Statement by Nick Warzin
To those it concerns:
Surface light rail is the connective tissue of a healthy city. This is demonstrably true in many European cities, in some American cities, and in nearby Toronto's downtown.
Many of those American cities that abandoned surface rail are researching its return. Surface rail is widely accepted as good city building. It raises values, it inspires new growth and development, and it makes areas far more inviting than similar networks of buses ever could.
Hamilton was built on its street railways. They were removed by Canada Coach Lines--a bus operator who purchased HSR--at the same time many streetcar networks across North America were removed. This was a self-serving business decision that had nothing to do with efficient people-moving or sound city building. See this Wikipedia article for details:
The Great American streetcar scandal: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_American_streetcar_scandal
Hamilton, like many American cities, lost its most efficient transit network most unfairly, and, some might say, many areas of Hamilton still have not recovered. Hamilton deserves better than this.
Hamilton has a tightly-knit urban core, and would benefit hugely from a surface rail network. McMaster would benefit with easier access to downtown, as well. This could be the turning point what many see as the continuing decline of Hamilton.
Please support a fixed rail transit network in Hamilton. In times of fiscal uncertainty, investment in infrastructure is one of the safest bets, and it would benefit the city immeasurably for decades to come.
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