Transportation

Make Downtown a Real Transit Hub

By Jason Leach
Published August 26, 2007

For anyone who doesn't think Hamilton needs to have downtown as the hub of our system, check out the map of current and soon-to-open light rail, bus and streetcar lines in downtown Portland.

While you're at it, check out the nifty new trains coming soon to Portland. They will look great gliding along in a city already home to modern streetcars.

Plans are underway to design a new transit station in downtown Hamilton. I agree with the need to have the majority of our transit come together in one centralized location within a few easy blocks of future light rail on Main Street and James Street. Downtown needs once again to become the central hub of Hamilton and improving transit in the core is a major step in that direction.

Also, with any new station design downtown, plans must be made for Hamilton's first bike lockers and shelter area as well as a real push to improve cycling lanes and amenities city-wide, but especially downtown from Mac to Ottawa Street where cycling is currently not encouraged.

Bike racks on all buses is a step forward and east/west LRT on Main St. would be a great investment if we can get our planners as enthused about planning a rail line as they are for highways and roads.

Cities like Boston, Montreal and Boston are a great example to us. Let's follow their lead instead of moving at a snail's pace through the 1960s and '70s.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.

11 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By Block43 (anonymous) | Posted August 27, 2007 at 09:34:52

I think that Mac already has bike lockers installed.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By peter (anonymous) | Posted August 27, 2007 at 20:29:48

forget the 60s and 70s, we behave as though it were the 1950s. new expressways...hooray!!!! anyway, good article. we need to keep hammering away on this until they get the message at city hall. i'm holding my breath that they'll go ahead with streetcars in this city again.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted August 27, 2007 at 22:17:07

doing research it becomes quite clear that streetcars or LRT is a much smarter move than BRT. not just in terms of operating costs, passenger loads and lifespan, but also in terms of economic development (which we are always told is top of the list at city hall). It should then come as no surprise that rumours out of the HSR are that they prefer BRT and may explore LRT at a later date. Only in Hamilton would we even think of going down that road with the province offering to pay a huge hunk of the capital costs to establish light rail in the city. Keep pushing your councillors and mayor. Some of them are keen on LRT instead of BRT, but if history is any lesson (and it always is) the HSR does what they want, how they want for whatever reasons they want.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted August 28, 2007 at 11:01:38

We need to move the buses off gore and into the GO station (and pedestrianize gore). We need LRT on Main with a covered (possibly moving) walkway from the GO to the LRT line. We need a via station on the north line which can accommodate additional rush hour go trains and a dedicated shuttle linking the hunter GO station with the VIA station, making one stop on the way at the LRT.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By peter (anonymous) | Posted August 28, 2007 at 11:06:11

i believe there's a long history of transit companies undermining the very thing they're supposed to provide. with streetcars/lrt, there would be less reliance on oil and all its byproducts. that's bad for our auto-based economy i guess. anyway, judging by the hsr's decisions over the decades they're complete morons, so i have little faith that they'll do the right thing.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 28, 2007 at 11:15:23

Remember that the HSR is not an independent commission like the TTC - it's directly answerable to Council. Unfortunately, the HSR really wants to go BRT and aside from Brian McHattie, council isn't taking the matter very seriously.

Now is the time to write, call or email city council and the mayor and demand that we take advantage of the provincial offer to build us a proper rapid transit network:

http://www.raisethehammer.org/article/45...

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Robot (anonymous) | Posted August 29, 2007 at 19:42:06

Blah bike lockers suck. Only in north america can you take something as simple as cycling and have it take up 10x the space, resources, and money than anywhere else. Would bike lockers be practical in any of the serious cycling cities? Copenhagen, Amsterdam? I don't think so.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted August 30, 2007 at 13:22:12

Yes but they have huge dedicated, secured and protected bike parking. One step at a time here. It's too early for entire bike parking garages, so let's start with something manageable and change as we grow out of it.

Check out the bottom picture here... great idea! http://www.bikestation.org/Euro_Trip.asp

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By city watcher (anonymous) | Posted September 03, 2007 at 16:00:04

Re the downtown Hub concept...not sure. George Monbiot in 'Heat' says that it would be more efficient to have these on the outer edges of a town near to a highway so as to not bring those inner city buses into town.... (the challenge would be to NOT develop around these outer hubs...)Interesting concept.
AND he swims against the rail rapid transit concept that currently is so in vogue and suggests that buses give both the efficiency and convenience needed to rapidly get folks out of their cars.
Also, it strikes me as crazy to bring every single route downtown. We really don't need to do this...and if we didn't we wouldn't have the (numbers) problem of where to put this new depot that the city seems to think we need - and we definitely could immmediately get those buses off the south leg of King and out of the Gore!
So, I buy that we need some sort of 'hub' - or transfer point - but only for a few of the routes that need to come downtown.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 04, 2007 at 10:41:43

I think Monbiot gets it wrong on a few counts:

  1. If you build a hub for fast, efficient transportation, people will build around it. Putting that hub on the edge of town will increase development on the edge of town, period.

  2. He vastly underestimates the emotional appeal of rail over buses. Some people will not ride a bus no matter how nice it is inside, because buses carry a huge negative connotation. People who wouldn't dream of getting on a bus will line up to get on a streetcar.

  3. Light rail is more expensive to build but much cheaper to operate per passenger than buses (25-75% cheaper in most cases). It's also cleaner and quieter.

  4. Light rail can be powered renewably like the Calgary line, which is 100% powered by wind. Buses generally cannot, because they are not grid connected, and grid connected electricity is vastly more energy efficient than portable electricity in batteries or fuel cells.

  5. Downtown Hamilton has abundant under-used space, including whole blocks given over to surface parking. Finding room is not a big problem.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Michael B (anonymous) | Posted October 02, 2007 at 19:31:20

To be honest guys, I don't know if moving the buses out of Gore Park is a good idea.

Look at downtown Hamilton and think of what is the busiest area? It is Gore Park and King Street. That is because people are there catching buses, transfering buses, etc.

Transit really makes an area hop. Walk downtown Hamilton at 10PM like I was doing one night, and while all the other streets were almost deserted or very very quiet, Gore Park was just jam packed with people and buses. Best area in my opinion.
Don't kill that life by moving the buses.

The HSR by the way is already downtown centric. Almost all routes except a couple go direct to downtown Hamilton.

Permalink | Context

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds