Top 50 Statements of Support
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.
Nicholas Kevlahan says,
LRT has the potential to transform and revitalize Hamilton by attracting development, protecting the environment and improving the city's image nationally and internationally.
Metrolinx and City staff have done numerous feasibility studies that have demonstrated the advantages of LRT over the alternatives. They have also engaged in unprecedented public consultation, and have documented overwhelming public support for the initiative.
In 2007 the provincial government promised to build two LRT lines in Hamilton. This promise must be kept.
The 30% engineering design and Environmental assessment will be finished by the end of the year. In January 2012 Hamilton's LRT project will be shovel ready.
Now is the time for the City and Province to work together to make LRT a reality in Hamlton!
Hugh MacLeod says,
Hamilton was public promised a fully funded rapid transit system by a Premier and MPP during the throws of the last provincial election. Apparently we had to vote Liberal to keep this plan afloat, preventing the Conservatives from killing this billion dollar project.
Now 4 years later it feels like Hamilton's Light Rail Transit has been shelved in manner that has the most horrible optics.
The illusion of a priority switch was created by our mayor's office. The unilateral decision to pursue all day GO (which we need), and dismiss Light Rail Transit (which we need even more) was made outside of the regular decision channels. At no time did my elected councilor get to vote on the shelving of LRT. At no time was this highly advertised change in course discussed by our elected council. Tragically this usurpation of process was endorsed by our Premier while an entire city, and elected council, ogled in shock.
Toronto is enjoying more than $9 billion dollars in transit development from a shared pot while Hamilton has received NOTHING. All day GO is wonderful and fully supported but it represents a capital expense for Hamilton. The Metrolinx Light Rail Transit is more important and represents a billion dollar investment in Hamilton. All day GO is something attached to Light Rail Transit, there is no reason to pit one against the other.
So it appears that the Mayor's unilateral action, and the Premier's support of this action, is an engineered way for the province to escape from a fabulous promise. A fabulous promise that could transform our city. If our council rejects light rail that is fine. If there is no money for light rail that is fine, but less fine. But when light rail is shelved by the apparent collusion of our Mayor and Premiere that is not fine. The fact that our Mayor is publicly standing with Liberal Candidates does not help this perception. The optics are very dark, if not completely opaque.
So to correct this I ask that our Premier, local MPPs, Mayor and councilors stand up for the promise made to an ailing city. If we our council rejects the committed investment, so be it. The way it is being handled now darkens everyone's view on the entire decision making process.
Hugh MacLeod, BPE, MD, CCFP
owner The Staircase Cafe Theatre
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.
Matt Jelly says,
We need clarity and assurance from both our Municipal and Provincial governments that this project is still a priority for Hamilton. I'm no fan of megaprojects that claim to transform the City over night- but this project will have true economic and transportational benefits to the City as a whole, and is exactly the kind of infrastructural investment Hamiltonians deserve. Build LRT NOW!
Eric Nanayakkara says,
Hamilton needs a modern day solution to public transportation and LRT most certainly presents itself as a leading option. Political lip service is no replacment for courageous action. Come on Hamilton, we can get this right!
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.
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?
Mike Belmore says,
As someone who has to commute to Toronto most days, I'm looking forward to extended GO service. Keeps my car off the QEW which is good for the environment, reduces gridlock and helps maintain my sanity.
As someone who grew up in East end and now lives in the Western reaches of Hamilton, it's just as important, for the same reasons, that LRT ties our city together.
Even more than that though, we must realize this choice is not just about sustainable mass transit. It's fundamentally about what we, as Hamiltonians, want our city to be. Do we want to be just another bedroom community of Toronto, the new cheap real estate rump of the GTA? All day GO, without LRT, is a major step in that direction.
We need thoughtful and far-sighted urban planning, much of which hinges on good public transit, to help attract good jobs and provide home grown opportunities our city. This is essential if we want to continue build Hamilton as a place to live and work in it's own right, a place with its own unique identity and purpose.
Reject the false choice between all day GO and LRT. We can and should do both. But make no mistake, if we still want to proudly be "The Hammer" twenty years from now, what we do to build our own city is more important than what we do to connect it to Toronto.
Mary Koziol says,
I firmly support bringing LRT to Hamilton. If we want to move forward with the sustainable, economically strong and people-centred Hamilton of which we dream, LRT is a must.
I recently graduated from McMaster University and decided to stay here and work because I love Hamilton. The decision regarding LRT will weigh heavily on whether I choose to stay here long term or not.
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