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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Marvin Ryder- on LRT

Marvin Ryder who is a member of our Perspectives Virtual panel, was on vacation when the latest assignment was issued. He thus asked if he could submit his views upon his return. Please find below Marvin's reply to our questions:

It is dawning on many that LRT is both a large and long-lived infrastructure investment for Hamilton. The project would be simpler and less costly if tracks were being laid on barren ground but to have the right impact, tracks are being laid over other infrastructure (like sewers, water lines, gas lines, phone lines, etc.) buried in the street. The infrastructure under the ground has to be in perfect condition - if a water main breaks, the 12 kilometers of LRT shuts down. This makes it unlike the bus system we have. One small breakdown and nothing works!

Along with track, LRT consists of a number of stops. These are more than a place to board or disembark from the LRT - these are designated nodes/hubs of future development. Condos or commercial developments constructed over the next 25 years will be located near those hubs. We are arguing about the need for LRT and the route now. We will argue about the hubs/nodes next.

Does Hamilton need an LRT in 2016? I don't think so. We don't have enough transit users today. But over the next 25 years, Hamilton is supposed to grow by 100,000 to 200,000 citizens. Assuming we honour the greenbelt and end suburban sprawl, the only way to accommodate these people will be through intensification. Reminiscent of Europe, people will buy flats or condos rather than a house on a plot of land. Community parks and recreation spaces will become more important. The intensification will most likely be driven in the urban part of Hamilton - people in Rockton or Elfrida or Carlisle need not worry about seven story buildings. Thus an LRT constructed in the next five years is to serve the Hamilton of the next 25 years. You don't wait for the intensification to happen and then build the infrastructure; you try to get out ahead of it. For those who live in Dundas or Ancaster or Waterdown or even Stoney Creek, the LRT will likely have little impact on your life. But the impact of the new citizens choosing to live and work in Hamilton will grow the assessment base and should help ease the sting of municipal property taxes.

Do I think the LRT will lead to an economic boom? No. It is the increased population which will demand more products and services. The LRT will drive the choices of where the new housing and commercial developments will happen. Too often in Hamilton, people look to the "one big thing" which is supposed to fix everything. If only Hamilton had an NHL team or a casino or a new football stadium or an LRT everything will be rosy. On its own, the LRT will not make life better but it sends a signal to those entrepreneurs who want to build and invest that Hamilton is a city that is ready for the 21st. century.

I know that provincial dollars come from the same taxpayers who fuel the federal and municipal governments. Still, this offer of funding cannot simply be ignored. My advice is to reconfirm the commitment to LRT. We do not need a referendum. Councillors are elected to represent their constituents but also, sometimes, to lead constituents. We constituents tend to focus too much on the present and what we can touch, and too little on the future and the possibilities in front of us. Once reaffirmed, the focus should shift to finding the right route. You only get one chance to build infrastructure like this - we have to get it right. (I don't think we got the siting of the stadium right but LRT location is ten times more important!)


Marvin Ryder

41 comments:

  1. AnonymousJune 16, 2016

    Well stated. The one concern I have is that population growth figures are usually inaccurate. As much as i try, I just don't see the public transit numbers going up. Maybe proportionately with population, but that is a long time to wait and carry this burden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AnonymousJune 17, 2016

      The last time we did our Ward Profiles (growth projections) we estimated @ 555K population between 2006 and 2016. According to the recent Boundary Review data we hit 565K (with students of @7K at Mac) by 2015. I think our projections were pretty bang on. This should provide some reassurance that our growth figures are accurate.

      Delete
  2. There is no doubt that hamilton needs to refresh its public transit system. The main requirements as I see them is a system that:

    Is affordable (fare wise)
    Is cost effective
    Is flexible
    Penetrates all areas of the city
    Has a clear and compelling ROI
    Is integrated
    Is environmentally responsible
    Scaleable and responds to need in real time
    Does not introduce undue costs of disrupting otherwise stable infrastructure
    Is needed and supportive by the majority of Hamiltonians

    Should I go on.....?
    LRT RIP
    Sorce



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AnonymousJune 17, 2016

      "Should I go on.....?" no. please dont. "Is needed and supportive by the majority of Hamiltonians" the majority of hamiltonians will never agree on anything. you are setting standards for change that can never happen. you are setting standards that YOU KNOW can never happen. do you think brt meets this standard? of course not. do you think a simple addition of buses you get majority support? of course not. your one condition of majority support is a recipe for inaction. for the status quo.

      Delete
    2. AnonymousJune 17, 2016

      “a system that… is affordable (fare wise)”

      The HSR has the lowest fare levels amongst peer systems in Ontario. Even with last year’s fare hike, HSR's fares are 27% below the GTHA average.

      “a system that… is cost effective”

      Even with the fare hike and pending transit tax levy, the HSR is projected to struggle with cost recovery.

      HSR Revenue/Cost Ratio

      2010: 51.1%
      2011: 46.7%
      2012: 46.6%
      2013: 46.7%
      2014: 45.3%
      2015: 47.1%
      2016: 48.9%
      2017: 48.4%
      2018: 48.4%
      2019: 45.1%
      2020: 44.1%
      2021: 43.3%
      2022: 42.6%
      2023: 41.9%
      2024: 41.4%

      Data sources:
      http://goo.gl/WbWQFL
      https://goo.gl/x4Vbmj
      http://goo.gl/pj6Bsf
      http://goo.gl/P9ugt1

      Delete
    3. so lets not make it worse. LRT will make it worse. All studies point to it robbing revenues from routes with a positive return and Metrolynx taking that revenue to Toronto

      Delete
    4. AnonymousJune 17, 2016

      “a system that… is scaleable and responds to need in real time”

      Proposed HSR minimum service standard, route minimum # boardings per hour, from Ten Year Transit Strategy:

      Weekday
      Peak / Non-Peak / Evening
      25 / 15 / 15

      Saturday
      AM / Day / Evening
      15 / 15 / 15

      Sunday
      AM / Day / Evening
      15 / 15 / 15



      “a system that… is needed and supportive by the majority of Hamiltonians”

      FWIW, 60+% of Hamiltonians reside in Wards 1-8.

      2010 HSR Operational Review
      Rush Hour Boardings, Afternoon Peak Period (3-7pm)

      1 King: 4,506
      2 Barton: 3,461
      5 Delaware: 3,587
      10 B-Line Express: 2,844
      51 University: 2,342

      16 Ancaster: 109
      18 Waterdown: 5
      44 Rymal: 80
      52 Dundas Local: 23
      58 Stoney Creek Local: 137



      Data sources:
      http://goo.gl/KUvvjf
      https://goo.gl/LHBUCr

      Delete
    5. AnonymousJune 17, 2016

      “a system that… is integrated"

      Meaning what, exactly?

      Transit that's anchored in nodes and destinations?
      Transit that's connected to and harmonized with regional transit?
      Transit that operates in mixed traffic — i.e. no dedicated lanes?
      Transit that adheres to 100% Presto-based fare policy?

      Delete
    6. AnonymousJune 17, 2016

      @ Allan. As far as I know we don't have any routes that are operating with a positive return. Where is this information coming from?

      Delete
    7. I guess you are the person from the LRT lobby assigned to monitor The Hamiltonian. It comes across as sounding desperate. But at the risk of being deemed foolish for entertaining you, let's talk about penetrates all areas of the city.

      Now the average person will immediately understand that LRT, as envisioned so far will only serve a sub section of the city. And even with that, it goes from mac to a node (how exciting is that?).

      But aside from that, most people will also understand that a bus does not need a rail. In fact, it can be deployed anywhere at anytime. And yes, of course. we will need to analysis to determine routes etc- that goes without saying.
      But, the people in Ancaster, West Mountain, Stoney Creek, will long be gone before LRT addresses their needs. Whereas, BRT can address as much need as we can afford and with 1 billion, that buys a lot of busses and necessary accessories. And BRT will also respond to future needs faster than laying tracks and digging up sewers and cable lines ever could- at a fraction of the cost.

      Despite the techno babble at times, there is a common thread sense that is undeniable. Most people know and understand that busses are much easier and more flexible to deploy and respond to need.
      LRT RIP
      Sorce

      P.S. source- common sense


      Delete
    8. AnonymousJune 17, 2016

      The wastewater plant is on Woodward Ave. Clearly it only serves residents of Ward 5.

      Delete
    9. AnonymousJune 17, 2016

      @ Sorce - I might be reading you wrong but it sounds to me like you prefer the status quo - regular buses. Aside from the tracks, LRT and BRT require the same infrastructure and basically the same construction/design. Just to be clear, are advocating for enhanced HSR ... which is borne 100% by the local municipal taxpayers?
      City of Hamilton Girl

      Delete
    10. AnonymousJune 17, 2016

      "The people in Ancaster, West Mountain, Stoney Creek, will long be gone before LRT addresses their needs."

      They will potentially lose HSR routes under the new minimum service standards. Luckily, the buses can be redeployed to high-volume routes in Wards 1-8.

      "BRT can address as much need as we can afford and with 1 billion, that buys a lot of busses and necessary accessories."

      A misunderstanding/mischaracterization of the funding. Metrolinx is funding based on a proven case for a designated corridor. BRT may be a third the capital cost of LRT, but the savings go back into the province's coffers. Hamilton would be entitled to reapply, having studied ridership demand on the various HSR routes and areas of transit-supportive residential/employment density.

      Delete
    11. AnonymousJune 17, 2016

      “Ottawa… has the most extensive bus rapid transit (BRT) services in North America. The core "Transitway" network includes busways, reserved lanes and mixed traffic operation totalling 46.3 km (28.7 mi), opened in stages from 1983. Most performance indicators revealed significant negative trends as transitway service expanded. Ridership did not grow as anticipated prior to construction. Ridership declined during 1984-1997 despite increasing population and employment; ridership per-capita fell by half.”

      The previous doubling of ridership during 1971-1984 was not sustainable absent major productivity gains: bus-km per capita tripled, inflation-adjusted operating expense per capita increased 2.5 times, and the revenue : cost ratio fell from 98 to 60 percent. Productivity did not increase as transitway service expanded. Real wage rates remained stable during 1982-2002 but operating cost per revenue service hour rose by nearly 60 percent.”

      Maintenance costs, fuel consumption, non-revenue ("deadhead") km and road calls all increased while labor utilization became less efficient. Available data suggest, but merely suggest, a sharp increase in customer complaints coinciding with a period of decreasing service reliability and declining ridership… The 1984-1997 ridership decrease is unfortunate but less troubling than productivity declines during the same period. These suggest "inherent" or "structural" inefficiencies associated with Ottawa’s transitway program. The implied annual cost is (2002 CAD) $65M based on 2002 service levels; the implied cumulative cost during 1982-2002 is (2002 CAD) $1,360M.”

      Source: http://goo.gl/6R4SxZ

      Delete
    12. AnonymousJune 17, 2016

      “A BRT corridor is a section of road or contiguous roads served by a bus route or multiple bus routes with a minimum length of 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) that has dedicated bus lanes.… There are five essential features that define BRT. These features most significantly result in a faster trip for passengers and make traveling on transit more reliable and more convenient.

      Dedicated Right-of-Way
      Bus-only lanes make for faster travel and ensure that buses are never delayed due to mixed traffic congestion.

      Busway Alignment
      Center of roadway or bus-only corridor keeps buses away from the busy curbside where cars are parking, standing, and turning

      Off-board Fare Collection
      Fare payment at the station, instead of on the bus, eliminates the delay caused by passengers waiting to pay on board

      Intersection Treatments
      Prohibiting turns for traffic across the bus lane reduces delays caused to buses by turning traffic. Prohibiting such turns is the most important measure for moving buses through intersections – more important even than signal priority.

      Platform-level Boarding
      The station should be at level with the bus for quick and easy boarding. This also makes it fully accessible for wheelchairs, disabled passengers, strollers and carts with minimal delays.”

      Source: https://goo.gl/yVrbxd

      Delete
    13. I can't reply to people who do not appreciate how politics work.Carry on....
      Sorce

      Delete
  3. AnonymousJune 17, 2016

    Re: "I can't reply to people who do not appreciate how politics work."


    In a surprise move, [Brampton Mayor Linda] Jeffrey broke with her council allies on the issue when the decisive vote was called, supporting the motion that killed the Main St. plan, which she had championed for months. She later said her vote was to “make sure that we still have transit on the table.”
    MetroLinx CEO Bruce McCuaig said the provincial money that would have funded the Brampton portion of the defeated LRT plan will now be available for other transit projects across the province.
    But he made it clear that any alternative transit plan Brampton now decides on could still be considered by the province for funding. “That would have to be evaluated,” he told councillors.

    https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/10/28/brampton-council-rejects-downtown-lrt.html

    Prior to her election as mayor of Brampton, Linda Jeffrey was a former cabinet minister (Minister of Municipal Affairs) and Chair of Cabinet. It’s too bad she didn’t have an in with the province. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  4. AnonymousJune 17, 2016

    "It comes across as sounding desperate." you post your "thoughts" and "opinions" another commenter posts facts, data, links to studies that refute your "thoughts" and "opinions". you do not respond with facts, data or links to studies of your won to bolster your position. you respond with "I can't reply to people who do not appreciate how politics work.Carry on...." ok.

    ReplyDelete
  5. AnonymousJune 17, 2016

    allan taylor sez: "All studies point to it robbing revenues from routes with a positive return and Metrolynx taking that revenue to Toronto" please link or reference which studies you mean.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I just watched the news. The Scarborough subway extension is way over budget and ridership numbers are down. Mayor Tory says he won't take responsibility.

    Eisenberger should take notes. he may need some of that rhetoric.
    Sorce

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AnonymousJune 18, 2016

      The Scarborough subway will be the most enduring legacy of the Rob Ford era. It exists because Liberals abandoned sober analysis in a bid to win a by-election, whose "subway champion" candidate had until that time supported Scarborough LRT. It stands as paradigm of partisan policymaking: Metrolinx completed a BCA for Scarborough LRT but AFAIK never did for a subway.

      Meanwhile, “Notwithstanding criticisms and misinformation over the years, the Scarborough RT has been the single most-reliable service operated by the TTC… The service has been very successful at attracting ridership and has been operating over capacity for a decade… For many years, it has carried daily passenger volumes of 40,000 people, with peak-period passenger volumes maxed-out at 4,000 passengers per hour, due to the limited number of vehicles in the SRT fleet.”

      https://www.thestar.com/news/city_hall/2015/02/06/our-neglect-of-scarborough-rt-is-shameful-james.html

      Delete
    2. AnonymousJune 18, 2016

      “The TTC warned 2015 ridership was slipping last October as projections decreased from 545 million riders to 539 million. Actual riders totalled 538 million.… In 2014, only 535 million rides were counted when 540 million were expected.”

      In other words, the TTC’s ridership numbers increased by 1% year over year but also fell around 1% short of projected levels. And why might that be?

      “TTC "too full" to attract expected ridership growth” (Toronto Star, Oct 15 2015)

      https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/10/26/ttc-too-full-to-attract-expected-ridership-growth.html
      https://www.thestar.com/news/city_hall/2016/03/16/ttc-on-track-for-30-million-deficit-as-ridership-sags.html

      Delete
    3. AnonymousJune 18, 2016

      "I can't reply to people who do not appreciate how politics work.Carry on...." anything can go over budget. you SAY you like brt? we shouldnt do brt cause it could go over budget. see hoe that works? some people say we just need extra buses. we shouldnt put extra buses on the road cause that could go over budget. see? i can play your game with anything. lets try again, only slightly different. "the city is going to spend a billion dollars on new roads. we might go over budget, but we should do it anyway." see how everything changes? if YOU like whats being being built, its all good. if you dont like whats being built.....

      Delete
    4. I guess that explains why Mayor Tory said he would not accept responsibility for the ballooned costs and poor projections. Did you ever know a politician to not want to take responsibly for something successful?

      I feel a link coming ;-)
      Sorce

      Delete
    5. @ City of Hamilton Girl
      Maybe I am misunderstanding you. Let's say we wanted to provide better public transit to Stoney Creek, or Ancaster or Binbrook, or further east.

      BRT would entail sending busses that way, along determined routes. Are you telling me that LRT and BRT would require the same infrastructure? Really? You don't see that installing tracks down those parts of the city is much more expensive that dispatching busses?
      Sorce

      Delete
    6. AnonymousJune 18, 2016

      Transit upgrades of any kind to suburban routes that fail to meet existing service standards for standard buses would be throwing good money after bad. (BRT service standards would potentially be twice as high, since doubling buses on a given route also doubles the route's operational costs.)

      Determining the comparative "expense" of public transit modal options is not a simple yes-no equation. BRT may be the correct solution in one scenario but not in another. You don't get close to an answer until you do what has been done for the B-Line, which is to have multiple groups study it from varied angles and review their own findings as well as those of others. Aside from anything else, evidence can improve the quality of policy debate at the committee and council level. Here too, linking to evidence supporting claims should be viewed as a positive, not a negative.

      Link

      Delete
    7. AnonymousJune 18, 2016

      "Let's say we wanted to provide better public transit to Stoney Creek, or Ancaster or Binbrook, or further east." the people that live there dont use it. heres proof.
      16 Ancaster: 109
      18 Waterdown: 5
      44 Rymal: 80
      52 Dundas Local: 23
      58 Stoney Creek Local: 137

      Data sources:
      http://goo.gl/KUvvjf
      https://goo.gl/LHBUCr

      then theres the fact they dont want it and have rejected it. heres proof:

      google "transit plans trimmed to spare ancaster a tax increase. "the plan would have cost the average Ancaster resident around $22 per year more in taxes, said Coun. Lloyd Ferguson, who represents the area. That’s too much to ask, especially since most Ancaster residents don’t take the bus"

      also, by your logic, any improvements to transit in the suburbs would have the same cost over runs as a downtown lrt would. so we cant do it.

      Delete
  7. AnonymousJune 17, 2016

    "Does Hamilton need an LRT in 2016? I don't think so. We don't have enough transit users today. But over the next 25 years, Hamilton is supposed to grow by 100,000 to 200,000 citizens."

    We'll be bankrupt within 5 years, never-mind 25 years.

    ReplyDelete
  8. AnonymousJune 18, 2016

    "Despite the techno babble at times, there is a common thread sense that is undeniable." facts and data. qualitative and quantitative analysis. what could possibly trump that? good old commons sense. ok.

    ReplyDelete
  9. AnonymousJune 18, 2016

    "BRT would entail sending busses that way, along determined routes. Are you telling me that LRT and BRT would require the same infrastructure? Really? You don't see that installing tracks down those parts of the city is much more expensive that dispatching busses?" give me one good reason we cant do as planned AND brt from the burbs to other areas of hamilton. oh yea, the rapid ready plan already says that. rapid ready says we build lrts along dedicated corridors. AND get this sorce, AND we build other rapid transit systems like brt to feed mass transit users from the suburbs into the lrt. please read the rapdid ready report before you try and re write it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AnonymousJune 19, 2016

      is that the same rapid ready report Mr. Merulla is now using as his own personal pot of gold to offer incentives to help grease the wheels a little? Nothing says "credibility" like Sam throwing around cash that does not exist

      Delete
    2. AnonymousJune 19, 2016

      the rapid ready report is a rapid transit plan. the rapid ready report is not "throwing around cash". its a planning document, not a person. call councillor merullas office and let him know hoe you fell. dont blame a planning document.

      Delete
  10. AnonymousJune 18, 2016

    lets use the same "logic" about transit improvements in the suburbs that some are using in regards to lrt. these "brt advocates" say "just tell the premier we will use the lrt money for brt. we will work out the details afterwards" amazing right? remember, we shouldnt build an lrt cause we dont know the fare from queenston to downtown and we dont know how someones transfer will work. therefore we cant possibly build a connection/feeder rapid transit system to the suburbs. we dont know where the stops would be. we dont know the price of a fare from ancaster to stoney creek. we dont know the names of the bus drivers or the colour of the uniforms. to many details to work out, too many unanswered questions. tell the province we will get back to them. we will wait until people in ancaster waterdown and flamborough are "clamouring" for rapid transit improvements. then we will be good to go. ok.

    ReplyDelete
  11. AnonymousJune 18, 2016

    @ Sorce. "BRT would entail sending busses that way, along determined routes. Are you telling me that LRT and BRT would require the same infrastructure? Really? You don't see that installing tracks down those parts of the city is much more expensive that dispatching busses?"
    Yes. The only difference in the infrastructure is the tracks. The roads still get dug up, dedicated lanes with curbing get built, traffic signals with priority signals get installed etc. with BRT. It sounds to me like the features of BRT are being misunderstood and that your preference is really regular HSR buses that can be mispatched and re-routed with more flexibility? I'm just trying to gain a better understanding and if that is "our" preference in Hamilton, then we have to realize that this type of public transit means we have to pay for this 100% locally. There is no provincial or federal assistance for local regular bus systems. WE only get funds for rapid transit.
    City of Hamilton Girl

    ReplyDelete
  12. AnonymousJune 18, 2016

    "It sounds to me like the features of BRT are being misunderstood and that your preference is really regular HSR buses that can be mispatched and re-routed with more flexibility?" if you look at past comments from sorce on the hamiltonian, around the time of the bus only lane in downtown, your assessment ia accurate. sorce seems to like more buses with some minor right of way signalling for the buses.

    ReplyDelete
  13. if we build it, they will come? Mr.Ryder-I believe rightly-see's LRT as more egg than chicken, still fragile and preliminary. Is there a compelling need? No. Will there be? Perhaps. Is it responsible to impose long range vision when your next step is uncertain? Is it prudent to leave something so valuable, with so much potential to transform, yet something so vulnerable in the hands of anonymous guardians? Let us all turn a blind eye to the mess we have created, and rally around the next really big mess some have imagined. All aboard?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haven't been around for a while. In and out of the hospital. Not fun! I think Jim hit it head on. Look at thew stadium. It ended up the same place it was. In a neighborhood, Ridiculous. BRT is the way to go.

      Mr. Sarc

      Delete
    2. AnonymousJune 19, 2016

      One hopes that the Ticats can be kept out of planning transit infrastructure, and that the impartial decision-making of the NTO, Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario carries the day.

      Delete
  14. AnonymousJune 20, 2016

    Allan TaylorJune 17, 2016
    "so lets not make it worse. LRT will make it worse. All studies point to it robbing revenues from routes with a positive return and Metrolynx taking that revenue to Toronto" allan where are these "studies" you keep talking about but wont produce?

    ReplyDelete

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