Special Report: Light Rail

Letter: We Support LRT Poster

Every logo represents taxes, rents, employment, salaries and civic contribution by leaders and owners who felt it important enough to demonstrate their support for LRT.

By Graham Crawford
Published March 23, 2017

Dear Mayor Eisenberger and Councillors,

As you continue to discuss Hamilton's LRT project, I want to be sure that the LogoMotion poster is added to the official record.


As some of you know, the poster was started by a one engaged resident, me, and was received with enthusiasm by nearly 300 organizations and businesses throughout the City of Hamilton who wished to lend their support to the LRT project.

Using social media to get the word out, organizations and businesses whose logos appear on the poster reached out to me and sent images of their logos. The compilation is, in my view, impressive for such an organic and grassroots initiative.

As you are well aware, every logo represents taxes, rents, employment, salaries and civic contribution by leaders and owners who felt it important enough to demonstrate their support for LRT.

Some might say that a logo does not necessarily represent the voices of all employees, which is true. But I assure you that in every case, the owners and the leaders of these organizations included on the poster made the formal decision to actively support LRT, such is their belief in the future of our City.

I hope that you will do the same.

Hamilton's LRT plan is under serious threat. Please show your LRT support at the March 28, 2017 General Issues Committee meeting and urge Council not to ruin this once-in-a-generation opportunity.

Graham Crawford was raised in Hamilton, moving to Toronto in 1980 where he spent 25 years as the owner of a successful management consulting firm that he sold in 2000. He retired and moved back to Hamilton in 2005 and became involved in heritage and neighbourhood issues. He opened Hamilton HIStory + HERitage on James North in 2007, a multi-media exhibition space (aka a storefront museum) celebrating the lives of the men and women who have helped to shape the City of Hamilton.


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By john1242 (registered) | Posted March 23, 2017 at 07:34:12

Do your support LRT from Mcmaster to Queenston Rd. or the #1 priority of the Rapid Ready plan Eastgate Square to McMaster as Mayor Fred's conversation with Wynne Jan. 2015 full Funding for LRT McMaster to Eastgate Square ??

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By OliverV (registered) | Posted March 23, 2017 at 09:38:29 in reply to Comment 120972

Whether a Queenston circle or Eastgate end point is best is not the question to be asking at this point. The province has committed to getting us at least part way to where we want to be. The BLAST plan hasn’t been changed, just the scope of Stage 1. Why has this become all or nothing?

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 23, 2017 at 07:45:28 in reply to Comment 120972

I support the Rapid Ready report that Council submitted to the Province, which proposes either a full or a phased LRT construction plan. The Province decided to fund the phased construction plan with full capital funding guaranteed for phase one and a clear indication that their long-term intent is to extend the line to Eastgate in the next construction phase.

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By Haveacow (registered) | Posted March 23, 2017 at 12:44:27

As I don't live in your city, I find it increasingly disturbing that every vote you guys have about LRT becomes a do or die situation. That's not a great environment for a project like this to have to keep enduring. Is your city council's support for the B-Line LRT project, really that low? I would have thought that after Waterloo's Ion LRT project received its first LRV, things would start to calm down in Hamilton and normalize. Seeing what the community down the way has ready to go, so to speak. There seems to be ample evidence that, many if not all of your community's serious business groups, economic organizations as well as academics eagerly support LRT. Yet, those facts haven't translated to unanimous city council support. I find that quite troubling. Further more, the opposition doesn't seem to have any real suggestions and ideas about an alternative to LRT, other than vague BRT lite, express busses paid for with what money, I have no idea. Only time will tell, I guess.

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted March 23, 2017 at 19:23:12 in reply to Comment 120975

career politicians in Hamilton often are the cities biggest opponents. The term 'Hamilton-haters' has been synonymous with many of them over the decades. As long as their bank accounts keep getting filled with public money, they don't care about anything else.

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By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted March 23, 2017 at 13:58:33 in reply to Comment 120975

Who knows what the majority of the citizens of Hamilton think or want. We will probably never know.

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By Deleted User (anonymous) | Posted March 23, 2017 at 19:45:23 in reply to Comment 120977

Or we may know sooner than you think: http://www.thespec.com/news-story/7202012-hamilton-councillors-teaming-up-to-poll-residents-on-lrt/

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted March 23, 2017 at 15:16:27 in reply to Comment 120977

That's true. And really what you need is for citizens to be knowledgeable about the issue, so they can come to an informed decision. And that takes a lot of time and outreach. When I went around presenting to many different community groups in 2008-2009 every single one eventually decided to endorse LRT.

However, we do know that the leaders of the 10 anchor institutions strongly support LRT, and together they represent about 75,000 jobs and well over a 100,000 students. That is significant, since it shows they are convinced that this project would be beneficial to a pretty big chunk of Hamilton's population.

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By Deleted User (anonymous) | Posted March 23, 2017 at 19:55:35 in reply to Comment 120978

See, this is the problem. If you can't explain the need in a 30 second elevator pitch then odds are we don't need it. I haven't yet heard the convincing argument for LRT and I don't drive. I'm a cyclist and a pedestrian and a transit user and I'm waiting to hear the reasoning behind the LRT. It's one route. Correction: one line on one route. For a billion dollars. On rails. With no information on who will run and operate it. And why? I commute daily to McMaster and have never experienced an issue. Yes, I've seen a flyby. Guess what? Next bus is 5 minutes behind. Sometimes less. And buses accommodate bike lanes. The LRT will remove bike lanes. Seems pretty straightforward to me. The proposed plan isn't worth a billion dollars. It just isn't. Especially with HSR ridership DOWN. It doesn't solve a problem that's worth a billion dollars. And that's just the initial outlay of capital. Again, no mention of what the ongoing expenses will be or who will foot that bill. Let me put it in a simpler way: if we *really* *needed* a rail line there wouldn't be this much discussion or debate. People would be screaming for it. Instead they're screaming for repairs to existing infrastructure. Fixing our sewers isn't sexy and shiny like a train but people seem to understand that we need it done. And don't give me the "LRT will fix the sewers too." It won't. It'll only help replace those sewers directly on the route. The backlog for Hamilton's sewer repairs is $3.3 billion dollars on its own. Finally, no one trusts the Wynne government or Metrolinx. The whole thing is rotten and corrupt from top to tail. All this talk of 3Ps is also troubling. Story from 2015 saying our backlog is over $3 billion: http://www.thespec.com/news-story/5518058-hamilton-the-unaffordable-city/

Comment edited by JimC on 2017-03-23 19:56:53

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted March 24, 2017 at 13:49:31 in reply to Comment 120981

so, because this project will only see the provincial taxpayer replace all the sewers along King Street, but not ALL sewers city-wide, we should turn down the offer.
Got it.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 24, 2017 at 06:15:18 in reply to Comment 120981

If you can't explain the need in a 30 second elevator pitch then odds are we don't need it.

That is a terrible heuristic to use when evaluating the merits of a $1 billion investment. Maybe take more than 30 seconds to think about why we're doing this.

The current model of growth through suburban expansion is financially unsustainable, because it requires building and maintaining low-density infrastructure - roads, water, sewer, waste collection, police, fire, ambulance, etc. - that costs more over its lifecycle than the city generates in development charges and tax assessment.

Every new suburban development makes the city's infrastructure lifecycle debt worse. That's why we have an unfunded $3 billion infrastructure maintenance backlog.

The LRT investment changes the structural relationship between revenue growth and spending growth by attracting and shaping new dense development along the LRT corridor, which increases the city's tax assessment without increasing our infrastructure debt obligations.

The B-Line is the first line because it's already got the highest transit ridership and the land use around the line has the highest potential for intensification.

This line by itself won't solve the city's problems, but it sets us on a more sustainable trajectory. As the city grows transit ridership and builds out the full rapid transit network, we will continue to grow up, not out and incrementally get our finances back under control.

If we don't do this, every annual budget from here on out will be a painful squeeze between rising tax rates and service cuts.

The LRT will remove bike lanes.

There is a buffered bike lane that staff want to remove on York, and in response to public pressure they're already looking at replacing the eastbound buffered lane with a protected two-way cycle track from Hess to Dundurn that connects directly to the existing Cannon Cycle Track.

Likewise on Dundurn North, staff are weighing either replacing the Dundurn sidewalk with a multi-use path or turning Breadalbane into a cycling greenway that connects with York and the King cycle track across Highway 403.

If they do these things, we will end up with a better cycling network than we have today.

Especially with HSR ridership DOWN.

We don't actually have very good data on HSR ridership, but the reasons for stagnant transit ridership are pretty clear. It's the economic law of demand: when you dramatically increase fares without significantly increasing service, you will have less ridership.

Expect the City to continue squeezing transit service investment if we can't get better at generating new property tax revenue on under-utilized properties that are already serviced with infrastructure.

if we really needed a rail line there wouldn't be this much discussion or debate.

Every single large project has this much discussion and debate. It is the nature of democracy that large, expensive projects will be controversial and that different interest groups will feel differently about it.

One of the surprising things about LRT is the high level of consensus of support among neighbourhood associations, Chamber of Commerce, various BIAs, various enviornmental organizations, various social policy groups, various anchor institutions, the Hamilton-Halton Home Builders Association, Hamilton-Burlington Society of Architects, Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington, McMaster Institute of Transportation and Logistics, unions, transportation and land use planners, hundreds of small and medium sized businesses, and thousands of individual Hamiltonians taking the time to send personal messages of support.

Developers are already buying properties and announcing new construction projects around the line based on the Provincial funding announcement and the City voting to proceed with implementation.

If Council reneges now on its commitment to build this, we will destroy any credibility we have as a reliable partner or a good city to do business and invest - not to mention that we will have to pay back the $80-90 million that Metrolinx has already spent implementing the project.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 23, 2017 at 13:37:35 in reply to Comment 120975

Yet, those facts haven't translated to unanimous city council support. I find that quite troubling.

Now try living here. It's incredibly frustrating that such an overdetermined project seems to be in perpetual crisis thanks to a Council that seems to have great difficulty thinking strategically.

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