Member Letters Regarding LRT

Below are letters to the SCC President from our members regarding the position this council should take on Hamilton’s LRT project.

Please consider an SCC statement in support of Hamilton LRT. The transformation of our busy corridors will almost certainly address many neighbourhood concerns; excess vehicle lane capacity will be reallocated, Main Street will become 2 way, transit will gain priority as a travel mode, through trucks could be re-routed, speeding and noise will be reduced, underused properties will be redeveloped, to name a few. The inconvenience and disturbance of construction is easily tolerable when considering the outcome will be street repurposed with rapid transit, supporting increased density, improved land use, more efficient and environmentally sound travel options, greater neighbourhood vitality, and a renewed public realm. LRT will help Strathcona overcome its most negative elements, the overbuilt urban through highways denying us a truly livable community. We must not pass up this rare opportunity of a billion dollar investment from the province.
Thank you,
Jason Morse

We are both proponents of the LRT and accept that the city chose King St. over alternate routes. As to the LRT, it’s true that some businesses will be affected during construction, but that isn’t unique to the LRT. Even sewer or road repair is going to affect nearby businesses. Loyal customers will keep visiting their favourite stores and perhaps the SCC can encourage people across the area to buy from these businesses, as well as Strathcona residents, to share the burden placed on them. As to people walking, using buses etc., there are alternate routes and buses will have detours presumably. I seldom walk far on King St. as it isn’t a pleasant route, noisy and lacking in shade in summer or protection from wind in winter. As the LRT will eventually reduce the volume of cars on King St., that will increase its walkability.
I can understand that the SCC might want to stay neutral on this issue, or at least advocate compromise and options to minimize disruption. If/when the LRT process starts, it could be helpful to have a community liaison committee to provide information in both directions. Such a community liaison committee was set up by Councillor McHattie for the Good Shepherd development and worked reasonably well.
Sorry to be slow responding. You’re in a tricky position. Hope this helps a bit.
Best regards,

As for the LRT I am in favor, 100% in favour. Of course there will be a period of inconvenience. Such is progress. It is an absolute embarrassment that certain members of council are back pedaling on this. This could have serious implications regarding the receipt of provincial funding in the future. We look like a joke. Buses are not adequate for the growing transportation needs of our city. We need to do everything we can to give people an option to using the car. People without cars should have fast and efficient commuting choices. It’s the future and will serve a growing population in a much more effective way.
We could have had a full scale subway but the city turned it down. What a mistake.
I don’t care at all if people in the upper city will use it. That is not the point.
Main and King Streets are inner city freeways. The car is wrongly King. I’d like to see more bikes, bike paths, more pedestrians and the LRT. Good public transit is also a must for an aging population.
Beyond the LRT, bringing back the incline railroads would also be a great future transportation goal.

Hamilton LRT — I am in full support of the LRT proposal for Hamilton.
I believe that careful consideration is being given to making the streets more pedestrian-, cycle-, and transit-friendly than at present. Currently, I try to avoid King and Main Streets as much as possible, because the vehicle traffic acts as if these are major highways, not city streets!
During the few months that a transit lane was set up on King Street, I noticed a definite improvement in the feeling of safety, as a pedestrian, when I walked from downtown to Dundurn. Since then, I have reverted to walking on the side streets between King and York.
I wonder if the transit lane also acted as a buffer, reducing the amount of pollutants and dust that pedestrians were exposed to?
I will be retired before the project even starts, so I will not benefit directly from the improved transit system to McMaster.
I can appreciate the upheaval construction will have on businesses on King Street, having talked with small business owners on King William, when their street was renovated a few years ago.
However, in the long run, Hamilton LRT will be beneficial to the City!
– Ed Sernie
I dont imagine my LRT position will be any surprise.
100% in favour. Perhaps the only thing we’ve not enjoyed about living in this neighbourhood the last 15 years is King and Main Streets. They’re awful. I’ve reached a point in life where I have little patience for anyone who thinks they function well as urban streets in a city.
K-W has already seen massive investment along it’s LRT route and it’s not even open yet. Hamilton’s lower city has met the definition of urban donut-hole for decades and despite recent improvements here and in other west end communities, there is still a ton of underperforming urban properties between Dundurn and Kenilworth Ave. Those underperforming properties cost all of us tens of millions in potential tax revenue each and every year.
On top of the world-wide evidence that is easy for anyone to find on this topic, we now have virtually every local organization and business group imaginable sending letters to council urging them to stay the course.
When in Hamilton’s history has everyone from home builders to environmental groups to poverty advocacy groups all agreed so strongly on one topic or project??
A few contrarian councillors with zero education on such matters should be ashamed of themselves for playing politics with our future.
The most recent letter of support for LRT comes from literally every geographical region of Metro Hamilton.
Here in Strathcona, facing the daily dangers of the King/Main expressway combo, we’d be crazy not to support LRT and what it will do for the business climate along those long-underdeveloped routes.
Jason Leach

I am old enough to fondly remember streetcars and the trolley buses that replaced them before being phased out; my opinion of one-way streets is not so positive. So I believe we have to go back to the future, but I am sensitive to the problem it will pose for small businesses along the route during the transition and I can’t see any easy (or cheap) solutions to that one.

Am totally in favour of LRT, regardless of the upset it will cause for the years of construction.

The SCC should foster discussion between our residents and the design/construction teams to encourage and enhance communication but should NOT take a position as such a position could not represent all the residents.

I am fully in support of the LRT and we can additionally request that measures be taken to facilitate the support of business directly affected by the construction (access to their site or parking).

I think there are many good things that will come out of it but there are other things the $ could be spent on- I guess that I would be AGAINST if I had to choose
Thank you
-Julie Goruk

I do not think we should be commenting or supporting or be adverse to the LRT as I do not think it is appropriate and not enough information has been release to make an informed decision either way.

I feel the long term benefits of the LRT will far outweigh the relatively short term negative impacts of construction. Also, the city’s own internal staff report, third party consultants, and the provincial government all have recommended implementing LRT. Finally, the provincial government has committed to fully funding implement LRT. Therefore, I feel the SCC should issue a statement of support for LRT.
-Rob Parsons

I support a billion dollar investment in Hamilton. Yes construction will suck but if we can learn from waterloo and Calgary impact can be minimized. If you consult any urban planning professional you will hear that investment in transit improves a city in the long run. Let’s keep long term goals in mind and not be so short sighted. What will Hamilton look like in 10 yrs without LRT?

As for LRT, although it might be nice for SCC to have a position on LRT, if there isn’t agreement on the issue, that is definitely tricky. I have already expressed my wholehearted support for LRT in an email to each member of council. I think it would be tragic for concerns over the interim construction to derail (pun intended?) the final product and its benefits. I wish council would stop just thinking about car/truck drivers and think about transit – for our residents and for tourism. When I visit other cities I exclusively use their transit and it is a major factor in what I think of the city. Anyway, perhaps the best role for SCC in this is to
– encourage residents to communicate with council directly (tell ppl the best way to do that)
– make sure everyone is getting correct information (and championing the project to some degree)
– support and compile legitimate concerns for council and planning groups
Hope that answers your questions.
Thanks a bunch,
-Valerie Wettlaufer

As a member of the SCC, a long time resident of Strathcona, I would like to request that the SCC offer its support to the LRT project formally. Numerous other neighbourhood associations have similarly done so and the benefits to the Strathcona neighbourhood directly and to the city broadly warrant the the SCC do so as well.
I would like to offer also that concerns expressed by residents in Strathcona in the past about the pedestrian environment, traffic, cycling, etc, and as represented in the Strathcona Secondary plan, all could be addressed in the opportunity presented by the LRT. I would suggest that articulating that in the letter would very effectively continue to represent the interests and concerns of the residents of Strathcona.
Thomas Bernacki

What is the SCC’s position on LRT? The KNA wrote a letter to council in support of LRT and I hope you’re considering doing the same.

I honestly believe the council should take a stand against it. Once king is reduced to one lane, interrupted at Wellington, people will travel York( as it’s the only road which leads to dundurn) to get on the highway. Most decent paying jobs are in Milton, Burlington and Oakville. That means they’re driving to and from work everyday and need to to get on the highway. That means the neighbourhood immediately west of dundurn will be flooded with cars hoping for a short cut as well as cars idling constantly along dundurn. This would create a major air quality issue for the immediate residents. I am considering asking the moe to test air quality before and after lrt and publishing the results for city staffers so they can see how they destroyed a neighbourhood. Remember hamilton is very narrow from escarpment to water in this area meaning we cannot add roads to compensate. People speak of lrt in Kitchener and Calgary but they’re flat. I personally have never had a real issue with our current bus system and I have found most people saying we need this do not use the bus. There is also the messed up logic of taking a bus to lrt then off lrt to a bus to get to eastgate. How is a train and two buses better than the one bus I take now. Just in transfer time( boarding and off loading) it will take approx 15 extra minutes to get where I’m going. I will end this with an observation most people don’t seem to get, no amount of deterrents will stop drivers, they will bitch but still drive!
Hope this helps.

Regarding the LRT, I personally support it, but I don’t know if there is enough support neighbourhood-wide for the SCC to take a position on the subject.  For instance, you have folks like Katy doing an op-ed piece in The Spec in opposition.  Unfortunately, with King Street running right through the hood there are going to be a lot of POd residents.  I think the only thing you can do is try to get a wider survey of the neighbourhood’s opinion before taking a stand one way or the other.