Comment 66171

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted July 14, 2011 at 15:00:41 in reply to Comment 66159

Let's analyze the comment, point by point. I'll even exclude the throwaway 'circle jerk' intro.

I said it in past discussions on this site and I will say it again it isn't going to happen the way you want it to happen. If it happens at all it will be well away from any of the main streets and will start with a much shorter run than is being proposed.

There is no point in having a rapid transit system that doesn't bring people to main streets. An LRT in the middle of nowhere is a system designed to fail.

This past weekend there was a story in G&M about LRT in this country and specifically LRT in Ottawa. They have been battling for years over their proposals. They even cancelled the initial proposal at a cost of millions in penalties due to cancelled contracts. The newest proposal is facing the same opposition.

Yes, LRT faces opposition in every city where it is proposed. It's solipsistic to oppose something just because you know it faces opposition.

Those comparatively few cities that actually push through the opposition and complete rapid transit systems invariably [1] look back on it as one of their major turning points.

The biggest stumbling block seems to be that it isn't being run into the suburbs, it will only be within the old urban boundry.

On the west side, it ends at University Plaza in Dundas. On the east side, it ends at Eastgate Square in Stoney Creek. Both sites have large parking lots.

Compared to Ottawa we are just beginning our battles. It's going to be years before something if anything is ever done about building LRT in this city.

Again, that all depends on whether we have the political will to commit to LRT. It's fatalistic not to push for it because it might be difficult to achieve.

One last point: Capitalist has been posting mainly short, rude comments in opposition to LRT for years on RTH, and rarely comes back to address counterpoints but simply reiterates them again on subsequent articles. In short, it's not unreasonable to conclude that he's not really debating in good faith.

[1] The only real failure is Buffalo's system, which was built in the early 1980s and has underperformed expectations. There are specific lessons we can learn from Buffalo's experience:

  • They built a subway, not an LRT line.
  • They ran the subway underground ... but on a fully pedestrianized mall.
  • They did not do any of the complementary planning and zoning work around the transit corridor, so the regulatory environment continued to deter potential investors.
  • Buffalo's population collapsed from 500,000 in 1960 to only half that today. That scale of catastrophic decline can't be reversed by LRT in isolation.

Nevertheless, even in Buffalo, property values are significantly higher around the rail stations than in more distant parts of the city, and the line carries around 20,000 riders a day.

Contrast Hamilton:

  • The population of Hamilton's lower city never collapsed and has actually been growing slowly but steadily for the past decade.
  • The downtown core is the city's single biggest employment cluster, with 23,000 jobs.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-07-14 15:01:33

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