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

Public Consultation: Overwhelming Public Support for LRT

Over 1,600 people have responded to the rapid transit feasibility study's public consultation program, with overwhelming support for rapid transit and particularly for light rail transit.

By Ryan McGreal

Published in Raise the Hammer on Thursday, September 11, 2008.

Public Works staff just published a public consultation update (PDF link) on phase two of the Rapid Transit Feasibility Study that reports back to the public works committee on the public outreach program the rapid transit team undertook during the summer.

As Lisa Zinkewich from Public Works reported at the August Hamilton Light Rail meeting, the response was unprecedented and strongly positive about light rail.

In the update just published, staff report that they heard from more than 1,600 people, of whom 94% support rapid transit. That support breaks down as follows:

  • 66% support Light Rail Transit;
  • 8% support Bus Rapid Transit; and
  • 20% support either mode.

In addition, 91% are in favour of implementing additional rapid transit routes once the recommended routes are established.

Respondents cited several reasons for supporting light rail. 71% mentioned the environmental impact, 67% mentioned potential to attract new ridership, 58% mentioned potential economic benefit, and 51% mentioned sustainability.

Other reasons mentioned include operating cost, life cycle analysis, vehicle cost, and construction cost.

Support was tied to funding from higher levels of government. 90% of respondents would support rapid transit if Metrolinx funded 75% of the capital costs; 81% would support it if Metrolinx funded 66%; and 65% sould support it even if Metrolinx funded only 50%.

Respondents came from every ward in the city, and in all wards, support for rapid transit of some kind was over 50%. In only two wards (14 and 15) was support for LRT specifically less than 50%, and in only one ward (15) was support for LRT not the biggest share of the total.

Rapid Transit Preferences By Ward
Ward % LRT % BRT % Either % Neither
1 74 6 17 3
2 76 5 17 2
3 62 11 23 4
4 49 15 29 7
5 63 16 19 2
6 56 11 20 13
7 58 13 21 8
8 59 13 22 6
9 56 15 17 12
10 57 14 17 12
11 71 2 18 9
12 62 6 20 12
13 75 4 16 5
14 40 7 40 13
15 32 36 32 0
NA 64 8 24 4

The report also included letters of endorsement from several community and business organizations, including:

  • Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington: LRT endorsement
  • Clean Air Hamilton: LRT endorsement
  • Downtown BIA: LRT endorsement
  • International Village BIA: LRT endorsement
  • Durand Neighbourhood Association: LRT endorsement
  • Ainslie Wood/Westdale Community Association: LRT endorsement
  • Hamilton Chamber of Commerce: LRT endorsement
  • McMaster Students Union: LRT endorsement
  • Hamilton Partners for Healthy Weights: LRT endorsement
  • McMaster University: general Rapid Transit endorsement