Light Rail

Rapid Transit Manager on Vacation When LRT Program Suspended

By Ryan McGreal
Published July 20, 2011

While the City's senior management continue to insist that there is nothing untoward about last Friday's decision to suspend work on light rail transit (LRT) and redirect city resources to all-day GO service, the details surrounding the move suggest a more sinister conclusion.

The change in City priorities was directed not by a Council vote but by administrative fiat, and the decision was revealed not in an announcement by the city but in a leaked email to Council that was obtained by RTH on Monday.

Worse still, when the email was sent to Council last Friday, Rapid Transit director Jillian Stephen was still away on vacation.

Stephen, who returned to work on Monday, will be the only remaining member of the Rapid Transit office.

Her work will be restricted to meeting the City's contractual obligations with the Province, which granted $3 million to help pay for planning, design and environmental assessment. All other work related to LRT has been suspended pending a review by senior management.

Meanwhile, planning and economic development adviser Chris Phillips has been appointed to run a staff team that will "aggressively pursue all-day GO service" to James North and Centennial Parkway.

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 SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted July 20, 2011 at 12:30:06

"Meanwhile, planning and economic development adviser Chris Phillips has been appointed to run a staff team that will "aggressively pursue all-day GO service" to James North and Centennial Parkway".

What about the proposed stops in Stoney Creek?

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted July 20, 2011 at 12:45:15 in reply to Comment 66584

LOL

Well...I guess that depends on how you define 'Stoney Creek'.

To me, Centennial Parkway is at the border of The Old City of Hamilton and Stoney Creek. So this chosen spot qualifies.

But then, 'Stoney Creek' shouldn't include Fruitland (the proposed Fruitland Road stop) nor should it include Winona (proposed Fifty Road stop).

So then what stops would you be referring to 'in Stoney Creek'...?

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-07-20 12:45:54

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted July 20, 2011 at 14:23:39 in reply to Comment 66588

Sorry for my error. I thought the huge signs along the QEW at the Fruitland exit which read "Stoney Creek" were a pretty good indicator of where Stoney Creek is. Another good indicator are people's addresses around Fruitland and 50 Rd North of the QEW which read "Stoney Creek"

Perhaps you can clarify what your Stoney Creek includes.

To answer your question, I was referring to the Fruitland and 50 Rd stops (as if it wasn't clear before).

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted July 20, 2011 at 14:43:22 in reply to Comment 66610

Actually, I don't acknowledge Fruitland and Winona as being part of Stoney Creek. I spent part of my youth in Winona and don't know anyone who lives there and says 'I live in Stoney Creek.'

Just as someone who lives in Ancaster or Dundas doesn't refer to themselves as 'living in Hamilton'.

Arbitrary? Yup. Semantical gymnastics? Perhaps. But as the saying goes, 'The Devil is in the details.'

I covered the brouhaha about the Go Transit Fruitland Road and Fifty Road stops here: http://mystoneycreek.blogspot.com/2010/1...

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-07-20 14:44:42

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted July 20, 2011 at 14:49:20 in reply to Comment 66619

No matter if someone says they live in Winona or Stoney Creek, I don't understand your need to LOL at someone for saying "the stops in Stoney Creek" (especially when what they said is technically correct). I wasn't trying to make an argument about what is or isn't Stoney Creek... just looking for some guidance as to what happened to those two stops.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted July 20, 2011 at 15:05:22 in reply to Comment 66622

Oh, I'm not arguing, either. It's no biggee...just reflective of the whole GO issue...and local governance in general. Lots of faffing about, lots of inaccuracies...business as usual.

I'm just glad we've clarified that the Stoney Creek stop is at Centennial.

: )

(And did I mention that the whole conflation of 'Stoney Creek/Fruitland/Winona' is a great example of our sprawl problems? http://www.stoneycreeknews.com/news/arti... )

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-07-20 15:24:28

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By Henry and Joe (anonymous) | Posted July 20, 2011 at 23:57:57 in reply to Comment 66626

Thanks for that link to the S. Creek article from a Former Fruitlander. This sounds like it is going to be an ugly crappy mess of BET (Boston Pizza/Esso/Tim Hortons) where farms used to be. Btw, what is with that stucco abomination on the former Chandelier Place at the intersection in question. How does stucco ever look better than red brick?

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted July 20, 2011 at 14:33:15 in reply to Comment 66610

If you check out the Metrolinx Environmental Assessment, you'll see there are TWO stops planned in Hamilton: James St. and Confederation.

Fifty Road is listed as a "future station" (i.e. not one they will build initially), SUBJECT TO THE CITY OF HAMILTON EXTENDING LRT TO THE AREA.

Centennial and Fruitland Road are not recommended station locations.

See page 48:

http://www.gotransit.com/public/en/improve/Niagara%20docs/Niagara_Rail_Expansion_ESR.pdf

Note: To all those who think we're getting a stop for the TI-CAT stadium, there is no mention of same as even a possibilty that was considered for the Environmental Assessment, so my guess is, it's not happening.

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By Vod_Kann (registered) | Posted July 20, 2011 at 17:44:24 in reply to Comment 66617

"Note: To all those who think we're getting a stop for the TI-CAT stadium, there is no mention of same as even a possibilty that was considered for the Environmental Assessment, so my guess is, it's not happening. "

But Bratina SAID it would happen (somewhere between stating that championing something is a sure not to get re-elected and blaming downtown's trouble on the Delta Bingo).

I also remember about month ago that he was positive that the stadium would be done in time for the 2013 season even though Infrastructure Ontario, Hostco and the Ticats all say 2014. LOL

Comment edited by Vod_Kann on 2011-07-20 17:44:54

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted July 20, 2011 at 14:50:04 in reply to Comment 66617

Thanks Robert.. appreciate the info.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted July 20, 2011 at 14:37:48 in reply to Comment 66617

Sorry, it's actually page 49, not 48 that I should have referred to above.

Also one clarification on the Confederation/Centennial parkway issue: Confederation Station was also called "Centennial Parkway West" to differentiate it from the Proposed Centennial Parkway stop, which was to be on the Smart Centre lands.

See page III for description of the proposed stations.

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By Odour Detector (anonymous) | Posted July 20, 2011 at 12:34:03

Why would anyone want to work for these buffoons? Between the stadium fiasco and LRT, staff morale under Bratina/Murray must be at an all time low. I guess the rule at City Hall is: You may enjoy what you're working on, and be spending lots of time (taxpayers money) doing excellent work on it, but don't get too attached because the mayor might have a pastrami sandwich before bed and dream up something new for you to work on.

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted July 20, 2011 at 14:02:39

Odour Detector

I agree. Recently, at a GIC meeting, Human Resources was presenting the results of their findings about employee absenteeism, short term disability and long term disability. The trends in all three categories are not good. All up. Some way up.

The question you have to ask yourself is, of course, why?

They can talk all they want about an aging and out-of-shape workforce, but one of the key factors as it relates to these numbers trending up or down is both the employee working environment and a personal sense of purpose and contribution.

On both these fronts, the organizational culture of the City of Hamilton gets low marks. There is no compelling vision. There is no sense of personal contribution. The HR systems are anchored to nothing except generic forms. There is no inspirational leadership, neither from Chris Murray and his SMT, nor from Council. No wonder people phone in sick, or actually get sick. they can hold all the "Living and Eating Well" workshops they want. They will have little or no effect. This is bad news both socially and economically. the costs are staggering.

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By Odour Detector (anonymous) | Posted July 20, 2011 at 14:23:02 in reply to Comment 66598

Agreed. I work in the public sector at an organization not dissimilar in size and scope to the City of Hamilton. My current position is more project-oriented than task- or service-oriented. If I were constantly being diverted from my work or my projects were cancelled outright by what looks like the whims of somebody's ego, I would likely just say 'screw it' and quit, or better yet, go on stress leave.

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By jillfan (anonymous) | Posted July 20, 2011 at 22:19:41

Guaranteed we lose Jill Stephen, one of the city's brightest and most talented staff, to another municipality in a matter of months.

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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted July 20, 2011 at 23:31:06

Does anyone actually believe that Jill had no knowledge that this was happening? That Chris Murray woke up one morning and thought this was what needed to be done? That Council had no idea until the e-mail? Boloney! There is a strategy at play here. To think otherwise is simply silly. I did provide Ryan with an opportunity to stick his face in front of a camera though. This is how the game is played.

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