With vision and leadership, our current council could be building legacies worthy of naming rights instead of focusing on potholes.
By Sean Burak
Published December 19, 2014
According to this article, there is a shortage of buses on mountain routes.
Ward 7 Coun. Scott Duvall said his office has received numerous complaints from students and parents about HSR buses driving past waiting riders along Mohawk Road during morning and afternoon rush hours.
"We don't have enough buses," he said. "I'm getting a lot of complaints. There is a problem up there."
Duvall said students have been late to class because they couldn't get on the crowded bus. He said complaints about overcrowding, infrequent bus times, transfers and longer times for buses to get to their destinations began when school started in September.
Hamilton started seriously talking about higher-order transit in 2007. If city hall had handled the light rail transit (LRT) file properly from the start, we could have been well on our way with installation by now. We could even have had a portion completed before the Pan Am Games.
If this were the case, we'd be closer to a future where the B-Line would be properly serviced for the first time in decades, and scores of buses would be freed up to be redeployed on other routes across the city.
Instead, we have dragged our feet and accomplished nothing. Will the city continue to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into automobile lanes we don't need and overpasses to nowhere while investing the absolute bare minimum into transit?
Will we really tell the province "no thanks", and let them buy LRT for Burlington instead? And then will we go back to the province a year later and complain that Hamilton was overlooked by the higher levels of government?
We need to stand up and shout for our piece of the pie while it's there, else we'll be the ants scrambling for crumbs later.
Council keeps talking about being committed to LRT - but we all know that the "100 percent funding" caveat is an exit strategy, not a commitment. If the province requires one penny from Hamilton for any infrastructure related to higher order transit, council has left an opening to pull the plug.
This is not a reasonable position. It's no wonder the province hasn't committed to us. They are not so obtuse that they consider this wishy-washy "if and only if" position as strong support. Looking at it from their perspective, would you commit to Hamilton knowing that they have such a strong exit plan?
What is council's transit plan? LRT with an ejection seat, but otherwise... nothing? We can't change the past but we can start making up for our mistakes right now. All we need is Council's leadership.
The longer we put off transit investment, the more expensive it is going to be to do it later - and in the meantime our infrastructure deficit will continue to grow as we fail to shift any mode share from cars - the most expensive transportation option of them all.
The residents of Hamilton deserve a choice in how they move around. Will Council finally give it to them?
The time for leadership is now. Does anyone on Council care to leave a legacy in this city other than a footnote in wikipedia that says "longest time served"?
We once had leaders with world-class vision who left us a city bursting with infrastructure that still bears their names to this day. With vision and leadership, our current council could be building legacies worthy of naming rights instead of focusing on potholes.
The era of the drive-thru city is long over. Please, Council, help propel us into the progressive future that our hard-working citizens deserve.
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