Light Rail

No LRT Before Pan Am Games

By Ryan McGreal
Published November 05, 2010

Today's Spectator reports that Hamilton won't get a light rail transit (LRT) system before the 2015 Pan Am Games:

City officials charged with bringing the anticipated transit project to reality have given up hope the trains can be running by the time athletes and spectators come to town.

Jill Stephen, director of rapid transit with the city's public works department, says there is simply too much planning, design, engineering, environmental study and construction work to complete and senior officials did not want roads torn up during the Games.

Given the ongoing fustercluck over a Pan Am stadium - including $70 million in unfunded capital costs at the compromise CP Rail Yard location - and the profound transformative power of an investment in LRT, I'm at the point where I'd rather just walk away from the Games altogether and focus on real city building.

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

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted November 05, 2010 at 08:23:05

New Hamiltonians sometimes wonder why folks who've been here a long time start to get cynical. THIS is why.

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By MattM (registered) | Posted November 05, 2010 at 08:50:57

Guess what. There WILL be no spectators or athletes in Hamilton.

Guess what else. Even when the Pan-Ams DON'T come to Hamilton, we still won't see LRT before 2015. Next excuse will be "but we don't need it/to accelerate it without the Pan-Am games".

It's all just an excuse to further the period of dragging feet/begging Metrolinx for money/holding off the eventual killing of precious driving lanes.

Comment edited by MattM on 2010-11-05 07:52:05

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By Borrelli (registered) | Posted November 05, 2010 at 09:05:01

"I'm at the point where I'd rather just walk away from the Games altogether and focus on real city building."

You, and so many of us...

I was hoping our faithful Provincial representative and ONDP Leader Andrea Howarth would have at least two-cents to share with her constituents on this whole "fustercluck", but she's been noticeably silent. As we're watching this develop into a "plan" that involves a massive transfer of public wealth to private interests, I had some hope that Ontario's social democratic party would speak up on this. Hell, since Ms Howarth was a former councillor, I thought she'd have a special interest, but the best I could get from her office was:

"Ms. Horwath is keenly interested in the matter and regularly discusses it with her colleagues. Your position will be noted."

Comment edited by Borrelli on 2010-11-05 08:44:25

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By DejaVu (anonymous) | Posted November 05, 2010 at 09:14:34

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted November 05, 2010 at 09:32:51

@Borrelli

Horvath is too busy attacking the Liberals for eco-tax and utilities taxing, torpedoing the image of her party as the Green one, to bother with representing her city.

On the other hand, she's also attacking on the G20 debacle, but it's not like this is a hard position to take.

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By bs (anonymous) | Posted November 05, 2010 at 11:13:13

Is there any way we can pressure the City / Mayor Elect to abandon the stadium and concentrate on LRT?

Rally??

We've seen Bratina flip flop at previous rallies and this is a much more pressing issue.
This could become Bratina's 'stadium'.

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By Simmons (registered) | Posted November 05, 2010 at 11:17:50

What an utter disappointment that it's come to this: what was portrayed as a gift from the feds and the province, the Pan Am Games are now holding up any valuable elements of city building. Get these Games out of Hamilton altogether and focus on the real issues.

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By JonD (registered) | Posted November 05, 2010 at 11:58:35

For a while now I've been of the opinion that the permanent Velodrome was the one PanAm facility that would have been of real future value and offered something unique to help transform Hamilton's image. But now I'm feeling that if council can not multitask enough to sink that slamdunk either then lets move on and just keep them focused on the essentials.

On another note... Although I didn't vote for him I'm looking forward to hearing from Jason Farr on the broader city related issues. But knowing that he's essentially a CFL/TiCat employee I'm guessing I'm not alone in wondering how he plans to make a "Hamilton First" decision when it comes to voting where/if the stadium should go. I was also hoping to see his donor list but nothing yet.

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By Pangloss (anonymous) | Posted November 05, 2010 at 12:15:17

http://www.google.com/search?ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&q=hurontario&btng=Search&domains=raisethehammer.org&sitesearch=raisethehammer.org

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted November 05, 2010 at 13:05:53

Agreed.

The money for re-development of the WH made sense for our city, nothing else really does. City building was hijacked by private interests leveraging the maudlin sentiment of our community for their own monetary gains... and most gladly let them do it.

West Harbour.

Or.

Kill the stadium.

Comment edited by mrjanitor on 2010-11-05 12:07:20

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By Beelzebob (anonymous) | Posted November 05, 2010 at 13:42:39

Bob Young killed the Pan Am Games for Hamilton. We should just walk away at this point.

Though sadly ironic, it may be necessary to separate LRT from the games in order to get some tracks laid in our lifetimes.

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By bigguy1231 (registered) | Posted November 05, 2010 at 14:06:59

Anyone who thought that we would be getting LRT within the next 20 years is living in a dream world. It will be 2030 before it happens. Hamilton is just not a priority. We were included to appease local politicians whining about this city not getting it's fair share from the province.

Comment edited by bigguy1231 on 2010-11-05 13:09:02

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By James (registered) | Posted November 05, 2010 at 15:05:03

Drop the PanAm Games, drop the stadium, and drop the Tiger Cats. Then there will be loads of money for worthwhile things like LRT going north-sound AND east-west. Have something going east-west on the mountain too, while we're at it.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted November 05, 2010 at 15:55:54

Does a CP stadium site make sense if there's no LRT running along main or king to ferry visitors to the stadium from the GO station, and vice versa?

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By On Track (anonymous) | Posted November 05, 2010 at 16:00:13

It took fifteen tears to link an entire nation with the CPR. Looks like we're on track to take longer than that to get an LRT. Pardon the pun.

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By ... politicking ... (anonymous) | Posted November 05, 2010 at 22:05:18

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By ELARTEE (anonymous) | Posted November 06, 2010 at 11:57:43

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By JonDaily (anonymous) | Posted November 06, 2010 at 14:14:53

Rally to Restore (Hamilton's) Sanity!!

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By SillyMe (anonymous) | Posted November 08, 2010 at 11:08:47

I have one overarching concern: RTH is all in favour of LRT. Please RTH say you are AGAINST it. You were all in favour of stadium in WH and look how well that went for you?

Here is who should also SAY they are against LRT: Fred, BobbotheMare, Ryan, theChamber, TerryCooked, and GlenMurray and the entire Spectator cast and crew. Then it might happen.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted November 08, 2010 at 16:02:06

...what was portrayed as a gift from the feds and the province, the Pan Am Games... - Simmons

Shame on us for falling for that.

Despite all the promises of money that accompany the rewarding of these events, it should be known by now that they are not a gift but in fact become sucking money pits for special interests. The promise of government money is like chum in the water for the special interest sharks and by the time they are done, the money is gone, the debts are still there and the only people left to pay the tab are the taxpayers.

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By Enough is Enough (anonymous) | Posted November 08, 2010 at 18:57:40

I am very disappointed that the LRT will not be built before Pan-Am. It is just so sad we can't move forward. I say lay the LRT tracks now. Drop the Pan-Am Games, and let the Tiger Cats finance their own precious stadium.

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By WhatisTime? (anonymous) | Posted November 09, 2010 at 07:56:44

Hey it took 50 years to build the Expressway in the valley...so a few more years waiting for LRT ain't much! Keep the faith.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted November 09, 2010 at 09:49:35

Let's then at the very least turn out streets back to two-way!

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By people's voice (anonymous) | Posted November 09, 2010 at 16:05:23

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By people's LOGIC (anonymous) | Posted November 09, 2010 at 18:44:43

this website has proven time and time again two-way streets are safer than one-way speedways with timed lights such as Main and King streets.

Also when you convert all one-ways to two-ways, you end up with the same amount of lanes per direction, just spread out more. People who want to avoid such perceived congestion will find new routes.. humans are rediculously adaptive!

use some logic and take off your Olde Tyme Hamiltonian blinders!

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted November 09, 2010 at 19:27:54

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted November 10, 2010 at 00:47:41

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By LRTfortheHAMMER (anonymous) | Posted November 10, 2010 at 21:06:57

2 way and LRT. Its the way of the future. At least until we have flying cars.

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By Paul (registered) | Posted November 10, 2010 at 23:50:05

LRT may happen but I am not sure any of us will still be around to see it. It has been touted for a while now at City Hall and used as an excuse to do nothing to improve transit so it will go on to be used for this reason. however typical city indecision and griping will also help further make sure it is not realised in our lifetime. From those who oppose it to those who whine about what street it will run, the concept is mired in the typical nonsense that sinks sustainable projects. In the meantime we give carte blanche to outdated short sighted ideas that end up putting us further behind like Red Hill, Aerotropolis, the Sadium, Meadowlands etc... By all means pursue LRT but we need transit improvements now!

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted November 11, 2010 at 10:45:47

LRT is just too expensive.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted November 13, 2010 at 18:12:06

Just look at the traffic mess on James St. Sth. I cannot imagine a worse street anywhere. The lights are a mess so you have cars racing trying to make the next green. Cars are changing lanes at an all time high because of buses, taxis, delivery trucks and cars parked in the right lane and vehicles blocking the left lane trying to turn left. All this with people trying to run across the street between traffic. A bad thing looking for a place to happen. Traffic moved better and it was safer and when it was one way.

______________-

Dude. It's called a CITY! Hey, here's an idea, let's turn Upper James one way and West Fifth the other! That should calm the traffic down. Of course, the merchants will loose their shirts, but that's okay, the traffic will flow better.

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By TB (registered) - website | Posted November 14, 2010 at 18:26:11

Not sure what the point is in comparing a land locked Ontario insurance town to a heavy industry port city on the Saint Lawrence Seaway, but if you want to inspire Hamiltonians then have a good look at Chicago for example.

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 11:25:27

Chicago. ROTFL Sure lets compare the needs of Hamilton with the 3rd most populous city in NA

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By z jones (registered) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 11:57:09

Yeah, so silly to take cues from one of the most successful cities in North America. I'd hate for Hamilton to end up like Chicago!!

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 13:46:37

Anyone who uses a Chicago as a blueprint for a medium sized city is a fool. There is nothing to learn from Chicago. There are too many factors that Hamilton cannot match based simply on size. Likewise looking to Toronto for vision is a fools game

Comment edited by turbo on 2010-11-15 12:47:06

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By TB (registered) - website | Posted November 15, 2010 at 15:32:38

@turbo

Normally people aspire to something which is more than they are - not less. Of course, using your approach, one is always guaranteed of success I suppose.

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted November 15, 2010 at 21:03:49

We can't be Chicago or Toronto. We simply don't have the population to support the required infrastructure, sports/business and cultural/business arrangements that they enjoy. Its really that simple

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted November 16, 2010 at 11:42:13

Steve - I see that you took great exception to my post about James St. Sth. but you did not even try to dispute my assessment of the conditions on the street. Do you ever go there?

Turbo - or LRT for that matter. To much area not enough population. Even the comparisons to Portland are a stretch, being in the top 25 metro areas in the USA.

Lets compare Hamilton to a city of similar size and population. A lot of the difficulties we face are a direct result of those two factors. As much as anyone would want to ignore them and pretend otherwise those two factors affect every decision that the city must make. We are as much a suburb of Toronto as we are a city in our own right, maybe more.

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