If the quality of public arguments against light rail transit in Hamilton is any indication, the case for LRT must be pretty strong.
In today's offering to the false god of journalistic balance, the author takes 581 words to present exactly two erroneous "facts" and propose exactly one policy action, which City staff are already doing.
No, Metrolinx did not originally suggest that bus rapid transit is the way to go (though the Ontario Liberals promised Hamilton two LRT lines back in 2007).
Metrolinx did not make any recommendations until publishing its Hamilton King-Main Rapid Transit Benefits Case Analysis (BCA), which concluded that LRT will provide the most economic uplift and the biggest qualitative user benefit while delivering the best benefit-cost ratio.
So much for chiding staff to "conjure up a simple balance sheet demonstrating the net benefit of a switch to LRT".
As for whether LRT "could be shoe-horned into the streetscape", I'll remind the reader that we had electric streetcars on these streets decades ago. The only reason they were removed is that Canada Coach Lines, a bus company, bought the HSR and ripped out the tracks.
I'll further remind the reader that LRT has been successfully "shoe-horned" into the medieval streetscapes of several European cities. Surely if Grenoble and Bordeaux can manage it, we can find some room in our five-lane thoroughfares.
And for the record, the City's rapid transit office has already extensively polled and surveyed Hamiltonians about the LRT proposal, including holding a number of community and stakeholder sessions around the city and convening a rapid transit citizens advisory committee.
The December 2010 Newsletter [PDF] cited the following priorities identified by the community:
But why let what the community wants - or, indeed, what the evidence tells us - get in the way of a sweeping dismissal that tosses around such emotive grenades as "mother of all boondoggles" and "gravy train" without demonstrating a shred of actual research?
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