Special Report: Climate Change

What The City Should Do About Climate Change

Explanation and background on the ten new steps Environment Hamilton recommends for the city to address the challenges of climate change.

By Environment Hamilton
Published March 27, 2009

What The City Should Do About Climate Change Explanation and background on the ten steps Environment Hamilton recommends for the city to address the challenges of climate change.

At its 2009 Annual General Meeting, Environment Hamilton released a new list of ten steps the city of Hamilton can take to address the challenges of climate change:

Contents

  1. Permanently protect Hamilton's foodlands by freezing the urban boundary and locating 100 percent of growth within this boundary.

  2. Commit to no net increase in surface parking lots and total road space (kilometre lanes) for motor vehicles.

  3. Commit now to paying the municipal portion of a light rail system for Hamilton.

  4. Use traffic calming to achieve 30 km/hr speed limits in residential areas where there is a demand.

  5. Mail ten free bus tickets to each household for use on HSR or DARTS.

  6. Establish 100 new community garden plots each year for the next five years on underused city lands, and support them with equipment, materials and staffing.

  7. Begin purchasing EcoLogo-certified green electricity to achieve the goal of powering all city facilities (owned and leased) with renewable energy by 2020.

  8. Adopt a municipal buy local purchasing policy, establishing targets and requiring an annual staff report on implementation.

  9. Conduct energy audits of all city-owned housing and develop a capital program to implement the recommendations.

  10. Lobby the provincial government for more legislative authority.

1. Permanently protect Hamilton's foodlands by freezing the urban boundary and locating 100 percent of growth within this boundary.

Long distance shipment of food is a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Statistics Canada reports that households are responsible for nearly half of Canada's emissions and 19 percent of household emissions are from food.

A 2005 study by the Region of Waterloo examined imported foods that could be grown in south-western Ontario and found the average item traveled nearly 4500 km. "Imports create on average 161 times more GHG emissions than if sourced in Waterloo Region, or 19 times more emissions than if sourced from South-western Ontario," the study found.

Strong demand for locally-produced food has developed in Hamilton in the last few years, a trend also occurring across the continent, in Europe and elsewhere in response to both climatic threats and concerns about food safety and quality.

Climatic changes, especially those affecting water supplies, have disrupted food production in many parts of the world such as Australia, and are now threatening California production - a major current source of Hamilton's 'fresh' produce. The expected return of much higher fuel prices will also affect our accessibility to non-local sources.

The city's public health department has recognized the challenges of food security and established a multi-stakeholder community food security group to develop adaptation strategies. In its most recent report to council, it stressed the problem of loss of agricultural lands.

Almost all the rural area in Hamilton is prime agricultural lands, but less than 5 percent of Canada is suitable for agriculture and southern Ontario contains 56 percent of the class one land in the country.

Ontario has long-standing - though largely ineffective - policies recognizing the critical importance of preserving agricultural land. Statistics Canada reports that urbanization had consumed 11 percent of the province's class one agricultural land by 2001 - a doubling over 1971.

It's certain that much more has been lost since 2001. The most recent agricultural profile presented to council earlier this year found that Hamilton's active farmland fell by 5,674 acres (2,296 hectares) between 2001 and 2006.

Accommodating all new growth within existing urban boundaries is both encouraged by the provincial government and possible in the Hamilton situation.

In 2005, Ontario established the Greenbelt in an effort to protect agricultural lands and more recently has created the opportunity for municipal governments to apply to expand that protected area.

The Places to Grow Act and supporting documents require a minimum of 40 percent of new growth to occur inside the current built boundary, and encourage municipalities to achieve higher rates of intensification.

Some municipal governments - like Guelph and the Region of Waterloo - are already committed to locating 100 percent of growth to 2031 inside existing urban boundaries.

Hamilton's intensification study found opportunities for at least 42,000 new residential units inside the built boundary limited, even though it only examined selected nodes and corridors, and didn't consider the second suites that now must be permitted in most single and semi-detached residences.

With actual growth running well behind projections, these opportunities for intensification may easily accommodate all residential growth to 2031.

Vision 2020, adopted as the guiding document for Hamilton-Wentworth in 1994 and confirmed for the new city in 2004, calls for a firm urban boundary.

The most recent Vision 2020 indicator report says that 1130 hectares of agricultural land has been rezoned to urban since 1993. That's an average of 75 hectares a year, but in 2007 the loss was 162 hectares, more than double that average.

The city's growth plan currently projects two major urban boundary expansions that would triple the losses of the last 15 years - 1134 hectares for the aerotropolis and 1,225 hectares (mainly in Elfrida) for residential expansion.

2. Commit to no net increase in surface parking lots and total road space (kilometre lanes) for motor vehicles.

Vehicle use is another major household contributor to GHGs. Statistics Canada reported in December that 22.3 percent of household emissions are from motor fuels.

Municipal government has limited ways of encouraging a reduction of vehicle dependency, but it is well known that low cost and excessive parking availability has the opposite effect and also decreases transit use.

It's also well-established that additional road capacity leads to additional vehicle use and that reducing road capacity results in reduced vehicle use. It is noteworthy that Hamilton is currently unable to fund maintenance of existing road network.

The approved Transportation Master Plan recognizes the negative effects of road expansion on sustainability and concludes that "the preferred overall strategy is to rely on transit and travel demand management, in combination with road capacity optimization to solve transportation problems, before looking to road expansion."

A recent Infrastructure Canada review concluded that "strategic planning for parking infrastructure, including parking pricing and fees, will increase the effectiveness of urban development in communities across Canada and contribute to the reduction in greenhouse gases and airborne pollutants.

Strategic planning for parking infrastructure, including parking pricing and fees, will increase the effectiveness of urban development in communities across Canada and contribute to the reduction in greenhouse gases and airborne pollutants."

Replacing vehicle road space with cycling lanes, transit pulloffs and on-street parking offers benefits for pedestrian, cycling and transit options. In the context of this recommendation, it can also offset commitments already made for roads to service new subdivisions and development areas.

Surface parking lots occupy vast areas of prime real estate in our community, especially in downtown areas. Conversion to higher uses offers substantial opportunities for increased tax assessment, higher densities of jobs and residents, more transit use, and enhanced community structure.

3. Commit now to paying the municipal portion of a light rail system for Hamilton.

Vehicle emissions, as noted above, are the single largest component of household GHG emissions in Canada. Increased use of public transit can offset much of this load on our atmosphere, and significantly reduce traffic congestion.

For these reasons, the provincial government, through Metrolinx, has made a substantial funding commitment to rapid transit, including specific improvements along the Eastgate-McMaster corridor in the short term, and up to four other major routes in the medium to long term. The province expects to achieve 15 percent of its targeted short-term (by 2014) GHG emission reductions through transit initiatives.

The light rail option has attracted very strong public support in Hamilton, far in excess of the bus rapid transit alternative, but the province has made clear that light rail will only happen if the city pays part of the cost (probably 15 percent).

Light rail will attract many new users to public transit, and to connecting lower-order transit services, thus reducing vehicle emissions.

An electricity-based transit investment also partly protects Hamilton from rising costs of fossil fuels, and allows the city to shift its energy use to ecologically sustainable electricity options such as wind and solar that don't contribute to long term GHG emissions.

4. Use traffic calming to achieve 30 km/hr speed limits in residential areas where there is a demand.

Residents of the North End have gone through an extensive public process and strongly support a 30 km speed limit across their neighbourhood. Demand for reduced speeds in residential areas is very widespread, but has often resulted in stop signs that contribute to greater emissions.

Traffic calming structures such as bump-outs, chicanes and speed bumps, as well as roundabouts have been shown to be an effective way to reduce traffic speeds without imposing excessive stop and go traffic movement.

Lower traffic speeds greatly improve pedestrian and cycling safety, and make those non-polluting options more attractive, thus reducing motor vehicle usage and the resulting GHG emissions.

5. Mail ten free bus tickets to each household for use on HSR or DARTS.

Many Hamiltonians never use the HSR or DARTS, and most of these residents are consequently largely unaware of the many benefits of this climate-friendly travel option.

Providing every household with free tickets will encourage non-users to try out transit, and will reward regular transit users for their contribution to reduced congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. In both cases it will result in lower emissions.

The one-time gift is also a good way of giving residents something very concrete and visible for their tax dollars. Replacing single-occupant car trip with transit lowers greenhouse gas emissions by about 40 percent.

A study by the American Public Transit Association calculated that replacing a 32 km round trip commute with transit would save well over two tonnes of CO2 emissions annually. The saving was nearly twice that of weatherizing your home and equal to replacing more than 50 incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents.

The ticket gift will be particularly helpful to low-income families, and those who can't use tickets could magnify this effect by donating tickets to social service agencies.

6. Establish 100 new community garden plots each year for the next five years on underused city lands, and support them with equipment, materials and staffing.

Like the firm urban boundary step, this measure will help reduce GHG emissions associated with food transportation - a significant source of household emissions.

Local food production reduces Hamilton's dependency on imports and contributes to local economic development. It also ameliorates poverty, improves nutrition and strengthens community cohesion.

The city's Food Access Guide currently lists only four active community gardens.

7. Begin purchasing EcoLogo-certified green electricity to achieve the goal of powering all city facilities (owned and leased) with renewable energy by 2020.

Environment Canada's EcoLogo certification for electricity is provided to sources with "little or no greenhouse gas emissions" and don't generate other toxic pollutants causing smog or acid rain. "Environment Canada views green power as a preferred option for new and replacement electricity generation."

Coal-fired and other fossil-fuel electrical generating facilities currently produce more than a third of Ontario's electricity, and that share sharply increases during periods of peak demand.

The emissions from Ontario's coal-fired plants are so substantial that the provincial government expects to achieve fully half of its short-term (2014) GHG reduction targets by shutting down these facilities.

8. Adopt a municipal buy local purchasing policy, establishing targets and requiring an annual staff report on implementation.

Long-distance transportation is a major source of GHG emissions for all goods, not just food. Replacing imported goods with ones which are locally-produced shelters Hamiltonians from the impacts of rising fuel prices, and generates local employment that will also help reduce commuting distances and strengthen the local economy.

Adopting a municipal buy-local policy encourages individual consumers and businesses to follow suit.

9. Conduct energy audits of all city-owned housing and develop a capital program to implement the recommendations.

Home energy use (heating and electricity) accounts for nearly one third of household GHGs. Yet we already know how to drastically cut that energy use through weatherization and insulation efforts.

As the landlord to 6,234 units in Hamilton, a serious city investment will quickly pay for itself in lower energy bills, enhance the quality of life of the low-income families that reside in those homes, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Council should also investigate how to extend this program into the community at large, especially to low-income housing. Such a program should be carefully designed to ensure that low-income tenants, rather than their more affluent landlords, are the main beneficiaries.

An annual budget allocation for such a program, ideally in partnership with utilities and other levels of government, is a simple way to permanently reduce all future utility bills of low-income residents, generate local renovation jobs, and sharply cut GHGs.

10. Lobby the provincial government for more legislative authority.

The city should lobby the provincial government for the legislative authority to do the following:

The provincial government has provided the city of Toronto (alone) with new taxing authority that can have very substantial impacts on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as shift costs from the general taxpayer to specific users of services especially those whose practices are currently generating excessive emissions.

Direct taxation of parking, tolling of some roadways, and imposition of taxes on vehicles all offer ways to shift to a more equitable user-pay taxation system that also lowers greenhouse gas emissions.

More than half of Hamilton households one car or less and one in every six Hamilton households does not own a vehicle at all, but are nevertheless forced to subsidize road and parking services for those households who operate several vehicles.

Green building standards are being adopted by numerous governments as an obvious first step in reducing energy use in new buildings, and avoiding costly and less efficient retrofitting in the future.

Hamilton council has specifically recognized the importance of these measures by adopting a policy to encourage LEED certification in new private construction and by implementing this approach at its Woodward Avenue Environmental Laboratory.

However, voluntary encouragement obviously has limited effectiveness, and at this point Ontario municipalities do not have the authority to impose appropriate building standards.

Environment Hamilton (EH) was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in 2001 with a central mandate to facilitate the ability of people in the Hamilton area to develop the knowledge and skills they need to protect and enhance the environment around them. Visit the Environment Hamilton website.

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted March 28, 2009 at 02:39:36

and how to pay for it all?

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted March 28, 2009 at 12:59:05

Okay, we get it, can we please talk about something else? Every other article is about how we need government to save the world.

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By C. Erl (registered) - website | Posted March 28, 2009 at 22:48:30

That's a rather poor attitude to take towards collective action.

If government sets the rules, then government should be setting them properly.

Mr. Smith never hated the government, he simply appreciated the power of the market, which has now proven to be more destructive then helpful. It would seem you have chosen the wrong name? A. Rand would be more appropriate.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted March 29, 2009 at 00:50:31

C.Erl, collective action is fine as long as it doesn't take away people's freedom to manage their own private property. As it stands today, if you own land in the greenbelt, you have lost the freedom to sell it to home builders, thus abolishing your ability to make a mutually beneficial transaction.

If you think it's alright for government to do this, then none of us have any inherent freedoms, except what the government and the courts of the day want to grant us. I for one don't believe that government has any authority over my life, nor do I believe they are even moral. Government exists only through the threat of force, so underlying all of their nice "saving the planet" rhetoric, is a group of people that will throw you in jail if you don't give them enough of your income.

If the government leaders of today were truly moral, they would do what great moral leaders do, use persuasion to call people to action, not force.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted March 29, 2009 at 22:10:29

In the specific case of land in the green belt, owners of that land should have no expectation that the zoning of their property will change, so there should be no expectation to sell to to a developer. Of course this has nothing to do with the original post, but someone refuses to create his own posts, despite numerous invitations to do so.

As for the costs of the action plan set out in the initial post that a certain someone would appear to want to lead the conversation away from, only Light Rail would have a significant price tag, but I'm certain the capital costs would be paid off from the operational proceeds quickly enough.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted March 29, 2009 at 23:00:13

JonC >> In the specific case of land in the green belt, owners of that land should have no expectation that the zoning of their property will change, so there should be no expectation to sell to to a developer.

Why shouldn't land owners be able to do whatever they want with the land that they own? Government doesn't own private property, so they have no say in the matter.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 30, 2009 at 08:35:39

A Smith wrote:

Why shouldn't land owners be able to do whatever they want with the land that they own?

sigh

Liberty is based on the idea that you can do what you want as long as it doesn't hurt other people. Since market forces are by definition unreliable at taking market externalities and collective action problems into account, democratic governments have a legitimate role in ensuring that a person's use of their property is not harmful to others.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 30, 2009 at 08:37:57

JonC wrote:

only Light Rail would have a significant price tag, but I'm certain the capital costs would be paid off from the operational proceeds quickly enough.

Indeed. The experiences of other cities that have built light rail systems overwhelmingly indicates that the ROI for light rail is very impressive indeed. Even a pro-business, small-government councillor like Lloyd Ferguson of Ancaster came back from his LRT tour of Calgary, Portland and Charlotte convinced that Hamilton needs this investment.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted March 30, 2009 at 08:56:17

When you acquire property there is an underlying assumption that you acquire it with the intent to adhere to the laws of all jurisdictions that cover your land (In Canada typically, municipal, provincial and federal). I get that you're crazy and think you should be able to do anything you want, but that isn't how any society works. You are talking anarchy.

As a collective, we determine what our goals are and legislation is enacted to meet those goals. Do all of Environment Hamilton's outlined ideas align with Hamiltonians in general, probably not, but they get to make their case.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted March 30, 2009 at 10:55:25

Ryan >> Since market forces are by definition unreliable at taking market externalities and collective action problems into account, democratic governments have a legitimate role in ensuring that a person's use of their property is not harmful to others.

Karma, my friend. When you limit someone's freedom, unless it's for a life and death situation, you probably should expect the same to happen to you someday.

>> The experiences of other cities that have built light rail systems overwhelmingly indicates that the ROI for light rail is very impressive indeed.

So you're saying that it will be able to fund operations through customer revenue? Unless it can do this, then it will by definition not have a positive return on investment, since that requires profits. Positive externalities don't count as profits, nor do people's opinions, just real cash left over after costs.

JonC >> As a collective, we determine what our goals are and legislation is enacted to meet those goals.

Thanks for your input comrade.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 30, 2009 at 11:11:32

A Smith wrote:

Karma, my friend.

As I've argued before, narrow moralizing is no basis for public policy. As Keynes reminds us, "In the long run we are all dead."

So you're saying that it will be able to fund operations through customer revenue?

LRT leads to new private investment, which leads to increased tax assessment, which leads to more revenue for the government.

I'd have thought you would support this, given that it alleviates pressure to increase tax rates.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted March 30, 2009 at 11:16:46

Karma, my friend. When you limit someone's freedom, unless it's for a life and death situation, you probably should expect the same to happen to you someday.

More simplistic moralizing. Save your breath, A Smith. No one's listening because you've completely undermined your moral authority with your disregard for the suffering of others.

So you're saying that it will be able to fund operations through customer revenue? Unless it can do this, then it will by definition not have a positive return on investment, since that requires profits. Positive externalities don't count as profits, nor do people's opinions, just real cash left over after costs.

This from the person who drones on and on about how we have to reduce the property tax rate to 1% because of all the investment and spin off benefits it will bring?

Thanks for your input comrade.

It's called living in a society, you know, with other people? Not that you'd know anything about that.

For the love of God A Smith, just go Galt already and leave the rest of us in peace.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted March 30, 2009 at 11:19:58

Sorry for the semi-redundant post. Didn't see Ryan's comment.

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By LL (registered) - website | Posted March 30, 2009 at 13:14:29

Great program, overall.

"...It's also well-established that additional road capacity leads to additional vehicle use and that reducing road capacity results in reduced vehicle use."

I'm still waiting for a Red Hill Extortionway proponent to respond to this scientifically verified FACT.

This also explains the question of how the municipality will pay for these reforms. Mass motoring and sprawl are huge and growing portions of the city budget.

One more thing: as a social anarchist, I object to JonC's accusation that A Smith is "talking anarchy." Anarchy is not chaos. By definition, anarchy is a social system without rulers. Thererore, the rule of capitalists is not anarchy - "anarcho-capitalists" to the contrary. I feel it's important to make this distinction, since social anarchism is such a rich source of community eco-activism, here and elsewhere. Maybe "chaos" is a better descriptor.

However, like A Smith, I am troubled at the centralized, authoritarian character of the greenbelt plan. However, it's kind of expected when the municipalities are RULED by suburban land developers.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted March 30, 2009 at 13:31:45

Ryan >> As I've argued before, narrow moralizing is no basis for public policy.

What is the basis of public policy if not morality and principles? Simple majority?

>> LRT leads to new private investment, which leads to increased tax assessment, which leads to more revenue for the government.

So does leaving money in people's pockets. The difference is that funding the LRT requires coercion, while the other does not.

Highwater >> No one's listening because you've completely undermined your moral authority with your disregard for the suffering of others.

That's because your sense of morality includes heavily taxing the people of Hamilton, just so city employees can earn a wage 50-80% higher than they do. Your moral compass has been broken a long, long time.

>> This from the person who drones on and on about how we have to reduce the property tax rate to 1% because of all the investment and spin off benefits it will bring?

Yes, you're right. Except that when people spend money, rather than government, businesses make investments based on real consumer demand, rather than who has the best lobbying effort at city hall. That's why government investments are less effective then the private sector, they fail to listen to what ALL the consumers are telling them.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted March 30, 2009 at 18:29:53

That's because your sense of morality includes heavily taxing the people of Hamilton, just so city employees can earn a wage 50-80% higher than they do.

Another one of your strawmen. I've never said anything of the kind.

Yes, you're right. Except that when people spend money, rather than government, businesses make investments based on real consumer demand, rather than who has the best lobbying effort at city hall. That's why government investments are less effective then the private sector, they fail to listen to what ALL the consumers are telling them.

Are you just playing dumb here? One of the best arguments for LRT is all the PRIVATE investment it inspires.

Your moral compass has been broken a long, long time.

Ok. Now you're playing dumb and evil.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted March 31, 2009 at 00:17:03

Highwater >> Another one of your strawmen. I've never said anything of the kind.

Do you support the idea of bringing average city wage costs closer in line with the people who pay their salaries?

>> One of the best arguments for LRT is all the PRIVATE investment it inspires.

I don't doubt that an LRT would have positive benefits to the city. However, for every dollar the government invests, is one dollar taken from the pockets of an individual, or business. The question then becomes, what is the the most profitable way to invest taxpayer's money? By letting them make the spending decisions, or by letting politicians make the spending decisions?

When individuals spend their money, they buy what gives them the biggest bang for their buck. When you aggregate thousands of these little purchases, you end up with business investments that reflect the desires of thousands of people. Investment goes to the businesses that create the greatest amount of value for society.

When politicians spend money, they tend to make few, but relatively large investments. Sine politicians can't know that Mary's best investment would be for a new computer, or that Jimmy's needs more money to buy tools for his shop, they have to invest in most everybody's second or third choice. Therefore, while it isn't a complete waste of Mary and Jimmy's tax dollars to invest in LRT, it's not as beneficial as letting each of them direct their own private economy.

Individuals have the greatest insight into their own personal and business needs, so when you limit their ability to spend their own income, you limit their satisfaction. If you don't believe this, take a look at this...

According to a December online survey (tinyurl.com/dmuvl9) of 554 consumers by BIGresearch on behalf of Kohl's department stores, 60% of gift recipients make at least one return during the holiday season.

What this shows, is that even friends and family don't know what people truly want/need. That's why gift cards are popular, because it allows individuals to make those decisions for themselves. When you aggregate these thousands of unique and satisfying purchases, you end up with an economy that is not only diverse, but also uniquely tailored to the wants and needs of the people who live there.

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By omro (registered) | Posted March 31, 2009 at 03:25:09

But I wanted LRT for Christmas and all I got was a stupid tax rebate that's only just about enough to buy a 50" plasma screen TV :-(

Now I'll have to walk to work or take the bus and get my TV shipped from Korea and then trucked to my nearest electrical retailer's warehouse and then delivered by van to my home.

In the meantime watch this, it's about LRT in Charlotte, NC:

http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/507/index.h...

A quote from Republican Mayor McCrory, taken from the video clip "Mass transit's not just about transportation. It's about economic development, creating jobs, and making money. And that's why a conservative like me supports it."

and from Keith Parker: "Property values went from about $92,000 to $195,000 in this economy. And just overall you've seen a neighbourhood absolutely transformed. These are not millionaires, and so on, these are blue collar, working class people."

So we have economic development, new jobs, new money and increased property prices.

OR I can have a plasma screen TV. Decisions, decisions.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 31, 2009 at 08:12:12

Omro, it's actually better than that. Since LRT more than pays for itself in new development, you can have high quality rapid transit and your plasma TV. After all, the economy is not a zero sum game.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted March 31, 2009 at 11:39:09


"Since LRT more than pays for itself in new development"

Ryan, have you been to Detroit or Buffalo? Where is the new development from the Buffalo LRT or the Detroit monorail?

The only people in Hamilton who would use LRT are the same people who currently use the bus. Nobody who can afford a car is going to give it up to ride on LRT. Why do you believe otherwise?

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 31, 2009 at 12:31:09

Capitalist wrote:

Ryan, have you been to Detroit or Buffalo? Where is the new development from the Buffalo LRT or the Detroit monorail?

Hamilton has experienced a decline in its downtown vitality similar to most North American cities, but Detroit and Buffalo have experienced devastating, full-scale economic and population collapses in the past few decades. There's really no comparison, as Nicholas Kevlahan points out in this essay:

http://hamiltonlightrail.com/article/lig...

The only people in Hamilton who would use LRT are the same people who currently use the bus. Nobody who can afford a car is going to give it up to ride on LRT. Why do you believe otherwise?

I believe otherwise because all the available evidence indicates otherwise. Cities in similar circumstances to Hamilton's have seen dramatic increases in ridership, new transit-oriented investment and urban revitalization as a direct result of LRT investments.

My suggestion is to set aside your assumptions about transit and the people who use it for a moment and study the actual record. The case for LRT is as robust as it is clear.

Here's a referenced study on ridership and economic development with LRT:

http://hamiltonlightrail.com/article/an_...

Here are some reports on what developers are saying as they choose to invest near a light rail system:

http://hamiltonlightrail.com/article/why...

This is why LRT has the formal support of such diverse organizations and people as Ainslie Wood-Westdale Community Association, Clean Air Hamilton, the Downtown Hamilton BIA, the Durand Neighbourhood Association, Environment Hamilton, the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, Hamilton Partners for Healthy Weights, the Hamilton Spectator editorial board, the International Village BIA, the Kirkendall Neighbourhood Association, the McMaster Students Union, the Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington, the Ward 2 Neighbourhood Associations, Melrose United Church, MPP Sophia Aggelonitis, Terry Cooke, Larry Di Ianni, Mayor Eisenberger and a unanimous Council, McMaster president Peter George, and MP David Sweet, among many others.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted March 31, 2009 at 15:33:45

Ryan, if your want rapid transit, why not set your goals higher and ask for a subway?

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By omro (registered) | Posted March 31, 2009 at 17:02:50

While, I'm sure you're only being facetious...

My understanding was that the Hamilton area was geologically unsuitable for a subway and possessed a high watertable and multitude of underground streams. A subway would be incredibly impractical as a result. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Why spend so much extra money on subsurface rail, when there is plenty of road space for surface rail?

In a city as small as Hamilton, would a subway offer any real benefits over and above an LRT system that would justify the additional time and expense to implement it? Answer: No.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted March 31, 2009 at 18:55:55

Omro >> Hamilton area was geologically unsuitable for a subway and possessed a high watertable

Excuses. If the people of Hamilton want a subway, they shall have it.

Omro >> Why spend so much extra money on subsurface rail, when there is plenty of road space for surface rail?

What's money? It's simply pieces of paper and where does paper come from? Trees. Therefore, if we need more money, we can just grow more trees, problem solved.

>> In a city as small as Hamilton, would a subway offer any real benefits over and above an LRT system

If Hamilton got a subway, we would attract people and investment from all over the world. In short order, Hamilton would be the biggest city in Canada.

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By omro (registered) | Posted March 31, 2009 at 19:04:19

From facetious to fatuous...

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted March 31, 2009 at 19:18:07

It's also the truth. Everybody knows that money spent on rapid transit pays for itself many times over, so even if a subway cost Hamilton taxpayers billions of dollars, it would be worth it.

Furthermore, because of the greenbelt legislation, we have lots of land to grow our money on.

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By omro (registered) | Posted March 31, 2009 at 20:22:17

TfL clearly concluded that extending the Jubilee line was worthwhile.

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/media/ne...

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted March 31, 2009 at 21:42:13

A good start would be a King line that runs from Dundas to Eastgate, a James line from Barton to the airport, a Mohawk line to the Meadowlands and to finish Phase 1, a Barton line.

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By LL (registered) - website | Posted April 01, 2009 at 11:31:03

"...It's also well-established that additional road capacity leads to additional vehicle use and that reducing road capacity results in reduced vehicle use."

I'm still waiting.............................

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted April 05, 2009 at 18:05:13

From facetious to fatuous...
Should that be to flatulence?

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