Comment 26011

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted July 19, 2008 at 17:19:02

"117 out of 150?? This is overwhelming? "

Yes, 78% is pretty overwhelming. Try getting that kind of result in a vote! 150 people at an information centre is actually a huge number compared to most PICs, where they are lucky to get a dozen people. Usually it's just the staff, a couple neighbours and a bunch of tumbleweeds. The fact that over 10 people showed up and 78% of them were in favour of LRT actually speaks volumes. Have you ever been to a PIC? Did you go to the LRT one?

"One of the proposed routes goes up the mountain. That area is suburban and people are very unlikely to be taking public transit"

Actually, there is a high demand for transit in the upper city, and residents there consistently (and rightfully) complain that they don't get the HSR service that they need. So they would definitely benefit form a high speed transit link.

"The proposed route from Eastgate to University Plaza along King-Main would eliminate at least two lanes of traffic"

So would BRT. The choice is between BRT in a dedicated land and LRT in a dedicated lane. It's not "LRT or nothing". The lanes will be dedicated to transit no matter what. That decision has already been made. THe reason we can afford to do that is that we have a city surrounded by a full set of perimiter highways, and we have more lanes of traffic crossing the city than we need.

"it has been shown that the fastest, least-polluting way to move cars is via one-way streets with timed signals."

It has been shown by who? Please link us to this study. Because in reality the opposite has been shown many times over. By creating wide, fast roads, more people drive and pollution goes up. Regarding speed, taking 2 lanes for transit will likely speed things up because fewer people will drive so rush hour congestio nwill be reduced. Additionally, changing to two-way streets will reduce congestion since there will be more route options for people to take when weaving their way through the city.

"The proponents of LRT like the idea that they are making the city more congested."

Wrong. Proponents of LRT want to create a faster more efficient mode of travel so that the residents of the city have a CHOICE.

"LRT is very expensive to build and maintain. A four to eight-lane expressway costs about the same per mile to build as LRT"

Wrong. LRT is 15-100 million per mile depending on the difficulty. Besides the mountain access, the rest of a hamilton LRT line will be relatively straightforward - flat, straight and build on land already meant as transportation right of way. Red hill on the otherhand was over 200 million for 7km of 4 lane highway (2 in each direction). that's over 28 million per km - not cheap. Additionally, LRT infrastructure lasts much longer than highways. Witness the never ending resurfacing of the QEW - whereas rai llifespan is in the neighbourhood of 40-50 years between major overhauls. Plus one line of light rail has more than 8 times the passenger capacity of one lane of freeway during peak times.

"For one thing, if built right now, it would cause more congestion and thus increase pollution."

Wrong. LRT runs on electricity which, while currently produced through a combination of clean and dirty technologies, has a good chance of being "greened up" faster than the passenger automobile. Additionally it will reduce congestion, reducing pollution. And local air quality will increase even more since the emissions from power plants will not be concentrated within high density cities.

"In addition, because of the increase in the cost of fuel, it is likely that by the time the LRT is completed, there will be a switch to smaller, more fuel-efficent, and even hybrid or electric, vehicles that would pollute very little, rendering LRT obsolete."

Actually, because of the increase in the cost of fuel, building a BRT system would be like shooting ourselves in the foot because the buses are intimately tide into diesel prices. Why would we invest millions in new buses and bus infrastructure only to lock ourselves into diesel technology for the next 10-15 years? Instead, we can invest correctly today, put in an LRT line and power it through provincially regulated electricity prices.

Electric vehicles are very far away. People are still driving cars without catalytic converters! You are suggesting it makes sense for every car owner to switch over to electric cars rather than putting in a viable transit system that they could all start using right away in order to wean themselves off the expenses of the single occupancy vehicle.

We are facing a reality where fuel prices are only going to go up - and fast. If we do not install efficient, clean rail transit now, we may very well miss our chance. And when we get to the point where we MUST travel by electric car, like you suggest, it is going to be too late and too expensive to start building an electric rail system.

So let's wake up to reality and do this right - right now - while we have the chance (and the provincial gift to make it all possible).

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