Special Report: Bus Lane

Think of the Next 100 Years, Not the Next Four

We can't achieve the increased tax revenue that comes from intensification without supplying the services required by these new taxpayers.

By Frances Murray
Published January 15, 2015

As City of Hamilton representatives, our Mayor and City Councillors are aware of how important it is to consider the long-term implications of their decisions in Council Chambers.

I understand that job security is also an important personal consideration, and efforts to please voters in individual wards may be top of mind.

However, when evidence from staff reports and consultants points to the best long-term direction for our city, it is expected that Council will do the right thing and communicate the evidence to those constituents who complain about their vote.

The suburban/urban divide in this city has to end.

The transit-only lane is only one small piece of a larger transit picture and a minimal piece of the overall city's future. However, it has become a symbol for the forward motion - or lack thereof - that our city is willing to make to improve the lives of all of its residents.

It's impossible to, on the one hand, expect higher density in downtown neighbourhoods without minimum parking requirements for new developments - for example, at 98 James Street South - and on the other hand not work toward improvements in transit service and walkable/bikeable streets.

How do the Councillors who oppose the bus lane propose that people who buy these condos with no parking will travel around our city?

We can't achieve the increased tax revenue that comes from intensification without supplying the services required by these new taxpayers.

As a reminder, Sean Burak tweeted yesterday that his grandmother has had to give up driving and now relies on transit. We will all be in that situation one day, provided we are lucky enough to have that longevity.

Think of how you will travel around when you are still mobile, but no longer able to drive.

Some councillors have argued that transit in their areas is not good either. That is not acceptable, but improving transit from the outside to the inside will not work.

As transit service is improved from the centre (downtown), improvements are easier to make incrementally to outer areas.

In any case, as transit funding is area-rated, much of the poor service in outer areas is decided on by the sitting councillor for that area.

I hope Council will do the right thing next week, show leadership and vote for the improvements that have to be made to move us forward. Think of the next 100 years, not the next four.

This article is adapted from a letter to Council.

Frances was born in Toronto and has lived in various places since that time returning to her urban roots in 2010 by moving to downtown Hamilton. She is developing a keen interest in urban issues with a focus on improved walkability and bikeability.


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By myrcurial (registered) - website | Posted January 15, 2015 at 14:30:09

I said much the same last summer in a letter to council and other levels of government. Here's the letter and the "unique" response I received.


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By fmurray (registered) | Posted January 15, 2015 at 22:42:57 in reply to Comment 107844

I had a similar interaction with Mr. Bratina leading to my determination to volunteer for another mayoral candidate in the 2014 election. Mr. Bratina didn't run, and my candidate didn't win, but it was a good experience anyway.

Hopefully we can make some headway with a our new mayor and a more complete vision for our city with advocacy at the provincial level.

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted January 15, 2015 at 20:23:31

But isn't that exactly what the councilors job is? To represent their voters? It is what I expect of my councilor. If he doesn't represent me and my wishes then I will not vote for him again. Typically councilors live in their ward and their wishes and ideals are pretty similar to their neighbours. Irregardless of what you and others on this site think and want my councilor owes his vote to me and his other constituents. I hope and wish my councilor and others do the right thing next week and get rid of the bus lane once and for all.

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By Misrepresented (anonymous) | Posted January 16, 2015 at 15:23:30 in reply to Comment 107866

I live in ward 5 and Chad Collins definitely does not represent me. Quite the contrary.

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By Anon (anonymous) | Posted January 15, 2015 at 23:09:02 in reply to Comment 107866

Oh, the old "what's mine is mine and what's yours is ours".

Got it.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted January 16, 2015 at 12:53:37

Nov 2006

Hamilton's growth train for the next 25 years will be powered by the Hamilton International Airport, city politicians decided last week.

In an uneventful 12-3 vote, council approved the controversial five-years-in-the-making Growth Related Integrated Development Strategy (GRIDS) document's preferred planning option to establish growth areas in various key locations across the city.

"This process began as a conclusion," said Hamilton downtown councillor Bob Bratina, who voted against the preferred option.

"I want another option, how about 'harbouropolis'? (Yet) there is no discussion about that. I was not happy with the process."

During the five-hour meeting at city hall, opponents to the plan condemned politicians and staff not only for including the airport lands, but also for a flawed process that ignored the wishes of the community.

"This is a betrayal of the residents and organizations who worked to create it," said Michael Desnoyers, co-chair of Hamiltonians for Progressive Development, and an Ancaster resident. "There are two huge urban expansions that further exacerbate urban sprawl and it quashes any opportunity for public debate."


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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted January 16, 2015 at 13:43:24 in reply to Comment 107917

I didn't agree with mayor Bratina on much, but his opinion of Aerotropolis was spot-on. It's a backdoor hand-out to sprawl developers. Its industrial/commercial fantasies will fail, and then we'll be seeing sprawl developers happily offering to pay a modest price to pick up the land and suddenly there will be OMB battles about letting them have it... OMB will side with them.

And then there will be arguments abuot why we aren't servicing the AEGD with schools and rec-centres and other services, and it will end up a massive subsidy of home-builders.

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