Comment 98837

By LeeEdwardMcIlmoyle (registered) - website | Posted March 21, 2014 at 11:52:30

I'm not a big numbers guy. I'm just not. But I believe that people who are looking for more tangible short term guarantees for greater outcomes to their outlying wards are missing the point: The reason they are having to drive out of town for work and their monthly shopping excursions is because businesses are depressed in the Old City, and they got that way because no one would invest in better transit options back when it was marginally more feasible to do so. And it's only going to get worse, not better. There is NEVER going to be a better time to invest in Hamilton's future than right now. Never.

We are in flux right now; between jobs, so to speak, and the deciding factor on whether we evolve or die is on whether we can attract new businesses and new developers to Hamilton. That is happening right now. But it won't be sustainable if we reneg on all of our promises of potential growth by retreating from big expenditures that look like they won't directly, immediately benefit the outlying boroughs.

I grew up between the outskirts of Hamilton and Stoney Creek, and msis the shopping options out there; I now like in Stinson, and take the Delaware bus to do nearly monthly shopping trips to Costco in Ancaster, more out of necessity than anything else. It takes about an hour to get out there and back by bus. By car, it's a fair bit faster, but arranging those rides sometimes takes days. And meanwhile, that's about the only thing I need a car for.

However, the $200-$400 shopping bill those Costco runs incur, are a short term high expense outlay that leads to meat and other staples being in frozen storage for a month or two (not ideal, but better than nothing), and so it pays off, over paying daily or weekly for overpriced, substandard foods at my local No Frills.

But with more options opening up in the Downtown core, my reliance on No Frills and even Costco is starting to diminish. And that's thanks to the improvements that are ongoing in the core today. Improvements that could dry up in just a few years if we don't nurture them now.

What I'm saying is, we need better transportation for those of us who cannot or choose not to be part of Hamilton's prevalent driving culture. Improved transit to ALL wards starts with improving the wait times of the most heavily used routes in the City, so that people in and around the Old City see a viable option for transit that does NOT involve climbing into their car every time they need to go further than their corner store.

Hamilton needs to take the blinders off. We may think we're broke now, but when we're out on a limb with absolutely no capital growth and no infrastructure for improved development, we're going to wind up like Detroit. It's not that hard to see from here. Just take the soon-to-be-built Go Transit line to Windsor and cross the bridge.

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