The city is looking at either having the LRT go along King and Main or have the LRT all on Main St, doing that would reduce the cost of the LRT for the B-Line. Once that is determined than two way conversions for both King and Main will be made. King St West is slated to be converted two-way in 2010 but that is now delayed until the LRT for the B-Line is complete.
Steeles Avenue does wind it's way all the way to the Hamilton border... albeit with one closed stretch through a small provincial park. Perhaps the Steeles East LRT could interline with the Hamilton B-Line! Now that is a long route....
What is the plan to resolve the highway on/off ramp conflict at the 403 and Main/King if they are converted to two way?
The overpass on King and Main will have to be re-done to be reconfigured as two-way traffic. That will be provincial responsibility so they'll have to pay for it.
This is why King St West (which is on hold until B-Line LRT plans are finalized) would only be converted two-way from James to Dundurn. From Dundurn to the overpass would be one-way, therefore they wouldn't have to re build the overpass bridge. But now with LRT the province will have to suck it up and pay millions to reconfigure the overpass bridge on Main and King. Traffic will be hell for 403, Main and King Street during construction.
"A group trying to make Hamilton's GO station on Hunter Street a hub planned for rapid transit lines along James and along Main.
HSR planner Andy McLaughlin said the group was told money was no object in their planning exercise. They brought James Street's rapid transit underground so it could dip closer to the Hunter GO hub.
The Main Street line stayed above ground but dipped south to touch a redeveloped park at McMaster University's Downtown Centre. They added an underground walkway linking the Main line to the Hunter GO station."
The City of Hamilton will host a public information meeting on its final proposals for rapid transit service on two crosstown lines on Monday, July 28.
On June 25, Hamilton City Council authorized staff to proceed with light rail transit (LRT) instead of bus rapid transit for the project. They also recommended that staff examine using the Claremont Access instead of James Mountain Road for the north-south line when it climbs the Niagara Escarpment.
You can review the latest proposal and offer your comments and ideas by attending the open house on July 28, or by completing the on-line survey here.
The July 28 information meeting takes place from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. at:
Lloyd D. Jackson Square,
Rooftop, beside the stage.
City Council will approve the final plans for the LRT at its meeting in September. If Council approves the plans, the City will submit them to Metrolinx to include funding for the project in its next capital budget.
City pressing forward on light rail transit
Hamilton's goal is to submit a proposal to Metrolinx for inclusion in its capital budget in the fall
July 28, 2008
The Hamilton Spectator
The city is moving quickly on plans for light rail transit in a bid to ensure it is able to grasp external funding dollars in the fall.
Council approved moving into the next stage of the Rapid Transit Feasibility Study last month, with a focus on light rail transit.
A public consultation session, the last in this phase of the study, is being held this morning at Jackson Square.
The goal is to ensure Hamilton can submit a proposal to regional transportation body Metrolinx for inclusion in its capital budget in the fall.
Jill Stephen, manager of strategic planning for the city, said this is the first in a five-year rolling budget from Metrolinx.
"We want to make sure that we're in there," she said.
"We may not be able to construct anything until the fifth year of the budget, but we want to make sure that Hamilton is definitely included in that."
The study is focusing on two lines for light rail transit, with one route potentially running along James and Upper James streets from the airport to the waterfront. The other could run along Main/King streets from University Plaza to Eastgate Square.
The option of using the Claremont Access instead of James Mountain Road for the first route is also being looked at.
Stephen said that's because, in part, the 10.7 per cent grade on the Mountain road is too steep for light rail. A tunnel would be needed through the escarpment to run the route there.
The Claremont Access has a grade of 6 per cent, which is within the manageable range for light rail.
Stephen said the city is also keeping its mind open to other route possibilities.
Two public open houses about rapid transit have already been held and more are expected as the process moves forward.
Out of 1,500 responses from the open houses and a designated survey, only about 5 per cent of people are opposed to any form rapid transit (bus or rail), Stephen said.
This morning's public session is being held on the Jackson Square rooftop, beside the stage, from 11:30 a.m. to 1: 30 p.m.
Enthusiasm for proposed transit system is gaining momentum
July 29, 2008
The Hamilton Spectator
How much will it cost? Where will it run? How often will it stop? When could it all be built?
Just a few of the questions about the ambitious Hamilton light rail proposal that arose at a sun-drenched public information session atop Jackson Square yesterday.
City staff are urgently working on a bid to secure provincial approval and cash for what may become a $1.1-billion light-rail system.
Last year's MoveOntario 2020 announcement said $300 million was available for Hamilton rapid transit. Since then, the city did a rapid transit feasibility study.
It hopes that its data, public consultations and reports will result in approval and a lot more funding from Metrolinx, the transportation agency to evaluate such proposals.
Where do things stand?
The city is working closely with Metrolinx, the provincial agency to implement a Greater Toronto and Hamilton transportation plan.
Metrolinx will adjust the preliminary list of projects released with the announcement of Ontario's $17.5-billion MoveOntario 2020 plan. (Hamilton rapid transit was a project mentioned here.)
Hamilton wants light rail in the first five-year Metrolinx budget for 2009-13. A draft Metrolinx budget arrives Sept. 26.
Where will it run?
For now, the city is focusing on a route that would put rail westbound on King and eastbound on Main; it would send rail south on James from the waterfront, up the Claremont Access, then to the airport using Upper James.
How much will it cost?
Initially, the city estimated it will cost $1.1 billion to build light rail east-west from Eastgate Square to University Plaza, and up James via a Mountain tunnel.
This cost wasn't adjusted as the city looks at using the Claremont Access, not tunnelling under steep James Mountain Road. Hamilton hasn't consulted the Niagara Escarpment Commission yet.
What is Hamilton's share?
It's unclear. While the province hopes to fund transit infrastructure that would not otherwise be built, Metrolinx notes cities already collect development charges and other cash to operate transit. This will continue. Metrolinx expects cities will pay some capital costs, like streetscaping. The city estimates it will cost $160 an hour per vehicle to run a light-rail system, and has raised concerns about how it will afford to run a new system.
When could it start to run?
If part of the 2009-'13 Metrolinx budget, city staff say 2009 to 2010 may see the project begin study, design and approvals. Construction may start in 2011 or later.
Will it be elevated?
No. Hamilton wants street-level rail to mesh with the streetscape, said Jill Stephen, manager of strategic planning.
Would there be dedicated lanes?
Outside of downtown, yes. But from Eastgate Square to the Delta in east Hamilton, and along James Street North, stores are so close to the road that a lane can't be freed. Rail there would move like a streetcar, at the speed of car traffic.
Light rail vehicles are planned for a frequency of every 10 minutes. It led concerned citizen Mark Volterman to call the LRT plan a waste of money. He wants more frequent vehicles and is concerned about the environmental impact of escarpment crossings.
How is Hamilton doing?
Metrolinx CEO Michael Fenn said Hamilton is well along, citing its public consultations, compared with other cities with rapid-transit plans. Fenn said the draft budget will favour projects farther along.
Will LRT really deliver economic investments along the route?
In Portland, Ore., the LRT system had 34 million riders in 2007 and, since it was built, there has been $6 billion in development within walking distance of its stations.
City staff will start conference calls tomorrow with peers in cities such as San Diego, Minneapolis, Buffalo to hear their bus and rail rapid transit experience and find out what LRT can, and cannot, accomplish.
But they really need to get the Airport out of the plans. The LRT will have to go through 6km of rural farmfields to get there, and the airport isn't even busy, serving a dozen flights a day or so. Such a line would be comically underused; a guaranteed white elephant.