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Update from City Rapid Transit Office

Update on activies the city Rapid Transit Office staff have been working on since Council's unanimous support for continued discussions by Rapid Transit staff with Metrolinx for the B-line.

The City Rapid Transit Office staff have been busy preparing for Metrolinx's upcoming Benefits Case Analysis for Hamilton's proposed B-Line Rapid Transit Corridor, in addition to securing corporate and public support in regards to the initiative.

Since Council's unanimous support for continued discussions by Rapid Transit staff with Metrolinx for the B-line in October, Staff have held two Corporate Working Team Workshops.

The first Corporate Working Team developed a Rapid Transit Vision statement that was endorsed by Council in January. This was an important step as the continued planning of any rapid transit system will involve staff from all City Departments and it is important for Rapid Transit Team staff to understand the concerns and potential constraints in regards to all aspect of services that the City provides.

A second Corporate Working Team workshop was held in early February to update staff across the corporation on project status, Metrolinx and next steps. A report will be presented to Council on the results of this workshop shortly.

The unanimously endorsed vision statement developed by the Corporate Working Team will guide the continued progress for the study and reads as follows:

Rapid Transit is more than just moving people from place to place. It is about providing a catalyst for the development of high quality, safe, environmentally sustainable and affordable transportation options for our citizens, connecting key destination points, stimulating economic development and revitalizing Hamilton.

Building upon the Rapid Transit Feasibility Study (RTFS), Phases 1 & 2, in preparation for the Benefits Case Analysis, staff is in the process of wrapping up more than ten different studies including Archeology, Natural Environment, Subsurface Infrastructure Review, Technology Review, Economic uplift Potential Study and additional Transportation studies, all focusing on the B-Line and LRT as the preferred technology.

This information will form part of the Benefits Case Analysis and was presented in part to the Corporate Working Team, the first meeting of the Rapid Transit Technical Agencies Committee (TAC) and at two Corridor Property Owner (CPO) Sessions this past month.

The TAC and CPO meetings were held just this week on February 23. More than 40 agencies were invited to attend the TAC and nearly 1800 invitations were sent out to all property owners within 30m of the existing right-of-way of the Main/King Corridor, between University Plaza and Eastgate Square.

A report will be presented to Council on the results of this workshop shortly, in addition to our website being updated with the information that was presented at these sessions.

The focus of the recent studies begins to look at routing options for LRT through downtown and attempts to identify any "red-flags" along the corridor. In addition to the operation of LRT one-way on Main/King Streets, as identified as part of the RTFS, the rapid transit team is investigating other alignments including:

  • Contra-flow on Main (one-way traffic eastbound with two-way LRT operation)
  • Contra-flow on King (one-way traffic westbound with two-way LRT operation)
  • LRT on Main Street with two-way traffic
  • LRT on King Street with two-way traffic

All the information gathered to date, plus additional studies staff will be working on in regards to parking/loading impacts review, construction and transition impacts review and a more detailed review of subsurface infrastructure will feed into Metrolinx's Benefits Case Analysis in Spring 2009.

It is the BCA that will ultimately decide if Metrolinx will recommend either BRT or LRT and along which route, so staff is gathering as much information as possible to aid in this process, keeping Metrolinx up-to-date along the way.

In addition to preparing for Metrolinx's BCA, staff are also investigating alternative funding opportunities and other economic development opportunities for the City, including the tie in of LRT with the PanAM Games Bid.