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Hamilton LRT (Metrolinx/City of Hamilton, Planned)

Steve X

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While that is great and all, the problem with that TC mindset for corridors like Eglinton and Don Mills is that ridership is already far too high to not invest in faster rapid transit. For Finch West, Jane, and the Waterfront it's a different story, where revitalization is absolutely necessary. Hamilton and KW as a whole also fit into this category of needing to revitalize key transit corridors without needing the huge speed boosts provided by subways or High Floor Light Rail.


To clarify, Light rail on these specific corridors should still be fast (even though the RoW arguably cheaped out on iON, it's still at least 30% faster and 200% more reliable than the 200, and those numbers could grow in the near future as the teething problems are resolved), but it doesn't require suburban subway speeds.
Don Mills isn't suited for a LRT. There is hardly any opportunities for development along the entire corridor. It's all built up and isn't commercial oriented. A Relief subway is more suitable.
Eglinton is debatable. Do we really need another subway across the city that would take well over an hour to make any trips from Etobicoke to Scarborough? Yes ridership is high but is there really a reason to confine them to Eglinton? There's no real destination along the route that requires people to stick on Eglinton. The Yonge Line is crowded only because it is the main way out of the city. If we build the Relief Line to Steeles/York Region, the Yonge Line will see a huge drop in ridership.

Personally, I rather see an integrated RER system for travelling between the two ends of the city. Subways are way too slow to get from Kipling to Kennedy. There is also a lot of development opportunities along Eglinton that would help the LRT case
 

Leo_Chan

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Don Mills isn't suited for a LRT. There is hardly any opportunities for development along the entire corridor. It's all built up and isn't commercial oriented. A Relief subway is more suitable.
Eglinton is debatable. Do we really need another subway across the city that would take well over an hour to make any trips from Etobicoke to Scarborough? Yes ridership is high but is there really a reason to confine them to Eglinton? There's no real destination along the route that requires people to stick on Eglinton. The Yonge Line is crowded only because it is the main way out of the city. If we build the Relief Line to Steeles/York Region, the Yonge Line will see a huge drop in ridership.

Personally, I rather see an integrated RER system for travelling between the two ends of the city. Subways are way too slow to get from Kipling to Kennedy. There is also a lot of development opportunities along Eglinton that would help the LRT case
Downtown, Midtown and Uptown GO? (Lakeshore, CP, CN). Kind of getting off topic though.
 

Streety McCarface

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Don Mills isn't suited for a LRT. There is hardly any opportunities for development along the entire corridor. It's all built up and isn't commercial oriented. A Relief subway is more suitable.
Eglinton is debatable. Do we really need another subway across the city that would take well over an hour to make any trips from Etobicoke to Scarborough? Yes ridership is high but is there really a reason to confine them to Eglinton? There's no real destination along the route that requires people to stick on Eglinton. The Yonge Line is crowded only because it is the main way out of the city. If we build the Relief Line to Steeles/York Region, the Yonge Line will see a huge drop in ridership.

Personally, I rather see an integrated RER system for travelling between the two ends of the city. Subways are way too slow to get from Kipling to Kennedy. There is also a lot of development opportunities along Eglinton that would help the LRT case
Don Mills needs a subway, especially to relieve the Yonge line, which is why building an LRT down there would have been an awful idea.

The crosstown is due to see riderships of 300K+ PPD within 10 years of opening, for a 19 km line, that's near the equivalent of Bloor subway riderships. Even if people transfer off the line, it is in no way suited for long term growth and will likely struggle with operations because it is significantly under built. Eglinton is a feeder route like Bloor, the corridor currently sees 150K PPD on buses alone. With rapid transit, the general rule is that ridership along the corridor doubles, so 300K PPD is completely within reason.

I'd disagree with that last point to an extent. It currently takes 40 minutes on the GO lines to get from Kipling to Kennedy, and that's on a line with almost no stations between each other. Throw in another 5-10 stations and you're looking at a 50-60 minute trip, no different from the subway. The subway also has a huge integration advantage, there are feeder bus routes from everywhere to Line 2, and the train stop often enough (but not too often) to cover a significant population. Maybe the trip from Etobicoke North to Lawrence East or further would be done faster on a RER line, but there's really no evidence to support the claim that RER would be faster along a direct subway routing between Kennedy and Kipling. Would it be more comfortable? Probably, but if you force people to take RER over the subway, then RER trains become just as crowded as subway cars. This is actually much worse for RER because the support for that network comes from riders using the system as commuter rail. Without those suburban commuters, the RER lines don't have enough ridership or funding to justify their existence.
 

Tuck

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Its interesting and not at all surprising to hear the Wynne government suppressed that information, given their general sliminess.

Yet, I'm not sure I can really be upset at them for it. Of note is this line:

In her 2018 report she noted that Metrolinx had recommended in late 2014 that given significant changes in the conditions supporting LRT; a study into alternative transit options for Hamilton (Bus Rapid Transit) should “be completed before an investment decision was made. However, Metrolinx did not do any further analysis before the Province committed to funding the LRT in May 2015.

You cant keep studying the same thing over and over. This is part of the problem in Toronto where we do study after study after study and nothing gets built. Yes, things will change over time but we can't restart the process every time they do.

At the same time, I think this again highlights a flaw with these business cases Metrolinx seems obsessed with. They occur so early in the process and use so many assumptions (many of which will change later in the process or otherwise cannot be counted on) that their findings are only slightly better than completely useless. Changes to any of these assumptions can completely change the result, as we have seen here. Plus theres the fact that they can easily be politically skewed (as we saw with the Ontario Line document).
 

mdrejhon

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Its interesting and not at all surprising to hear the Wynne government suppressed that information, given their general sliminess.
Yes, politics definitely skew things. But here's a moment.

Ignoring party politics for the moment, I have to observe that all colors (Red, Green, Orange, Blue) are all showing essentially unamious agreement about this part of the Metrolinx report:

"LRT demonstrates a greater ability to attract investment and redevelopment than the BRT alternative and consequently provides higher property value uplift."
(from that report).

Parties may disagree on details (e.g. DBFOM privatization versus #KeepTransitPublic) but they are all unamiously HamiltonLRT-aligned now. All parties of note are pro-HamiltonLRT for different reasons and goals.

Even now, witness the development boom to Hamilton ongoing -- many of who are banking on the LRT arrival, with another tsunami-surge waiting to happen after Spring 2020 go-ahead. There's more cranes than ever in Hamilton at the moment, you will drive past half a dozen cranes when you drive eastwards on King from Gage Park to 403. While several developers chose not to wait, many are waiting and banking on it. While there are pro-development and anti-development residents, the pro-development largely massively outweighs anti-development. Thusly, it would now be political suicide to go otherwise, regardless of what #NoLRT'ers otherwise claim.

Regardless of impropriety (Scarborough Subway Extension is way more politicized and way less economical) -- Hamilton's had enough defacto-#yesLRT referendums, so that horse is dead, and the Spring 2020 council drama will simply bluster and theatrics; there's just now too many things invested in Hamilton LRT happening now, and municipal voters sufficiently eager to see it happen.

Tweet by Samantha Craggs
Hamilton snipped the A-Line LRT stub to gain a massively more useful B-Line LRT extension to Eastgate mall. This also impacted finances.

Political Analysis:
Whoever wins federally, could mean the difference between a trunctated LRT (e.g. temporarily shortened to Queston Traffic Circle) or the full B-Line from McMaster University through Eastgate Mall. Even the least favourable federal candidate isn't likely to lead to a Hamilton LRT cancellation, but I would prefer not to see a scaleback. Hamilton is historically NDP or Liberal territory, with Centre especially NDP. If a shrunken NDP wields swing-vote power of a minority government, that may actually have major influence to Spring 2020, since the Hamilton Centre NDP (Matthew Green) is currently a strong runner at the moment.

All these delays to construction start, means 2015 dollars now have to represent a 2021 construction date, and the currency inflation that entails. The opportunity for a federal pitch-in to fill in the currency inflation (of the delay) and the design change (B-Line LRT extension), will greatly help the Hamilton City Council come Spring 2020. Currently, City Council will balk at funding beyond $1B (at this juncture), but council would be all too happy to accept a Fed pitch-in.

In a minority government scenario (nearly 50% chance of minority government, according to 338Canada and other polling aggregators. LPC minority 22.7%, CPC minority 25.7% = almost 50% chance!)... Those around long enough know that minority governments tend to get more things done. So a Hamilton LRT inflation-topup may theoretically slip into the first federal budget 2021 arriving probably spring 2020, coincidentially timed with the Spring 2020 muncipal council vote.

This may not happen, but this is theoretically one political path for an inflation top-off to happen. Especially as increased federal funding for other transit projects (e.g. Ontario Line and other Ontario transit projects) will probably generate collateral funding for other projects (including Hamilton) as a counterbalance.
 
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