Light Rail

Bratina Replies to Durand Neighbourhood Association on LRT

By RTH Staff
Published July 21, 2011

Mayor Bob Bratina has responded to last week's letter of support for light rail transit (LRT) by the Durand Neighbourhood Association with a point-by-point rebuttal. Following is the text of Bratina's letter.

"....... strongly encourage you to champion LRT in the city."

I personally strongly endorse Light Rail Transit and always have. I'm not able to say at this point whether I can endorse the project that is being proposed.

"..... LRT is a proven catalyst to economic development and growth."

It has done this in many cases, but certainly not all.

".....It reduces the use of single-occupancy vehicles and increases the use of public transit."

Congestion along the proposed corridor is not at a critical level.

".... LRT would directly benefit the core, urban neighbourhoods and all of Hamilton by replacing polluting, noisy buses that crowd our streets, "

BRT proponents claim otherwise.

"..... help to concentrate economic development downtown, "

All day GO train service at James North would have a much bigger impact.

".......increase business assessments to help reduce the residential tax-burden,"

At this stage of evaluation, using the Waterloo experience as a guideline, residential taxes might well increase ten per cent or more depending on the funding formula, yet to be determined.

"........ and speed up travel to downtown and other areas of the city ."

The estimate is about 8 minutes end to end.

"....... The province granted $3 million for the study of the LRT line from Eastgate to McMaster University precisely because it is the only sensible choice for the first LRT line. It is the most highly travelled route by car and bus (the B-line) and the ridership already exists on that route."

The concern is that all revenues from LRT may have to be dedicated to its funding, leaving other routes currently subsidized by the profitable B line buses open to fare increases, etc.

".........There are many options for intensification apart from demolishing homes."

We are not hearing at all from the development community on this.

"........ The city has a once in a lifetime opportunity to receive 100% of direct capital costs from higher government. That money will be given to another city if Hamilton’s LRT project is not approved."

We can always negotiate with our funding partners in this regard.

"........ The cost to Hamilton taxpayers in the short term will allow us to reap the proven economic development benefits of the LRT in the longer term."

We are not yet fully informed as to the costs, how they will be covered, and what the economic potential may be, in the absence of interest from the Development community.

".......The majority of the city’s costs will largely be streetscape improvements which are desperately needed in any event."

Can't comment on this.

Thanks for your interest and messaging.

Sincerely,
Bob Bratina,
Mayor, City of Hamilton.

20 Comments

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted July 21, 2011 at 09:48:19

Wow, what a dismissive response.

They take time to write a lengthy detailed letter, and he provides one line "soundbites". Does he think he's still on the radio?

Either provide a fullsome response, or don't bother responding.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted July 21, 2011 at 09:52:16 in reply to Comment 66695

Either provide a fullsome response, or don't bother responding.

Be careful what you wish for...

: )

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By Surprise me (anonymous) | Posted July 21, 2011 at 09:59:51

Just once I would like to see Bob Bratina get as excited about this project as he used to. These aren't the words of a man who wants to make this work, these are the words of a defeated man who has already given up. When he really wants to see something happen, he starts pulling out-of-the-box solutions from his hat. Sometimes they're a little unorthodox, some might say hair-brained, but at least you can tell he's trying.

With the signals he's sending, why would any developer want to get behind this? You don't go around buying up property based on an un-funded proposal that may not be operational for 5-10 years unless you get some very strong signals that it's going to happen. With the number of unrealized dreams in this City that started and ended with concept drawings, it's no wonder developers are shy. I think the only reason they're flocking to invest around All-Day GO is because it's largely the province driving it and there's a sense that Hamilton can't possibly screw it up... but then we've diverted 5 or 6 staff to it, so stay tuned........

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted July 21, 2011 at 10:06:42

Just once I would like to see Bob Bratina get as excited about this project as he used to. These aren't the words of a man who wants to make this work, these are the words of a defeated man who has already given up.

I can't verify this, but someone who witnessed it said that when it was clear Councillor Bratina was going to become Mayor Bratina last October, there was a look of abject shock on his face. And I don't mean 'shock' in any good sense of the word.

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted July 21, 2011 at 10:06:55

I personally strongly endorse Light Rail Transit and always have. I'm not able to say at this point whether I can endorse the project that is being proposed.

What specifically about LRT do you endorse?

What proposal would you personally suggest that you could get behind?

How would all-day GO service at James North have more impact?

Perhaps the development community would get behind it more once more concrete plans were laid out and made public.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted July 21, 2011 at 10:24:14

"..... help to concentrate economic development downtown, "

All day GO train service at James North would have a much bigger impact.

It seems from other posts, that many agree with me that we are fairly satisifed with the way all-day GO Transit into Hamilton already runs. It's a way to get people out and then back in again at the end of the day. How is that helping economic development downtown?

There are 10's of thousands of cars parked at GO lots from Niagara to Toronto and beyond. Sure, it's better then them all stuck in traffic on the 401/QEW/407, but for the most part it's kind of a band-aid solution. Cities need to work on creating more local jobs and if they have state of the art transit like LRT, that can help promote that.

I know they are working towards electrifying GO transit but as it stands now, they are smelly and loud vehicles. Ever stand beside one on the platform as they screech to a stop. The brakes reek, and the stops along the way are all covered with large areas of heat emitting blacktop.

If companies could look at their employee-base, where they are commuting from, and either re-allocate them to regional offices or let them office-share between where they need their employees most, and an office more local to them to help us solve traffic problems, or not just give them laptops with VPN access but let them work from home once or twice a week so that they are not only 1. not on the highway/clogging up transit, 2. buying their coffee, lunch, etc. in their own cities and able to support their local econmoies.

GO is great and all. I use it every day, but there are more greener solutions than just expanding GO. Trains do need to make their way to Niagara no doubt about that, but if we had to choose between LRT and GO and everyone says we don't, than I chose LRT.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted July 21, 2011 at 11:34:09

You all know that I am against the LRT project. Mayor Bratina is taking an open-minded look at this thing and I support him for that. So should you people.

LRT is dead. You want to get economic development dt? Get rid of the bums and riff-raff. Make Hamilton attactive to middle-class residents instead of a ghetto for single mothers and other losers.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted July 21, 2011 at 11:50:32 in reply to Comment 66712

You all know that I am against the LRT project. Mayor Bratina is taking an open-minded look at this thing and I support him for that. So should you people.

LMFAO

Oh, this was a great tonic for the heat...although ironically, the observations come off as being the result of a humidex-addled brain. (Did I just type that? I only meant to think it...)

I'm struck by two things. First, that you're very representative of the voters who put Bob Bratina in office last autumn. And second, the notion that we 'should support him'. As if by being our Mayor, he deserves our unwavering obeisance...and that dissent is, by its very nature, bad.

Even though I'm about to toss some mud, I do deserve a pat on the back for the restraint I'm showing: It seems to me that you'd make a good Republican.

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-07-21 12:03:41

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By drb (registered) - website | Posted July 21, 2011 at 12:33:40

What disturbs me about Bratina's response to the Durand Neighbourhood Association letter is the manner and tone he takes. Instead of responding to constituents with a positive and well supported case for his vision of the future of transit in Hamilton, he refutes their letter on a point-by-point basis with vague, unsupported claims. It reads as though he thinks he is sitting across the table from a political foe, happy that he is scoring points.

He needs to treat the citizens of Hamilton with respect. As Dreschel would say: "Not exactly a Mayoral moment."

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By tranist (anonymous) | Posted July 21, 2011 at 12:42:44

Maybe the focus should be on organizing a tranit users union. Those who use the ucrrent system should have a say into future plans about public transit.

I am aghast at people like the capitalist who labels people who may be not in the so called middle class realm, like this person is better then the rest of us, but really isn't.

Ego!



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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted July 21, 2011 at 16:54:41

He certainly isn't making any friends with responses like that. What an unlikable guy he comes off like with that 'letter'. I guess the good news is that with the sort of attitude on display in his response, it seems really unlikely that he will get elected for a second term. Hey.. maybe that's what he's hoping.

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