Special Report: Light Rail

Bratina Refuses to Understand Council Support for LRT

Mayor Bratina still refuses to accept that his job is to support Council's decision to aggressively pursue a B-line LRT from Eastgate to McMaster - a decision for which he also voted! - and not to keep finding reasons to argue against it.

By Nicholas Kevlahan
Published April 21, 2013

In a recent interview on The Hamiltonian, Mayor Bob Bratina implied that he thinks Council simply voted to pursue "increased bus service in the A line and B line corridors", and that he would require a further Council vote to "communicate" that construction of the B line LRT should begin once funding has been approved.

Here is the quote:

With regard to the implementation of the B-Line LRT, the approved Rapid Ready document contains the following direction on page 30 of the report under "Core Actions".

"Light rail transit and bus rapid transit are ultimate goals and their implementation will require regular bus service restructuring. In preparation, the objective will be to increase bus service levels in the A-line and B-line corridors to emulate rapid transit."

If Council wishes to put forward a motion stating that "the City of Hamilton requires that upon approval of the Metrolinx funding plan work begin immediately on the B-line LRT project" I will of course make Council's decision known to the Provincial Government.

I'm not sure what Bratina even means, but it is clear that he still doesn't think Council voted to pursue funding for the B-line LRT.

That's consistent with what Councillor Brian McHattie told the Hamilton Spectator this week:

McHattie said that during a private meeting with the mayor and several councillors last week, Bratina denied council had endorsed the east-west LRT B-Line. (That endorsement happened in February, when councillors approved Hamilton's pitch to Metrolinx for 100-per-cent funding of the $800-million project.)

"He didn't think council chose the B-Line. It appeared to be news to him," McHattie said. "I think it's only because he's being wilfully stupid, because he doesn't support that (LRT)."

Bratina's comment to The Hamiltonian similarly indicates that he still doesn't believe Council supports LRT under an acceptable funding arrangement.

Refusal to Champion LRT

McHattie is responding this Wednesday with a Council motion "to make it clear that our No. 1 priority is LRT on the B-Line."

However, the final paragraph of Bratina's comment suggests that even if Council does adopt yet another resolution in support of LRT, his "championing" would be limited to communicating this decision to the Province - presumably while also communicating at the same time that he thinks this is a bad idea.

All of this contradicts the statement Bratina made to RTH after Council voted unanimously to submit the City's Rapid Ready transit plan to the Province. In a February 28, 2013 email to RTH, Bratina confirmed:

Council has now provided direction with the expectation of 100 per cent of capital funding and that will be our position dealing with the government.

Asked specifically whether he would begin to "champion" LRT, Bratina responded, "Yes." But clearly that is not what he's doing.

Bratina still refuses to understand that his job is to support Council's decision to aggressively pursue a B-line LRT from Eastgate to McMaster - a decision for which he also voted! - and not to keep finding reasons to argue against it.

with files from Ryan McGreal

Nicholas Kevlahan was born and raised in Vancouver, and then spent eight years in England and France before returning to Canada in 1998. He has been a Hamiltonian since then, and is a strong believer in the potential of this city. Although he spends most of his time as a mathematician, he is also a passionate amateur urbanist and a fan of good design. You can often spot him strolling the streets of the downtown, shopping at the Market. Nicholas is the spokesperson for Hamilton Light Rail.


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By brendansimons (registered) | Posted April 21, 2013 at 06:38:06

What's with mayoral politics these days? I'm curious if hamiltonians hear this kind of thing and are as disgusted as I am, or if they are ok with the lies and sabotage because they support his objection to LRT. Either way, it's depressing.

Comment edited by brendansimons on 2013-04-21 07:21:48

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By ViennaCafe (registered) | Posted April 21, 2013 at 06:42:47

"Cities with bike lanes and densely configured, well-designed housing will attract young urbanites for the long-term. It’s expensive to live in Paris, but there’s gold raining down on the streets: despite protests from drivers, the city of luminous light has closed large sections of its two-lane motorways that run on either side of the Seine River to create ribbons of urban beauty – even the possibility of floating botanic gardens – for pedestrians and cyclists. Cities plodding along according to post-war principles of planning that privileged roadways for cars – not people – do so at their peril."


Comment edited by ViennaCafe on 2013-04-21 06:43:34

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By highwater (registered) | Posted April 21, 2013 at 12:50:20 in reply to Comment 88069

This generation's attachment to nature is, according to Environics' values-based data, ambivalent. So don't expect many millenials to turn up at the opening this summer if the big, flood-protected Don River Park in Toronto's east end.

So maybe 'City of Waterfalls' not the way to go?

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By Rimshot (anonymous) | Posted April 21, 2013 at 13:11:19 in reply to Comment 88071

We're willing to consider that, but our opening ask is double-wide access for a fleet of vinyl-wrapped buses and SUVs so that we can get in there with banks of LEDs and tart them up like Tammy Fae Bakker.

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By brundlefly (registered) - website | Posted April 21, 2013 at 17:31:09

Starting the campaign of getting his mountain votes in place for 2014.

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By LRTmom (anonymous) | Posted April 21, 2013 at 18:15:25

"Willfully stupid" is correct!

Anyone who has read the report adopted in February by city council "Rapid Ready: Expanding Mobility choices in Hamilton" can easily see that the document recommends going ahead with LRT on the B-line as soon as funding is secured, and recommends continuing to study the feasibility of LRT on the A-line. B-line is mentioned 170 times, compared to just 50 times for A-line:

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By rational (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2013 at 00:20:04

Mayor Bratina needs to be censured if he can't carry out the mandate of his council.

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By logonfire (registered) | Posted April 22, 2013 at 00:59:40

It has been said, and books have been written, about the health of political leaders affecting the course of history. I wonder if this might be the case with our mayor? His inconsistency over the last little while raises questions about his ability to govern effectively so I do hope his health is good. As we get older, some illnesses creep up on us and we don't recognise them for what they are.

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By MountainMan (registered) | Posted April 22, 2013 at 02:27:17

Maybe he is being a champion and going against the short sighted vision of council. History will probably be kind to him and he will probably win again next time around so he can see his Pan-AM dream though.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted April 22, 2013 at 05:58:47



At what point will we see more consistent (and generally better) decision making from dice-rolls, coin-tosses or a Magic-8-Ball?

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By Conrad664 (registered) | Posted April 22, 2013 at 13:43:06

What we need is a picket line in front of city Hall to demand the Mayor to champion the LRT maybe then he will open up his eyes like most places they get there voices herd better that way the internet is good for somethings but really poeples in front of City Hall whould let the Mayor know

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By highwater (registered) | Posted April 22, 2013 at 14:35:58 in reply to Comment 88090

You could get half the city out there, and he would still run to Bill Kelly the next day and claim nobody is 'clamouring' for LRT. There is no reasoning with someone who manufactures his own reality. Council has no choice but to route around him.

Comment edited by highwater on 2013-04-22 14:36:30

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2013 at 14:00:05 in reply to Comment 88090

The mayor will not champion LRT. That much is clear. Is it within council's purview to create an LRT committee or representative that will champion council's decisions on LRT and leave the mayor out of it?

Can the mayor be rendered impotent or be marginalized to thwart any further obstruction of our city council?

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By DrAwesomesauce (registered) | Posted April 22, 2013 at 16:01:03

Best mayor ever! Am I right? Are you with me? Anybody? Damn...

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By bobby1 (anonymous) | Posted April 27, 2013 at 16:23:52

Not really sure all in Hamilton are for LRT,but all of Council is except the Mayor! Build it and they shall can be a gamble,an expensive one! The Mayor did make good points about building the infastructure first to get people to the LRT,then build LRT,but,again that isn't the will of Council. This $860/yr/family for 17 years really concerns me when other more capital cost options are available. Does Hamilton really have the ridership. I drive from Hwy.6 & 5 to Nash & Queenston very often. I take York to Main & return via Barton. Never traffic congestion but more surprising virtually no people walking on the street or standing at bus stops! Where are all these riders?

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