Transportation

Business Owners on LRT Line Have Nothing to Fear

By Jason Leach
Published November 10, 2009

It only took a few days after the Pan Am Games announcement for the Spectator to get going on these kinds of articles stirring up controversy about Hamilton's proposed east-west rapid transit line.

We need to educate folks along the route: LRT is a huge development magnet. It's been proven time and time again to draw tons of investment. Folks along that corridor don't need to worry about fewer people and business there. They'll need to learn to deal with a whole heck of a lot more.

The Swiss Chalet guy's biggest concern should be fitting all his new customers into the store, not the minor inconvenience of folks needing to make right turns and use intersections for U-turns.

The International Village plan is a bit worrisome to me, though. It's pretty quiet down there as it is. I'm not sure a pedestrian mall is the way to go, just yet. I think it will be in the future, though.

Gore Park would make more sense for our first ped zone.

I'd like see a shared space model for the International Village that has cars and trains sharing space, or perhaps just one eastbound car lane in place of one side of street parking.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.

46 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By Really? (registered) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 09:50:04

It needs to be along Main Street -- final.

If choosing King St means closing lanes to traffic, at this point in time Hamiltonians will not buy into this plan and Hamilton will Fail as per usual.

They need to stick with Main St for the B-Line.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 10:04:48

I don't think King St does mean closing lanes to traffic. LRT could easily be routed through the IV without closing lanes. There are many possibilities.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Really? (registered) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 10:40:27

There are SO many alternatives, and of course The Spec chooses to offer one; arguably the worst case scenario.

I'm starting to think The Spec is just going by what the Consultant's Report from earlier this Summer states rather than actually getting (newer) details from the Hamilton Rapid Transit Office itself?

Regardless, I still hope Main Street is still an option that The Spec chose to ignore for obvious reason --boiling the blood of our Hamilton Old Timer's Club.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Jonathan Dalton (registered) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 11:23:15

Did I miss something? The Feasability Study indicated for the 2-way on King option that there would be 2 lanes of traffic and 2 lanes of LRT with loss of street parking in the I.V. area. Where did the spec get 'closed to traffic' from?

Anyway I don't think Swiss Chalet is going to be treated as a priority when it comes to reworking our transportation corridors.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 11:57:23

yea, I just saw some of the graphs in the Spec article and they don't make sense. ie - 'King and Sherman may only have sidewalks on one side of the road'. What?? 2 lanes of car traffic and 2 LRT lanes = 4 lanes. That's what is currently there.

The 'no parking along entire route' is also misleading. The maps on the city's rapid transit office show street parking on King at John and again in the area around Bay. Also, suggestions have been sent to the RT office with ideas for parking along Main from Queen to Bay and on King from Queen to Dundurn.

Furthermore, they are making a huge deal about only being allowed to turn right out of homes and businesses by Eastgate Mall. Yet, that is exactly the case currently on King AND Main through the entire downtown from the Delta to Westdale. Why not ask the owner of Harvest Burger what he thinks of folks only being allowed to access his restaurant from the left and being able to turn only right out of the lot? It's been that way for over 50 years.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 12:23:12

"LRT is a huge development magnet. It's been proven time and time again to draw tons of investment. Folks along that corridor don't need to worry about fewer people and business there. They'll need to learn to deal with a whole heck of a lot more."

Just like in Buffalo and Detroit eh Jason?

The only people who will use this white elephant to get around are people who currently ride the bus. What make you think that people will give up their cars to ride on this thing? What is the incentive?

As for development magnet? They said that about the GO station downtown and the only new development there in 15 years is the Chateau Royale condo (a lousy project by an unknown developer - I still don't think all of the units in that building have been sold). I use that station twice a day, and I still drive down from the mountain.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 10, 2009 at 12:24:59

Jason wrote:

It's been that way for over 50 years.

Exactly. And the streets will still be more flexible than they are today, because you'll be able to turn right onto King going eastbound if you approach from the south, and you'll be able to turn right onto King going westbound if you approach from the north.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 12:46:34

and don't forget, Main will be two-way just like Mohawk or any other regular street. Access will be GREATLY improved around the city with this project and Hamilton (assuming we chill out on parking demands with new projects and other zoning quirks) will see massive development along the corridor, the likes of which we haven't seen in several decades.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By race_to_the_bottom (anonymous) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 12:52:51

"will see massive development along the corridor, the likes of which we haven't seen in several decades." You mean since the last time Hamilton built light rail transit. :))

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 13:07:19

LOL. good point.

Another piece in the Spec today. I love the opening line:

" Traffic congestion in the Toronto region costs Canada $3.3 billion in lost productivity a year, the result of urban sprawl, decades of underinvestment in public transit by Ottawa and a disjointed system, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development says."

Hmmm, so an Economic Development agency sees potential for new and growing businesses with better transit and less sprawl??
Who knew?

http://www.thespec.com/News/CanadaWorld/...

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 10, 2009 at 13:25:16

Heh, I just posted a blog entry on that report:

http://raisethehammer.org/blog/1557

The report cites "poorly integrated regional transit services and underdeveloped public transport infrastructure" as a contributing factor to the GTA's poor annual productivity growth.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By highwater (registered) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 13:39:22

Take the poll:

http://thespec.com/

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Really? (registered) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 14:18:59

Jason said "and don't forget, Main will be two-way just like Mohawk or any other regular street."

Great Point to use when LRT opponents complain about loss of lanes. I'll simply explain to them that King St would be converted two-way, much how Mohawk Rd is on the Mountain, and we don't see traffic jams up there. Along with Main's two-to-four general purpose lanes, there would still be enough room for the overflow from King St.

Also, if they argue it's 'not fast', I'll reply "take either Burlington St, Hwy-403 or RHVP to the Linc; Or better yet, JUMP ON THE LRT!"

One way I've gotten through to some old-timers is by using the TiCats Express success as an example (especially in reagards to the 'No Parking' concern for PanAm Stadium). I simply remind them that it'll be the same as it is now, expect they'll be riding a sexy, electric, light rail train rather than a city bus. It usually works!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 14:36:33

its important to remember that despite what certain councillors or the Spec says, traffic flow will be greatly ENHANCED through this project. You'll be able to go either way on Main all through the city. Areas by Eastgate and Mac will still have 2 car lanes EACH way.
Facts don't help sell papers. Just keeping educating your friends and family as to the real facts on this project. Help them to see past the garbage headlines.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Dave Kuruc (anonymous) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 16:08:47


"Anyway I don't think Swiss Chalet is going to be treated as a priority when it comes to reworking our transportation corridors."

Ha - Swiss Chalet IS big business in Hamilton. I can't believe they interviewed a fast-food place about their thoughts on Light Rail and the impacts it will have. Ask the owner of Popeye's Chicken to write an Op-Ed next - that will get folks reading! Of course he isn't going to want things to change - he LOVES Queenston the way it is. My heart sinks everytime I go by that part of town - it is a wreck. Planned horribly and so ugly. The East-End of my childhood has disappeared. The kid in me and the adult I become fully approve of Light Rail shaking up this tired way of thinking.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 16:13:52

Jason >> LRT is a huge development magnet. It's been proven time and time again to draw tons of investment.

"The Boston Elevated Railway existed under the Public Control Act until August 29, 1947. On that date, the Metropolitan Transit Authority came into being and absorbed the entire BERY system"

www.mbta.com/about_the_mbta/history/?id=966

Boston's population

1950 801,444 4.0%
1960 697,197 −13.0%
1970 641,071 −8.1%
1980 562,994 −12.2%
1990 574,283 2.0%
2000 589,141 2.6%
2008* 609,023 3.4%

Boston has had a massive public transportation system for decades, yet until the implementation of "Proposition 2 1/2", which placed limits on taxing citizens, Boston's population had been in a steady decline and it's property tax rates were over 2%...

tinyurl.com/3y6erl "State totals FY1985 through Present", Excess Levy Capacity tab

Curiously enough, since 1980, the same time Prop 2 1/2 was passed, Boston's population started to increase. Furthermore, in 2009, Boston property owners enjoy tax rates of 1.19%. In other words, it took spending limits to turn Boston around, since LRT had existed there for decades and yet the city was still in free fall.

Jason, if LRT is proven to increase city wide investment, not just localized investment around the line, please explain why it didn't work in Boston. Furthermore, do you think it's a coincidence that Boston's fortunes started to turn around (population, tax base) just as strict limits on taxation and spending were introduced in the early 1980's?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By HSR is for losers (anonymous) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 17:24:30

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

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

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By matthewsweet (registered) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 17:57:31

Gee, no left turns on a road where high speed transit runs along the median? What a stunning revelation. I swear people in Hamilton have never stepped foot outside their city. I refer you to Spadina and St Clair streetcar lines in Toronto. Everyone whined about no left turns etc, but Spadina is flourishing now and St Clair is nearly finished reconstruction.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 19:18:24

Will the price of this LRT be affordable for those in the low income bracket, those on OW or ODSP? Will you be able to tranfer from the LRT to a bus?

In hearing about the presto plan, I do have concerns that many will be left behind, with no options except to walk becuase they cannot afford to pay the price, so if this is true, how is it lifting others from the depths of poverty?

I did go and check into other communitites where they have LRT and the rates seemed reasonable. Does anybody have any insight into this?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 10, 2009 at 19:40:33

Grassroots, my understanding is that the LRT will be integrated into the HSR, so a fare, ticket or pass will get you onto bus and streetcar alike.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 19:48:39

Thanks Ryan.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted November 10, 2009 at 21:56:44

A Smith: "if LRT is proven to increase city wide investment, not just localized investment around the line, please explain why it didn't work in Boston"

The simple answer to your question is, first, that Elevated trains are NOT light rail. Elevated lines do not bring the same influx of investment as street level LRT. In fact, boston started removing EL lines and replacing them with LRT or Subways:

"The removal of elevated lines continued and the closure of the Washington Street Elevated brought the end of rapid transit service to the Roxbury neighborhood. Between 1971 and 1985, the Red Line was extended both north and south

"With the 2004 replacement of the Causeway Street Elevated with a subway connection, the only remaining elevated railways are a short portion of the Red Line at Charles/MGH, the stretch of Red Line between Andrew Station [...] and proceeding southbound to either Ashmont Station on the Ashmont line or Braintree Station on the Braintree line, and a short portion of the Green Line" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massachusetts_Bay_Transportation_Authority)

Second, Boston DID implement TRUE light rail through the very time period where you see the population growth, so by your logic, the conversion of elevated systems to true LRT is what caused the growth!

Furthermore, from your own source, "In December 1980, following a one-day shutdown due to a lack of funds, the Legislature approved plans to change the governing structure of the MBTA." (http://www.mbta.com/about_the_mbta/history/?id=970). This means, again using your logic, that it was most likely the change in governing structure of the MBTA that caused the population growth!

Setting aside for a moment your absolute inability to differentiate between correlation and causation, I encourage you to study a few more LRT cases and see what yo come up with. It should be pretty easy, most of the hard work has already been done for you here:

http://hamiltonlightrail.com/case_studie...

You might also want to bring your terminology knowledge up to speed, starting with an understanding of what exactly LRT is (hint: not elevated railways, not monorails, not subways, not streetcars, and definitely not BRT).

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted November 10, 2009 at 22:12:28

Dear HSR is for losers:

I would like to thank you on behalf of every citizen in the country for working so hard at paying taxes and taking no "taxpayer handouts" in return. Those of us who use essential services such as fire, police, roads, sewers, drinking water, EMS, etc appreciate your ability to deny yourself all of these services out of the goodness of your heart. Additionally your self sufficiency is much appreciated since, we are to assume, you also refuse to partake in any activity that benefits from public subsidies such as getting an education, using gasoline, eating food or buying a car.

All of us freeloaders are in awe of your ability to fend for yourself, and can only dream of the day that we too can provide all of our own needs, asking nothing from society, and at the same time pay into the tax system to support the next wave of pathetic losers.

Thanks again,

Everyone but you.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 22:36:40

Sean, you've got my literally LOL. great stuff.

Transitstudent, you are SO right. It drives me nuts. Supposedly Hamilton has this huge European population. Apparently none of them have every actually been to Europe.
I've never been to a city in my life that is so un-informed and old fashioned when it comes to basic issues like this. Obviously the media doesn't help, but honestly. Take the odd trip and open your eyes while you're away. Go to Portland, Montreal, Boston, Vancouver etc....

It's like we've got our own little bubble world here and nobody knows what's going on outside of the big huge bubble.
I remember last year one of our councillors started referring to reports from the 1920's about why one-way streets are great for the city. Honestly.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 11, 2009 at 01:38:15

seancb >> Elevated trains are NOT light rail. Elevated lines do not bring the same influx of investment as street level LRT.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Line_(MBTA)

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Line_(MBTA)#Branches

These lines sure look line "light rail" to me. They run on tracks, they carry people from point A to point B, they are not elevated and they were established many, many decades ago. If these lines were not sufficient to attract investment and people from 1950-80, why do you think this was? And in what way are these new, "true" light rail lines any different?

Are the new light rail trains filled with some sort of "magic" that makes people flock to wherever they are in operation?

Please explain how NEW light rail is different and superior to old light rail?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted November 11, 2009 at 09:15:53

From your own link:

"Unlike the Red Line, Blue Line, and Orange Line, all of which run rapid transit cars and use stations with elevated platforms (so that the car floor is level with the platform and thus the cars are easily handicap-accessible), the Green Line is a trolley/streetcar line and has used a variety of trolley cars and light rail vehicles throughout its history."

let me break out the main point:

the Green Line is a trolley/streetcar line<<

Further reading of your own link will tell you that the green line did not start using LRT vehicles until 1976. Before then it was mostly streetcar/tram, and before that it was elevated rail.

So, the switch to LRT on that line in the late '70s was obviously one of the contributing factors of population growth that started in 1980.

Since you clearly refuse to read anything about LRT, or modern streetcars (which is the system that is being considered for Hamilton), I'll summarize the physical attributes that differentiate it from other rail based transit:

LRT: - At grade (not subway, not elevated) - Electric - Low floors (not like streetcars) with level boarding at stations - Adaptable (can run in dedicated space or in mixed traffic) - Scalable (can easily grow to meet increased demand)

It is much different than subway/EL in that it keeps riders (and their eyes) at street level. This is why development is attracted along the entire corridor whereas with buried or elevated lines, development is focussed at stations. It is also much easier to add stops along an LRT route if necessary (to server newly developed areas).

It is much different from streetcars in that it is faster, smoother, and offers at-grade boarding for anyone with mobility issues.

I really don't need to say all of this though, because you are simply wrong. You can cherry-pick the occasional rail failure all you want, but it will not change the fact that evidence from just about every installation of LRT shows huge development increases. And, most of the "failures" (in terms of realized development) are due to improperly designed systems (systems that incorporate non-LRT features such as elevated lines).

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted November 11, 2009 at 09:17:38

And, beyond all that, Boston's transit system is hardly a failure.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted November 11, 2009 at 09:33:30

Sean, don't waste your time. There is a myriad of simple to find info on LRT and it's benefits here on RTH and elsewhere on the web. You're just being drawn into a revolving conversation where you're the only one listening and the script never changes. It just keeps going and going and going.......

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted November 11, 2009 at 09:51:56

Well, I'm hoping that someone who is on the fence regarding LRT (and is capable of rational thought) may benefit from my post so that it's not a total waste of time.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted November 11, 2009 at 09:55:42

Jason, why have you not answered my questions in my earlier post?

I am especially interested in your explanation as to why the GO station (once touted as the savior of downtown in the early 90s) has resulted in almost no new development in over 15 years? This is directly comparablt to light rail.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted November 11, 2009 at 10:09:27

Capitalist, take a look at property standards (and values) in the immediate area - Corktown etc as well as new businesses within walking distance of the station. Many of these streets which used to be slummy are vibrant with property owners who give more than a shit about their buildings and land. The growth is there. It's a slow process but it's happening. It's not exclusively thanks to the GO station but that transit link is definitely part of the equation. And that is just one station serving a niche commuter (inter-city) market. LRT is akin to dropping dozens of similar catalysts all over the city - only better because it serves a wider need.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Go Cats (aka Capitalist) (anonymous) | Posted November 11, 2009 at 10:43:36

In order to support the ticats this weekend I will be using the sceen name "Go Cats". I urge all of you to attend sunday's game if you can.

@seancb

I don't dispute that there has been some improvements in that area. However, i don't see very many new businesses in the area, nor do I see much new construction. Some guy painting his house or pulling his weeds out doesn't strike me as the "development magnet" that jason, ryan, and the other daydreamers on this site are claiming. If it took over 15 years and we only have marginal improvement in this area then what can you possibly expect from light rail?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted November 11, 2009 at 12:36:10

You are wrong. Let's start with the building directly across from the GO centre: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthre...

And the Chateau Royale (which you classify as crappy)

Those are probably the largest and closest.

There's also the London Tap House which is a couple blocks away but still within the neighbourhood.

But it doesn't always have to be the big guys that matter...

Here is nice little stretch of small businesses that are relatively new: http://tinyurl.com/ybmyele

There's Gallagher's at John and Augusta, and the businesses north on John on the same block.

The successful pubs on Augusta

James south shops

All of these benefit from the GO presence.

And for a look at property standards, take a stroll here: http://tinyurl.com/yeuc9f3

Is there room for improvement in this area? Of course - there always is - but to brush all of the homes and businesses aside because it doesn't fit with your derisive attitude toward transit hubs is not fair or accurate.

And if you read my earlier post about the physical attributes of light rail versus other transit (i.e. greyhound and GO), you'll hopefully understand why LRT hasmore development potential than a regional transit hub.

The closest comparison would be to take a look at spadina, where the streetcars were given right of way versus Union Station in toronto. Union spurs development in a radius around the nbode, whereas the entire stretch of spadina thrives due to transit placement. Compare spadina to University. Then add in the fact that LRT does even better than old-style streetcars when it comes to ridership and development.

Take a look at the case studies of every recent LRT installation in north america. All are successful - it's just a matter of HOW successful. Hamilton is not special. As long as we build it correctly we WILL reap the benefits as seen in other cities small and large.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Go Cats (aka Capitalist) (anonymous) | Posted November 11, 2009 at 15:12:58

The building across the street from GO was redeveloped 15 years after GO train came to downtown.

Chateau Royale began redevelopment about 12-14 years after Go train arrival (I understand that there are many units in that building unsold).

Is this your idea of the benefits of derived from enhanced standards? Just these two projects in 15 years.

London Tap house replaces the old fried green tomates restaurant that was in that location, and is too far away to be a result of the proximity to Go transit. In fact, most of the downtown has DECLINED since GO Train came to the core.

I am at the GO station downtown everyday, with the exception of Chateau Royale and the redevelopment of that building across the street (i think it is now a law firm) there has been no significant developments in that area.

If transit is such a catalyst for development then why is it that the area surrounding the GO station has not seen any new developments in the early 1990s when GO train first arrived to the city???

I would especially like to hear from Ryan and Jason on this.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted November 11, 2009 at 15:57:24

Is it a coincidence that the more recent developments happened around the time that GO service expansion became a serious goal?

Could the stagnant development leading up to that point have been because (despite their being a nice station) there were only 2 trains in and 2 out daily?

Now that there are more trains, and a more serious commitment to GO in Hamilton (second station announcement, train storage tracks already laid and in use), will development speed up?

It's not enough to JUST build the station. The trains have to be there too. If they were going to build a bunch of LRT stations and no trains, nobody here would claim investment potential.

Again, I urge you to take a look at the studies of the effects of quality transit upgrades on every city in the world. Find me some examples of transit investments being a cause of decline...

The evidence of LRT as a development magnet is universal. Evidence of LRT having no effect (or negative effect) is virtually non existent. So will you carry on with your myopic view based on personal observations of Hunter Street alone? Or will you learn from proven examples set by communities who are intelligent enough to take the plunge?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 11, 2009 at 16:35:58

seancb >> It is much different than subway/EL in that it keeps riders (and their eyes) at street level.

An F.A.Q. (Frequently Asked Question) - What's the difference between tramways and light rail?

Mike Taplin, the LRTA's Chairman answers:...there is no definite border line between streetcar and light rail - they merge gradually from one to another, and as a streetcar system gets upgraded it becomes light rail. A lot of this is to do with planning jargon; streetcars are seen to be old fashioned whereas light rail is trendy!

www.lrta.org/explain.html


You know what else is TRENDY? Shops and stores that people can buy things at if they don't have to pay high taxes to support a rail system that needs to be subsidized in order to stay in business.

LRT is nothing more than a excuse for politicians and lefties to get their hands on other people's money.

Answer this, if LRT is such a great investment, then why can't it be financed privately? If the LRT is going to attract thousands of new riders, why can't it be operated like the old HSR, as a private business? Since we know that most of the businesses in recent years that have received government handouts have been FAILED businesses, why should we believe that the LRT will be any different?

Too many questions, too few answers. The LRT is a not a investment, because if it was, investors would VOLUNTARILY contribute money to it. The fact that this isn't happening and that the money needs to be forcibly taken from people indicates this is just another unprofitable scheme in a long line of money losing schemes.

Two thumbs down for money losing, wealth destroying, "trendy" streetcars.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 11, 2009 at 16:54:38

seancb >> Is it a coincidence that the more recent developments happened around the time that GO service expansion became a serious goal?

Hamilton Commercial tax rates
2009 - 4.32%
2008 - 4.57%
2007 - 4.53%
2006 - 4.47%
2005 - 4.80%
2004 - 4.82%
2003 - 5.32%
2002 - 5.97%
2001 - 6.29%

Hamilton Residential tax rates
2009 - 1.59%
2008 - 1.65%
2007 - 1.60%
2006 - 1.54%
2005 - 1.75%
2004 - 1.71%
2003 - 1.75%
2002 - 1.83%
2001 - 1.75%

Keep dropping tax rates on property investmenst and the result will be more property investments. As Ryan likes to say, if you tax something, you get less of it. The reason is simple, people like keeping their wealth.




Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted November 11, 2009 at 17:36:21

yaaaaawn

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted November 11, 2009 at 17:46:41

Smith, write an article on tax rates already - I will not respond to your derailments.

I will respond to your private investor question however...

First of all, public transit is an essential service just as roads and sewers are - that is why it is subsidized. Your car is also subsidized. So unless you walk everywhere, you can get off your high horse.

More importantly, when the city invests in LRT, it will reap benefits in property tax income from the developments that follow. If a private company was responsible for implementing LRT, they would not see a dime of that development tax income. It is absolutely not appropriate to try to apply the "pure capitalism" test to this equation.

Again, read the case studies of other cities. I have given links and delivered this information to you but you refuse to read it.

Go read that before coming here and uttering a word about property tax rates. Nobody cares about it because it is not part of this discussion.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 11, 2009 at 18:17:21

This is from hamiltonlightrail.com...


Development ROI for Streetcar Lines

Kenosha, Wis. - 2,400%

( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streetcars_in_Kenosha,_Wisconsin )

Little Rock, Ark. - 920%

( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/River_Rail_Electric_Streetcar )

Tamp, Fla - 1,686%

( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TECO_Line_Streetcar_System )

Each one of these "success" stories involve OLD FASHIONED streetcars, the one's you say are far less effective at attracting ridership and investment, yet they are presented as proof as to why Hamilton needs light rail.

My point about Boston was that it had THESE types of streetcars for decades, even while the city experienced massive population losses and high tax rates.

On the one hand you're saying that old fashioned streetcars are not good for investment, but then hamiltonlightrail.com presents them as success stories?

If streetcars are really good at attracting investment, why did they not stop the exodus of people form Boston from 1950-80 and why did they not lead to lower tax rates? If you can't explain light rail's complete failure in one of America's largest public transportation systems, why should we believe that light rail will work here?

Once again, too many unanswered questions.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted November 11, 2009 at 20:07:54

Kenosha Wisconsin: Streetcars installed in 2000. Little Rock: streetcars installed in 2004 and expanded in 2005 due to success. Tamps: streetcarrs installed in 2002

While you cherry picked three examples of "old fashioned" streetcars from the list of recent LRT installations, what you fail to understand is that these are still "modern streetcars" that have simply been built in old fashioned (replica) STYLE. They share more with LRT than they do with older streetcar system in terms of functionality and service. These are not your grandpa's trams.

Not to mention that you cannot imply that Boston's population declined exclusively (nor primarily, nor even partially) due to a failure of their older streetcar systems simply because the population declined during the time that the streetcars were in operation. Not that you'll ever understand why(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation_does_not_imply_causation) On the other hand, the successes of recent LRT installations is demonstrable using correct logic!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 11, 2009 at 22:39:11

seancb >> They share more with LRT than they do with older streetcar system in terms of functionality and service.

All light rail transit is the same. It runs on electricity, travels on rails and is above ground. The only difference between the old and the new vehicles is that the new ones 'look" more stylish.

Fifty years ago, the new trains on the Green Line looked new as well. Yet, it still didn't stop Boston's population from declining and it's tax rates from being over 2%.

You don't like hearing this, because it weakens your theory that LRT increases investment. You also fail to recognize the fact that Portland and Boston have introduced property tax caps, even though they both enjoy LRT.

If LRT is so effective at increasing assessments and bringing tax rates down, why would these areas need a property tax cap?

Furthermore, if you want Hamilton to be more like Portland and/or Boston, why just cherry pick the LRT side of the equation and not also the property tax cap? If you go for the tax cap, I would be more than happy to go along with the LRT.

What do you say, can we meet half way?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By highwater (registered) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 07:21:49

Yes, yes, A Smith! You have finally convinced us! You don't need to waste any more time writing comments. Now it's time to roll up your sleeves and get to work! Please let us know when you are holding the first meeting of the Hamilton Tax Cap League so we can help out!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted November 12, 2009 at 08:06:23

What do you say, can we meet half way?

Why don't you collect your thoughts and data and present it as a coherent article so that we can all ponder the idea and have a civil discussion about it. If it makes sense (no one is saying it doesn't) then maybe a group will break out of the noise and attempt to get the plan implemented.

In case you didn't understand the first 50 times people told you this, the reason no one is receptive to your posts is not necessarily because they disagree with the concepts, it's because they disagree with being dragged into the discussion on every single article, none of which are related to your pet topic.

I never claimed that LRT was a solitary magic bullet. But it is a huge piece of a multi-piece puzzle.

Older streetcars were not the same as modern LRT when they were originally installed. It's not about the brightness of the chrome, it's about functionality, accessibility, speed, etc.

Modern light rail moves people at speeds closer to subways than to streetcars, with less infrastructure cost. You don't have to travel very far from Hamilton to witness the fact that Toronto's old-style streetcars do not move nearly as many people nearly as fast as their subway does. The evidence is under your nose yet you can't smell it?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 09:57:18

The renters in this city pay considerably more in taxes then then the home owners and many of those that rent, struggle either on OW, ODSP or are the working poor.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 17, 2009 at 20:27:04

Grassroots >> The renters in this city pay considerably more in taxes then then the home owners

I agree that this is not fair. Multi-Residential tax rates should be reduced to the same rate as Residential.

Permalink | Context

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds