Comment 121215

By Deleted User (anonymous) | Posted April 12, 2017 at 05:52:54 in reply to Comment 121207

This is the easiest argument to counter. First off, the only argument for LRT should be that it solves a problem with Hamilton's current transit plan. If it can't stand on that then it shouldn't be built. Yet LRT supporters constantly point to "economic development" and "infrastructure repairs" which leads me to believe that it's not a solution to a transit problem. All this speculation about development and future gridlock is just that: speculation. People would be clamoring for the train if it solved a current problem.

Having said that, building a train to fix infrastructure is easily shown to be about the worst possible way to tackle our infrastructure repair backlog. Let's fix the infrastructure and not build the train thereby saving $200 million in capital spending and also foregoing the ongoing operating costs of the LRT. How is that not a better solution? I understand that this funding is earmarked for transit but that raises the question: "Why won't the province recognize Hamilton's true need and work together with us to allow us to spend the entire $1 billion on things we actually need?" We'd also be able to prioritize those repairs that we need most instead of focusing on King Street. Sure, many of of the repairs we need may be under King Street but this removes all choice. It's also been pointed out that the reason the LRT is planned for King is because the infrastructure there is older than that under Main which would be a pretty corrupt way of planning a train line.

At any rate, enough with all these side arguments; does the LRT solve Hamilton's *current* transit problems? That's the nub of the matter. If it doesn't or if it only solves perceived problems or problems that may occur in the future then it shouldn't be built. Forget increased tax revenues, forget economic spinoffs, forget all that stuff. Because we have no idea if any of that will come to fruition and those against LRT can easily point to alternate scenarios where businesses go under, developers back out, and operating costs exceed budgets. Even pointing to future transit problems like packed streets doesn't work because I can also make predictions about self-driving cars, electric buses, people choosing not to drive. That's the problem when you try to sell the future: no one can predict what will happen. Does the LRT solve a problem we have today?

The fact is HSR ridership is down, there is unused capacity, and we should be focusing on a bike network since that's how millennials are getting around. I've used SOBI more than the bus in the last year myself. It's cheaper and more enjoyable. Encourage cycling. LRT removes bike lanes and gives us "back" streets that already belong to cyclists; like Breadalbane. Ryan loves to point to the proposed Breadalbane cycling track. Dude; I can already ride my bike there and I can still go down Dundurn. LRT removes Dundurn from the cycling inventory and adds nothing.

Comment edited by JimC on 2017-04-12 06:10:42

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