Light Rail

All-Day GO is Important, But Let's Not Forget About LRT

By Ryan McGreal
Published May 25, 2011

I read yesterday's Spectator article on the prospects for all-day GO service to Hamilton with some disquiet.

A GO train passes under the High-Level Bridge (RTH file photo)
A GO train passes under the High-Level Bridge (RTH file photo)

City manager Chris Murray is quoted saying, "In terms of the kind of boost the province could provide us, I can think of nothing better than full-day Go service."

Peggy Chapman, Mayor Bob Bratina's office manager, says, "It's [Bratina's] No. 1 priority."

Douglas Duke from the Hamilton-Halton Home Builders Association notes the "tremedous out-migration from the GTA to the Hamilton area" and argues that full-day GO service would strengthen Hamilton's housing market. He says all-day GO service is "essential to Hamilton's future" - presumably, its future as a bedroom community.

Richard Koroscil, CEO of Hamilton International Airport and a member of the Metrolinx board, calls all-day GO service "a critical piece for Hamilton" but warns, "At the end of the day the funding really comes from the province. It's up to the province to determine what will get funded when."

Essential Transit

That last statement really got me thinking. Not so long ago, another provincially-funded transit service was supposed to be "essential to Hamilton's future" and "a critical piece for Hamilton" - light rail transit (LRT).

A major difference between all-day GO and LRT is that the former would make it easier for people to live in Hamilton and leave the city to work, whereas the latter would make it easier for people to live in Hamilton and work in their own city by catalyzing new investment and new business development right here.

Don't get me wrong: I certainly see the value in all-day GO service to Hamilton. Indeed, I believe Metrolinx should invest in fast electric rail along the Lakeshore East and West corridors.

However, an improvement in GO service is an important transport connection at the regional rather than local level. It ties Hamilton's fortunes more closely to the GTA rather than cultivating a made-at-home economic engine.

Not Forgotten

Murray and Bratina did not return requests for comments, but Koroscil at least is still thinking strategically about LRT.

In his response to RTH, Koroscil wrote, "Both LRT and two-way all-day Go service should be priorities for Hamilton, as they each serve different purposes on their own, but together they bring a much greater benefit."

He also believes both are achievable, but that LRT is "a longer term project due to its size and scope." He recognizes that LRT "will provide the higher order of transit within the City as well as drive big economic benefits for our community."

In the meantime, all-day GO service can be in place by 2015. "During tight economic times and large government deficits, going for the smaller quick win while continuing to advance the larger more complex project should be achievable and make for a better overall result."

I hope he's right. Given the enthusiasm for all-day GO service, the relative quiet from Hamilton's officials on LRT and the repeated warning that funding must come from the fiscally-constrained province, I worry about the potential for our leaders to take the easy road instead of fighting for an outcome that is more transformational but also more politically risky.

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 Desmond (anonymous) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 13:34:01

There's no way that both will happen and Go makes more sense at this time.

No saying LRT won't happen down the road but it won't be for many, many years.

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 13:36:04

it won't be for many, many years

Read: "we'll build the Mid-Pen first, and then we can talk about LRT, if the province isn't bankrupt yet."

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By Ellartee (anonymous) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 14:21:25

LRT is moribund I fear.

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By mrgrande (registered) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 15:12:04 in reply to Comment 63979

Google, define:moribund

Ah, yes. I agree.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 15:32:41

We already have all-day GO service. The express buses running out of Hunter will get you to T.O faster in non-rush hour than any train would. During rush hour people can take the train. I know, I do it all the time.

Adding all day train service from Liuna stn is a waste of money since for most people in this city it would make more sense to just drive to either aldershot or burlington. Liuna is too out of the way for most Hamiltonians.

If you are going to have all day train service it should be based out of hunter street and not at the expense of bus service.

As for LRT - I can't think of a better way for Hamiltonian's tax money to be wasted. It would be more effective (and cheaper) to convert some of the lanes on King and Main into "bus only" then to do LRT. Everyone who would ride on the LRT are people who would have rode the bus anyway. Do you people really think that LRT will cause people to stop driving their cars? Get real.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 16:33:20 in reply to Comment 63983

Strangely I find myself somewhat agreeing with Capitalist.

All day train would be nice, but we do have express bus service, which is faster at non-peak times, and we have express train service currently. If getting all day train means we end up losing express bus service it will be a TREMENDOUS step backwards.

I also agree that adding all day train at liuna station is problematic, largely because it creates two "nearby yet distant" downtown train stations that provide different services. I'm sure people will get confused as to which station you should be at and when. Also what happens if I miss the train out of hunter st. and the next one is leaving from LIUNA? Will someone tell me this? Do I have to know this? How do I get from one to the other expeidently? We really dont' want to confused out of towners during the Pan Am Games, or at any other time really.

Unfortunately, I know there are practical problems with basing all day train service out of Hunter St. - first there is a bottleneck of tracks through the downtown city, and the track owners will not permit GO to run any more train on their tracks because it would interefer with their freight traffic (that is my understanding anyways) secondly, the alignment of the hunter street station and the proposed niagara rail corridor are somewhat conflicted, resulting in an "out of the way" trip, and perhaps even making a stop at Centennial impossible (I'll admit to not being sure where hunter street meets up with the proposed niagara rail corridor east of the downtown.)

Unfortunately with trains we're essentially constrained to the locations of existing tracks - especially when talking about moving within a city. Unless you want to tunnel, and that's expensive.

That said, I hope the City, GO, and VIA work together to find a way to connect the Hunter and LIUNA stations to (1) help minimize the impact of any confusion for users of the GO station by providing conveninent and free passage between the two (2) make LIUNA more acessible to public transit.

As an aside Capitalist, I believe they're proposing significant parking at LIUNA, which should be helpful for all the people who complain they can't park at the GO station in downtown Hamilton.

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted May 26, 2011 at 14:39:32 in reply to Comment 63988

I hope the City, GO, and VIA work together to find a way to connect the Hunter and LIUNA stations to (1) help minimize the impact of any confusion for users of the GO station by providing conveninent and free passage between the two (2) make LIUNA more acessible to public transit.

Hmm, I wonder how one could create a convenient link between Hunter and LIUNA. It would need to be a mode of public transportation that is fast, reliable, and frequent. Maybe Ryan could think of something that meets those criteria.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted May 25, 2011 at 15:55:19 in reply to Comment 63983

all day train service from Liuna stn is a waste of money since for most people in this city it would make more sense to just drive to either aldershot or burlington.

Um, what? One of the wonderful things about taking the train is that you don't have to have a car. So why suggest that people should then drive to a parking lot in the middle of nowhere before taking the train?

I agree that Liuna isn't he best answer, though, thanks to its weaker connection to the HSR compared to TH&B.

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted May 26, 2011 at 09:32:10 in reply to Comment 63985

Have you seen the parking lots at Aldershot, Burlington and Appleby stations lately? It would seem that there are many thousands of commuters who disagree with you.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted May 26, 2011 at 06:51:59 in reply to Comment 63985

Why drive to a parking lot? Because that is what the vast majority of GO Train riders do. Look at the expanded parking and new parking garage at A-shot and Burlington Stations. It's a fact.

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By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted May 26, 2011 at 11:21:14 in reply to Comment 64000

GO PARKING SPOTS

Aldershot: 1,619
Burlington: 2,273 [renovations wrap Winter 2011]
Appleby: 2,422 [renovations wrap December 2011]
Bronte: 2,044 [renovations wrap May 2011]
Oakville: 2,724
Clarkson: 2,878 [renovations wrap Fall 2011]

Port Credit: 922
Long Branch: 281
Mimico: 173
Exhibition: N/A
Union: N/A
Danforth: N/A
Scarborough: 635
Eglinton: 840

Guildwood: 1,348
Rouge Hill: 1,041
Pickering: 1,958 [renovations wrap Spring 2011]
Ajax: 1,839 [renovations wrap December 2011]
Whitby: 2,958 [renovations wrap June 2011]
Oshawa: 2,242

The middle grouping are stations within a half-hour of Union Station, so they don't have to rationalize their commuter volume to the same degree. further from Union Station you are you are, the more parking you seem to have. Until public transit is a driveway-to-driveway experience, cars are probably going to be something that Metrolinx has to grapple with.

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By mrgrande (registered) | Posted May 26, 2011 at 08:19:47 in reply to Comment 64000

They're currently expanding the parking lot at Appleby as well.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted May 26, 2011 at 14:10:33 in reply to Comment 64003

Even if people take public transit for the bulk of their communter travel they seem to like the "last mile" to be in the comfort of their car.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted May 26, 2011 at 06:53:22 in reply to Comment 64000

Correction: I meant to say new parking lot at A-shot and garage at Burlington

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By 4elRT (anonymous) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 16:20:30

Mr McGreal is dead on -- the city folk (corporate management & elected ones) have gone eerily silent on light rail. They fell on the sword too fast with the whole stadium saga, settling for a $160M renovation & now, no one has the stomach (read: courage, vision, etc) to take on LRT. These guys & gals are more interested in fixing potholes, sidewalks & sewers than they are about tranformational projects. Even our illustrious Ward 2 rep is soft on LRT. He's more interested in sports (read: CFL and bringing an NHL franchise to Hamilton). The community leaders need to get on board and move this forward with all levels. Push your councillor; press city staff and don't forget our MPs and MPPs. The province shouldn't be expected to do this alone. And what about VIA? Hamilton is the 4th largest city in Ontario, yet the Hamilton VIA stop is in ALDERSHOT! VIA has a mandate to serve city cores. Let's press the feds too. Thanks for the article, Mr. McG.

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By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted May 26, 2011 at 09:19:00 in reply to Comment 63986

The smallest gaps in VIA’s Ontario routing tend to be 15-20 minutes between stations, which it is between Oakville and Aldershot. And that’s where the VIA Stoney Creek talk comes from – around the midpoint between Aldershot and Grimsby.

If the Aldershot station were up for replacement, the math might be different. As it stands, VIA is a political football that has had its operating budget slashed repeatedly over the last 30 years, and they're understandably cost-conscious.

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By Henry and Joe (anonymous) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 18:00:29 in reply to Comment 63986

As much as I would like to see LRT, the need for better rail connections is a must. I have used the express bus service, but it is not the same as a GO train in terms of prestige. We need a James N. stop, Gage Ave/Pan Am Stadium stop, and Centennial Pkwy to better link us with the rest of the Golden Horseshoe. AS for trying to get an NHL franchise, we can shelve that for 20 years since Markham is sounding like a done deal. It will have the 2nd NHL team and plans are for a modern arena served primarily by trains. Interestingly, minimal to no parking will be available. Hamilton/Halton/Niagara fans will be told to continue to support the Leafs, and those that refuse to leave their cars will be told to continue driving to Buffalo for NHL hockey.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted May 26, 2011 at 07:00:02 in reply to Comment 63991

I disagree. The coach style buses used by GO are more comfortable, and people need to get over this nostalgic notion they are mor prestigious when they travel by rail. And as previously mentioned bus is quicker. GO Centre to Union in non-rush hour is 50 minutes by bus. Express train all stops to Oakville then express to Union is 1 hour 8 minutes. If the train had to make all stops add 15 to 20 minutes to the trip.

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 17:08:08

I gave up on LRT after the last municipal election. All day GO is great, but with no local LRT it will only serve to cement our future as a TO-burb, instead of our own urban city and destination on the GO line. Alas, everything rises and falls on leadership....

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By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 17:28:06

It's straight politicking to talk about making this a top priority. According to December’s GO Electrification Study Final Report, this will be a seven-stage construction sequence (estimated to cost up to $1.8 billion, over and above on top of the costs of track maintenance and expansion work already planned or underway), rolled out methodically. Oakville-to-Hamilton is Phase 5; Oshawa to Bowmanville is Phase 6; Brampton to Kitchener is Phase 7.

According to January coverage in the Torontoist, "Metrolinx President and CEO Bruce McCuaig asserted that his organization will build the [planned Air Rail Link between Union Station and Pearson Airport] by 2015, the year of Toronto's Pan-Am Games, before any of the electrification work would be completed," using diesel rolling stock that will be convertible to electric. The article adds that "Metrolinx staff say the Link would be fully electric no sooner than seven years from now... The Link and the easternmost end of the Georgetown GO line would be among the first sections of track to be electrified under the proposed plan, with other parts of the Georgetown and Lakeshore GO corridors to follow, in segments."

So there's your top priority: Phase 1's 25km of rail construction between Union Station and YYZ. All-day GO service between Hamilton and Toronto could be in place quickly, certainly during the Pan Am Games, but it'd probably be diesel stock, and if they don't get encouraging results during that trial period, it'd be an excuse to delay further investments. Who knows? Maybe Toronto will eventually get the Olympics. Is that what Vision 2020's about? ;)

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By matthewsweet (registered) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 18:22:01

Questions that need to be asked:

How many commuters are currently travelling from Hamilton to points east (Burlington to Toronto or beyond) for work on a daily basis? How many commuters are currently travelling within Hamilton for work on a daily basis?

The presumption appears to be that there is great demand for commuter trips of the former sort, and a low volume of trips of the latter sort. The validity of this presumption should be challenged.

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 22:58:16 in reply to Comment 63993

This one is easy. The majority of Hamiltonians work within the city limits and most of those employees are downtown. Plus, LRT can be an economic development driver through our long neglected lower city. To me, it's a no-brainer. LRT is far more important and valuable to the future of Hamilton as a vibrant city. Of course, my saying this is falling right into the trap set for us by Metrolinx and City Hall. They want to divide and conquer by pitting LRT vs GO. Hamilton should have, and DESERVES both! Where is our leadership pushing for this?? Fred Eisenberger pushed hard for both and got the city and local power brokers excited about both. We're really missing him and his leadership/vision.

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted May 26, 2011 at 09:49:45 in reply to Comment 63999

Where do you get your numbers from? I do not see how you can possibly believe that more Hamiltonians work in Hamilton than points east. Just look at the traffic on the 403 and QEW. Look at the on ramps from Wilson St. all the way to Hwy 6. In the mornings there is a constant flow of traffic onto the highway.

It is pretty easy to sit in your living room and postulate that Hamilton deserves both all day GO and LRT. How do we pay for this? LRT line proposed in Hamilton will cost the better part of a billion dollars, if not a lot more, by the time all is said and done. Where do you propose this money comes from? If you can find private investment for the majority if not all of the costs then build it. That is what Detroit did, but then they are only talking 5.5 km of track. Their projected costs are in the $450 - 500 million. Otherwise leave it alone.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 12, 2011 at 11:39:22 in reply to Comment 64014

I do not see how you can possibly believe that more Hamiltonians work in Hamilton than points east.

According to 2006 StatsCan census data, 70% of Hamiltonians work in Hamilton. 38,000 people commute into the city to work, and most Hamiltonians who commute out work in Burlington. Only a tiny percentage of Hamiltonians work in Toronto.

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By inconvenienced (anonymous) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 18:25:19

I regularly attend meetings downtown Toronto and must depart from aldershot due to there being no mid-day return trains to hunter. The bus isn't a good substitute because it is essentially point-to-point with no stops between. You're either going to union or nowhere. The whole union-centric design of go transit is a problem as well. Travelling from Hamilton to anywhere but union requires a transfer at least and usually from bus to train or vice versa. You'd might as well drive.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted May 26, 2011 at 15:19:56 in reply to Comment 63994

You can take the bus that runs out of GO Centre every 30 minutes all day and every 15 or 20 minutes - it varies - during rush hour. Quicker than most if not all Aldershot trains except at rush hour and then it's usually so close lets call it a tie.

But you'll either not be able to drive, or have to pay for parking.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted May 25, 2011 at 19:20:26

The fact that our city doesn't have a full service train station is downright embarrassing.

We need both LRT and full-day train service to the rest of the world. It's not an either-or thing, it's an issue of getting both as soon as possible.

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By UndustrialFatigue (anonymous) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 19:34:50

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By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted May 26, 2011 at 09:06:28

As far as the pros and cons of using Liuna Station (or thereabouts) as a passenger node, the GOES reasoning is that "The electrification of the Lakeshore line would extend from Bowmanville in the east to Hamilton James in the west and excludes Hamilton TH&B and St. Catharines due to the high cost of tunnel and bridge modifications and the limited number of trains from/to St. Catharines."

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By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted May 26, 2011 at 09:25:45

BTW, the GOES report closes with a note on fares: "The study assumes that transit fares increase in line with inflation over the evaluation period. If transit fares were to become lower, sich as with off-peak discounts, more riders could be attracted to the system. As set out in The Big Move, a fully integrated fare system throughout the GTHA could be used to stimulate further demand by incentivizing passengers to travel at different times of the day and with greater frequency across all transit modes." As has been suggested before, local fare hikes may soon be a provincial prerogative.

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By Tom Willis (anonymous) | Posted May 26, 2011 at 11:29:39

"He says all-day GO service is 'essential to Hamilton's future' - presumably, its future as a bedroom community."
You have it the wrong way round. The current the peak-only service pushes Hamilton towards bedrrom comunity. All-day service would allow people to commute INTO Hamilton. Or does Ryan McGreal have such a low opinion of Hamilton that he thinks the jobs cannot attract outside workers?

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 26, 2011 at 13:48:16

Canada

2001

GDP - $1,076,577M
Debt (Fed) - $519,994M, 48.3%/GDP
Debt Charges (Fed) - $43,892M, 4.08%/GDP

2010

GDP - $1,652,548M
Debt - $519,097M, 31.4%/GDP
Debt Charges - $29,414M, 1.78%/GDP

From 1982-2000, debt charges (all levels of government) in Canada never dropped below 7% of GDP. During this time period, real GDP/capita averaged 2.017% per year. From 2000-08, as debt charges fell (due to our war on the deficit), real GDP/capita averaged only 1.35%.

If we went back to the same federal debt/GDP ratio we had in 2001, that would mean having to add another $279.1B in debt at current GDP levels. On a per capita basis, that works out to $8,136.55, or $4.277B for a city the size of Hamilton.

Even at that debt level (48.3% of GDP), because of the lower interest rate environment, federal debt charges would still only be 2.74% of GDP, rather than the 4.08% we saw in 2001.

In other words, if the Feds are willing to add another 0.96% (of GDP) in interest charges to the annual federal government budget, we would have over $4 billion in new funds that we could spend as a city. According to the Spec...

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/319932--lrt-to-cost-city-130-million

the total cost of building the LRT line would be $800M.

There may be political reasons as to why the LRT doesn't get built, but access to cpaital is not one of them.

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By andrewpmk (anonymous) | Posted May 26, 2011 at 13:54:34

Most people in Hamilton do not commute to Toronto:

Hamilton (C) / Hamilton (C) 145,480
Hamilton (C) / Burlington (CY) 24,270
Hamilton (C) / Oakville (T) 7,090
Hamilton (C) / Toronto (C) 6,925
Hamilton (C) / Mississauga (CY) 6,810

http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2006/dp-pd/tbt/Rp-eng.cfm?TABID=1&LANG=E&A=R&APATH=3&DETAIL=0&DIM=0&FL=A&FREE=0&GC=0&GID=3525005&GK=0&GRP=1&O=D&PID=90656&PRID=0&PTYPE=88971,97154&S=1&SHOWALL=0&SUB=0&Temporal=2006&THEME=76&VID=0&VNAMEE=&VNAMEF=

Of the minority of people in Hamilton who work outside of the city, the vast majority work in Burlington. Hamilton is not a bedroom community of Toronto. All day train service would still be a big improvement for Hamilton, but it needs to have intermediate stops and the lousy Burlington/Oakville bus service needs to be improved.

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By Willy Wonk (anonymous) | Posted May 26, 2011 at 14:36:37 in reply to Comment 64031

Burlington (CY)/Hamilton (C)= 8,000
Burlington (CY)/Oakville (T) = 10,105
Burlington (CY)/Brampton (CY) = 1,175
Burlington (CY)/Mississauga (CY) = 8,605
Burlington (CY)/Toronto (C) = 8,475
= 36,360 possible Lakeshore commuters

Oakville (T)/Hamilton (C) = 1,595
Oakville (T)/Burlington (CY) = 3,920
Oakville (T)/Brampton (CY) = 1,660
Oakville (T)/Mississauga (CY) = 16,460
Oakville (T)/Toronto (C) = 17,525
= 41,160 possible Lakeshore commuters

Hamilton (C) / Burlington (CY) 24,270
Hamilton (C) / Oakville (T) 7,090
Hamilton (C) / Brampton (CY) 1,055
Hamilton (C) / Mississauga (CY) 6,810
Hamilton (C) / Toronto (C) 6,925
= 46,150 possible Lakeshore commuters





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By TnT (registered) | Posted May 27, 2011 at 17:42:11

On that number one priority comment, I recall a comment I read recently: if puns are the lowest form of humor then postering is the weakest form of leadership. I can't recall who wrote it, but it rings true.

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By what is the truth (anonymous) | Posted May 27, 2011 at 18:01:49

This new presto system, which is geared toward commuters is going to cause havoc for those who cannot afford it.

Groups that hand out bus tickets for those who struggle are going to coming up against a real problem.

Of course, the real thinkers never really thoguht about all this, it figures. Once again the system renders those who struggle silent.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 27, 2011 at 19:08:24

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By misterque (registered) - website | Posted May 28, 2011 at 20:37:30

Hamilton needs it all. The city needs safe efficient roads, intelligent bus service, connection to Southern Ontario with GO, bike routes, and walkable streets. The scarcity mentality that rules here limits everyone's thinking.

I will speak in defense of the most likely casualty in the vision less random pseudo-development that Greater Hamilton suffers: light rail. I grew up in Vancouver. And the first 22 years of my life there was no rapid transit. Finally it was built as part of EXPO '86. Every curmudgeonly low rent douche bag wanked on endlessly about how Vancouver could not afford it, it would bring thieves in from the burbs, it would disrupt traffic, no one would give up their cars, cats would run with dogs, blah blah blah.

Well the lamely named Sky Train is now the BACKBONE of Vancouver. 25 years later everything that is anything is connected to it. Even the burb Skytrain stations have large parking lots so that the burbians can Skytrain in. I have heard all the same anti-rail rhetoric a quarter century ago. This clap is stale politically motivated ramblings of myopic twits that profoundify themselves using fear-unknown-dread. If Hamilton blows rapid transit again (the city had chance for elevated rail about 25 years ago) then it will likely NEVER develop into anything more than a past-tense industrial wasteland.

Light rail is the key to this city's development. Hamilton needs to get selfish and focus on what will help it the most, and that is light rail.

Comment edited by misterque on 2011-05-28 20:39:11

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted May 30, 2011 at 09:26:57 in reply to Comment 64157

"I will speak in defense of the most likely casualty in the vision less random pseudo-development that Greater Hamilton suffers: light rail. I grew up in Vancouver. And the first 22 years of my life there was no rapid transit. Finally it was built as part of EXPO '86. Every curmudgeonly low rent douche bag wanked on endlessly about how Vancouver could not afford it, it would bring thieves in from the burbs, it would disrupt traffic, no one would give up their cars, cats would run with dogs, blah blah blah.

Well the lamely named Sky Train is now the BACKBONE of Vancouver. 25 years later everything that is anything is connected to it. Even the burb Skytrain stations have large parking lots so that the burbians can Skytrain in. I have heard all the same anti-rail rhetoric a quarter century ago. This clap is stale politically motivated ramblings of myopic twits that profoundify themselves using fear-unknown-dread. If Hamilton blows rapid transit again (the city had chance for elevated rail about 25 years ago) then it will likely NEVER develop into anything more than a past-tense industrial wasteland."

I'm pro-LRT but the elevated rail that was offered in Hamilton was not the Expo Line. Not remotely. Phase One of SkyTrain (1985-1989) connected three cities, involved 20km of track and 15 stations, less than a third of the current system; Hamilton’s proposed 1981 demonstration elevated rail system would have been less than a third of that – it featured just four stops along 6km of track that lassoed the CBD to Upper James.

http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=172982&page=2

Without the third largest CMA in the country, the World Expo or the Olympics, who knows what the legacy of that rail system would be 30 years later?

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By misterque (registered) - website | Posted May 30, 2011 at 15:20:11 in reply to Comment 64209

Thanks for the link to the thread. Very interesting. I could not figure out what CBD (common bile duct?) meant, and I presume that CMA has something to do with size of the city.

People that never ride the bus in Vancouver, regularly ride the trains. A train system would connect McMaster to the rest of the city allowing students to live anywhere along the line.

The first line needs to be part of a system that ultimately includes roads, sidewalks, bike paths, commuter trains and the like. A transportation system takes decades to build, and the plan needs to look beyond our lifetimes. If there is a chance to build a huge part of such a transportation system now or 30 years ago it has gotta be supported.

This is what Hamilton needs. Fight for the juicy part now, a transit line. Don't let the minutiae monkeys and vision-less gorms distract us.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted May 30, 2011 at 16:02:36 in reply to Comment 64245

No worries.

CBD = central business district
CMA = census metropolitan area

As I said, I'm pro-LRT, and I'm certainly aware of the perception of qualitative differences between buses and LRT. It's possibly better that Hamilton is starting from a clean slate rather than having the years between 1981 and 2004 (RTH) only entrenching the FUD around rapid transit options. But as you say, it will be a fight to achieve follow-through -- a fight that will be more or less continuous until the first trains run across town. And it will require politicians and policymakers being bold enough to stake out a position that is in the long-term interests of the city, not merely their own short-term comfort, a position that suburban taxpayers may not appreciate immediately (especially if we're not just comped by the province). If you caught any of the local budget process or the stadium "negotiations", you'll know that kind of behaviour is not exactly a given. Hopefully Metrolinx shows similar vision and backbone.



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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted May 30, 2011 at 15:25:55 in reply to Comment 64245

People that never ride the bus in Vancouver, regularly ride the trains.

That holds true in every city that builds LRT across the industrialized world in general, but no amount of evidence seems sufficient for those people who insist that because they don't like to ride the bus, no one will want to ride a tram.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-05-30 15:26:21

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