessed Mr. Maclean to be telling untruths just to push his agenda.
Live and learn I say.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 28, 2007 at 08:15:54

Capitalist,

I've heard this argument before, particularly during the Council discussion that followed Richard Gilbert's presentation in 2006. I've responded to this argument here:

http://raisethehammer.org/blog/219

and here:

http://raisethehammer.org/article/317

Essentially, justifying development that just happens to be around the airport is straightforward post hoc reasoning. The whole purpose of developing the lands around the airport was to leverage the transit node as an economic development lever. Without airport-oriented development, there's no point in putting the development land there at all.

Mark,

You raise some interesting points about the relationship between number of flights and economic activity. I'm certainly interested in learning more about this.

Flight Bird,

I see you're still ignoring arguments and attacking personalities. That's unfortunate - it certainly doesn't move the debate forward, and it rather sounds like you have a personal agenda.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 28, 2007 at 09:58:46

for the most part, some good reading here lately. I've also heard some info regarding the airport numbers being up this year over last year and last year up over the year before that. Apparently going back 3 years is when Westjet left and obviously that puts a huge dent into the numbers.

I, too wonder about the logic of saying "any industry can locate here, airport-related or not". We've had the Glanbrook Business Park sitting empty for decades. Why would we think that business will flock to our little airport if they won't flock (or come at all) to an identical park 15 minutes away?

We've been building highways in and around Hamilton for the past decade in earnest - 403 extension, QEW widening, Linc, new Hwy 6 and Red Hill. Our industrial/business development has gone down, not up, during that time. Will another 5 highways do the trick? No. The best thing happening in Hamilton right now (besides downtown development, which is really at the heart of this issue of business attraction) is the new $1.5 million being earmarked for the EcDev department. I recall sitting in Vancouvers airport several years ago and reading ads from Halton and Toronto trying to lure people and business there. Hamilton needs to get aggressive in attracting business. Bottom line. We can build highways until we look and smell like L.A. but nobody will locate here if they know nothing about us and when they finally do come to check out our city they are greeted by a sub-par downtown. Harry Stinson was right - downtown is what matters. A healthy downtown breeds a healthy city. It's the face and image of the city. If we would get half as serious about that as we are about highways we'd have no problem attracting new jobs and business to our city.

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By Larry Di Ianni (anonymous) | Posted December 28, 2007 at 11:02:30

Ryan, I agrree with you, fighting or insulting isn't the way to advance perspectives. But since you raise the issue of airport developments, you know I've written about the importance of this on my own blog, www.chrisecklund.com and follow my archived posts.
I also responded to you regarding Portland Oregon and your praise for that community by pointing out its port and airport developments, let me re-paste it here in the hopes of pointing out some benefits that might accrue to us.

By Larry Di Ianni
Posted 11/22/2007 11:52:15 PM

Ryan points out Portland, Oregon as an example for Hamilton to follow. For once, I think, Ryan and I are going to agree. Portland is indeed a city that is being successful in a number of important areas: social sustainability, environmental responsibility and economic well-being. All three are important. What Ryan may not tell you, but I will is that, in part, the economic successes of Portland are due to the Port of Oregon, established in the 1890's through state legislation. This port is responsible for the operation and maintenance of among other things several marine terminals, 4 airports (Portland International, Hillsboro, Mulino and Troutdale) and SEVEN Business parks.
The mission statement for the port says this: "The mission of the Port of Portland is to enhance the region's economy and quality of life by providing efficient cargo and air passenger access to national and global markets."

The 2007 review of Port activities, available online, gives some startling and impressive statistics.
.Maritime and Aviation activities contribute to over 30,000 direct jobs for the citizens of the area. 18,712 are aviation related and 11,724 marine.
.There are more than 300 firms in the business parks which in turn generate an additional 35,000 jobs not all aviation or marine related.
.over $180M go towards local and state annual taxes.
.$1.75Billion in earnings for workers annually

And these are just some of the economic benefits.

Ryan, thank you for helping me make my case. Hamilton deserves no less in opportunities. We are not Portland, but if all of us work together rather than fight each other, I am convinced we can enjoy the best of all worlds.

As for the McLean article on the airport, let me just point out the obvious: HIA is an aviation success story both as a cargo airport AND as a passenger terminus. More can be done and more should be done in this regard. True the oil crisis is going to affect air travel, but I prefer the Gwynne Dyer approach to the problem which states that governments and industry must be proactive in preventing a disaster. There is still time to do that if the political will can be found.
As for employment land development, I just discovered that the city of London Ontarion has quietly done what Hamilton has been promising to do for years, that is designate lands around its airport for employment purposes. London's airport and employment lands as well as Kitchener's airport and employment lands are our competitors for jobs and industrial location...we cannot afford to sit on the sidelines, in my humble opinion.
I will probably write more extensively on the London initiatives once I find out more about them.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 28, 2007 at 11:47:52

Larry,

Several more comments followed yours that added context to your argument that Portland's economic success is due significantly to its airports:

http://raisethehammer.org/blog/846#comme...

I'd add the following observations:

  • Portland's transportation infrastructure emphasizes shipping, rail transport, and air transport, but de-emphasizes highways. Portland actually ripped up its ring highways in the 1970s when it started to rebuild its light rail network.

  • Portland set a very strict urban boundary and has fitted business park development within that boundary. Hamilton is looking to expand its urban boundary while urban lands go undeveloped and existing greenfield business parks sit empty.

  • Much of the vitality of Portland's business parks is connected to the extent to which they are themselves connected to its vibrant, dense, robust downtown through proximity and transit. In Hamilton, we are busy sacrificing our downtown and starving our transit system so we can invest in highways and greenfield development.

  • As a corollary to the previous point, Portland's economic boom is connected to its ability to attract highly skilled, highly employable and entrepreneurial people. That ability is tied directly to its very heavy focus on downtown revitalization, with growth in its business parks tangentially related.

In Hamilton, by contrast, we are engaging in "Cargo Cult" economic development: we go through the motions of building greenfield business parks in the hope that businesses will land there, without looking at the real drivers that generate innovative business: highly skilled, highly employable and entrepreneurial people.

  • Finally, Portland is now looking seriously at the extent to which its economy depends on air transport, which it acknowledges is highly vulnerable to declines in oil production. The Gilbert report notwithstanding, Hamilton still refuses to take the energy situation into consideration when making its economic development plans.

It's all post hoc reasoning to justify the plans we already made, as I mentioned above. The famous quote from John Maynard Keynes comes to mind:

"When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"

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By Larry Di Ianni (anonymous) | Posted December 28, 2007 at 17:26:06

Ryan, at some point the argument becomes circular and non productive, but in the spirit of enhancing the discussion I offer these points:

1. The RHVP is a project that should have been built many many years ago. The history of its delay is well known. That infrastructure is as much about catching up with development on the east mountain as promoting new industrial development. The Hemson study which has been shelved for poor reasons, I maintain, speaks volumes about these issues. The Glanbrook industrial park hasn't been looked at in 25 years because the RHVP was not built; and money for servicing was needed. The province helped with the funding and the road is now causing businesses to take a real interest in the Park.
We need a vibrant down town no question about that and we need to put real resources behind it from a tripartite perspective: the city, the province and private money. (On this I say hooray, Mr. Stinson who sings from the same song book.) We also need to fund the investments in our downtown. We can't do that unless we grow the economy and jobs for our citizens. Brownfields redevelopment is VERY important, but so is attracting businesses like Proctor and Gamble who were looking away from Burlington street where they were, and chose Brantford because we had no comparables to offer. There are other examples and I've written about them.
A firm urban boundary, as much as that can be done (again see my latest thoughts on Sprawl on Chriseclund.com) can only be achieved through a united city. That is one of the tangible benefits of amalgamation. And our GRIDS process was addressing this in a sustainable way.
Some thoughts for now.

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By SHemphill (registered) | Posted December 28, 2007 at 23:51:10

This is an interesting Blog Don. I'd like to comment as a newbie on RTH.

I think that the idea of putting in rapid transit through Upper James is a good idea. Let's face it though - Hamilton Mountain has to be an example of the worst urban planning anywhere. It is suburbia gone mad & Upper James is its "Golden Mile" (the irony is that the gold doesn't refer to the precious metal).

How do we fix this mess over the next generation? The area needs to be densified re-development needs to take place. The UJ RT line could be a spine that would allow future East West Mountain routes to be developed. IMO the socio economic realities of the next 30 years, are that Ontario's ability to manufacture goods (without importing everything from China) is going to be entirely based on a very open and liberal immigration policy. Hamilton is a very low density urban area (including the downtown). I'd hazard a guess that we could double the population from 500k to a Million without increasing the urban/sub-urban footprint. If we are smart about this process - Hamilton can be an urban leader and use the change to become a great city (again). RT opportunities should be seized and expanded upon & anything that allows people into that area without driving can only be a good thing. Failure to grasp this - comdemns UJ and the Mountain in general to more of the same sub-urban car dependent sprawl that is its bain right now.

Secondly - I'll voice support for the airport. It's a vital infrastructure item that enhances our quality of life and our economy. Just beacuse it has struggled to compete with the monster that is Pearson Airport doesn't mean that we should write it off. On the contrary we need to support and nourish it. Please don't jump on Miller's anti-airport bandwagon. More & smaller airports are far preferable to massive national airports IMO.

Steve

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By hamstroll (registered) | Posted December 30, 2007 at 06:39:20

Transportation is land, sea and air. We have all three but need to level the portions.
LRT would be great but we need to set boundaries and then fill in the blanks. So we enhance and improve the airport(air)and continue with the harbour (sea) and roads are on track with the RHP. Now just connect the dots.
I strongly agree that we need a way for lower wage earners need a mode of transport to work and the cargo terminals have strange hours and no real transport. We need to look at say Winnipeg, Where we have a bus route that ends at the HSR depot south of Rymal they have the route start/ends at the airport and a bus every 15 minutes. So start with the bus immediately to the airport. If the need is there it will warrant (or not) the proposed LRT for Upper James. It took 50 years for the RHP do we have to wait 50 for the Lister Block.
There are many self serving agendas if we had a free bus system that covered east to west and airport to harbour the taxi and limo services would suffer as well as families could go with one car and share that. So car sales would be affected. Car insurance would decrease as less traffic less claims less pay outs.
In Labrador car insurance is minimal as there is only a couple hundred Km of paved roads around Goose Bay. So bottom line the idea of an LRT on Upper James is too premature. Start a HI to Jackson /Sq run immediately and run it 0500 to 2400 so the casual (part time) employees at the cargo terminals can be in for 0100 and home after their short shifts.

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By Rick (anonymous) | Posted December 30, 2007 at 16:05:06

I am confused? If putting a BRT/LRT east west in the lower city will cause an increase in development, densifications and encourage people to go by transit instead of a car, then would not doing the same be expected of an Upper James route?

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By Rick (anonymous) | Posted December 30, 2007 at 16:34:33

Your out to lunch on this one. They need service to Hamilton International Airport. The Airport is booming and the lands around it will inevitably be developed. The only thing you are doing is driving up the cost of the project by delaying it like the Red Hill that should have been built years ago. I do work at the airport part time and there are a lot of people working there right now 24/7.

As to that totally out of context article in CATCH, here are a few quotes I have read in Sky Scrapers.com and would like to share with everyone.

“Interesting fact is that the airport only severed 16,000 people about 10 years ago and 22,500 in 1999. This year they should be doing between 700,000 to 750,000 passengers. The 1986 terminal was built to serve 450,000 passengers.”

“They are cherry picking a specific month, November '07. Combined August, May and June it increased 21.8%, don't see that being mentioned much. Sure aircraft movement went down in the last 3 years but CATCH fails to mention Flyglobespan, which started service this year. November when down because Flyglobespan ended its summer service and taking a break over the winter, so of course it went down. “


”CATCH is massaging the data to suit its own agenda. Bottom line, the airport is much more profitable today than it was two years ago, even three years ago when traffic was at its peak. Remember, WestJet used Hamilton as its central hub, until it pulled out three years ago. This was a huge setback for the airport, but was a singular event with a ripple effect on the stats for the airport. This resulted in flights dropping dramatically in 2004 - 3 years ago. So, this singular event would skew a three-year average to look like a long-term decline. Compare today's flight figures to 2005 figures, and you could say that aircraft movements are trending up!”

“This story is out of context. First aircraft movements do not relate to passengers volume, cargo volume, greater landing fees or size of planes. Some examples.
· A friend of mine who is an avid flyer just recently moved his small single engine plane from Hamilton International to the Stoney Creek Airpark because HI is too busy. He flies about 3 times a week. They are not going to miss his landing fees. Aircraft movements include private aircraft.
· Take London Ontario. They have between 1 and 3 flights a day with WestJet. Hamilton has 7 to 9 flights a day with large aircraft. Air Canada London 12 flights a day with 18 to 50 passenger planes, Hamilton 5 flights a day with 37 to 50 passenger planes. They also have 3 flights a day to Detroit with Northwest on 34 seat aircraft. Hamilton does more charters a day from December to April and more international flights a day from April to November. At certain times of the year, London has more movements a day than Hamilton but Hamilton always does more passengers because of the size of planes.
· UPS had at one time 3 B727-100 aircraft a day into Hamilton with a total of 21 containers and limited belly freight. Then they went to 2 B757-200’s with a total of 30 containers and larger belly freight. Now they use and DC-8 and a B757-200 with a more containers and greater belly freight. At times they change the planes to an A-300 that has 30 containers by it’s self. Less aircraft movement did not translate to less freight. The heavier aircraft generated higher landing and parking fees.

As you can see, just because a month or two, and November is the slowest month for aircraft movements anywhere, are slower than before, does not mean the airport is not doing well. Catch has aligned its self with the anti-airport movement.

If they compare it with the last year of WestJet before they moved to Toronto and now, it is down. If you look at passenger growth from last year to this year, than it is up. They should be doing between 700,000 to 750,000 passengers this year. London did only 413,000 passengers in 2006. Interesting, London International’s annual report shows their aircraft movement is down over the last 3 years.”

”Hamilton International Airport Update
Plans are being drawn up for the expansion on the departure area. It will be expanded out to the north of the terminal. The addition will hold over 800 passengers at one time. The present area now holds approximately 300 passengers. Space will be provided for more concession and food stands. There will be a larger duty free shop in the departure area.

The apron will also be expanded. The area to the east of departure area and up in behind the international arrivals area will be expanded. The aircraft will then park on three sides of the terminal with the international flights on the eastside in behind and closer to the international arrivals area.

The departure area expansion and apron expansion should be completed by the end on April 2008”

“By the time the entire project is done inside and out it will be June 2008. Around that time they plan to have plans finalized for the next phase and off to the board in Vancouver (the owners of the airport) for approval.

They are going to build a second floor on the building (size unknown to me) that will be the new departure area. This will be very large with air bridges to they aircraft. Almost all of the present and future concession areas will be moved up there. The new entrance to that area will be stairs where the present security area and Tim Hortons are located. At that time the first floor departure area and arrivals area will be joined together to make a large arrivals area. This project should be completed by late 2009 or early 2010. This will depend on how fast Vancouver allows it to start.”

“On phase 1(2008) of the Hamilton Airport Expansion. Value of the terminal works $3.5 million. Value of the apron expansion and new ramp lighting $3 million. Total $6.5 million. (Work has now started)

International expansion should be finished December 12th.

2nd floor expansion (Phase 2) will cover most of the 1st floor part except part of the front that was not designed for a second level. There will be 7 air bridges to aircraft with boarding areas expanded to the east. Phase 3 will be built to the west and will have 8 air bridges for a total of 15.

Phase 2 is expected to be finished by early 2010. Total value of phase 2 will be between $30 and $35 million.”


”Other updates from Hamilton International Airport (YHM)
· Air Bridge Cargo, which is poised to launch flights from its Siberian hub via a Canadian point to Houston with its new Boeing 747-400ERF, also ruled out Toronto for cost reasons, narrowing the choice down to either nearby Hamilton or Montreal-Mirabel.
· Cargojet of Canada, with a large base and hanger at Hamilton International Airport are adding a Boeing 757-200F aircraft. There are un-confirmed reports that a deal for Cargojet to lease in two Boeing 767 freighters from UPS. These aircraft will most likely based in Hamilton.
· Cargojet has also ruled out a move to Toronto, calling the airport's landing fees prohibitive.”

Catch is just Anti-airport and has aligned themselves with that whole group that fought the Red Hill and have nothing else to do so they picked something. RTH seems to be going that way also. I think they both should put their efforts into something else like getting several LRT routes into Hamilton.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 30, 2007 at 20:26:19

interesting stats Rick. good info to know. your final statement about "RTH seems to be going that way also (anti-airport)" is furthest from the truth. We support rapid transit on Upper James and a cross-mountain route and have discussed the need to densify upper james:

http://www.raisethehammer.org/blog.asp?i...

http://www.raisethehammer.org/index.asp?...

Increased rapid transit is essential to the health of the city.
I don't think 2,000 acres of greenfield land should be opened up only to have it sit empty until the homebuilders come along and waste a pile more tax-payers money. If major firms want to locate here, lets talk. I haven't heard of one.

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By liveD (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2007 at 01:08:41

Rick, it looks like CATCH is being hoisted on its own petard!!! Wouldn't be the first time.

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By Ted Mitchell (registered) | Posted December 31, 2007 at 05:11:03

Let's return to Don's points and get away from beating up the strawman.

While critics may congratulate themselves on being clever, go back and read the article. I'll just reprint the main points and you decide if their validity has been challenged by any of the previous comments:

It is almost entirely composed of strip malls, car dealerships and fast food joints. How many people take the bus to or from such "destinations"?

There are hardly any homes and even fewer apartments along this road, and nearly none south of Mohawk Road. Who is going to fill up those mega buses?

The first words out of the mouth of the head of the consulting team were: "It's a north-south corridor linking the airport through to the downtown."

Presumably no one has told the province that the HSR has extended bus service to the airport twice in the last decade and withdrawn it both times because of a lack of passengers.

Let's put the new buses to proper use on HSR routes that are already overloaded and where people actually live.

Extending a rapid transit service to the mountain is a good idea and a necessary step - but there are lots better places to put it than along Upper James to Mount Hope.

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By Ted Mitchell (registered) | Posted December 31, 2007 at 05:23:39

Responding to Mark on Mirabel:

Munro makes money now because it has grown slowly in response to demand. According to the market, it is the "right size" for Hamilton today.

If massively expanded rapidly it will lose money just like Mirabel because that is generally what happens to forced megaprojects that ignore basic economics.

The term is white elephant.

You don't even need to invoke peak oil to predict the outcome of the aerotropolis.

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By mark (registered) | Posted December 31, 2007 at 08:12:04

I'd like to respond to Ted Mitchell's latest posts here today. Please allow me to summarize the challenges made to the main points he lists as the gist of this article thus far:

You cite the strip malls and fast food joints along Upper James as evidence that there is not enough destination points along this proposed higher-order transit route to justify this existence. This is an extremely weak arguement. Following the route from its northern terminus to its southern terminus, one can identify several destination points that should be served by higher-order transit. Most obvious is the downtown core itself, which will be a destination for mountain residents who commute downtown for work, who want to shop downtown, or enjoy one of the many events scheduled downtown, be it a show at Hamilton Place or a Bulldogs game at Copps. In addition, the Hunter Street bus terminal, being a multi-mode transit hub, is a destination in its own right. The next major destination that this route will serve is Mohawk College. Post-secondary educational facilities are obvious destinations to be considered when planning higher-order transit routes. And, like it or not, the airport at the southern terminus of the proposed route is a destination point as well. Other lesser destination points include the retail centre at Upper James and Fennell, bus transfer points to east-west mountain routes at Fennell, Mohawk and Stone Church Roads, and the cinema complex south of Stone Church.

To address the concern that there is not the ridership potential along this route, I'd ask you to refer to Exhibit 3.5 in the city's May 2007 working paper on higher-order transit strategy. The population density across the mountain is pretty much consistent, and there is no area on the mountain with superior density levels to that along Upper James. Moreover, of the existing north-south mountain routes, the highest riderships can be found on routes 26 and 35, the routes that most closely follow the proposed north-south RT route.

As for the first words out of the consultant's mouth, of course they woudl be espousing the benfits of an airport link to the downtown core. This is a no-brainer. Airport transit links to the core of the city it serves is apple-pie and motherhood for practically every major city with an international airport - it just makes sense. Major cities with international airports have, or are in the process of developing transit links to the core of the city that airport services. Since the capital cost of the RT is being covered by the province and the feds, why not implement the infrastructure while it isn't the city's cheque being cut?

While previous attempts to serve the airport with an HSR route have not been successful, please keep this in context. The first attempt was made when annual passenger counts were less than 30,000. This year, passenger traffic will exceed 700,000. Furthermore, airport employment a decade ago was a fraction of what it is today. And, if memory serves, the second attempt showed promise, but fell victim to post-amalgamation cost-cutting efforts. Had the HSR stuck it out, the route extension to the airport would be successful. In fact, the route service to the airport was never abandoned, just shelved until a more sustainable ridership could be achieved. Given the current level of employment at the airport and the current passenger counts, reintroduction of HSR service would be inevitable regadless.

As for the final point about putting buses where the ridership is, this is really a rehash of a point made earlier in your summary. Once again I refer you to review the 2007 working paper for Hamilton's higher-order transit strategy. There really is no north-south mountain route with greater potential, or a higher count of key destination points.

Now, with regards your post today about Munro Airport, you are bang on about its success being tied to the rate of expansion at the airport. As you say , if expansion is too rapid, the airport would risk becoming a white elephant. That is exactly why expansion at the airport contues to be measured expansion.

Vancouver's Tradeport has been a stellar performer as far as matching expansion at YHM to growth. Continued expansion of the airport is tied to growth, as witnessed by the phases of expansion it has on the books for the coming years. The airport is not about to expand at a rate more rapid than growth, so the white elephant analogy simply does not apply here as it did in Mirabel.

Surely you are not interpreting aerotropolis as an airport expansion megaproject like Mirable of the 70's. If so, your logical progression is seriously flawed. I would strongly suggest you actually spend some time carefully reviewing the airport employment growth study reports as they are made available on the city website before making such a precarious leap.

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By Flight Bird (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2007 at 15:04:13

Mark for Mayor!!!

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By Ted Mitchell (registered) | Posted December 31, 2007 at 16:42:02

Mark, can you post the ridership and utilization percentage of the routes you list 26 & 35 and compare them to the main/king routes? I cannot find this info on the city website (imagine!) This data could give your argument about expanding BRT south instead of east/west more weight.

Second, can you comment on how 'measured expansion' of the airport requires 1200 hectares of virgin land?

Third, unless I am seriously mistaken, the aerotropolis is a cargo-oriented strategy, so throwing around passenger numbers may be misleading or irrelevant.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 31, 2007 at 17:05:22

yea, I'm a little confused as to why we're talking about passenger numbers here. BRT to the airport will be for the workers there now and supposedly, more, in the future. I don't think people coming from Halifax are going to get off a WestJet flight and hop onto an HSR bus.
I, too, have heard that the 27 route is one of the busier mountain routes, but the numbers are nothing like the King/Main corridor. we need to seriously ramp up service along King/Main before putting new 60-foot buses on upper james. this is all backwards (which sadly, is fitting for the HSR).

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By mark (registered) | Posted December 31, 2007 at 19:05:30

Ted, is this an article about the feasibility of higher-order transit on Upper James, or about aerotropolis? Passenger counts are entirely relevant when discussing the appropriateness of BRT having a terminus at the airport. This is not a critique of the airport employment lands

I think there is huge confusion over what exactly is being proposed for Upper James. The articulated buses are part of the plan to have a dedicated north/south RT for Hamilton.

Of course ridership is much higher along the proposed east-west route. That is why the B-Line, precursor to the east-west dedicated RT line is already running on this route.

Where are you guys getting the idea that this north-south route is getting priority over the east-west RT route? Ted's claim that BRT is expanding south instead of east-west is completely false. A dozen articulated buses have already been acquired for the B-Line. Both lines need to be developed concurrently if an effective rapid transit system is to be established in this city. No where has it even been hinted that RT will come to Upper James before it is in place downtown.

Ted is also being a bit misleading with his second point, with the 1200-hectare 'sky is falling' routine. Zoning the land and developing the land are two completely different activities. Do you honestly think that a shovel is poised to dig up all 1200 hectares the very moment the zoning has been completed? The land is being proposed for zoning for development specific to the objectives of the airport employment lands strategy, a strategy that will be developed ove rthe course of the upcoming year. This is known as smart city planning, the kind of planning that should be encouraged. And let's not confuse airport expansion with designating land zoned for airport-related industry, okay?

Jason, I disagree that air passengers will not use the RT line once it is in place. In my travels throughout Europe and North America, any airport I have encountered that has this kind service in place has been used extensively by travellers arriving at the airport and heading for the city core. Remember, we are talking about a RT express route with limited stops along the route, like the existing B-Line except running on a dedicated line. And, the line is not being developed strictly to deliver people to and from the airport. Keep in mind though, as I mentioned in my post earlier today, the airport is just one of several key destination points along this proposed route.

Thoughout all my posts, I have made every effort to focus on the original thesis that Don McLean presented in his commentary. He claimed that the proposed Upper James Rapid Transit route is a bad idea, a thesis that in my opinion is completely wrong. I have made a point-by-point effort to disprove that thesis and have made every attempt to resist playing right into the hands of those who are intent on hijacking a discussion about rapid transit to make it a referendum on airport employment land zoning. Can all the other posters here make the same effort to stay on topic, or is this discussion doomed to scope creep?

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By Rick (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2007 at 22:40:57

There is a relationship between passengers and the number of people who work at the airport. I had read a report during amalgamation on how many people a day would come through the airport by 2007 had Westjet kept thier hub in Hamilton. This report was done for servicing the airport for everything from water and sewer to fire, police and EMS services. It was based on a formula from Transport Canada that every passenger required “X” amont of people to service the action of flying to and from an airport and the people who meet and see off the passengers. This included everything from ticket takers, to pilots to janitors to cab and limo drivers to the prople who work at Tim Hortons to guys who plow the runways and parking lots.
The formula said there will be .8 of a person servicing every 1 passengers. It was a planning tool for long term planning.
Using that formula, Hamilton Airport has about 1500 employyes there every day serviceing passengers. When they get to 1 million passengers they will have about 2000 there everyday.
The 2006 annual report states they have 3,600 jobs (direct and indirect) at the airport for the combined passenger and cargo operation.
And the amalgamation report. It was based of 5 million passengers a year through the airport. That works out to 13,700 passengers and 11,300 workers or 25,000 people a day coming trough Hamilton Airport.
If you could get just ¼ of the workers there today to take the bus, you would get 900 people a day to the airport on the A-line.

And as to passenger taking a bus to the airport, last year in Europe I took the bus once and the train once to the airport. I hope the HSR puts a place on the bus for people to place their luggage.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 01, 2008 at 09:24:33

just for clarification sake - the east/west line has 7 articulated buses and runs limited hours and only 5 days a week. I'd prefer these 6 new artics to be put there and make it a full time route BEFORE doing the A-Line. Having said that, I fully support a north/south rapid transit line such as the one being proposed. We need to get serious if we're going to lure away some of the mountain residents from their single-occupany cars zipping through downtown neighbourhoods each day a mere 10 minutes from home. An RT trip from Up. James and Mohawk to Gore Park would be less than 10 minutes on this new route. Hopefully some folks around there will start using it.

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By Don McLean (anonymous) | Posted January 01, 2008 at 20:40:50

Thanks for all the comments. I just wanted to respond to the figures about airport employment. The numbers provided by the airport managers are based on a study done in 2002 by InterVISTAS Consulting Ltd which investigated the economic impacts of the airport. It says "HIA supports 1550 direct jobs in the Hamilton area" and then expands this number to 3650 as "the total economic impacts, including the multiplier effects". While this is a 2002 study, the most recent reports by Tradeport to Hamilton council continue to use the 3650 jobs figure, and that makes sense because the airport activity has not expanded since 2002 and in fact the number of flights has declined as reported by Statistics Canada and summarized recently by CATCH.

Mark suggests one-quarter of the airport area employees could be convinced to take the bus. Unfortunately, the actual transit usage in Hamilton per day is about 6 percent of the trips. Six percent of 1550 is only 93 passengers. A 30-minute service would mean over 30 trips per day, so that works out to about 3-4 passengers per trip.

The "on-site employment" of 1550 jobs, however, is not confined to the airport terminal. The study indicates that over half (694) of the jobs are with "cargo companies", a reference to the presence of UPS and Purolator package handling facilities near the airport. HIA claims to be the largest cargo-courier airport in Canada (a claim also made by Winnipeg - but I've been unable to find any other reference to this term). I presume it means a lot of courier packages fly out of and into HIA. That mostly occurs at night which has been a sore point for neighbours (extending over much of the city - I hear them in lower Stoney Creek). Hamilton airport allows 24-hour flights, and this has been credited with making the airport viable.

The study says that 102 were employed as "Aircraft Handlers and Traffic Control", 95 people worked at the "Air Terminal Building", 85 were with "Government Agencies", and 45 with the "Airport Authority". The total employment also includes the Warplane Heritage Museum.

The claim for off-site direct employment is 123 people including 24 hotel employees.

As I noted in my article, the HSR has provided regular bus service to the airport twice in the last decade, most recently after this employment study was completed. It was withdrawn both times because of poor usage.

One of the reasons is that a substantial number of the cargo employees work night shifts - often split shifts - so while these workers are least likely to be able to afford a car, they need 24-hour bus service - something that the HSR doesn't offer anywhere in the city.

I suggested to HSR staff that the companies at the airport be asked to participate in an employer-subsidized transit pass program to encourage more use of the HSR and establish an economic argument for airport service. I was told this suggestion had been made and the companies had refused, saying they already pay taxes.

At this point, there is a private bus service between the airport and the downtown, and the city has contributed some monies toward the start up of this operation.

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By Flight Bird (anonymous) | Posted January 01, 2008 at 22:35:13

Now I'm really confused. Don MacLean is actually making the point that the airport is a viable employment node. And yet he and his cronies (including those who don't like the airport noise) are fighting the airport and the areotropolis expansion. How do you figure that? I think Don speaks out of both sides of his mouth.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 02, 2008 at 08:21:44

I think you're "really confused" because you continue to attack a straw man instead of what Don is actually saying.

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By gay people (anonymous) | Posted January 02, 2008 at 10:43:19

YOU'RE ALL GAY!...don't you have anything else to do other than talk about Don MacLean

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By a gay person (anonymous) | Posted January 02, 2008 at 11:21:24

Hey, Don McLean is a handsome guy, but talking (or writing) about him doesn't make one gay. Also, as a gay person, I'm curious why you seem to be using "gay" in a negative sense - almost as if you feel threatened somehow by homosexuality...

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By peter (anonymous) | Posted January 02, 2008 at 11:41:29

i think this conversation has degenerated beyond any point of return. perhaps it's for the best.

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By mark (registered) | Posted January 02, 2008 at 12:39:22

To clarify, I have never made any kind of ridership level claims based on the number of employees working at the airport. I am not sure why Don incorrectly cites me as saying that 25% of the airport staff would ride transit if it was offered, but I have never made such a claim in any of my posts here. This does not bode well for his credibility on this discussion.

Don does, however, provide us with an excellent example of how to incorrectly extrapolate statistical information to construct misleading results. While it is true that only 6% of all citizens use Hamilton's transit system, this number cannot be used to estimate individual line ridership in the way that Don uses it to estimate the potential level of ridership to the airport by its employees. Let me illustrate the fallacy of such an exercise.

McMaster University has about 30,000 full-time students, staff and faculty. Using Don's 6% rule, of these 30,000 people, only 1800 would use the HSR to get to Mac. The campus is currently served by approximately 180 HSR trips to McMaster's Sterling Street stop. This averages out to only 10 riders per run. So, using the exact same logic that Don does to estimate the airport ridership, we can make the (equally incorrect) assumption that McMaster is currently over-served by HSR runs and should be drastically scaled back. And I am being more generous than Don with my estimation because I include employees and visitors to Mac, where he based his estimate for the airport exclusively on airport employees. The logic in using this percentage to determine ridership levels is just as seriously flawed as using air movement counts to measure airport sustainability.

Jason, I stand corrected on the number of articulated buses recently acquired for the east-west RT route. While twelve hybrid buses were acquired, only seven of them were the higher-capacity articulated buses. Thank you for setting the record straight. I agree with you that service levels should be increased on the east-west line. However, I feel this should be along with, not instead of, introducing a north-south line. Since the cost of the buses for the north-south line is being picked up entirely by the province via Metrolink, the city should be able to focus capital investment on additional rolling stock for the east-west line, as well as the new routes it is going to introduce this year.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 02, 2008 at 12:58:33

I agree. I'd like to see both the B-Line and A-Line fully developed. I haven't heard anything from the HSR indicating that the B -Line will receive more artics and run full-time. It doesn't make any sense to leave people standing on the side of King St waiting for a bus while running nice new buses along Upper James half empty. Let's reward the people who already ARE the customers instead of trying to find new customers. I'd like both done, but B-Line should be priority.

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By to the gay person (anonymous) | Posted January 02, 2008 at 13:41:14

First of all, i wasnt calling anyone homosexual. There are TWO meanings to the word gay you know. One being homosexual and the other being happy. I use the word "gay" to express whatever im feeling, but cant seem to find the write word. I don't use it just to offend gays, and i dont really know where the hell you got the idea, saying i was threatened by homosexuality. My school is partly made up of gays and lesbians so i don't have a problem with it. which makes me think you were probably in an ESL class during your school years. Don't jump to conclusions when you see the word "gay". You're not so special that everyone seems to be talking about your sexuality... i could care less.

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By to the gay person (anonymous) | Posted January 02, 2008 at 13:50:18

oh, and i almost forgot. You commented on Don MacLean being a pretty handsome guy....uhh..I looked him up, siand i dont know about you, but he's not the youngest looking guy around. Or maybe you just prefer old men.

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By from the gay person (anonymous) | Posted January 02, 2008 at 14:04:17

Normally I don't like to troll, but you sound too frisky to pass up.

You were not calling people "happy" for talking about Don McLean, and you're lying when you say you were.

You were using "gay" as an insult, which means you think there is something wrong with being gay.

You wrote, "I don't use it *just* to offend gays" [emphasis added]. Kinda makes your "i don't have a problem with it" sound a bit lame.

Also, you need to invest in a thesaurus if you use the word "gay" when you don't know what word to use to express whatever you're feeling.

Finally, you write, "You're not so special that everyone seems to be talking about your sexuality... i could care less." That's pretty rich coming from someone who tried to insult a bunch of people by making assumptions about their sexuality. Can't have it both ways, you know.

Hugs and Kisses,
a gay person

P.S. Your criticism of Don's appearance is straightforward ageism. Then again, your comments suggest you're probably still in high school so maybe you're still in denial about the fact that one day you, too, will get old and young, arrogant pups insecure about their manhood will wrinkle their shiny, pimply noses at you. XOXO

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By to the gayass (anonymous) | Posted January 02, 2008 at 15:30:07

Yeah, i am still in highschool. What did you think? I'm not old and gay like you, interested in Don MacLean. Pretty gross and sad if you ask me. But, then again, you could be old and pimply like him. And, by the way, if you ever use the phrase "hugs and kisses" when replying to MY comment again, i swear you'll regret it.

And another thing, i was NOT trying to insult anyones sexuality. I can tell that you were never in the "in" crowd in your highschool years, because EVERYONE uses the word "gay" to express themselves. They're not always referring to homosexuals. Get that in your thick skull.

Also, why would you make such a rude and attacking comment like that anyway? If you were aware of the fact that i was still in highschool?

Simply because your just a lonely loser, living at home with your mother.

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By from the gayass (anonymous) | Posted January 02, 2008 at 15:54:55

My, you ARE too frisky to resist making another reply.

So, you think it's "gross and sad" to think an older man is handsome and you make threats against someone who writes "hugs and kisses" to you, but you're "NOT trying to insult anyone's sexuality".

Maybe in a few years you'll look back and be embarrassed by comments like this one, because you, sir, are homophobic whether you realize it or not. Your peers call things they don't like "gay" because they don't like gays.

In my high school years, we had different but equally intolerant terms for people and things we didn't like - it wasn't nice back then and it isn't nice now. "Everyone does it" was never much of an excuse and your generation is no different.

Hugs and kisses,
the gay person

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By mark (registered) | Posted January 02, 2008 at 16:05:28

Dear moderator, could we please have all the 'gay related' posts removed from this discussion as they are completely unrelated and debase the discussion entirely?

Thank you!

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By to gay person (anonymous) | Posted January 02, 2008 at 16:19:51

SIR? uh.. im a MAM

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By to gay person (anonymous) | Posted January 02, 2008 at 16:36:24

wow, that was a shocker, you thought i was a male all this time. That explains why you attacked me so harshly, thought i was tough enough to handle it i suppose. But alas, i'm just your average teenage girl.

P.S. i just realized something... i hope you werent interested in me all this time as an internet victim for your gay desires, thinking i was a boy...

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By Flight Bird (anonymous) | Posted January 02, 2008 at 16:40:34

I didn't mean for my comment to begin the crap about gayness or not gayness. What does that have to do with anything. I agree with Mark. These insults should not be allowed. I wasn;t even trying to set up a straw man. Its just that Don does this all the time. He misquotes and selects statistics and all is done to prove his point. Good for you Mark for standing up to that kind of oddball reasoning by Don who makes untrue, and deceitful claims. I agree that buses shoudl be provided but to set up the airport as a 'straw man' by those who don't like it is also bad.

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By to Fligh Bird (anonymous) | Posted January 02, 2008 at 17:25:53

OK, kiddo, noone cares about you and you didnt start anything. I just wondered why all of you were wasting your time commenting on this article (which explains my comment). I do admit that it was rude and childish and for that, im truly sorry. And after my commment, i recieved a comment from a gay person which was obviously blown out of proportion.

So, stop thinking you started the gay issue. It began after my comment.

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By Flight Bird (anonymous) | Posted January 02, 2008 at 17:48:50

Apology accepted. And by the way, my partner cares about me. My partner does think I'm wasting my time on here too..but i like reading peoples thoughts. And expressing my owen. It feels good to do that. And occasionally seeing pepole like Don Maclean get his comuppance.

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By bob (registered) | Posted January 02, 2008 at 18:42:55

is your partner a man?

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By Person (anonymous) | Posted January 03, 2008 at 00:27:19

Is he Dan McLean?

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By Flight Bird (anonymous) | Posted January 03, 2008 at 14:33:07

Yes, my partner is indeed a man. I am gay. And i love him and that is none of your concern.

And no, he is not DON (not dan) MacLean

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By Flight Bird (anonymous) | Posted January 03, 2008 at 14:48:33

Just for the record, the previous post is from an imposter flight bird....and whether I am gay or not is no one's business...and I agree with the previous post that this whole discussion has taken a turn for the worse. So I'll sign off now.

In the mean time the serious posts are worth thinking about especially the ones related to DON getting his comuppance.

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By Flight Bird (anonymous) | Posted January 03, 2008 at 15:07:35

Both the previous posts were imposters. It is no one's concern as to whether i am a homosexual. My sexuality is no one's business. A ll you need to know is that my partner truly cares about me and i love him. The sex of my partner should not matter, it is my love for him that does.

I LOVE YOU MARK<3<3

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By Beatle4 (registered) | Posted January 08, 2008 at 00:59:26

Personally, I don't give a flying flick about who posted what under someone elses nickname ( last couple of posts above) but I am a little concerned about this city spending more money on new bus routes when they can't control the ones in place already. Has anyone tried riding the Mowhawk lines lately? Trying to keep appts. on the central mountain when you have to catch a southbound Mohawk from Kenilworth and Barton is next to impossible. I think it would be in the H.S.R.'s best interests if they improved existing service before trying to start new routes and such.

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By transitory (anonymous) | Posted January 08, 2008 at 14:06:12

Upper James is a heavily travelled corridor, and as a north-south it's a convenient through-line to downtown. But mountain service is positively mangy on weekends, when you wait times range from 30-60 minutes across the board. That clearly needs to become more convenient if mountain dwellers -- whose numbers are large and growing -- are to adopt transit in any meaningful way. Chicken and egg, remember?

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By Doogleplex (anonymous) | Posted January 11, 2008 at 23:50:56

Just breezed through here and saw this ongoing discussion. LOL !!! Wanted to expand on some of the thoughts on the airport here.Don, you really need to research the facts on aircraft movements: ALL scheduled flights are recorded as movements, regardless of the size of the aircraft. I believe you chose NOT to see similar comments on this already made by Rick and Mark !! A Piper Cub scheduled to fly counts as a rotation just the same as a Boeing 737/757. Only difference here is that a 737 has 100+ passengers onboard that all paid a fair bit of cash for their flight (not to mention monies spent on services at the airport),while the Piper has maybe 4 passengers on board !The B757 has taken off with tens of thousands of pounds of cargo on board. The Piper took off with about 100 lbs. extra cargo !! The B757/737 pay out huge landing fees- the Piper paid out almost nothing !!
There isn't hardly any general aviation aircraft left at the airport (as compared to when I was a kid),and that is partly because their landing fees have also increased. London, Kitchener still have a large Gen. aviation population in comparison to Hamilton.Probably London's gen. aviation movements are relatively high because they have a light aircraft plant right on the premises !? I'm sure they make scheduled deliveries of their aircraft all the time. I'm sure alot of local gen. av. enthusiasts fly this aircraft right there at London !
Kitchener airport is small. they still have alot of light aviation enthusiasts that don't have to worry about high landing fees or lots of heavy commercial air traffic. They have a helo training school there as well, which will account for a bit of the rotations recorded there. If you check Google Earth you can see all of the small aircraft there. An interesting devlopment is that Kitchener's airport has seemed to realize that larger commercial aircraft make them more money and they seem eager to go head-to-head with Hamilton on that note !!
Finally I would like to add one more comment on the purchasing of lands around the airport. I don't see what the big mystery is to all of these posters here that don't understand it- Hamilton and the airport are just being proactive ! There buying up the land to keep all of the NIMBY's away from the airport so that they don't have near the headache in the future that they otherwise would ! NIMBY's such as Desnoyer, alot of you posters here, and anyone dumb enough to buy land near an airport that was here long before you were born !!

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By Flight Bird (anonymous) | Posted January 12, 2008 at 14:20:57

I didn't know what NIMBY meant so I looked it up in the dictionary....there were two faces, Desnoyer and MacLean. Very appropriate I thought.

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By Doogleplex (anonymous) | Posted January 12, 2008 at 17:03:47

LOL !!

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By dunno (anonymous) | Posted January 12, 2008 at 23:29:36

I am not sure it is a right place for this. Please move as appropriate:
=======================================
Competitive bidding system for nursing visits hurts patients, creates shortages of skilled workers
January 10, 2008
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
The Hamilton Spectator
(Jan 10, 2008)

The policies which have brought two long-serving and widely respected Hamilton nursing agencies to the brink of closure are at the core of the present battle to maintain quality health care in the region.

The Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) and St. Joseph's Home Care were told in mid-December that they have been dropped from a competition to continue providing visiting nursing services in the area.

The two conduct about 80 per cent of all existing visits. More than 200 nurses and administrative staff will face layoff at a time when other sectors are developing strategies to recruit and retain health workers amid growing shortages.

Without sufficient experienced home care workers in the community, hospitals will be unable to discharge patients to the community sooner, waits for visits to family doctors will lengthen, and the demand for nursing-home beds will rise.

Before 1997, many nonprofit community-based agencies did the work with ongoing funding from the Ministry of Health. Only 18 per cent of home care services were contracted to for-profit agencies.

In 1997 the Mike Harris government created a system of managed competition, where three-year contracts would be bid upon by both for-profit corporations and not-for-profit community-based organizations.

Each time a contract changed hands, all the workers lost jobs. The government recklessly assumed they would all reapply for jobs with the winning agency.

No other health sector operates like this. Workers are not dismissed and asked to reapply for their jobs when a nursing home changes ownership -- instead they are given rights under sale-of-business legislation.

When hospitals underwent mergers in the 1990s, the government negotiated with labour to protect their rights -- including wages, benefits, pensions, seniority and union representation.

These rights were recently extended to health care workers affected by restructuring ordered by the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs).

Officials contentiously claim these rights still do not apply to workers at home care agencies.

Contracting of home care agencies is the responsibility of the Community Care Access Centres. However, the rules around such contracting are established by the Ministry of Health.

The multistep process begins with a qualification stage. If an agency successfully qualifies, it proceeds with a written submission, interviews, site visits and price comparison.

Both the VON and St. Joseph's were eliminated on paper, before site visits or interviews took place. The price of their bid was never examined, nor their record in the community ever taken into consideration.

In 2004, many Ontario communities saw similar long-service agencies lose their contracts -- often to large for-profit corporations. In the first four years of competitive bidding, profit-driven companies captured 48 per cent of all home care contracts.

Niagara raised perhaps the biggest fight to preserve their local VON, which along with St. Elizabeth Nursing (renamed St. Joseph's Home Care), lost contracts amid complaints of bias in the bidding process.

Contrary to the government's assumptions, most workers did not go to work for the successful agencies in Niagara, creating major challenges for patient care. Amid worker shortages, care visits were missed or rushed, leaving some patients in precarious circumstances.

That fall, George Smitherman, the health minister, placed a moratorium on competitive bidding, asking former federal health minister Elinor Caplan to do a review. Caplan was never given a mandate to look beyond managed competition -- only to tinker with the rules.

The present situation in Hamilton proves her recommendations fall short of the objective to retain workers in the sector and protect the continuity of care for patients.

No evidence has ever been gathered to prove competitive bidding works. Studies have shown that it creates a disruption to the quality of care patients receive, that it is responsible for growing shortages of home health care workers, and that the process is both expensive to run and costly in its outcome.

In 2004 the Ontario auditor noted that one CCAC complained of costs escalating by 48 per cent per nursing visit after the bidding process.

In a two-year period when the Harris government froze funding, there was a 30 per cent drop in homemaking hours and a 22 per cent drop in professional care.

When workers are getting wage increases of only 2 to 3 per cent per year -- and wages are the major cost to agencies -- such a reduction in service is hard to explain beyond the need for profit-taking at the expense of front-line care.

There was a time, when in opposition, that Dalton McGuinty opposed this method of contracting home care providers. At a 1999 Queen's Park rally in support of the Windsor VON, he said, "If we begin to look at health care as a commodity to be auctioned off to the lowest bidder, we're looking at a reduction in the quality of services."

Now McGuinty is premier, and his words never rang more true.

The government should immediately acknowledge the rights of these workers to move with their work, like other health care workers.

The premier also needs a more thorough look at alternatives to the present bidding process.

In the meantime, the moratorium on contracts should be extended. By doing so, he not only keeps health professionals on the job, but he protects some of the most vulnerable patients in the province and the integrity of the entire health system.

Home care workers are asking Hamiltonians to support them in a rally Wednesday, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m. at the Michelangelo Banquet Centre, 1555 Upper Ottawa St., Hamilton.

Warren (Smokey) Thomas is president of Ontario Public Service Employees Union.

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By CC (anonymous) | Posted January 12, 2008 at 23:39:06

Let's face it the VON administration blew it with their incompetent bid. It isn't the fault of those evaluating the bid that VON was disqualified. It is the fault of those who put together a bid that a 5th grader could have done better on. Now the bellyaching starts and they want to blame those who need to assess fairly all bids. Get over it VON. Your team was incompetent. CUPE is closing the barn door after the horses have bolted. Also, you will all have jobs AND a more competent admin staff.

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By Caub (anonymous) | Posted April 17, 2008 at 12:29:22

Do you know how many pedestrians die on highway 6 (Mont Hope-Hamilton Mountaing garage) recently because lack of transportation? The last lose was a 21 years old student. WHY? BECAUSE THERE IS NO BUS GOING TO MOUNT HOPE.

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