Comment 101172

By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted May 09, 2014 at 10:03:58 in reply to Comment 101162

Buses are for hobos and teenagers, right?

Exactly.

That's the problem. Buses suck. They toss you around, the drivers are rude, and the only people who want that experience are hobos and teenagers. Hippies put up with it for reasons of principle, but nobody likes buses. Drivers have to put up with a lot of crap and a lot of conflicting requirements so I don't really blame them for being surly and impatient, but the end result is a miserable experience. You want to talk about congestion? King and main don't have much congestion at rush-hour for drivers, but there is tons of congestion for bus-riders. The buses get full and drive right by instead of picking you up, they get thrown off their schedule by making too many stops and taking too long at each stop, etc. Trains are huge and fast (including fast loading/unloading), and so they don't do that so much.

People like trains. Middle-class people take trains. You go to any respectable city and take any rail-based transit and you'll see guys in thousand-dollar-suits taking rail-based transit. You don't have to deal with surly drivers, you get where you're going fast, and the ride is comfortable.

Nobody likes to talk about this because it's kind of inherently classist - it's about transit for normal middle-class adults, because they won't deign to ride the bus (for some good reasons - buses kinda suck).

Now here's the thing: we need to get Hamilton's middle-class who lives and/or works downtown out of their cars. All those parking lots and high-speed roadways just destroy the land-value because they make everything spread out and miserable. Hamilton's lower-city construction just wasn't designed for car-oriented development and the kludges and hacks like one-way corridors and private parking lots just make it a miserable worst-of-both-worlds compromise between suburbia and a real city. Converting it into properly-designed suburbia would involve knocking half of it down and in the end we've already got all the suburbia we could ever want. Converting it back into a real city requires transit that people don't hate. With transit that people don't hate, we can intensify development downtown without parking requirements that there just plain isn't room for.

The B-line represents the most intense and active transit corridor in the city. A crapload of people take those buses. The city says that at rush hour, the bus lane is carrying as many people as every other lane put together. They're just, y'know, bus-people. Imagine what that would look like if all those students and hobos and hippies and other bus-people had cars and were driving - imagine King and Main street twice as wide, full of just as many cars. Holy crap, that's a lot of people, right?

So we've already got this intense, high-density, heavily used transit corridor. It connects many of the city's important destinations - the university, a couple of hospitals, the city centre, a few malls, a whole whack of office-towers, some shopping-vilages, and about 13 kilometers of dense-packed residential housing tucked behind and between all that stuff I mentioned.

But only weirdos and losers ride it. We get everybody riding it by making it rail.

We can't do that up the mountain because the mountain is too spread out. Where would you run a light rail line on the mountain where you could reach all that cool stuff? You could get a decent amount at Upper James, maybe Upper Wellington, but even then there aren't that many huge offices and dense-packed houses and high-rises along Upper James or Upper Wellington.

Plus there's the whole "insanely rising costs of gas" and "global warming apocalypse" thing related to those cars that an LRT line avoids.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2014-05-09 10:12:50

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