Comment 66303

By JohnTheRoofGuy (registered) | Posted July 17, 2011 at 14:04:50

I sent this email to all of city council, from a link provided on this web site.

As a professional residing in Ward 2, I’ll admit I need a car to ply my trade as my work is almost entirely performed outside of the city of Hamilton. In fact when I’m home I enjoy the convenience of being able to walk to get my groceries and enjoy activities that do not require my car. It’s both the boon and bane of my existence. That said; I think Light Rail Transit has a unique opportunity to transform not only the lower city, but the entire region by altering the life style choices of not only those who already live in Hamilton, but by attracting young, educated, ambitious people starting their careers either in Hamilton or the GTA, by affording people an opportunity to commute in a reliable, civilized manner.

‘Car Culture’ is going to go the way of the dinosaur. It costs me more than $12,000 / yr to keep a car on the road. I have to earn almost $20,000 to pay for that. I’d take a lower paying job in the city (not to be confused with a minimum wage job), if I didn’t need a car. Fact is those jobs don’t exist in Hamilton... They exist in Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga, Brampton and Vaughan.... Cities much younger than Hamilton, developed around ‘Car Culture’.

Many of the jobs being developed in a ‘knowledge based economy’ don’t require a car. Hamilton has a unique opportunity with its proximity to the GTA and its available commercial space downtown, to attract businesses that provide this type of employment for young professionals. But, they won’t come if appropriate transit amenities don’t exist. Sorry... the bus doesn’t cut it... they’re subject to the same traffic woes as cars. Whether you like it or not, there is a stigma attached to ‘riding the bus’ as it is seen as transportation for the those too young, too infirm or too poor to drive. Light Rail Transit not only dispels this stigma, but it is truly ‘mass transit’; something a bus is not.

We need leadership and vision from our elected officials... We need people with a ‘make it happen’ not a ‘let it happen’ philosophy. It simply boils down to this... We have to build it and promote it to attract the type of development and future we want. The Copps Coliseum example doesn’t apply; basically an entertainment complex, albeit underused, that doesn’t really create jobs. That said; Copps might stand to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of LRT, attracting more ‘A’ list entertainers if more people could get to that venue without the hassle of driving. More pedestrian traffic along an LRT corridor would also likely mean more walk-in traffic for business and more eyes on the street always means less crime, not more. The positive spin-offs are enormous.

Too the nay sayers, I suggest you take a closer look at the success of Light Rail Transit in the cities of Raleigh, NC and Portland, OR; two similar sized cities that have seen both the economic benefits and ridership levels initially projected, exceeded, significantly. The image of these cities being a ‘cool’ place to live and work has been transformative.

To those who complain about their taxes going up, think of a tax increase to build LRT as an investment; not some short sighted ‘get rich quick’ scheme.... the influx of business and a more affluent demographic will contribute greatly to the city tax coffers, helping keep taxes down in the entire city (Ancaster, Dundas, Stoney Creek, Waterdown etc.), in the long-run.

In closing, I urge members of council to take long, hard look at pointing this city in the right direction for the rest of the 21st century and not just the 40 months remaining in your term; to wrangle enough votes to get re-elected. Let’s be honest, as an incumbent in any municipal election you’ll already have an enormous advantage over any challengers based upon name recognition alone. Don’t be afraid of success, you might like it.

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