The Councillor goes to great lengths to demonstrate why LRT as envisioned conceptually, fails the acid test once the data and all else is considered.
Whitehead's case is well researched.
Armed with binders worth of reports, and having gone through the tedious excersise of cross referencing materials, following the numbers and shaking out the information, the councillor struggles with trying to make the current direction make sense.
"It's important we get this right." Whitehead says. "We're only going to get one kick at something like this, and we need to make sure it's right."
Methodically, the councillor takes me through a checklist of pre-conditions for LRT to succeed in Hamilton. His list includes things like:
- need of destination to destination spine,
- need for park and ride provisions
- LRT as a response to a congestion problem- (which the councillor submits that Hamilton does not have)
- need to incorporate burst lines as feeders
- need to increase ridership during peak hours to 2000, rather than the 1100 which the councilor submits begs riders off of lines that will continue to exist, thus seemingly making the 1100 number seem inflated or otherwise unreliable. Moreover, the councilor submits that even if we were to accept the 1100 number, it will still not be enough to make LRT self sustaining.
- need to land assemble around the stations- which Hamilton is not doing.
- need for growing population and job centres around the stations
all of which the councillor has found problematic and barriers to success.
The councillor goes on to discuss the King street vs. Main street option and comes up empty when trying to find a compelling reason for King over Main. The Councillor talks about how there are significantly less heritage buildings to contend with in a Main street implementation verse a King, and how building a bridge as part of the King street option (at a cost of 30 million) would be unnecessary over a Main street approach. He also points out that King street is 500 meters longer, which drives out a cost of 30 million. He submits that King Street is plagued with a pinch point at the International Village with inadequate width to avoid traffic obstructions.
Whitehead knows some are trying to label him an obstructionist. He points to his responsibility to excersize due diligence on behalf of the taxpayers of Hamilton; especially in light of anticipated ongoing costs. He knows that a 1 Billion dollar offering weighs heavily on the discussion. So, the Councillor continues to look for a way to make it work, so that it makes sense for Hamiltonians.
But his efforts take him to a summary conclusion: two hundred million additional dollars over the next 10 years will have to be injected in order to address the pre-conditions that he has found necessary for LRT to have a chance of success. Much of the two hundred million, if not all, must be used to address the list of criteria referenced above. And this begs a further question as to whether LRT is, in fact, the best way to proceed.
The councillor has definitely laboured over this matter and can't be accused of not doing his homework. He has gone as far as creating a detailed webpage in which he shares his conclusions and sources. It can be found by clicking here.
The Hamiltonian encourages our readers to read the webpage in its entirety and draw your own conclusions as to the councillor's research and arguments.
In the interim, Clr. Whitehead's arguments suggest that to get it right, LRT is really a 1 Billion, 2 hundred thousand dollar expenditure, if Hamilton is to increase its chances of making LRT work. And with that, the question is raised as to whether there will be a appetite to throw more money at the issue, or whether it is best to revisit the whole mode and design.
Publisher, The Hamiltonian
Thanks to Clr. Whitehead for engaging with Hamiltonians via The Hamiltonian.
Note: The Hamiltonian will not post any comments that are disrespectful or otherwise unprofessional against the Councillor or others. Please debate the issues respectfully.