The City's LRT plan has $1 billion in provincial funding. Tell Council to take YES for an answer.

Counter the false "facts" about LRT

Posted June 17, 2016

An anti-LRT campaign has begun posting and emailing a "TRUE FACT SHEET" about the Hamilton Light Rail Transit (LRT) plan.

Unfortunately, the sheet is full of false, incorrect and misleading claims that will only help to confuse and misinform people who are still undecided about LRT.

If you have a chance to engage with someone who has received this misleading sheet, here are some real facts you can use in response.

  • The revenue sharing arrangement has not been finalized yet. It is one of the issues being negotiated under the Memorandum of Agreement between Metrolinx and the City.

  • The ownership and operation of the line still has to be negotiated between the City and Metrolinx. That will likely happen within the next several months.

  • Emergency vehicles will be able to use the LRT right-of-way, just as they do in other cities that have LRT systems.

  • The Province has clearly stated that Hamilton taxpayers will not be responsible if the project goes over budget. If necessary, the project will be scaled back to keep it in budget. However, Metrolinx has an excellent track record of staying in budget, e.g. the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, which is much larger and more complicated than Hamilton's system and is on time and on budget.

  • The overall construction time is expected to be 4-5 years, but the construction is likely to be staged so that each segment of the route is closed for a shorter period of time to minimize business disruption.

  • The construction period will be challenging for businesses, but the City and Metrolinx are already committed to working proactively with business owners to ensure they emerge successful from the construction period. In addition, a citizen campaign is already being organized to promote and support affected businesses during construction.

  • In Waterloo Region, a couple of businesses have closed during the construction phase but they were widely regarded as ready to close anyway. Meanwhile, at least 20 new businesses have already opened during the construction phase.

  • The underground infrastructure that will be replaced is very old and soon due for replacement anyway. If we turn down the LRT investment, the businesses will still have to go through the reconstruction phase, but without a rapid transit system at the end.

  • By having underground infrastructure replaced under the Provincial LRT budget, the City is saving tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure replacement capital spending, which it can distribute to other parts of the city that need road reconstruction.

  • All property purchases will be covered by Metrolinx under the LRT capital budget. Of around 260 identified properties, most are just a thin sliver of land next to the public ROW. The total cost will be nowhere near the made-up $500 million number.

  • There is absolutely no reason to think the new bridge over Highway 403 will cost anywhere near $1 billion, another made-up number. In any case, Metrolinx owns the project and is responsible for the budget.

  • The transit-only lane was only two kilometres long and ran for just over a year. It was actually quite successful by a variety of measures, and in two separate surveys, a clear majority of Hamiltonians supported keeping it and tweaking the design to make it work better.

  • LRT stops are spaced more widely than bus stops because that is proven to work more successfully in rapid transit systems. However, the location of stops has not yet been finalized, so Hamiltonians have an opportunity to recommend changes (e.g. adding a stop at International Village).

  • Current ridership is over 30,000 trips a day, which would put Hamilton's LRT right in the mid-range of successful LRT systems in North America on opening day. In any case, Metrolinx is responsible to cover the operational costs of the system.

  • The Edinburgh LRT system's ridership has already surpassed projections and the system enjoys 97% user satisfaction. The City is already planning to extend the line.

  • Hamilton's current LRT plan is just the first phase of a larger rapid transit network across Hamilton that will extend into Stoney Creek, south to the Airport and across the mountain.

  • Building LRT will free up city buses that can be used to increase transit service in other parts of the city.

  • Bus Rapid Transit is cheaper to build but more expensive to operate: each vehicle can carry fewer passengers, so more vehicles and drivers are needed. BRT also has a much lower maximum capacity. Ottawa, for example, built BRT (Transitway) instead of LRT and is now being forced to upgrade to LRT because their bus system is at capacity.

  • BRT is just as disruptive as LRT during construction, since the roadbed has to be rebuilt to accommodate the weight of a high volume of express articulated buses. It also runs in dedicated lanes, so it will disrupt vehicle traffic just as much as LRT - but with much lower economic uplift.

  • A referendum would not be binding unless over 50% of Hamiltonians participated. Municipal elections only draw around 32% of eligible voters.

If you want to learn more about Hamilton's LRT plan, you can find questions and detailed answers here:

https://raisethehammer.org/article/2974/answerstoallyourlightrailtransit_questions

If you have not already written to Council to express your support for the LRT plan, please do to:

http://hamiltonlightrail.ca/statements/new

Please share this with your friends and associate networks and over social media. We all need to get involved to counter these false, fear-based claims with good accurate information.

 

Comments

On June 17 2016 at 10:53 AM Actual Citizen said:

people really need to get over it, no, the majority of the city doesn't want a train running through the street. Grow up, join the real world and get a car...buses are for teens, single moms, crackheads and drunks who already lost their licenses many moons ago. Once you have your own transportation, you'll realize how silly this all looks.

On June 17 2016 at 11:04 AM Robin McGill said:

Thank you for that detailed run down of some facts about LRT. I learned a lot and feel even more strongly that Hamilton needs LRT. I wish that more drivers would understand that a stronger public transportation system and more bike lanes would reduce traffic and they would be able to get where they're going quicker. It's a win-win for everyone!
- Also an "actual citizen" (whatever that means)

On June 17 2016 at 11:14 AM Mark Schilling said:

Of course, the "real world" includes advanced transit for everyone, not the stereotypes listed by someone else in this thread. The LRT will advance Hamilton into the 21st century. No one is taking away your precious cars. It's just that some of us with cars also take transit and an LRT line across Hamilton has been long needed. Go to virtually any major global city and you will see a priority on transit.

On June 17 2016 at 11:54 AM A Better Citizen said:

Not the biggest supporter of LRT but if we get the thing let us do it right and build it all now, once operating continue each end out to Stoney Creek and Dundas so it becomes useful to more taxpayers.
A lot of the Edinburgh LRT is not grade seperated and regular traffic is also able to use the roadway. Some parts of the ROW are tram and bus only. Lot more flexible than our proposal. They also built in a older tighter busier city without the sky falling so lets just get it down.

On June 17 2016 at 12:26 PM Dave said:

LRT is for me! Thank you for countering the misinformation

On June 17 2016 at 12:47 PM meh said:

"people really need to get over it, no, the majority of the city doesn't want a train running through the street. Grow up, join the real world and get a car...buses are for teens, single moms, crackheads and drunks who already lost their licenses many moons ago. Once you have your own transportation, you'll realize how silly this all looks."

Well, that was the dumbest thing I've read in awhile.

On June 17 2016 at 3:40 PM Just Wow said:

"people really need to get over it, no, the majority of the city doesn't want a train running through the street. Grow up, join the real world and get a car...buses are for teens, single moms, crackheads and drunks who already lost their licenses many moons ago. Once you have your own transportation, you'll realize how silly this all looks."

OK! Wow! Wrong on so many levels. Thank you for showing the true face of the Anti-LRT minority.

On June 17 2016 at 4:01 PM Chris said:

I have a car and I ride my bike every chance I get, and take the bus when it's convenient. I'm an actual citizen, too. I live in Ward 8 and I support LRT downtown.

On June 17 2016 at 10:34 PM Simon said:

"buses are for teens, single moms, crackheads and drunks who already lost their licenses many moons ago"

Ironically this perception is common, and it is one of the key reasons why LRT succeeds when buses fail. A european study calls it the "psychological rail factor", it's about 75% for LRT over buses! http://reconnectingamerica.org/resource-center/browse-research/2012-2/bus-or-rail-an-approach-to-explain-the-psychological-rail-factor/

No one seems to be able to explain why, though there are many theories.

On June 18 2016 at 9:48 AM Business owner said:

In defense of the "True Facts" about LRT much of the information resource is came directly from Mr Paul Johnson and Mr Andrew Hope so not sure what resource you are using but this is one of the major concerns surrounding this project... misinformation and lack of it! you would think after 8 years of working on a project we would have actual answers?? but we don;t! things continually change so what will we actually "get" if this project goes through?? no one knows!! In the early 1970's tracks were torn up on King St because there was a trolley. why do you want to go back in time?? this is not progression its regression and at what cost? An LRT that goes no where and is immobile as opposed to a BRT that possesses the same attributes as the LRT but is mobile /flexible and less destructive. Lets be creative and think out of the box.. let all the people be heard and vote for a referendum. This isn;t right and until we have all the answers you can be sure we will experience the effects of a Tim Hortons field disaster and Concession st nightmare which will be over budget and run well past the allotted time period of 5 years. The city is in a growth spurt so why destroy that now? As for the other LRT projects that have been used as examples, take a closer look at the real truth behind them as they are not the success stories mentioned in this article. How many of you will really use the system? how many of you will be directly effected? how many of you own property that will be expropriated?? so many questions still unanswered and we have a right to know the Facts... is that too much to ask??

On June 18 2016 at 3:29 PM DragonDon said:

I've travelled around the world a fair bit and two things stand out for me in some of the best cities I've enjoyed.

1/ The public transit system. South Korea has one of the best systems I've ever used. When I can pay $2 to get on a 'subway' and go the distance equal to the distance of downtown Hamilton to Downtown Toronto, it would be literally insane to drive, park, and pay for a vehicle just to do the same. The convenience of being able to get around for way less than automotive ownership trumps any argument otherwise. You simply need better transit to get better business.

2/ Waterfronts. The most beautiful cities in the world have the best waterfronts. I loved strolling along Busan Beach or the Thames in London. They have great development there. Hamilton has great potential for this, and it getting there but it will take a long while still it seems.

People, in general, don't like change and will irrationally argue every conceivable way against it, some of it may have actual merit but ultimately, it's counter-productive to a growing city.

On August 27 2016 at 10:57 AM orangemike said:

I intend to squeegee the choo choo, economic uplift for me! Who cares if venerable local institutions like Denningers, the Black Forest and Gilbert's fail? I can't afford to eat there anyway, and am skinny as a rake. Cars are evil, and one day soon there will not be any left in the core! Winning!

On August 30 2016 at 3:38 AM Just A Nobody said:

Just wondering who you are and why you are so intent on the LRT being implemented? With all due respect, your "facts" do not lead to definitive answers, so they can only lead to speculation and more questions.If I may so bold as to ask a few questions for more clarity and transparency, I just might sway in your direction and, yes I'm hearing some pretty bad things from the people who work, live and do business along the route, including a large ridership. From top to bottom on your fact sheet: 1. revenue sharing? with who and why would we share with anyone?2. Ownership? ON Gov is giving Hamilton the money right? Why would ownership be up for discussion? Is it Metrolinx, who will be owning it, or? 3. it states within Metrolinx's report that the funds need to be sought out... 4. 4-5 months will kill a business in this economy - 4-5 years?? 5. stating a business was going to close anyhow due to speculation is just wrong 6. underground infrastructure is a fact of life and it doesn't take 4-5 years...it takes a few months with each section being done incrementally 7.as per the costs - again a fact of life and the LRT could cost us more, especially those who cannot afford to ride it 8. THIS ONE GETS ME - how can you call the 260 homes and businesses a "sliver"? they are going to take what they built an earned as tax paying citizens! How about we park a train in your bedroom? 9. Maybe you can let us know what it will cost to build that bridge over the 403, because it's not in the budget and again, Metrolinx is still seeking the funds to complete the job! 10. the transit only lane was a complete bust! period!11. as per the widened bus stops there are thousands of elderly and handicapped people who depend on a bus route being within a block of their home and not a mile! 12. you cannot base success on anywhere other than Hamilton because we are unique in our needs and you're are speaking of opening day alone? as far as Metrolinx supporting the operational costs? I thought that was yet to be determined, like still in negotiations? 13. Edinburg? nothing to do with Hamilton...sorry more failures than successes 14.The LRT expansion is not yet on the 25 year list from what I can see...we are one stop in dozens....1 Hamilton and 1 in another region - the rest in GTA...BTW Metrolinx used to be the Greater Toronto Transportation Authority? 15. I don't know about freeing up buses for other routes...I'm hearing about lay offs due to the LRT? 16. Big difference between Hamilton and Ottawa...a few more buses will do us and we don't have to build anything because we already have it 17. NO COMMENT 18. FINALLY - ARE YOU SERIOUSLY GOING TO ATTEMPT TO DISCOURAGE A REFERENDUM? Afterall, this has been in the planning for TEN years, and not me or 1 of hundreds that I know in the area has ever asked me if I want it or answered a single question I've had so I sought out the truth myself and that's not clear yet, despite "TRANSPARENCY" being at the top of the list in the Metrolinx Act 2006! I really am curious to know if the fact that Metrolinx having TEN YEARS to work on this (sitting back and taking reports from people who don't even live or work here) is due...BTW I was not able to find a single connection with one person on their Board and Hamilton to secure any real connection with Steel Town? They don't know anything about us, and I can tell that you do not live en route of the LRT, nor do you use public transit, otherwise you would be opposed to it. Seriously we haven't touched on many things like fares, and the use of transfers, etc. oh ya, the reports are fully supportive of the LRT (as per their reports) due to the increased revenue to the CITY as per increasing? FOR THE RECORD...I only came to my final decision after spending the past couple of days researching this for myself. I live in the effected area, and I am handicapped and I cannot walk more than 4-5 blocks, let alone a mile (as for the stops not being determined, they have and at the absolute least - the distance was predetermined so it doesn't matter where they are - they are too far apart! Period! As far as support and these reports indicating a mass exodus on board the LRT....not once in ten years has one person asked me or any one of the countless number of people I know, that are also within the area, if we want it! JUST SAYING

On August 30 2016 at 12:37 PM S. Simpson said:

I dont live, work, or own and RE along the proposed LRT.
BUT I have known friends with
businesses whose revenue was impacted adversely whenever the city decided to rip up streets and put them back together. This city did not care about these business owners, nor did they compensate them in even the smallest ways, nor treat them with any consideration whatsoever. Not hard to guess what I think of a Hamtown LRT.

On August 30 2016 at 5:22 PM Rob J. Snook said:

still no details,just claims of success.I would like to see the plan to go south to the airport.

On August 31 2016 at 12:56 AM Rob Provan said:

There's a lot of guessing in the article and outright misinformation. So much for your "real facts".

"The ownership and operation of the line still has to be negotiated between the City and Metrolinx."

But, according to staff reports printed in the CBC... "The agreement specifies that Metrolinx owns the project and controls its scope, budget, scheduling, planning, design and construction."

"If necessary, the project will be scaled back to keep it in budget."

It's already been scaled back once. What's next...it'll only stop at Gage Park? It'll have fewer stops? Maybe not as shiny vehicles?

"Metrolinx has an excellent track record of staying in budget."

Hahahahaha...you're kidding, right? Or maybe they are increasing the total cost at the front, come under budget, which may have been the actual cost...and say "Look, we came in under budget!"

Of course, not all metrolinx is under, or on, budget. The presto card and Burlington GO station to name two.

"The overall construction time is expected to be 4-5 years, but the construction is likely to be staged..."

In other words, you are just... guessing.

"In Waterloo Region, a couple of businesses have closed during the construction phase but they were widely regarded as ready to close anyway."

Really? Says who? What is the proof? That's not "facts".

Do you have a link showing where somebody has said the bridge over the 403 will cost almost a billion? Or is this just misinformation? Just taken out of context?

As for the comment on properties being bought and the cost... once again you are only guessing...not providing "facts".

"Current ridership is over 30,000 trips a day..."

If they are doing return trips, which would make sense... then the real ridership level is 15,000.

"Metrolinx is responsible to cover the operational costs of the system."

Whhhhoa! What's this??? At the very beginning you said..."The ownership and operation of the line still has to be negotiated between the City and Metrolinx."

So which one is it? You can't have it both ways.

Just because the Edinburgh LRT works, doesn't mean it will work for hamilton. There's no use even trying to compare the two.

"... current LRT plan is just the first phase..."

There's no guarantee there will be funding for future phases. This may be it. An LRT that goes from a traffic circle to a university. That's it. Woohoo!

Just as there's no guarantee that buses taken off the LRT route will be used in other areas.

A referendum may not be binding... but it would give councillors a good idea as to how many want LRT, oppose it, or couldn't care. But then again... who knows? There may be enough votes to make it binding! One way to tell...

We need a referendum. Heck...it's only $1 million dollars. For $7 million we got some pretty pictures and a cute video...

On September 1 2016 at 7:00 AM Dave said:

This is a waste of time and money. Add a few more busses We have far bigger issues to deal with other than how fast someone can get downtown.

On September 1 2016 at 12:54 PM Mark Rejhon said:

Rob Provan,

I have had no hand in this factsheet, but I can immediately provide clarifications:

"But, according to staff reports printed in the CBC... "The agreement specifies that Metrolinx owns the project and controls its scope, budget, scheduling, planning, design and construction.""

Correct, but for this entry Ryan's correct too as well (maybe not worded well) -- not 100% of absolutely everything will be 100% Metrolinx. Some elements will be City of Hamilton's -- e.g. a fare revenue sharing agreement is one of the negotiation topics. This is typical for transit operated by multiple levels of government.

.

"It's already been scaled back once. What's next...it'll only stop at Gage Park? It'll have fewer stops? Maybe not as shiny vehicles?"

Historically, LRTs tend to cost-overrun less than subways, and currently there is a good track record for recent Ontario LRTs staying on budget or cost-overrunning slightly. (Waterloo ION LRT, Ottawa Confederation LRT, and Eglinton Crosstown LRT). All are either on-budget or slightly over -- they would just scale back the two A-Line stations towards Waterfront. I prefer it not to cost-overrun at all, but a small 5-10% overrun I can live with.

That said, the scope of the B-Line was scaled back from Eastgate to free up funds to create the A-Line stub. This also satisfied Chad Collins and Bob Bratina, who advocated for the Confederation GO station which they got as part of the announcement in May 2015. Back at the time, they announced both LRT and the GO station at the same time -- Confederation GO and all related infrastructure such as extra trackage in corridor.

.

"Hahahahaha...you're kidding, right? Or maybe they are increasing the total cost at the front, come under budget, which may have been the actual cost...and say "Look, we came in under budget!"

Track record is not perfect, and the Burlington GO station situation is awful, and UPX definitely *SHOULD* have been handled better and TTC too, including the much-more-cost-overrun York subway extension.

Note, for UPX (a common boondoggle excuse against LRT, but it's being recovered nicely) -- thanks to the fare cut, and ridership quadrupling & standees t now has better farebox recovery today, and lower subsidy percentage, than the entire HSR bus system, including B-Line.

Overall, Metrolinx's track record is vastly superior in the last 10-years to the former GO Transit for the 20 years prior. Just look at it all, including the 30-minute all-day 2-way service and extension to Aldershot.

.

"As for the comment on properties being bought and the cost... once again you are only guessing...not providing "facts"."

The information provided by them was quoted based on precedent. It is in my humble opinion, that the majority of the NOLRT FACT SHEET is based far less on fact & far more on guesses, than this page is.

.

"Whhhhoa! What's this??? At the very beginning you said..."The ownership and operation of the line still has to be negotiated between the City and Metrolinx."

See above. Both you and Ryan were right in this specific element, but on 'different elements':

Not 100% of absolutely everything will be 100% Metrolinx. Some elements will be City of Hamilton's -- e.g. a fare revenue sharing agreement is one of the negotiation topics. This is typical for transit operated by multiple levels of government.

Since the B-Line Express is being replaced by this LRT, it is a pertinent topic of discussion. Also, since the Hamilton LRT will use the Presto system and HSR uses Presto too, the discussion of Fare Integration is already being discussed between Metrolinx and City of Hamilton. (Citation: https://www.metrolinxengage.com/en/engagement-initiatives/fare-integration ...) and other proof of negotiation occuring.

So in this case you are also contradicting yourself when the truth is both you and Ryan was more-or-less interpretatively right on this bullet but only a lineitem basis (but only on this one and specific lineitem).

.

"There's no guarantee there will be funding for future phases. This may be it. An LRT that goes from a traffic circle to a university. That's it. Woohoo!"

This is a guess too (tie with Ryan on this lineitem). However, precedent tells another story. LRT extensions happen more often than subway extensions, and get resurrected more quickly after cancellations. Historically, there is good momentum for extensions of LRT in Canada:

-- Ottawa's Stage 2 discussions (now fully funded), www.stage2lrt.ca

-- Eglinton Crosstown East extension (study now fed funded, "Eglinton East" in http://pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2016/08/23/canada-and-ontario-sign-agreement-public-transit-infrastructure-funding )

-- Eglinton Crosstown West extension (study now fed funded, "Eglinton West" in http://pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2016/08/23/canada-and-ontario-sign-agreement-public-transit-infrastructure-funding )

-- Cambrige extension for Kitchener-Waterloo ION LRT ( http://rapidtransit.regionofwaterloo.ca/en/projectinformation/Stage-2-ION.asp )

This is in addition to many other cities (e.g. Calgary) who run LRT systems, and have repeatedly incrementally extended their LRT.

Let's note that Calgary LRT was the same length as Hamilton LRT in 1981 (12-13km)

And Calgary LRT had LESS boardings daily along its route than today's King bus corridor (1/10/etc ridership combined).

Right now, 10-B Line Express is starved to low ridership simply by sheer low number of buses -- there are only SIX of that buses during peak period, that are often full when passing Sherman Ave, after passing Eastgate, forcing students in the middle of the route during the busiest peak moment, to board the #1 or other bus route. Quotes like "444 riders" per peak hour is artificial cherrypicks of extreme cases, like a specific bus route that is bus-count starved at peak -- where people often have to board a different bus route number like the #1 allstop.

In fact, Calgary had a similar predicament in 1981 of low bus ridership due to not enough buses along many routes.

Now look at Calgary today, with over 300,000 riders per day. Even if we don't get that many, BLAST network is a well-planned long-term 25-50 year plan, and should be begun to be implemented.

.

"We need a referendum. Heck...it's only $1 million dollars. For $7 million we got some pretty pictures and a cute video..."

I am neither for nor against a referendum, and I think a referendum will win (more pro/than anti) but there will be difficulty getting enough votes to make referendums binding.

Even referendums on more polarizing issues have often failed due to voter apathy. I think it's a waste of money to do a referendum, as we have all already repeatedly voted for pro-LRT city councillors, and I think 2018 will also remain that way too, even moteworthy given the Progressive Conservative government's pledging of support for the LRT.

On September 6 2016 at 1:28 PM Concerned citizen said:

I think the money and energy would be better spent on getting more GO transit buses/trains out of the city for commuting instead of building an LRT. Not to mention the mountain/Waterdown/St. Creek are not properly hooked up with transit and need morr service. It's irrelevant who takes the bus; there has to exist public transit but not at such a cost or loss to business owners

On September 16 2016 at 7:53 PM Concerned citizen ER said:

I am against LRT for many reasons, most already stated

On November 2 2016 at 9:00 PM Tinfoilhat said:

So many questions remain unanswered, details are vuage at best. Metrolinx is not here for the people of Hamilton, nor are they answerable to the people. This system will be under used, over budget, unworkable, and not user friendly, METROLYNX go home come back when you have answers and a real reason to be here.

On April 12 2017 at 12:05 PM Rob Barry said:

Cant wait for LRT to entirely destroy the versatility of transportation options in Hamilton. Traffic going both ways on main and king is going to absolutely obliterate how effortlessly traffic cant flow from east to west, traversing the span of the city of 10 to 15 minutes. This is what will be lost, and everyone is oblivious to it. I've lived in many cities across Ontario, and I keep coming back to Hamilton because of this ONE BEAUTIFUL FACT. Even at the worst of times in the city, traffic still flows and moves along; once we have LRT this WILL be abolished, can't wait to start hating Hamilton, after I've left and returned 3+ times.

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