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Jon Dalton
Mar 26, 2010, 5:57 PM
They're still busy widening the QEW through Burlington and Oakville. I guess nobody told them we had a deficit.

SteelTown
Mar 27, 2010, 4:21 PM
Transit picture gets cloudy

March 27, 2010
Emma Reilly
The Hamilton Spectator
http://www.thespec.com/News/Local/article/743586

The timing of Hamilton's rapid transit line is at risk due to a $4-billion cut to five Toronto-area transportation projects.

The hope is for Hamilton's first rapid transit line to be up and running by the Pan Am Games in 2015.

But Thursday's provincial budget included news that $9 billion committed to Metrolinx's top five transit priorities would be scaled back to only $5 billion.

Those projects, all in the Toronto area, are first in line for funding but will now be delayed.

That means projects like Hamilton's rapid transit line that haven't received any funding commitments are also at risk of delay.

Hope for Hamilton comes in a promise that projects relating to the Pan Am Games will be given priority -- but a decision on how to proceed from here will be left up to Metrolinx, the province said yesterday.

"We've asked Metrolinx to come up with their plan," said Derek Luk, a representative in the office of Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne.

"They will report back to us on which projects need to move forward first."

Metrolinx spokesperson Vanessa Thomas said Thursday's announcement doesn't immediately affect the timing of Hamilton's line, but she couldn't speak to what would happen as a result of this decision.

"At this point, we believe we're in the same position we were before the provincial budget," she said.

Nicholas Kevlahan, a McMaster University professor and light rail advocate, argued the funding delay demonstrates how closely Metrolinx's decisions are tied to the provincial purse.

"It implies that (Metrolinx) doesn't have the decision-making power, and they were getting the message that they better not make decisions because there may not be the funding to support it."

He also added that he has feared funding delays because of the lack of a decision that had been expected on whether Hamilton will get light rail or dedicated bus lanes.

Toronto Mayor David Miller had a strong reaction to news of the projects that had been delayed in his city, calling them "disgraceful," "thoughtless" and "thick."

However, Mayor Fred Eisenberger said Hamilton's situation is much different than Toronto's.

"For Hamilton, the fact that we don't have funded projects as of yet and we're still in the queue... the impacts are just not the same," he said.

"I'm certainly not over-the-top upset. Does it cause me to want to hear more about what that means for Hamilton? Yes."

markbarbera
Mar 27, 2010, 11:00 PM
They're still busy widening the QEW through Burlington and Oakville. I guess nobody told them we had a deficit.

The construction between Burlington and Oakville is the addition of HOV lanes , which will be used exclusively by transit and car pools. Its construction was funded back in 2008 budget.

markbarbera
Mar 27, 2010, 11:11 PM
As far as what may constitute a high priority transit project for the Pan Am games, I would imagine the Toronto harbourfront LRT and the Niagara GO extension would be considered priority, and possibly the Scarborough LRT as they connect the atheletes' village to event venues. I really doubt the B-Line would considered prioirty as it would not be used to connect atheletes's village to any event site (GO transit to a new Hamilton James North station would do that - assuming the West Harbour location does not get changed, of course).

Having said that, let's remember the original transit expansion plan has always seen B-Line construction beginning in 2016 at the earliest. It has been only wishful thinking that it would be bumped up for Pan Am, but it never has been planned to be moved up. Emma Reilly's article in the Spec is a little misleading in that respect.

scott000
Mar 30, 2010, 5:05 AM
As far as what may constitute a high priority transit project for the Pan Am games, I would imagine the Toronto harbourfront LRT and the Niagara GO extension would be considered priority, and possibly the Scarborough LRT as they connect the atheletes' village to event venues. I really doubt the B-Line would considered prioirty as it would not be used to connect atheletes's village to any event site (GO transit to a new Hamilton James North station would do that - assuming the West Harbour location does not get changed, of course).

Having said that, let's remember the original transit expansion plan has always seen B-Line construction beginning in 2016 at the earliest. It has been only wishful thinking that it would be bumped up for Pan Am, but it never has been planned to be moved up. Emma Reilly's article in the Spec is a little misleading in that respect.

The B-Line would link up the events at McMaster to the Stadium and GO Station. Although, you're likely right that it won't be seen essential enough to push ahead prior to the games.

SteelTown
Mar 31, 2010, 12:16 AM
The city has selected a winner for the EA for the B-Line. Premier Dalton gave Hamilton $3 million.

The winning bid is Steer Davies Gleaves for $2,898,563.

scott000
Mar 31, 2010, 3:27 AM
I've always been a fan of bringing LRT to Hamilton, but with Hamilton continuing to bleed jobs (Siemens, Lakeport, etc) and the very questionable success of LRT in North America, I have to wonder if the focus (and $) needs to shift away from projects like LRT to doing whatever it takes to bring in new major employers to the city.

LRT probably isn't going to draw XYZ Bank to build an office tower downtown, but maybe a big, fat cheque will. I realize its not that simple, but if it can be done somehow, I'm sure a revived CBD will do more for Hamilton than LRT can.

MalcolmTucker
Mar 31, 2010, 3:45 AM
^ places with good transportation for workers to connect housing and office space tend to get more jobs. Look at how long downtown Toronto has stagnated because GO, and the TTC were basically full.

drpgq
Mar 31, 2010, 5:30 AM
I've always been a fan of bringing LRT to Hamilton, but with Hamilton continuing to bleed jobs (Siemens, Lakeport, etc) and the very questionable success of LRT in North America, I have to wonder if the focus (and $) needs to shift away from projects like LRT to doing whatever it takes to bring in new major employers to the city.

LRT probably isn't going to draw XYZ Bank to build an office tower downtown, but maybe a big, fat cheque will. I realize its not that simple, but if it can be done somehow, I'm sure a revived CBD will do more for Hamilton than LRT can.

As far as I understand it, municipalities in Ontario can't do bonusing like those in the US.

MalcolmTucker
Mar 31, 2010, 12:06 PM
^ depends on how you define bonusing. Are you saying that Hamilton can't offer more floors or floor area in exchange for lets say - a public plaza, a piece of art or a green roof? Even if I am not verse on Hamilton, I would think that to be ludicrous.

Now if you mean bonusing in the sense of expropriating land for private development and then supporting it all with a TIF, like many arena districts, well that is different.

SteelTown
Mar 31, 2010, 12:41 PM
The city has selected a winner for the EA for the B-Line. Premier Dalton gave Hamilton $3 million.

The winning bid is Steer Davies Gleaves for $2,898,563.

This is pretty big news to me. Steer Davies Gleaves planned out Portland's and Manchester's LRT. They also did Bogota's BRT, which would be good for the A-Line.

By the end of this year (within about six months) we will have completed the EA with renderings and detailed plans. After that it's up to the province for funding.

SteelTown
Apr 2, 2010, 8:47 PM
LRT remains a go, says mayor

By Kevin Werner, News Staff
News
Apr 01, 2010
http://www.hamiltonmountainnews.com/news/article/206584

Hamilton’s light-rail transit system remains on the rails, despite the provincial government’s $4 billion cut to Metrolinx’s budget, said Mayor Fred Eisenberger.

Eisenberger said the provincial reduction in money to the crown corporation’s budget delays five major transit projects in Toronto, but doesn’t including Hamilton’s nearly $800 million LRT plan.

He said the goal is still to construct the much-hoped-for LRT system in time for Hamilton to host the 2015 Pan Am games.

“It leaves money for Hamilton,” said Eisenberger. “It is only a delay of five years.”

Finance Minister Dwight Duncan announced in his Ontario budget last week to delay spending $4 billion of Metrolinx’s $9 billion budget to for five high-priority transit projects in the GTA, including York, Etobicoke, and other northern Toronto areas, prompting Toronto politicians to hit the rails in opposition.

Duncan did say the transit projects for the Pan Am Games will be funded as promised.

Hamilton Mountain Liberal MPP Sophia Aggelonitis said she also remained hopeful the province will fund the city’s LRT plans.

“LRT is still alive,” said Hamilton’s cabinet minister. “We will still need to keep focused. It’s true it will take longer to roll out the capital program. We are phasing it in more slowly.”

Hamilton is currently in the process of conducting a light-rail transit study, including hiring a consultant, with about $3 million in funding received from the province. The proposed system includes a line running from Main and King streets from MacMaster University to Eastgate Square in Stoney Creek.

Metrolinx released its cost benefit analysis of light rail in February that compared the system to bus transit and found LRT won hands down. Even though LRT cost more initially at $784 million, in contrast to $222 million for the bus line, LRT overwhelming provides more benefits to the city in the long-term, the consultant stated in the report.

LikeHamilton
Apr 6, 2010, 7:46 PM
I was talking to a member of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce’s Transportation Committee. As part of their mandate, they have had a sub-committee investigating attracting a LRT manufacture to Hamilton. They have been at this for about a year. They conducted studies and surveys of the areas manufacturing availabilities and available land and buildings. They have talked to thousands of manufactures and suppliers in the field from Europe to China. They say they have a company interested in the possibility of starting a LRT manufacturing plant in Hamilton. They will not name whom. They also said that Metrolinx has been getting inquires from manufactures about setting up in southern Ontario.

SteelTown
Apr 9, 2010, 10:24 PM
This morning Mayor Fred revealed that construction for the LRT for the B-Line won't be completed in time for the 2015 Pan Am Games. Construction won't happen until after the games.

SteelTown
Apr 12, 2010, 5:19 PM
From the sounds if it the province might fund bus lanes and barriers in Hamilton before the Pan Am Games. I know for sure they'll be temporary HOV lanes along the 403 and QEW to Hamilton.

The same that was done for Vancouver's Olympics. We might even get a demo during the Games.

matt602
Apr 13, 2010, 2:44 AM
That's a pretty meager offering.

coalminecanary
Apr 13, 2010, 2:16 PM
lame

matt602
Apr 13, 2010, 5:57 PM
It's high time to boot these jerks out of Queens Park. The McGuinty Liberals and the failure of Metrolinx that they created have done nothing for this province, and even less for cities like Hamilton and Toronto. I'm not saying that any other political party is better, but I am saying that the current one is NOT getting the job done.

We're at risk of losing LRT and even GO Transit service improvements because they have to deal with the giant deficit that they created. It's a miracle that Hamilton and Toronto are still able to pick up the slack.

markbarbera
Apr 13, 2010, 6:52 PM
The timeline for Metrolinx rapid transit development for Hamilton remains exactly the same as the day it was announced. What's all the hubaloo about?

SteelTown
Apr 29, 2010, 11:47 PM
4zkycgw64Js

Jon Dalton
Apr 30, 2010, 1:39 AM
^^So basically that's a very long winded way of saying we have nothing to say.

SteelTown
Apr 30, 2010, 11:09 AM
Horwath pushes Liberals to commit to light rail in Hamilton

April 30, 2010
Meredith Macleod
The Hamilton Spectator
http://www.thespec.com/News/Local/article/760929

Andrea Horwath is demanding the province commit to funding light rail transit for Hamilton this year.

The NDP leader called on the McGuinty government to make a promise to Hamilton so that LRT can be up and running in time for the Pan Am Games in 2015.

She said a delay in rolling out $4 billion in funding for transit projects around Toronto is raising fears in Hamilton.

"Hamiltonians are understandably worried that their city's LRT plan will meet a similar fate," Horwath said in the Ontario legislature during yesterday's question period.

"The government has cut $4 billion from the $11.5 billion allocated to Metrolinx. My question is this: Is this going to stop Hamilton's light rapid transit dream dead in its tracks?"

Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne responded by accusing Horwath of "scaremongering."

Wynne said the Liberal government is committed to its regional rapid transit plan and has allocated $3 million to study the best option for Hamilton.

She said projects in Toronto are being stretched over a longer period of time, not cut entirely.

"We're going to move ahead and, I think, what the member opposite should be doing is working with us and working with the community to make sure that the right option is chosen," said Wynne.

Horwath told The Spectator that she's trying to keep Hamilton's transportation needs at the forefront.

The MPP for Hamilton Centre also said she's concerned that Wynne seemed unaware the city has already endorsed LRT.

Horwath says light rail will be "transformational" for Hamilton.

Liberal Hamilton Mountain MPP Sophia Aggelonitis said she supports LRT for the city and will continue to fight for it.

"The province has invested $110 million in Hamilton transit since 2003. And we'll be there in the future."

When the province announced the transit funding delays in its March deficit-fighting budget, Finance Minister Dwight Duncan said priority would be given to transit plans that would support the Pan Am Games.

SteelTown
Apr 30, 2010, 6:04 PM
Push hard for light-rail transit, Metrolinx chair urges Hamilton

April 30, 2010
By Meredith MacLeod
Hamilton Spectator
http://www.thespec.com/News/BreakingNews/article/761113

Metrolinx chair Rob MacIsaac says Hamilton should continue to build its case for light-rail transit.

“I encourage the city of Hamilton to proceed undaunted in planning for light rapid transit for Hamilton,” MacIsaac told a transportation summit held at Liuna Station this morning.

“The best chance for Hamilton to maximize an investment is to have its house in order. Being in an impeccable state of readiness ... (will make) an irresistible opportunity for an investment in rapid transit.”

Metrolinx has not committed to building an LRT line in Hamilton, but the city has endorsed it as its preferred option. Ongoing planning work on an east-west line running along Main and King streets is only focused on LRT.

MacIsaac said the province’s delay in rolling out $4 billion in funding for five projects in the Toronto area is causing concern among those hoping for a boost to rapid transit in Hamilton. But he said those projects will be funded over 10 years, rather than eight, and pointed out that current investments in public transit are at “historic rates.”

But he warned that tough choices must be made in order to fund a first-class regional transportation system.

The summit, called Taking Back the Streets, is focused on making Hamilton a great city to walk and bike to commute to work and for leisure.

SteelTown
Apr 30, 2010, 10:45 PM
NDP leader Andrea Horwath wants a written commitment that the government will support LRT for Hamilton. Do you agree the province should give such a commitment, which it already has done for Toronto?

Spec's poll
http://www.thespec.com/

SteelTown
Apr 30, 2010, 10:46 PM
I do agree that the province should make some kind of commitment, either LRT or BRT, ASAP. Quit this guessing game and get on with it.

SteelTown
May 3, 2010, 11:13 AM
LRT: Let's get it in writing

May 03, 2010
Robert Howard
The Hamilton Spectator
http://www.thespec.com/Opinions/article/761991

Andrea Horwath, to her real credit, has not forgotten where she came from. The Ontario NDP leader regularly demonstrates the ability to find a balance (understandably not always even) between her provincial responsibilities and her role as MPP for Hamilton Centre.

She went to bat for Hamilton at Queen's Park last week, correctly identifying light rail transit here as a battle worth fighting.

Nothing on the table now has the potential to be as transformational for Hamilton -- attracting new investment, supporting existing businesses and making this city a more livable place -- as light rail transit.

When Horwath pressed Dalton McGuinty's government to commit -- in writing -- to fund light rail transit in Hamilton, she brought legislature focus onto the project and put pressure on the province to commit to LRT here.

Horwath asked the government for a funding commitment this year, clearly with the intent of getting light rail in place for the 2015 Pan Am Games that will showcase the city. We're not convinced there's any real likelihood, despite Horwath's question-period demands, of funding in what remains of 2010.

But Hamilton needs LRT funding in time to co-ordinate it, at least its initial stages, with the Games, and Horwath is absolutely on target in seeking a commitment in writing. That is appropriate -- and needed -- for the city to continue moving forward on planning.

LRT and the Pan Am Games should go hand-in-hand in Hamilton. It will be the best way to move the anticipated large numbers of visitors around the city -- and it will be a clear illustration that this city is a good place to work, live and raise a family.

And (because these things are taken into account) it would showcase the Ontario government's forward-thinking, enlightened and enterprising nature.

Certainly the precedent for a written commitment for transit funding is there -- and recent: The province just gave the City of Toronto a written commitment to fund four Transit City light rail lines over the next 10 years. Given that 2011 is a provincial election year and that almost anything can happen between now and polling day, it is important that Hamilton get a virtually iron-clad commitment that will survive any possible change in government.

Hamilton council has endorsed light rail; now the city (and the province) are awaiting a recommendation from Metrolinx, the agency co-ordinating the province's transit plan. If it recommends light rail for Hamilton, it's important that all the city's representatives -- municipal and provincial -- hold McGuinty's feet to the fire to come through promptly with funding.

Hamilton should also look to Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak -- whose riding includes Glanbrook -- to offer a commitment to Hamilton LRT if his party forms a government in 2011.

Light rail, with the Pan Am Games, is a huge opportunity for Hamilton. We need all the political support we can get to take advantage of it.

SteelTown
May 13, 2010, 12:22 AM
HA! Mayor Fred accidently slipped out a big piece of information. He said the City is trying to keep Siemens and the jobs in Hamilton "with LR eerrr..." haha.

flar
May 17, 2010, 2:51 PM
An interesting article looking at the Ottawa rapid transit case. Ottawa cheaped out on BRT years ago and is now facing a scenario where the system will not be able to handle demand sometime in the next 20 years.


Ottawa, Closer than Ever to Replacing Bus Rapid Transit with Light Rail
http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2010/05/17/ottawa-closer-than-ever-to-replacing-bus-rapid-transit-with-light-rail/

There was a time, a few years back, when talk of building bus rapid transit as a cheap precursor to train service was common. The theory was that cities could invest in new rights-of-way for rapid transit and design guideways specifically for future light rail implementation, but only fork up enough dough to pay for the buses.

...

Though the existing bus transitway is already in place, light rail construction will be expensive, notably because of the tunnel, which will cost C$735 million by itself. Even if bus service had been chosen as the preferred technology, this expense would have been required. But the C$540 million cost to convert the remaining ten kilometers of right-of-way is more surprising; much of that will go towards the big new stations along the line, with the rest to pay for tracks and electrification. Vehicles and a new maintenance facility will cost C$515 million.

With expenses like that — practically equivalent to building a new rail line from scratch — one wonders whether there was ever any fiscal advantage to using buses first along the rapidway. Did the city lose out by not choosing rail when the transitway first opened in 1983?

SteelTown
May 17, 2010, 3:11 PM
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v174/Appster/LRTJames.jpg

The A-Line feasibility rapid transit line is currently being developed. Should be completed by the end of 2010.

LikeHamilton
May 17, 2010, 3:39 PM
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v174/Appster/LRTJames.jpg

The A-Line feasibility rapid transit line is currently being developed. Should be completed by the end of 2010.

I love the picture. I would like to see more picture like this from anyone. I think it would go a long way in selling the system to the few hold outs that are still out there.

SteelTown
May 17, 2010, 4:11 PM
Hamilton has "big headstart" as next Metrolinx project

May 17, 2010
Hamilton Spectator
http://www.thespec.com/News/BreakingNews/article/770880

Metrolinx CEO Rob Prichard says Hamilton has a "big headstart" on being next major project.

Pritchard made the comments today at the city's economic summit.

SteelTown
May 17, 2010, 8:22 PM
There will be tons more of renderings and videos for the LRT within a couple of months, it’s a requirement based on the EA bid.

There seem to be a shift about the B-Line being completed by 2015.

The City seems to think construction will happen in 2012. Perhaps have the median completed in time for 2015.

matt602
May 17, 2010, 10:02 PM
Hamilton has "big headstart" as next Metrolinx project

May 17, 2010
Hamilton Spectator
http://www.thespec.com/News/BreakingNews/article/770880

Metrolinx CEO Rob Prichard says Hamilton has a "big headstart" on being next major project.

Pritchard made the comments today at the city's economic summit.

This is a nice PR tidbit but it's time for Metrolinx to put the money where their mouth is. The Public Works committee has been investing so much of their time and money for LRT in Hamilton, and they are doing a wonderful job of pitching it to Metrolinx. It's a wonder they haven't been discouraged by all of the setbacks and funding scares.

I just can't believe how much feet are being dragged throughout this whole thing. Lets get some dollar figures going so we can work on getting shovels in the ground. It's going to take a long time to build all of this.

MalcolmTucker
May 17, 2010, 10:07 PM
^ The project is going to be funded through alternative project financing, so you have to wait for the financing plan just like every other community in the province. And before that doesn't the study have to report back on what is the best tech and route? Spitballing numbers just leaves you in a situation where like Toronto the commitments have started to vastly outnumber the budget/

LikeHamilton
May 18, 2010, 10:51 AM
Hamilton has "big headstart" as next Metrolinx project

May 17, 2010
Hamilton Spectator
http://www.thespec.com/News/BreakingNews/article/770880

Metrolinx CEO Rob Prichard says Hamilton has a "big headstart" on being next major project.

Pritchard made the comments today at the city's economic summit.

Metrolinx CEO Rob Prichard expects Hamilton to be the next major transit announcement coming out of the province.

"I think Hamilton is better advanced and has a big head start on being the next major project to be announced," he told a group of Hamilton's 200 top political, business and civic leaders at the third annual Hamilton Economic Summit.

"I personally think it's Hamilton's to lose, rather than Hamilton's to win."

But Prichard cautioned that competition is fierce for limited provincial funding. He said the city and its residents have a lot of work to do to convince the premier and cabinet to invest here.

That means committing to a route and a mode, and building a cohesive plan around that, he said.

"I'm optimistic Hamilton will prevail but there is a lot of work to do before the cheque is in the mail," Prichard said.

markbarbera
May 18, 2010, 5:09 PM
I would be extremely cautious about interpreting this to mean Hamilton's rapid transit project is fast-tracking. Rather, I would expect it to be coming later than sooner. The Phase One projects have just had their timelines readjusted with their completion now targeted for 2019. Hamilton's B-Line rapid transit project is part of Phase Two.

Pritchard said he expects Hamilton's project to be the next big announcement to come from Metrolinx. Thing is, he doesn't say when we can expect that announcement.

thistleclub
May 19, 2010, 8:45 PM
Metrolinx Board approves the 5 in 10 Plan (http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/May2010/19/c5159.html)

TORONTO, May 19, 2010 /CNW/ - The Metrolinx Board of Directors today approved a revised plan that will see all of the Big 5 transit projects completed over a 10 year period. The revised project plan will be presented to the Government of Ontario for final approval.

"We have put forth an aggressive, bold but doable plan to deliver the five projects in 10 years" said Robert Prichard, President and CEO of Metrolinx. "Our plan means that within a month projects worth $7 billion of the $9.5 billion will be underway. This is the largest public transit investment in Canadian history and we need to get going now."

In April 2009, the Province of Ontario announced $9.5 billion for the Big 5 projects, which include York Region's VIVA Next Bus Rapid Transit, the Sheppard Light Rail Transit (LRT) line, the refurbishment of the Scarborough Rapid Transit (RT), a Finch LRT and the Eglinton Crosstown LRT.

The 2010 Ontario budget committed to fully funding all five projects including escalation costs but asked that Metrolinx develop a plan to reduce the funding requirements for these projects in the first five years by $4 billion. The 5 in 10 plan achieves this goal - building the five projects by 2020 while saving $4 billion in the first five years.

"As one of the fastest growing regions in the country, it was important for us to work in partnership with Metrolinx to improve transit options," said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch. "I believe we have arrived at a realistic plan that gets these projects underway now while giving consideration to the needs of commuters and the overall transit network people rely on."

"It is time to move forward," said Prichard. "We need to get moving to ensure that the region reaps the economic, social and environmental benefits of these unprecedented investments in public transit."

thistleclub
May 20, 2010, 1:46 PM
Public Works sez...

Rapid transit plans gain momentum in Hamilton

HAMILTON, ON – May 20, 2010 – Hamilton’s rapid transit project continues to move forward and, beginning this month, the City will undergo a comprehensive study focused on planning, design and engineering. Following a competitive RFP process, Steer Davies Gleave (SDG) has been selected to carry out the study.

“This is a major milestone in the rapid transit planning process,” said Jill Stephen, Director of Strategic Planning and Rapid Transit. “In this next phase of the study, we are committed to carrying out extensive community consultation - a key component of the success of rapid transit in Hamilton." Ms. Stephen added that the City will also be establishing a Community Advisory Committee with representation from all sectors.

SDG has a broad range of experience planning rapid transit systems in built environments similar to many European rapid transit systems with narrow rights of way. In addition, the consulting team has extensive expertise in both Europe and North America which will be beneficial in moving Hamilton’s rapid transit plans forward.

The one-year study funded by Metrolinx will focus on the preliminary design for the B-line and the feasibility for the A-line. It will outline how the rapid transit system will look and function along the B-line, analyze traffic impacts and develop solutions to address challenges. The study will also develop plans for the A-line to allow that particular corridor to undergo the same Benefits Case Analysis process as the B-line.

SteelTown
May 20, 2010, 9:31 PM
Hamilton's LRT system taking shape
East-west link the priority

May 20, 2010
Meredith MacLeod
Hamilton Spectator
http://www.thespec.com/News/article/772598

The detailed design and engineering work on a light-rail line through Hamilton is about to begin.

It’s expected to take about a year to complete.

The work will be completed by international transportation consultants Steer Davies Gleave, the city announced today.

“This is a major milestone in the rapid transit planning process,” said Jill Stephen, the city’s director of strategic planning and rapid transit.

She said the study will include extensive community consultation and that the city will establish a community advisory committee.

The consultants will be tasked with the detailed design work of an LRT line running from Eastgate Square to McMaster University along Main and King Streets, including impacts on traffic, parking and adjacent properties. The study will also include preliminary feasibility work on a line running from the waterfront to the airport.

There has been no formal commitment from regional transit planning authority Metrolinx or the province on LRT or money to pay for it. But Hamilton was the only municipality to receive a grant - $3 million - to undertake planning, design and engineering work on a transit line.

SteelTown
May 21, 2010, 10:54 AM
Public input to 'inform' city's plan for light rail

May 21, 2010
Meredith Macleod
The Hamilton Spectator
http://www.thespec.com/News/Local/article/772980

Hamiltonians will be asked for their input on a proposed light rail project throughout the next 12 months of design and engineering work.

The city will establish a community advisory committee to work with a consultant leading the study, and there will be a number of public information sessions and other communication efforts.

"We will not be waiting until the end to say, 'Here's our plan, what do you think?' " said Jill Stephen, the city's director of strategic planning and rapid transit.

"We'll be getting input throughout and that will inform the plan."

The city announced yesterday it has hired Steer Davies Gleave, an international transportation consulting firm, to do the planning for the estimated $784-million light rail line from Eastgate Square to McMaster University.

It's expected the study will take a year and it kicks off a crucial period in Hamilton's quest to land light rail.

The report will look at everything from station location to the technology to run the trains. It will analyze how traffic will flow throughout the area and how property owners will be affected.

The study will also include a feasibility study into an LRT route from the waterfront to the airport.

Steer Davies Gleave has spearheaded transportation projects around the world and was the lead architect of the Metrolinx benefits case analysis for Hamilton.

The city is the only municipality so far to get a grant from the province for its transit planning study. Local officials point to that $3 million as proof that Hamilton is well on its way to LRT.

Rail spirits were further boosted this week when Metrolinx CEO Rob Prichard told the Hamilton Economic Summit that he anticipates the city's transit project will be the next major announcement.

But the agency has made no commitment to LRT and the province has not promised any funding.

There is clearly a timeline at play. Everyone is talking about the trains running by the Pan Am Games in 2015 and the project is a big component of the city's controversial bid to build a west harbour stadium.

Kathy Drewitt, executive director of the Downtown Hamilton BIA, says business owners are anxious to get answers about how light rail will affect them during and after construction.

The city's proposal includes converting Main and King to two-way traffic and the possibility of removing street parking in the core, restricting left turns to signalled intersections and potentially closing a section of King to vehicles.

"Business owners want to know where the stops will be, how they'll get deliveries into their buildings, how their customers will get to them ... we're hoping the consultant will answer those questions."

markbarbera
Jun 15, 2010, 3:36 PM
Metrolinx signed a contract with Bombardier yesterday to purchase their LRV's for Toronto's Transit City project:

http://www.metrolinx.com/Docs/images/Bombardier_LRV500x235.jpg
Source: Metrolinx.com

The purchase is for 182 vehicles with an option to purchase an additional 118, so we have a good idea of what may be gliding down Hamilton streets should LRT get approved for B-Line.

crhayes
Jun 16, 2010, 5:21 AM
Metrolinx signed a contract with Bombardier yesterday to purchase their LRV's for Toronto's Transit City project:

http://www.metrolinx.com/Docs/images/Bombardier_LRV500x235.jpg
Source: Metrolinx.com

The purchase is for 182 vehicles with an option to purchase an additional 118, so we have a good idea of what may be gliding down Hamilton streets should LRT get approved for B-Line.

Damn those look nice... maybe the additional 118 will be for Hamilton ;)

SABBATICAL!
Jun 16, 2010, 8:13 PM
Light Rail Hamilton is doing an advocacy campaign right now: http://hamiltonlightrail.com/article/tell_queens_park_to_support_lrt/

Everyone needs to get on there and email these MPPs!

Of any potential urban improvement I can think of, a light rail system in any form would go the longest way toward transforming outside opinions of Hamilton from "dirty steeltown" to "up and coming city". Even for SUV types, I think, light rail just says "futuristic" and "big city".

(Apart from the real benefits of such a system.)

SteelTown
Jun 25, 2010, 11:33 PM
The projects being prioritized now are the remaining unfunded capital projects from the list of top 15 priority projects identified in the Big Move. These projects have BCAs that are complete or are near completion.

The projects being prioritized first are shown in Table 1 and Figure 1:

Projects being prioritized now

Rapid transit in Downtown Hamilton from McMaster University to Eastgate Mall - Up to 0.83 (Approximate Estimated Cost ($billions)
Rapid transit on Dundas Street in Halton and Peel - Up to 0.65
Hurontario rapid transit from Port Credit to Downtown Brampton - Up to 1.35
Yonge Subway capacity improvements and extension to Richmond Hill - Up to 2.38
Rapid transit service along Highway 2 in Durham - Up to 0.50
Express Rail on the Lakeshore Line from Hamilton to Oshawa - Up to 5.97

http://www.metrolinx.com/Docs/Agendas/Jun29_10/Project_Prioritization_Framework_2010-06-29.pdf

SteelTown
Jun 25, 2010, 11:34 PM
So Hamilton's B-Line will likely be priority number 1 for an unfunded project. What's also new is the price tag, now $830 million. Looks like Metrolinx has also ruled out having B-Line only run from McMaster to Gage.

matt602
Jun 26, 2010, 2:51 AM
I hope things actually unfold this way... we'll see. Good to see that they're at least "planning" to give us priority.

McMaster to Gage would have been completely pointless. I'm glad they will be doing it right to Eastgate. There's already a brand new terminal built there, why terminate the line before it?

mishap
Jun 26, 2010, 3:50 AM
So Hamilton's B-Line will likely be priority number 1 for an unfunded project. What's also new is the price tag, now $830 million.
Does it say in the report that the B-Line is top priority? I didn't see that in there, though i just skimmed. The projects seem to be numbered with local systems first, west to east, or left to right on the map. Either way, we're on the short list, so that's a positive.

It's funny how the Halton-Peel Dundas Line just ends near the edge of Burlington, probably Brant Street. And what's there to anchor it? Nothing, really. What's a little to the west? Waterdown. And Hamilton has thrown the T-Line(?) idea out there... Downtown to Waterdown. That's a much better anchor. I imagine those two will be combined into a longer corridor at some point.

SteelTown
Jun 28, 2010, 11:52 PM
Waterloo gets LRT cash while Hamilton waits

June 28, 2010
Emma Reilly
Hamilton Spectator
http://www.thespec.com/News/BreakingNews/article/798161

While Hamilton waits to learn the future of its rapid transit projects, Waterloo became the latest city to receive transit funding on Monday.

The provincial government pledged $300 million to build light rail transit (LRT) between Kitchener and Waterloo and bus rapid transit (BRT) to Cambridge.

Waterloo is the second city to receive funding this month. The federal government committed $600 million to Ottawa’s rapid transit system on June 8, matching a contribution from the province announced in December.

Meanwhile, Hamilton is still waiting to hear whether Metrolinx – the arms-length provincial agency that manages transit in the Hamilton and Greater Toronto areas – will recommend LRT or bus rapid transit (BRT) and how these projects will be funded.

Though Metrolinx released a study in February saying that LRT would produce the greatest benefits for the city compared to BRT, Hamilton is still waiting to learn which option it will receive.

Currently, the city is undergoing a year-long LRT study that will look at everything from station location to the technology to run the trains. But neither Metrolinx nor the province has indicated any timeline on a funding announcement for Hamilton.

Jill Stephen, the city's director of strategic planning and rapid transit, said Waterloo’s funding announcement doesn’t affect Hamilton because that region doesn’t fall under the Metrolinx umbrella.

“It’s a different pot of money than Metrolinx money,” she said.

But while the provincial and federal governments continue to commit money to other cities, funding to Metrolinx projects has slowed.

Metrolinx has identified five of its 15 Greater Toronto Hamilton Area projects as its top priorities – four LRT lines in Toronto and a bus rapid transit line in York Region. The province committed $8.15 billion to the plan.

But in this year’s provincial budget, the province announced it was cutting $4 billion from its disbursements over the first five years of construction. As these projects are also first in line for funding, it leaves Hamilton’s rapid transit plans in danger of being delayed.

SteelTown
Jun 29, 2010, 10:38 AM
City awaits transit cash
Waterloo, Ottawa get millions while Metrolinx funding has slowed

Emma Reilly
The Hamilton Spectator
http://www.thespec.com/News/Local/article/798328

While Hamilton waits to learn the future of its rapid transit projects, Waterloo became the latest city to receive transit funding yesterday.

The provincial government pledged $300 million to build light rail transit (LRT) between Kitchener and Waterloo and bus rapid transit (BRT) to Cambridge.

Waterloo is the second city to receive funding this month. The federal government committed $600 million to Ottawa's rapid transit system on June 8, matching a contribution from the province announced in December.

Meanwhile, Hamilton is still waiting to hear whether Metrolinx -- the arms-length provincial agency that manages transit in the Hamilton and Greater Toronto areas -- will recommend LRT or (BRT) and how these projects will be funded.

Though Metrolinx released a study in February saying that LRT would produce the greatest benefits for the city compared to BRT, Hamilton is still waiting to learn which option it will receive.

Currently, the city is undergoing a year-long LRT study that will look at everything from station location to the technology to run the trains. But neither Metrolinx nor the province has indicated any timeline on a funding announcement for Hamilton.

Jill Stephen, the city's director of strategic planning and rapid transit, said Waterloo's funding announcement doesn't affect Hamilton because that region doesn't fall under the Metrolinx umbrella.

"It's a different pot of money than Metrolinx money," she said.

But while the provincial and federal governments continue to commit money to other cities, funding to Metrolinx projects has slowed.

Metrolinx has identified five of its 15 Greater Toronto Hamilton Area projects as its top priorities -- four LRT lines in Toronto and a bus rapid transit line in York Region. The province committed $8.15 billion to the plan.

But in this year's provincial budget, the province announced it was cutting $4 billion from its disbursements over the first five years of construction. As these projects are also first in line for funding, it leaves Hamilton's rapid transit plans in danger of being delayed.

Still, Stephen says, Hamilton is better off with Metrolinx.

"I think it's really positive to be part of Metrolinx, because we can build on the inter-regional connection," Stephen said.

Local light rail advocate Nicholas Kevlahan agrees. "For Hamilton's system to be successful, it has to be integrated into the GTA," he said.

Minister of Consumer Services Sophia Aggelonitis, MPP for Hamilton Mountain, says she'll continue to advocate for light rail in Hamilton.

"There are a lot of people working behind the scenes very, very hard to help Hamilton with rapid transit," she said. "We want to make sure that public transit gets the funding that it requires."

According to Emna Dhahak, spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, yesterday's contribution to Waterloo marks "a long-standing government commitment dating back to the 2007 budget."

However, critics say the announcement falls well short of the province's pledge to fund two-thirds of the $800 million project.

SteelTown
Jul 8, 2010, 3:02 PM
As part of an ongoing commitment to facilitate an open and consultative planning process, the City of Hamilton is establishing a Rapid Transit Citizens Advisory Committee (RTCAC). The role of the RTCAC will be to provide advice and feedback to the Rapid Transit team regarding ongoing rapid transit plans for Hamilton.

The City is seeking up to 25 members for the committee including diverse representation from Hamilton residents, property owners, businesses and other key stakeholders. The commitment to the RTCAC will involve monthly evening meetings, led by City staff, beginning September 2010, as well as attendance at various public events (with a minimum of one year commitment).

If you are interested in this opportunity please submit your application online at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RapidTransitCAC or in person at the City of Hamilton, Public Works Department, 77 James Street North, Suite 320. Applications must be completed and returned by Friday, July 30, 2010.

A one-year rapid transit study funded by Metrolinx is currently ongoing with a focus on the preliminary design for the B-line and the feasibility for the A-line. It will outline how the rapid transit system will look and function along the B-line, analyze traffic impacts and develop solutions to address challenges. In addition to the RTCAC, the City will continue to provide traditional community participation opportunities through public meetings, open houses and surveys. For further information on the RTCAC please visit www.hamilton.ca/rapid-transit.

thistleclub
Jul 8, 2010, 8:33 PM
Burlington bus link to Toronto (http://www.thespec.com/article/803741)
Rapid transit could save $350m

July 08, 2010
Ken Peters
The Hamilton Spectator
http://www.thespec.com/article/803741

"A multimillion-dollar bus rapid transit system for Dundas Street, connecting Burlington to west Toronto, will mean as much $350 million in commuter savings. Regional transportation agency Metrolinx released a benefits case for four possible options for the 37-kilometre section of the former Highway 5 stretching from Highway 407 in Burlington to Kipling station in Toronto, linking Etobicoke and Mississauga. The Metrolinx report, which was presented to Halton regional chairperson Gary Carr on Tuesday by agency officials, suggests construction of one of the four options, which range in price from $225 million to $505 million, could begin as soon as 2012."

SteelTown
Jul 13, 2010, 11:18 AM
Help put transit on right road

July 13, 2010
Dana Brown
The Hamilton Spectator
http://www.thespec.com/News/Local/article/806554

The city wants to hear your thoughts on getting rapid transit up and running in Hamilton.

A new Rapid Transit Citizens Advisory Committee is being formed and officials are looking for applications.

A minimum one-year commitment is required, starting in September. The group will meet once a month and will be capped at about 25 members.

Jill Stephen, acting director of rapid transit with the city, said they want a "broad range of people and views." That includes folks from the business community, property owners along potential routes and members of the general public.

"We're not expecting that everything we present, the entire group is going to agree on ... but we want to hear the different perspectives," Stephen said.

The city's long-term rapid transit plans include five lines, but the priority is on the B-Line from McMaster University to Eastgate Square. The city has proposed converting Main and King streets to two-way traffic, possibly removing street parking from the core, restricting left turns and possibly closing part of King to vehicles.

The A-Line from the harbour to the airport is also being studied and a consultant has been hired to work on both projects.

The public will likely be able to get a glance at how the system will look and function in November.

The city's route choice will not change, said Stephen.

Kathy Drewitt, executive director of the Downtown Hamilton BIA, said she's hopeful the committee will be as productive as the group that provided input into the Gore Master Plan.

But Drewitt said there are still many unanswered questions, such as whether the system will use overhead wires.

"I think from a business perspective it's got to be done right or you're going to put a lot of businesses out of business," she said.

The committee will give the city advice and comment on rapid transit planning and development, as well as land-use studies.

Peter Hutton, spokesperson for the Hamilton Transit User Group, said something must be figured out to allay people's fears, particularly about losing car lanes to rapid transit. The public also needs to be engaged, he said.

Hutton gave the city high marks for its overall outreach efforts.

Anyone interested in applying to the committee can contact Katie Edmonds at 905-546-2424, extension 2553 or e-mail katie.edmonds@hamilton.ca.

realcity
Jul 13, 2010, 7:00 PM
What's the deal with LRT? Are we getting it? Is it King or Main? What is the timeline? I'm lost.

Jill Stephen also thinks there is nothing wrong with Redhill Floodway. To be asking for input is stupid. Haven't we done this like a million times over the last couple years? The city wants LRT!!! not busses. Rail cars, from Eastgate to Mac along Main. So let's do some more public input and studies??

OMG take the middle lane from the 5 lanes on Main and make that LRT. Convert the other 4 to two-way. Convert King to two=way. And put a bike lane on King from Gore Park to Westdale village. Since we have 5 lanes there too. And then you're done.

But don't forget the line up Clairmont from Wellington and Burlington STs

markbarbera
Jul 13, 2010, 7:21 PM
I was considering applying, but why bother when opinion is not being sincerely sought? This is another example of single-mindedness at City Hall. "We want your perspective, but it isn't going to change anything". Jill Stephen was supposed to be a fresh face offering a refreshing change, but she is turning into somewhat of a disappointment. I am still waiting for a response to a request I made months ago for info on the study that indicated why King is preferred to Main.

This is the next issue to get bogged down in discourse due to the blind visionaries that staff city hall.

matt602
Jul 13, 2010, 10:32 PM
What's the deal with LRT? Are we getting it? Is it King or Main? What is the timeline? I'm lost.

Jill Stephen also thinks there is nothing wrong with Redhill Floodway. To be asking for input is stupid. Haven't we done this like a million times over the last couple years? The city wants LRT!!! not busses. Rail cars, from Eastgate to Mac along Main. So let's do some more public input and studies??

OMG take the middle lane from the 5 lanes on Main and make that LRT. Convert the other 4 to two-way. Convert King to two=way. And put a bike lane on King from Gore Park to Westdale village. Since we have 5 lanes there too. And then you're done.

But don't forget the line up Clairmont from Wellington and Burlington STs

The city has already made it pretty clear that they're backing light rail instead of bus rapid transit technology. The studies on that were conducted last year and the people showed overwhelming support for light rail. Public Works, City Council and even Metrolinx are on board with light rail (albeit without any funding commitment). The current studies are down to the finer details such as routing, facilities, neighborhood impact, etc. This is all applies to B-Line LRT mind you, A-Line is still up in the air as far as technology goes and the rest of the lines are just dreams so far.

astroblaster
Aug 3, 2010, 6:11 PM
lets do this:

http://i.imgur.com/qX3sr.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/qX3sr.jpg

ihateittoo
Aug 3, 2010, 6:20 PM
is it powered by devouring cars in it's underbelly?

LikeHamilton
Sep 2, 2010, 4:17 PM
$265-mil in federal cash for light rail in KW

THE CANADIAN PRESS

KITCHENER, Ont. — The federal government has announced millions of dollars to support public transit in the Kitchener-Waterloo region of southwestern Ontario.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the money will go toward construction of a light rail system between Kitchener and Waterloo.

A bus line between Kitchener and Cambridge is part of the plan.

Harper says the feds will kick in one-third of the costs — up to $265 million.

The money is part of Ottawa’s previously announced stimulus spending strategy.

If approved, the transit plan should be operational by 2015.

Harper says the plan will stimulate the regional economy.

“Projects like this will pay dividends for our economy and our communities long into the future,” Harper said.

- The Canadian Press


http://www.thespec.com/news/ontario/article/253258--265-mil-in-federal-cash-for-light-rail-in-kw

SteelTown
Sep 16, 2010, 2:37 PM
Make your case, Metrolinx tells Hamilton

John Kernaghan
http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/256440--make-your-case-metrolinx-tells-hamilton

TORONTO He’s been on the job just eight days but new Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig has Hamilton on his mind as he takes over the regional transportation giant.

McCuaig said the planning process now needs Hamilton to make its case for where it belongs on the queue of cities waiting on transit help.

He made his comments following a speech to the Toronto Board of Trade.

Metrolinx has considered both bus and LRT for the city’s B line from Eastgate Square to McMaster University and the city has a $3-million study under way to support the LRT option.

That’s the “evidence-based” kind of planning McCuaig says the regional body needs when it begins to set priorities for the next stage of a strategy for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area.

He said Metrolinx is looking at a model to assess municipal plans and create a pecking order of next steps based on need and readiness.

McCuaig, a former deputy Minister of Transportation, was peppered with questions from reporters about the municipal election in Toronto and candidates whose ideas on transit counter Metrolinx plans in the city.

Jon Dalton
Sep 16, 2010, 6:44 PM
Same thing they've been saying for 2 years.

"How much do you really want it, Hamilton?"

"We want it bad!"

"How bad?"

"Here's a feasibility study"

"Let's see you get on your knees"

and so on.

SteelTown
Sep 20, 2010, 11:19 AM
Mayor on hunt for LRT cash
Candidates stake positions on light rail transit issues

Jon Wells
THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR
http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/257055--mayor-on-hunt-for-lrt-cash

The race is on for mayoral candidates to prove who can best lead the city into the new frontier of light rail transit (LRT), and obtain the hundreds of millions of public dollars necessary to build a system in Hamilton.

Today, Mayor Fred Eisenberger will announce his plan to assemble a "SWAT team" of community leaders to lobby senior government officials to secure between $850 million and $1.5 billion in funding for LRT.

"There have already been indications that we are at the front of the queue, so we'd like to have this happen sooner rather than later," Eisenberger told The Spectator. "We need to convince our provincial partners in Metrolinx that we are ready."

Metrolinx is the public authority that manages transportation planning for Hamilton and the GTA.

Eisenberger added that the goal is to achieve commitments in the provincial government's upcoming budget round in March 2011. He believes it would take between four and six years after that to start and finish the project.

Among those recruited for the lobbying effort, he said, would be representatives from partners in the LRT program from Mohawk College, McMaster University, Hamilton Health Sciences, Hamilton Community Foundation, Jobs Prosperity Collaborative and Chamber of Commerce.

LRT would not only be a people mover in Hamilton, but encourage more development and greater property assessment, he said.

"The excitement and enthusiasm is already there (among developers). Properties are already selling potential (transit) corridors."

Eisenberger's announcement comes after Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig said Hamilton needs to make its case for receiving funding.

Mayoral candidate Larry Di Ianni was critical of the timing of Eisenberger's initiative, suggesting that as mayor he should have carried the flag for LRT long ago. He said Eisenberger is only now proposing action because the Chamber of Commerce and the Hamilton Spectator have demanded the city be more aggressive in securing the funding.

"On this file, Fred has fumbled the ball badly," Di Ianni said. "This should have started two years ago, not on the eve of the election. We should be reaping the rewards of our efforts, not just beginning to sow the seeds, which Fred seems to be doing."

Di Ianni said mobilizing community partners to secure LRT funding is already part of his platform, and he stressed the issue when in July he announced his candidacy. Yesterday, his campaign team released a statement that Di Ianni plans to mount a community team to secure LRT funding if elected.

Mayoral candidate Bob Bratina said all the talk of senior government funding is a moot point if the next mayor can't get city council on board. LRT is a "motherhood" issue, he said, and some councillors are happy to come out in favour of public money from other levels of government -- but not from the city.

"What bothers me is, there is no inkling (from other candidates) that we need to confront this. (Eisenberger) has got to sell this to council."

LikeHamilton
Sep 30, 2010, 5:12 PM
Rapid Transit Open House
September 30, 2010
6:00 to 8:00 pm
City Hall, Main Lobby
Drop in event

mattgrande
Sep 30, 2010, 5:29 PM
Rapid Transit Open House
September 30, 2010
6:00 to 8:00 pm
City Hall, Main Lobby
Drop in event

Anyone going to this, please report back here how it went! I'm interested, but pre-booked.

SteelTown
Nov 5, 2010, 11:36 AM
No light-rail trains before Games
Mayor-elect won't bite on LRT view

Meredith MacLeod
http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/273571--no-light-rail-trains-before-games

Light-rail won't be in place in time for the Pan Am Games in 2015.

City officials charged with bringing the anticipated transit project to reality have given up hope the trains can be running by the time athletes and spectators come to town.

Jill Stephen, director of rapid transit with the city's public works department, says there is simply too much planning, design, engineering, environmental study and construction work to complete and senior officials did not want roads torn up during the Games.

“A lot of things have to align and we want to make sure we're doing it properly and not rushing to get it done.

“This is a better and more responsible way to approach it.”

The goal will now be to have all the preliminary work finished so that shovels can go in the ground immediately after the Games finish.

The Pan Ams and their para-games component conclude in mid-August.

“This shouldn't be seen as a lack of urgency on our part or that we're putting less importance on this. It's just better for the project,” Stephen said.

“Pushing it forward at the wrong time doesn't make for success.”

Kathy Drewitt, executive director of the Downtown Hamilton Business Improvement Area and a member of the city's citizen advisory committee on LRT, said it was a “disappointment” that the trains won't be running when the city is featured on the international stage.

Although the province has previously said projects linked to the Pan Am Games would get priority for transit funding, neither Stephen nor Metrolinx board member Richard Koroscil believe Hamilton's prospects for Queen's Park cash have dimmed due to the delay.

Koroscil, who is also president of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, said Premier Dalton McGuinty already made clear transit funding and the Games were separate issues when he was in town in February.

“I don't think it changes anything in terms of urgency,” said Koroscil, who has repeatedly encouraged Hamilton citizens and civic leaders to unite in pressuring the Liberal government for LRT funding in time for the next provincial budget in March.

He is concerned about remarks made by Mayor-elect Bob Bratina before the election which questioned whether the chosen east-west route should be swapped in favour of a north-south corridor linking to the airport and future employment lands.

“There's a lot of work that's been done and to change tracks now could have a negative influence on the province,” said Koroscil, who has asked for a meeting with Bratina.

“If you think of it in terms of the (Pan Am) stadium issue, it looks like Hamilton can't make up its mind.”

Bratina wouldn't comment on his LRT views to The Spectator yesterday, saying he is not yet mayor and that the file belongs to Mayor Fred Eisenberger.

Hamilton was expected to present its progress on LRT planning to the Metrolinx board, the region's transit authority, this month. That has been delayed.

Stephen said city staff, in conjunction with Metrolinx staff, will push to get all the necessary studies and reports in place. She expects design reports will be ready in late spring that will allow the public to really understand what stations will look like and where the track will be on the street.

SteelTown
Dec 8, 2010, 11:15 PM
http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/298987--city-dumps-plan-for-two-way-king-street

No two way for King or Main St.

mattgrande
Dec 9, 2010, 2:21 PM
Will there be LRT on King between Victoria and Catherine? It's only two lanes of traffic there, will they just shut down the road and make that a car-free zone?

LikeHamilton
Dec 9, 2010, 3:46 PM
King and Ferguson when there where Street Cars along there. Not much room with narrow side walks.

http://img104.imageshack.us/img104/5626/hsr33.th.jpg (http://img104.imageshack.us/i/hsr33.jpg/)

markbarbera
Dec 9, 2010, 5:12 PM
Will there be LRT on King between Victoria and Catherine? It's only two lanes of traffic there, will they just shut down the road and make that a car-free zone?

There's actually four lanes hidden along there. Doesn't seem like it because there's two lanes of one-way through traffic and bumpout parking on either side of those lanes. Conversion will be one lane bumpout parking, one lane through, and two-way LRT.

SteelTown
Jan 11, 2011, 4:12 AM
LRT to cost city $130 million

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/319932--lrt-to-cost-city-130-million

Light Rail Transit is estimated to cost Hamilton $130 million to build and $20 to $23 million each year in operating costs.

Those are the preliminary numbers for the costs of an east-west lower city LRT line from Rob Rossini, the city’s general manager of finance, but they were enough to make some councillors run off the rails.

“It’s unaffordable,” said Ward 9 Councillor Brad Clark. “That’s been my concern from the beginning, but everyone drank the Kool-Aid ... We don’t have the money.”

Ward 8 Councillor Terry Whitehead and Ward 12 Councillor Lloyd Ferguson said they will not support the project if city taxpayers have to contribute to the capital costs.

“If we have to put in a sizeable contribution, forget it,” said Ferguson, though he said the operating costs were lower than running a bus.

Ward 6 Councillor Tom Jackson suggested the city take another look at Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) because of the worrisome cost predicted for LRT and Ward 15 Councillor Judi Partridge suggested the city not rule out getting the private sector involved with the project.

“There are so many details that need to be nailed down,” Partridge added.

The $130 million would cover the city’s capital costs, while the city would have to pay between $12 million and $15 million in yearly operating costs. About $8.6 million would be required each year to cover increases on other existing city services like snow removal, waste collection, and traffic lights once the LRT is built.

“I can’t stress enough how very, very preliminary all the cost estimates are,” Rossini said. “I would also add that this excludes any revenue growth from increases in additional property assessment due to the economic benefits of LRT and the transformational, city-building impacts it could have.”

Those costs are only for LRT, not BRT, Rossini said. The city will have better cost estimates in four to six months.

The total estimated cost of building an LRT line in Hamilton is approximately $800 million. It’s unclear how much the province and federal government will chip in.

Jill Stephen, the city’s director of rapid transit, said the finance department was asked to come up with preliminary figures to give council an early snapshot of the costs.

“We’re doing our due diligence right now,” she said. “What we’re trying to do is make sure that when it comes to decision-making time, council has as much information as possible.”

Stephen said other departments are also being asked to investigate the implications of LRT.

bigguy1231
Jan 11, 2011, 8:55 AM
With those numbers, any chance of LRT just died in this city. City council will never approve the 130 million investment let alone the minumum 20 million a year in operating costs.

SteelTown
Jan 11, 2011, 2:13 PM
Yet Hamilton can approve and afford $500 million for the Red Hill expressway?

It's likely that Queen's Park and Ottawa will pay majority or the entire cost of the LRT and it's up to Hamilton to pay for the operating cost. Same deal with Waterloo's LRT.

mattgrande
Jan 11, 2011, 2:20 PM
$130M for LRT doesn't seem so bad (I'd rather have LRT than a stadium, personally), but $20M per year? Yikes...

LikeHamilton
Jan 11, 2011, 2:40 PM
but $20M per year? Yikes...


So how much of this money will come from the operation of the B Line bus no longer being needed? There is a cost to operate the B Line that should go to LRT. There should be some savings as other routes that go along this route will change to local feeders. There are costs that are most likely assigned this one route that will go down as other lines are opened as the infrastructure will now already be there.

This is not a true picture of the operation cost of the line.

SteelTown
Jan 11, 2011, 2:45 PM
Operating the B-Line with BRT will be more expense too. Operating LRT is cheaper.

oldcoote
Jan 11, 2011, 4:29 PM
ROI people.

Portland had a $2.3 billion ROI for a $55 million investment.
Tampa had a $1 billion ROI for the same.

Hell, I'd support a $130 million investment for a $250 million return, let alone more than $1 billion.

MalcolmTucker
Jan 11, 2011, 4:46 PM
Penny wise, pound foolish. How does council think projects get built in other cities? I am sure Mississauga would be more than happy to take any of the money that would have gone to Hamilton (and it would make much more sense politically for the senior governments to support a project there if there was a choice).

Streamlining the bus system with implementation should more than cover the operational costs.

As for this:
About $8.6 million would be required each year to cover increases on other existing city services like snow removal, waste collection, and traffic lights once the LRT is built.
What extra waste needs to be collected? Wouldn't collection be covered by the advertising provider as it is now (I assume based on most other cities).

As for snow removal, LRT tracks don't need to be cleared like roads do. During the day constant trains clear the route, and if you get a huge dump that can actually stop the trains from leaving the yard you get a little plow truck like the railways use that have those extend-able rail wheels. Nothing fancy.

Some old (2006) numbers from Calgary Transit for their entire system:
Right of Way Maintenance costs: $2.9M (2006)
Signals Maintenance costs: $2.4M (2006)

I can't imagine Hamilton being so incompetent as to running a shorter system with higher costs.

Who do they have doing their transit consulting? Or is it all internal?

emge
Jan 12, 2011, 4:51 AM
The AEGD with little to no promise of real jobs or investment is slipped by easily at a cost of $200+ million last term?

And LRT, after is going to be a struggle for the city after a huge runaround of consultation and proof upon proof of its efficacy.... at a $130 million price tag?

bigguy1231
Jan 12, 2011, 7:56 AM
Yet Hamilton can approve and afford $500 million for the Red Hill expressway?

It's likely that Queen's Park and Ottawa will pay majority or the entire cost of the LRT and it's up to Hamilton to pay for the operating cost. Same deal with Waterloo's LRT.

No Hamilton will be required to pay $130 million of the $800 million capital cost. So the upper levels of government will not be paying for all of it.

I may be wrong but I thought the voters in Waterloo turned their proposal down in the recent referendum during the election.

When I stated what I said, I wasn't passing judgement on LRT itself. I was merely stating what I think will happen when council sees the numbers. They are going to balk at the idea of having to spend $20 million a year in operating costs in addition to the $12 million a year it already subsidizes the HSR.

markbarbera
Jan 12, 2011, 12:40 PM
As I had mentioned here a few months back, the greatest challenge to the LRT proposal is to demonstrate that there would be a significant enough of an increase in paid-fare ridership to justify the operational costs of the line.

There is also a tendency to assume LRT is a catalyst for economic growth. I would humbly suggest that it is more accurate to describe it as a focal point for growth. There is a nuanced difference.

LRT does not spur economic growth, it directs where the growth will occur. That is an important factor needing consideration when determining the economic impact LRT would have on a city already experiencing an economic boom vs a city wishing to create an economic boom. LRT does not create economic activity, it channels the energy of economic activity.

MalcolmTucker
Jan 12, 2011, 3:46 PM
There wasn't a question on LRT put to the public in either Kitchener or Waterloo. The question was on exploring merging the cities, which Waterloo rejected and Kitchener embraced.

There is also a tendency to assume LRT is a catalyst for economic growth. I would humbly suggest that it is more accurate to describe it as a focal point for growth. There is a nuanced difference.
This is true. Infrastructure investments shape and redirect development that would have happened otherwise (likely in a different place, in a different form), they do not create it. That being said, this situation is very different for a city like Calgary where there are no competing jurisdictions around to redirection development from versus Hamilton where at the very least you might get some spill development enticed over from Burlington or St. Catherines.

With all day Go Service coming to Hamilton , I think (not just conjecture either, but economics says there should be) there will be a surprising amount of people willing to try out long distance commuting in exchange for lower property prices.

You aren't going to convince many people to do it, but out of the entire regional population you don't have to encourage that high a percentage to move to get the benefit.

Forgive me if I am wrong, but a light rail line connecting to the Go-Hub will help spread out those benefits from the hub, and reduce the need to build large parkades to support commuters. It won't happen overnight, but the investment paid for mostly by other levels of government will pay for itself many times over.

If city council thinks sticking with the status-quo is a recipe for success, I don't know what could change there minds.

SteelTown
Jan 15, 2011, 3:06 PM
http://www.thespec.com/feature/article/474223--lrt-vision-unveiled

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/474221--lrt-can-be-a-catalyst-for-city-says-lead-consultant

Berklon
Jan 15, 2011, 3:45 PM
A lot of negative posts in the user comments section of both articles.

SteelTown
Jan 15, 2011, 3:47 PM
http://media.mmgdailies.topscms.com/images/39/20/0abf3e6c440c93161f71e2240d5e.jpeg
How LRT might look This illustration shows an artist's conception of LRT trains moving along King Street West, near Hess and Caroline streets.
City of Hamilton

matt602
Jan 15, 2011, 5:29 PM
Looks nice.

But seriously? Making part of Main Street that is currently two-way, one way? Oh for god sakes. Talk about going backwards.

ganjavih
Jan 15, 2011, 7:47 PM
I hope those comments don't represent folks from Hamilton in general... doesn't look like a very sophisticated bunch. No offence!

geoff's two cents
Jan 15, 2011, 9:49 PM
Indeed - One professor of economics (*sarcasm*) cited the cost for LRT as 50 billion.

I think whenever one is feeling discouraged about the quality of debate on SSP or RTH, one should take a glance at a mainstream newspaper comments section.

highwater
Jan 16, 2011, 1:21 PM
Also, you'll notice that the negative comments are coming from fewer than half a dozen people posting over and over - kinda like SSP now that I think about it.

markbarbera
Jan 16, 2011, 4:11 PM
Looks nice.

But seriously? Making part of Main Street that is currently two-way, one way? Oh for god sakes. Talk about going backwards.

Converting a large stretch of Main from two-way to one-way does seem to be contrary to the overall traffic plans for the lower city. I am also concerned about the idea of general traffic lanes in the core. LRT without dedicated right of way is nothing more than a glorified streetcar. Experience in Toronto shows that the shared road access has a significant negative impact on transit service levels, particularly during peak periods. Transit staff should seriously consider splitting the LRT onto two roads in this stretch in order to maintain dedicated right of way.

geoff's two cents
Jan 16, 2011, 7:04 PM
Converting a large stretch of Main from two-way to one-way does seem to be contrary to the overall traffic plans for the lower city. I am also concerned about the idea of general traffic lanes in the core. LRT without dedicated right of way is nothing more than a glorified streetcar. Experience in Toronto shows that the shared road access has a significant negative impact on transit service levels, particularly during peak periods. Transit staff should seriously consider splitting the LRT onto two roads in this stretch in order to maintain dedicated right of way.

While I don't share your concern over the loss of traffic lanes in the core, I do think that, because this is a significant topic of worry for Hamiltonians at large, it would probably be best to plan for a 2-way LRT on Main in order to put this anxiety to rest and accelerate the planning process with maximum public support.

The fact that it will make the LRT faster, (possibly) help slow down traffic and improve the pedestrian experience on the most pedestrian-unfriendly street in the core, and help mitigate the risk of mixed traffic accidents by keeping the train on its own ROW is an added bonus.

markbarbera
Jan 16, 2011, 7:45 PM
I agree. Especially considering that the planned route has a travel time practically identical to route 10 as it stands now.

hamtransithistory
Jan 20, 2011, 4:16 AM
So I was at the B-line info session tonight. Never been inside the Scottish Rite at Queen and King, beautiful building.

:2cents:
-There are two large-ish gaps between stops. Plans should be made for future stops near Potruff in the east and near Cline in the west, once the local density goes up
-Looking at the aerial photos, I came to the sad realization that the parcel of land that would be ideal for the maintenance facilities and storage yard would be the huge parking lot otherwise known as the King-Caroline-Main-Bay block. If the old federal building is coming down, then the land's almost entirely deserted, just close George street running down the middle and start laying track (sigh)
-The CGI animation of the LRT running past Gore Park was cool, and the streetcars with the silver blue & gold paint job look pretty sweet. Then again, CGI can make anything look good
-I didn't get a chance to ask, but what's the reason for the new bridge over the 403? If the existing bridges can't take the weight, then so be it.

geoff's two cents
Jan 20, 2011, 4:34 AM
-Looking at the aerial photos, I came to the sad realization that the parcel of land that would be ideal for the maintenance facilities and storage yard would be the huge parking lot otherwise known as the King-Caroline-Main-Bay block. If the old federal building is coming down, then the land's almost entirely deserted, just close George street running down the middle and start laying track (sigh).

This isn't what's formally proposed, is it? Sorry, hard to tell if you're being sarcastic or not!

hamtransithistory
Jan 20, 2011, 5:19 AM
This isn't what's formally proposed, is it?

As far as I know, there isn't a location for the yards/shops yet. And that worries me. We'll need a good sized piece of land for these facilities. Cathedral High School (http://maps.google.ca/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=43.25292,-79.846932&spn=0.002805,0.004823&t=h&z=18) was built on the site of the former Sanford Yard and shops about 20 years ago (just to give an idea of the amount of land needed)

The further we get from King St, the more that will have to be spent on the tracks to connect the line with the yard. I'm worried that someone on council will see the cost of the yard connection, and say 'why are we building the yard so far away when there's this vacant lot right next to the line?'

Classic penny wise, pound foolish thinking. Stimulating development is what LRT lines are famous for, but it won't happen if prime real estate is used for yard space.

I was thinking that some of the empty space along Rebecca St (http://maps.google.ca/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=43.257557,-79.865043&spn=0.002805,0.004823&t=h&z=18) would be fine: Close to both the B-Line and A-Line, but not too close to be ripe for redevelopment

markhornich
Jan 20, 2011, 7:03 AM
I was at that meeting too. Some interesting ideas, namely closing down king street between walnut and mary to vehicular traffic. That's their way of allowing local access to all the shops + parking and ensuring no one will be using king as a through street.

I dont think that any railyard will be located in the core. They're not that stupid. I can see a potential railyard for the B line somewhere along queenston:

At the traffic circle ( in place of that car dealership and the land between Berry and Cochrane or even Rosewood, demolishing the Tim Hortons and Big Bonus stores)

At parkdale (less likely)

Or over some parking lot/big box store in the Eastgate Area.

Depends on how much land they'll need. Downtown wont cut it, not to mention for expansion. I don't see them rerouting some trains on a north-south street to reach a Rebecca location. Obviously an A line yard would be near mountain garage in the airport area.

geoff's two cents
Jan 20, 2011, 12:56 PM
Thanks for clarifying. A downtown rail storage depot sounded crazy, but in this city one honestly never knows.

LikeHamilton
Jan 20, 2011, 2:16 PM
The city has already purchased property a year or 2 ago for a maintenance yard for LRT. At the time they would not say where for various reasons.

SteelTown
Jan 20, 2011, 2:40 PM
From what I heard it's near the West Harbour. Would be the yard for B-Line and A-Line.

markhornich
Jan 20, 2011, 3:18 PM
Barton and Tiffany perhaps?

Still it doesn't make sense. what street would they be sending the rail cars down to get to that brownfield area, queen... hess... bay? It's a lot of track to run just to a yard.

It just seems like bad land use in that area, unless it is a very compact yard.

SteelTown
Jan 20, 2011, 6:32 PM
LRT plans for the B-Line in Hamilton

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v174/Appster/LRTmap.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v174/Appster/LRT4-1.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v174/Appster/B-LineLRT.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v174/Appster/LRT1-1.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v174/Appster/LRT3-1.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v174/Appster/LRT2-1.jpg

SteelTown
Jan 20, 2011, 6:34 PM
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