Since this topic is beginning to take over the "Stadium Talk Thread" topic, I'll take the liberty of starting a discussion
here in an effort to see what everyone's thoughts are on LRT for downtown Hamilton.
Personally, until I see some rock solid figures that are firmly locked in on the subject, I am against LRT. Thanks to
Captain Kirk on the stadium site, he provides us with an overall cost of 850 million dollars with Hamilton's share being
130 million dollars. These figures would already be inflated however, since they are from 2008.
The figures are for the "B" line which would run from Eastgate Square to McMaster University and come within about
two blocks of IWS2. By the time construction begins on such a project, I'd guess that overall costs would accelerate
1.3 billion dollars with our taxpayers expected to pony up about 250 million dollars. IMHO the stadium debate will pale in comparison to this.
Given the record of our city council for building white elephants throughout our downtown area, I shudder to think of
the monies they will spend investigating this project that will likely never get off the ground in a city of only 500,000.
Our population is small for LRT which means the burden to the taxpayer will be significantly high. While this system
works well in larger cities, I doubt that it will work here and I attribute my personal assessment to costs and a city
council that has a penchant for screw ups.
I don't mind the current bus system and note that busses stop a lot more frequently than LRTs which will travel up to
a mile without a stop. At least a bus will stop every couple of blocks and not block out a good portion of the roadway
required by the LRT. Buses take me from Limeridge Mall directly to the stadium gate and I simply find them very
convenient with few restrictions.
I'm not against thinking big, but in this city, based on our past records in Hamilton, I tend to worry.
I'm certainly not an expert, but from all I have read and heard it looks like LRT is a solid investment - especially if you subscribe to the theory that more and more people will migrate towards the downtown away from suburbs and use transit more, cars less. I don't think anyone seriously doubts the future growth of downtown Hamilton, so I would (likely) fall in the pro-LRT group.
Now, that said it is expensive. But, as far as I'm concerned if the province is willing to dangle millions to get something like LRT going, the city would be foolish to turn that kind of investment down. Just as they would've been nuts to say no to stadium money. Of course, the city is going to have to pay something, too. My goodness, have we become THAT cheap and selfish that we want and expect the province to cover everything? Sadly, I think we just may have and it's not healthy...
Anyway, great discussion to have....and timely, too. Let's not wait for 30 years when downtown is congested and the costs are triple what they are today
I keep saying over and over again an LRT is not needed in Hamilton. Far too expensive, I know that they say the city share is $130 million but that's to build and probably that much per year to run it. Where does the other $720 Million come from? private companies? The Province ? who is that? NO its us taxpayers again!!
We know that $800 million is as estimate and if it ever did get off the ground we are talking over a BILLION, and the high cost to run this thing every year. The low usage it will have for that area will never generate revenue.
But the big issue which the LRT doesn't address is what is being done about the horrific traffic jams on the highways around Hamilton - we are going to spend a Billion in the wrong area. No one wants to address that issue at all. We need a couple more lanes of highway and possibly another highway. Why would they put an LRT across the downtown when people are working in the opposite direction. The traffic is on the highways the 403/407/QEW, heading to the Toronto area. Hamilton is totally different than other cities that have LRT's or plans to get LRTs, in all other cities the people live in the suburbs and work generally in the city.
LRT's don't address the traffic issue at all, they completely block two lanes of the road. One of my other beefs about the LRT is that is runs on one or two streets, so unless you live near it why would you use it?
If you live on the mountain or ancaster or Stoney creek or anywhere in the burbs you will have to drive or take a bus to get to the LRT. It's not like the LRT can get off the rails for awhile and head down side streets. You can't detour them if there is an accident or a snowstorm.
It seems like people are using this LRT as a some type of urban renewal project and that having a beautiful train on the streets will somehow attract business and we build these nice shiny stations every few hundred metres.
No we are better off with a better bus system and maybe Bus Only Lanes, you can still build fancy heated bus stops if you want to. Will be a heck of a lot cheaper than an LRT.
Going to have to agree with the sentiment expressed by bobbythefinch.. I'll preface my comments by saying I really have no idea what 'living within our means' or 'too much of a burden on the taxpayer' really means when it comes to investments with indirect and returns on the scales of cities, big governments or big businesses. I'm not even entirely sure if I can manage my personal finances let alone theorize on what's too expensive or affordable for a city.
There is however another argument that I'll take a side on. This is whether a vibrant community with an apparently thriving economy yields a top notch and comprehensive transit system, or is the result of investment in good transit. A chicken and egg argument. I'll go as far to say that its definitely the chicken..
Consider a recent Globe and Mail report on the income gap in Toronto showed that wealthy neighborhoods are coalescing around subway lines while the poorest neighborhoods lack access to transit. I'm not advocating an income gap but I think it goes to show that people with money are willing to invest in communities well equipped with transit.
Now what's the difference between a bus and a rail? A built in street rail system I feel gives precedence to the transit user and the pedestrian. Yes it slows down traffic but ideally over time you begin to replace motor traffic with transit use. If its adverse to bringing the suburban consumer downtown, well, the aim is to produce a more affluent local consumer.
So maybe most people in Hamilton today (the present constituency) see LRT as a waste, a traffic clogging train to no where... But maybe LRT in Hamilton together with expanded GO service to the GTA is incentive for investment today in adjacent communities and eventually, industries courting a community of talented employees will choose to bring their business to Hamilton..
I'm sure other like minded posters can find examples of cities bigger and smaller with LRT systems..
There is a huge issue with the LRT that has not been addressed. The taxpayers of HAMILTON-WENTWORTH are going to be paying for it. How would the LRT benefit Flamborough, Ancaster, Grimsby, Glancaster, etc?
Face it - a two-way rail line from McMaster to Eastgate Square. Sounds like the HSR B-Line, eh? It does NOTHING for the entire south of the city.
I used to live in a farm house south of Garner Road in Ancaster. If I was to take the HSR to get to work, I would have to drive (or get a lift) to the Meadowlands, hopefully catch one of the VERY infrequent buses, transfer from an eastbound Mohawk to a southbound bus, then have to walk another kilometer to get to work. Over an HOUR in transit. The same thing happens when I would go home. It would actually be faster for me to drive to Toronto every day.
Or, I could get in my car and be at work within 15 minutes.
Unless better transit planning was used i.e. having what we call "super express" buses in the city of edmonton (they just go straight from point A to B, no stops) to shuttle people to the LRT line from the meadowlands and back, its not much use at all for you. It sounds to me like the bus fleet itself is inadequate, nobody in Edmonton unless you live way out in the boonies, needs to walk a kilometer to get to a bus stop. I don't know the size of the HSR bus fleet for a city of 500k, but Edmonton has about 800 regular buses serving a city of IIRC somewhere between 800 and 900k now. Additional buses operated by Leduc, Strathcona County, and the City of St. Albert bring commuters into Edmonton and back each day stopping at major points (university, west ed mall, downtown)
There will be no effect of the LRT on the Tigercats because it won't ever happen. Its way too expensive and frankly unneeded. Buses are far superior and cheaper to boot. The perceived benefits are pure trash and $1B could be better spent on other infastructure needs. I live in the corridor and the LRT will force me to sell and find a more habitable area to live. You want Toronto move there
That is my feeling AKT although I am ignorant of LRT. But I do appreciate hearing from someone like yourself that lives in an area where LRT would happen. But I also am appreciative of what Captain, Caretaker and others here and elsewhere have said about the potential benefits especially if there is a ROI aspect to it.
I guess it’s a complicated issue especially for a city the size of Hamilton.
Exactly how will it make an area less habitable?
Everyone brings up the initial cost but yet no one even mentions any operating costs or even gets into capacity …the HSR is inadequate the way it runs a couple of routes the King 1 route and the Barton 2 route are 2 that jump out immediately
And also wasn’t the LRT supposed to be a link around the golden horseshoe or something like that (along the lines of the go service meaning connectivity between cities) I’m pretty sure thats what the plan was supposed to be when it started
We all know your a downer on all things different we know your a status quo type of guy … but make an area less habitable? thats the silliest argument yet
Calgary's had an LRT since 1981, when their metro population was about 590,000, more than Hamilton itself, but less than Hamilton's metro population now. It seems to function quite well there. If a Hamilton LRT system connects with other public/mass transit in the Golden Horseshoe, I think it could work as well as Calgary's.
One major difference between the two cities, though (other than prosperity), is that Calgary planned their LRT system many years ago and built around those plans. In Hamilton's case it feels like they're trying to fit the LRT into a city that wasn't designed for it. That's what might make it difficult. For example it would basically shut down King street, one of Hamilton's main East-West arteries. It also looks like they're planning on a line down Upper James. That street's busy enough as it is with cars only. I doubt that will change with an LRT line, so I don't want to imagine what it'll be like when car capacity is reduced to fit the LRT in, but car volume doesn't change.
The problem is I know far too many people my age from Hamilton who have done exactly that. You probably recall I'm one of them and might chew me up for it or claim I have a 'Holier than Thou' attitude but the fact of the matter is that there are jobs here in my industry.
Is transit the x-factor? Its obviously more complicated than that... but I don't think you start to see certain neighborhoods in Hamilton gentrify into nicer places without a change like an RT system.
Yes Toronto and Hamilton are different. But if a city of 2.5 million is worth 11 street car routes and a Scarborough RT, Surely a city of half a million could do with 2 or 3 lines of their own?
But the point is Why do we need an LRT? when busses can do the job more efficiently at a fraction of the cost. 2 or 3 lines??
now you are talking $3Billion. The problem is everyone talks about LRTs as the way of the future but busses can still carry a lot more people, can run more frequently, can be re-routed or detoured if there is an accident or storm. Cars will be forced to use parallel resedential streets. Downtown Hamilton is a city that is easy to get around with its system of one way streets and also the fact that people don't work downtown like they do in other cities.
We have seen a large number of people move to Hamilton from the TO area for the cheaper housing and they commute. There are also thousands and thousands working near the TO airport and around the service roads along the QEW and 403.
That is where the traffic problems are not in downtown Hamilton.
It would be a nice to have if we could afford it but right now we have a $20 Billion deficit in this province and we are also have a massive debt. A 2 or 3 Billion LRT plus an enormous cost for the HSR to run the thing just isn't worth it.
What is wrong with busses? we have 5 or 6 lane one way streets across Hamilton, just make 2 Bus Only lanes!