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  #1  
Old Posted Oct 30, 2007, 12:56 AM
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SteelTown SteelTown is offline
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The future of Hamilton's public transit

A very cool new website dedicated towards LRT for Hamilton

http://www.hamiltonlightrail.com/

Sample LRT Map for Hamilton


Go ahead and discuss Hamilton's future public transit!
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  #2  
Old Posted Oct 30, 2007, 3:52 PM
raisethehammer raisethehammer is offline
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perhaps we can call this thread "Hamilton Light Rail" to distinguish it from the other 2 threads here called transit or HSR.
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  #3  
Old Posted Oct 30, 2007, 4:10 PM
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Okay I'll try and get someone to change the title thread.

Did you go to the LRT meeting last night? Anything interesting?
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Old Posted Oct 30, 2007, 5:04 PM
raisethehammer raisethehammer is offline
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I missed out....someone must have.
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Old Posted Oct 30, 2007, 10:48 PM
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That's a pretty kewl map... where did u get is from? I cldn't find it on the lighrail site!?
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Old Posted Oct 30, 2007, 10:52 PM
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Minutes for the Oct. 29, 2007 Light Rail Meeting
Summary of the discussion and action items from the October 29, 2007 meeting.

By Ryan McGreal, Last Updated Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Hamilton Light Rail met on October 29, 2007 at 7:30 PM at the Sky Dragon Centre (27 King William St. (b/w James and Hughson), Hamilton) to discuss strategies for promoting light rail in Hamilton. Hamilton Transit Users Group and Raise the Hammer facilitated the event.

New Website
Hamilton Light Rail has officially launched a new website to organize public support for light rail in Hamilton, with timely information, news, resources, presentations, and other tools for outreach and education.

http://hamiltonlightrail.com
The site is still a work in progress (it's little big buggy in Internet Explorer 6), but already contains some pre-existing information about light rail in Hamilton. It also includes a registration form so readers can sign up to participate in the discussion and receive updates.

Meeting Objectives
After a discussion about affiliations, organizational structure and strategies, the group decided to focus initially on the content and let a form suggest itself.

The most important initial goals are to:

Research the benefits of light rail (much of the groundwork has already been done);
Create presentation resources;
Train presenters; and
Establish an outreach strategy for building support.
The idea is to put together an entertaining and informative presentation (or possibly two presentations: a shorter initial version and a longer detailed version) that volunteers can use to promote light rail to various organizations in the city. The idea is to have a consistent, accurate information package and to approach a wide variety of groups to give talks and ask for statements of support.

Pro-Light Rail Arguments
A discussion about the major arguments in support of light rail produced the following list:

Light rail has higher capital costs than buses or bus rapid transit (BRT), but the Provincial government has offered to pay the capital costs for two rapid transit lines.
Light rail has lower operating costs per rider than buses.
Light rail has lower maintenance costs than buses, and vehicles last much longer before needing replacement.
Light rail attracts many more new riders than buses/BRT. People who would never get on a bus are happy to ride a modern light rail system.
Light rail can carry more riders than buses. (Note that the main east/west transit line across the lower city is already overloaded, even with articulated Bee-Line buses.)
Light rail attracts billions of dollars in new private investment, promoting neighbourhood development. Other cities that have invested in light rail have enjoyed excellent ROI. (Buses/BRT simply do not compare.)
New commercial investment lowers property taxes for city residents.
Because it promotes transit-oriented development, it will help Hamilton meet its provincially-manded intensification targets.
Light rail produces no emissions at the tailpipe, and produces far fewer total emissions per vehicle than buses, no matter how the electricity is generated.
Light rail promotes walking, which is good for public health.
Light rail is quiet, comfortable, stylish, and relaxing compared to buses and even compared to driving in traffic.
Light rail can be designed to have signal priority and dedicated lanes, so it is faster and more convenient than driving.
Light rail is accessible to riders with special needs.
Light rail reduces traffic congestion because it uses land very very efficiently, draws new riders out of their cars, and displaces more vehicles than the lanes it uses would carry.
Light rail sends a positive message that Hamilton is a progressive, forward-looking city, which can help to attract innovative businesses.
Action Items
The following action items will be reviewed at our next meeting (see below for date and time):

Prepare a draft presentation (PowerPoint show and related pamphlet) and circulate to group for critiques and suggestions.
Come up with a list of anti-light rail arguing points to rebut (please send suggestions to Ryan McGreal).
Prepare an outreach strategy: draft resolution, sample letter, etc.
Arrange a speaker for the next meeting (a planner from the Kitchener-Waterloo light rail project).
Timeline
Our goal is to have the presentation and strategy ready to deploy at the start of the new year.

Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held:

Date: Tuesday, November 20
Time: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Location: FRWY Coffee House
Address: 333 King Street East (at Wellington St. N.) Hamilton, ON L8N 1C1
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Old Posted Oct 31, 2007, 3:57 PM
raisethehammer raisethehammer is offline
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some great articles from Portland recently...note the increase in pedestrian traffic. Brace yourselves - apparently human beings on the sidewalk buy stuff, not cars roaring through!! who knew??


Sacramento officials visit to study streetcar system

Portland Business Journal - by Michael Shaw Business Journal News Service

Portland's streetcars have helped fuel redevelopment, but Sacramento area officials who recently visited the city say financing streetcars in their city might be problematic.

Along the Willamette River, three high-rise towers have sprouted in the past year and a fourth is in mid-climb in the South Waterfront.

Portland officials told their Sacramento counterparts that South Waterfront is booming due in no small part to the city's streetcar system, which opened a new loop past the residential towers in August.

Apologies to San Francisco and its quaint cable cars, but Portland is the streetcar king. The system, once derided by TriMet as a "donkey trolley," has become the model for at least 20 other metro areas across the country, including Sacramento and West Sacramento, which are jointly studying a streetcar proposal.

Sacramento officials here want to know whether streetcars will work as well in Sacramento as they have in Portland.

A junket of Sacramento and West Sacramento officials toured Portland two weeks ago via mass transit, using all-day passes to segue easily from the airport light-rail line to the 7.2-mile streetcar loop, hopping on and off at points of interest. They found brownfields that bear striking resemblance to areas of Sacramento but are experiencing radical transformation through redevelopment.

They also noted significant challenges they would face in emulating Portland's success.

Streetcars are credited not with aiding development in downtown Portland, but with creating it -- foot-traffic studies showed an increase from three pedestrians per hour in one section of town to 938, attributable to the system.

"Is it a better connecting alternative to more light rail and how does it really work?" asked David Spaur, Sacramento's economic development director, as he waited to board the next car. "It looks like it works better than light rail for short distances."

Charlie Hales is a former Portland city commissioner in charge of transportation, an architect of the Portland system and now the manager of the Sacramento-West Sacramento project as a vice president for engineering firm HDR Inc.

Hales says Portland's streetcars were launched without a solid plan for funding while facing opposition from Portland's transit agency, which thought they threatened the existing light-rail system.

"It wasn't our only strategy, but it was the keystone of a set of strategies to bring the type of development we wanted," Hales said while showing a group the massive developments -- grocers, bookstores, five-story underground parking complexes -- that have sprouted since the streetcar system opened in 2001. "We didn't know it would work this well."

A key misunderstanding, Hales said, is how differently the streetcars function from light rail. Unlike light rail, the system isn't designed to move commuters in and out of downtown, but to circulate traffic within. The cost is $25 million to $30 million a mile, about half that of light rail, Hales said.

There are tantalizing parallels between Portland and Sacramento that officials say bode well for a streetcar system in the northern California city.

There's the South Waterfront itself, for one, a brownfield site that a few years ago was reminiscent of West Sacramento's "Triangle" district, where developers want to build high-density housing, offices and shops. Then there is the Pearl District.

A decade ago, it was a railyard like the one in downtown Sacramento. Today, it's a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood with restaurants, mid-rise residential buildings and character, whose success is chalked up to the streetcars running through the heart of the district.

The chief hurdle in Sacramento is paying for the proposed first leg, a $50 million, 2.2-mile line from West Sacramento City Hall to the Sacramento Convention Center. There are hopes for an expanded system that would drive redevelopment throughout the metropolitan area.

"That's what's really going to be the thing -- how do you pay for this?" West Sacramento City Councilman Mark Johannessen said.

Portland initially funded its system through increased parking fees, a tax increment finance district and an assessment district covering businesses within the streetcar zone. There's been so much development that assessments now play a much greater role in funding the system, Hales said. Portland also funds its streetcar through advertising.

In Sacramento, a large burden would fall to developers.

Hales dismisses federal funding as a likely initial source, calling it time-consuming and uncertain because transportation funds are generally awarded to light-rail systems that reduce driving miles more than streetcars do.

Financing aside, Portland's success isn't viewed as a guarantee for Sacramento.

Spaur asked: "Are you coming to the right city to compare with Sacramento?"
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Old Posted Oct 31, 2007, 3:58 PM
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another one:


Clang, clang -- a trolley may be in your future
Portland Streetcar - Planners want to know which neighborhoods will welcome new lines

Monday, October 29, 2007
DYLAN RIVERA
The Oregonian

The next big thing for your neighborhood: How about the Portland Streetcar?

Emboldened by the success of the downtown streetcar line, city leaders want to expand service into a network that would crisscross the city.

Unlike bus service, city planners say, a streetcar could generate business and political momentum for clusters of midrise housing and commercial centers that could spread the walkable feel of popular urban neighborhoods.

About 140 miles of the city's busiest streets show potential for new streetcar routes, said Patrick Sweeney, project manager for the Portland Office of Transportation. Those streets have dense enough housing, employment and shopping -- and are zoned for more.

In the next six months, the transportation office will rank potential routes based on neighborhood and business support. Technical details, such as relatively flat terrain and wide intersections for railcar turns, also will be evaluated.

The toughest nut to crack might be finding a combination of neighborhood support and property ripe for redevelopment that could help raise millions of dollars in private money for each extension.

At three open houses starting today, residents will have a chance to plead for or against a line in their neighborhoods.

"A community that has a corridor and advocates for their own corridor is so important to us," Sweeney said. "If they don't support it, we're not going to pick a fight with a neighborhood."

Streetcars could make more neighborhoods resemble the popular retail corridor along Southeast Belmont, built originally along a streetcar line in the early 20th century. Likely routes could include Northeast Sandy Boulevard, lined now with car dealerships, vacant lots and low-slung buildings.

Streetcar routes could help determine how the city grows and absorbs its share of the 1 million new people expected to move to the metro area by 2040, said city Commissioner Sam Adams, who oversees the transportation office.

"It's a tough but important goal to try to accommodate the next 300,000 Portlanders within a quarter-mile of transit," Adams said. "In doing so, that protects the single-family neighborhoods that we have. If we do it right, it stands to strengthen our main streets and town centers."

At the earliest, a handful of the strongest potential lines might be built from 2010 to 2020, Sweeney said. Much of the money would come from a new federal program known as Small Starts, designed to help pay for streetcars.

Portland's plan might be among the most ambitious in the nation, said Gloria Ohland, a spokeswoman for Reconnecting America, a nonprofit transit group based in Oakland, Calif. "Portland is certainly leading the way in this effort, and other cities are really looking to Portland for guidance."

But many questions remain.

If a streetcar would bring denser development, does it stand a chance in a city where neighborhood associations sometimes criticize even modest proposals for multistory buildings?

If a streetcar depends on financial contributions from developers, are there enough along each route who agree?

Initial indications say yes.

The City Council has given preliminary approval to a new line along Burnside and Couch streets downtown. Planners have tentatively placed a spur from East Burnside up Northeast Sandy to the Hollywood neighborhood on a regional transportation plan. That's a first step in seeking federal money.

Dozens of neighborhoods from all corners of Portland expressed desire for a streetcar line at an open house last summer, Adams said.

The Sullivan's Gulch neighborhood of Northeast Portland strongly supports an extension from the Lloyd District east along Northeast Broadway, said Peyton Snead, neighborhood association co-chairman. The streetcar could take traffic off Broadway, make pedestrian crossings safer and bring other amenities, he said.

Others are more skeptical.

Developer Joe Weston, who said his large piece of the Pearl District benefited greatly from the city's first streetcar line, questions whether eastside lines will prompt much redevelopment and business investment.

Weston, who owns about 20 blocks along Northeast Sandy, said the city should wait for the extension along Martin Luther King Boulevard and Grand Avenue to open in about four years to see whether investment follows.

But streetcars have become so popular that the city needs the plan it's about to embark on, said John Fregonese, a regional planner whose firm lost a bid to create the streetcar plan. "A plan allows you to examine these things in a logical way, and you can decide not to do it and you've only spent enough money for the plan."
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  #9  
Old Posted Oct 31, 2007, 5:01 PM
coalminecanary coalminecanary is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DC83 View Post
That's a pretty kewl map... where did u get is from? I cldn't find it on the lighrail site!?
it was only up for a few days. the layout and sections of that site are still being reworked. i reckon you'll eventually see something along the lines of "possible routes" with maybe a few sample maps showing all of the different options for where to put rails

LIGHT RAIL COULD BE THE MOST IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENT IN HAMILTON IN OUR LIFETIMES

let's make it happen folks!
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Old Posted Oct 31, 2007, 5:13 PM
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Houston just got the go-ahead for 5 LRT lines. Previously, some dumbass politician had blocked the proposal and they were scaled back to BRT with future upgrading in mind (does this sound familiar?) Part of the reasoning for installing LRT right away is that it will cost more to upgrade later than to do it right the first time. With Hamilton's one time provincial grant, the suggestion of 'starting slow' with BRT and upgrading to LRT in the future is obvious bullshit. If it's not done now when the money is on the table, it will certainly not be upgraded when there is no capital available. We should realize that there is no substance to this hypothetical future LRT upgrade mentioned in the transportation master plan. It is was likely thrown in just to fool us into thinking that they actually expended some thought on LRT. If the grant is blown on buses, we will be stuck with that.
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  #11  
Old Posted Oct 31, 2007, 5:21 PM
raisethehammer raisethehammer is offline
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you're right on Jon.
That's why we need to educate the politicians and staffers. they refuse to educate themselves, so we need to do it.
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Old Posted Nov 1, 2007, 1:37 AM
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Just think of the ridership in Hamilton if LRT got built. As it is, the % of transit use in Hamilton is almost equal to Portland.
And per capital transit use is higher in Hamilton.

So it would probably be a huge success even compared to Portland.
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Old Posted Nov 1, 2007, 2:03 AM
raisethehammer raisethehammer is offline
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Originally Posted by miketoronto View Post
Just think of the ridership in Hamilton if LRT got built. As it is, the % of transit use in Hamilton is almost equal to Portland.
And per capital transit use is higher in Hamilton.

So it would probably be a huge success even compared to Portland.
You're right...it would be a smashing success. Our city was built around the human scale and easy walking/transit use.
A few proper choices now would turn this into an incredibly bustling downtown.
I agree with the fellow in one of today's articles that said the area around the Gore could be one of the most exciting public spaces in North America.
Unfortunately the hacks running the downtown BIA and the folks at city hall are more interested in speeding through town.
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Old Posted Nov 1, 2007, 2:54 AM
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maybe this sort of scene will be in our future:
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Old Posted Nov 2, 2007, 1:08 AM
DC83 DC83 is offline
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Has anyone seen/read this site:
http://www.gimmeabreakhsr.ca/

wow... I do feel bad for drivers sometimes, but c'mon...

"HIV/AIDS
If an HIV-positive person spits on you, it should be no problem as long as you have no skin cuts."

I know Union Reps aren't the most educated ppl in the world, but I'm sure EVERYONE else knows you canNOT get HIV from spit! Even IF it happens to hit a fresh, open, bleeding wound!

Wow... that's all I have to say...
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  #16  
Old Posted Nov 2, 2007, 1:11 AM
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SteelTown SteelTown is offline
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Oh there's tons of misconception about HIV/AIDS.
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  #17  
Old Posted Nov 2, 2007, 1:26 AM
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^^ oh, I know. That statement isn't even a misconception tho. That's just blatant ignorance!
Don't worry, I wrote them a pretty fun email hehe
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  #18  
Old Posted Nov 2, 2007, 1:29 AM
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In other news my Grandpa, HSR driver, is retiring this month. 30 years as a bus driver and plenty of free HSR rides for me haha. He drives the Upper Wentworth and Upper Wellington bus.
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Old Posted Nov 2, 2007, 1:48 AM
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Awesome! Congrats to Grandpa!!
I used to take the 25 a lot when I was in High School... I've prolly seen him b4!
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  #20  
Old Posted Nov 2, 2007, 2:32 AM
raisethehammer raisethehammer is offline
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that photo from Portland is the Pearl District...when I left town they were laying the track there and putting up those totem pole-type things...the rest was rubble, empty buildings and gravel roads.
Now look at it...amazing.
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