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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Santo Barbieri- On LRT & The Little Engine That Must: The Case for LRT in Hamilton

I recently read Ryan McGreal's article "The Little Engine That Must: The Case for LRT in Hamilton" in Urbanicity magazine and there were a few ideas I wish McGreal would develop. He writes, "Despite attempts to address service deficiencies, the current system is still over capacity with crammed buses and frequent "pass-bys". This sounds like an opinion instead of a fact. If he provided real numbers to support this statement from a reliable source I might consider believing him. I rarely see crammed buses in Hamilton. Maybe he needs a lot more personal space than I do. I have been on subways in New York, Paris, Toronto, Buenos Aires and other large cities at rush hour and crammed is an accurate description. I have never been on a crammed bus in Hamilton.

He also writes, "According to a calculation by Chris Higgins, ….. Hamilton's LRT route would have the sixth highest transit ridership in North America on a passenger-per-kilometre basis on opening day!" What about all the other days once the novelty goes away? Will opening day be free? How many LRT systems are there in North America? If the answer is seven, sixth place isn't great. If the answer is thirty, sixth place is good. I tried to find the answer to that question on the internet and the list I found included street cars like those in Toronto and San Francisco. The list had about thirty cities and most of them much larger than Hamilton. I am curious to know how calculations and

comparisons of a proposed LRT to be completed seven years from now and those existing in seven years can be made with any accuracy. What is the margin of error in those calculations?

According to Ryan, the corridor along the LRT route, "has a very high proportion of unused and under-used properties along the corridor that can be redeveloped" I ask myself what is a "very high proportion"? Is that 10%, 50% or 80%. An accurate number would help me decide what is a very high proportion. What defines an under-used property? Would having a 2% vacancy rate in an apartment building put it in the under-used category? In the absence of accurate reliable information the article's use of words like legacy, vision, ambition etc. come across as cheerleading.

Ryan then goes out on a limb by claiming those against the LRT in Hamilton are "not afraid LRT will be a failure, they're afraid it will be a success." This statement says more about the author than his opponents, the excessive enthusiasm about LRT no matter what, might be a way of hiding all the things that may be wrong with the current LRT project. It is unusual to see a critical thinker like Ryan McGreal completely in-line with the status quo and demonstrating a blind faith for the current project. Terry Whitehead raises some valid concerns, it is difficult to have an objective perspective when it's your baby and obviously this is Ryan's baby. More evidence-based arguments will be a better way to assure success for Hamilton and the project.

A few months ago, I attended a public meeting at Adas Isreal synagogue in Ward 1 where Andrew Hope from Metro-link and Paul Johnson from the city, gave a presentation on the LRT.

I learned:


1. According to Paul Johnson, the current B-line bus works well and is not operating with an over capacity of passengers. (not crammed)
2. The LRT may decrease the travel time of the current B-line bus route that will be replaced by 5 to 10 minutes.
3. The LRT is intended to stimulate development along its route.
4. That city staff and Metro-link staff speculate that Hamilton will experience an increase of 200,000 to 300,000 in the next 20 years.
5. It is estimated that the project will take approx. 5 years to complete and cost 1 billion tax dollars to complete.
6. The LRT will more than likely be operated by a private company but remain a public asset.
7. The provincial Liberals have decided the LRT will run for two kilometres north from King St. along James St. N. to the Go station
8. It was decided to run the LRT along King St. instead of Main street because King St. is the "Heart of the City".
9. Many small business owners along the route are against the LRT believing it will put them out of business and/or reduce their sales substantially.
10. The LRT will run totally on electricity, much of it generated from nuclear power plants and by private companies (Ontario's Liberals sold Hydro One)
11. Sewers will have to be moved as well as any other underground infra-structure.

My impression is that this is a make work project that will temporarily stimulate the construction industry and increase an already massive Ontario government debt. To off set that debt, governments usually start selling off assets, decrease services in health and education, increase taxes and/or go into private/public partnerships. The Ontario government has already put forward massive cuts in health care that will have a greater effect on the average Hamiltonian's life than an LRT and selling off more of Ontario Hydro. I would rather see that money go towards Health care. Let's look at the forest rather than the tree (LRT is that tree)

Paul Johnson from the city indicated that there is no "Need" to replace the current B-line bus and statistics show that there hasn't been an increase in ridership to justify an LRT. Therefore, to justify the project the government speculates that Hamilton will see a population increase of 200,000 to 300,000 people in the next 20 years. In the last 25 years the city of Hamilton has seen a minimal increase in population, while the suburbs that have become part of Hamilton have seen large increases. The LRT won't even come close to the suburbs and only covers a small portion of the city. I believe that urban sprawl has to end and infill has to happen but that has started to happen without an LRT. Putting a moratorium on urban sprawl is a cheaper and more effective way of stopping urban sprawl than an LRT. The justification for the LRT is to promote economic development along its route. That's like needing a haircut and deciding to buy a $10,000 Armani suit that makes your hair look shorter. What if the real estate bubble pops?

Another thing that's been happening is an influx of people moving to Hamilton from the GTA because of cheap housing which is no longer cheap. Hamilton has seen the sharpest price increases in Canada in the last few years. The influx will stop when housing prices combined with commuting costs and time lost won't make it an attractive option anymore. In the last 10 years Hamilton has become more of a bedroom community and the all day GO train service is long overdue. Currently approx. 35% of Hamilton's workforce commutes outside of Hamilton. The jobs aren't here and that's where the 1 billion should be invested. The creation of permanent local jobs instead of temporary construction jobs. A high speed train around the golden horseshoe would make more sense than an LRT covering a distance of 11 kilometres.

The suggestion that its "free" money handed out from the provincial government and one must seize the opportunity and the conditions that go with it, is ridiculous. We didn't "Need" a new stadium but since money from the provincial government was offered, let's take it and spend our Future Fund money from the sale of Hamilton Hydro to make it happen. Now the city, the province, the Ti-Cats and the contractor are in a web of litigation against each other and the stadium safety has recently became a major concern. Its time the city started dictating its own future by asking for what it needs not simply accepting the handouts and the conditions attached to them from the province. History shows that these monster projects often run over budget, take much more time than predicted and are rife with corruption. The Pan Am Games is a good example.

Paul Berton and Matt Jelly have suggested in recent articles that because voters elected politicians who support LRT that the last municipal and provincial elections were somehow referendums on the LRT. Jelly writes, " Brad Clark ran opposing LRT and lost to a candidate that supported it." using that logic why didn't Brian McHattie become mayor since he was the most vocal supporter of the LRT? He was a distant third place. Suggesting LRT was front and centre to a majority of voters and that being against the LRT is "obstructing a democratically approved project" as Matt Jelly wrote is a convenient way of trying to shut down opposition or criticism by suggesting people had their chance during the election. In the ward 7 election the councillor was elected with less than 25% voter turn out and won with less than 5% of eligible votes. Our political system is full of flaws. The only way LRT would become a "democratically approved project" as Matt Jelly writes, is to have a city wide referendum on it where you vote for an issue not a person (with all their complexities, political party and business affiliations). A referendum is a truer form of democracy. Part of a referendum question could be to decide on a route. The LRT issue should be decided by the citizens of the city, those who use the city. I suggested a referendum at the public meeting and someone started yelling about the idea and stomped out of the meeting. I guess his screaming and stomping, was his way of obstructing a democratic idea.

In the 2014 election minimal details about the LRT were known to the general public, there continues to be many details that haven't been decided. Some people are opposed to the LRT because putting it on King St. instead of Main St. is much more disruptive to small businesses and involves expropriating more property. Besides government organizations, who owns the most property on the King St. route? LRT is presented as an economic boost. Who will be the winners and who will be the losers? That's something that deserves some research. The idea that an LRT spurs economic development is never developed/explained by those who propose it. Wasn't the Tim Horton's stadium and Copps Arena going to transform the area's around them. It never happened but councillors seems to spin that forecast with every major project.

What I forecast is that many small businesses will go under, which has happened in Kitchener-Waterloo. Many people who live above those businesses will want to move due to noise and inconvenience. The value of those empty or near empty properties will actually drop. Someone with deep pockets will want to scoop them up for bargain prices (speculator) and sit on them for years (probably 8 years) when the LRT is done or the real estate market supports a tear down to build a condo. If the real estate market takes a nose dive then owners will look for gov't subsidies to do it. On the other hand it might spur development on Main street, putting a stake in "the heart of the city" and turning King St. into a lifeless transportation thru-way like York Blvd.

The Wynne gov't has committed 1 billion dollars. What if the project cost more, (which it will) who is expected to pay the difference? Are there any bonuses planned for those over-seeing the project? On the surface LRT sounds like a great idea but once the details of the project and the justification of the project are aired, the wisdom behind the decision becomes questionable.

Having an LRT is promoted as a city builder project but it can also be a city divider, not just in the political sense but more importantly in the geo-political sense. There might be LRT Hamilton (the small area it services) and the Rest of Hamilton. Will the Rest of Hamilton stop driving their cars? I don't think so. Will the Rest of Hamilton avoid LRT Hamilton, due to congestion? Probably. Will LRT Hamiltonians avoid the Rest of Hamilton due to inconvenience? Possibly. Will Hamilton's population increase by 200,000 to 300,000 in the next 20 years? Unlikely. given that the population growth rate in Ontario is 1%. If Hamilton's population growth rate is higher than the provinces which currently it isn't; then in 20 years Hamilton's population will be around 610,000 (100,000 more) not all of that increase in the LRT area.

According to an article in Catch News, renowned city planner Pamela Blais claims that in the decade 2001-11, there was a population loss of 6000-7000 people in the already urbanized area of Hamilton. During the same period 10,000 units were added to the greenfields along with a population gain of about 35,000. In the last four years, the city has only averaged 30 percent infill, less than the 40% required by the province, with the remainder of the nearly 8000 new units located on greenfields and nearly all of those were lower density townhouses or single-family dwellings. The highest growth rates have been in Binbrook, Ancaster and Waterdown where apartment construction has been minimal. Similarly, Blais noted that most major employment growth is taking place in the suburban areas with a continuing decline in the lower city. In her view, both trends increase congestion and are the opposite of what is needed to support the LRT. The same "visionary" politicians that vote for the LRT are voting for urban sprawl. Let's look at the forest not the tree.

There appears to be no room for real public input or consultation at city hall, its full steam ahead like it or lump it. A north to south LRT route would incorporate the whole city. There could be stops at the harbour, both Go stations, downtown, St. Joseph's hospital, and the major east-west streets on the mountain to the airport. All the mountain buses could stay on the mountain connecting to the LRT. An express bus using the Linc can take people from Stoney Creek mountain and Ancaster to a terminal on the mountain. A north-south LRT could be the spine of the city's transit system like the Younge St. subway line in Toronto. The currently planned route alienates the majority of the city, dividing the city rather than uniting it. McMaster University could continue with the B-line. Anyone who works in post secondary education knows that on-line education is growing rapidly which means fewer and fewer people need to be on campus. Obviously this hasn't been taken into consideration. I hope that council will get over the hype around LRT and becomes more pragmatic. If the province wasn't putting forward the "full cost", how many councillors would vote for it? If city council truly believed in the project they would be willing to put money on the table. Most councillors were against the project when it required city money. Hamilton is only one of two large cities in Canada that does not use federal gas tax monies for transit. Now that 1 billion is being thrown in Council's lap, they are rushing to become public transit advocates. It is difficult to expect peaches from an apple tree.

I recently spoke to someone from Kitchener and he told me that their LRT has no termination date. The trains were order from Bombardier and Bombardier said they are waiting for the Federal Liberal's to give them the bailout money that was promised. Since the provincial liberals are paying for it, will Bombardier be the supplier? I am not convinced that the LRT is good for Hamilton at this time and with the current route, the hollow rhetoric of legacies and vision make it a difficult pill to swallow.


Santo Barbieri

Do you have an opinion about LRT or other topics facing Hamilton? Send it to admin@thehamiltonian.info and we will consider it for publication. The Hamiltonian remains committed to allowing equal access to all sides of a topic. 

115 comments:

  1. This is a trick that is repeatedly used. They say that population projections call for an influx or increase, which never happens. But it's enough to allow developers to make their money. That's what you get when you have a a population that does not pay attention. Shameful that hamilton uses this trick over and over again.

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  2. LRT will not stand a chance in a referendum. Thats why we aren't having one

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  3. It is clear that information sessions have had little real effect when we see that they give rise to magical thinking pieces like this. There are so many factual errors and logical fallacies in the op-ed above that it's hard to know where to start. The blatant partisan grudge burning like a hot coal throughout this bug-eyed screed is certainly not helping the author's cause. But it's nice to see that The Hamiltonian is open to all points of view, however factually challenged.

    Example:

    “In the last 10 years Hamilton has become more of a bedroom community and the all day GO train service is long overdue. Currently approx. 35% of Hamilton's workforce commutes outside of Hamilton.”

    False. The 2011 National Household Survey shows that 69.43% of Hamilton’s workforce works within the City of Hamilton and 82% of Hamilton’s workforce works within the Hamilton CMA.

    “The commuting balance is defined as the ratio of those commuting into Hamilton versus those commuting out. In 2011, the commuting balance was 1.60 in favour of those commuting out. This means there were more people commuting out of Hamilton than in. However, the ratio appears to be decreasing over time compared to 2006 when the commuting balance was 1.64. This means while more people are still commuting out rather than into Hamilton, the proportion of those commuting in is increasing.”

    http://civicplan.ca/Where_Hamilton_Works.pdf

    The great irony of Mr. Barbieri’s alarmist fiction is that all-day GO service is forecast to facilitate a higher inward movement of workers into Hamilton than outward movement of workers away from it.

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    1. It is awful that anyone who is opposed to LRT is ridiculed and picked on.

      In terms of The Hamiltonian, I've combed through all types of articles - for and against LRTon The Hamiltonian. From the usual suspects and from new people, and from outside of Hamilton. I think it is very admirable that all the views can be printed here. Even though the LRT people are so nasty against anyomne who has alternate views. I find that terrible, and to the point that i would suggest top The Hamiltonian to not publish that stuff.

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    2. “Some of the areas traditionally deemed “bedroom communities: such as Burlington, Mississauga, or Oakville maintain approximately 55% or less of their workforce within their city boundaries, while Hamilton has maintained close to a 70 percent intra-commuting rate.”

      http://civicplan.ca/Where_Hamilton_Works.pdf

      As of 2011:

      82.0% of Hamiltonians work in the Hamilton CMA
      81.1% of Torontonians work in Toronto
      72.3% of Waterloo Region residents work in Waterloo Region
      69.43% of Hamiltonians work in Hamilton
      55.11% of Mississaugans work in Mississauga
      44.06% of Burlingtonians work in Burlington
      35.82% of Oakvillians work in Oakville

      Perspex

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  4. according to Ryan, he gets "anxious" at the sight of his automobile. Normal?

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  5. "A north-south LRT would incorporate the whole city."

    False. Running LRT from the harbour front to the airport would touch half as much of the city's population as the B-Line configuration.

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  6. "city staff and Metro-link [sic] staff speculate that Hamilton will experience an increase of 200,000 to 300,000 in the next 20 years."

    I would be interested to see a citation on that claim because as far as I know, the province has never floated population increase numbers that high. (It's possible that the author is recalling figures attached to projected increase in population and employment.)

    Ontario's Ministry of Finance projects that Hamilton's population will increase by 91,000 over the next 20 years. Hemson Consulting projects that Hamilton's population will increase by 115,000 over the next 20 years.

    http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/economy/demographics/projections/projections2011-2036.pdf

    http://www.hemson.com/downloads/HEMSON%20-%20Greater%20Golden%20Horseshoe%20-%20Growth%20Forecasts%20to%202041%20-%20Technical%20Report%20-%20Nov2012.pdf


    The great thing about online articles is that it's incredibly easy to link to corroborating evidence, data sets, studies, reports etc. When an author is able to provide real numbers to support their statements, readers might consider believing him. As it is, this commentary indulges the very sins that it claims to find unsupportable at the outset: It treats personal anecdotes, paraphrased memories and groundless speculation as the equivalent of objective fact.

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    1. "The new report from Watson and Associates Economists Ltd. says Hamilton will grow by 12 per cent – or 68,000 people – by 2026. Right now, it has 565,270."

      http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/ward-boundary-options-1.3629855

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  7. "The provincial Liberals have decided the LRT will run for two kilometres north from King St. along James St. N. to the Go station."

    FWIW, the distance is 1 km.

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  8. "The LRT will run totally on electricity, much of it generated from nuclear power plants and by private companies (Ontario's Liberals sold Hydro One)"

    Nuclear power plants backstop solar and wind projects too.

    False. Hydro One has only been partially privatized. While the province has indicated that it is prepared to sell as much as 60% of the utility's shares (i.e. the province intends to maintain the largest tranche of shares), at present, 70% of Hydro One shares remain in public hands.

    Globe & Mail, Jul. 12, 2016: "Thirty per cent of the utility’s shares have already been sold, and if 15 million shares are sold to the First Nations, it would represent another 2.5 per cent."

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ontario-strikes-deal-to-sell-hydro-one-shares-to-first-nations/article30881362/

    Regarding the "much of it generated from nuclear power plants" aside, the author would hopefully be aware of the fact that almost two-thirds of Ontario's electricity is generated by nuclear plants, regardless of whether you plan to use that electricity to light your home, charge your laptop or power rapid transit lines. Ontario's wind, solar and biofuel generation *combined* make up less than 5% the amount of electricity created through nuclear.

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  9. “A north to south LRT route would incorporate the whole city… The currently planned route alienates the majority of the city.”

    Respectfully, you might want to check your math. Aside from the symbolic gesture of uniting upper and lower city (in classic Hamilton fashion, by boring/blasting a tunnel through the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve), the numbers aren’t even remotely comparable. A north-south route running along James and Upper James would touch only three wards, while the east-west route touches four (down from the original five).

    The author’s proposed alignment is similarly unimpressive from the standpoint of proximate population. Population within 1km either side of the funded east-west line? 140,000. Population within 1.6km either side of the proposed north-south line? 101,000.

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    1. Actually a North South Route from the Airport to the waterfront would touch 4 wards. 11, 7, 8 and 2 as opposed to 1,2,3 and 4.

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    2. Ah, yes. I stand corrected. Four and four.

      The proximate population (2011 Census tracts), however, is unchanged. North-south route would have less than 3/4 of the neighbouring population, even after expanding the catchment area 160%. Even aside from that, I have yet to see a credible ridership case for prioritizing A-Line LRT.

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    3. Added to which: B-Line LRT is an 11km route that replaces 18 buses. A-Line rapid transit would be a 17km route that replaces 10 buses. Locate the capital savings and operational efficiencies.

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  10. “Blais noted that most major employment growth is taking place in the suburban areas with a continuing decline in the lower city.”

    And yet: “A new report shows that the bulk of Hamilton's assessment growth — areas generating the highest rate of new tax dollars — is largely pooled around residential areas in the suburbs. That's less desirable than industrial and commercial growth, which eases the tax burden on Hamilton homeowners.”

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/why-aren-t-hamilton-s-industrial-parks-growing-1.3460073

    There have been exuberant forecasts attached to the AEGD development, which is requiring the City to front-load hundreds of millions in infrastructure.

    And yet: “The Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) approved the boundary for the 555 net hectare area around the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport on Tuesday. Now the city will put out feelers for willing buyers.… With OMB challenges, the AEGD process has taken a decade rather than the three years the city initially planned.… About 15 per cent of the land is ready for willing buyers, said Gerry Davis, head of public works. It will take the city at least three years to provide water and sewer to the whole area.”

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/wanted-industries-to-move-in-to-the-airport-growth-district-1.2962514

    In terms of building permit values, Hamilton’s Economic Development department reports that for the 2007-2014 period, Wards 1-4 saw an unexceptional share of building permit values, as a percentage of the City total, averaging 29% of Hamilton’s annual building permit values, roughly in line with those wards’ share of citywide population (27%).

    http://www.investinhamilton.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Ward-1.pdf
    http://www.investinhamilton.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Ward-2.pdf
    http://www.investinhamilton.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Ward-3.pdf
    http://www.investinhamilton.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Ward-4.pdf

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  11. Let's remember how many times Hamilton didn't move forward because the problem wasn't critical on the day a solution was proposed.
    We didn't do repairs on City Hall as issues arose. Instead we waited until a multi million dollar renovation was needed. We didn't reserve rights of way along Centennial and ended up with the Red Hill Parkway instead of widening Centennial at far less financial and environmental cost. We didn't hold on to the options and property held by the privately owned HSR for a subway under King St. We continually put off infrastructure repair so that inexpensive small problems become expensive large ones. If we don't prepare for inner city growth and a greater amount of taxes, reducing are already heavy burden, we won't grow and residential taxes in our suburban areas will soar.
    Sure - we don't need LRT today - if we don't build it we won't need it tomorrow - and Hamilton will once again be penny wise and pound foolish.

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    1. so let us spend a billion dollars on something we do not need will ignoring that which we do. Great political minds appear to think alike, while the rest.....

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    2. Yes, we seized the moment with the stadium didn't we. We plopped it down in a neighbourhood, rather than putting it in Confederation where it belongs. Seizing the moment is great, if you have good leaders.
      Sorce

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  12. Re: “The jobs aren't here and that's where the 1 billion should be invested. The creation of permanent local jobs instead of temporary construction jobs.”

    If you were able to pull off this feat, that $1 billion would create 600 jobs with $50,000 incomes for a 30-year span, or 600 jobs commanding Hamilton’s median employment income ($34,000) for 50 years. Were these public sector jobs, however, there would likely be fewer of them, more management positions and a unionized pay grid that ensured early and comfortable retirement. And they would have to be sprinkled around the province. But then that’s not a problem, because it’s ultimately the City’s job to master its economic destiny.

    Re: “A high speed train around the golden horseshoe would make more sense than an LRT covering a distance of 11 kilometres.”

    Luckily, the two are neither equivalent not mutually exclusive. Just as the province can invest in municipal projects as well as regional ones, high-speed rail is primarily a logistical puzzle. But ultimately, the Greater Golden Horseshoe is not the project of choice.

    Oct 30 2015:

    “David Collenette is Ontario's new czar of high-speed rail.… Collenette will draw on his experience as a top federal Liberal cabinet minister to forge a business case for a high-speed rail link joining Windsor, London, Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto.”
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/david-collenette-appointed-special-adviser-for-ontario-high-speed-rail-1.3296166

    Feb 9, 2016:

    “The Ontario government wants to see a proposal completed for a Toronto-to-Windsor high-speed rail project by October, according to a London-area MP. The governing Liberals have been consulting with various stakeholders along the Toronto-to-Windsor corridor this month, as they map out what the proposed rail project could look like.”
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/ontario-government-wants-high-speed-rail-proposal-by-october-mp-says-1.3440700






    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/david-collenette-appointed-special-adviser-for-ontario-high-speed-rail-1.3296166

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  13. 40 years ago, the lower city had 20,000 more residents than it does today. 35 years ago, the HSR’s annual ridership was 33% higher than it is today. Reaching those numbers again is not the result of magic but simply government policy priorities and political will.

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  14. “I recently spoke to someone from Kitchener and he told me that their LRT has no termination date. The trains were order from Bombardier and Bombardier said they are waiting for the Federal Liberal's to give them the bailout money that was promised.”

    “Someone” as a source is rarely a credibility booster, especially when their account lacks any compelling proof points and their account of reality is somewhat dislocated from the consensus view. Here’s a media report from three months ago, explaining why the Ion train order has fallen five months behind schedule:
    CBC, May 24 2016
    The Region of Waterloo has confirmed that the start of the Ion LRT service will be delayed until early 2018, due to delays in car production at the Bombardier plant.
    Documents presented to the Region of Waterloo Planning and Works Committee Tuesday showed the first trains will not arrive until December 2016, with the final cars delayed until October 2017.
    The wiggle room is pretty much wiggled out," said Tom Galloway, chair of the region's planning and works committee.

    "The Region is extremely disappointed with Bombardier and their inability to meet their own original and revised schedule and production timelines," said a memorandum to the committee.

    The document also said the region was reviewing its legal options "to recover any damages from Bombardier," but Thomas Schmidt, the commissioner of transportation and environmental services for Waterloo Region, told the committee Tuesday that he didn't belive the company was in breach of contract.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/lrt-delayed-until-early-2018-due-to-bombardier-train-delays-1.3597328

    CBC, May 30, 2016:

    “The Region of Waterloo has a number of payment-recovery clauses built into its contract with Bombardier for the light rail vehicles. So does Grandlinq, the light rail builder and operator, if it finishes construction on time and is left waiting with no service to operate.”

    Kitchener’s contract with Bombardier does in fact have parameters on deliverables and contains penalties for delays of $1,500 per vehicle, per day, up to a maximum of $3.3 million. Metrolinx will also have provisions for cost recovery in the event that projects don’t go to timeline

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/bombardier-lrt-delay-waterloo-cost-1.3603203

    Additionally, the federal funds had nothing to do with rail vehicles but with the production of the company’s CSeries jets. It’s a different division of the company. The “bailout” was related to the Aerospace division, not Rail.

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  15. "I recently read Ryan McGreal's article "The Little Engine That Must: The Case for LRT in Hamilton" in Urbanicity magazine"

    And as is practice in such matters, I chose to write a critical response weeks sfter its printing, in an entirely different publication.

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    1. actually you chose to write a critical reply while cloaked in anonymity.
      Mr.Barbieri chose to submit his opinion to an objective outlet in the hope of initiating a reasonable discussion. Then you showed up.

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    2. Democracy CountsAugust 31, 2016

      fwiw, I believe The Hamiltonian is the only place in Hamilton that i can trust to provide a true objective story here. Whitehead, McGreal, Eisenberger, Portland, and others have all been on here at length. The problem is that some people do not like to allow opposite opinions to be expressed and go on attacking people when that happens. Stay the course TH and let everyone speak. It is what democracy is about.

      Democracy Counts

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  16. "Hamilton is only one of two large cities in Canada that does not use federal gas tax monies for transit."

    False. The City is certainly miserly on this count, however. Between 2005 and 2012, the City allocated just $6M of $155M in federal gas tax revenues to capital spends on transit. Since 2013, it has allocated $3M of $32M annual federal gas tax revenues to capital spends on transit. That's $18M of $283M in federal gas tax revenues over that 12-year period. 93% of those funds flow elsewhere. Almost 70% of federal gas tax revenues received by Hamilton over the last dozen years have gone into roadwork — to patch potholes and help minimize awareness of the true cost of sprawl-positive planning decisions made over the last 30 years.

    Meanwhile, a federal audit of the program earlier this year noted that “five of Canada’s largest cities – Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and Ottawa – have dedicated most or all of their funding to public transit.”

    http://hamiltoncatch.org/view_article.php?id=1421

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  17. Maybe Mr. Barbieri did not get all his facts straight, but I am glad to see there are others- and i suspect many others, who are actually thinking people and recognize that LRT is Hamilton will be a dismal failure if we proceed without taking heed of warnings such as those given by Terry Whitehead.

    This is the same city that chose to replant a stadium in a neighbourhood.
    Sorce

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The same Terry Whitehead who seconded a motion to seek out funding for the full B-Line LRT and the entire BLAST rapid transit network? DO you really feel that you have a grip on where his conviction lies?

      Delete
    2. "A referendum is a truer form of democracy."

      A popular delusion.

      "Referendums were an extension for large populations of the practice of direct democracy in the Swiss canton meeting or the New England town meeting of voters, where legislation is still passed, and taxes are levied, directly by the voters. This type of referendum is direct democracy in the sense that the voters are actually passing legislation if they approve the proposition presented to them.

      The other meaning of the word, and the one now meant in Canada, is the reference of a question to a popular vote, which is not binding on the government or legislature that referred it. A government or legislature may ignore the result and they have often done so. Thus the non-binding referendum is merely a kind of expensive public opinion poll. One can argue that polls are better because they are a scientific sample of the whole adult population, while in a Canadian referendum few may vote, so it can easily happen that a majority vote is not the majority view of the whole electorate. This type of referendum is more properly called a plebiscite."

      http://www.revparl.ca/english/issue.asp?art=111&param=68


      "Part of a referendum question could be to decide on a route."



      Referenda are phrased as yes/no questions. In this case, it might be "Would you support a fully funded and abundantly studied option that meets with the province's approval" or "Would you trade $1B for a hypothetical option that has not been studied, will take years to complete reviews and consultation, and which may never be funded."


      "The LRT issue should be decided by the citizens of the city, those who use the city."

      Citizens ought to do more than "use the city," of course. Interesting that the author would characterize the relationship as inherently extractive.

      "I suggested a referendum at the public meeting and someone started yelling about the idea and stomped out of the meeting. I guess his screaming and stomping, was his way of obstructing a democratic idea."

      Funny, but I would have imagined that if your anonymous nemesis were intent on "obstructing an idea", they might have stuck it out and jammed you up, instead of getting on with their day and leaving you to make your case. That doesn't sound like very a strong dose of oppression. It sounds like a perfectly ordinary public debate experience.

      Delete
    3. agreed, fairly typical response from a pro LRT foot soldier, uninformed, immature, and disrespectful.
      who cares what we call it? Do the people of Hamilton believe LRT is the right way of addressing our infrastructure deficit?

      Delete
    4. “Maybe Mr. Barbieri did not get all his facts straight”

      If you’re going to insist that factual evidence (“real numbers… from a reliable source… accurate reliable information… evidence-based arguments”) is your baseline for credible arguments and reasoned policymaking, failing to meet that mark yourself is not a trifling thing. It is a fundamental failure.

      Questions are fine, and critical dialogue is healthy. As the blurb to the right attests, "Opposite viewpoints, spirited discussion and even pointed comments are welcome." But it's generally good form to least meet the minimum standard you ask of your debate opponent. Meeting that mark is strategically savvy, too, if you insist that credibility depends on doing so.

      John Keating

      Delete
  18. “I believe that urban sprawl has to end and infill has to happen but that has started to happen.… In the last four years, the city has only averaged 30 percent infill, less than the 40% required by the province, with the remainder of the nearly 8000 new units located on greenfields and nearly all of those were lower density townhouses or single-family dwellings. The highest growth rates have been in Binbrook, Ancaster and Waterdown where apartment construction has been minimal.”

    Progress: Two steps back don't matter as long as you're making one step forward.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't forget that the city of Hamilton is just about to exploit the Winona lands. It will destroy the unique micro climate they have out there and the natural beauty. All in the name of this imagined population projection- which never happens by the way. Doesn't help that the councillors out that way are either pro development and couldn't care less about people, or are weaklings.

      Delete
  19. “Paul Johnson from the city indicated that there is no "Need" to replace the current B-line bus and statistics show that there hasn't been an increase in ridership to justify an LRT.”

    This is a common criticism of converting the 10 B-Line Express to LRT. What it conveniently overlooks, however, is that there will almost certainly be LRT adoption from users of interlined routes like the 1 King or 51 University, and that these three routes are the HSR’s strongest in terms of service productivity (i.e. riders per revenue hour). The 5 Delaware is another strong ridership route and is similarly aligned — most habitual users understand that these synergies and may take the first to of the three or four that show up. Annual ridership between those for lines represents roughly half of all HSR annual ridership. And this was the corridor that David Dixon found to be undergoing ridership growth four times the HSR’s city-wide average. How do ridership numbers on Upper James stack up against that?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Fun fact: In order for the seven suburban wards to equal the per-ward population of the “old city” (i.e. Wards 1-8), they would have to increase in population by 100,000 residents net, roughly the same growth that they have experienced in the last 50 years.

    ReplyDelete
  21. “Sewers will have to be moved as well as any other underground infra-structure.”

    Correct. Also: “The city won't have to pay to relocate any infrastructure (sewers, watermains, etc.) that has to be moved because of LRT.” Metrolinx will absorb that cost.

    Furthermore, it’s 11km of road reconstruction financed by the province, and long-term infrastructure that will help reduce wear and tear on roads. How much would that cost the City in the absence of provincial investment?

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/metrolinx-will-control-lrt-including-the-cost-agreement-says-1.3410024

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You do know King Street was resurfaced last summer. Cost savings are zero because no work is required

      Delete
    2. www.thespec.com/news-story/5545892-stoney-creek-s-king-street-reconstruction-project-begins-april-13

      http://www.hamiltonnews.com/news-story/5767944-intersection-of-king-and-centennial-in-stoney-creek-to-be-shut-down-this-weekend/

      http://www.hamiltonnews.com/community-story/6195043-stoney-creek-s-king-street-makeover-is-complete/

      Delete
    3. Not Stoney Creek. Delta to 403 last year

      Delete
    4. Rehabilitation, maybe, but not reconstruction.

      King + Bay
      April 2014 goo.gl/EuxFX6
      April 2015 goo.gl/cac1eS
      August 2015 goo.gl/hToXnL
      October 2015 goo.gl/xEJB23

      Aside from painting over the bus lane and refreshing directional arrows, I'm less than impressed by the resurfacing.

      Also, half of the route is on Main.

      Delete
    5. King & MacNab
      Aug 2011 goo.gl/TKAVwo
      Apr 2012 goo.gl/KUHWzm
      June 2016 goo.gl/bmAiB5

      Delete
  22. "Whereas the provincial funding covers 100% of the capital cost of the LRT project which includes investments to renew critical City infrastructure such as sidewalks, road surfaces, water and sewer lines along the LRT corridor;"

    http://www.thehamiltonian.net/2016/05/motions-in-motion-lrt.html

    “…the city owns and operates about $19 billion in core public works infrastructure, a good chunk of it tired and grizzled and in need of rehabilitation. To make matters worse, the more new physical assets it adds, the more the financial pressure of maintaining and repairing them grows over time.
    The widely-known $3.5 billion figure represents the amount of money needed to maintain and repair an ever-growing inventory of city-owned roads, bridges, sidewalks and buildings.
    The city spends about $100 million a year trying to tackle that backlog.
    It also plans to implement an annual tax increase of 0.5 per cent — generating about $4.4 million in additional funding — to help the battle.
    But that still leaves an annual funding shortfall of about $195 million, meaning that's how much is needed but unavailable each year to keep existing infrastructure in a "state of good repair" in which it's working as intended and sustained by regular maintenance and replacement programs.”

    http://www.thespec.com/opinion-story/6828358-dreschel-city-to-rank-repairs-by-urgency-/

    Existing road and sub-grade infrastructure is going to get ripped up and replaced regardless. It's just a matter of who's going to foot the bill.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 195,000,000 (approx. annual funding shortfall, $)
      ÷
      413,000 (approx. Hamilton population age 20+)
      =
      $472

      Delete
    2. Hamilton’s urban road network is rated as one of the most degraded of the city’s infrastructure assets (graded D+). Road reconstruction allows roughly 30 years of service life, but 18.4% of Hamilton’s roads are 21+ years old. Replacing all 6,200 lane-kilometers of Hamilton’s roads comes at an estimated cost of $4.7B (2014 currency). Hamilton’s urban street network represents 4,000+ lane-kilometers of that total.

      http://www2.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/812CACE9-0736-4A0A-8056-BB2E8D25543B/0/COH_AM_Plan.pdf

      Delete
  23. “Due to the high existing ridership on the B‐ Line, Hamilton will gain substantial benefits from building an LRT along this route as soon as possible…. For A‐Line, due to the much lower ridership, a phased approach for LRT is more appropriate. The first phase is completion of the core section through Downtown to Mohawk College by 2026, and the remainder of the route phased in between 2031 to 2036…. BRT could be used as an interim measure on the A‐ Line, but the significantly higher operating cost compared to LRT makes BRT more expensive in the long‐run.

    Ridership on the A‐Line Core section is much higher than on the rest of the suburban route. Therefore, a phased approach for LRT should be considered. After the A‐Line Core is built, the line will be gradually extended from Mohawk College to the Airport. Expansion should be in response to development in the Airport Employment Growth District, and increased air‐passenger volumes at Hamilton International Airport, see map, Figure 10. These destinations will increase ridership and service demand in the suburban areas. But the City should avoid a “build it and they will come” approach by extending the line too soon….

    For the A‐Line Core LRT, 60% of the full‐route cost, or $525.3 million, has been assumed. Although this section it is only about one‐third of the full A‐Line route length, construction and infrastructure costs will be high through the downtown and building the mountain access tunnel…

    Although the Claremont LRT route will be less expensive to build, and perhaps less controversial, it is clearly not as desirable as the direct route up James. Effort should therefore be spent on convincing the skeptics of the environmental benefits of boring a tunnel through the Escarpment to service the College, Downtown and the two GO Stations in the most direct and efficient manner possible, with a sustainable, zero‐emissions technology.”

    http://reports.strategicinterchange.ca/SI_A-Line_CBA.pdf

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On page 56 of this 2011 report there's a breakdown of Peak hour A-Line ridership for the year 2031. The authors note:

      "These figures show a maximum AM Peak line flow of around 1,800-1,850 passengers
      per hour in 2031, with the highest loadings between Downtown Hamilton and Stone
      Church. Under the current land use assumptions, the demand drops off rapidly south of the Stone Church stop and is very low south of Mountain Transit Centre. A stepped
      service profile has therefore been assumed, with part of the service terminating at
      MTC. Demand is also considerably lower between Downtown Hamilton and the Waterfront,
      but at this stage the full service has been assumed to operate to the latter point."

      The assumption is that A-Line rapid transit would replace the 20, with service on the 21 reduced to every half-hour. Between Gore Park and Stone Church, they anticipate around 800-1,800 riders at peak (northbound morning rush; southbound ridership in the morning rush is about 1/3 that of the northbound ridership). "Destination" is shown to be relative, and not necessarily synonymous with "terminus": Both the waterfront and the airport are linked to extremely low ridership levels.

      https://www.hamilton.ca/sites/default/files/media/browser/2015-09-17%2014%3A46/lrt-submission-book6-integrated-transit-system-operations-plan.pdf

      Delete
  24. "More evidence-based arguments will be a better way to assure success for Hamilton and the project."

    This.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. “there continues to be many details that haven't been decided…but once the details of the project and the justification of the project are aired, the wisdom behind the decision becomes questionable”

      Critical details are being negotiated, but the naysayers have already decided that they represent the worst possible scenario. Despite his abundant claims to the contrary, Mr. Barbieri obviously doesn’t have trouble believing things in the absence of evidence — just as long as they reflect his personal bias.

      Emmanuel

      Delete
  25. Out of curiosity, was Ryan McGreal contacted for his views on Mr. Barbieri's writing? And if so, why are you not allowing him to respond?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hamiltonian AdminAugust 30, 2016

      Yes, Mr. McGreal was made aware of this article and invited to respond.

      Delete
    2. Mr. McGreal has been publicly critical of "the Hamiltonian" and it's "pointed" perspective on LRT. In Ryan's world, if you are not blindly supportive of his vision, you pose some sort of threat. He prefers more familiar territory, with a cadre of minions close at hand.
      It has been interesting watching RTH lose steam and significance while this site appears to gain influence with each new installment.
      As it should be.

      Delete
    3. Where did he say that?

      Delete
    4. on his Twitter feed 5/18/16 "...my responses to some pointed questions on LRT from @ the Hamiltonian"

      Delete
  26. A prime focus for the B-Line and A-Line is to use Rapid Transit as a catalyst for achieving wider land use and urban development objectives. The importance of rapid transit and its wider “city shaping” role is highlighted in the Rapid Transit Vision, developed and endorsed by Council: “Rapid Transit is more than just moving people from place to place. It is about providing a catalyst for the development of high quality, safe, environmentally sustainable and affordable transportation options for our citizens, connecting key destination points, stimulating economic development and revitalizing Hamilton”.

    https://www.hamilton.ca/sites/default/files/media/browser/2015-09-17%2014:44/lrt-submission-book6-system-design-guide.pdf

    ReplyDelete
  27. "The Ontario government has already put forward massive cuts in health care"

    TD Economics, 2010: "Every year, government spending on health care increases more than revenues. As a result the amount available for other government
    spending decreases. If current trends prevail, health care expenditures would make up 80 per cent of total program spending by 2030, up from 46 per cent today. All other programs, such as education, would be funded out of the remaining 20 per cent."

    https://www.td.com/document/PDF/economics/special/td-economics-special-db0510-health-care-pr.pdf

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, rate of growth in health spending per capita is expected to be less than rate of inflation and population growth combined.
      "Since 2011, Health spending has decreased by an average of 0.6% per year, to 39% of total program spend, or approximately 10.9% of GDP"
      So if you used to take the bus to McMaster, it looks as if your trip will be quicker. Which is good news, because your wait in emergency to be examined will likely be longer.
      Bravo.

      Delete
    2. Nation-wide, I imagine. Did they break it down by province?

      Delete
    3. “From 2000 to 2010, Canada experienced 7% average annual growth in health spending, which was well ahead of economic growth, which grew by only 2.2% on average over the same period. However, since 2011, the growth in spending started to slow – at 3.3% average annual growth from 2010 to 2012. In 2014, growth in total health care spending (public and private together) is projected to drop to only 2.1%, lower than the rate of economic growth.”

      http://healthydebate.ca/2014/11/topic/cost-of-care/slowing-growth-health-care-spending-temporary-blip-permanent-gain

      “Over 44 per cent of the total health care budget today is spent on caring for those age 65 and over—a group that accounts for only 14 per cent of the population. But the 65 and over population is growing at a rate that is more than three times that of the overall population, putting enormous pressure on health care costs. It is partly because of these demographic pressures that health care spending has increased by almost seven per cent per year over the last five years. This year, the Ontario government plans to slow this increase to 4.4 per cent, and then reduce it further—to just 3.4 per cent in fiscal year 2012–13 and 2.8 per cent in 2013–14.”

      http://www.conferenceboard.ca/topics/economics/budgets/ontario_2011_budget.aspx

      Delete
    4. yes, once upon a time we invested in health-care. For the past 2 years, Ontario has spent less on health-care than the previous year, and the trend appears likely to continue. Which I believe was Santo's point.

      Delete
    5. "once upon a time we invested in health-care"

      Even so, Ontario now has Canada's fifth highest level of health care spending as a percentage of provincial budget. And as a share of GDP, Canadian health care spending is higher post-recession than at any point 1975-2008. So that "once upon a time" is not that long ago.


      https://www.cihi.ca/en/spending-and-health-workforce/spending/national-health-expenditure-trends/nhex2015-topic2

      https://www.cihi.ca/en/spending-and-health-workforce/spending/national-health-expenditure-trends/nhex2015-topic6

      Delete
    6. Why do you consider historical data significant? Once upon a time we did a better job? CIHI stats reflect "since 2011, health spending has decreased by an average of 0.6% per year" OECD data corroborates this with "Canada has seen a sustained period of negative or low growth in health care spending since 2010" Decreasing funding while pressure on the system increases-as you rightly point out-is a recipe for increased suffering and heartache.
      With respect to overall performance, the Commonwealth Fund in 2015 ranked Canada 10th out of 11 "advanced industrial nations" it surveyed. The only indicator where we outperformed any other nation was "health equity" (it was also the only reason we were not in last place, but it is now within reach)
      Investing in transit at the expense of health care-neglecting Peter to improve Paul's commute- seems illogical and dangerous. I do not share such irresponsible vision.

      Delete
    7. From the same CIHI report you quoted:

      “Total health expenditure growth in 2015 is forecast to be 1.6%.… Among 29 countries that had comparable accounting systems in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2013, the latest year for which data is available, spending per person on health care remained highest in the United States
      (US$9,086). Canada was in the top quartile of countries in terms of per-person spending on health, at US$4,569 [10.7% of GDP] — less than Denmark (US$4,847) and more than France (US$4,361), Australia (US$4,115) and the United Kingdom (US$3,364)” 2013 OECD average: $3,566 per capita or 9.2% of GDP.

      That the highest levels of OECD health care spending are to be found in the United States (where 52% of spend is private sector compared to Canada’s 29% private sector spend) only proves that spending levels are not without their shortcomings as yardsticks go.

      Delete
    8. "Internationally comparable data are usually based on Canadian averages. But there is some evidence that on important matters Ontario has one of the best or even the best system within Canada. For example, the Frontier Centre ranks Ontario as having the best system according to its overall Consumer Index of Health, although British Columbia and New Brunswick are very close. The relative strength of Ontario is in primary care and problem prevention. In particular, the Frontier Centre notes that “a large number of Ontarians have regular access to a family doctor.” However, the Centre hastens to add that “all 10 provinces have significant work to do to achieve the much shorter health care wait times that exist in top European countries such as Germany, France and the Netherlands....

      The OECD researchers who took a stab at measuring inefficiency costs in health care systems came to a startling conclusion about this country. They estimated that if Canada became as efficient as the best-performing countries, there would be a saving in public health care costs of 2.5 per cent of GDP in 2017.33 Securing such efficiency gains would not permanently lower the growth of health care costs, but could certainly do so over the transition period.

      The OECD suggests that Canada as a whole “wasted” $40.6 billion of the $136.9 billion that the public sector spent on health in 2010; the comparable figure for Ontario, if the 2.5 per cent figure also holds true for the province, would be $13.4 billion in “waste” out of $47.8 billion in total public spending. In other words, efficiency gains would amount to almost 30 per cent of public-sector spending in 2010. Of course, measuring inefficiency, especially by comparing differing international systems, is very difficult, so we must be cautious in interpreting the OECD figure. Further, it simply may not be feasible to eliminate or even substantially reduce the figure. That said, it is not a large leap to presume that if we could remove as little as 10 per cent of this inefficiency over the next 10 years, public health care spending could be restrained to a very low growth rate over that period."

      http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/reformcommission/chapters/ch5.html

      In other words, it's not a false binary — the data suggests that resources are being spent inefficiently in health care. The "waste" figure cited (estimated $13.4B a year) would do a lot of good in other areas of the economy. Consider that in the most recent budget, the province announced that "the government is investing more than $137 billion over the next 10 years, in public infrastructure such as roads, bridges, public transit, hospitals and schools."

      http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/budget/ontariobudgets/2016/bk2.html

      Delete
    9. the CBC, in a recent expose entitled "Rate my Hospital" concluded our local Health Sciences Corporation performs "poorly" in comparison to other similar institutions in Canada- which the Commonwealth Fund has concluded perform poorly in comparison to nearly every other "advanced industrial Nation" on the planet. I take no comfort in the knowledge some areas of our Country somehow manage to perform worse.
      You will get no argument from me respecting the "waste" you reference-I suspect your figures are likely accurate.
      However your suggestion that the "solution" is to redirect funding away from health care-while doing absolutely nothing else to address the root cause-strikes me as dangerous and irresponsible.
      There is only one pie here, and it can only be sliced so many ways. Prioritizing transit at the expense of health care reveals a vision gone astray.

      Delete
    10. "Prioritizing transit at the expense of health care reveals a vision gone astray" lets say we accept that premise. heres jim grahams quote tweaked to make more sense "Prioritizing road repairs and street maintenance at the expense of health care reveals a vision gone astray" clearly we should increase health care spending locally t bring our level of service up. so lets forgo all road build, expansion repair and maintenance for five years. people that need to shop or go to work over poorly maintained roads will continue to do so no matter what. no one stops going to work or to the grocery store because of potholes or bumpy roads or traffic jams. so the economy and commerce and productivity would be unaffected. peoples quality of life will suffer but no tangible downside. take all the billions saved, put it in local health care, problem solved.

      Delete
    11. It's not a matter of prioritzing anything — even with the negligible downturn in funding, health care is far and away the largest item on the budget (at 42 cents of every tax dollar, nothing else is more of a priority; the aforementioned $137B over 10 years amounts to less than $1.4B annually, province-wide, compared to $50B in health care spending. If health care is only 96% efficient, there is enough surplus to bankroll "public infrastructure such as roads, bridges, public transit, hospitals and schools." Or we could shortchange all of those so that we can build more hospitals and make doctors and pharmaceutical companies blissfully comfortable.

      "• Health care funding has increased from $29.2 billion in 2003/2004 to $50.8 billion in 2015/16.
      • Hospital funding in Ontario has increased more than 50 per cent, from $11.3 billion in 2003-04 to $17.4 billion in 2016-17."

      https://news.ontario.ca/mohltc/en/2016/03/ontario-investing-more-than-50-billion-in-health-care.html

      Clearly a rethink is needed at many levels, and investment is warranted where data is most robust. In Hamilton's case: Seeing that B-Line ridership was growing at 400% the HSR's average, David Dixon maintained that the case was self-evident for greater investment in B-Line routes. By the ame token, he proposed stringent service standards that would all but ensure service reductions on feeder routes in suburban areas that have tended to oppose expansion of service in favour of short-term political gain.

      Delete
    12. I really cant imagine a scenario where your sensibilities would be of any benefit to anyone.

      Delete
    13. of course such radical thinking would warrant a carefully controlled case study to afford a detailed risk/benefit analysis. Since you have your Councilors ear, and the unbridled support of your neighbors (and everyone else in the City thinks "your plan" is just more nonsense from a frustrated agitator) we will roll this out in Ward 2. I think we should extend the timeline to a decade for maximum effect. We can refer to it as the "orangemike initiative" and make certain everyone is afforded the opportunity to express their appreciation to the architect for his efforts. Your quality of life will suffer, but no tangible downside. Bam, presto, chango, problem isolated and contained.

      Delete
    14. "…your suggestion that the "solution" is to redirect funding away from health care-while doing absolutely nothing else to address the root cause-strikes me as dangerous and irresponsible…"

      I didn't suggest anything of the sort. I quoted Don Drummond, who has written extensively about transformative changes needed to make the system sustainable in the face of epic demographic change. Delaying those changes because of a fear of disrupting the status quo rather misses the point and is itself dangerous and irresponsible.

      Delete
    15. "Since 2011, Health spending has decreased by an average of 0.6% per year"

      Almost every cell in the human body is replaced every 10 years. How long do you imagine it will take for the health care system to transform and renew itself?

      Delete
    16. "we will roll this out in Ward 2." bring it on. as long as the money save stays in ward two and is re-invested in ward two i can forgo road repairs for ten years. i just dont want the millions saved going to some labbats inspired fever dream about your flying car fleet or your garbage to gas plant.

      Delete
    17. "...in the absence of original thought, plagiarism sodomizes the mind " Jonny Ox.

      Delete
    18. "and everyone else in the City thinks "your plan" is just more nonsense from a frustrated agitator" everyone? really? any proof to back up your claim? cause at one time you claimed EVERY merchant and business on king street is 100% opposed to lrt. now we have empirical data that says you are wrong. you also claimed lrt on king would result in significant traffic congestion. the experts and proven data says otherwise. i have no idea what amount of support forgoing road builds repair and maintenance would have. yet here you are saying (again) EVERYONE would be opposed to
      the idea. you continue to claim to speak for EVERYONE and you continue to be proven wrong. at least youre consistent.

      Delete
    19. tons of proof, compiling a dossier, it was all we could talk about over dinner. more will be revealed, stay tuned, same bat time.
      Confront, correct, confuse. Consistently.

      Delete
    20. this is what jim graham has to contribute. "tons of proof, compiling a dossier" ??? "it was all we could talk about over dinner" ??? "more will be revealed" many would say this sounds like the irrational and unbalanced ramblings of someone that is unwell. how is any of this nonsense relevant to the discussion on lrt?

      Delete
    21. "Since 2011, Health spending has decreased by an average of 0.6% per year"

      "As part of the 2016 Budget, Ontario is continuing to make greater investment in Ontario's health care system to give Ontarians faster access to the right care, now and in the future. In 2016-17, the government would be investing $51.8 billion in health care...

      Health care funding has increased from $29.2 billion in 2003/2004 to $50.8 billion in 2015/16.

      Hospital funding in Ontario has increased more than 50 per cent, from $11.3 billion in 2003-04 to $17.4 billion in 2016-17."

      https://news.ontario.ca/mohltc/en/2016/03/ontario-investing-more-than-50-billion-in-health-care.html

      2015-16: $50.8 billion
      2016-17: $51.8 billion

      How big is that decrease?

      Delete
    22. $1B = 1.97% increase over $50.8B

      Delete
    23. 35% increase 2006-2010
      3.6% decrease 2011-2016

      Delete
    24. you have migrated further than a Canada Goose from your original position of "if current trends prevail, healthcare spending would make up 80% of total spend by 2030..." If current trends prevail, you'll be performing your own surgery.

      Delete
    25. Again: I didn't suggest anything of the sort. I quoted Don Drummond, using quotation marks. Follow the link below that quote and you'll get to what is known popularly as "The Drummond Report". That report was written in 2011 and released in early 2012.

      It also bears mentioning that annual funding decreases of 0.6% amount to an ever-smaller impact in absolute dollar figures. Annual increases of 7% have the opposite effect: the absolute spend increases.

      Delete
    26. better watch yourself. jim might "compile a dossier" on you.

      Delete
    27. so rather than express your own opinion, you decided to chime in with the musings of an economist from 2011. Understood.
      Interesting that the Drummond Commission actually recommended capping health care spending at 2.5% annually. Where did your support turn selective?

      Delete
    28. When will you stop jumping to conclusions? I quoted Drummond to speak to the "once upon a time" narrative. The same economist, since you follow provincial politics, you would know to be a key player in much of the province's policy-making for the last five years. I agree that the government has perverted Drummond's recommendations to their own ends, but I also don't have a hard time believing that 2.5% annual spending increases are considerably more sustainable and responsible than increases almost triple that. But a $1B increase in health care spending is technically a 2% increase in health care spending. Had the government managed to spend another $900M on health care, they would have met Drummond's mark.

      Delete
    29. no time soon. We can all safely conclude Drummond's projections were alarmist and nonsensical. Perhaps he should stick to finance and/or economics, and leave healthcare funding to you and I.
      I conclude the money the government skimmed from health care did nothing to improve service delivery in the sector. I conclude the 900 million "saved" is remarkably (coincidentally?) close to the $1B investment in light rail. I conclude you demonstrated Mr.Barbieri's point effectively, if unintentionally.

      Delete
    30. Respectfully, I don't understand how you can at once acknowledge that Drummond's strengths are economics/finance and yet insist that he is alarmist and nonsensical.

      If Ontario’s health care spending increased by 70% between 2000-2010, the trendline would see Ontario’s health care spending increase 140% by 2030. This as per capita GDP has fallen, meaning that health care spending would be growing at several times the rate of the provincial economy (which actually shrank 2000-2010). Hence the near-doubling from 46% in 2010 to 80% in 2030.

      In any event, your faith in big-ticket spending as insurance of quality health care is baseless. The government can spend billions on health care without improving it one iota. See eHealth or ORNGE, or consider that from a budgetary standpoint, spending $2.7B on building a single hospital counts just as much as spending $2.7B on front-line care.

      I conclude that you believe whatever is convenient in the moment.

      ... Gemini Twin

      Delete
    31. predicting health care spending will balloon to 80% of total spend is alarmist nonsense. I react to what you post.

      Delete
    32. Any speculation about 2030, including your own, is just that. The future is unknown.

      That said, Drummond is simply articulating the end-point of a trendline, one where Ontario's economic growth is stagnant yet its government is profligate.

      2000-2010, Ontario's GDP down 0.3%
      2000-2010, Ontario's health care spend up 70%

      Low or negative growth means that Ontario's tax base is limited and debt financing . This helps to explain how the province's debt and deficit exploded during that same time, to Mr. Barbieri's great alarm. Public services are only sustainable as long as public finances can support them. Debt interest is currently Ontario's third-largest expense after health care and education, and grow over time.

      Here's your alarmist back in Feb 2012:

      "Drummond cautioned against dawdling, saying Ontario’s deficit of $16 billion this year will balloon to $30.2 billion by 2018 at the current pace of spending. “We do not mean to be alarmist in noting the province’s debt picture, only to point out that government debt burdens can rise quickly if they are not headed off early with appropriate action.”

      For example, Spain’s net debt doubled to 56 per cent of GDP between 2007 and 2011 and Portugal’s almost doubled to 103 per cent since 2003. Britain’s has gone from 35 per cent — the same as Ontario — to 73 per cent since 2004.

      In the meantime, debt interest is Ontario’s third-largest expense after health ($47.1 billion) and education ($23.2 billion.)"

      https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2012/02/17/drummond_report_a_reality_check_on_ontario_vs_greece.html

      https://www.lakeheadu.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/44/dimatteo/work%20in%20progress/PrebudgetConsultationPresentation.pdf

      It's also possible that health care will only ever make up 46% of the provincial budget after debt interest payments, although I'm sure some would also call that prospect alarmist.

      ...Gemini Twin

      Delete
    33. good on you for introducing speculative conjecture into an otherwise relevant conversation. Bravo.

      Delete
    34. Entirely relevant: Mr. Barbieri specifically referenced the "massive cuts in health care" and "massive Ontario government debt". You yourself opined that “your wait in emergency to be examined will likely be longer” or “For the past 2 years, Ontario has spent less on health-care than the previous year, and the trend appears likely to continue”.

      ...Gemini Twin

      Delete
    35. Re: "introducing speculative conjecture"

      “My impression is that… I believe that… What I forecast is that…” – Santo Barbieri

      … Gemini Twin

      Delete
    36. 35% increase in health care spend, 2006-2010
      3.6% decrease in health care spend, 2011-2016

      So… 52 more years of annual 0.6% funding decreases and Ontario will have effectively erased the funding increases of the 2006-2010 period. Interesting. Mitch Roman

      Delete
    37. speculative conjecture, according to you

      Delete
    38. "any speculation...is just that....the future is unknown" Yet predictable.

      Delete
    39. is that the goal Mitch? While standard of care plummets, you look on the "bright side" for savings to inject into other sectors?

      Delete
    40. Golly, Mr. Graham, but you sure do like to have it both ways.

      I've cited links and rationales for economic projections. Those projections may or may not be realized at some future point in time, but they are grounded in fact. These are the trend lines that for the purposes of an intellectual exercise can be regarded as knowable or as you put it, "predictable".

      Your speculation, on the other hand, is rooted in colourful anecdote and (so far, at least) nothing more. On what grounds have you formed these speculations, other than personal bias? On what grounds do you discard the contributions of others, other than personal bias? What leads you, who is so allergic to "alarmist nonsense" to proclaim that "If current trends prevail, you'll be performing your own surgery [by 2030]?"

      You repeatedly make grand claims to be able to predict the future and yet never make any effort to substantiate these claims. Why is that?

      -- Gemini Twin



      ...Gemini Twin

      Delete
    41. I am just as capable as predicting the future as anyone. Seems to me you are the one with the split personality, as personified by your new moniker.You have cited links, I have responded with data from relevant sources to refute your-or sometimes Don's-perspective. I have effectively demonstrated health care spending is in decline, has been for years,and that was to counter your submission, your own personal bias, and there is a need for change if we hope to have a system we can count on and be proud of. Health care is a priority for me, LRT is not.
      I predict you will respond with further immaturity-or someone else's alarmist nonsense.

      Delete
    42. "I have effectively demonstrated health care spending is in decline, has been for years"

      Ontario Investing More Than $50 Billion in Health Care
      2016 Budget Includes $1 Billion Increase to Health Care Funding
      March 21, 2016 2:00 P.M.

      Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

      As part of the 2016 Budget, Ontario is continuing to make greater investment in Ontario's health care system to give Ontarians faster access to the right care, now and in the future.

      • The government has invested almost $2 billion to significantly reduce wait times since 2003–04.
      • Health care funding has increased from $29.2 billion in 2003/2004 to $50.8 billion in 2015/16.
      • Hospital funding in Ontario has increased more than 50 per cent, from $11.3 billion in 2003-04 to $17.4 billion in 2016-17.


      https://news.ontario.ca/mohltc/en/2016/03/ontario-investing-more-than-50-billion-in-health-care.html


      ...Gemini Twin

      I'm not saying that there isn't room for improvement in health care. Obviously there is. (Regarding Drummond's observation that the OECD estimates that 30% of health care spending is lost to ineffciency, yourself concede above that "You will get no argument from me respecting the "waste" you reference-I suspect your figures are likely accurate.") I just have yet to see evidence of this historic trend of institutional decline that in your judgment will obligate us to perform self-surgery 12 years from now. If I have overlooked the link or data citation, apologies. If you could point me to it or repost I would welcome the information as a corrective.

      ...Gemini Twin

      Delete
    43. Captain HamiltonSeptember 16, 2016

      I think what most people dont think about when it comes to health care, is how badly manages the system. The Local health integration networks are just another layer in my view, that have failed to integrate the system. People wander into emergency rooms for a toothache and clog up the system. Old people are treated disrespectfully and looked upon as burdens to get out of the hospital as soon as possible, even if it means giving up on them. Paramedics spend literally hours in emerg sipping coffees while the sick lie on stretchers. And you think it is just about $$$. It's about terrible mismanagement.

      Captain Hamilton

      Delete
    44. Another interesting overview can be hand through the Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care's Ontario’s Action Plan For Health Care (2012):

      "The health care system is facing unprecedented challenges. Most prominent among them are the demographic and fiscal challenges.

      Our population age structure is changing. We’re living longer and baby boomers are reaching the age where they’ll need more health care. Just as our education system responded decades ago to the baby boom, today’s health care system must now prepare for the demographic shift that will double the number of seniors living in Ontario over the next 20 years. Of course the older we are, the more we depend on our health care system. The cost of care for a senior is three times higher than for the average person.

      Indeed, if we didn’t change anything, kept the age-specific costs what they are today and applied them to the 2030 population, our health costs would increase by $24 billion – 50 per cent more than today from changing demographics alone.

      Even if the province wasn’t facing serious economic pressures, the health care system would still need to transform to address the coming demographic shift.

      Today, health care consumes 42 cents of every dollar spent on provincial programs. Without a change of course, health spending would eat up 70 per cent of the provincial budget within 12 years, crowding out our ability to pay for many other important priorities."

      http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/ms/ecfa/healthy_change/docs/rep_healthychange.pdf

      ...Gemini Twin

      Delete
    45. your entire premise is demonstrably inaccurate, funding is in decline, as demonstrated, creating a new trend, and it is impossible for it to increase as a percentage of spend while trending downward.
      Pressure on the system is increasing, and decreasing funding under current conditions is a recipe for disaster.
      Regrettably, my "bias" is born of personal experience, and our family deals with the consequences of a system which failed us every single day. Although I would not wish our experience on anyone, I suspect it would impact your perspective as well.
      Ne Oublie.

      Delete
    46. FWIW, most of what I've quoted have been policy documents designed or endorsed by the provincial government, which is not proof of infallibility but certainly an indication that you have an uphill battle. And as I have said previously, the health care sector is not monolithic, so cost control becomes complex as a result. A parallel consideration is that habitually heavy users of the system will be those most likely to experience the consequences of adjustments in spending priorities. And the provinceam has also been known to adjust its focus and programs to target specific demographics, meaning that perception of whether the health care system has been enhanced or degraded depends on who you are, where you live, how much you use the system and what kind of care you need.

      Delete
    47. Total Operating Expenses, Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care:

      Actual, 2004-2005: 30,748,947,003
      Actual, 2005-2006: 32,668,764,056

      Actual, 2006-2007: 35,049,026,166
      Actual, 2007-2008: 37,273,910,715
      Actual, 2008-09: 39,847,130,651
      Actual, 2009-2010: 42,030,189,382
      Actual, 2010-2011: 44,156,175,639
      Actual, 2011-2012: 46,197,107,102
      Actual, 2012-2013: 47,063,832,143
      Actual 2013-2014: 47,997,633,040
      Estimates, 2014-2015: 49,446,007,060
      Estimates, 2015-2016: 50,194,120,860

      http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/budget/estimates/

      ...Gemini Twin

      Delete
    48. you reference nonsense. With the current trend of funding for Health Care in decline, the only way for percentage of spend to increase to 70% is for overall spend to be reduced by more than 40% by 2030. As utterly ludicrous as it sounds.Is that what you anticipate?

      Delete
    49. Actually, I reference the Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care's 2012 policy document Ontario’s Action Plan For Health Care. At risk of stating the obvious, what I anticipate is utterly beside the point. It is what the provincial government (specifically the MoHLTC) anticipates.

      And in case you skipped the preceding paragraphs, the demographic context of budget pressures is addressed:

      "Our population age structure is changing. We’re living longer and baby boomers are reaching the age where they’ll need more health care. Just as our education system responded decades ago to the baby boom, today’s health care system must now prepare for the demographic shift that will double the number of seniors living in Ontario over the next 20 years. Of course the older we are, the more we depend on our health care system. The cost of care for a senior is three times higher than for the average person.

      Indeed, if we didn’t change anything, kept the age-specific costs what they are today and applied them to the 2030 population, our health costs would increase by $24 billion – 50 per cent more than today from changing demographics alone."

      Take issue with the budgetary math all you like, but as should be clear by now, this is the government's worldview.

      ...Gemini Twin


      Delete
    50. If the government is serious, they have to increase their funding of nursing homes, retirement homes and palliative care facilities. Until they do that, they will continue to treat senior's with the disrespectful term as "bed blockers". You work all your life and then when in need, they call you a bed blocker because they do not have the foresight to fund appropriately.

      Dr. T

      Delete
    51. “The 2012 Budget committed to increasing investment in home care and community services by an average of four per cent per year. The 2013 Budget proposes an additional one per cent per year—for a total increase of over $700million by 2015–16 compared to 2012–13.”

      http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/budget/ontariobudgets/2013/papers_all.pdf


      Keeping waits for home and community care to five days — as demanded by the New Democrats — will cost an extra $700 million over the next three years, Finance Minister Charles Sousa says in his first budget.

      Sousa set the five-day “target” to get assistance for another 46,000 patients with care needs, such as nursing help and personal support in their homes, once they have been assessed and approved for it by community care access centres.

      “More people will quickly receive the care they need, where they need it,” Sousa said in his budget speech.

      The money, starting with $260 million this fiscal year, is more than eight times higher than the $30 million demanded by NDP Leader Andrea Horwath as one of several conditions for supporting the budget.

      http://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2013/05/02/ontario_budget_2013_ontario_budget_2013_liberals_home_care_target_may_not_meet_ndp_demand.html

      Perspex

      Delete
    52. "Hospitals will get their first funding increase in five years, up $345 million, plus $12 billion over 10 years in capital grants for about three dozen major hospital projects"

      http://www.moneysense.ca/news/ontario-budget-grants-free-tuition-for-many-students/

      Gemini Twin

      Delete
  28. http://www.burlingtongazette.ca/is-it-just-small-minded-political-parochialism-and-old-style-partisan-politics-having-hamilton-say-no-to-a-billion-for-an-lrt-line/

    ReplyDelete
  29. "I didn't suggest anything of the sort." of course you didnt. just jim graham setting up straw men and (trying) to knock them down.

    ReplyDelete
  30. "Despite attempts to address service deficiencies, the current system is still over capacity with crammed buses and frequent "pass-bys". This sounds like an opinion instead of a fact."

    HSR pass-by data, Jan 2014 thru Dec 2015:

    https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/2702401/Passbys-123115.pdf

    ~
    Sigma Cub

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I really began to see the full scope of this problem on the last Friday of September. It was rainy and I was staying late on campus. The phone service had stated a bus was coming at 10:38 p.m. near Mills, and as I got there, many people were already waiting. No bus came, and that hasn’t been the first error I have noticed on the phone system.

      I decided to come back later as two more busses were due at 11:01 and 11:02 p.m. The first one came, but was extremely full. The second one didn’t come at all. I walked to Main and Emerson to wait for the 11:25 p.m. 5C bus. By now, it was really raining hard and we all had to squeeze into the shelter. Wondering where the bus could be, it finally passed us by at 11:33, eight minutes late, without stopping. There were seven of us there and we were incredulous. Did it seriously just fly right by because it was too full to stop? Does the HSR think that people are willing to wait forty minutes for the next one?

      I decided to run to the stop near the Health Sciences Centre, which was arriving at 11:43, and it came a couple minutes late. By this time, I had already waited for over an hour just to leave campus. After picking up more people down the road, I wound up standing on an actual seat while I counted 35 other people who had to stand in the aisle (and this was not even one of the longer busses).

      The problem with buses arriving late is that there are even more people to pick up once they get to their stops, it makes the bus travel more slowly by weighing it down, and the time need to get people on and off is increased.

      So by the time we got downtown at 12:05, I had missed my next connection because we had taken several extra minutes to get to the core. To make matters worse, busses for that route had now also switched to running every forty minutes, instead of thirty. I had no choice but to grab a bite while I waited. The next bus wound up also coming late, and with no final connection waiting for me after that, I was forced to walk the rest of the way. Unreal.

      Two and a half hours to get where you need to go is not cool. Neither is being forced to stand when you have paid fare for a seat. The riding patterns are well-known, or should be well-known, so it’s not a “surprise” that more than thirty people often need to get on at a single stop. People want to take transit that is safe and comfortable, not cattle cars that pack us in. It is a sad state of affairs when the HSR is claiming they have budget shortfalls, even as they have two full busses worth of passengers crammed into one car. And so much for being able to read when you have someone’s back pack three inches from your face.

      What’s most irritating to me is the way this city trumpets itself as being so progressive, yet cannot even keep up with the current demand for public transit. This is no longer 1985, and the HSR has to recognize that people need to get where they are going quickly. Buses every fifteen or twenty minutes, for a city this size (and with its challenging geography), is by no means unreasonable. The urban professional demographic that Hamilton seeks to attract is simply not going to relocate here in significant numbers without reliable and innovative transit."

      https://www.thesil.ca/public-transit-blues

      Sterling Stearn

      Delete
    2. https://twitter.com/sara_mayo/status/781938547410472960

      Norton

      Delete
    3. Ward 7 Coun. Scott Duvall said his office has received numerous complaints from students and parents about HSR buses driving past waiting riders along Mohawk Road during morning and afternoon rush hours.

      "We don't have enough buses," he said. "I'm getting a lot of complaints. There is a problem up there."

      Duvall said students have been late to class because they couldn't get on the crowded bus. He said complaints about overcrowding, infrequent bus times, transfers and longer times for buses to get to their destinations began when school started in September.

      http://www.thespec.com/news-story/5211438-city-board-react-to-overcrowded-mountain-buses/

      Bosco

      Delete
  31. “What defines an under-used property? Would having a 2% vacancy rate in an apartment building put it in the under-used category?”


    “The process of estimating uplift involved identifying vacant or underused parcels of land within 400 metres of the line that would likely be redeveloped. The researchers studied all publicly owned land for its redevelopment potential. Private land that was vacant or underused (for example, serving as a parking lot) was also considered in the analysis.

    For each parcel, the researchers determined its current assessment. They also checked zoning bylaws and the official plan, as well as any current or pending development applications, to see what kinds of uses and what size of buildings would be permitted or appropriate on each parcel. Once they had determined what could be built on each parcel, the researchers identified buildings with a similar use and of a similar size elsewhere inthe city that could be used as a comparison in terms of future development potential and likely new assessment. In all, 40 “prototypes” of typical Hamilton buildings were identified, and information on their size, built floor area, assessment, estimated improvement value, estimated land value, uses, and property value class was gathered.

    The next step involved in calculating how the revenues generated that would be achieved if a building of the allowed size and use, similar to the prototype buildings found elsewhere in the city, were to be built on the vacant or underused parcel. The revenues include building permit fees, development charges, and property taxes based onthe increased value of the developed property. This process was repeated for all the parcels identified as potentially available for development. The model applied projects growth assuming existing development charge exceptions are discontinued.

    The analysis also included calculating an “LRT Premium,” which represents the additional value of all property that is within 400 metres of an LRT line because of its increased accessibility relative to a property elsewhere in the city. In order to ensure that the projections were realistic, the researchers took into account conditions in Hamilton, which included population and employment projections, real estate and housing markets, and other economic trends. Within this context, the researchers were able to project potential development along the B-Line for two situations: “Without LRT” (business-as-usual) and “With LRT.””


    http://www2.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/8EB54D92-FC44-45AB-B072-BAC6CA830455/0/RR2B_A4_Appendix_CUI_Hamilton_BLine_Vaule_Uplift.pdf

    Perspex

    ReplyDelete

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