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  #1  
Old Posted May 8, 2015, 1:30 AM
GreatTallNorth2 GreatTallNorth2 is offline
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Shift: London's Rapid Transit Initiative

So I thought Shift London should have it's own thread as they are really moving forward planning and speaking to upper levels of government for funding of Rapid Transit for London...

London mayor Matt Brown makes case in Ottawa for transit cash

Transit funding is high on the agenda this week as Matt Brown represents London as mayor for the first time in the nation’s capital.

Brown, the first-term mayor, is joined in Ottawa by other mayors from large Ontario cities, who together will push the federal government for more funding to meet municipal needs.

Transit will be Brown’s top priority — specifically, the rapid-transit plan that’s arguably the No. 1 mandate of his early tenure as mayor.

“We need all levels of government to partner on this groundbreaking project,” Brown said Tuesday in an interview from Ottawa.

London’s long-term transit overhaul, still in its infancy, could cost between $300 and $400 million. City hall wants the provincial and federal levels of government to each pay one-third of that tab.

Though it’s his first visit to Ottawa as mayor, Brown arrived keenly aware of the political context he was entering Tuesday.

“We’re heading into an election period and we want to make sure all parties are aware of our priority,” he said.

“Congestion hurts our economy, our public safety, our quality of life, our environment. We can do better.”

London, he noted, is expected to grow by about 77,000 people over the next two decades, making transit and traffic increasingly important issues.

Shift, the name of city hall’s transit plan, is in an early stage — a two-year environmental assessment, during which public input is collected. After just a few months, about 4,000 Londoners have already chimed in.

The resulting rapid-transit system could include light rail, rapid bus routes or a combination of both.

It fits, too, with other priorities Brown brought to the mayor’s office, including a renewed emphasis on downtown revitalization.

As part of the Large Urban Mayors Caucus of Ontario, Brown is in Ottawa for two days to advocate for urban issues, including transit cash but also affordable housing and police/fire costs.

Thursday, he’ll be in Toronto with council colleagues Phil Squire and Jesse Helmer, who sit on the London Transit Commission, along with city and LTC officials to study its rapid-transit plans.

patrick.maloney@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/patatLFPress​
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  #2  
Old Posted May 8, 2015, 8:46 PM
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please light rail. not brt.
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Old Posted May 8, 2015, 11:30 PM
GreatTallNorth2 GreatTallNorth2 is offline
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please light rail. not brt.
Totally agree.
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  #4  
Old Posted May 10, 2015, 10:52 PM
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I'm all for this project, it has the potential to transform many depressed/mediocre areas for the better. It is the equivalent of building an in-city freeway for our time!

While the cost will be a big issue, IMO the level of expropriation required for it will be the real battle. Having to sell the required taxes to fund it, plus telling x amount of people they're going to lose their property and thus won't benefit from it. Council will have to have a pair of ball, not buckle to the pressure and ram it though.

As well the proposed routing, while I'm fine with it, logically goes along the busy, intense routes I can see some areas being pissed/ SW and NW areas, that don't directly benefit from it and will be hard to sell why they should pay for other areas to have RT while they still have (sub)standard transit.
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Old Posted May 11, 2015, 1:32 PM
HillStreetBlues HillStreetBlues is offline
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I was pretty excited to see the “Shift” banner on the rail overpass just west of Wonderland on Oxford on Saturday. I think it’s great branding, and I’m pleased to see them trying to attract attention. My wife (who is not from London and is generally even more pessimistic about the city than I am) asked me if it was “for real,” or if it would “fizzle out.” I wasn’t sure what to tell her.

I don’t think appropriation will be a big obstacle either; some pockets may be able to organize and get some attention, but generally it’s hard to get anyone excited about someone else losing part of his front lawn. Especially as suburbanites are generally the most important constituency, and won’t feel a lot of sympathy for property owners on Oxford or Wellington. The cost will be it: it will be easy to get people upset about the prospect of paying more tax for transit when they haven’t taken the bus in their life. Expect organized “taxpayers’” organizations of varying levels of credibility.

That’s why BRT is right for London. For $300 million, London can relatively quickly install two rapid transit lines stretching across the city. If you insist on LRT, the price tag will be more like $1 billion, it will be much shorter (read less useful to fewer people), and it will feel to a lot more people like a high-price-tag shuttle between the university and the downtown.

On the shiftlondon.ca web site, there is a survey asking for the respondent’s “preferred route” of a total of ten different options. Some of these seem immediately pointless (London does not need rapid transit to the airport, for instance), but if this helps them to say that there is real demand for the most important line (north-south from Masonville to White Oaks), so much the better. There are several proposed lines in the southwest, though I would imagine it’s pretty unlikely that there is the density there to support higher-order transit.
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  #6  
Old Posted May 11, 2015, 1:32 PM
MrSlippery519 MrSlippery519 is offline
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Happy to see "London" really pushing for this and asking for help and money from upper government levels. That was always part of the issue, people talked about it internally it seemed but never really got talking about it to the right people.

I really hope we see LRT and that should be the main push as it is the best route in the long run. Certainly a mix of BRT routes might make sense as well.

Looking forward to hearing more about this.
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  #7  
Old Posted May 11, 2015, 2:07 PM
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Rethink London

Shift

Let's just get something planned so when upper levels of government are ready to spend we have a project ready to go. I don't really care what it is at this point.
-Look at Mississauga. The feds didn't commit money to their Hurontario LRT project in their budget and the province decided to fund it themselves.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Wake up London.
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  #8  
Old Posted May 11, 2015, 3:56 PM
HillStreetBlues HillStreetBlues is offline
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I agree, London should just get something down on paper so that, when another level of government is looking for projects to fund, this one is “shovel-ready” as they like to say. Hurontario LRT was a bit of a different story since Metrolinx offered a lot of guidance and there is a funding pot. But there is a pot of money earmarked for the “rest of Ontario” under Moving Ontario Forward, so maybe London should go for that.

Even if another level of government would 100%-fund an LRT in London (which they won’t), it would be challenging to get it implemented. In Hamilton (which has a pretty detailed plan for LRT, paid for with good money), not everyone is convinced the city should get it, even with 100% funding from the province.

London should emulate Grand River Transit and implement express bus routes with the view that they will serve to demonstrate the viability of LRT on one very important line. You can get BRT implemented pretty quickly, and get people accustomed to the idea and utility of rapid transit pretty quickly after that.
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  #9  
Old Posted May 23, 2015, 12:05 PM
GreatTallNorth2 GreatTallNorth2 is offline
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From the LFP (May 23)

City hall recommending pair of corridors to serve as spines of London's proposed rapid-transit system

In a city with about 40 transit routes, the future may be built around two main corridors.

London’s $380-million vision for a rapid-transit system is coming into sharper focus, with city hall set to announce a pair of L-shaped routes that would be the heart of the massive overhaul, The Free Press has learned.

The so-called “preferred corridors” — recommended over several options after city officials gathered input from thousands of citizens — would run:

From the Masonville Place area along Richmond St., past Western University to the core, and east to Fanshawe College.
From the White Oaks Mall area along Wellington Rd. to the core, and west to the intersection of Wonderland Rd. and Oxford St.
So-called transit villages, areas where more intense development is planned, would pop up along those routes.

Other traditional routes would be designed to feed those two main paths, so even commuters not along them would have quick access.

The system would run along King St. in the core, making the downtown stretch of Dundas St. bus-free.

A focus on feeding into downtown London is a key part of the proposed transit blueprint, which Mayor Matt Brown says is the lifeblood of the vision for targeted growth outlined in the London Plan.

“There is no London Plan without rapid transit,” Brown said.

And there’s no rapid transit if it isn’t rapid — a challenge created by the level rail crossings that have long frustrated city drivers and snarled traffic.

So the transit plan’s next phase offers another new option: a transit-only tunnel that could be dug under the tracks cutting across Richmond St. just north of Richmond Row.

The tunnel would run from Central Ave. to north of Oxford St. Cars would veer around its openings and remain on Richmond St.

As these plans develop, they do so in the shadow of a massive price tag, in the hundreds of millions of dollars. About $100 million of that would be needed from city hall, with much of that coming from development charges.

The rest would be sought from the provincial and federal governments — both of whom have indicated money for these kinds of municipal projects will be available. The Ontario government, for example, has earmarked $15 billion for transportation investment outside Toronto, its suburbs and Hamilton. So securing the money is a reasonable possibility, at this point, for London.

But the creation of the plan is just like a cross-city commute: faster is better.

In January, the mayor announced the start of Shift, an environmental assessment that sets the stage for rapid transit. Its early priority has been gathering citizen input.

In five months, 6,500 people have weighed in. While making people less car-reliant and aiding the environment are important issues, the feedback suggests the top priority for Londoners is creating a faster, more comfortable service.

Shift’s second stage of public consultation starts next week, with public meetings at which the two recommended main routes will be made public.

The proposed rapid-transit system may include light rail, rapid bus routes or a combination of both. City hall is expected to recommend which technology to use by year’s end.

patrick.maloney@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/patatLFPress

PUBLIC MEETINGS

City hall wants to hear from Londoners as the second stage of its public consultations on a proposed rapid-transit system ramps up. Two meetings are slated for next week:

Thursday, 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Western Fair Agriplex
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Goodwill centre, 255 Horton St. E.
Go to shiftlondon.ca for details

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  #10  
Old Posted May 23, 2015, 8:55 PM
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Also, there will be 2 PICs about Shift. One on May 28 and one May 30.

I plan on attending the May 28th one.

http://www.shiftlondon.ca/events?utm...ce=shiftlondon
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  #11  
Old Posted May 24, 2015, 2:26 AM
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Good map and routes. If only it were light rail.
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Old Posted May 24, 2015, 2:57 AM
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Light rail is still being considered. Just keep pushing for it at every possibility and keep hoping.
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Old Posted May 24, 2015, 5:18 AM
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If it's LRT, would the Southern section use the LPS Rail Corridor?

Also, they want to build a tunnel under Richmond from Oxford to Central..............that will take up a good chunk of the $380 million. That's a hell of a price just to avoid one set of railway tracks.

If this system does just travel on the regular roadways how fast can it be? Not only is London littered with lights but also it's roads are quite thin making fast speeds very difficult.

It is good to see the mayor getting behind this 100% and he seems determined to make sure that the plan comes to fruition and isn't just another study to collect dust.
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Old Posted May 24, 2015, 3:54 PM
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The proposed tunnel is quite the idea/concept. Whether BRT or LRT the CPR tracks at Richmond are a bottleneck for all traffic. Surprised the recommend a tunnel that long. While and underpass is much needed there, would've thought it be better to make an underpass/tunnel for all traffic? If the city is committing to spending $100s of millions on infrastructure to bypass rail lines kill 2 birds with one stone.

I highly doubt the old LPS tracks would be used. CN still owns and uses the tracks. The Wye that use to go downtown, was reconfigured to go away from downtown to the classification yards. The LPS tracks veer away from Wellington and go though Westminster Ponds and other low ridership areas.
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Old Posted May 24, 2015, 4:26 PM
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Originally Posted by MolsonExport View Post
Good map and routes. If only it were light rail.
It's still on the table. They're just being smarter about it than Waterloo was.
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  #16  
Old Posted May 25, 2015, 12:33 PM
HillStreetBlues HillStreetBlues is offline
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It's still on the table. They're just being smarter about it than Waterloo was.
What do you mean by that?
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Old Posted May 25, 2015, 7:00 PM
GreatTallNorth2 GreatTallNorth2 is offline
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It's still on the table. They're just being smarter about it than Waterloo was.
Hey, Waterloo has shovels in the ground and will have trains running in 2017 so I wouldn't say that Waterloo hasn't been smart.
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Old Posted May 25, 2015, 11:26 PM
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What do you mean by that?
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Originally Posted by GreatTallNorth2 View Post
Hey, Waterloo has shovels in the ground and will have trains running in 2017 so I wouldn't say that Waterloo hasn't been smart.
I'm talking about the rollout, not construction.

In Waterloo years ago, decision makers (politicians, planners, sr.management, etc) started talking about building a rapid transit system and in the same breath would mention "light rail", which is the most expensive alternative by far. What seemed to get forgotten was that an EA had to be done in order to select the mode and route - not a decree by those in power. When lo and behold the EA results basically mimicked what had been earlier mentioned, it rightly or wrongly gave many ratepayers the impression that the EA process was merely a formality (polite word for whitewash) and the results were always going to be a foregone conclusion: the "elites" were determined to build a multibillion monument to their vanity - public process, or opinion, be damned.

This began to generate a groundswell of local opposition in Waterloo Region to the project that exists to this day. London is being smarter by not discussing one preference over another until the EA is over and whatever recommendation that comes out of it is defensible. For any decision maker in London to stand up right now and be seen as pushing the light rail solution before a defensible case for it or another solution can be made through the EA process, could very well kill the project cold before the EA even is complete, as it's likely a similar groundswell of opposition will come out of the woodwork just as it did in Waterloo.
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Old Posted May 26, 2015, 12:33 AM
jaradthescot jaradthescot is offline
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If what you're saying is true: awesome. I fear that it will end up simply being a BRT though. I suppose we'll just have to hold our breath and see what comes.
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Old Posted May 26, 2015, 2:27 AM
HillStreetBlues HillStreetBlues is offline
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This began to generate a groundswell of local opposition in Waterloo Region to the project that exists to this day.
I think you are overstating the local opposition to LRT. A project of that size will always have opponents, but I would say that there is broad support for LRT in Waterloo. During the last municipal elections, there were several candidates who campaigned strongly on an anti-Ion platform, and were defeated resoundingly.

The original EA in Waterloo examined a number of possible technologies. I tend to agree that LRT seemed a foregone conclusion, though, which is a shame: these processes should obviously be technology agnostic. BRT is the better choice in many places (including, probably, London).
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