Light Rail

Letter: What Makes Hamilton so Different?

By Letter to the Editor
Published July 11, 2011

Dear Mr. Mayor,

I wish I were writing to you under happier circumstances, but unfortunately, I'm not. I've been reading an awful lot lately about your curiously flip-flopping attitudes lately on the subject of light rail transit (LRT). Your previous statements as recorded by various media outlets show a strong support for such progressive projects as LRT.

Hamilton is a wonderful place to live, Mr. Mayor, and I'm sure you feel the same, which is why I view your sudden about-face on the issue of LRT with confusion and, I must be honest, with some alarm. Surely you understand that improved access to public transit is beneficial to our potentially amazing city?

LRT would take buses off of the Eastgate-McMaster line and send them to other, under-serviced areas of the city. It would take cars off the road and reduce pollution in an already polluted city. It would offer residents the ability to get out and about more quickly, and help showcase the amazing things we have to offer. Why, then, do you go on the radio and change your mind, saying that you haven't heard any demand from the taxpayers?

I pay taxes, Mr. Bratina, and I am demanding that Hamilton get light rail transit. I do not drive, and rely entirely upon my two feet, my bicycle, and the bus. I don't know the last time you had to take a bus, but if you want to get an idea of how badly we need this service, then I respectfully suggest that you spend a week relying only on the HSR to get to and from where you have to go. It will be an eye-opening experience, I assure you.

When talking on the radio with Bill Kelly, you said:

"Well, the general thing is that, where, typically, where stations are located, within a certain radius, there tends to be development, like the subways... Whether the same thing would happen in Hamilton is - there's no convincing argument yet."

Is this yet another case of someone insisting that an idea that has worked perfectly everywhere else will not, for reasons that are never precisely defined, work in Hamilton? What is it that makes Hamilton so different? Is it City Council and its inability to take action on a fantastic vision of a city of the future, today? Mr. Bratina, why are you so afraid to move Hamilton forward into the 21st century?

I support light rail, Mr. Mayor, and I vote.

Regards,
James Carter

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4 Comments

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By James (registered) | Posted July 12, 2011 at 18:41:03

Just as a follow-up to this: I got an e-mail back from the mayor today, and holy hell was it ever rude and condescending. It's great to see you engaging with the community, Mr. Bratina!

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By Barbarella (anonymous) | Posted July 12, 2011 at 21:22:06 in reply to Comment 66078

You're gonna post it right?

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By James (registered) | Posted July 12, 2011 at 22:21:55 in reply to Comment 66088

I suppose. If, for some reason, this violates a RTH policy, someone let me know and I'll delete it. Mail is as follows:

Dear Mr. Carter, I'm not doing things to get re-elected, so the implication that I should heed your wishes lest I lose your vote disengages me.

Flip-flopping? I am an advocate of LRT. I don't know what the financial implications are to the average tax-payer, nor do you. To therefore endorse whatever the project entails is irresponsible.

Improved access to public transit? The LRT stops are farther apart than bus stops. LRT revenues might have to be funnelled back into suppor of the project, thus endangering other routes that are subsidized by the now profitable bus operations on the B Line.

Last time I took a bus? I ride regularly, holding an HSR pass. The time-consuming bus trips are typically to and from the east or west mountain. LRT has no impact in this configuration.

Finally, rancorous derisive comments are not compelling.

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By Barbarella (anonymous) | Posted July 12, 2011 at 22:47:35 in reply to Comment 66092

Pshaw, that's one of Bob's nicer notes.

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