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Minutes for the August 26, 2008 Meeting

Summary of the discussion and action items from the August 26, 2008 meeting.

1. Rapid Transit Study Update

Lisa Zinkewich from the City of Hamilton's Rapid Transit Feasibility Study presented an update on phase 2 of the study, which city staff is preparing to present to the public works committee.

Public Feedback

In response to a public works committee request for more public feedback, the rapid transit feasibility team prepared a public opinion survey and posted it online, advertising it in several local media.

They received over 1,300 responses, an unprecedented response. 66% supported LRT, 8% supported BRT, 20% supported either LRT or BRT, and only 6% supported neither. This is roughly consistent with the results staff received earlier during its two public information sessions in the spring.

Outreach

Staff have also met with several local organizations to explain the rapid transit study and invite feedback, including the city's mall administrations, the Hamilton Halton Home Builders' Association, local business groups, a lunchtime public session on the roof of Jackson Square, and "Lunch and Learn" sessions with city staff. Feedback was generally very positive toward the idea of rapid transit.

Lisa pointed to a very positive article on LRT in View Magazine, which included interviews with city staff as well as Nicholas Kevlahan from HLR.

Staff have also communicated regularly with Metrolinx, the provincial body working to coordinate and fund rapid transit across the GTA + Hamilton, working to ensure that Hamilton's plans are consistent with the regional Metrolinx framework.

Detailed Reports

Staff are preparing more detailed reports on: the economics of rapid transit; the possibility of using Claremont Access instead of a James Mountain Rd tunnel cut; traffic impacts of lane reductions; and options for staging and prioritizing rapid transit construction.

Other Cities

Staff have also had conference calls with other cities building RT systems and will shortly be travelling to Charlotte, North Carolina, Portland, Oregon and Calgary, Alberta to experience their LRT systems firsthand.

Phase 2 Presentation

Staff were planning to present phase 2 to the public works committee in September, but have decided to wait until after Metrolinx publishes its Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) and investment strategy.

That is expected in late September. If the RTP is not significantly different from what staff are expecting, they should be able to present phase 2 to committee shortly after.

That means Hamilton still has time to be included in the first five-year rolling capital budget from Metrolinx, which is expected in November.

2. HLR Outreach

The meeting discussed some outreach initiatives underway.

Car Free Week

Every year, Transportation for Liveable Communities organizes a series of events to celebrate Car Free Day in September. After a discussion of how HLR might get involved with that, two action items were resolved:

  • Action: Nicholas to contact Randy Kay from TLC to discuss how HLR might participate in Car Free Week events.

  • Action: Matt will inquire at Mohawk College about Car Free events there.

Labour Day

A suggestion was raised to participate in outreach during the Labour Day events, but it was decided that we don't have enough time to organize anything meaningful.

AM Rotary Club

Nicholas reported that he has been invited to make a presentation to the AM Rotary Club, an organization with many members in prominent roles in the community. (He has since reported that his presentation was very well received, and has led to follow-up sessions with several members and other local Rotary Clubs.)

Ward 8 Community Council

HLR has struggled in the past with finding ways to engage community groups in the suburban wards, as they tend not to have active neighbourhood groups the way downtown ward do. The Ward 8 Community Council is hosting a "Movie in Gibson Park" in September. It was decided to inquire whether HLR could use that opportunity to make contact with residents of Ward 8.

  • Action: Ryan will follow up with the organizers to ask if HLR can be present.

Ottawa St. BIA

Matt reported that he has received a reply from a contact at the Ottawa St. BIA, who expressed interest in the light rail initiative and shared information with the members of the BIA board.

  • Action: Matt will follow up with the Ottawa St. BIA, offer additional support and information, and ask for a letter of endorsement.

HLR Documentation

Simon offered to pay for printing 100 glossy HLR brochures to use in outreach to community and business organizations.

  • Action: Simon will provide 100 glossy brochures for HLR members to use when conducting outreach meetings.

3. Staging and Prioritizing for LRT Construction

One of the reports city staff are preparing for phase 2 of the rapid transit feasibility study is a report on options for staging and prioritizing the construction of the two planned rapid transit lines.

After some discussion, it was resolved that:

  1. HLR prefers to see both lines constructed simultaneously, since together they form a coherent rapid transit network.
  2. If staging and prioritizing is necessary, the decision on where to prioritize should be based on proven demand for transit and opportunities for economic development in the transit corridor.

Next HLR Meeting

The next HLR planning meeting will be on Tuesday, September 16, 7:30 PM at the FRWY Coffee House, 333 King Street East (at Wellington St. N.) Hamilton, ON L8N 1C1.

As always, this meeting is public and open for anyone to attend.