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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Ward 7 Clr. Donna Skelly- on LRT

Please enjoy our chat with Ward 7 Clr. Donna Skelly on the subject of LRT.

1. Do you believe the call for a vote to reaffirm support for LRT was necessary? Please explain your answer. 


 I do not believe it was necessary to call for a vote to reaffirm support for LRT. Instead of “reaffirming support” the motion has raised many, many questions while prompting residents , who until recently had not been engaged in the discussion, to voice their opinion both in support of and against the proposed plan.

2. Are you in favour of a referendum with respect to LRT, to gauge the will of Hamiltonians across all wards?

I would support a referendum.

3. What would be the top reason(s) why you might support moving forward with LRT, and what are the top reason(s) that might give you pause?

Since Councillor Merulla’s motion to “reaffirm support” for LRT, I have been meeting with stakeholders and guaging support for the billion dollar transit plan. I have visited Kitchener Waterloo to see their LRT project, York Region to look at their BRT service and will be heading to Buffalo on Friday. I continue to question the location of the proposed line and the necessity of the project. All of the transit studies before council have stated that LRT should not be built without first addressing difficiencies in the current transit system. I want to see an expanded bus service across all of Hamilton as well as improved connectivity between the lower and upper parts of the city and improved GO service. This should be the priority for council.

4. Is there anything else you’d like Hamiltonians to know about your considerations and thinking with respect to the LRT question?


I would add that the city should wait until all information requested has been made available before moving forward with LRT. 

Thank-you to Clr. Skelly for engaging with Hamiltonians via The Hamiltonian.

Please note  The Hamiltonian will not publish comments that attack the Clr. or one another. Nor will we publish any comments that are unprofessional or otherwise disrespectful. Please feel free to agree or disagree with one another respectfully. Thank-you

35 comments:

  1. AnonymousJune 14, 2016

    "All of the transit studies before council have stated that LRT should not be built without first addressing difficiencies in the current transit system. I want to see an expanded bus service across all of Hamilton as well as improved connectivity between the lower and upper parts of the city and improved GO service. This should be the priority for council."

    Bingo!!!!! You have my full support. Stick to your guns!!!!!

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  2. I agree that city wide service and connectivity needs to be addressed before Hamilton is ready for rapid transit of any nature. I would respectfully ask that council address that need and increase the transit budget accordingly. If council refuses to fund the HSR improvements already approved its clear we will never be ready

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    1. AnonymousJune 14, 2016

      Council isn't really expected to fund the HSR improvements. There's a transit-specific tax levy that will do the heavy lifting, should council choose to implement it. It begins in 2017 and doubles in 2018, so we'll see how that goes.

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    2. AnonymousJune 14, 2016

      yet the suburbs, ancaster, glanbrook, and stoney creek all voted no to improved hsr service. there was going to be a tax increase of around 25$ per year to fund the enhanced service. it was rejected by citizens and councillors alike. within the last two years. and NOW we need to expand service to binbrook before lrt. 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" ok. end of story.

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    3. yes anonymous thats exactly what council is expected to do but has a history of not doing. There is no transit specific levy that will magically fix things.

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    4. AnonymousJune 15, 2016

      "There is no transit specific levy that will magically fix things" of course there is. the public transit system in hamilton has been underfunded and cash starved for twenty year. this is a problem. a special or increased transit levy to pay for upgrades would solve the problem. wouldnt be magic, just good ol "common sense"

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    5. Yes underfunding is the problem, there is no additional tax stream coming and increasing the transit levy isn't going to pass muster with voters and therefore councillors. Area rating demonstrates clearly that there is no general will for change

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    6. AnonymousJune 15, 2016

      "I would respectfully ask that council address that need and increase the transit budget accordingly." how would council pay for your request?

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    7. By ending area rating increasing the transit levy and increasing the gas tax transit portion as it's intended. I expect they won't but I continue to ask. Until they take these steps LRT solves nothing

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    8. What should be done and what will be done has little to do with the tools available

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  3. Councillors are elected to use their judgement. Municipal referenda are not binding. When I was a Councillor I brought forward the last Referendum pre amalgamation. It was on the question of whether or not people supported the proposed anti-second hand smoke Regional by-law. The referendum won by a landslide. Yet, rather than adopting the by-law each municipality crafted their own by-law making it far more difficult for Public Health to enforce. There should not be a referendum - unless it is binding it well may not work. Councillors should not yet again decide not to decide.

    As far as further studies are concerned, Council has the obligation to plan and deliver transit. They should be working on that issue no matter what is decided on LRT. We saw how prepared they were to study an issue when they cancelled the dedicated buss lane trial.

    People who live in suburban areas with few riders and far more expensive transit delivery costs are already subsidised by residents of the lower city, yet they still have lower property tax rates. We are once City now. Ward heeling councillors are doing us all a disservice. In my mind while a Councillor should be affected by their constituent's opinions, their job is to work for the whole city as well. The lower city needs LRT.

    If we had listened to those who opposed the Red Hill Creek Parkway we would be economically punished. In the same way that people in the lower city pay for universal services like the Red Hill, our suburban citizens should support the LRT.


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  4. a pro LRT Councilor estimated the cost of a referendum at 1/10th of 1% of the build cost, and they feel it is too much to determine whether or not they have the support of the majority of Hamiltonian's. Remove any ambiguity for a relatively paltry sum. I believe Councilors are elected to serve their constituents-all of them-including the City as a whole. Understanding what "they" want is a critical component.

    A big thank-you to Mr. Merulla for overplaying his hand as only he could. He has done us all a tremendous service, just unintentionally

    and thank-you to Ms.Skelly, fresh and fearless.

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  5. This is a good initial showing Clr. Skelly. I am glad that you are not intimidated to say what you think That will serve you well.
    Sorce

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  6. AnonymousJune 14, 2016

    "I want to see an expanded bus service across all of Hamilton as well as improved connectivity between the lower and upper parts of the city…. This should be the priority for council."

    Easy fix. Just drop area rating for transit and/or kick that tax levy up a couple of notches. All that's required is political backbone. Too often this kind of bold, ambitious talk collapses into a puddle gelatinous vertebrae when the vote comes down. Hope to have Clr. Skelly fighting for higher HSR budgets when it counts and not merely triangulating like there's no tomorrow.

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  7. AnonymousJune 14, 2016

    "The LRT is about $1 billion we don't have. It is an attempt to get us to be part of the GTA ... a new GTHA. We don't need an LRT running to Stoney Creek. We need more buses to Waterdown and Dundas and Ancaster to use the system we have better… We believe we can find savings in current spending. We believe we can find 2% savings and that money can be used to pay for infrastructure."

    Apply that Common Sense to City Hall and cut dead wood and budget bloat to pay for the transit infrastructure outlined in the Ten-Year Transit Strategy. 2% savings in a billion-dollar corporation buys you a $200M bus barn before you know it!

    http://www.dundaschurches.ca/uploads/1/0/2/1/10219469/adc_2014_poverty_meetings_donna_skelly.pdf

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  8. AnonymousJune 14, 2016

    lets expose all the hand-wringing over lack of details and such as.. well lets just expose it. scenario: kathleen wynne comes to hamilton and offers a billion dollars to redo from the bottom up every road avenue expressway and cul duh sack in hamilton. no timetable, no schedule of road closures, no talk of compensation for lost business, no talk of who will build it, no details on who will pay to maintain it afterwards. we are however promised untold years of traffic gridlock, insane congestion, business will go under and the earth may split in two and fall into the sun. would jim or allan or sorce have ANY problem saying yes? they would not. all those smooth level blacktops with no potholes and bright paint and shiny reflectors? they would take it in a heartbeat and say "this is a once in a lifetime oppurtunity. we can get the province to pay 100% for something we have been neglecting for twenty years. what fool would say no to this?" but its not for shiny new roads. its for a shiny new public transit system. so they say all the things they say over and over.

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    Replies
    1. I really do not understand why you believe that you know what is in my mind and can speak for me. Please speak for yourself.

      Thank-you
      Sorce
      LRT RIP

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    2. I agree Sorce, enough with the personal attacks and address the issue

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    3. AnonymousJune 16, 2016

      "I really do not understand why you believe that you know what is in my mind and can speak for me." because i have seen you post comments saying things like "no one is clamouring for rapid transit investments" and "maybe one day people may start using public transit" and "it doesnt matter how easy or convenient public transit is people will always prefer driving". have i expressed your opinions incorrectly?

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    4. You have completely misstated my opinion

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    5. AnonymousJune 16, 2016

      i was quoting sorce and responding to his comment. but i did include you in my scenario from june 14. youre saying you would say no to the roads money scenario i proposed?

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    6. one of our area's uniquely talented advocates, capable of discerning and interpreting comments of its opposition to reveal "what it really means" and apply to any hypothetical nonsense it can use to obfuscate it's own weak argument. This is their version of respectful interaction, this is how they build bridges, engage, involve. Are the results not predictable?

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  9. AnonymousJune 14, 2016

    "All of the transit studies before council have stated that LRT should not be built without first addressing difficiencies in the current transit system." i wonder if the rapid ready report actually says these conditions MUST be met before the lrt can be built? oh right. it doesnt.

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  10. AnonymousJune 14, 2016

    I like the idea of the LRT but need to qualify. I believe that transit needs to be expanded first to feed the system from areas not served by the LRT. As Councillor Ferguson stated recently, and he is a huge proponent of the LRT, there is nothing in it for Ancaster, Glanbrook, Stoney Creek, Waterdown, Dundas etc.

    I disagree, if there was a synchronized feeder system from Ancaster etc down the mountain to the LRT than there is. If the plan is simply to have an LRT line that goes east-west back and forth with no timed and synchronized connections than the real potential is lost and serves a smaller proportion of riders and property owners. I'm all for it provided a comprehensive transit plan is in place to feed the system.

    Another issue is the design, build, operate and maintain proposal. It is really financial. The HSR won't run it and will lose the revenue from bus service along the LRT corridor. What will the new LRT charge for fares, is there Council control? I didn't realize that until recently.

    I imagine, taxpayers will have to subsidize the LRT to keep it afloat at least in the short term which I would define as ten years, but much longer if we don't make up that shortfall in revenues, plus LRT operational subsidy and expanded (what I call feeder) bus connections to the system. If we don't integrate then the impact of this transformational investment won't be as significant or leveraged.

    I live in Ancaster, I would be happy to pay more taxes to increase service and have a quick trip down the mountain via HSR and connect to the LRT then to the downtown. I don't work in Hamilton but my wife works downtown and know how she sits in traffic and we spend money to park downtown. But there is no alternative unless we want her to loose 3 hours a day of her life during the work week.

    I really think there is a huge opportunity to create a fully integrated system and that must include monthly passes that allow riding on HSR and LRT.

    Right now, I agree with area rating, why pay more when it takes 1.5 hours with sloppy connections to ride from Ancaster to downtown Hamilton.

    We have an opportunity here to create a seamless, world class functioning system with Provincial dollars (remember that the Province get their money from us too though). Think bigger, don't just focus on the LRT think Regionally. It can be a success.

    Anyways, on another note, I'm glad to see Clr. Skelly's attitude, professionalism, research abilities and leadership.

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    Replies
    1. AnonymousJune 15, 2016

      "As Councillor Ferguson stated recently, and he is a huge proponent of the LRT, there is nothing in it for Ancaster, Glanbrook, Stoney Creek, Waterdown, Dundas etc." really? here what he said about public transit last year "“One thing I’ve heard from constituents loud and clear is ‘why are we paying for this service if we’re not using it?’” Ferguson said. and "That’s too much to ask, especially since most Ancaster residents don’t take the bus" ok. end of story" so what changed the coucmillors mind? said no to increased hsr service over 22$ and then a year later wants ancaster hsr service yesterday.

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    2. AnonymousJune 15, 2016

      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

      By all means, beef up suburban bus service. Just know that there’s no silver bullet: Council has embraced a funding model whereby 95% of service enhancements are funded by ridership levels.

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    3. "We need more buses to Waterdown and Dundas and Ancaster to use the system we have better… We believe we can find savings in current spending. We believe we can find 2% savings and that money can be used to pay for infrastructure."

      http://www.dundaschurches.ca/uploads/1/0/2/1/10219469/adc_2014_poverty_meetings_donna_skelly.pdf

      Looking at the above, the inefficiencies are most obvious in the very areas Councillor Skelly proposes to enhanced by cutting inefficiency. But then it's not a serious policy suggestion so much as something you're obligated to say to your would-be constituents.

      Delete
  11. AnonymousJune 14, 2016

    We need better transit now! A plan has been voted and approved by the city as well as studyed to death! We need to start building for our future and stop using what if's and alternative thoughts and go with the ideas already studied! LRT and expanded BLAST more tax dollars for expanded bus service and an end to area ratings! LRT will bring growth, construction jobs much needed (100m) in tax savings for infrastructure repairs and upgrades across the line.

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  12. some Councilors-and some former Councilors-think it their place to speak on behalf (and in spite) of the "great unwashed" demonstrating the contempt they harbor for the electorate. Others are more respectful, open and engaging. Who did you vote for?

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  13. AnonymousJune 15, 2016

    "Right now, I agree with area rating, why pay more when it takes 1.5 hours with sloppy connections to ride from Ancaster to downtown Hamilton" again, you had a chance for better service, your councillor blew it. he says you dont want to pay an extra 22$ for better bus service. is he right?

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  14. AnonymousJune 15, 2016

    "I imagine, taxpayers will have to subsidize the LRT to keep it afloat at least in the short term which I would define as ten years.." well we certainly would have to subsidize all the empty buses running around the suburbs. empty ancaster buses empty stoney creek buses enpty west mountain buses. all subsidized right now by profitable buzy routes like kin and barton.

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    Replies
    1. AnonymousJune 15, 2016

      Why are these busses running empty? Oh yeah, people aren't interested in transit as much as you wish.

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    2. AnonymousJune 15, 2016

      above there is a sample of people that ARE "interested in transit", they take millions of hsr rider per year. you didnt see that? huh. these routes that presently carry millions of hsr trips per year are being combined and we are building these riders and future riders an lrt. then there are the people you are talking about. those "people aren't interested in transit" that we should stop talking about. the people that had zero use for public transit until old dirty shabby hamilton was getting something new and shiny. the people in flamborough and ancaster and dundas and waterdown or west bev or wherever do not want to use public transit. they have rejected it time and time again and their councillors say they dont need public transit and dont want public transit. so lets stop this complete and utter nonsense about not being able to do lrt until every part of hamilton gets upgraded hsr service.

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  15. AnonymousJune 16, 2016

    Courtesy of Metrolinx’s Hamilton King-Main Benefits Case (February 2010) and IBI Group's 2010 HSR Operational Review (August 2010)

    BRT Average Speed: 25 km/h
    LRT Average Speed: 35 km/h
    HSR Average Speed: 18.7 km/h

    http://www.metrolinx.com/en/regionalplanning/projectevaluation/benefitscases/Benefits_Case-Hamilton.pdf

    http://www2.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/3F2E2A36-F987-469A-9607-5FE4DCD4322D/65081/Aug10EDRMS_n91232_v1_7_5__PW10077__Transit_Operati.pdf

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  16. AnonymousJune 18, 2016

    is it speed you desire? hard to beat my 6 cylinder with light rail

    ReplyDelete

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