Light Rail

LRT 'Ten to Fifteen Years Away'

By Nicholas Kevlahan
Published October 26, 2012

The Silhouette, McMaster's student newspaper, has published an article titled "LRT plans go off the rails". It paints a discouraging picture of a project that started with excitement and momentum but has slowly foundered under political uncertainty and a lack of political leadership.

It cites Don Hull, the City's Director of Transportation, which looks after HSR and rapid transit, saying LRT is ten to fifteen years away.

So senior staff are assuming that LRT would probably not go into service until 15 years from now (i.e. 2027!). The City and Metrolinx had originally planned for LRT to be in place for the Pan Am Games in 2015, and later for LRT construction to begin just after the Games ended.

Now we're being told the line might be in service 20 years after the original promise in 2007. This is getting ridiculous!

We've slipped back 12 years in just of a couple of years of "planning"? Talk about keeping expectations low and dragging the process out.

Complete Streets on Hold

Worse still, while the City is constantly pushing back the possible implementation date for LRT and feeding uncertainty over whether it will ever happen, it is simultaneously telling us we can't consider complete street improvements or two-way conversion on Main and King because these streets will be impacted by LRT.

If it really is going to be at least 10 to 15 years until LRT is built, we have plenty of time to try out two-way conversion and other complete street improvements long before LRT is a consideration.

Metrolinx actually recommended conversion of these streets to two-way to enhance LRT.

The divided bike lanes on Dunsmuir, Howe and Seymour Streets in Vancouver were originally six-month pilot projects. It is time for the City to stop using the lack of progress on some projects to stall progress on other vital projects.

Nicholas Kevlahan was born and raised in Vancouver, and then spent eight years in England and France before returning to Canada in 1998. He has been a Hamiltonian since then, and is a strong believer in the potential of this city. Although he spends most of his time as a mathematician, he is also a passionate amateur urbanist and a fan of good design. You can often spot him strolling the streets of the downtown, shopping at the Market. Nicholas is the spokesperson for Hamilton Light Rail.


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By Chevron (anonymous) | Posted October 26, 2012 at 11:17:11

More delay evident in today's Toronto Star:

"Some Toronto councillors are threatening to try to stop the city from signing a master agreement with Metrolinx and the province to build four LRTs.

The councillors say the agreement gives Metrolinx too much authority over the project's scope, particularly the placement and distance between stations. They fear that as costs rise, Metrolinx will cancel some stations or build them so far apart the TTC might have to run buses along routes...

The exact location of the stations, which will cost about $100 million each, won't be confirmed until around the summer of 2014."

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By Bibendum (anonymous) | Posted October 26, 2012 at 20:00:39

"As many of the Move 2020 projects have not yet begun the physical construction, investors should only focus on regions where they know the projects are moving ahead or are already completed. With that in mind, the key areas in these regions that will or have been positively affected are:

First Tier: Neighbourhoods located near the on and off ramps to the Red Hill Valley Parkway. These include: McQuestern East and West, Barton, Nashdale, Kentley, Glenview East, Corman, Red Hill, King’s Forest and Albion Falls.

Second Tier: Includes areas that will also be positively impacted by the easier access and traffic flow created by the Highway 8 link to the Red Hill Valley Parkway. This will allow commuters from as far away as Toronto and Oakville to cut key minutes off their drive.

Third Tier: Areas that are within 800 meters of the proposed LRT and GO train stations in Hamilton. These areas will move up to second tier once the official announcements are made as to exact locations, then eventually move to first tier once the actual construction begins. Communities impacted by future LRT lines include: Ainslie Wood, Cootes Paradise, Westdale South, Beasley, Corktown, Kentley, Greenford, Green Acres Park, North Glanford, Ryckmans, Mewburn, Sheldon, Kennedy East, Allison, Greeningdon, Balfour, Bonnington, Yeoville, Rolston, Buchanan, Mohawk, Southam, Centremount, Durand, Corktown, Beasley, Central Hamilton, North End, Ancaster, Mohawk Meadows, Bruleville, Burkholme, northern Crerar, northern Rushdale, Hill Park, Lawfield, Crown Point, northern Homeside, Ancaster, Leckie Park, the Elfrida growth area, Corman, Riverdale, and Winona.

There may be some negative effects on properties located in the immediate vicinity of certain stations such as nuisance, property crime, noise, loitering, vandalism, and increased traffic."

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By Bibendum (anonymous) | Posted October 28, 2012 at 14:56:26 in reply to Comment 82334

I get a kick out of the fact that REIN's most hotly tipped neighbourhoods are along the Red Hill Parkway and the positively impacts of "the easier access and traffic flow created by the Highway 8 link" -- Highway 8 of course being Main East.

Regarding "the Elfrida growth area":

The Elfrida lands are generally bounded by Mud Street, Second Road and Hendershot Road on the east, Golf Club Road on the south, Trinity Church Road on the west, and the existing urban boundary (west side of Centennial Parkway) on the north.

Ultimately, they will become home to 3,000 residential units, shopping areas, schools, parks and all the other things that make up a neighbourhood.

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted October 29, 2012 at 01:02:53

This is understandable given that the province is now in the throes of soul crushing debt. LRT is certainly a benefit for the city, but a high priority it should not be. Getting Hamilton off of combined sewers, upgrading the Woodward treatment plant and fixing the Randle Reef are the major projects I'd like to see Hamilton focus on at this point, rather then chasing a luxury that the province sadly can't afford now because...well McGuinty sucks.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted October 29, 2012 at 09:50:34 in reply to Comment 82379

I get that, personally... but we're not seeing this kind of pragmatism with respect to Metrolinx promises to other regions.

If LRT has to be off the table as a belt-tightening measure, that makes sense. I just don't want to see Hamilton take one for the team (justified because our one-way streets reduce congestion) while the rest of the province gets their shopping list of transit solutions.

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By Chevron (anonymous) | Posted October 29, 2012 at 10:06:15

With Mississauga’s population continuing to swell and a gridlock “crisis” growing along with it, city councillors were put in a frenzy Wednesday by a staff report on the city’s transportation needs.

“We’re willing to take that density,” Councillor Nando Iannicca said, addressing the province’s high expectations for population growth in Peel. “But you’re building our GO Train stations, right? We know this is where growth belongs, but we have to say to the province: ‘Help me help you.’”

That was the theme as councillors questioned how Toronto could get $8.4 billion of the $9.5 billion already allocated as part of Metrolinx’s first wave of the $50 billion Big Move strategy planned for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area over 25 years, while Mississauga waits for the crumbs.

One asterisk: Government promises are always made "subject to fiscal capacity."

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By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted November 05, 2012 at 06:30:53

Minister Chiarelli achieves a cabinet trifecta: Transportation + Infrastructure + Municipal Affairs

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted November 06, 2012 at 19:19:21

Here is the link to an article titled "Metrolinx searches for cash to pay LRT" by Kevin Werner in the Hamilton Community News today:

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