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  #1661  
Old Posted Jul 16, 2011, 4:58 PM
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hamtransithistory hamtransithistory is offline
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Public info centres for the A-Line are next week:

Notice of Public Information Centres for Land Use Planning Issues and Opportunities along the A-Line. The City of Hamilton’s Rapid Transit team invites you to our upcoming Public Information Centre (PIC).

Tuesday July 19, 2011
Mohawk College, H-Wing Atrium
135 Fennell Ave. W. 6:00 – 8:00pm
(The PIC will take place in front of Starbucks in the corridor connecting the new Learning Exchange building (H-Wing) and C-Wing. Free parking is available in lot P8)

Wednesday July 20, 2011
Hamilton Convention Centre
Webster Room
1 Summers Lane 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Last edited by hamtransithistory; Jul 16, 2011 at 4:59 PM. Reason: formating
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  #1662  
Old Posted Jul 16, 2011, 8:42 PM
DC1983 DC1983 is offline
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TheSpec: Has LRT gone off the rails?

Hey, Bratina.. it's Common Sense at the Door! You might wanna answer it!

Quote:
So if LRT is so important to the city's economic development, why aren't developers swooping in with plans and cash in hand?

That's easy to explain, says developer David Blanchard, whose company owns a lot of property along the line.

“No one is going to run in and buy up all this stuff on a dream.”

Until there are commitments and timelines in place, developers won't sink money into buying property, he says.
source (and full article) http://www.thespec.com/news/local/ar...-off-the-rails
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  #1663  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2011, 1:32 PM
markbarbera markbarbera is offline
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More revealing is a couple more sentences into the article:

Quote:
Blanchard isn't particularly hopeful LRT will materialize, but thinks it would be a good thing, overall. But he says it would have to come with serious incentives to developers, including lowered or waived development charges, eased parking requirements and a cut to red tape.
So, Blanchard says spinoff development will only come from him after the LRT is built, and if he is enticed by waiving the development charges that normally would be applied to cover the cost of infrastructure upgrades like LRT. Is it no wonder that council isn't getting the warm and fuzzies from the developer community on this?

Blanchard also happens to be the developer responsible for Gore Park's new gap-tooth look after quickly and quietly razing one of the century buildings that used to be part of the now disjointed southern streetwall of King between James and Hughson. Not exactly a legitimate rallying force for the LRT cause IMO.
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  #1664  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2011, 4:45 PM
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Everyone knows there's way too much rep tape w/ regards to developing in Hamilton anyway, ESP in regards to our ridiculous Parking:Unit requirements. What Blachard is saying is perfectly legit. He's not speculating or begging for handouts; simply asking for less red tape.
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  #1665  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2011, 8:53 PM
markbarbera markbarbera is offline
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I completely agree there is a need to cut out all the red tape and parking requirements, but Blanchard goes well beyond this argument. As I highlighted in my previous post in bold red font, Blanchard is demanding development fees be waived or reduced if he is expected to develop along an LRT line.

That is clearly asking for a handout, and not the kind of incentive situation one would expect to be required to encourage intensification along an LRT line. Shouldn't the presence of LRT be enough incentive for intensification?

With regards to property speculation, Blanchard has spent nearly two decades buying up the city block bounded by King, James, Main and Hunter as the individual properties came up for sale. His acquisitions include the building he demolished in May, the vacant building west of it (how long before it too is demolished), and the former building next to Landed Banking Building, which was demolished and made into a parking lot several years back.
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  #1666  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2011, 11:56 AM
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Everyone out there agrees there's way too much red tape to get anything done in this City.

I think we disagree, however, on the interpretation of Wilson-Blanchard's quotes, but I digress.

But please don't sit there and suggest Vranic is better than W-B. That's just false. Most of W-B's are standing and in good shape. Vranic's are tore down and/or dilapidated. I mean, c'mon, Vranic use the Fed Bldg to 'store' mattresses and propane tanks. Hmmm.. seems a lil fishy to me. OH and let's not forget his and his fam's dubious reputation.
The fact that Bratina even associates himself w/ this scumbag is such a black eye on our city who only recently wiped that Mobster Image out (Thanks in part to Montreal).
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  #1667  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2011, 3:04 PM
markbarbera markbarbera is offline
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I am not sure how or why you are trying to make this a Blanchard vs. Vranich debate, given that not once have I compared the two developers in any way.

Frankly, when it comes to the established developers in the city, they all will milk as much as they can out of the city's coffers as they can get away with, and Blanchard through his own statement has proven to be the same in that regard. Is there any other way to interpret Blanchard when he says the city "would have to come with serious incentives to developers, including lowered or waived development charges", other than that he wants lowered or waived development charges in order to develop along the LRT line?

I would be very careful in who I was choosing to be a LRT messiah in the city's development world, because frankly not any of them would do very well when put to the sniff test.
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  #1668  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2011, 3:13 PM
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If I had to tap into Bratina's mind my guess is that he would rather support the A-Line than the B-Line, believe he even said that in the past in this forum. This is why I think he's advocating for all day GO service than pushing harder for the B-Line.

Once we get a James St North station the pressure will grow for rapid transit from the James St N station to downtown aka A-Line.
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  #1669  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2011, 3:59 PM
thistleclub thistleclub is offline
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Here's a rapid transit history refresher excerpted from Light Rail Technology Overview & Analysis (PDF) (P.Topalovic/L. Lottimer/M. Pepito, City of Hamilton Public Works, April 2009):

Historical Context of Rapid Transit in Hamilton

Hamilton has a long history of rail use in passenger, commercial and industrial contexts. The first street car lines in North America were established in New York City during the 1830s. These inter-city rail networks enjoyed great success for many years until the popularity of the automobile began to compete with rail. By the 1950s, most street car networks were dismantled in favour of more flexible buses that were thought to alleviate congestion and decrease the cost of infrastructure associated with the streetcar (Taplin, 1998).

The Hamilton Street Railway was dismantled in 1951, in favour of trolley buses powered by overhead wires which, after 1992, were replaced by a bus-only transit network (Wyatt, 2007). At the height of rail passenger transit in the city there were four independently run lines connecting Hamilton’s inner city with Brantford, Dundas, Ancaster, Binbrook, Burlington, Stoney Creek and Niagara. These lines served innercity connections, such as the Hamilton Street Railway, and regional functions, such as the Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo (TH&B) railway. Most lines travelled East-West along Main, King, York, Aberdeen and Lawrence road. They also ran North-South using Mountain Brow Boulevard and Beach Boulevard to Burlington.

The first mention of rapid transit in Hamilton can be found in a Hamilton Spectator Article from 1962 which states “If the city has built up a well-planned rapid transit system, mass transportation moves about smoothly to nurture development of the municipality. If only more buses and automobiles and commercial vehicles are crowded onto existing streets, it can strangle the city’s lifelines and end its growth” (Marshall, 1962).

A city report on transportation and transit from 1962 indicated that two North-South lines using James and Ottawa Streets were needed in addition to an East-West line running from Highway 102 (Hwy 403 bridge) to Hwy 20 (Centennial Parkway). For many years thereafter, the two types of systems that dominated transit planning discussions were subways and elevated rail tracks or monorails. Much of this speculation came from the building of Toronto’s Younge subway line in the 1950’s, the Disneyland Monorail and Seattle Monorail built for the 1962 World’s Fair.

Hamilton’s drive for rapid transit continued throughout the 1960s and 1970s, resulting in a variety of transportation studies which chose the North-South Corridor as the area of choice for rapid transit, because it was projected to have the highest population growth. This line would run from Mohawk Road and Highway 6 to the downtown core via Upper James Street and the Claremont Access, ending at Civic Square (Jackson Square). Another would run from Mount Albion to Barton Street and then onward to the core.

East-West Lines along Main and King from Main Street West (King’s Highway 2) to the downtown core were also considered important corridors. These three lines would all meet at the current site of the Hunter Street Terminal. While the technology was not specifically identified, proposals for monorail, subway and light rail transit systems were put forth. This lead to a 1974 plan for a monorail system, promoted by Mayor Victor Copps, which followed the North-South route while using Burlington Street to end at Kenilworth Avenue. It was projected that future expansion would link the airport and the Nanticoke Stelco Lake Erie Works to the downtown core.



The Ontario government’s urban transportation policy of the 1970s and their formation of the Urban Transit Development Corporation (UTDC), now the Advanced Rapid Transit (ART) division of Bombardier, enabled the province to fund, design and eventually build a system similar to the original Hamilton Transit Plan backed by Mayor Copps, referred to as ICTS (Intermediate Capacity Transit System). Hamilton was to be a test city for a new rail technology using driverless trains on elevated guideways, powered by linear induction motors and magnetic fields. The cost of the system was projected to be $100 million with 90% of the funding coming from the federal government and the province, who wished to promote a new technology that propelled the train using a middle track and positional wheels, rather than traditional rail methods. This system is currently running in Vancouver as the Sky Train and in Toronto as the Scarborough RT.

The proposed Hamilton Rapid Transit Project of 1981 looked at a variety of corridors connecting the upper escarpment with the downtown core including two tunnelling routes, one starting at Fennell Avenue and Upper James and ending at lower James Street; the other starting at Inverness and Upper Wellington and ending at the start of the Claremont access and the Jolley Cut. The other two routes were to be built above ground using elevated guideways. The preferred route, “W” (see Figure 30) was chosen to run from Mohawk Road to the core using a tunnel at James Street.



Figure 30 - Four Proposed ICTS Alignments (Metro Canada, 1981c)
An example of the elevated guiderail and car can be seen in artist renderings of familiar Hamilton streetscapes. The first is a view of James Street South at the escarpment tunnel exit:


The second is at the Royal Connaught in the downtown core:


Proposed station stops included Upper James and Mohawk, Upper James and Fennell, St. Joseph’s Hospital, MacNab and King William Streets. The elevated track was to be a made-in-Hamilton design comprised of concrete in some areas and composite steel in others. Along the mountain corridor trains would travel along a median guideway carrying two way traffic, and a one-way looped guideway as they entered the central business district. Portions of the TH&B lands (at the present day GO terminal) were to be used as a maintenance facility. The full capital costs of the system were determined to be $111.1 million and operating costs were projected to be $3.5 million per year (Sicoli, 1981, June 17). Ridership estimates in peak hour traffic were 3,000 passengers per hour in 1986, and in 2001 they were projected to be 6,500 passengers per hour.

Early on in the transit planning process, during the 1970s, citizen and political support for the system was high; however as the more detailed planning and public consultation processes began in the 1980s, public opinion changed and support for the system dwindled, until the plans were eventually dropped in December of 1981. Some of the concerns included:

• Unsightly elevated guideways
• Negative impact on property values
• Burden on the taxpayer, especially due to unknown operating costs of the system (Rapid Transit Load Will Fall on City, 1981).
• Lack of political will, leadership and organization where rapid transit was concerned
• Improper timing and lack of need as transit needs are well served by bus routes.
• Population growth projections were too high.
• Coalitions of neighbourhood associations against the system.
• Reliance on un-proven, experimental technology.
• Insufficient access for the disabled.
• Traffic, emergency and personal safety hazards due to concrete guideways.
• The UTDC cars were to be made in Vancouver and not in Hamilton.
• Bus routes may still be required along ICTS routes since stations are too far apart.
• Bus routes require upgrading before money can be spent on new infrastructure.
• Does not service the proper areas such as the bayfront industrial core, which have a higher transit demand.
• Poor public engagement/consultation and an inability to answer to citizen concerns, coupled with reports of failure to provide accurate, unbiased reports on public opinion (Sicoli, 1981, Sept. 15).
• Distrust of the province’s intentions and the ability of the UTDC to deliver on their promises of prosperity and system functionality.

In addition to these concerns, Hamilton-Wentworth Regional transportation planners stunted the new transit system’s planning and installation by ranking it 8 out of 13 essential transportation projects for the city, far down the list from the top which contained mostly freeway projects including the Red Hill Valley and Lincoln Alexander Parkways (“Report Says No Urgency”, 1981). However, others believed that “rapid transit will be the thing of the future. We can’t keep constructing roads and carving up the escarpment for more automobile accesses.” (Scicoli, 1981, May 2).

While the UTDC was not interested in alternative technologies, some groups promoted more flexible streetcar systems, such as Edmonton’s light rail transit system. From the 1960s to the 1980s, ideas of transit options became more conservative and practical. Today, LRT dominates transit planning as the most promising and flexible option because of its ability to travel on street level, allowing for car and pedestrian crossings.

In 1982, the province proposed GO Advanced Light Rail Transit (GO-ALRT) improvement plans for the Oakville-Hamilton corridor. UTDC technology would provide the infrastructure and citizens had input on routing.

Three possible routes were identified as feasible. The first was the York Boulevard Elevated Option, where the train travels at ground level East of the CN tracks then is elevated along York Blvd. to a station between Hughson St. and Catherine St. at John St. In the second proposed route, the train travels at ground level west of Hwy. 403, then underground beneath the Hamilton cemetery and Woodbine street, emerging at Locke St. and running across an elevated guideway along York St. to the John St. station. The third proposed route runs at ground level East and North of the CN tracks, then rises over the tracks and runs on an elevated guideway up Ferguson Ave. and end at Wilson St. near James St. (Johnston & MacPhail, 1984).



Public opinion in this case was similar to that of the rapid transit plans two years earlier. In addition, much of the public wondered why a route utilizing the TH&B terminal and tracks was not being considered as feasible by the study team. In both the 1981 and 1983 rapid transit proposals, stakeholders with one-sided, specific agendas were quickly formed, the largest of which was COST (Coalition on Sensible Transit). In the late 1970s, evidence of increased economic and social development where light rail lines were installed was well documented and commonly understood by municipal planners, large businesses and others in the transit field. An examination of citizen letters in the Spectator from this time period shows a lack of interest in transit-oriented development and a focus on “Not In My Back Yard” politics (Martin, 1984).

A sizable portion of the public was opposed to the GO-ALRT preferred route along York St. and the Woodbine tunnel (under the Hamilton cemetery to Locke St.), but the plan was endorsed reluctantly by council. At the same time, the federal government created new legislation requiring existing rail corridors to be shared with commuter rail traffic. With this assurance the province opted to scrap GO-ALRT plans in favour for the conventional GO Transit system that is in place today. Currently, Hamilton has five GO-Train trips per day (a morning train to Toronto and four evening trains to Hamilton).
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Last edited by thistleclub; Jul 18, 2011 at 5:29 PM.
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  #1670  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2011, 4:26 PM
durandy durandy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelTown View Post
If I had to tap into Bratina's mind my guess is that he would rather support the A-Line than the B-Line, believe he even said that in the past in this forum. This is why I think he's advocating for all day GO service than pushing harder for the B-Line.

Once we get a James St North station the pressure will grow for rapid transit from the James St N station to downtown aka A-Line.
and if you could tap into this thought process you'd probably also hear the sound of birds chirping and the ocean roaring. This is just the stupidest idea he keeps floating. Justifying the A line based on Liuna station to downtown? yeah let's build a line up the mountain for that.
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  #1671  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2011, 4:34 PM
DC1983 DC1983 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelTown View Post
If I had to tap into Bratina's mind my guess is that he would rather support the A-Line than the B-Line, believe he even said that in the past in this forum. This is why I think he's advocating for all day GO service than pushing harder for the B-Line.

Once we get a James St North station the pressure will grow for rapid transit from the James St N station to downtown aka A-Line.
I'm saddened, Steeltown. You used to be such a Hamilton-booster. Now you've seem to fallen into the 'Well, the best we can do is become Toronto's newest bedroom community' attitude.

Think BIGGER for Hamilton, Steeltown! Like you once used to. We've lost MANY boosters (RealCity comes right to mind), let's not lose you too!

Hamilton IS better than what our lackluster council and ADD mayor thinks! Let's plan for that (ie: Real Cities attract Real Employers) instead of relying on residents taxes to keep the City running.
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  #1672  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2011, 4:40 PM
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Hey I'll be the first in line to support the B-Line and better GO service, I attended the first rapid transit public meeting. I was just stating what I believe is Bratina's mindset.
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  #1673  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2011, 7:26 PM
DC1983 DC1983 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelTown View Post
Hey I'll be the first in line to support the B-Line and better GO service, I attended the first rapid transit public meeting. I was just stating what I believe is Bratina's mindset.
Glad to hear
But to be fair, I don't think Bratina has a single mindset on anything. He changes opinions more than he changes suits!

He wants B-Line on Main, then he wants to prioritize A-Line. Now he wants to put them both on the backburner (despite ongoing studies/plans) and ride the coattails of Toronto. Lame.
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  #1674  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2011, 9:38 PM
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City calls off non-essential LRT work

City manager Chris Murray is putting the brakes on the city’s LRT preparations.

In a letter to council sent Friday and obtained by the Spectator and other media outlets Monday, Murray says he has directed senior staff to “suspend all current direct and indirect activities of the Light Rail Transit Initiative other than any work activities required to be completed” under the city’s agreement with the province that devoted $3 million to studying LRT.

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/ar...ntial-lrt-work
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  #1675  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2011, 10:03 PM
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Bratina is set to meet with business leaders July 21, ha that's off to a good start.

http://www.thespec.com/news/business...on-city-growth
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  #1676  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2011, 12:48 AM
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msakalau msakalau is offline
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why does this happen...oh yes, it's hamilton!
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  #1677  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2011, 3:16 AM
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Watch for a pro-LRT rally of west harbour proportions in the next few weeks.
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  #1678  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2011, 6:18 AM
bigguy1231 bigguy1231 is offline
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All that article in the Spec is saying is that they have fullfilled the mandate of the study. They can't do anything else until the report is done and handed over to the province and council for consideration. Once decisions are made based on the report they can proceed accordingly.

I wouldn't read anything into the fact that they have sent staff back to their regular duties. If they have nothing further to do with regards to the study, it only makes sense that they be given other tasks for the time being. Lobbying for all day GO service is a good use of their time.
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  #1679  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2011, 1:54 PM
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It's a strange feeling, agreeing with Larry.

http://twitter.com/#!/LarryDiIanni/s...85429712912384

Quote:
Improving Go services and moving forward on LRT are not mutually exclusive. The signals sent to Metrolinx are saying RIP LRT. Awful!
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  #1680  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2011, 3:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattgrande View Post
It's a strange feeling, agreeing with Larry.

http://twitter.com/#!/LarryDiIanni/s...85429712912384
Agreed. Bratina/Murray, etc don't seem to understand the optics of this.
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