Special Report: Light Rail

Murray to Council: Suspend Work on LRT, Focus on All-Day GO

The City's Senior Management Team has suspended all work on LRT that is not required to meet provincial funding requirements and appointed a manager to "aggressively pursue" all-day GO service.

By RTH Staff
Published July 18, 2011

On July 15, City Manager Chris Murray sent an email to Council and support staff to suspend all staff work on the Light Rail Transit (LRT) project that is "not required to be completed" under the City's $3 million funding agreement with the Province.

According to the email, Murray has taken this step to "give the Senior Management Team an opportunity to review the current work plans, evaluate the results, and report back to Council" on what is actually required to meet the City's obligations to the province, which gave the City $3 million to plan and design LRT on the east-west B-Line.

The email also notes that Chris Phillips, senior advisor to Planning and Economic Development General Manager Tim McCabe, has been selected "to lead a staff team to aggressively pursue all-day GO Service to a station on James St. N., and Centennial Parkway".

Here is the text of Murray's email:

Mayor and Members of Council:

In light of the recent public attention given to Light Rail Transit within the B-Line corridor, I feel it's important to update you on steps being taken to make sure that we are meeting the commitments that were agreed upon, on the part of the City, for the Metrolinx funding.

The City must ensure that the scope of the work being done is being tightly aligned with the terms of the funding agreement. To this end, I have made a decision to suspend all current direct and indirect activities of the Light Rail Transit Initiative other than any work activities required to be completed under the agreement.

This decision will give the Senior Management Team an opportunity to review the current work plans, evaluate the results, and report back to Council with a detailed scope of work needed in order to live up to our obligation under our agreement. It will also help us to get a clear picture of the financial implications of the LRT initiative.

At the same time, Tim McCabe, General Manager of Planning and Economic Development has appointed his office's Senior Advisor, Chris Phillips, to lead a staff team to aggressively pursue all-day GO Service to a station on James St. N., and Centennial Parkway, as per the 2011 SMT Work Plan, approved by Council on April 27, 2011. The terms of reference for this group, as well as any resources to be transferred to this initiative, will also be reviewed by SMT and reported to Council.

I want to be clear, I along with the entire SMT, continue to have full-confidence in the individuals involved in all of these initiatives. They have worked professionally and diligently to bring these very complex and complicated files to a position where Council can make an informed decision on their future. SMT will continue to rely upon them in the preparations for the upcoming Council report.

Chris Murray
City Manager

89 Comments

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By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 15:39:39

Nothing can stop us now!

Ward 2 Councillor Bob Bratina, who sits on the GO Transit board of directors, says multiple variables, such as a teetering economy that could see fewer commuters heading to work, make specific timelines difficult to nail down. "It may be a little soon, it's hard to say, but I would say that's a good working date," he said of the 2013 timeline. Bratina said the extra trains will be added in stages. The new trains will run from LIUNA Station on James Street North when the $3-million platform facility there is complete in 2010.

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/113100--more-trains-in-go-plan

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By WRCU2 (registered) - website | Posted July 18, 2011 at 17:20:20 in reply to Comment 66370

You folks seem to forget the $7 million lawsuit against councillor Brenda Johnson by Penady, backed by the limitless litigation potential of the Wal-Mart Corporation, which coincidentally was instigated by the misplacement of a proposed GO station.

Time to get with the program my friends and to know your place in our corporate serfdom.

Comment edited by WRCU2 on 2011-07-18 17:28:10

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted July 18, 2011 at 15:44:13

So we're going to "susupend all activities" relating to LRT (mostly study) so that we can have time to study it?

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By mrgrande (registered) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 19:09:03 in reply to Comment 66371

I'm trying (very hard) to remain optimistic. At some point, you have to say, "that's a good amount of research, let's summarize it and try to draw some conclusions."

Hopefully (doubtfully), that's all this is.

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By St (anonymous) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 15:47:51

Looks to me that LRT just died. Is that what I just read? As in, "Do enough to fufill our current obligations, so we can put this to bed without any exposure to the City."

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By jason (registered) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 15:56:08 in reply to Comment 66372

well, it's only temporarily dead. As we saw during the previous mayoral term - there are leaders out there who want to bring Hamilton to it's full potential. We'll have to wait 3 and a half years for the chance to vote some of them into office.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted July 18, 2011 at 17:15:25 in reply to Comment 66377

By then we'll be hip-deep in a Conservative government which, while they may live up to existing promises for LRT, obviously won't be expanding the program, especially not to a leftist bastion like Hamilton.

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By wuah (anonymous) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 15:48:37

We need to aggressively pursue this? Perhaps Mr Murray hasn't been getting the regular updates in the mail from GO/Metrolinx that I have on the progress of GO expansion, but it seems to be happening without anyone in Hamilton aggressively pursuing it. Who was it in one of these posts who said something about pursuing a goal that will be achieved either way to create the appearance of success?

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By z jones (registered) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 15:52:32

That's it folks, we're getting the bums rush.

Bastards.

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By adrian (registered) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 15:52:53

I'll have more to say on this subject I'm sure, but for now: this is outrageous.

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By jason (registered) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 15:54:41

well, that gives Metrolinx their 'out'. They can yank LRT funding from us now due to 'no leadership at the local level'. And they are correct.

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By sexininsects (anonymous) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 16:10:35

In my opinion, new GO stations providing all day service is much more desirable for the city to pursue than LRT. A new station at the proposed James St. North location would breathe new life into the area, providing reason to kick start full out urban renewal on one of downtowns main corridors.

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By Downtown Downer (anonymous) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 16:23:52 in reply to Comment 66382

This the ole divide and conquer. It is not--NOT--a decision between GO and LRT.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 16:10:57

I'm sure the Spec will have a field day with this. Maybe Dreschel will even write something up.

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By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 16:20:27

The cherry will be a 2,000-car parking lot on James North.

http://www.raisethehammer.org/comment/64021

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted July 18, 2011 at 16:37:24 in reply to Comment 66386

Does the Appleby numbers include the capacity they have just doubled? Their new lot adjacent to the existing one, is to open in the fall.

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By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 16:55:04 in reply to Comment 66391

Those numbers were pulled before the project details of the latest Appleby work was revealed. Appleby's parking capacity will be 3,072 by year-end: 1,217 in the north lot, 1,205 in the south lot and the soon-to-be-unveiled 650 space parking lot on the east side.

For the six stops at the west end of the Lakeshore line, station capacity is around 2,400 parking spots. For the six stops at the east end, it's around 1,900.

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By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 16:56:25 in reply to Comment 66397

... And in case it's not totally obvious, those parking numbers are averages, not totals.

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By Sue us (anonymous) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 16:24:56

Isn't this like biting the hand that feeds us?

We just threw $3 million of provincial taxpayers' money out the window. I hope Metrolinx threatens to sue the City and suspends discussion of All-Day GO until we've done a proper study of LRT like Council unanimously voted for.



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By Art Brut (anonymous) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 16:32:25

Also from July 15:

City Master Plan Wins Award

The City of Mississauga has won an award for its work on the Hurontario/Main Street Corridor Master Plan.
The award was given to planners from Mississauga and the City of Brampton by the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) at the organization's annual conference in St. John's, Newfoundland on Monday. The award was in the category of Transportation and Infrastructure.

"It's a great honour for us to be recognized by our national planning colleagues for this fantastic city-building initiative," said Ed Sajecki, the City's commissioner of planning and building. "This master plan is a key element for achieving many of the aims of Mississauga's Strategic Plan and new Official Plan and will help us to serve the people of Mississauga and Brampton by connecting our communities to each other and to transit systems that serve communities across the region."

The key feature of the plan is the construction of light-rail transit (LRT) that will stretch from the waterfront in Port Credit to the City Centre and downtown Brampton. The 20-kilometre route will have up to 32 stations.

It's touted as a way to reduce commute times and improve connections to GO Transit and the Bus Rapid Transit line, which is currently under construction.

In addition to the LRT, the plan includes the potential for residential and commercial development as well as job creation.

http://www.mississauga.com/news/article/1043985--city-master-plan-wins-award

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By jason (registered) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 17:02:55 in reply to Comment 66390

in 10 years Mississuaga will look more like a real city than us. Amazing how we try to copy them all these years during their sprawl madness, and now that they are realizing their errors and becoming urban-focused, Hamilton decides to ignore them and keep plodding ahead with 1950's planning.

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By bob lee (anonymous) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 16:37:40

what this will leave us with is four new trains coming to Liuna Station. The bus will still be faster outside of rush hour, the trains will still take 1:15 and packed like sardines. I'm a Go commuter and All-day Go means nothing for me.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted July 18, 2011 at 16:54:00 in reply to Comment 66392

I would also argue that personally, the Hunter station is more convenient because of the number of major east/west buses that transfer people to and from the station, as well as it's closeness in proximately to the MacNab St bus terminal.

We do need a station people can park at no doubt, but the current station/bus connections/every other train in the evenings comes into Hamilton scenerio, serves many of us very well today.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted July 18, 2011 at 16:48:25 in reply to Comment 66392

I think GO communters need to make these points known. The bus service isn't all that bad and in some ways, is even preferred. The immediate benefits of LRT to me, would seem far greater than all day GO service. For one, we have GO service all day - just in a bit of a round-about way outside of the rush hour time frame.

Although I guess you could counter-argue as well that we have bus service within the city, adding internal rail service to replace bus transit would do so much more for this city and across it, than replacing bus service for rail service in and out of Hamilton.

With the former, at least the train will finally pass through Hamilton. A stop(s), can be added at any time although I agree with others, I am not sure why this is a one or the other scenerio? Imagine if we could have both in time for the 2015 games. How would that set us up on the world stage as a city with a strong inter-city train service and a promising new internal service.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2011-07-18 16:49:53

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By Steve (registered) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 16:46:56 in reply to Comment 66392

Agreed.

Bus is the way to get to Union Station during the day, unless there is a highway/weather issue you know about before leaving home.

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted July 18, 2011 at 17:01:46

Isn't Murray the guy who, along with his staff, worked through the night over months to help us figure out how to spend $150 million to re-build half a stadium, but who now says we should stop working on LRT because.....?

This is a disgrace. All day GO service is a separate file. It's not the only one. I'm all for GO service to Hamilton, but not at the expense of even studying LRT details. In my view, this is an example of Bratina's inability to multi-task. Bob "One-Thing-At-A-Time" Bratina is showing us just how narrow his thinking really is.

I guess this is how you deal with clamour.

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By jason (registered) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 17:03:44 in reply to Comment 66399

actually, this is platform schmatform to a tee.

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 17:03:00

I'll be the first to say, all day GO Rail access is needed. I loathe having to get onto that short, cramped bus ride to Aldershot, only to then miss the transfer to head to Toronto and be left waiting 45 minutes, and the express bus to Union is basically taking the traffic nightmare of driving to Toronto and compounding it five times over. Frankly, I wish they would run alternate trains to Hunter St and LIUNA, but that's another can of worms.

I'm sure this story is going to develop, it seems poorly worded right now. Are they killing LRT?, are they saying "Anything that's not essential to the study of LRT is getting halted" are they saying "Look, city staff is swapped with HECFI, Stadium, LRT, GO Transit and various developments in the core that we are overloaded?". In either case though, in reeks of unprofessionalism.

Comment edited by -Hammer- on 2011-07-18 17:08:37

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By Myrcurial (registered) - website | Posted July 19, 2011 at 09:40:57 in reply to Comment 66401

If you're taking the train-meet to Aldershot and then onwards to Union, you're doing it wrong.

If you want to use an intermediary stop (Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga, West Toronto) then of course you have to do that.

Understand that the express bus to Union is not compounding the traffic problem... That's ~50 people in the space of 2 cars... Look around - see any other vehicles with more than 1 person in them. Didn't think so. Buses are better than single passenger vehicles.

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By jeffzuk (registered) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 18:30:41 in reply to Comment 66401

I take the GO train and/or bus everyday to Toronto, and I don't think all day GO train service is a priority. In my experience the express bus to/from union is FASTER than the GO train at all times of the day except rush hour.

I do have real concerns about running all day train sevice out of Jame St., because the proposals I've read suggest we'd keep rush hour service and bus service at hunter, and funnell allt he other daily trips to James St., which I think risks making things extremely difficult for people trying to get to Toronto.

Essentially every passenger heading to Toronto durin gthe day will have to decide, do I take the bus form Hunter Street, or the train from James St? Which will get there faster/more comfortably today? If you miss one, you don't even have the option of going to the other unless you're going to travel between stations somehow (and my guess is the city is going to do a poor job integrating transit between the two (or three) points. Not to mention the fact that someone missing the last rush hour train at hunter would be forced to go to James St. to take the next train.

I also remain very concerned about the real possibility that somewhere down the line they'll decide to cancel the QEW express service because we have all day GO train service, and the bus becomes redundent. This would be a major error in my opinion, and increase travel times significantly for no material gain, as well as essentially reduce the traffic coming out of the Hunter St. stations drastically.

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 18:48:01 in reply to Comment 66416

I completely disagree. The Bus system speed is completely dependent on the traffic conditions of the 403/QEW, which are often less then stellar and a much bigger gamble then the train. For me, there is no question between taking the Express Bus or the train. I will take the train every time.

The train seldom experiences major delays and has the potential to be electrified, increasing the speed even more. It's more environmentally friendly then the buses as well. I'd like to see the Hunter St. terminal get more volume, and the city needs to scream at CP/CN to make that happen, but failing anything running a shuttle bus from Hunter to Liuna station 5 minutes after the train leaves either station is a simple way to link both stations. That and failing anything opening up Hunter to more Greyhound traffic is also an option.

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By Myrcurial (registered) - website | Posted July 19, 2011 at 09:46:44 in reply to Comment 66417

I'm sorry - did you just say "The train seldom experiences major delays"?

Dude.

You've obviously never been a GO hostage. I once spent 3 hours on a train because there was a tree branch across the tracks and they had to get a crew out to remedy the situation. A friend of mine spent 4+ hours on a train because "the passengers are witnesses" -- a person at the end of their rope had jumped, a horrible thing for them and for the train engineer -- but does someone sitting on the upper deck at 5 cars back in an aisle seat really represent a material witness?

Also - ever noticed how it takes 20 minutes to get from Union to Clarkson, 35 minutes to get from Clarkson to Aldershot and 20 minutes to get from Aldershot to Hamilton GO Centre? I spend the time from 5:20 - 5:43 gnashing my teeth because I'm pretty certain that a diseased squirrel is beating the train on the run in.

How about instead of electrification, we just go ahead and make the tracks true enough to permit operation at the 120+km/h that the new engines are capable of... how bout that.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 21:27:32 in reply to Comment 66417

Nothing I've seen from Metrolinx/GO indicates that the final leg to Hunter Street will be electrified, as GO doesn't own the lines, and runs very few trains there. It doesn't make sense for them to spend the money to electrify to hunter. Electrifying along James St. and out to Niagara Falls though, is involved in most long term plans. Although, I'll point out that electrification is quite some time away (like 10 years plus).

I also agree with Joey Coleman's comment below, that in the best of circumstances I've had the bus get me into Hamilton in 50 minutes, whereas the train always takes at least 1:15, and longer if it's not partially express.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 21:30:50 in reply to Comment 66430

Further to that, see page 13 of the electrification study, which shows the option that Metrolinx Staff proposed, and the Board accepted:

http://www.gotransit.com/estudy/en/current_study/docs/ElectrificationStaffReportJanuary26.pdf

It shows electric to James St. (diesel further east), and diesel to Hunter.

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By JoeyColeman (registered) - website | Posted July 18, 2011 at 19:09:45 in reply to Comment 66417

The 403 Express is experiencing much improve time performance since the opening of the HOV.

The last three times I've taken the 403 express leaving Hamilton at 6:00am

52 minutes to Union 64 minutes to Union 56 minutes to Union

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted July 18, 2011 at 17:17:42 in reply to Comment 66401

I agree with trains alternating between Hunter and Liuna when this eventual does all happen.

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By Anonymous Coward #7 (anonymous) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 17:09:58

Commenting anonymously....

My wife and I just bought a house in Hamilton YESTERDAY and proximity to Main / LRT was a significant portion of our decision.

All day go service is already a part of Hamilton... we are trading buses every 20 mins for trains once an hour and we arent even going to use the station we already paid millions to renovate.

Time for the Mayor to open his ears to the citizens... I'm not some random developer... I'm just one person, but there are a lot of us.

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By jason (registered) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 22:51:44 in reply to Comment 66403

I almost did this a couple of years ago on Strathcona between King and Main. I thought 'these 1-way freeways will be replaced with 2-way streets and LRT soon enough'. Then I snapped out of it and remembered what city I live in.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 17:25:02 in reply to Comment 66403

You used LRT as a main point? That was foolish. You'll learn quickly not to do anything in Hamilton based on a proposal, concept, or promise.

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By Anonymous Coward #7 (anonymous) | Posted July 19, 2011 at 09:21:21 in reply to Comment 66413

Not as a main point, as a significant point.

Because transit matters to me -- I'm a Toronto commuter -- it will always be a significant point.

IF the city continues down it's normal path and screws up by the numbers, I've got a really nice house that is a short walk from regular service (1/4 block) and a slightly longer walk (2 blocks) from express service.

IF the city pulls it's head out of it's ass, not only will my transit in the morning and afternoon suck so much less, but my kids will enjoy easy access to the city and might even stay home and attend Mohawk/McMaster as a result and that property is going to sky rocket.

I don't regret buying a house in Hamilton, but I do regret the fact that I may have to wait for a Mayor who actually cares about the city to be elected.

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted July 19, 2011 at 10:28:33 in reply to Comment 66480

I think you just missed him...

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By Me 109 (anonymous) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 17:20:50 in reply to Comment 66403

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

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By Me 109 (anonymous) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 17:14:49

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

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Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-08-08 22:25:14

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By Mouth (anonymous) | Posted July 20, 2011 at 10:30:35 in reply to Comment 66404

So how's Carol working out, anyway?

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 22:02:07 in reply to Comment 66404

I'm sure it feels so much better just to sit at home and throw stones at anyone with an actual vision for the city.

Thanks for your coming out, but the team's already been picked.

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By Me 109 (anonymous) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 23:35:32 in reply to Comment 66433

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By Me 109 (anonymous) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 17:16:18 in reply to Comment 66404

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By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 17:16:42

Allegedly:

The vision, mission and goals of the City of Hamilton will be guided by 10 core values.

Fiscal Accountability: to increase the efficiency of our city government through fiscal responsibility and prudence

Leadership: in our thinking and in our actions; encouraging individual and team initiatives that exceed expectations, and advocating what we believe in

Innovation: to think broadly and long-term; to balance both city-wide and neighbourhood responsibilities; to do more with limited resources

Integrity: to demonstrate honesty and sincerity in all of our dealings, upholding only the highest ethical principles; to provide open and transparent communications to create informed opinion

Respect: for the needs of all residents, for all viewpoints, and for the diversity of our community

Compassion: sensitivity to, and meeting the requirements of all residents with special needs and interests, and those less fortunate

Commitment: to fulfilling the vision and goals of the city

Teamwork:working in full cooperation and a spirit of collegiality with staff, Council, residents, businesses and external partners

Sustainability: to contribute to a balanced community, economy and environment; to minimize the footprint of our activities and to do no harm

Excellence: in our service delivery, through a quality workforce; and to show pride in our efforts and the community in which we live and work.


http://www.hamilton.ca/CultureandRecreation/CommunitySpecialEvents/Mission_Goals_Values_Vision.htm

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted July 18, 2011 at 17:17:27

AND....

Council, the Mayor and Chris Murray are all moaning that they don't have enough information to make any decisions, and question why there are those who are pushing them to show support for LRT.

So, rather than seek for more information, they choose to seek less information.

I have been told by many that eventually I will be impressed with Chris Murray. I've waited. I'm not. He's like a Deputy Minister without the personality. Speaking of which, many people seem to have heard he might be seeking a job with the province. True?

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted July 25, 2011 at 17:32:29 in reply to Comment 66409

Collins and Merulla seem like they'd be happy to upgrade their office chairs as well.

Maybe we can swap Murray to Burlington for Jim Harnum?

http://www.900chml.com/Channels/Reg/NewsLocalGeneral/Story.aspx?ID=1462150

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By shaddupsevenup (registered) | Posted July 19, 2011 at 07:11:18 in reply to Comment 66409

Murray is a job hopper. He's always looking for more power / greener pastures.

Edited: because I can't figure out how HTML works on this site.

Comment edited by shaddupsevenup on 2011-07-19 07:18:01

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 17:57:23 in reply to Comment 66409

See this is my concern, especially with Chris Murray, that staff/council has too much on their plate right now.

You have to consider, we have the Stadium Project, the Federal Building, Randle Reef, the Velodrome, the HECFI Debacle, All Day GO, LRT, M.I.P., McMaster's new facility, West Harbour Lands, U.S. Steel Lockout, the Connaught, the Lister restoration/city office move. That's a lot of stuff to manage, and this may be Murray trying to say "Look enough's enough, some of this is getting dropped." but doesn't want to say it, because he's afraid he'll look incompetent.

Add that to the fact Bratina has more flip-flops then Sauble Beach does on the Civic, it makes for frustration.

Comment edited by -Hammer- on 2011-07-18 18:00:10

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By Steve (registered) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 17:27:54

" Speaking of which, many people seem to have heard he might be seeking a job with the province. True?"

One can hope. But then again the devil you know...........

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By mrgrande (registered) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 19:17:02 in reply to Comment 66414

Oh god, just imagine it... City Manager Peggy Chapman.

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By James (registered) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 19:26:27

Oh, for heaven's sakes.

Why can't we have nice things in this city?

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By shaddupsevenup (registered) | Posted July 19, 2011 at 17:04:39 in reply to Comment 66421

I need this on a tshirt.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 19:41:15

The article on this has disappeared from The Spec's website.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 20:02:58 in reply to Comment 66422

Found it again; http://www.thespec.com/news/local/articl...

Just finding it was harder.

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 21:14:30 in reply to Comment 66426

This article seems to make a lot more sense and clarifies things quite a bit more. It's basically saying "Alright, wrap up the studying that we've done on LRT and present it to council/metrolinx, otherwise we are going to be beyond our study date and we'll be out 3 million. I'm suspending it until we hear what Metrolinx and council thinks. Everyone else, you're heading out to fight the GO transit front and get that moving." with Bratina saying "I want GO before we talk LRT" which isn't a wholly unreasonable stance to take. It's just a confusing way to put it from what I can see.

Comment edited by -Hammer- on 2011-07-18 21:18:03

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By hereintheweeds (registered) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 22:56:39

Ok enough is enough It's time to make our voices heard. We need to remind council who they work for. We elected them to govern now but also keep an eye on the future. The LRT is potential spark that could start the redevelopment of whole city not just the core. All day GO is a given just sit and wait it will come. You are not going to hear from the developers until the city makes this a reality. If I am sinking my money into this I am not going to show my hand until its time. If you build it they will come. It has been proven time and time again do we have to put these guys on a plane and show

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted July 18, 2011 at 23:02:29

As for all-day GO service - the point isn't simply to get people to/from union faster. What about people who want to take a train up to Oakville, or down to Niagara? We need to be a point on this network, not just run express buses to the nearest ones. All-day GO service was somewhat visionary a decade ago, and has been a policy of the last two (at least?) mayors, as well as a policy of GO itself. I think I speak for Hamilton when I say, GET IT DONE YESTERDAY.

I really don't see how all-day-GO competes with LRT. If anything, it's the very same issue on a larger scale. In both cases - rail is simply a cheaper, higher-capacity option in the long run.

GO needs the HSR, and the HSR needs GO. How are all these people going to get to the GO station (at James or Hunter)? How are all the newcomers to a city arriving without cars going to get around? You don't do GO any favours by kneecapping the network expansion at a local level.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted July 19, 2011 at 16:40:41 in reply to Comment 66443

Exactly Undustrial. Great point! Just as importantly, it would serve people who want to visit Hamilton from Niagara or from Oakville.

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By hereintheweeds (registered) | Posted July 18, 2011 at 23:03:42

Ok enough is enough It's time to make our voices heard. We need to remind council who they work for. We elected them to govern now but also keep an eye on the future. The LRT is potential spark that could start the redevelopment of whole city not just the core. All day GO is a given just sit and wait it will come. You are not going to hear from the developers until the city makes this a reality. If I am sinking my money into this I am not going to show my hand until its time. If you build it they will come. It has been proven time and time again do we have to put these guys on a plane and show them. Do we really need to draw you a picture? I for one am tired of shortsighted career politicians who refuse to see past the end of their nose. If we really want this than we need to send a very clear loud msg that they have no chance of being misunderstood. We elected you to lead not follow.

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By peter (anonymous) | Posted July 19, 2011 at 05:58:15

I never thought I'd say this but...I'm moving to Mississauga!! Adios suckazzzz!

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By Myrcurial (registered) - website | Posted July 19, 2011 at 09:49:26

I've gone from emails to phone calls - see if that makes any difference.

I'm so sick of the lack of vision... of the "leave it to others in the future".

Time to step up - get some big brass ones and make this city something awesome.

Heh. Maybe that's it.

Hamilton needs a set of Truck Nutz.

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted July 19, 2011 at 10:47:09 in reply to Comment 66487

We should start mailing truck nutz to city hall.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted July 19, 2011 at 16:43:15

So many people on RTH are furious about trucks driving through downtown Hamilton rather than going around the city via Burlington St. Why wouldn't those same people be as passionate about using Liuna station so the buses wouldn't have to drive through downtown either?

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted July 20, 2011 at 09:26:29 in reply to Comment 66530

Could have something to do with the cargo each vehicle carries. One carries cargo through downtown because the highways are slower than Main St, the other carries cargo to and from downtown to facilitate the spending/earning of money in the area.

Other than that quibble, there really isn't much of a difference, is there?

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted July 20, 2011 at 12:22:06 in reply to Comment 66560

Yup.. really not much of a difference at all. I believe that the overwhelming majority, if not all of the truck traffic seen within Downtown Hamilton has an origin or destination within Hamilton (most likely near Burlington St.). Given that, there is even less difference between the two.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted July 20, 2011 at 12:59:25 in reply to Comment 66581

The 2010 truck route study was supposed to include an origin-destination analysis of truck traffic, but that was dropped from the process. However, if memory serves, a 2005 goods movement study by IBI Group (I can't find the actual study on the city website) concluded that most truck traffic in Hamilton is through traffic - trucks with both an origin and destination outside Hamilton.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted July 20, 2011 at 14:18:30 in reply to Comment 66590

2005 is two years prior to the RHV expressway opening. rolls eyes

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted July 20, 2011 at 14:22:28 in reply to Comment 66603

Thanks to our commitment to fast thoroughfares across the city, it's still faster to cut through the city along Main or Cannon than it is to take the ring highway. That's why Main and Cannon were not removed from the Truck Route - which is explicitly designed to accommodate through traffic, since local truck traffic is allowed to leave the Truck Route to take the most direct route to its destination.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted July 20, 2011 at 14:31:03 in reply to Comment 66608

You're wrong Ryan. It is not faster for a large truck (and certainly not cost efficient due to increased use of fuel) to cut through the city if your origin and destination are outside of Hamilton.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted July 20, 2011 at 14:58:50 in reply to Comment 66615

And yet trucks continue to barrel through the downtown.

Unfortunately, the City decided to drop the origin-destination study it was supposed to conduct in 2009, but we can at least test your claim with a rough estimate.

Google Maps tells us that it will take 24 minutes to drive from Main Street West and Macklin Street (i.e. just west of Hwy 403) to Queenston Road and Pottruff Road North (i.e. just east of RHVP). At a distance of 11 km, a little back-of-the-envelope calculation gives us an average speed of 23 km/h. In fact, because the lights on Main are timed at 50 km/h for most of that distance and Main Street is almost never congested, the actual driving time will be less than 24 minutes.

The same trip using Hwy 403/Linc/RHVP will take 25 minutes. In fairness, at 26.2 km, Google estimates an average speed of 52 km/h. Actual driving speed will vary based on how much congestion there is on the various highways.

The same trip using Hwy 403/QEW/RHVP will take 24 minutes - again, subject to congestion.

I hope this at least demonstrates to your satisfaction that driving through the city instead of around it remains a viable option for truckers.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-07-20 15:00:58

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted July 20, 2011 at 16:20:28 in reply to Comment 66624

For anyone who wants a real idea of the driving times of driving through vs around Hamilton for vehicles originating and terminating outside of Hamilton...

I've chosen locations to be as fair as possible and to even give Ryan's side of the argument as much of an advantage as possible. I've chosen a route with one point at the QEW/Centenial and the other point at the 403 and Hwy 6 N. That is the route that would be most likely (although still not realistic) for trucks to drive through vs around.

The vehicles driving through would take 26 minutes.

The vehicles driving around would take 13 minutes.

That is a 100% time advantage. Like I said, not even close. If you want to look at a route more favourable to my argument like Qew/Centenial to 403/Hwy 6 S, it becomes an even bigger advantage.. something like 200% faster.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted July 21, 2011 at 00:26:47 in reply to Comment 66644

Certainly some trips are faster on the highway, depending on the destination; but it's also true that other trips are as fast or faster taking surface roads. You seem determined to prove that most trucks downtown are not just passing through - whether we define "through" as an origin and destination outside the political boundaries of Hamilton or an origin and destination outside downtown. (And I admit my use of the term was sloppy above, for which I apologize.)

Certainly there has been no appreciable reduction in through truck traffic on downtown streets, and when residents complained that the RHVP had not taken the trucks off downtown streets as we were promised, the Chamber of Commerce responded with post hoc reasoning that if the trucks were on those streets, that meant the streets needed to go on accommodating the trucks.

In any case, there's no need for the insults and rudeness you displayed in some of your comments.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-07-21 00:27:05

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted July 21, 2011 at 16:00:27 in reply to Comment 66682

Ryan, sorry for coming across as rude. It really frustrated me to see such a blatant misrepresentation of the truth and it felt like an insult to my intelligence. But yeah, I should have chosen my words more carefully.

Not seeing a reduction of trucks on downtown streets after the RHVP was complete suggests a couple of things to me.

  1. The trucks that weren't starting or ending their journey in Hamilton weren't driving through Hamilton anyway.

  2. The trucks that were driving on downtown streets prior to the RHVP start or finish their journey close to downtown and have no other choice.

  3. Some trucks that were driving through Hamilton now use the RHVP to go around the city, but the effect has been negated by an increase of #2 above.

Based on the journey times that I've provided which illustrate a 100% to 200% time savings, not to mention fuel savings, I can't imagine any logical reason for any trucker or trucking company to want to drive through Hamilton unless they "have" to. Because Hamilton's biggest industry is located so very close to it's downtown core, unfortunately, I think truck traffic on some streets is inevitable unless Burlington St was somehow linked up to the 403 which doesn't seem likely and maybe not even possible.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted July 21, 2011 at 21:49:50 in reply to Comment 66744

Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing for sure, because the last actual study the city conducted was in 2005, and I can no longer find it on the city website (though other reports make reference to it). The 2005 study concluded that most of the truck traffic downtown was through traffic, and anecdotally, it doesn't look as though truck traffic has decreased significantly since RHVP opened.

That suggests a number of possible interpretations: in addition to the ones you and I already provided, it is also possible that the number of through trucks decreased, making room on the road for more trucks with a local origin or destination. Again, without data we're both just blindly hypothesizing.

The Origin-Destination study that was supposed to be part of the 2010 truck study would have been highly instructive in this regard.

For what it's worth, I contacted the city's traffic department to ask if they have any information. This is the reply I received:

I'm sorry to say that we, or any such public agency, would [not] have a hard-line number available, or one that could be generated with traffic data that is normally collected. We normally collect traffic volume for traffic engineering purposes by either manual observation of turning movements at intersections (where trucks are sub-classified) or the 24 hour automatic (machine) classifier units with the road tubes that can distinguish vehicle types by axle numbers and spacing. So for general inventory purposes we get gross numbers at different locations but not tracking of trips by any one vehicle.

I think a general assumption could be made that any large truck driving on a road in this municipality that is not Highway 403, QEW, perhaps provincial Highway 6, and the Linc / Red Hill Valley Parkway - does have some business of either a pick-up or drop-of in this municipality. If the trucks did not leave the freeway / expressway facility, than obviously it's pure through traffic.

I don't know if you have already referenced it or if would provide useful information in your quest, but the Hamilton Truck Route Master Plan study (2008- 2010) documentation is available at www.hamilton.ca/truckroutestudy. Another possibly useful source of information may be the 'McMaster Institute for Transportation and Logistics', who are doing some modelling work based on the designated Truck Route Network that had notable alterations following acceptance of the study report by City Council in June 2010. The MITL can be referenced by www.mitl.mcmaster.ca

In the absence of actual data, even the engineers are dealing in assumptions and post-hoc reasoning (defining "through traffic" as trucks that don't leave the expressway).

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-07-21 22:37:13

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By jason (registered) | Posted July 20, 2011 at 23:07:49 in reply to Comment 66644

one other flaw I noticed on your route is using James N to Burlington. The trucks never do that. They stay on York to Victoria or Sherman. Trucks coming in from the 403 eastbound using Main St stay on Main to Sherman. Just an FYI. I've studied all this crap for years, so sadly, I'm a bit of an expert. I say crap because it's mind-boggling that our administration won't do the simple, logical thing and get rid of these truck routes. Obviously none of them live along the route.

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By jason (registered) | Posted July 20, 2011 at 23:04:33 in reply to Comment 66644

I've made these trips myself and it is quicker to stay on the highways. Old habits are hard to break though, and with a city staff/council/chamber of no-commerce refusing to remove the truck routes from Main and Cannon, the trucks continue to barrel through here. You'd be better off calculating times to Steelcare on Eastport or some of the factories in the Sherman-QEW corridor, since many of the trucks are headed there. But as I said, I've done it, and it's quicker on the 403-QEW.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted July 20, 2011 at 15:39:50 in reply to Comment 66624

And a perimeter highway (Burlington St to 403) would likely be about 12-15 minutes.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted July 20, 2011 at 15:51:20 in reply to Comment 66638

You didn't click on the links did you ASmith?

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted July 20, 2011 at 15:33:21 in reply to Comment 66624

Weren't we talking about a origin and destination outside of Hamilton? You and the people who upvoted your comment seem to have forgotten that key point.

Ryan, please be so kind (fair/honest) as to do the same thing with origins and destinations outside of Hamilton.

If you could take the time to provide links to the origin/destination used above, this shouldn't be a problem. I'm looking forward to viewing the results.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted July 20, 2011 at 15:09:43 in reply to Comment 66624

Are you friggin kidding me?! People, please take the time to click on the links and have a look at the origin and destinations that Ryan chose. Ridiculous. Do you think your readers are idiots?

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted July 20, 2011 at 15:11:14 in reply to Comment 66628

Or maybe you're not as smart as I've given you credit for Ryan, and you have no idea why the origin and destinations you've chosen are ridiculous. This would explain why you stand by your view about this which makes no logical sense.

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By drb (registered) - website | Posted July 20, 2011 at 15:32:22 in reply to Comment 66629

As my teachers used to write in margins of assignments: P.S.Y.W. Please show your work.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted July 20, 2011 at 16:21:39 in reply to Comment 66634

See above please.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted July 20, 2011 at 14:45:12 in reply to Comment 66615

I just used a GPS as well as Google maps to confirm how wrong you are. It's not even close! Where do you come up with your numbers?

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By RadiatorSteve (registered) - website | Posted April 20, 2012 at 05:02:46

When a huge construction project like this is underway, would a request to stop all works hurt the momentum of all the team and their workers? Perhaps he had sensed that the project was not going as planned, and decided that the people in charge needed to review and make last minute adjustments to keep the project on track.

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