Special Report: Light Rail

Cities That Already Have Light Rail Transit Want More of It

Ever noticed how the only cities that oppose investments like LRT are places like Hamilton that don't have it yet?

By Jason Leach
Published November 04, 2014

Once again, cities that already have rail transit continue to expand their networks:

Proposed Light Rail extensions in Surrey (Image Credit: Rail for the Valley)
Proposed Light Rail extensions in Surrey (Image Credit: Rail for the Valley)

Ever noticed how the only cities that oppose investments like LRT are places like Hamilton that don't have it yet?

Amazing how cities that have light rail continue to spend money on expansions and new lines, even though the smart people in Hamilton know that they don't work and don't deliver as promised.

If only the civic leaders in places like Charlotte, Portland, Phoenix, Vancouver and Los Angeles would visit Hamilton and see for themselves how much better off city life is with lousy transit and boarded-up streetwalls for decades on end.

Then they'd stop wasting money expanding useless light rail networks that nobody wants, nobody rides and businesses avoid.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 13:10:29

Love it! Well done!

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By H1 (anonymous) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 13:36:26

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By DissenterOfThings (registered) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 15:04:26 in reply to Comment 105912

Ever notice how often you're proven wrong?

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By H1 (anonymous) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 17:23:26 in reply to Comment 105931

Please prove me wrong, I can't find any escarpments running though them.

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By H2 (anonymous) | Posted November 07, 2014 at 20:01:24 in reply to Comment 105945

How is the escarpment any different from a river from a traffic flow perspective? The mountain accesses are essentially bridges between the mountain and the lower city.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 07, 2014 at 20:40:54 in reply to Comment 106045

not to mention Portland, LA and Vancouver all have way higher 'mountains' than ours and somehow managed to defy internet trolls and still build urban rail transit. What an engineering feat.

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By notlloyd (registered) - website | Posted November 07, 2014 at 23:13:12 in reply to Comment 106047

The Mississippi is a river and requires a bridge (or a barge) to cross. Mt. Hood is a volcano that you go around. It isn't the height. Its the shape.

Calling people trolls and such does not address the issue. Hamilton has features, certainly not unique, that make the importance of north south traffic particularly limited up and down the escarpment.

That's what makes Queen Street, Victoria, Wellington and Kenilworth interesting issues.

Another interesting issue is the issue of traffic in and out of the City from the 403. Because of the escarpment, Hamilton has limited means of ingress and egress. This is largely a result of the escarpment and its positioning against the Bay and the Lake.

What needs to be discussed is what happens to the traffic from Burlington, Waterdown, Dundas and Ancaster if we cut off one if not two of those major corridors into and out of the City by building an LRT. If we had no escarpment, or bay, we could go around. But we have both and can't.

We need to consider the impact on the tens of thousands of people who require the use of those corridors before we alter them extensively and essentially permanently.

I have wondered if an LRT could travel along the escarpment and out to Mac along one of the rail corridors. Maybe come from the east and then down wellington through the current Go station and then south near Dundurn and out to Mac.

Comment edited by notlloyd on 2014-11-07 23:28:35

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 07, 2014 at 23:47:13 in reply to Comment 106052

What needs to be discussed is what happens to the traffic from Burlington, Waterdown, Dundas and Ancaster if we cut off one if not two of those major corridors into and out of the City by building an LRT.

I'm not sure if you're familiar with the current LRT plans, or perhaps have been given some 'altered' info from somewhere, but there are no routes being cut off from drivers with the LRT plan. In fact, the consultant report suggested turning Main into a two-way street to make life easier for drivers, but of course city hall axed that recommendation because they love having 5 lanes largely empty 20 hours a day, and completely useless when there are slowdowns on King.

Everyone needs to remember that east of Bay St, Main St carries around 2.5 lanes worth of traffic. East of Wellington it drops to 2 lanes worth, and never rises beyond that. We could take 2 lanes off Main for LRT and virtually not impact vehicle traffic at all, other than to make it harder for people to do 100km/hr, which 99% of the population would agree is completely dangerous and shouldn't be possible through our densest neighbourhoods.

Hamilton is in a unique situation of having lots of excess lanes that through the city that are simply not needed, as we've just seen with Cannon and York. I live near York and honestly hoped that the new bike lanes would slow things down a little, but it's still 60-80km all day long. But the buffer between sidewalk and live traffic is now much nicer and feels safer.

If folks refuse to get rid of the one-way pairs of King and Main, I say we put LRT on King as planned. This leaves it as 1 westbound lane with curb parking on the north lane, and 2 westbound lanes during rush hour. Main can go down to 3-lanes with street parking and a two-way cycle track on the north lane. Wilson can become two-way all the way to Sherman as an alternative to King, and if we make Bay St two-way, folks can avoid Main/King altogether and still get in and out of downtown and further west along Cannon or King from Bay.

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By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted November 08, 2014 at 15:49:35 in reply to Comment 106054

What's wrong with running the LIT down Hughson after Wellington or Ferguson and on or over the tracks between Queen and Dundurn. Then you have a lot more options available to deal with King and Main and probably a less costly way across the 403. You could run it along the bike path all the way to Dundas. Widen the path and you have biking and LRT.

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By notlloyd (registered) - website | Posted November 10, 2014 at 20:08:30 in reply to Comment 106063

I suggested something similar to this months ago. See http://www.supporthamilton.wordpress.com Sent an e-mail to the City. Not sure they are enthralled with the LRT let alone alternate routes.

Comment edited by notlloyd on 2014-11-10 20:10:24

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted November 08, 2014 at 16:13:53 in reply to Comment 106063

You mean run the LRT on the GO tracks? They're underground, incompatible with GO LRT trains, and a bit out of the way.

If that's only being used for GO (and I'm not sure it is) you'd have to rip out the GO tracks and completely convert the Hunter Street station into HSR-only (GO would switch over completely to the james north station). And then you have to make below-ground subway-like-stations instead of simple train platforms, which have accessibility issues. Expensive. If any non-GO trains use those tracks, you're SOL and this plan is impossible, because those tracks would have to be ripped-up and converted into LRT tracks.

The problem then is that you have an LRT line that doesn't connect into downtown - it's a bit out of the way. That's another reason why I like the pure main-street approach - it's close both to the Hunter Street terminal and the Macnab terminal.

On the other hand, the GO tracks are closer to the dense parts of Locke and Queen, so a Locke-street and Queen-street platforms would actually be well-located.

I can't even begin to figure how you'd get the train out of the chasm, past Dundurn, and up to Main and Macklin.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2014-11-08 16:15:05

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By charlesball (registered) | Posted November 08, 2014 at 18:00:33 in reply to Comment 106064

No, I meant above the tracks. Run the line down the street in front of the Go station and then over the Go lines (like make them (the Go tracks) a subway which they already partially are) or use some architecturally interesting bridge network. You are still downtown all the way. It runs right across town. It is a street grade level. It requires no remediation of King or Main between James and the 403 and no remediation of the 403 overpass network. It would run through Queen and Locke and Dundurn close to where there are plans to build high density housing and not one driver could seriously complain about it. It also can run all the way to Dundas with some pretty minor property acquisitions. Fortinos on Main West would be pissed as would the Candy Factory, but every merchant on Main or King between James and Dundas would be jubilant.

People who live in the apartments near City hall would no longer have to walk over to King. It's already high density and they could get on the LRT to head out to Mac a lot more conveniently.

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By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted November 08, 2014 at 18:02:52 in reply to Comment 106066

It would also mean that during the construction phase there would be minimal disruption of traffic West of Wellington.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted November 08, 2014 at 15:40:20 in reply to Comment 106054

Doesn't the LRT take three lanes where a platform is needed? IIRC that's why King goes pedestrian-only through the International Village - the platform is a 3rd lane.

But yes, I'd much prefer a Main LRT - convert King into two-way (asymmetric TWINO West of Queen so that the Cannon->Queen->King westbound corridor is protected) and run the LRT on Main's ample width. Place the stations on the East corners of intersections so the leftmost car lane can be a left-turn-lane as it approaches the platform. With new Eastbound lanes on King, it means a net-loss of (on average) 1.5 travel lanes in each direction across the city, and King would benefit tremendously from having normal local traffic instead of being a throughway.

I just wish there were plans to extend the LRT properly into the heart of dundas instead of stopping at University Plaza. Continuing right down Osler to terminate right in front of the Thirsty Cactus could be a tremendous boon to Downtown Dundas - run buses out from Dundas King at Main and give Dundas a real transit system that is fully integrated into Hamilton system.

That's where the traffic from Dundas goes. Sprawlier communities like Ancaster and Waterdown are harder, of course.

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By notlloyd (registered) - website | Posted November 08, 2014 at 00:10:15 in reply to Comment 106054

Are you saying that under the current design, the volume, speed and efficiency of traffic moving into and out of the downtown from outside of the city will be unaffected if the LRT is built?

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted November 08, 2014 at 16:18:23 in reply to Comment 106056

Of course it would - the York and Cannon lanes are the good model to look at to see how overbuilt roads can accomodate losing a lane.

Yes, traffic is affected. It's slower, obviously. But it's still not "gridlock" by any stretch of the imagination - I take Cannon and York at rush-hour a few times a week and they're not jammed by any stretch of the imagination. They're slower but honestly they're mostly just "slow enough that they actually follow the speed limit". I never run into that frustrating case where it takes multiple cycles to get through a single traffic light unless there's some kind of accident or construction or something.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 08, 2014 at 00:28:38 in reply to Comment 106056

speed hopefully will. No healthy city on the planet has people doing 70km/hr past people's front doors 24-7. But yes, volume can be handled even after losing 1 more lane.

Look at York Blvd. Just lost 2 of 6 lanes and is still a freeway.
Volume data clearly shows our streets are way overbuilt.
If that wasn't the case, we wouldn't even be talking about LRT because we know city hall is addicted to fast moving cars above all else. They see the stats and data, and realize we can add things like LRT and protected bike lanes through the lower city while still allowing the current traffic volumes to move about.

Take any % of east or west end drivers and transfer them onto LRT as a more regular lifestyle (which will happen), and driving will remain a breeze.

One thing everyone agree on though is that our population is going to continue to grow, and there is simply nowhere to add more roads or highways through our city. It's time to actually build a proper city where people can use transit or bike as reliable, safe, regular part of moving around like any decent city any of us visit and enjoy. This will enable us to grow significantly without having to endure big city style gridlock.

Then, there is the issue of our new development communities and the fact we keep doing them at the lowest possible densities in weird cul-de-sacs and unwalkable road networks. Makes it almost impossible to get those folks out of cars and into transit without adding some density along the major corridors, as well as capturing the existing density along major corridors into transit. I think we need to continue pushing for the B-line LRT and A-line LRT, but take the first phase of the A-line and run it up to Mohawk College, over to Upper James via Fennell, Upper James to Mohawk and Mohawk to Limeridge Mall. There is pretty good density of apartments and multi-family housing in the Fennell/Upper James area and along Mohawk Rd. And of course Limeridge is one of the best transit destinations on the Mountain. Much greater ridership potential than running a long line out to a tiny airport on a street filled with huge parking lots and big box stores and no residential density.

It's time for Hamilton to grow up and become a real city.

Comment edited by jason on 2014-11-08 00:35:30

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 07, 2014 at 23:49:15 in reply to Comment 106054

And FWIW, Portland has many huge 'hills' that LRT climbs and snakes around right in the city. Mt Hood is outside of the city. Hamilton's Claremont Access is already built and at a low enough grade to handle LRT. Alternatively, we could do a short tunnel from James S to West 5th, as Portland did with one of their tallest hills on the LRT route.

Early numbers have shown it to be cheaper for a tunnel up to West 5th instead of laying track/wires all the way around and up the Claremont.

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By arienc (registered) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 22:39:27 in reply to Comment 105945

See those things with the snow on top of them?

Those are mountains.

Not to be confused with Hamilton's "mountain".

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By z jones (registered) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 17:36:23 in reply to Comment 105945

The escarpment is IRRELEVANT to whether we can build an LRT that doesn't have to cross it. Now bugger off and go troll somewhere else.

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By notlloyd (registered) - website | Posted November 07, 2014 at 23:24:29 in reply to Comment 105947

I disagree. See my comment above.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 14:40:09 in reply to Comment 105912

I tried to tell these people that nothing works the same in those places. I mean, none of those cities even start with the same letter of the alphabet. Why would anything that works there work here?

Even posting scientific proof wasn't enough. I tried to warn everyone that gravitation in Vancouver was 9.81339m/s, and gravitation in Hamilton was 9.80597m/s. And yet these crazy liberals still think LRT will work in the Hammer. Particle physicists, cosmologists, and engineers, are all still working very hard, to find any technology other than private automobiles that will function inside Hamilton's city limits.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 13:51:08 in reply to Comment 105912

Lol. We're really gonna play the geography game with cities filled with mountains and bodies of water like Vancouver, Portland and LA? Have fun with that.

Ever noticed that Vancouver doesn't have a single freeway. Not one. We have 7

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By H1 (anonymous) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 17:24:57 in reply to Comment 105917

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By RobF (registered) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 14:28:29 in reply to Comment 105917

Jason I agree completely with your first point ... having grown-up in East Surrey/Cloverdale where the proposed Fraser Highway LRT is planned i can say to H1, that it must traverse a floodplain/agricultural land reserve between 168th Street and roughly 180th Street. It must descend and ascend hills on both sides ... not quite the escarpment in height, but the existing roads make the grades there comparable, if shorter in distance. The existing SkyTrain must cross the Fraser River and make it up a steeper hill/grade between Scott Road Station and Gateway Station ... dealing with the grade on that hill was a technical challenge and the cable-stayed bridges crossing the Fraser River on that line and the new Canada line weren't cheap to build.

Boy what i would have given to have had that LRT line on the Fraser Highway growing up there in the 1990s ... the BC Transit bus wound all over the place and took 60 minutes to get to the end of the SkyTrain line, which took about 10-15 minutes by car depending on traffic. The SkyTrain ride to downtown Vancouver was another 40-45 minutes. Here I can take a GO Bus or Train and be in downtown Toronto in 60-70 minutes and the distance is much further.

Ever noticed that Vancouver doesn't have a single freeway. Not one. We have 7

This is deeply misleading. It is only true that the City of Vancouver doesn't have a limited access freeway like a 400-series highway running through it, though technically Highway 1 runs for a brief distance within it on city's eastern edge. Elsewhere in Metro Vancouver, there are multiple highways and the province government has invested billions in new highway capacity in the last 10 years ... read about the Gateway Program / Port Mann and Highway 1 improvement / South Fraser Perimeter Road. Also if we are considering King and Main et al freeways the City of Vancouver has those too ... Seymour, Richards, Howe, and Hornby as north-south one-ways and Dunsmuir, Cordova, Smithe, and Nelson as East-West one-ways ... the only difference is Vancouver seems more aggressive in addressing the need to change/tame them and add protected bike-lanes, though i would add their public debate started in the 1990s and change has hardly happened without a struggle ... advocates there also had to fight for changes (Hamilton is not so distinct in this regard).

Comment edited by RobF on 2014-11-04 14:34:42

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 15:08:53 in reply to Comment 105925

great info and local context. Thx for sharing. And just to clarify, yes I'm referring to limited access freeways, not streets like King/Main.

Hamilton has 403/QEW/Linc/RHVP/Burlington St/Hwy 6 N and Hwy 6 S

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By RobF (registered) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 15:23:59 in reply to Comment 105932

Fair point, I wasn't sure. In a way King and Main are a mixed blessing. It is much easier to tame them, or use their excess lane capacity for LRT, then remove an actual urban expressway and repair the damage done by them (as you know other cities have done that, though, at much greater cost than anything we discuss in Hamilton).

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 14:41:51 in reply to Comment 105925

I agree that people forget that the City of Vancouver proper has chosen a very different urban development path than the rest of the GVRD.

But I think the main lesson there is that there was nothing special about Vancouver (beautiful location, lots of rain, west coast crunchy-granola green culture) that led it to re-think its urban design strategy: it was a deliberate choice.

And it really started in the early 70s when the citizens stopped the so-called East End penetrator freeway that would have driven a huge highway through the middle of the city. When they realized they couldn't rely on freeways (or even multi-lane one way freeway-lite streets like in Hamilton), they had to do things differently.

I wrote about this a few years ago:

https://www.raisethehammer.org/article/1...

And, although downtown Vancouver does have a few paired one-ways (much less than Hamilton) they are not the high speed pedestrian aggressive streets we have in Hamilton (sidewalks are wide, ped crossings are located at every block and speeds are lower) ... and several of them have been tamed with protected bike lanes. Although they are one-ways, there is really no comparison with a Main/King/Cannon.

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By RobF (registered) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 15:20:30 in reply to Comment 105928

Yes, I'm aware of the history, and not trying to argue that Vancouver was or is special in the way you are suggesting. I would suggest that the single biggest factor was not re-thinking its urban design strategy or deliberate choice, though these were no doubt important and necessary. The City's planning and design regime (Vancouverism) was largely aided by the Vancouver Charter (1953) that gave the city special powers and a kind of independence that no other municipality in BC has. This more than anything else has allowed the City of Vancouver to implement Vancouverism in a way that no Ontario city can given the degree of power to interfere that is given to the OMB and retained by the Province in general.

I would also dispute the degree of difference between major roads in Hamilton and Vancouver, except that Vancouver has decided to take a more progressive posture towards changing/taming them. I had relatives in Vancouver and Burnaby/New Westminster and lived in both in my 20s before moving to Ontario. I can't see how Oak St or Granville at 70th Ave are much different than King or Main at Dundurn ... except Oak and Granville are two-way. In downtown Vancouver the one-ways were fast-moving and only differ in terms of traffic congestion ... when they aren't congested they are generally fast-moving and unpleasant streets for cyclists and pedestrians. Again the main difference between here and there is the posture of city politicians and staff toward making changes in the direction of complete streets. Actually overturning the dominance of the car has taken several decades ... and the political balance really shifted in the last 10 years in my view. That is the hill we must climb here, though i hope our progress is faster.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 15:31:31 in reply to Comment 105935

That's an interesting point about the power given to the city. But the key thing is that they actually use the power positively, and maintained a consistent urban design regime over many different left and right wing municipal councils. Probably the role of real estate development, and seeing value in the city, played a part as well. A big part of the "industry" in Vancouver is flipping and developing real estate and this means that a lot of people are personally invested in having an attractive urban environment.

I agree that cycling was not much fun in Vancouver until 10-15 years ago, but the downtown was always much more pleasant for pedestrians (although there were far fewer of them in the 1970s and 1980s).

And, as I've mentioned before, the other big difference is the attitude of drivers who are still far more respectful of pedestrians crossing (especially at crosswalks or uncontrolled intersections) than in Hamilton.

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By RobF (registered) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 15:58:55 in reply to Comment 105937

The issue of governance is important and explains some of the difficulties we face in Hamilton (and the rest of the GTA) in implementing our OPs and achieving good urbanism. I'm familiar with work advocating for a Toronto Charter. And yes, the positive use of the powers Vancouver has is an important distinction. Vancouver developers have learned they need to operate within the Vancouver system, and have figured out how to prosper. The glass controversy on the Sheraton Wall Centre is an illustrative example of how powerful Vancouver city planners are in relation to their Ontario counterparts.

My point was never to suggest Vancouver has nothing to offer us. I'm pretty fond of my hometown. I was born at St. Paul's on Burrard St Downtown, and my mother grew up on the western edge of what is now Yaletown, though it was not such a desirable area in the 1950s/60s when she was raised there. For me the lessons we need to learn go deeper than what we want to build or how the city should function. We need to consider how other places have achieved change ... and acknowledge the political struggles and setbacks. I didn't own a car as an undergrad at SFU and endured a 4 month transit strike in 2001. I remember walking up Burnaby Mountain to write final exams. In Toronto, the city is paralyzed if the TTC or GO stops for even a few hours, and the province quickly steps in if there is a labour stoppage. I can also remember the back-and-forth over bike-lanes on the Burrard Bridge ... the ill-fated trial and removal of them. Thankfully it seems that active transportation has won out.

And, as I've mentioned before, the other big difference is the attitude of drivers who are still far more respectful of pedestrians crossing (especially at crosswalks or uncontrolled intersections) than in Hamilton.

I couldn't agree more ... it is shocking how little regard is given pedestrians in Hamilton. I find myself warning visiting friends and relatives that if they value their lives to never assume that a crosswalk is actually a crosswalk or expect that a car will stop for you.

Comment edited by RobF on 2014-11-04 16:03:54

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 15:17:06 in reply to Comment 105928

The Hamilton trolls never let you win no matter how much data or info you share. I've said for years I'd be happy as heck with one-way streets like they have in Vancouver, Portland, Montreal etc.... But the reply is always some nonsense about why our city can't handle anything less than disgusting Main or King st freeways. heck, Portland has more one-ways than us by a country-mile.

Most look like this downtown: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-9eppEJtsnd8/UP...

And like this in old urban hoods like Hamilton's lower city/central/east hoods:
http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5523/10698...

What we've just done to Cannon EAST of Victoria is the first safe, complete, one-way street on a main road in Hamilton.

Like Vancouver, Portland intentionally made the decisions to build their city with transport OPTIONS instead of becoming like LA. Now even LA doesn't want to be like LA anymore and is building LRT, subways, bike lanes and road diets across the entire metro area. Hamilton could have learned before it was too late, but instead we continue to spend tons of money on new roadways like West 5th, Barton, King, Kenilworth with no changes to their mode share. All cars, all the time, and way more capacity than we need. Which will cost us way more to upkeep than we can afford.

I've mentioned this before too, but some more recent examples to show how when a city population is used to proper one-way streets, they are discussed as rational, legit options for traffic calming and revitalization:

http://www.oregonlive.com/beaverton/inde...

Folks in the Portland metro area don't have the bad associations with one-ways that we all have. Because 95% of theirs are human scaled, complete streets full of thriving business. Here, a suburban downtown is considering getting rid of it's 5 lane street (2 lanes each way, centre turn lane) and replacing it with a 2-lane one way street to accommodate wider sidewalks, bike lanes and parking on both sides.

A couple of years ago in Montreal, a cycle track was installed on a major two way street downtown. The biggest complaint from the cycling community was that the cycle track was too narrow and inferior to the others ones in the city that are almost exclusively on one-way streets because the number of lanes required for the two-way street ate into cycling space. They recommended converting it to a one-way street in order to lose 1 or 2 lanes of car traffic.

Comment edited by jason on 2014-11-04 15:23:47

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By RobF (registered) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 16:22:50 in reply to Comment 105934

Who you calling a troll? ;)

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 16:27:42 in reply to Comment 105941

Lol. certainly not you.
You're always a pleasure to hear from and discuss with.

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By RobF (registered) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 17:03:40 in reply to Comment 105942

I know ... I don't know how to use emoticons here, so ;) was an old-fashioned wink. Always a pleasure to read your posts and comments too.

btw. I lent Ryan a copy of a book on a transit planning project in Aalborg, Denmark. It has chapter called "the Weakness of the Better Argument" ... I think of it all the time with regard to complete streets and the LRT in Hamilton. Unfortunately, it seems here and elsewhere we need more than just facts and good ideas to prevail.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 20:08:03 in reply to Comment 105943

sounds great! I'll have to check it out.

Yes, one of the hardest things about changing a city and moving forward is changing a city and moving forward, mainly in people's thinking, attitudes and mindsets. Same for every area of life. People settle into the status quo and despite their travels all over the world where we constantly hear "why can't Hamilton be like this??" while standing in a pedestrian piazza in Europe with light rail trains gliding by, most come home and immediately revert back to the status quo.

Take a LANE OFF MAIN STREET? Are you kidding?? Even though the data shows it carrying 2.5 - 3 lanes of traffic from Locke to Bay and 2 lanes all points east of city hall.

Change ain't easy

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By Matt (anonymous) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 14:09:22

ever notice that city hall and opposing Councillors are backwards thinking and can only think that the car is the only viable solution, adding to congestion and smog while the LRT woudl provide fast and efficient service through out the city freeing up other buses to serve on route which may need more service.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 14:36:16

Will be interesting to see how the 2015 TransLink funding referendum plays out.

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By forfun (anonymous) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 14:42:29

Ever notice that:

* People with more money want more money
* Peoople with addicitions want more
* Cities with decent tax incomes want more

People always want more...it's human nature.

LRT is an expensive undertaking and needs to be carefully planned. Those cities you mentioned are LARGE cities, with high metropolitan areas (millions) with city centre population greater than Hamilton's entire population. I truly hope LRT goes in, but it needs to make sense - fiscally and operationally.

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By RobF (registered) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 16:21:06 in reply to Comment 105929

I think LRT has been carefully planned. At this point we risk paralysis by analysis on our LRT decision. The built form, intensification potential, and existing ridership numbers on the proposed B-Line LRT route all suggest that it makes sense and is a prudent choice, fiscally and operationally.

Comment edited by RobF on 2014-11-04 16:21:20

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 15:13:37 in reply to Comment 105929

Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver all had populations similar to or smaller than Hamilton's current population when they began building their systems.

For example, the city of Vancouver had a population of only 414,281 when planning began in 1981 and 431,147 in 1986 when sky train opened (about 100,000 less than Hamilton now). Even the entire Metro Vancouver area only had a population of 1.2 million in 1981 ... and it extends over a huge area (2,877.36 km2). Remember the population of Metro Hamilton is over 720,000 and is directly connected to the huge GTHA.

And of the 27 French cities that are planning or have built LRT, all but a handful are far smaller than Hamilton.

http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_des_t...

We (the City, Metrolinx and various consultants) have spent over six years carefully planning our LRT project.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2014-11-04 15:19:32

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By forfun (anonymous) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 17:11:52 in reply to Comment 105933

I'm not sure how being connected to the Huge GTHA is a benefit. Are we really thinking that people from Toronto are going to be attracted to come to Hamilton to shop downtown or stroll around because we have LRT? I hope that assumption isn't going into the numbers that are trying to justify this.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 20:12:50 in reply to Comment 105944

all numbers and research into LRT so far are strictly using local ridership, and local economic development scenarios.

However, dream with me for a minute. We are 40 minutes from the biggest market in Canada. Imagine if we added a dynamic, vibrant, bustling urban core and waterfront to our staggering array of natural trails, hiking spots, farm markets and waterfalls?? We SHOULD be one of the hottest weekend trips for folks looking to get out of TO and enjoy the great outdoors, while still having a dynamic urban scene to enjoy. If our lower city was like a mini-Montreal, safely and properly connected to Dundas/Ancaster/ Cootes to Escarpment and the waterfront with protected cycle tracks, tree lined streets and LRT lines this place would boom from a tourism perspective.

Nobody has yet to discuss such a vision for Hamilton, but an urban renaissance (a real one, not big box stores and parking lots) would bring in a whole new wave of economic activity we haven't even thought about yet.
Most of city hall can't wrap their heads around 'good retail ever coming downtown again' even though that's exactly what's happening in every reborn downtown in North America. It can happen here if we roll up our sleeves and make prosperity and revitalization a priority.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 15:40:49

Hamilton wants new business to locate here? Build a city Millennials want to live in. They're not the young, fringe, weird demographic anymore.

http://www.fastcoexist.com/3037823/mille...

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 20:56:27 in reply to Comment 105938

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By j.servus (registered) | Posted November 05, 2014 at 21:17:25 in reply to Comment 105958

I was just wondering why your satisfaction should be the goal of our public policy making. I was thinking, maybe, the prosperity of the city as a whole might be a higher value than your satisfaction.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 06, 2014 at 23:01:17 in reply to Comment 106000

agreed. I always challenge those who defend the status quo that the burden of proof is on them, not on those who want to learn from the best practices from other cities.

This isn't a popularity contest or a question of what colour socks to wear. World wide experts have done the research and planning on such transit networks, and thousands of cities enjoy the fruits of such investment. Some citizen who doesn't know the first thing about planning is the LAST place we should be taking advice from when looking to move our city forward. Opinions are irrelevant.
We need to plan our city with the best available options that are tried and true.

Comment edited by jason on 2014-11-06 23:02:49

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By notlloyd (registered) - website | Posted November 07, 2014 at 09:41:47 in reply to Comment 106023

I disagree. This is a place to be heard. Who better to hear from than the people who live here. Your argument is essentially argumentum ab auctoritate which leads to a logical fallacy.

As an example, one way streets are not bad because world wide authorities say they are. As has been pointed out on this site numerous times, there are ample good authoritative reasons to use or not one way streets. Practically and without any authority there are obvious advantages - and disadvantages

There are many may people who have lived in Hamilton for many many years who love one way streets. There are people who have always hated them. That makes them neither right nor wrong. But their views should not be dismissed because they are not "authorities."

Calling someone who loves, likes or simply prefers one way streets names, or dismissing them as above, adds nothing to the debate.

I do agree that the city needs to use the best options tried and true.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted November 06, 2014 at 18:50:25 in reply to Comment 106000

Because there are differing opinions, that's why. I don't need to pile on like everyone else on the pro-side is all. Prosperity of the city != LRT.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted November 05, 2014 at 06:55:40 in reply to Comment 105958

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 20:14:21

2025/2030?

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expo_86#Background
bie-paris.org/site/en/expos/how-to-organize-an-expo

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 20:23:17 in reply to Comment 105954

2025/2030?

expo67.morenciel.com/an/transports/metro.php
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_Line_(Montreal_Metro)
bie-paris.org/site/en/expos/how-to-organize-an-expo

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 21:23:18

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By H1 (anonymous) | Posted November 05, 2014 at 09:10:26 in reply to Comment 105960

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted November 05, 2014 at 06:33:02 in reply to Comment 105960

Old fart? I'm honoured. <3

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By Wowzers (anonymous) | Posted November 04, 2014 at 21:35:34

This city needs a culture change before any new small business will survive. Most of the old schoolers here don't want anything new.

I have 3 friends that own various business types.... all from Toronto. They all have an extremely hard time surviving because the old school locals just don't like new people trying anything different.

All of these business owners have had people come in and just tell them they don't need them or ask why are they here? To have a local citizens talk down to a business owner trying to make the neighborhood a more vibrant place.

This is a very common attitude in Hamilton.

From the business facilitation counter at city hall, to the local bitter folk.

These are the same people you call trolls, they troll in real life too.

These business owners I speak about are good people who moved here because they could not afford to lease in the GTA, they have various types of business and this bitter attitude of cheapness and negativity is a plague.

These people complain there is no jobs, but they are the first to talk badly about a small shop trying to make an attempt to hopefully hire staff once they make profits.

The "hater" mantality here is always going to hold this city back and it is very sad.




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By density (anonymous) | Posted November 06, 2014 at 09:16:21 in reply to Comment 105964

The main problem with opening a new business in Hamilton (and I have been there) is a lack of density. There will always be a core group set in their ways, you can't blame them for not instantly supportinng new businesses. In fact it would be unaffordable for the current residents to support every new biz.

What's missing is the critical mass of residents that means feet on the street all day. The thing is, that is WHY it's so much more affordable to open a business here. If it was easy to make it work, it would cost more to get in the door. The pain is the price of being an early adopter. I'm sure it will change but with such a do-nothing council it just takes time. Way too much time.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted November 05, 2014 at 06:35:19 in reply to Comment 105964

I think it's more of an "us vs. them" type thing. You know, where someone who isn't from here and has just moved here wants to change everything? A lot of people are afraid of change. They also see or feel it as the new guy lecturing to those who have lived or worked here their whole lives. Maybe it's in the approach? I don't know.

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By j.servus (registered) | Posted November 05, 2014 at 19:40:37 in reply to Comment 105973

Do you mean me? ;)

So, today we actually have a much better understanding of the kinds of conditions that make a city prosperous and vibrant, than we did fifty years ago.

The fact that I just got off the boat--is that a reason why I shouldn't advocate for better public policy in Hamilton?

The fact that some people like it just the way it is--does that mean we should make their personal satisfaction the criterion for public policy in Hamilton?

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted November 07, 2014 at 07:54:15 in reply to Comment 105996

Do you mean me? ;)

No, not you specifically, just generalizing.

Again, it's more of the people who have lived in the city for their entire lives and see one vision - and those who are "from away" as they like to say out East - having a different vision. Both sides try to say their vision is more important than the other's. I don't know how you mend the rift. Maybe things will start to settle down after our housing prices return to something resembling affordable and the bubble bursts.

Comment edited by DowntownInHamilton on 2014-11-07 07:54:25

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By Lifer (anonymous) | Posted November 05, 2014 at 09:57:19 in reply to Comment 105973

Well I have lived here for all of my 50+ years.

You know who doesn't want change? The new home developers. They don't want an urban form to be attractive to anyone. They want everyone to come and lap up the "cheap" housing they keep building on the edges of town. Unfortunately they wield more influence over our city's decision making and planning processes than is healthy.

If you believe that the AEGD is really about developing employment lands, you are hopelessly naive.

The city needs a major reboot.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted November 07, 2014 at 07:57:32 in reply to Comment 105982

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By Lifer (anonymous) | Posted November 07, 2014 at 11:13:04 in reply to Comment 106025

Well then, I apologize.

After reading your well thought out and coherent rebuttal of all of the pro-LRT aguements, you got me.

I think I also now tend to see something.....something.....free stuff.....something.....transit....what?

How about more roads and sprawl? How do you and yours tend to think and feel about that?

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted November 09, 2014 at 16:39:18 in reply to Comment 106034

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By DissenterOfThings (registered) | Posted November 07, 2014 at 10:05:56 in reply to Comment 106025

You doubt it based on what? Your gut? And you wonder why people want to lecture you.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted November 09, 2014 at 16:40:11 in reply to Comment 106030

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 09, 2014 at 18:40:20 in reply to Comment 106074

you and your family may want to read the Benefits Case Analysis report. It sounds like you all pay taxes in Hamilton, and like me, would like to see the lower city redeveloped dramatically and start pumping millions more into the city's coffers each year, along with tons of new jobs, residents and businesses coming to the old inner city.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted November 09, 2014 at 22:57:00 in reply to Comment 106079

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By gutsy (anonymous) | Posted November 09, 2014 at 17:16:11 in reply to Comment 106074

"Yes, based on my gut."

How precious to think your "gut" is more trustworthy than the pile of studies proving the claim for LRT. If you want to be taken seriously stop acting childish, grow up and educate yourself of the facts before running your mouth (or keyboard) on things you can't be bothered to learn about.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted November 09, 2014 at 22:58:04 in reply to Comment 106077

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 07, 2014 at 09:42:26 in reply to Comment 106025

if only we had known earlier that you and your relatives were urban planning experts, we could have saved all the money we paid Steer Davies Gleave, one the world's leading transportation consultants, to research our LRT plans.

http://www.steerdaviesgleave.com

Next time we'll know where to go for the real scoop

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted November 09, 2014 at 16:41:40 in reply to Comment 106028

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 09, 2014 at 18:42:15 in reply to Comment 106076

all the info is easily available online. In fact, RTH has a special LRT section with all articles on the topic grouped together for easy reference.

Also, the polls done during the election, along with the mayoral results, clearly show majority of Hamiltonians do support LRT.
Now that we have a forward thinking mayor in power, I expect the buzz and public education will return to this great investment in our future after the previous administration did everything possible to kill it.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted November 09, 2014 at 23:02:22 in reply to Comment 106080

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By DissenterOfThings (registered) | Posted November 05, 2014 at 07:02:53 in reply to Comment 105973

The people that have lived here their whole lives and think the status quo is acceptable should be lectured to. Hell they should be nannied and patronized because they clearly have self-destructive decision making processes.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted November 07, 2014 at 07:58:35 in reply to Comment 105976

The people that have lived here their whole lives and think the status quo is acceptable should be lectured to. Hell they should be nannied and patronized because they clearly have self-destructive decision making processes.

And those that want to throw away good money after bad? Should they be lectured to as well? Since we don't have a crystal ball, should we just cross our fingers and hope for the best when we're talking about a billion dollar capital project?

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 09, 2014 at 18:43:00 in reply to Comment 106026

Crystal Ball? Find me ONE city that built LRT and 25 years later ripped up the tracks and built a highway instead.

Please find one.

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By tre (registered) | Posted November 12, 2014 at 18:46:36 in reply to Comment 106081

There used to be interurban streetcar lines (which we now call LRT) operating between Toronto and Newmarket and between Toronto and Guelph (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toronto_and_York_Radial_Railway). Then, they ripped up the tracks and built Highways 400 and 401.

To be fair though, the same route to Newmarket is now a BRT called VIVA Blue.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted November 09, 2014 at 23:03:06 in reply to Comment 106081

Find me one city that passed on LRT and somehow went stagnant.

Please find one.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 10, 2014 at 11:40:10 in reply to Comment 106088

we're living in one. Done. Now go find yours.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted November 11, 2014 at 18:17:33 in reply to Comment 106090

We haven't passed on it nor have we gone stagnant - it's been a gradual slide going back several generations and holding steady for the past couple years. Try again?

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 11, 2014 at 23:27:19 in reply to Comment 106132

Do some research. We turned down elevated LRT in 1981. Vancouver took it and it's called SkyTrain. Since then, Hamilton became the only dead zone in Canada's most prosperous region. Vancouver rocketed to #1 in the world's most livable cities charts and is now consistently top 3 year after year. Yea you're right. We made the right choice. They made the wrong choice.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted November 12, 2014 at 22:28:46 in reply to Comment 106146

Elevated LRT isn't the same thing as LRT. Try again?

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By Do Your Own Trollsearch (anonymous) | Posted November 10, 2014 at 09:40:20 in reply to Comment 106088

No. You find a city that passed on LRT and is thriving.

Have you ever noticed that people you just finished talking to start looking for a ledge?

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted November 11, 2014 at 18:18:02 in reply to Comment 106089

Yup, I'm the one who has to go out and find it. And your personal attack warms my heart. Love you too :)

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By DissenterOfThings (registered) | Posted November 07, 2014 at 10:04:35 in reply to Comment 106026

We routinely throw "good money" at needless, myopic auto-infrastructure projects without even batting an eye. We rarely, if ever study building highway-style overpasses and dangerous intersections the way we should. LRT has been studied to death and has produced far more evidence for its success then the usual status quo developments. I would hardly call that crossing our fingers and wishing for the best.

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By Crispy (registered) | Posted November 06, 2014 at 07:51:48 in reply to Comment 105976

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By DissenterOfThings (registered) | Posted November 06, 2014 at 16:26:09 in reply to Comment 106001

I don't speak for the RTH community. I don't always agree with it either. I stand by my comment though.

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By anony (anonymous) | Posted November 06, 2014 at 09:11:28 in reply to Comment 106001

And that is the problem with people who want to keep the status quo. They think that "RTH" is a "them" that needs to be fought.

It's just a website, it's not a conspiracy group. It just happes that most of those who care to write here have researched and/or visited and/or lived in cities around the world that are moving forward instead of spinning wheels in the muck.

Look around the world - things are changing everywhere. This is all about Hamilton keeping up, or god forbid GETTING AHEAD (like we did in the past) instead of becoming Canada's Detroit. No offence to Windsor and Sarnia but are we really going to let those cities perform better than us? We have so many gifts dropped in our laps, from geogrpahy to the proximity to GTA population to an intelligent street design from the early 1900s (that was ruined in the 50s but could be brought back overnight) and on and on. Yet the squelchers just want to make sure they can blast through in their cars in time for their tv shows every night and god forbid they ahve to wait at a red light or slow down for a pedestrian...

It's time this city grew up - it's full of selfish jerks who act like spoiled teenagers and who frankly need to be patronized at this point for their own damned good.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted November 05, 2014 at 00:00:24 in reply to Comment 105964

These are the same people you call trolls, they troll in real life too.

It's true.

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By notlloyd (registered) - website | Posted November 05, 2014 at 08:37:57 in reply to Comment 105969

And then there are troll trolls. People who accuse people of being trolls who are essentially trolling themselves.

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By wowzers (anonymous) | Posted November 06, 2014 at 08:58:45

What the heck is wrong with opening a new shop on a street?

How is that aggressive at all?

It is really not Raise the Hammers web sit that is a problem.

It is clearly a generational thing, new younger people coming back to Niagara area to put up roots....same as the current locals did back in the day.

It does not matter if they don't like the "NEW" people, The big scary bad new people are just renting or buying houses to live. They are opening up a business to hopefully make a living, and possibly hire staff.

Don't people want to see their streets bustling?

This place is beautiful, its really sad to see so many empty businesses.

No longer a steel city, we need jobs....give the "New" people a chance.

Hamilton is in between Niagara and Toronto, people have been coming through here for a long time, lets give them a reason to stop and stay a while.



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By Hammer Man (anonymous) | Posted November 07, 2014 at 13:31:21

But But 13% of voters voted in a mayor who wants to talk about it for another 4 years and do nothing! how do we argue with not having LRT because it might not run directly in front of my house so I don't want to pay for it even though I will still not use it even if it did? Or why would I want a full LRT transit plan in place so the Provincial Government will fund LRT wnhen we can bicker and bite our nails until the moment passes we settle for the status quo of a few bucks for more buses that will be spent on road repair because our road budget is too busy happily wasting money on new roads and infrastructure that benefit a select few elite in Hamilton which almost no one cares to cross?

Until we stop catering to a minority of people who happen to have more councilors than much of the rest of Hamilton, we will continually make ways to go around Hamilton, avoid Hamilton but not make it a place to come and stay and do business.

We lost 4 years of Dolittle Dithering with Bratina and we talked to death before that under Eisenberger are we to talk ourselves out of LRT this term?

Any City money actually needed should look to the wate on East Mountain where it is already poorly serviced yet they are clamouring to spend 18 Billion on the Red Hill Expressway extension as well as develop right around Eramosa Karst to make that into another island green space where people bitch and complain about wildlife coming into "their" yards and how many they regularly run over because of poor poor wasteful planning which could have been better spent on making what we have so much better.

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By Power less (anonymous) | Posted November 09, 2014 at 07:16:58

6-7 months + 7 -10 years of construction = 6.7years -7.10years before we see LRT.

It is a dead topic until the powers that be do anything relevant.

We all know it's better....well those who have used a good transit system know.

How about we stop talking about LRT for a minute and talk about creating jobs now.

Oh Geeze! Late for work in Toronto., have to go.... Good thing I have a reliable transit infastructure to get me to my job in Toronto.

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