Light Rail

City Posts LRT Video

By RTH Staff
Published January 21, 2011

Steer Davies Gleave, the transportation consultant the City of Hamilton's Rapid Transit department has retained to help plan the east-west B-Line Light Rail Transit line, has created a video mockup of an LRT line moving west on King Street between Walnut and Bay.

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By MattM (registered) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 14:10:49

Kind of cheap and funny looking but cool at the same time.

vrooooooom

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 15:36:24

Cool video. Wonder why they picked the south side over the north side of King st. for the tracks.

Notice how the video shows no vehicular traffic on King between Walnut and Mary?

Not sure how accurate that is as far as the plans for the international village area?

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 17:13:02

That is accurate for International Village. Vehicle traffic will be allowed two-way from Wellington to Walnut and then again west of Mary. The LRT station will occupy the block in between Mary and Walnut. International Village appears poised to reap the most rewards from this LRT plan. It WILL become one of the hottest hoods downtown with this plan. Street parking on both sides is retained and LRT stops right in the middle of the neighbourhood.
Having been in successful LRT cities, I can't tell you how happy I am for that neighbourhood if we can actually get past the Hamilton naysayers and build this project.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 17:33:45

by the way, this vid is sweet. Imagine hopping on that thing across town? Folks in the King East and Main East area from downtown to Queenston Traffic Circle won't believe the improvement in their quality of life by getting rid of urban freeways and having them replaced with a modern tramline, street parking, trees and an environment conducive to walking, sitting for a coffee etc.....

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By Light Fail (anonymous) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 19:42:50

One way King? Sharing lanes with cars? Epic facepalm.

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By sbwoodside (registered) - website | Posted January 21, 2011 at 21:30:51

Needs music!!!!

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 22:37:19

it only shares lanes with cars on King between Wellington and Walnut. Then, no cars are allowed from Walnut to Mary. King will be a local street, not a through freeway anymore, so sharing lanes for a few quiet blocks won't be a problem at all. In fact I love this set-up. Street parking is maintained and the LRT still comes through. International Village is being handed a massive gift for their business climate. I'd love to own a building there right now.

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By say what (anonymous) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 22:41:38

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By mike_sak (registered) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 23:01:42

Ok it seems there is a lot of praise for international village. It is a cool idea, and I support it fully.

As a student currently studying urban planning in Buffalo, NY, I am kind of hesitant in restricting vehicular traffic year round along this stretch (considering our Northern climate). From my experience Buffalo's downtown 600 main street block did just this for its metro line (yes...buffalo has a subway/lrt line). The main street portion, which encompasses buffalo's theatre district, is closed to vehicular traffic in order to create a "pedestrian friendly" environment. It is now largely a "dead zone" where the Buffalo metro is the only thing that breezes through above ground. there is now just recently talks to reopen the main thouroughfare again to vehicular traffic. http://www.buffalorising.com/2011/01/600...

While it is all fine and dandy to create pedestrian friendly environments, I think this may be a case that Hamilton should consider. Restricting such traffic does have that slight possibility of working against Hamilton's plans for the international village BIA.

Comment edited by mike_sak on 2011-01-21 23:08:49

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By kevin (registered) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 23:09:36

Great vid. I'm listening to Fred's "I like Trains" right now. I want one. Bad.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 23:31:34

mike sak, I'm glad you mentioned Buffalo's experience. I've been consistent all along here in Hamilton that we need to maintain street parking for vehicles along the LRT line, which is why we've gone with this one-way plan on King and a small portion of Main. The interntional village will have cars allowed both ways, and will have full street parking on both sides through the entire stretch, other than the tiny block from Walnut to Mary. See map below:

http://maps.google.ca/maps?f=q&sourc...

Cars will be allowed on King the entire route, other than that one short block. This won't be a situation at all like Buffalo's. There is street parking on both Walnut and Mary as well as King William, and as I mentioned, King. There was talk months ago of having no cars in International Village, but that plan was scrapped for the reasons you've mentioned.

The new plan has room for street parking on almost the entire LRT route from downtown all the way back to the Queenston traffic circle. Great for business, for ped friendly sidewalks, traffic calming and LRT customers.

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By Woody10 (registered) | Posted January 22, 2011 at 00:18:22

Wow, who wouldn't want this for our city? Crossing fingers we don't blow this as well.

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By Tnt (registered) | Posted January 22, 2011 at 00:20:21

How close to this are we?

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted January 22, 2011 at 02:21:25

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By mike_sak (registered) | Posted January 22, 2011 at 03:03:16

thanks for the reply jason, it clarifies things.

mr. meister does have a point though. even closing that small a portion of king could still be detrimental to attracting a steady flow of people.

the one thing i want to see in hamilton is a successful lrt line/s. please don't botch this up hamilton. think this through together everyone - let's put the stadium mess behind us!

Comment edited by mike_sak on 2011-01-22 03:07:17

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 22, 2011 at 09:44:21

part of this is a culture shift in Hamilton. People are used to treating King St like a highway to somewhere else, even though we have now ringed the city with highways and there are alternate downtown streets to use such as Hunter, Charlton, Cannon, Wilson and Barton.
King will become a local street. considering it will be two-way in International Village, and King William immediately to the north is close by and has more street parking as well as connecting Mary to Walnut I think this plan could work. Still, it would be interesting to see some other alternatives through this stretch and see what they could look like.

I can see IV becoming a great neighbourhood to live in and a destination neighbourhood for folks to come and enjoy the great street life similar to Hess and George St's in Hess Village.

Comment edited by jason on 2011-01-22 09:45:37

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted January 22, 2011 at 10:09:20

Absolutely right, jason! For thoroughfare purposes, there are alternatives to King st at international village.

King st. at international village has already been narrowed down to a mere two lanes for through traffic many years ago.

It's no big deal to turn off of King st. on to Wellington st. to travel westerly on Hunter st., or turn onto Victoria st. to travel westerly on Cannon st., which is wider than King st. at international village anyway, and can still put you straight on the 403 off of York blvd (passing right near the proposed WH stadium site, BTW).

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 22, 2011 at 10:31:12

captain kirk, not to mention there are still people in Hamilton who live down by Main/Ottawa- Kenilworth area who travel back through King to the 403. It's just an old habit that is not necessary anymore with the Red Hill and Linc being close by. I have a friend who lives at Greenhill and Quigley. From Strathcona and York it takes 15-20 minutes by car to drive there through the city. It takes 15 minutes to drive there via 403-Linc-Red Hill. Why anyone still thinks they need to cut through Hamilton is beyond me. Why build new highways if nobody is going to use them?

Edit: and this 'through the city' travel time will likely increase a little as we do some needed traffic calming and more two-way conversions downtown.

Comment edited by jason on 2011-01-22 10:31:54

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By C (anonymous) | Posted January 22, 2011 at 10:49:02

@ jason - A similar personal anecdote.

I live near King and Nash. I had to go regularly to downtown Dundas for a while, and found that the direct route through King st./downtown would take me about 30 minutes, but going up RHVP, across the LINC, Rosseaux rd and down Old Ancaster Rd (or is it Old Dundas Rd?) got me to my destination in about 20 minutes. 10 minutes faster! 33% less travel time.

Also, I've found taking RHVP, to QEW to Burlington st and across, gets me to downtown or the waterfront quicker as well.

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By say what (anonymous) | Posted January 22, 2011 at 11:32:31

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted January 22, 2011 at 11:35:16

All the more reason for the rest of us to go downtown!

(just kidding say what)

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By say what (anonymous) | Posted January 22, 2011 at 11:36:40

The question is why wouldn't he move to Dundas or take the bus and save the planet like RTH contributors suggest to those that say they need to drive everywhere

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By say what (anonymous) | Posted January 22, 2011 at 11:37:36

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 22, 2011 at 11:37:43

haven't been in years

And yet, as we heard once again this week, downtown is doing better than it has in ages and is becoming a vibrant place once again. funny how that works. The odd person who stays away because their highway is removed is more than replaced with people looking to actually live and entertain in a comfortable, highway-free environment.
Everyone wins - you never have to come downtown for the rest of your life and those of us who live down here get to enjoy a nicely revitalized area. As Bob Young would say "it's a win-win".

Comment edited by jason on 2011-01-22 11:38:33

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By say what (anonymous) | Posted January 22, 2011 at 11:43:43

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By George (registered) | Posted January 22, 2011 at 12:01:21

"Crackhouse"?

Well I guess Denninger's can be rather addictive.

Or might you be referring to the Tiger-Cats moving there years ago that has created such a poor reputation for the area that you refer to?

For someone who doesn't go there, you sure seem to "know" about that place.

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By say what (anonymous) | Posted January 22, 2011 at 12:24:42

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By crhayes (registered) - website | Posted January 22, 2011 at 14:19:23

say what,

People like you consistently complain about downtown while folks like Jason, Ryan, RTH and countless others work hard to inspire change; without them progress in the lower city would be staggered even furhter. Downtown is slowly turning around, and a handful of passionate people are making it happen. Either jump on the bandwagon or stay out of downtown; either way the rest of us will continue working hard to inspire change downtown.

It may not be 'glamorous' today but dedication and a little elbow grease can go a long way.

Comment edited by crhayes on 2011-01-22 14:20:45

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By geoff's two cents (registered) | Posted January 22, 2011 at 14:53:22

IV would be my neighborhood of choice if I moved back to the Hammer. Best German and Korean food I've ever had, a great little breakfast diner, Denninger's, a more pedestrian-friendly street, and a short walk to the rest that downtown has to offer. An IV LRT connection would be sheer gold for the area, with easy transportation between Ottawa St., downtown, Locke and Westdale/McMaster. In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised for these reasons to see it emerge alongside James N. as the neighborhood of choice for downtown-oriented McMaster grad students and faculty once LRT is up and running.

Comment edited by geoff's two cents on 2011-01-22 14:55:10

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By geoff's two cents (registered) | Posted January 22, 2011 at 15:00:10

I should also add that, from what I've seen of Buffalo, the city has problems over and above its sleepy pedestrian zone on Main Street. The sheer number of blank walls facing sidewalks downtown attest to a very lengthy history of pedestrian-unfriendly planning, and on a much larger scale than Hamilton - which at least has the relative advantage of being able to turn its legacy of downtown pedestrian neglect around while it's still a small- to medium-sized city.

Comment edited by geoff's two cents on 2011-01-22 15:22:30

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By George (registered) | Posted January 22, 2011 at 17:09:52

Yes, it’s incremental. But there is no denying our downtown core is in revival mode.

Since 2001, 1,500 new jobs have arrived in the core, as have 1,200 new residents. More than 1,600 downtown businesses now employ 23,400 people. Three-quarters of those jobs are in the private sector. Three-quarters are full-time. The average income of downtown workers is almost $54,000, well above the city and provincial averages of $39,500 and $37,700.

http://www.thespec.com/opinion/article/4...

Comment edited by George on 2011-01-22 17:10:07

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By jay (registered) | Posted January 22, 2011 at 17:49:13

If only downtown hamilton looked this good....

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By Paul (registered) | Posted January 22, 2011 at 19:24:25

It is all great speculation and while I am having trouble with the vid due to computer trouble, it is just another empty product from the folks at the City. I would rather see actual progress than a vidoe or their slick glossy flyers Ive seen at the library etc. Seems to me to be too much marketing to show that progress is being made when it really isn't.

I support LRT though I do not think our current system should continue to sit in haitus while this is being pondered.

We need transit improvements now. alas the current and past City hall thinking as well as many drivers who have never used transit continue to neglect it while polticians hold up the almost mythical LRT as our great saviour whilde doing nothing to move it forward (with perhaps an exception or two).

Our new council has already shied away from the issue as the staff advocate further fare increases and council is too greedy to use the gas tax on the very thing it was intended for so it sits without improvement or movement whatsoever.

So we can further speculate and complain about the LRT and downtown all we wish but I would much rather see a movement to action to actually imrpoving what we have both downtown and our transit system.

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted January 22, 2011 at 19:43:59

The current plans call for an LRT station at Walnut Street and a station at MacNab Street but the LRT effectively bypasses Gore Park. While it is understandable that the location of the MacNab LRT station is designed to enable quick transfers to buses at the MacNab Street Bus Terminal, there is a risk that the lack of an LRT stop at Gore Park will further reduce the Gore Park pedestrian activity that has already been substantially diminished since the opening of the the new bus terminal earlier this month.

Although the plan is to have LRT stops located approximately 800 metres apart, it is worth considering the addition of an LRT stop at Catharine Street or John Street to support the "to be revitalized" Gore Park, the Crowne Plaza Hotel and the Royal Connaught Hotel property whatever it may eventually become.

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2011-01-22 19:51:44

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 23, 2011 at 09:07:33

RenWatcher, I too wondered about that, but then took a look at their design panels;

http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/DA2F...

You'll see a rendering 'photo' taken from James and King on the Gore Park side looking NW towards Jackson Square and the LRT station. The station looks like it will be about 25 steps to Gore Park which seems suitable to me. The Walnut station is one block from the Crowne Plaza and 3 blocks to the Connaught. I wondered if a station on the SE corner of King and James would be better, but that probably doesn't make sense with the MTT.

I have an idea I'm looking at suggesting to the rapid transit team that could still see a Walnut station in IV but also allow one lane of westbound vehicle traffic to continue along King past the station.

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted January 23, 2011 at 11:23:43

Jason:

While your point is well taken that the MacNab Street LRT station would only be about 25 steps (i.e. about half a block) from Gore Park, one wonders about the morning rush hour logistics of making that walk comfortably. For example, when any LRT rider who works in the office buildings east of James Street disembarks the LRT at the MacNab Street stop, they would get caught in the wash of LRT riders walking west to Stelco Tower or Standard Life Building or to catch a connection at the MacNab Street Bus Terminal. And the Walnut Street LRT stop would be too far away for the "east of James" office workers when minutes count on weekday mornings.

You may be correct though that the addition of a Catharine Street LRT stop would probably be too close to the Walnut LRT stop. Might the addition instead of a John Street LRT stop be a helpful compromise?

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2011-01-23 11:28:17

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted January 27, 2011 at 01:44:15

Jason - When I read your comment about driving times across town I immediately questioned your times. I have not driven the two routes but did check them out on Google maps. It seems the times are almost identical but the 403 - Linc - RHVP is more than twice as long. Not sure we should be encouraging anyone to double their driving distance to save a minute.

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By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted April 08, 2011 at 13:58:36

Options!

http://goo.gl/tOboO

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