Light Rail

Hamilton Light Rail Meeting, Interview on CHCH

By Ryan McGreal
Published November 12, 2009

this blog entry has been updated

The next Hamilton Light Rail planning meeting will be Wednesday, November 18, 2009, 7:30 PM at the Bread and Roses Cafe, Sky Dragon Centre, 27 King William St. (b/w James and Hughson), Hamilton.

This important meeting comes at a critical point in the development of the Light Rail transit initiative in Hamilton.

The Pan Am Games are going ahead in 2015, Metrolinx is closer to releasing its Benefits Case Analysis for the east-west rapid transit line in Hamilton, there have been more developments in the Light Rail Made in Hamilton initiative, and recent newspaper coverage of the proposed route has stirred some controversy.

Please come out next Wednesday and help develop a strategy to address these issues.

In the meantime, be sure to catch HLR spokesperson Nicholas Kevlahan on CHCH at 5:30 PM or 11:30 PM today, joining a panel with a business owner on King Street who is upset about the planned LRT line.


Update: - this blog entry originally stated that the interview would be at 1:00 PM. It's actually being taped at that time but will be played at 5:30 PM and 11:30 PM. Thanks to Hebscher at CH News for the correction. - Ed.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

38 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 09:26:57

I really appreciate all the hard work that Hamilton Light Rail has done in this, I just hope that the next 3 years isn't spent being used by local media to bump ratings by having these staged debates. HLR has done great at educating all the powerbrokers in this city that LRT is absolutely all about business. More business, better business, higher profits in business etc..... Be careful that the media doesn't corner you into a debate where LRT is painted as being anti-business.

I'm still perplexed at the Little Ceasars owner on King at Wentworth complaining that folks will only be able to access his property from one direction. That's how it's been for 50 years. What will change for him is the fact that King and Wentworth will have a light rail stop and thousands of people a day will be dropped off at his doorstep. People=customers=money=good business. Cars speeding by to the Meadowlands aren't helping his business one bit.

Finally, I'd dare any local businessman or politician to keep a straight face and tell us that business is booming on King and Main though the entire lower city and that we should maintain the status quo because 'if it ain't broke don't fix it'. Anyone with eyesight can see that it is broken. Severely broken.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By JonC (registered) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 10:55:01

From today's letters to the editor

http://thespec.ca/Opinions/LettertotheEd...

"People travelling in their automobiles who are focused on catching every green light are unlikely to stop to explore a new business. Conversely, when a light rail train unloads a car full of pedestrians at a stop, it will be much easier for these people to stop at businesses they pass as they're on foot."

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Really? (registered) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 11:40:53

Has anyone extended this invitation to the Mayor and Council?

They, in my opinion, are really the ones that need to attend these meetings!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By J. Morse (anonymous) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 20:24:14

The good parts of the interview: The points made by Nick are very reasonable and backed by verifiable facts. Nick put forward a quick and concise argument that is difficult to dispute. The other panelist was doing his best to explain what he thinks is wrong with the proposed plans. His only valid point, in my opinion, is that during construction there may be some impact to the businesses on the street. A necessary evil, that may be lessened if the LRT construction is planned and executed effectively.

The bad parts: The host of the panel was wrong to get excited and threaten to cut off Nick's mic. Nick was a little too quick to challenge the claims of his opponent, but the host should have waited for a moment to calmly bring order to the discussion.

I'm afraid the media is beginning to see the opportunity to turn this into a 'conflict' like cars vs. bikes. What we can't have, is allowing Hamilton's media portray transit advocates as wing-nuts who just want to ruin everyone's freedom to drive.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 21:53:33

Jason >> thousands of people a day will be dropped off at his doorstep. People=customers=money=good business. Cars speeding by to the Meadowlands aren't helping his business one bit.

Why will thousands of people get out of their cars and start taking the LRT to travel dowtown? They could do that today today using their cars, but like you say, they would rather drive farther to go elsewhere.

The problem with the downtown is not how fast people can get there, it's the poverty, the run down buildings and the lack of shopping venues. Introducing LRT will do nothing to address these, but will only make those who rely on public transportation more likely to stick around. LRT will be a poor magnet.

In contrast, cutting people's taxes WOULD make the downtown better, because it would do the complete opposite. It would INCREASE the number of shops and private businesses.

Lower taxes = more disposable income = more shopping = more vibrant community.

Think about it, why do people go to Ancaster in the first place, it's the SHOPPING, not the government services. If you want more shopping downtown, you need less government spending and more private sector spending.

The easiest and quickest way to increase the percentage of private sector activity downtown, is not to allow the government to spend more money on things like LRT, it's to the complete opposite. Give the money back to the people and let them decide where they want to spend it. If enough people want mass transit, business will provide it.

It comes down to this, if the LRT is truly a service that is being demanded by the people of Hamilton, they will pay full price for it, just as they do for everything else they buy. The government doesn't subsidize electronics stores, fast food restaurants, or book stores, yet they manage to stay in operation. Why should LRT be any different.

If LRT delivers a service consumers value, it doesn't need taxpayer money to keep it from going bankrupt.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 22:12:15

ASmith said: "If LRT delivers a service consumers value, it doesn't need taxpayer money to keep it from going bankrupt."

If this was true, Ancaster and all it's so-called 'shopping' wouldn't exist.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 13, 2009 at 08:11:21

Jason, don't waste your energy debating with trolls.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By highwater (registered) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 09:31:50

A Smith! I'm totally convinced! When are you calling the first meeting of the Hamilton Tax Cap League? I can't wait to sign up. do you have a website yet?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By hunter (anonymous) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 10:01:13

I saw the interview. Nicholas has done a fantastic job building the profile of light rail in Hamilton. Perhaps now is the time for Hamilton Light Rail to recruit a more media-savvy mainstream type spokesperson as media scrutiny, coverage and possible opposition builds? just a thought.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By markwhittle (registered) - website | Posted November 13, 2009 at 10:46:16

I watched the debate on CHCH and as a taxpayer I wasn't impressed with the spokesman for LRT, he came across as arrogant and rude, no wonder his microphone had to be switched off repeatedly. The proponents forget there's only one taxpayer and we are at the max for property taxes. Everyone loves the idea of LRT but nobody wan't to pay for it through property taxes. Once the novelty wears off, LRT will suffer the same fate as the HSR, in the hole, needing millions just to survive the status quo.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Jonathan Dalton (registered) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 12:47:52

Anyone youtube this? I wanted to watch but have no tv.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By transit tired (anonymous) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 12:48:34

I think LRT is a great idea but the problem I see is if we cannot run a competant affordable bus transit system now, how is light rail ever going to work as it should. LRT works wonderfully theoretically and practically in other hands but this is Hamilton. No matter what the competancy of local activists, it will ultimately not be run by them. The recent fare hike shows how the city is not committed to sustainable travel so what is suddenly going to enlighten them?

It is not a lack of knowledge but a broken system where progressive thought is constantly trumped by short term gain by special interests which continues to put the city in deficit and so the rising impoverished majority are consistantly targeted to bear the burden. The really scary part is that there are far too many of this majority who parrot the same rhetoric as their more affluant peers. This is not because they are less intelligent but it is easier to go with the flow and duck your head to soldier on than push back against a way of life so deeply entrenched in the city.

So I do not see a bright future for LRT indeed I see them trying to share the buget with the HSR so there is not new expense, something that will not work.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 13, 2009 at 12:59:30

FWIW Metrolinx has stated that they will retain ownership of the LRT system.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 14:20:13

Jason >> thousands of people a day will be dropped off at his doorstep. People=customers=money=good business. Cars speeding by to the Meadowlands aren't helping his business one bit.

Jason, could you please tell me why you think that more people will travel downtown and spend money, simply because the LRT will get them a little bit faster?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 14:24:05

No I won't. You should have paid attention the last 97 times I said it.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 14:38:38

jason >> No I won't.

Could you provide a link where you explain why thousands more people will start shopping downtown Hamilton?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 15:30:56

Can anyone explain how the LRT will make the downtown a better place to shop and live?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By highwater (registered) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 16:18:36

That's right A Smith! Hold his feet to the fire. When's the meeting?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By zookeeper (registered) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 16:37:25

Stooooooop feeeeeeeeding the troooooooool.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 18:05:34

Highwater, do you agree with Jason that the LRT will bring more people downtown to live and shop? If so, could you explain why this would be?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By J Morse (anonymous) | Posted November 14, 2009 at 06:53:10

@ transit tired:

I too am concerned about the way the LRT and transit in general is to be funded in the long term. The majority, rich or poor, don't understand that the returns from ongoing investment on transit are not necessarily tangible, measurable, or immediate. They don't understand that transit is not charity, not a handout, but something fundamental for the well being of society like clean drinking water or childhood education.

As a society, when we build and operate things for all to use, we all own and benefit from it. But everything needs a personal price tag. Rich or poor, people seem to need to own stuff individually. Our current majority mindset is not to share. How are we raised, by private advertising for consumer goods? Our morals have been hijacked in the name of economic 'success'!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted November 14, 2009 at 13:14:42

J MOrse: Just because someone ahs money, does not mean they have morals necessarily. The public has been brainwashed.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By highwater (registered) | Posted November 14, 2009 at 15:25:19

A Smith wrote:

Highwater, do you agree with Jason that the LRT will bring more people downtown to live and shop? If so, could you explain why this would be?

No, no, A Smith! I agree with you and everything you say, and am anxiously waiting for you to put your money where your mouth is and start your citizens group to lobby for tax cuts the way Ryan et al lobbied for LRT. Is your website up yet? I can't wait to help out!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 14, 2009 at 15:41:18

J Morse >> transit is not charity, not a handout, but something fundamental for the well being of society

The HSR is a disaster because it makes poor people weak. It needs to be abolished.

>> Our morals have been hijacked in the name of economic 'success'!

37.2% of Canada's economy is spent on government freebies.

Highlights...

$121,577M Health or $3,684/person
$151,869M Social Services or $4,602/person
$95,732M Education or $2,901/person
$6,120M Housing or $185/person

Total = $11,372/person/year

Do you think the average poor person pays more than $11,372/year in taxes? If not, then who are the immoral people paying for their free stuff?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 14, 2009 at 15:48:16

Highwater >> start your citizens group to lobby for tax cuts the way Ryan et al lobbied for LRT

I don't believe in citizens groups. I only believe in principles, like not taking other people's money against their will. This doesn't require petitioning the government, all it requires is for people to change their heart.

Furthermore, since there are more people in this city who believe in government theft, rather than what I speak about, it makes more sense to stay here, where I can reach a larger audience. What Ryan has set up for evil, God is using for good.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By markwhittle (registered) - website | Posted November 15, 2009 at 07:46:17

I see the LRT debate here has went down hill, just like it did on the interview I watched on Television. Hamilton used to have an extensive trolly system, state-of-the-art at the time. Built right into the road, as I recall. Hamilton has one of the most extensive bus services, comparatively speaking, it's the management of it that is the problem. After all a bus is just an object until someone get's behind the wheel. LRT is a pipe-dream and takes focus away from matters of much more importance, like poverty that continues to expand, no matter how many round tables are formed to address the problem. When social activists like Tom Cooper start espousing the view that having the Games here will eleviate poverty, our leaders have finally jumped the shark. Don't be surprised if the stadium ends up being built in Burlington, as the Ti-Cat owner resently mused. Oops, damage control. That's Hamilton, get used to it.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted November 15, 2009 at 08:22:33

Mark: I am sure you are aware of the upcoming gmeeting this week, the Emergency Services Committee. I am sure you have read the report, it is now on the city website, the Emergency Food Planning Committee.

While it is great the the medical professionals are starting to voice language about the growing need for more money for food on the cheques, the people never actually see more money, so that people can survive.

I suspect that we will see an increase of homelessness this winter, as one of the the recommendation is to steal from Peter to give to Paul.

Where is the Roundtable on this issue?

Where are the voice of those who are lwo income on this committee, it seems they forget to include them!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted November 15, 2009 at 08:28:08

I ain't got no home anymore

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgMWX3bHE...

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 15, 2009 at 19:23:53

grassroots >> the people never actually see more money, so that people can survive.

How many people in Hamilton die from starvation every year?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted November 16, 2009 at 05:24:57

A Smith: How many coroners reports are done on those who die who live in poverty? How many die from malnutrition and many other diseases because of the lack of proper food?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By highwater (registered) | Posted November 16, 2009 at 11:30:10

A Smith wrote:

Furthermore, since there are more people in this city who believe in government theft, rather than what I speak about, it makes more sense to stay here, where I can reach a larger audience. What Ryan has set up for evil, God is using for good.

You really need to get to work on your Hamilton Tax Cap League, A Smith. Otherwise people might start to think that you are a parasite sponging off Ryan's hard work because you are too afraid to let your own principles and beliefs stand on their own in the free market place of ideas. I know a highly-principled, self-made individual like yourself would never do such a thing, so I am anxiously awaiting the appearance of your own website! Let me know how I can help!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 16, 2009 at 15:44:53

grassroots >> How many die from malnutrition and many other diseases because of the lack of proper food?

This is what you said..."the people never actually see more money, so that people can survive."

You made the claim that people can't survive on the amount of money they get in welfare, what FACTS are you basing that on?

highwater >> You really need to get to work on your Hamilton Tax Cap League, A Smith.

Bake me a cake and I'll consider it.

>> people might start to think that you are a parasite sponging off Ryan's hard work

If people start to think that would be great.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Grassroots is a beautiful girl. (anonymous) | Posted November 16, 2009 at 21:13:58

Grassroots, I totally agree with you. Rich people have way too much money and the poor not nearly enough.

Furthermore, I think rather than just giving people welfare, the government should give homes to people and let them have pride of ownership.

Also, if you earn less than x amount/year, you should be exempt from property taxes.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Simon (registered) - website | Posted November 16, 2009 at 22:32:37

Hey, I'm new to this forum. Not trying to make waves but I am interested, is there an article that explains how the LRT would benefit the downtown core?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted November 16, 2009 at 23:13:20

A Smith writes: You made the claim that people can't survive on the amount of money they get in welfare, what FACTS are you basing that on?

I challenge you, to live on $572.00 per month for a year, bud. You can document your story and tell us all about your experiences, like losing your home, trying to find shelter, trying to find food, trying to exist, dealing with the workers at the various agencies and government, treating you like you are a piece of dirt.

I am sure you could go down to the landlord and tenant tribunal and see all the cases where people are being evicted due to non payment of rent or you could go stand in one the foodbank lines.

So I suggest that if you cannot take this challenge, then there is no need for you to come back to this site and air your rhetoric, because, really one does has to walk a mile in another's mocassins, to truly understand their plight.

I take that you have heard the story about a family, who are really struggling due to job loss because of the economic crisis and that the amount from EI is not enough to cover their bills. The councillor for that family was trying to help but the answer from someone high up in Social Services, was to make the order to call CAS and who knows how long before this family is ripped apart, soley because a family lost their job due to no fault of their own.

One would think that given your stance on big government, that you would be calling these serpents out into the open, chastising them for not speaking out about the system that causes so much depravity. It is your tax dollars that pay the salaries of these people who earn in access of a quarter of a million dollars each year, meanwhile the number of homeless and down out increases.

I mean really, it is not like any of these "brillant" people come up with any feasible plans or answers.

So I guess it begs the question, why do we bother to have elections, when our elcted officials have no power to change things, to help their own constituents, to call the senior management people out onto the carpet for their complete lack of caring and compassion?

Pretty sad state of affairs, if you ask me. So do not worry, as the number homeless increases throught the winter months, as their plan is to divert funds from one program to another. Those in the poverty industry are trying to protect their place in society but then we never hear them on the TV, radio or elsewhere actually condemning the system that causes so much heartache.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 17, 2009 at 00:28:17

Simon asked:

is there an article that explains how the LRT would benefit the downtown core?

In fact there's a whole website: http://hamiltonlightrail.com/

Here are some specific articles:

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 17, 2009 at 16:07:29

Grassroots >> I challenge you, to live on $572.00 per month for a year, bud.

I challenge you to throw away your provincial health card. This card acts as an anchor on your life and it keeps opportunities from coming your way.

I threw my card away almost two years ago and in that time I have realized that putting one's faith in God is the best health insurance policy there is. Will you do this or are you too scared?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By alrathbone (registered) | Posted November 18, 2009 at 01:23:23

"I think LRT is a great idea but the problem I see is if we cannot run a competant affordable bus transit system now, how is light rail ever going to work as it should."

LRT is cheaper per head to run than buses.

Hence it will save money.

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