This is a new thread set up to hold discussions about the proposed Hamilton rapid transit lines. Here are a few comments that came in recently.
Matt G writes:
Re: Hamilton Mountain LRT
How will contemporary LR vehicles handle the grades on (I’m assuming) Claremont Access?
Dennis Rankin sends in a recent article:
If you subscribe already, then sorry I’ve sent this item to you again, but if you don’t you may have a mild interest in this article from the MassTransit magazine’s e-mailed June 19th Newsletter.
Titled:- Better Access ‘boon’ to Hamilton,
Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger says the provincial government’s promise to create new rapid-transit bus routes across Hamilton and bring more, faster and cleaner GO train service from Toronto has the potential to transform the city, both economically and environmentally.
The sweeping proposal for a $17.5-billion, 12-year provincial-federal transit investment across the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton has yet to be approved by the federal government, which would pay one-third of the cost.
But if it comes to fruition, it could make Hamilton a more attractive place to live and work, while also making it more sustainable, the mayor said.
The greatest benefits could be to the central lower city, which is home to the GO terminal, and is also where new east-west and north-south rapid transit city bus lines would meet, likely near King and James streets.
Better access to transit would attract more commuters and be a shot in the arm for major local projects now in various stages of development in or near downtown, the mayor said. These include the McMaster Innovation Park, the David Braley Cardiac, Vascular and Stroke Research Institute and the Lister Block.
“It’s a critical thing for Hamilton right now,” Eisenberger said. “It’s going to make downtown a livable alternative for people who are working in other places. It’s going to be a great boon for us.”
The plan also offers a fresh alternative to previous thinking that saw building more roads as the best way to move more people, Eisenberger said.
“I think it signals that public transit is on top of the priority list in terms of how we grow our communities,” he said. “This is a fundamental shift in how our communities are going to develop and grow in a very positive way.”
But the plan comes with a catch: there is no guarantee any of it will happen if the McGuinty Liberals aren’t re-elected in October.
And even if they are returned to office, there’s no way to be sure they will even keep their promise, warns Hamilton East New Democrat Andrea Horwath.
“From my perspective, it’s a big, huge election promise that people can’t really trust,” she said. “We’ve seen what happens to McGuinty election promises over the last four years. They go the way of the dodo bird.”
Horwath, like others, wondered why transit has become such a priority so late in the government’s term.
“I think the proposal has merit in terms of goals and what needs to happen, generally speaking,” she said. “But what people need to do is measure that against the timing, in terms of the government having done basically nothing on the transit file in the past four years.”
Eisenberger said he learned of the announcement only yesterday morning, though he said it wasn’t surprising that the Greater Toronto Transit Authority — which includes Hamilton — would finally end up with the money to fulfil its mandate. Eisenberger sits on the board of the GTTA, which is led by former Burlington mayor Rob MacIsaac.
Though the transit proposal is vulnerable to a Liberal defeat in the Oct. 10 election, the mayor said no matter what happens, the announcement alone makes transit a top election issue for all parties.
McMaster University political scientist Henry Jacek said the Liberals are vulnerable to claims that they have been too slow to embrace transit, but that voters might simply say it’s better late than never.
“Sometimes good policy planning and good politics come together,” Jacek said . “This may be one of those times.”
The provincial plan could give Hamilton the chance to make transit more attractive than driving — the critical step in getting people out of cars — said Thom Oommen, sustainable transportation co-ordinator for the nonprofit environmental group Green Venture.
“People in governments are getting it now — that transit really needs to be a strong part of future directions,” he said. “It’s nice to see that Hamilton is going to be getting some attention from the province.”
Hamilton’s manager of public works Scott Stewart said the proposals fall in line with Hamilton’s existing plans to develop rapid bus-transit corridors, and could allow the city to do more and do it sooner.
“It’s all in the right direction in terms of a sustainable city and a prosperous city as well,” Stewart said. “It allows you to dream a little.”
Stewart said the city is expecting details next week on how much money would be available. He anticipates it would go to dedicated bus lanes or more buses.
Marcel Plug wrote:
Is there a website link that anyone can point me to about information on the Hamilton LRT projects. I used to live there and I am very curious to learn more about it.
Thanks in advance
(Great site Steve, been lurking here for about 6 months now)
From the comments in the long article above, it looks like “rapid transit” in Hamilton means more buses for now, not LRT. That answers the question about getting up Hamilton Mountain.
(A funicular with Swan Boats would have been nice, but that’s too much to hope for.)