Special Report: Light Rail

Light Rail Transit Station Needed at Gage Park

The distance between Scott Park and Ottawa LRT station is 1.5 kilometres, one of the largest gaps between stations on the proposed route.

By Mark Rejhon
Published July 04, 2016

The planned Hamilton light rail transit (LRT) that is coming to King Street through Ward 3 is a popular topic of conversation among our friends and neighbours. Even in all the mixed opinions, it is very clear many of us are very excited by the Hamilton LRT and are looking forward to the benefits that improved transit will bring to our neighbourhoods once construction is complete.

Even for people who are uncertain about LRT, many want to ensure the best possible outcome occurs with the LRT construction, such as having the best station locations, or helping businesses survive construction.

Rendering: LRT station at Scott Park (Image Credit: Metrolinx)
Rendering: LRT station at Scott Park (Image Credit: Metrolinx)

Hamilton LRT Citizen Advocacy

Along with myself, a team of residents have organized a Hamilton LRT Citizen Advocacy group. We are 100 percent volunteer-run, with no government funding. We give presentations to various groups, neighbourhoods and communities to share information, demonstrate support for the project, and remind everyone of the opportunities to participate in the planning process.

We run social media channels, including on Facebook and Twitter. We also help encourage people to organize and bring any ideas, comments, questions, or concerns to the City and Metrolinx, and we also relay community concerns to them as well.

The process of bringing LRT to Hamilton began a long time ago. Many studies have been conducted over the years that consider the needs, opportunities, costs, and benefits. Over time, these studies and feedback from members of the public have refined plans for all aspects of the transit project.

This planning process has included Main versus King, the relative benefits of BRT vs LRT, the general alignment, the stop locations, and more detailed design. This was included in the 2011 Metrolinx Benefits Case Analysis, which subsequently led to the province awarding full funding for the LRT.

However, the latest updates released by Metrolinx and the City of Hamilton show a route change with a station removal of concern for us, for Sherman Hub, and for many of our friends and neighbours.

Hamilton LRT Map (Image Credit: Metrolinx)
Hamilton LRT Map (Image Credit: Metrolinx)

Gage Park Station Needed

There is no LRT station near Gage Park on the updated LRT route map.

Earlier, there was a Delta Station near Gage Park in the proposed Hamilton LRT route map. However, the Delta LRT station has been removed from the Hamilton LRT route in the new map.

At a recent public consultation, one reason explained was that it was too close to the Ottawa Street LRT station. However, it was also mentioned that the stations will not be finalized until fall, and that there is time to add stations back.

Many of us feel it is important that a stop at the Delta be included on the LRT Route. The distance between Scott Park and Ottawa LRT station is 1.5 kilometres, one of the largest gaps between stations on the proposed route.

Families, people with mobility issues, elderly persons and others who live in this area need easy access to Gage Park without needing to walk half a kilometre from the nearest LRT stop (Ottawa stop or Scott Park stop).

Gage Park is a welcome respite that needs to continue to be accessible to all. Given the costs of healthcare and retirement, Gage Park fills in a great need.

Hamilton LRT Citizen Advocacy spokesperson Alain H. Bureau advocates an LRT stop near Gage Park at a Sherman Hub meeting
Hamilton LRT Citizen Advocacy spokesperson Alain H. Bureau advocates an LRT stop near Gage Park at a Sherman Hub meeting

Balancing Needs

Normally, subway-style stop spacing is used with many true LRT systems to keep the service fast, even during peak period when combined with dedicated lanes and the planned automatic transit-priority lights. Platforms are built to be 100 percent fully accessible with subway-style all-door ramp-less level boarding.

With all doors opening simultaneously to immediate wheel-on boarding, this is far better than what TTC currently does with their new streetcars. All of this combined keep the Hamilton LRT B-Line feeling more like a mini-subway rather than a traditional streetcar.

It is possible that the Delta stop can be slightly to the west of Delta. This can balance out the LRT stop distance from Ottawa Street. Also, the LRT vehicles need to go slow near the turn at Delta, so there might as well be a stop.

Possible station location just west of Delta
Possible station location just west of Delta

The extra pedestrian traffic could also go through the McDonald's parking lot (which has both Main and King accesses!), or even perhaps a new connecting sidewalk along the edge of the McDonald's property.

Also, if a future all-stop HSR bus route (similar to today's #1) is added on the southern Main/King routes (the route that the LRT does not run on), then the Delta station could be a good transfer point between the express LRT route and the all-stop HSR bus route.

Gage Park is very culturally important to Hamilton. It has a lot of amenities, with a Children's Museum, the Greenhouse, the band shell, the Pump Track, playgrounds, lawn bowling, large fields, and also runs many events every year including Its Your Festival, as well as World Music Festival, and other events.

It is a flagship park of the City of Hamilton, and would increase overall city-wide LRT support if there were additional good destinations on the Hamilton LRT route. Even by the mere existence of another good destination, helps further increase overall LRT support.

Get Involved

City/Metrolinx staff have begun to visit residences and businesses directly on the LRT route, which they plan to do so two times a year. If you meet them, we implore you to suggest the addition of the Delta LRT station.

Also, a separate but allied organization called Hamilton Light Rail is also running a campaign at http://hamiltonlightrail.ca, where you can write a letter of support that is automatically emailed to the entire city council.

In the form at the bottom of the web page, you can express your support, while also mentioning the desire for a station at Delta near Gage Park.

This article was first published in the Sherman Hub News and is republished here with permission.


Mark Rejhon lives in Hamilton Ward 3. An IT software developer, home-owner, car-owner, bike-owner, SoBi bike-share user, public transit user, and GO user, he is a big-time advocate for improved transit. Mark frequently tweets about #hamont and transportation at @MDRejhon and leads the Hamilton LRT Advocacy run by local residents. Spouse of Alain Bureau, candidate for Ward 3 city councillor in the 2018 Hamilton municipal election, @ABureauWard3.


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By stone (registered) | Posted July 04, 2016 at 20:08:39

This does seem like a no brainer, could be that funeral home is going to need a funeral home, it's kind of in the perfect spot depending on how the stops are set up.

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By Haveacow (registered) | Posted July 05, 2016 at 12:55:04

The 1.5 km distance between Scott Park and Ottawa Street has enough space for a station between them. Ideally for European LRT station distance tolerances, the standard is between 400-750 metres. In North America that has been shown to be too slow for most passengers, so a 500-800 metre base distance is generally used. Full scale subways/metro systems station distances range from 750-2km or more. Both European and North American station distance tolerances hold for a station at Gage Park. On paper anyway!

In the real world. There might not be a big enough budget for this to be completed in phase 1. There must also be enough space at the site for a minimum 60 metre long, 3-4 metre wide passenger platform (allowing for another 30-60 metres for future platform expansion). Minor arterial or collector intersections must not overly foul the ROW for the line and the station, including the space for platform expansion. There also must be clear and safe access for able and non able bodied passengers to the platform and any platform expansion area.

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By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted July 05, 2016 at 13:42:19 in reply to Comment 119652

Media articles have mentioned that there is enough budget to possibly add 1 or 2 stations back to the Hamilton LRT route, and the stops gets finalized by September.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted July 05, 2016 at 13:44:22

If the station was located between Grosvenor and Ottawa it would only be 2 blocks (about 200 metres) from Gage park. It seems that the one station could service the park and Ottawa street sufficiently. If you can't walk 200 metres you're not going to Gage park anyway...

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By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted July 05, 2016 at 14:14:53 in reply to Comment 119656

While this sounded like an idea on the surface, I don't think that would be a good real-world idea.

  • Your suggestion is still 300 meter from Grosvenor St. to the Delta entrance of Gage Park, as measured by Google Measure Distance.
  • Kenilworth and Ottawa are already 830 meters apart, centerline to centerline -- already the upper limit of station spacing recommendations.
  • Far-side platforms are planned at Ottawa St, to maximize LRT performance.

The far side platform technique needs to be done at both ends of traffic lights. It works like this: Transit priority green lights (becomes green via accelerated red and/or lengthened green, within the safety parameters allowed by countdown crosswalks) -- once it detects an approaching LRV leaving the previous stop. Crosswalks have time to finish countdowns before the LRV comes close. The light goes green, allowing the LRV to coast through without stopping to a platform on the opposite side, to pick up people. This way, there's no unpredictable stopping-length to screw around with transit priority signalling.

Also, two separate far-side platforms can use slightly less road width than a single platform serving both directions, reducing expropriation needs (even if it's just a meter of frontage). The far-side platforms can have a shelter wall & roof without needing poles in the middle or other edge of platform -- accessible to wheelchairs via ramps from the crosswalks while still being narrower than a bidirectional sheltered platform.

The whole Delta platform was entirely west of the Delta, due to the geography of the intersection, so far side platforms were never planned at Delta LRT station, in any current or previous 2011 LRT planning, as it is not feasible to do so due to layout. The west-ish positioning of all past plans of any Delta platforms, also provides a potential opportunity of minor station positioning adjustments.

Comment edited by mdrejhon on 2016-07-05 14:37:21

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted July 05, 2016 at 14:37:40 in reply to Comment 119658

You're probably right. I'm by no means an expert on this. If I were to vote for a station I'd still probably go for the IV. Architecturally I bet they could do something really cool there.

Somewhat off-topic I'm surprised that there is no pedestrian bridge connecting Gage park with the escarpment rail trail. How big of an oversight is that? The park could expand its reach dramatically by allowing people to enter from the south side either by bike or walking and maybe a nice set of stairs could get the masochistic stair people going up and down and then enjoying a nice cool off ( am I having a heart attack? ) at the park.

Comment edited by ergopepsi on 2016-07-05 14:37:58

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By Crispy (registered) | Posted July 05, 2016 at 14:52:32 in reply to Comment 119661

That would require a pedestrian bridge over active railway tracks. I would assume that this would fall under the jurisdiction of CP and I'd be surprised if they wanted to take on the liabilities.

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By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted July 05, 2016 at 14:42:24

It's worth noting that Delta is a potential transfer point between northern Main+King transit (express LRT) and southern Main+King transit (all stop bus).

A new bus route, similar to the #1 King bus, can take the route that LRT does not take -- i.e. Main 2-way (west of Delta) and turn onto King east of Delta. It is possible that perhaps this bus route might not be introduced right away, but the door is left open.

A station at Delta would also, additionally, allay some concerns about LRT stop spacing as well. A pair of parallel 2-way public transit, instead of a pair of 1-way transit where you walk as much as 500 meters to reach opposite-direction transit (today's status quo).

Delta LRT station and connected Gore+MacNab could be convenient interchange points between these two parallel transit routes, amplifying each other's ridership (including the LRT itself).

Transit 1-way versus 2-way

Comment edited by mdrejhon on 2016-07-05 15:31:56

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By Hentor (registered) - website | Posted July 07, 2016 at 13:22:31

This truly doesn't surprise me as the 10 Beeline Route does not have any stops between Ottawa St. and Sherman Ave. A stop at Gage Ave would be amazing to speed up commutes for a good many people.

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