Special Report: Light Rail

Three Questions for LRT Opponents

It's embarrassing that it seems the only way my city is going to see transit improve is when the province comes along offering to foot 100 percent of the bill, a sweetheart deal other cities envy.

By Michael Nabert
Published June 20, 2016

Many in Hamilton shake their heads at the idea that our City Council, after voting in favour of LRT repeatedly for years, is now stalled by grandstanding against it.

It is perfectly reasonable to have questions about why the route was chosen or concerns about the temporary disruption that will accompany construction, but when one looks at the arguments arrayed against LRT, the only conclusion is that they are spectacularly weak.

"We should spend it on something else!" and "We can't afford it!" are clearly dishonest.

Brampton recently said no to funding for LRT. Did the province tell them, "oh, that's okay, here's the money we would have spent on LRT for you to spend on whatever else you like?" No, what Brampton got was sent to the back of the line with hat in hand and no major provincial investment.

Did their taxes go down by a single dollar? No, they're still contributing to the provincial coffers, they simply get to sit on the sidelines while watching those dollars invested in other communities.

Still, in the spirit of inclusive open-mindedness, I invite those lingering few Hamiltonians that oppose the construction of our LRT system to try and convince me to come around to their point of view by answering three simple questions:

How can refusing a billion dollar provincial investment in Hamilton and replacing it with a zero dollar provincial investment possibly be a better deal?

I challenge anyone to explain any way that no investment in Hamilton can be better for us than a massive improvement project. Mention job creation, and opponents say that those jobs will only be temporary. Even if so, would creating thousands of jobs in the city for five years be superior to zero new jobs?

Spend a billion dollars in the city, there's pretty much no way that you won't create some benefit to the city's economy or citizens - even if by accident.

If you oppose LRT, you can't merely spout the claim that work on a single roadway downtown will somehow collapse the entire local economy. You need to fill us in on how keeping this much investment away from the city provides us with any good of any kind at all.

Where is your civic spirit?

When construction began on the Lincoln Alexander Parkway, citizens understood that something that is good for the city is indirectly good for me, too, even if we don't use it ourselves.

If we don't have children, our taxes still fund local schools because it's valuable to live in a place where people have skills and know things.

I don't personally own a car, but my taxes support road work, and I know it's important that goods and people can get around the city.

It is only when LRT comes up that people imagine the claim, It won't help me personally, therefore I oppose it even if it helps other people is somehow a credible or adult argument.

If the city is going to thrive, it must be with an eye to the needs of everyone, not to the whims of the purely selfish. Would anyone really prefer to have the disruption downtown that's inevitable to repair and replace aging infrastructure happen entirely on our dime with nothing else to show for it?

Are you climate change deniers?

Transportation represents more than one-third of Ontario's greenhouse gas emissions. Moving away from single occupancy vehicle use to higher use rates for public transit is near the top of every list of ways that communities can start addressing what is generally agreed to be the largest danger we face as a civilization.

When it comes to making real action on climate change a priority, I refuse investment in public transit! is tantamount to saying, Here, let me spray some more lighter fluid on the pyre of our children's hope for the future.

Bus rapid transit (BRT) is less energy efficient per rider - and again, even if it weren't, if Hamilton insisted we wanted BRT instead, we'd just be watching the province invest in another community that doesn't look a gift horse in the mouth.

It's bad enough that Hamilton - alone among major urban centres in the province - is spending four times as much building roads as it does improving transit. Adjusted for inflation, council's commitment to funding HSR has been steadily shrinking for years, which may contribute to the fact that ridership per capita is declining here while skyrocketing elsewhere.

Frankly, it's embarrassing that it seems the only way my city is going to see transit improve is when the province comes along offering to foot 100 percent of the bill, a sweetheart deal other cities envy.

If you oppose transit improving even at provincial expense, don't hold any illusions about the fact that you are cheerleading to make climate change worse.

Area Rating for Transit

Ultimately, the problems in Hamilton that this issue brings to light run deeper even than the above. The dysfunctional area rating system that has households on one side of the street paying a third as much for transit as those on the other side of the street across ward boundaries does a lot to hamstring any effort to improve.

Transit support is poor for the suburban areas of the city, but improvements there are largely impossible because residents of those wards would have to pay the whole tab themselves. Meanwhile, their councillors hold transit efforts downtown hostage by voting against improvements to a system that their constituents pay little or nothing of the bill for and where therefore they have no 'skin in the game.'

Hamilton remains the only city in the province where different parts of what should be a unified city are pitted against one another on transit issues persistently rather than all sharing the costs and benefits.

So all I can do is hope that sanity wins despite the despicable grandstanding against it, and my municipal government does the right thing about what should clearly be seen as a no-brainer. Meanwhile, for those reading this who oppose LRT, I'll be waiting to read substantive, logical, polite, and reasonable answers to the above questions. Convince me.

Writer Michael Nabert has been a dedicated environmentalist for three decades, won an environmentalist of the year award for it, and reached an audience of millions online. He has recently brought his expertise to Environment Hamilton's new Climate Change team.

69 Comments

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By ASmith (registered) | Posted June 20, 2016 at 16:39:52

"Are you climate change deniers?"

Yes. According to this chart ( data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v3/Fig.C.gif ), temps flatlined between 1998-2015. There was a spike last year, but the most recent monthly temps show we're back to 1998 levels.

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By orangemike (registered) | Posted June 20, 2016 at 18:51:58

not the best strategy bringing up climate change. look at the type of people it brings out. anyway, dont you think anyone that cares about climate change already supports lrt? i think being climate change denier is foolish and your opinions and views can be binned just like we would a flat earther. but since the anti lrts are already composed of flat earthers like allan taylor and jim graham it just gives them an oppurtunity to play "charts and graph war" and then once the adults destroy their weak and feeble positions on climate change they will say "stats and facts be damned! i have common sense!". AGAIN.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted June 21, 2016 at 06:31:42

The Venn diagram of anti-LRT'ers and climate change deniers is earth-shaped.

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By Haveacow (registered) | Posted June 21, 2016 at 07:36:57

In a post about LRT and peoples possible opposition towards it, climate change denial, really! That's what you want to go with. Orangemike's point is fairly valid but I think someone is just wanting to be a little s--- disturber because they can. Grow up.

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By RobF (registered) | Posted June 21, 2016 at 09:08:48 in reply to Comment 119485

Really I think the anti-LRT position is about another sort of denial: the future and any serious talk about aligning our vision for it with practical changes and investments to achieve it. The common denominator is a belief that everything is working beautifully in Hamilton and we should leave things as they are.

Those of us who imagine that having more people living in the core of the city are confronted with certain realities, like if we don't provide better transit (reliable, convenient, attractive) and cycling infrastructure then we need to provide parking and road space for the cars that will be needed to move people around.

For them, Hamilton is great because you can get around town in 20 minutes and parking is plentiful and cheap downtown (they'd prefer free). Ask them what's wrong with Hamilton and its the roads and sewers are falling apart and we're spending a billion dollars on a train thru and to nowhere. And don't get them started on spending for "complete streets" in Wards 1&2 ... waste of money, don't these LRTers know "there's no there, there" anymore ... real growth will happen in Broadacres City (off the next highway to nowhere).

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By jason (registered) | Posted June 21, 2016 at 08:44:48

interestingly, I know many people who would be labeled 'climate deniers' and who passionately want LRT in Hamilton. Not the best strategy IMHO adding that point into this article.

Otherwise, bang on solid piece. And full of common sense.

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By Farts_Mcgee (registered) | Posted June 21, 2016 at 09:16:59

Free investment...like Hamilton is in a different province from Ontario. Being fiscally responsible to some citizen stretches beyond our city. Basically, the province is your Parent with a maxed out credit card and who cares if shes in a financial crisis, shes still buying us stuff. Who cares? It's not our money. But it is our money.

So the real argument is, if we don't ask for the money they are just going to give it to someone else. And I am not saying I am PRO or ANTI LRT, but I will say I can most certainly see the argument for not spending provincial money when we CLEARLY don't have any to spend. MAYBE The consequences of a bankrupted province or close to is has way worse implications? Can we at least talk about that point?

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By RobF (registered) | Posted June 21, 2016 at 09:56:01 in reply to Comment 119488

A more appropriate analogy is your parents going to the bank to get a mortgage to buy a house or take out a loan to start a business. This is spending on a capital asset not discretionary spending. The real question is whether the long-term benefits to the city and province justify the investment ... i.e. does it put the corporation of Hamilton in a more sustainable fiscal position and grow the local economy. Roads aren't free and neither is the space used for off-street parking. A more compact, denser form of city is more efficient to service and offers cheaper mobility for residents. That provides real social and economic benefits if it is implemented well ... big infrastructure projects are always subject to poor execution for a number of reasons.

And as Kevlahan says below we aren't going broke ... we have a growing population and economy and that requires spending on infrastructure and services to support it. And we need policies to help us grow in ways that are less damaging to the environment and our pocket-books.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted June 21, 2016 at 09:35:17 in reply to Comment 119488

But Hamilton turning down LRT just means the money gets spent in another city, it doesn't actually save any money at all. We are dealing with reality, not a hypothetical alternative where turning down the money means it gets given back to Ontarians.

And no one has seriously claimed that Ontario is close to being bankrupt.

http://blogs.wsj.com/canadarealtime/2014...

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2016/04/2...

However, Canada’s “general government net debt,” which adds in central and subnational debt and subtracts financial assets such as pension-plan holdings, is just 28% of GDP this year, still by far the lowest in the G-7. Germany, the next lowest, is at 47%. The U.S. is at 82%. So by most objective measures, Canada’s relative fiscal strength prevails.

And we are dealing with another real debt: almost 40 years of insufficient spending on infrastructure construction and maintenance. For example, spending on transit increased at 4.8% annually from 1958 to 1977 (keeping up with population growth and improving service) but has only grown at 0.1% since then. At some point we need to fix this problem and the "Big Move" is a significant step towards this.

And the budget watchdog said in May that the Ontario government can balance the budget next year:

https://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/...

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2016-06-21 09:46:02

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By Deleted User (anonymous) | Posted July 03, 2016 at 08:51:27 in reply to Comment 119489

There's a big difference between balancing the budget and paying off our debt. The province pays $11.4 billion a year on interest alone. If interest rates rise that figure will also increase. There are estimates that Ontario could default on its debt obligations as early as 2024. To say no one is seriously talking about the province eventually defaulting is nonsense. A simple google search brought up many articles about the possibility. The province holds the largest sub-sovereign debt in the world. Twice the debt of California with half the population. We're I serious trouble. If I ran my household budget the way Ontario runs its budget I'd've already declared bankruptcy. $313 billion in the hole. Let's get real.

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By Farts_Mcgee (registered) | Posted June 21, 2016 at 10:13:26 in reply to Comment 119489

well, if we can balance the budget by next year I'm all for it. I have extreme doubts, but I'm not the expert so I'll take that star article at its word.

This is a debate, and there are risks on both sides. The frustrating part when dealing with the Pro LRT supporters is that they all think the other side is automatically against the idea.

I dont think Terry Whitehead is against having LRT, he just wants someone other than the builders(metrolinx) to provide data.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted June 21, 2016 at 10:36:13 in reply to Comment 119493

Metrolinx did the BCA in 2010 to determine whether the project would have a net benefit, and Hamilton Council decided in 2008 to pursue LRT with full Provincial funding of the capital cost on the basis on a staff report analyzing the project.

City staff did the preliminary work in 2008-2009 before Metrolinx was directly involved. It was at this time that City staff (not Metrolinx) compared the alternatives and decided on the King St alignment because it would be better for automobile traffic flow and provide more economic uplift.

This is not something being "forced" on Hamilton: it is something Hamilton has been working for since 2008! And the basic decisions about the route, and prioritizing the B-line, then A-line were made by city staff not Metrolinx.

McMaster's MITL has also analyzed the project.

If Councillors don't trust City staff or Metrolinx it's going to be a very difficult working relationship on a big complex project like this.

Remember that that City signed an MOA with the Province committing to supporting the project and working with Metrolinx, and part of that surely means not disregarding the advice and expertise of both Metrolinx and City staff!

In any case, the appropriate time for Councillor Whitehead to raise his concerns with staff and have his questions answered was when the decision on the alignment was made, not seven years later after millions has been spent on this design and Council has repeatedly voted to support this alignment. He could have also raised these concerns in 2013 when the Rapid Ready report was adopted by Council.

Is Mr Whitehead going to refuse to accept anything Metrolinx or City staff say about LRT all through the process? That is a recipe for chaos and is goes against Council's code of conduct.

13.2 Under the direction of the City Manager, City employees serve the Council as a whole, and the combined interests of all members of Council as evidenced through the decisions of Council. Accordingly:

(a) members of Council shall be respectful of the role of City employees to advise based on political neutrality and objectivity and without undue influence from any individual member or faction of the Council;

(b) no member of Council shall maliciously, falsely, negligently or recklessly injure the professional or ethical reputation, or the prospects or practice of City employees; and

(c) members of Council shall show respect for the professional capacities of City employees.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2016-06-21 10:40:43

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By Farts_Mcgee (registered) | Posted June 21, 2016 at 11:57:40 in reply to Comment 119494

Maybe he changed his mind or has a different opinion or view point now. That's not a crime. I also don't think its unreasonable to have a separate party who doesn't directly benefit or is involved in the construction of this LRT. Is that crazy?

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted June 21, 2016 at 13:23:13 in reply to Comment 119497

If significant new information arises then it is perfectly reasonable to change one's mind based on the new information. But to change one's mind when nothing significantly new has come up is not reasonable. You can't keep going back on decisions, second guessing yourself, years later especially when the City is partnering with other levels of government (and is not even paying the bill!).

If Terry didn't accept the justification for the King alignment back in 2009 or 2010 or 2013 he should have said so then before the decision was made.

There is also the point that it is a huge waste of time and resources to have staff and Metrolinx work and spend millions of dollars on a certain design and then belatedly come back and say "I no longer understand why we're doing this". This is just chaotic and wasteful and doesn't lead to good decision making.

The same thing happened with the stadium when the city spent years acquiring land and planning the West Harbour site, only to panic and lurch from one back of the napkin option to another before finally settling on the Ivor Wynne site that no one really liked.

City staff are the ones who are paid to provide unbiased independent advice and that's exactly what they did. Metrolinx, who clearly don't have any interest in whether LRT runs on Main or King except that they want a successful project, accepted the analysis of city staff.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2016-06-21 13:25:09

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By DBC (registered) | Posted June 21, 2016 at 12:47:54 in reply to Comment 119497

And to follow your logic stream; if another Councillor doesn't "like" the data Terry's new consultant gathers - we get another consultant?

Where does it end? Why do we have in house professional staff?

Terry just needs to pay attention and focus on doing what's best for the CITY and to stop acting like he is campaigning for Ward 8 2018.

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By Farts_Mcgee (registered) | Posted June 21, 2016 at 13:46:18 in reply to Comment 119498

I think after an independent consultant provides their data then we can tell Terry its too late one way or the other.

We're talking about data provided by the seller (metrolinx) and the buyer (the city) I feel like during this entire time the very least we could have done was has a independent analysis. And hey, maybe your right, maybe it is too late now, But hasty decisions are exactly the reason why Tim Hortons field is where it is.

Personally I feel these Councillors need term limits, but thats another topic lol

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By jason (registered) | Posted June 21, 2016 at 13:44:07 in reply to Comment 119498

I'm LOLing over here at the terms 'data' and 'consultant' being used to describe what Terry is currently doing.....

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted June 22, 2016 at 13:04:41 in reply to Comment 119500

I am waiting on the edge of my seat for this report. Every night checking twitter to see the latest unreferenced "stat"

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By Farts_Mcgee (registered) | Posted June 21, 2016 at 09:46:48 in reply to Comment 119489

The comparison doesn't even make sense, as stated in THAT article. Bankruptcy maybe not, but $267 billion debt still echos the idea that maybe, as citizens of this province, maybe, right now isn't the greatest time to invest LRT.

Im all for Mommy buying us kids a new LRT, I just dont want to wake up the next day and find the Television pawned (hydro one) to pay the mortgage.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted June 21, 2016 at 11:03:06 in reply to Comment 119490

Ontario's debt consists of bonds that are payable to taxpayers. How is it that so many 'taxpayers' rail against Ontario's debt and then line up to buy the guaranteed investments they offer?

Ontario can service the debt (pay out the bonds) they have because it has a large economy. We are still AA last I checked.

The best way to make it impossible for the provincial government to service it's debt would be to stop investing in provincial infrastructure. Apparently we are losing 3 billion annually due to lost productivity directly related to transportation issues. The government is trying to rectify that via their Big Move initiative.

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By RobF (registered) | Posted June 21, 2016 at 10:07:51 in reply to Comment 119490

We could stop building new highways and improving existing ones. The extensions and widenings of the 400-series highways are funded by debt too. Don't invest in LRT and you guarantee the need to double-down on the economically unsustainable form and structure of urban development since the 1950s ... major investments in highway and local road capacity, which encourages the need to make further investments to reduce congestion. We've known since the 1970s this model doesn't work. The trouble is the thinking that drivers are subsidizing transit ... every person who switches to transit free up road space for other users, and we can't really solve congestion problems where they exist by adding more capacity as that just produces more users. Really we should be talking about demand/mobility management (i.e. real-time demand management using tolls that adjust based on capacity utilization of different modes of transportation).

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By Haveacow (registered) | Posted June 21, 2016 at 18:39:57

Hey guys I'll review the choice but remember these decisions were based on what the original consultant thought was important as well as relevant in the choice of right of way. I can review it and give an opinion but I don't work for free. Most importantly, whatever I come up with or anyone else for that matter doesn't necessarily matter, your Council has voted many times on the route and the choices of technology. The whole process has gone through an official EA process reviewed by Metrolinx, the ministry of the Environment, Transportation and Infrastructure and it all passed. Your Councilor is just trying to delay because he doesn't like any transit spending.

Remember you guys already spend less on regular operational and capital transit budgets for the HSR than Toronto's TTC, York Region Transit, Durham Region Transit, Grand River Transit, Mississauga Transit and Brampton Transit. If the Niagara Region had a unified region wide system, mostly because of the need to upgrade and expand their very limited facilities, they would probably be spending more than you too. You only beat London Transit in spending because you get far more help from Provincial and Federal governments, in the form of operational and capital Transit Grants, than they do! Other than that, London is virtually spending the same amounts as you do. Yes they plan to build BRT for now but they are willing to pay for a portion of their BRT program. Ottawa's OC Transpo definitely spends more and the STO (Societe de Transport de L'Outaouais) Gatineau's Quebec's Transit system is spending more than you and they serve a smaller population and have built real BRT in the form of the RapiBus Network. Both the Laval Transit System (North of Montreal)and the Longueuil Area Transit System (South of Montreal on the South Shore) which serve similar populations also spend more. The only major Ontario Transit System you guys beat consistently and easily in transit spending is Windsor, which serves a significantly smaller population. On a per capita basis Guelph, Oakville and Burlington all spend more than you do. Frankly Barrie still lags behind you in per capita transit spending but they have had to make some seriously large investments recently and plan to spend even more in the coming years. You beat Peterborough Transit on per capita spending but they are in the process of starting their own community owned and operated railway company (Shining Waters Railway). Which plans to be running initially, peak hour Commuter Rail service to and from Union Station and downtown Peterborough.

If it weren't for the Province spending all this LRT money on you, wouldn't be getting anything right now based on the Hamilton's historic transit spending precedence. You have very low spending levels when it comes to transit and that should change, sooner than later you will be forced to. Why not take the free LRT funding now while you can!

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By Farts_Mcgee (registered) | Posted June 22, 2016 at 07:03:25 in reply to Comment 119502

hey why not? lets just raise property tax to help pay for it, its not like renters have to pay this increase. All of those cities you mentioned have on average an extra $1 ontop of our current fares... But hey, people will be able to get from one end to the other end quicker...

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By RobF (registered) | Posted June 23, 2016 at 11:35:31 in reply to Comment 119503

Property owners pay property tax and renters pay for the use of the property ... ultimately, property taxes are included in the rent, so they pay indirectly. Renters don't get a "free-ride" if that's what you are implying.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted June 22, 2016 at 08:33:52 in reply to Comment 119503

You must not have taken the HSR (or TTC) for a while. The cash fare cost for the TTC for a far superior service is $3.25, as of September 2016 it will be $3.00 on the HSR and it is now $2.75. Burlington is $3.50, Guelph is $3.00, Brampton is $3.75 and Mississauga is $3.25.

That's an average of $3.35 compared with a September HSR fare of $3.00 (and current fare of $2.75). HSR's fare will be only slightly less than average in September for a far inferior service and there are further increases planned.

Council decided against any additional transit levy contribution and has decided to simply raise fares to try, maybe, to improve service. I say maybe because increasing fares before improving service will certainly lead to falling ridership and less revenue. We may well end up with the charging far more money to users for the same inferior service.

And we don't have to increase taxes: we could simply shift priorities. For example, actually spend the federal gas tax money the City gets on transit instead of on roads. There is also a provincial gas tax fund specifically for transit. For the federal gas tax fund in Hamilton $3 million goes to transit and nearly $29 million to roads! Almost every other large city in Ontario does spends this money on transit and the auditor general recently called out the federal government for not insisting that all cities spend the money the way it was intended!

“The original objective was to provide reliable, predictable funding in support of environmentally sustainable municipal infrastructure that contributes to cleaner air, cleaner water, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions,

A breakdown of Hamilton’s gas tax spending to the end of 2012 (total of $155 million) showed more than half ($78 million) went to the roads budget, and the entire $31 million for 2009 was spent on city hall renovations. Transit got $6 million and the rest went to composting and recycling infrastructure. Since then, over 90 percent has gone to roads and the remainder to replacing HSR buses.

http://hamiltoncatch.org/view_article.ph...

In Hamilton low transit spending is all about the low status and priority placed on transit by Council for the last 25 years, not about saving "taxpayer" money.

On the downside, the city's overall share of the gas tax cash has been dropping for years compared to other cities thanks to a largely flat-lined ridership.

http://www.thespec.com/news-story/611486...

That is why it is so disingenuous of anti-LRT Councillors to suddenly claim they want to see improvements in bus transit before we build LRT.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2016-06-22 08:48:08

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted June 22, 2016 at 09:11:05 in reply to Comment 119505

So, Hamilton spends 90% of the federal gas tax money on roads. How does Toronto spend this money?

From 2005-2013, the City has received over $1 billion in GTF that has been directed to the Toronto Transit Commission to leverage over $2.6 billion of investments in the City's transit system.

GTF funding has been used for the:

purchase of replacement buses, Toronto Rocket subway cars, Wheel-Trans buses and Light Rail Transit vehicles; the Easier Access Program modification of the Wilson Carhouse, construction of the Leslie Barns Streetcar Maintenance and Storage Facility, and other various transit infrastructure assets.

http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/conten...

Compare and contrast!

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2016-06-22 09:11:15

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By Farts_Mcgee (registered) | Posted June 22, 2016 at 11:32:19

eh, why cant we have subways again? is it because its too expensive?

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted June 22, 2016 at 11:46:06 in reply to Comment 119508

Yes, subways are far too expensive mostly due to tunnelling and much higher capacity. I believe that subways are also more expensive to run, but I don't have the actual data on that.

TTC estimates subways at about $300 million per kilometre, Hamilton's LRT is roughly $75 million per kilometre or four times less.

It is also arguable that surface LRT better integrates with an urban environment (riders actually see their city and residents see people travelling in the LRT vehicles).

But the primary arguments are cost and need for much higher ridership to justify the cost. That's why modern LRT has become the first choice for mid-size cities and even outside the central core in large cities. For example, Bordeaux had wanted a subway for many years but eventually choice LRT and I think everyone there now agrees that was the right choice.

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By ref_erendum (registered) | Posted June 22, 2016 at 17:06:30

A.Cost over runs and there will be is an unnecessary expense when ridership is too low to warrant an LRT. B.Civic spirit has nothing to do with wasting money on a trolley that will create congestion and keep people and cars out of the down town core . C. Climate Change ? What about creating more traffic congestion with this monstrosity bloccking cross traffic and making people drive twice the distance to get out of this town ? You can add all the riders you want to this LRT but the passengers just ain't there and they won't be with the core population in Hamilton @ 180,000 in ward 1-5 We lost people in Hamilton until they amalgamated the surrounding cities. 400 per hour ridership will not magically multiply to sustain this system. Yes there is growth but not in the core where Metrolinx expects their riders . We collected money from development and the city can't come up with a good reason where 1 bllion dollars in permit money was spent . Sorry the LRT is all smoke and mirrors If you don't have a billion you won't miss it

Comment edited by ref_erendum on 2016-06-22 17:08:43

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By ImprovingTomorrow (registered) | Posted June 23, 2016 at 09:40:15 in reply to Comment 119514

A) Cost overruns will be covered by Metrolynx, so you can bet they will direct their expertise to keeping it under budget, and the city isn't on the hook. Even if we were, you dodge the question: are you seriously suggesting that cost overruns could possibly cost the city more than the economic benefits of an extra billion dollars of local investment? That's laughable. Name one benefit of a zero dollar investment in the city.

B) There are already people in the downtown core. I'm one of them. I would ride the LRT. 268 local businesses and organizations want it and more are joining this public chorus daily. Nearly a decade of study agrees, and McMaster did a special research project that also verified the prospects are good. You haven't got any evidence to back you up, because a chip on your shoulder doesn't count as evidence. Meanwhile, HSR ridership is so 'low' that anyone who already uses the HSR is well familiar with full buses whizzing by you at the bus stop because they're already packed to capacity, making you wait for the next one.

C) A form of transportation that can carry dozens of people for the same carbon footprint as one or two cars is somehow going to make climate change worse? Please. Next you'll be telling us the best way to lose weight is to buy more donuts and loosen your belt.

Comment edited by ImprovingTomorrow on 2016-06-23 09:45:20

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By Deleted User (anonymous) | Posted July 03, 2016 at 08:56:09 in reply to Comment 119532

That's not true. Metrolinx will not cover over runs. They'll trim the project. That means fewer stops and a shorter line. Taxpayers should demand to see the scope ladder that Metrolinx will use to determine which features will be trimmed from the project.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/metrolinx-will-trim-hamilton-lrt-project-before-it-goes-over-budget-1.3240881

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By Farts_Mcgee (registered) | Posted June 23, 2016 at 08:58:28

I dont disagree that it contributes. Personally I feel the nice niche stores contribute more than anything. Thats what James st north and Locke street, king william have in common. (the reasoning behind their existence = many social economy factors) but anyways.

I think a better way to emphasizing your point would be pointing to a neighborhood that thrives without the niche stores.

I suppose your argument would be, would those stores exist without the transit/two way. To that I would say that Locke street has been what it is for a while. And King william was shrunk to a one way one lane.

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By DBC (registered) | Posted June 23, 2016 at 09:15:58 in reply to Comment 119526

Careful......more and more of your concern trolling is leaking out with each subsequent post.....

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By Haveacow (registered) | Posted June 23, 2016 at 09:34:27

Guys it is a very well researched fact that has been known or a long time (around 40 years or so). One Way streets reduce pedestrian safety and kills street life by increasing the speed and volume of vehicular traffic, without greatly increasing the road network's over all efficiency. You don't have to believe me, ask any condo developer or modern business developer. One way streets greatly inhibit the outdoor commercial and pedestrian environment. This is why so much development occurs in walkable easily accessible neighbourhoods now! Suburban or downtown businesses that require large parking lots are losing business because the cost of maintaining parking lots and the great distances people have to travel in those parking lots on foot can be very unpleasant. LRT helps develop alternative transport connections and frees up people who may want to consume alcohol from worrying about driving home. Better yet, local residents do not have to drive they can walk or take LRT to a local business something that is almost impossible in most suburban neighbourhoods. These types of new developments in more walkable and transit friendly places are selling a completely different type of lifestyle than what has been previously available. LRT makes this development better and also provides massive transportation capacity without destroying the urban environment like busier and wider roads do, in fact, LRT help enhance that urban environment in the process. I bet, one of the main reasons why councilors like Collins and Whitehead are really against LRT is that, they have realized that the societal switch which is occurring away from the dominance of traditional suburban neighborhoods to more urban neighborhoods or urban like neighborhoods, means a steady degrading of their traditional political power basem as well.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted July 05, 2016 at 08:54:22 in reply to Comment 119529

I bet, one of the main reasons why councilors like Collins and Whitehead are really against LRT is that, they have realized that the societal switch which is occurring away from the dominance of traditional suburban neighborhoods to more urban neighborhoods or urban like neighborhoods, means a steady degrading of their traditional political power basem as well.

Yes, this. Collins, Whitehead, et al don't oppose LRT because they don't think it will live up to its promise of economic uplift, they're afraid it will and their anti-urban politics of resentment won't work anymore.

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By Farts_Mcgee (registered) | Posted June 23, 2016 at 09:39:23 in reply to Comment 119529

I think the city will continue to grow with or without LRT, like it has been for years now, and it doesnt look like its slowing down anytime soon. And if we do get LRT, the pro side will directly contribute that success to the LRT. lol

I believe it can help the growth. But I also know this city has a history of blundering opportunities (see tim hortons field)

Comment edited by Farts_Mcgee on 2016-06-23 09:42:02

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By Haveacow (registered) | Posted June 23, 2016 at 11:12:21

Many of these pictures are cities which are larger than Hamilton, some however are the same size and smaller. All these LRT systems reduced traffic lane capacity but the result was fantastic. A lot of new development followed. If LRT can work well in these places and attract more new development, why not Hamilton?

This is downtown Dallas Texas! Notice the that the Yellow LRV and the newer blue LRV are both from Japanese builder Kinki Sharyo. The smaller LRV on the left is for Dallas's new Streetcar Line which operates both on the LRT right of way and in mixed traffic on city streets.

https://downtowndallas.files.wordpress.c...

LRT line and station in downtown St. Paul Minnesota is actually part of the park!

http://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/me...

Downtown LRT views of Portland, Denver, Sacramento, Norfolk, Houston, Phoenix, Tacoma and Toronto's Harborfront LRT redevelopment.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7153/64290...

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3517/39317...

http://media2.govtech.com/images/770*1000/Flickr-Sacramento-RT-light-rail-downtown.jpg

http://media.hamptonroads.com/cache/file...

http://cdn.citylab.com/media/img/citylab...

http://downtownphoenixjournal.com/wp-con...

http://www.downtownonthego.com/wp-conten...

http://urbantoronto.ca/sites/default/fil...

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By Haveacow (registered) | Posted June 23, 2016 at 11:21:15

For some reason the original photo from Sacramento did not work here is another interesting one.

http://www.railwaypreservation.com/vinta...

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By ref_erendum (registered) | Posted June 24, 2016 at 12:22:41

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By z jones (registered) | Posted June 24, 2016 at 12:36:02 in reply to Comment 119563

No wonder you sound so confused.

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By ref_erendum (registered) | Posted June 29, 2016 at 16:52:58 in reply to Comment 119566

" you will ever get" You forgot to read the entire sentence z jones just like all the LRT supporters they fail to read what's between the lines in this project. 1. there will not be more ridership as seen by all the other LRTs running today at a loss. ( THERE IS FAR MORE LOSING THAN SUSTAINING THEIR RIDERS) 2. Property values are increasing not because of the LRT. 3. Maintenancece and operational costs will be on the backs of Hamilton tax payers as seen in other rapid transit projects. ( LRT supporters want us to believe that Metrolinx will pick up the slack. ( Peter Miasek clearly states the obvious) 3 The LRT travels from a traffic circle to a Childrens Hospital, not really ideal destinations for the 180.000 living in ward 1-4 and only 13 stops as opposed to 51. This LRT services no one but the investors standing to make a profit. Ask any business or resident living on this corridor and they will definitely tell you this is a waste of tax dollars.

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By jason (registered) | Posted June 29, 2016 at 21:54:02 in reply to Comment 119613

are you going to post the reply from a new building owner on King West who just spent hundreds of thousands renovating it, just one block from Gilberts, in response to the embarrassing mass email?

Or shall I share their reply with everyone??

Comment edited by jason on 2016-06-29 21:54:43

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By ref_erendum (registered) | Posted June 30, 2016 at 08:16:16 in reply to Comment 119615

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Comment edited by ref_erendum on 2016-06-30 08:18:06

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By z jones (registered) | Posted June 30, 2016 at 09:20:03 in reply to Comment 119618

The anonymous commenter doth protest too much, methinks.

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By ref_erendum (registered) | Posted June 30, 2016 at 14:00:10 in reply to Comment 119620

Not at all Catherine. Jason is referring to something I am most interested in hearing about "embarrassing mass e-mail' Maybe he should share his reply .

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By Farts_Mcgee (registered) | Posted June 24, 2016 at 12:54:11

the latest news is we wont be able to afford to keep it running for too long after its built http://www.thespec.com/news-story/673837...

Now, im not taking that survey at its word, but Im also not going to blindly disregard it either just because I want a street train for my city...

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By Deleted User (anonymous) | Posted July 03, 2016 at 09:32:29

How can refusing a billion dollar investment be a better deal?

If accepting it pushes the City and the Province further into debt then refusing it is a better deal. Clearly, if the Province were flush with cash no one would be arguing against LRT for Hamilton right now. If Ontario had a $313 billion surplus instead of a debt I'd be at the top of the Wentworth Stairs shouting about building a city wide LRT.


Where is your civic spirit?

Where is yours? Why bring in Metrolinx to run an HSR route? In fact, the HSR will be hurting after losing revenues from its King Street routes. The HSR is a homegrown solution. You're advocating for a provincial solution. I don't understand your civic pride angle.

Are you a climate change denier?

Non-sequitur. There are ways to mitigate carbon pollution other than LRTs. I'm a huge public transit supporter; I don't even have a driver's license. But a billion dollar choo-choo train is not the optimal plan for Hamilton. It's not even a good plan for Hamilton. Look at Siemen's eBRT for a much better plan for Hamilton's size and geography. Like LRT, eBRT is electric and emission free. Unlike LRT, eBRT is scalable, is not restricted to tracks so it can serve the entire city including the Mountain, is unaffected by breakdowns (if a train breaks down the line is blocked), and doesn't need dedicated stations for loading and unloading of passengers. An eBRT system map would look exactly the same as the current HSR map. The LRT system map is 11 stops some of which are 800m apart. Nor do you have to shut down major corridors to roll this system out. They're just electric buses. You can even use HSR operators to drive them. How is this not a better solution?

http://www.mobility.siemens.com/mobility/global/en/urban-mobility/road-solutions/e-bus/pages/ebus-ebrt-old.aspx

Comment edited by JimC on 2016-07-03 09:46:16

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By glend1967 (registered) | Posted July 03, 2016 at 13:54:17 in reply to Comment 119626

Once again.....A bus can only hold so many people.An lrt vehicle can hold many times more,,with only one driver..lrts last longer..so theres that..As for "revenue sharing" I guess we'll have to wait til later in the year to find out.

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