All Statements of Support
Ryan Moran says,
The decision to champion LRT is one of the most important issues facing the current City Council. Here Council has a very real chance to not only make amends with mis-steps of the past, but to leave behind a legacy that can truly transform this city into the Hamilton that it can be.
Heidi VanderKwaak says,
Just spent 2 weeks in Portland Oregon with awesome transit and bike paths, lanes and trails. More people out of their cars and healthier than ever. Safe, efficient, economy boosting, convenient transit is what we need. No longer a subsidy for the poor but let's get everyone out of their cars more and develop our downtown instead of letting it lie in ruins.
David Kuruc says,
Hamilton needs Light Rail. I can't think of another city project that could connect and unite so many people and neighbourhoods. Sustainable. Innovative. Forward thinking. It's about time we shifted Hamilton into the future.
Kevin Miller says,
I think that Hamilton needs LRT. I live in the lower city and take the B-Line to work every day. LRT would provide the needed service improvements to make the trip more enjoyable. Also, I believe that LRT can be the catalyst for growth in downtown that this city needs.
Matt Grande says,
Are we seriously still debating this? TWO feasibility studies, one municipal and one provincial, have shown that the B-Line can support, and NEEDS an LRT line. Let's get it done!
James Scarfone says,
I support LRT for Hamilton. I want our city to take the next step in its development. We are so close and many would argue we are there. LRT will show our citizens we want a better future for Hamilton. LRT will prove to people and businesses considering a move that we care about the future of the city.
We care about being prepared for the flight back to urban cores. We care about attracting a youthful and educated workforce. We care about companies that want to be part of a city with a vision. We care about environmental sustainability by encouraging efficient public transit use.
LRT has proven to be a boon to cities everywhere. The evidence is overwhelming that it can transform an urban area and reduce sprawl. It encourages development and attracts a young, skilled and educated workforce. I am young, skilled and educated. Though I live here, I do not work here because the opportunity is not there. Yet. I aspire to work in my hometown.
We deserve LRT and the benefits it will bring. Why can't it work for Hamilton?
Nick Warzin says,
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.
Matthew Green says,
I consider people, our most valuable asset and one only has to look to our congested streets and overrun buses of our current system to know it's failing. The movement and flow of people through the city of Hamilton will no doubt add to vitality, growth and prosperity of our community.
Brian Evans says,
LRT is not just a bigger bus to move poor people around town. Its the kind of higher order transit that gets people excited about their City. It gets people who otherwise wouldn't use public transit to reconsider how they commute to work or around town.
More importantly it sets the City on a path to capitalize on a future where the cost of owning and running a single car is all the typical family can handle. I don't foresee a future where my children each have their own car for driving around. My teenage children will have to share the family car and investments we make now in public transit will make it possible for my family to have reasonable transit opportunities in the future.
Andrew Durman says,
We need a large capital project. LRT is it, the numbers from other cities don't lie. If we build it they will come. Push for it agree to it and you will see the developers come out of the wood work. Property values along the proposed route will climb as they are snatched up and flipped. The amount of secondary jobs and monies that will flow into Hamilton is the real long lasting reward. Don't let the Province off the hook take their check lets go buy some shovels. Mayor Bob and Mr Clark need to wake up before they are run out of town on a rail.
Kathy Drewitt says,
The Downtown Hamilton BIA is very supportive of the concept for LRT and will be making a submission to the GIC for October 13th.
Jason Leach says,
I live in Hamilton and am pleased to be raising my young family in the heart of the city. We've seen new vibrancy slowly return to our neighbourhood in recent years, but now is the time for the city and province to fully commit to propelling Hamilton forward as a successful, growing mid-size city with an unparalleled quality of life. Much has changed in our society in the past 50 years. Oil prices continue to rise and the next generation is in love with urban mobility options. Hamilton has trained many of the brightest minds on the planet in recent decades, but has seen far too many of them leave here upon completing their schooling.
It's time to commit to LRT along Hamilton's East/West corridor.
gord stephan says,
I strongly urge the Ontario government to follow through on their committment to bring light rail transit to Hamilton. This would be a large step in reducing gridlock, pollution and contribute to the economic well being of a city that has been majorly affected by the economic conditions of the past 20 years.
Andrew Carreiro says,
LRT in Hamilton is an absolute necessity. Hamilton is a strong & proud city, and we need to support its growth. We can't keep stifling it through endless debate and money wasting schemes.
Marvin Caplan says,
LRT will help move us into a more sustainable future.
Paul Sousa says,
The time is right for the city of Hamilton and the Province of Ontario to work together to make LRT a reality. The transit corridor on King/Main is perfect for an LRT line and has enormous potential to be transformed and rejuvenated by the development that this type of long-term investment will spur.
Mark Harrington says,
Please KILL LRT. If it goes through LRT will be the biggest boondoggle Hamilton has ever seen.
Alistair Morton says,
We moved here from Toronto, on the promise of LRT.
Christopher Godwaldt says,
There are times with cities, municipalities, and provincial/federal governments need to look into the future and take bold moves to ensure that the vitality and continued growth of health cities is a priority.
I believe that this is the time for the development and implementation of LRT in Hamilton, Ontario.
Hamilton, recently listed as the number three city in Canada and the number one city in Ontario to invest in, is in a prime position to grow healthily and wisely, but requires wise and discerning leadership, concerned about the populace and not just personal and developer agendas.
Now is the time. Let's move forward with plans and financials to make LRT in Hamilton a reality.
Ron Miller says,
Anyone who can say with a straight face that Hamilton does not need LRT is either stupid or a very good lier.
Bob Manojlovich says,
LRT is the single best way for transformative change for the lower, older city. There is no other alternative strategy for such change. This must be an immediate priority.
Mary Louise Pigott says,
I am appalled at the undemocratic way that LRT planning has been de-prioritized by our mayor and city manager. I call upon council to stand up for themselves and their constituents by reaffirming their support for the LRT initiative.
I also call upon my MPP Ted McMeekin and Premier McGuinty to recognize that the prioritizing of all-day GO over LRT does not reflect the will of our elected representatives. I am a card carrying Liberal, but not only will the Ontario Liberals not be getting any of my time or money during this campaign, but they won't even get my vote unless they reaffirm their promise to fund the capital costs, and keep B-line LRT at the top of Metrolinx's priority list.
Kevin Gamble says,
The HSR started as a rail system. Bring it back to it's roots and let it grow, instead of being a drain on our local economy.
Jeremy Kemeny says,
Transit that takes people out of Hamilton can't be our future. We need public transportation that helps our local economy thrive.
Nick Tomkin says,
Long-term strategies have a habit of losing momentum and excitement, so it is easy to see why many might not understand the benefits of LRT today. In 10 years from now, do we want to say we should have? Hamilton deserves forethought on this magnitude.
Ryan McGreal says,
For years I've been excited about the potential of light rail transit to transform Hamilton: to attract new private investment, to drive intensification around the transit corridor and particularly downtown, to reduce the demand for inefficient suburban infrastructure, and to foster the urban economies of scale, density and association that drive economic growth.
Back in 2007, when the Province announced MoveOntario and especially when the Liberals promised "two light rail lines across Hamilton" in their re-election campaign, my excitement was galvanized into action. I helped found Hamilton Light Rail, a group of Hamiltonians who believed in both the potential of LRT and the possibility of it actually being completed.
We did our research, prepared a presentation that explains what LRT is and how it can drive economic development, and began reaching out to meet with other community groups - neighbourhood associations, service clubs, BIAs and so on - to present our case for LRT and to seek their support.
We also met with City staff and asked them to look at LRT along the B-Line, rather than the bus rapid transit (BRT) that the Transportation Master Plan had previously recommended when there was no provincial funding on the table.
In 2008, Council directed the newly formed Rapid Transit Office to conduct a feasibility study of LRT vs. BRT on the east-west B-Line. A June 2008 update as part of that study is worth quoting: "The idea of status quo ... is in contravention of the City's Transportation Master Plan and Metrolinx's draft Regional Transportation Plan Green Papers and White Papers. ... the general sense from the public is that the time is now for Hamilton to do something bold and innovative."
That October, the final report was presented to Council. Encompassing feedback from over 1,600 residents - an unprecedented level of public engagement - the final report strongly endorsed building LRT, integrating the design with community and economic development policies, starting with the B-Line and moving quickly and decisively to get priority funding from the Province.
The report noted: "it has been made clear by Metrolinx that Provincial project priorities, will in part, depend on projects that have strong political support and that can be completed under aggressive timelines."
Since then, Metrolinx has consistently praised Hamilton's Rapid Transit staff for their professionalism and thoroughness in carrying out Council's direction to undertake "the functional design, detail design and construction of the B-line rapid transit corridor ... utilizing Light Rail Technology".
Meanwhile, planning staff have done an excellent job of preparing a Secondary Plan for the B-Line that will leverage LRT to drive a denser, more urban built form with new investment into mixed use development along the transit corridor.
In 2010, Metrolinx released a Rapid Transit Benefits Case Analysis on the B-Line corridor that concluded LRT would be more expensive to build but would produce a much bigger overall benefit.
Suddenly, three years later, we find ourselves in a bizarre situation in which Council seems reluctant to commit to completing LRT unless the Province commits to funding it, and the Province seems reluctant to commit to funding LRT unless the City commits to making its completion a priority.
This is deeply unfortunate. It threatens to unwind years of excellent planning and design work. Much worse, it threatens to squander the historic opportunity to transform Hamilton through a strategic, long-term investment in high quality rapid transit.
We need both Council and the Province to step up now: commit to making LRT a top priority, and commit to funding it in a timely fashion. This is our chance to make a decision that will affect the city for the next 50 to 100 years - that we will one day look back on as a crucial turning point in Hamilton's fortunes.
I ask you - the leaders of Hamilton and Ontario - to transcend the political catch-22 and commit to finishing the work building this LRT line.
After all this time, I'm still excited and hopeful to see LRT happen. I hope you are, too.
Adrian Duyzer says,
In 2007, while campaigning for re-election, Premier Dalton McGuinty promised to build two light rail transit lines in Hamilton.
Four years later, Mayor Bob Bratina has said that LRT "is not a priority", and Premier McGuinty has said that based on conversations with Mayor Bratina, all-day GO transit service has supplanted LRT as a priority.
This is unacceptable. LRT has been studied to death in Hamilton and the verdict is clear: beyond the improvements in public transit, LRT would have a substantial economic benefit for the city. Meanwhile, other municipalities are getting buckets of cash from Metrolinx to build it.
It's time for Premier McGuinty to reaffirm his commitment to build LRT in Hamilton. It's time for our MPPs to reaffirm their commitment to see this project through. And it's time for Mayor Bratina and Hamilton City Council to seize this opportunity - and capitalize on the province's promise to pay the capital costs - and get Hamilton moving once again.
Thank you for your time and attention.