Comment 39177

By michaelcumming (registered) - website | Posted March 26, 2010 at 15:13:42

Getting LRT into Hamilton, which we know is the only appropriate choice for this city, may be a long struggle. We need to keep our eyes on the prize. Two things to struggle against are provincial and federal governments that care little for the idea of public transit. This anti-urban bias in Canadian politics is a hard nut to crack.

The big picture is the development of sustainable transportation and development policies for the industrial heartland of Canada. In this respect Hamilton and Canada have a ways to go to meet current Western standards. Sustainable, progressive policies require a widespread recognition within society that they are worthwhile for governments to spend billions on them. More education is on order.

Other things that must be worked on are the intellectual and creative processes that support complex design processes. We not only need to the money to build things like LRT, we also need the skills to design them well and devise the best design alternatives. Innovative design can save lots of money just on its own.

Also, there are preparatory design tasks that will support LRT in the long run such as the elimination of 1-way streets on Main and King and the creation of bike lanes along all the major arteries. These things are much cheaper than LRT and would greatly increase the quality of life here. They increase the likelihood that LRT is adopted later. [Lots of places in Holland don't have LRT but just about every place has bike paths going everywhere. I cannot overstate how great bike paths are for the health and well-being of everyone in society].

Many people in Hamilton appear to be cynical about the possibility that their quality of life could be affected by ideas like LRT, bike paths or 2-way streets. We have to show them that their cynicism is unfounded by projects that really do help them. These need not be all that expensive.

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