Special Report: Light Rail

Letter: We Need LRT to Move Hamilton Forward

Having come from Toronto, and lived through a few transit strikes, I can tell you it's the drivers who scream the loudest during a transit strike.

By Margaret Ferizis
Published April 24, 2017

Please vote in favour the LRT. This would be a tremendous boost for the city as a whole area, and not just the lower city and core.

All Councillors should do a fact check. There is a lot of misinformation out there.

I have spoken to some people who think the tracks are going to magically appear on the roadway while potholes remain untouched.

I spoke to one young man who was more concerned about the state of Hwy 6 and getting to his cottage. He thought the money should be spent on that road improvement.

Most of these people seem to be under the impression that this money is our to keep and spent anyway we want. When you try to correct this view, they turn rabid.

The demographics are changing, and this must be recognized. Young, well-informed people are coming here looking for affordable housing. They also want good transit. Many are from Toronto and are used to LRTs and subways. Many will be voting in the next election.

Please do not sell Hamilton short! You need to do what is best for the city now and in the future. Do not serve the small, selfish, self-interest of the squeaky wheels. They will always be squeaky, no matter what! In twenty years they will lie and say they were in favour of the LRT, but no one would listen. They are not the majority. You have heard the expression "silent majority". It does exist and they are watching and waiting.

If the HSR were to go on strike tomorrow, who would yell the loudest? The transit users or the drivers? Having come from Toronto, and lived through a few transit strikes, I can tell you it's the drivers.

All those extra cars on the road had them screaming the loudest and it gave them a better, if short-lived, appreciation for the TTC. The point is, that will be a typical commute here in the near future without this investment.

I have heard people mention dedicated bus lanes. If the whiners don't want to give up a lane for an LRT, they won't want to give one up for a bus, and God only knows, they don't want to be stuck behind one either.

I understand there was a lot of opposition to the Red Hill Valley Parkway. I wonder how many of those opponents use it on a regular basis? or are they boycotting it? Hamilton is still paying for this project. Eight years to go I believe?

I understand it started in the 1950s and took nearly sixty years to complete. Do you really want to start that again? That is what is going to happen. It already has. This was a done deal! Then one Councillor started to back out. Why? It doesn't make sense. What changed?

Time is money and the cost of all the delays is adding up. LRTs are the most cost effective rapid transit plans being developed, built and extended around the world.

Urban planning around cars is backwards thinking. You have a responsibility to the here and now, and to the future. This is a vital shot in the arm to the downtown core! Businesses will be attracted because of it.

Some newer businesses have expressed fears and yet they opened their stores on the proposed route, knowing what may come. If I was opening a business and I was afraid, I would have chosen another location. Others have opened business in the hopes of an LRT and revitalized core.

It's time to support the Mayor and his vision for the city and not just your own backyard. Believe or not it, once built, it will be a local attraction for people on the outskirts, and it will bring civic pride.

If we don't take the money and run, somebody else will and they will be laughing all the way to the bank at our expense.

Big Box Malls on the Mountain and suburbs have sucked the life blood out of the Core, now it's time to pay it forward.

This letter was sent to Council in advance of their Wednesday, April 26 vote on the LRT project.

Margaret Ferizis lives in Hamilton.

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