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Saturday, April 1, 2017

Episode 8 of "As Hamilton Twists and Turns"

In this episode of As Hamilton Twists and Turns, entitled the Hanging by the Fingernails one, we find Mayor Eisenberger seemingly miffed at Clr. Partridge's op ed, in which she states that she can no longer support the LRT project . The Clr. is already being criticized by some from the LRT lobby who have referred to her rationale as "absurd." 

Meanwhile, desperate attempts are being made to remind Hamiltonians of the history of the support behind the project as well as attempts to marry the 1 Billion dollar influx of cash to a remedy for aging infrastructure and other aliments that plague Hamilton.

The warning that it's LRT money only, and it will be reallocated almost immediately to others who are pining for this type of funding, has taken on a darker shade, perhaps demanding of a horror movie soundscape. As the pressure continues, the Mayor may be swinging his squash racket a little bit harder these days.

While Eisenberger gets full points for plowing ahead in the face of greater degrees of resistance, the real question is whether the tide has turned. And if it has, will LRT be found washed ashore, another victim of polarization, politics and ?

Stay tuned, and hang on by your fingernails....

Fade to black with an image of Clr Partridge speaking to her constituents, Clr. Whitehead speaking to Clr. Skelly while the Mayor and others huddle.  

47 comments:

  1. if you are "on board" you get a free pass-I draw your attention to the antics of our self appointed Racism Commissioner-and if you are opposed you will be vilified and harangued. The Code of Conduct means nothing to this crew.
    Perhaps we could get Jelly or Crawford to fashion one of those slick looking posters with a picture of every politician who has claimed "it is LRT or nothing" Visual stimulus for the next elections.
    Fred's obstinance is bordering on pathological. Last week he was still spouting "9 out of 10 Hamiltonians are in favor of LRT" and today it is hanging by its finger nails. We need a new point person on the file, thank-you for stepping up Ms.Partridge, I believe you will get us where we want to go.
    Have no fear Fred, we've got your back, and the drop will be quick and painless. Enjoy the next chapter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jim, when will you provide fact to back up your position on why LRT will fail? I think it's necessary due to the amount of anti-LRT stuff you post across numerous message boards.

      Hamilton is Home

      Delete
    2. respectfully, I do not ever recall saying LRT will "fail"...I do not really think of it in a pass/fail context.
      Respecting the Light Rail component, I believe it addresses no compelling need, and as such is a very poor use of very scarce funding. I do support the infrastructure upgrades (where required) I truly resent the manner in which this has been framed, and have diminishing confidence in LRT's loudest advocates.In essence, I believe we are in the midst of an undeclared war on the automobile and those who continue to choose them as their primary mode of transport. A classic case of "the few" dictating to "the many" I find the phenomena disturbing and believe it needs to be confronted now...instead of when it hits the fan.
      Thanks for your interest, hope that helps to clarify my position.

      Delete
    3. Jim: you are against LRT. That's clear from the sheer volume of posts you have made on the topic. On my opnion, the anti-LRT is the same as the LRT will fail side.

      You still have not brought up any facts and figures, just opinion and conjecture. I'll wait for you to provide your examples that aren't "it's not needed" "it doesn't fix something that is broken" or "my friends don't like it either".

      People who cling to the "war on the car" are the people who are grasping at straws. I drive about 600 km a week for work, and I would get rid of my car in a second if I could. I live in ward 8, but go downtown a lot. I would love to jump on a BRT bus along Upper James, then get off and walk downtown, or take LRT to where I need to go. It sure beats driving!

      We are also vastly overserved by our road network, parking, etc. This isn't 60 years ago where we have massive amounts of the populating trying to drive in to Stelco or Dofasco at regular times over the course of the day. We'll probably see both disappear within the next 30-50 years. Losing 2 lanes on King will not hurt anything, other than making you wait a couple more minutes if you're driving - gasp! Something that hasn't been seen in years!

      It's time to start thinking ahead, not looking at the past or the current. Do this for those who aren't even here yet. I'm thinking about the legacy we leave for our kids, grandkids, great-grandkids. We should be able to stand up and say we were able to see a challenge, rose to it, and succeeded, rather than settling for the status quo and losing out on serious money that will go elsewhere.

      Don't forget: Infrastructure money, which makes up about 80% of this project, will not come from the province if LRT isn't bundled with it. As the local MPP Ted McMeekin said in the Spec, "iberal MPP Ted McMeekin also weighed in after the federal transit announcement, reiterating the $1-billion pledge to Hamilton is for LRT only. If council rejects the project, the money would go back to the province "and likely within 30 seconds it would be sent to another community," he said, adding seven other cities are jockeying for available rapid transit cash." (source: http://www.thespec.com/news-story/7219767-mayor-warns-against-lrt-death-by-delay/)

      I appreciate your concern, but without proof and facts, and going on feeling and opinion is why we are where we are today.

      Hamilton is Home

      Delete
    4. I concede I have no facts or proof likely to satisfy you, and will forego the effort. I do not share your optimism or confidence in this respect and I make an earnest effort to live in the moment and address that which confronts me. The threats of Mr. McMeekin are hollow, poorly conceived and certain to have significant repercussions as reality dawns. Such nonsense inspires my opposition.
      Rather than dismiss feeling and opinion, perhaps those in favor should consider addressing same. As you rightly point out, many seem to view the matter in a similar light.

      Delete
    5. Who could forget that masterstroke of taxpayer defence, the Waterdown Road widening, where half of the project fell within Burlington’s urban boundary but Hamilton taxpayers covered 95% of the tab. Councillor Partridge: "Hallelujah!"

      http://www.thespec.com/news-story/5214239-minister-s-approval-of-road-widening-last-piece-of-traffic-plan-for-waterdown/

      Noted

      Delete
  2. lol. Always get a chuckle out of these.
    Sorce

    ReplyDelete
  3. Councillor Partridge's "only one taxpayer" rationale and posturing as a transit champion is pretty rich given that 15 months ago she tried to hitch a ride on GO transit service to McMaster (which would doubled users' fares and undermined the HSR in order to avoid a tax levy).

    https://www.thepublicrecord.ca/2015/12/dear-clr-partridge-its-the-hsr-for-waterdown-mcmaster-hamilton-route/

    “Waterdown does not pay for Hamilton transit within the City of Hamilton... Waterdown residents only pay a small area rated amount…for HSR bus service within Waterdown."

    https://www.flamboroughreview.com/news-story/6860346-waterdown-parents-launch-petition-requesting-hsr-service-to-westdale/

    Only one taxpayer? Fine. Then let's dismantle area rating.

    Noted

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a shame. Years ago I used to visit The Hamiltonian to see what the wise and knowledgeable living in Hamilton were thinking. Swearing off all social media last year, The Hamiltonian was one of the online publications I missed. Now all I see is editorials with no byline and the comment section being run by people like "jim graham". "I concede I have no facts or proof likely to satisfy you, and will forego the effort." and from previous story "King me" Has the publication changed hands?

    Jim Taylor

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Hamiltonian AdminApril 02, 2017

      Hi Jim and welcome back. The Hamiltonian continues as a non profit organization run by volunteers and under the leadership of our Publisher.

      The Hamiltonian is fiercely independent and administered under the direction of our Publisher.

      Thank-you for reading.

      Hamiltonian Admin

      Delete
    2. they tolerate me Jim-and sometimes not-a trait I admire and possibly one of the reasons you miss the site. I look forward to your presence elevating the discussion to the days of yore.

      Delete
  5. Thank you for the response. Why no bylines? Whats the downside? I understand you now require a name be submitted along with a comment. Good practice. Good logic. By the same logic, wouldnt it be beneficial to extend that same practice to authors of your stories?

    Jim Taylor

    ReplyDelete
  6. The Hamiltonian AdminApril 03, 2017

    Jim...please email us at admin@thehamiltonian.info if you have suggestions.

    Thank-you

    ReplyDelete
  7. Captain HamiltonApril 03, 2017

    In terms of Counselor Partridge's change of heart, I think it shows true leadership. I hope the rest of council will follow her lead and stat shifting the conversation to asking the province for money for an alternate plan.

    The Captain

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Respectfully, there are two hitches to that thinking.

      One, council has no alternate plan that is remotely ready to present to the province. It has been mishandling the HSR for a generation, which doesn't help bolster its bona fides. BLAST is the closest thing on deck, and even that is a napkin sketch. It has taken the City 10 years to get from proposed LRT to a funded project with an RFQ. And that's just the B-Line. Now all we have to do is expend similar time and energy exercising due diligence around the hypothetical LAST routes (which add another 70km of transit-dedicated lanes to city streets) to determine which two we should fund (since B-Line BRT was estimated to cost $250M, we won't have enough to complete the network in one fell swoop). The starting point is allocating around $20M in budget to fund several years of studies, consultations and EAs that would build the city's business case.

      Two, any city's best shot at a monumental one-time investment such as this tends to come when there is political advantage at stake. So council will want to get all of its ducks in a row for the next time when Hamilton is uniformly represented by the majority provincial government of the day. That has happened twice in the last 50 years, and one of those times brought us to where we are today.

      Noted

      Delete
  8. Suggested edit:
    One, council has no alternate plan that is remotely ready to present to the province. It has been mishandling the HSR and LRT since inception, which doesn't help bolster its bona fides.

    You're welcome
    Sorce
    The tail continues to wag the dog...for now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So you're agreed that council has no funding-ready Plan B.

      Noted

      Delete
  9. Yes, i do agree. That does not mean that they should do the wrong thing. What that means is that they should refocus their efforts urgently and stop pandering to a small group of vocal people. Or to developers who are salivating at the $ to be made, without any regard to the public good.
    Sorce

    ReplyDelete
  10. Two words: Matching contribution.

    Rimshot

    ReplyDelete
  11. The Province is giving Hamilton 800 million dollars to upgrade and replace streets, sewers, hydro, cabling and more along King Street. They City has been wanting to do these upgrades for over forty years but never have the money. Now the Province will pay. The Province is giving Hamilton 200 million dollars in transit upgrades. The City has wanted to do theses upgrades for over twenty years but never had the money. Now the Province will pay. Who could possibly reject this and why?

    Jim Taylor

    ReplyDelete
  12. I can.
    Fix the infrastructure. Stop referring to a proposal which reduces stops by more than half, creating hardship for handicapped and those with mobility issues (in inordinately higher numbers along the route) and increasing stress on a fractured DARTS network as an "upgrade" Let the residents decide how we want that money spent, and let the experts implement our plan.
    Stop dictating, start serving. Attaching that which is required, to that which is unwanted, has brought us here.
    Try again, but hurry, much time has already been completely wasted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please explain yourself. The only reason you have posted in turning down a 1 billion dollars Provincial investment in Hamiltons crumbling infrastructure is because some people with mobility issues may have to walk an extra block to the transit stop. Really?

      "I can." Why would you? Whats the downside?


      "Fix the infrastructure" Why should Hamilton pay when the Province will pay?

      Jim Taylor

      Delete
    2. The “missing bus stops” is a bit of a canard, no?

      As I understand it, the B-Line LRT replaces the 10 B-Line Express between Emerson and the Queenston Traffic Circle. In that span there are currently 20 B-Line bus stops, owing to the fact that buses use curb lanes. As currently proposed, B-Line LRT will have 14 stops, but travel in the median, stopping at each of the 14 in each direction it travels. The more accurate comparator, then, would consider the number of stops in a single direction of the 10 Express between Emerson and the QTC (to be sporting, let’s say Parkdale): 11 stops. As such, B-Line LRT has more stops, not fewer. It also has entrances and exits at grade, making it easier for those with mobility issues to use the line.

      http://www2.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/5078DFE7-3CEB-4730-A152-336852CCCE4A/0/June2014_Bline.pdf
      https://www.hamilton.ca/city-initiatives/priority-projects/frequently-asked-lrt-questions

      FWIW, if you break down Hamilton's transit funding, DARTS/ATS gets 30% of all transit operational funding, up from 25% a few years back. A good way to improve that situation further is to lobby your councillor to adopt one of these ever-popular levers at their disposal:

      • do away with area rating for transit
      • reinstitute the 10 Year Transit Plan's schedule of tax levies

      Dough Decahedron

      Delete
    3. We are comparing to what we have not to a city we hate

      Delete
    4. mention area rating for transit and you lose Ferguson's support for LRT. Such is the tenuous nature of his support.A house of cards.

      Delete
    5. If your concern is that transit is underfunded, you presumably want to increase transit budgets.

      If your concern is that local populations are underserved by transit, you presumably want to expand transit service.

      If you want to make either of those solutions sustainable, you need to take politics out of the picture as much as possible. And good luck with that.

      You can shift federal gas tax revenues from roads to transit (the City gets around $34M annually and $3M of that goes to transit, so you could double transit's share without throwing the balance off by much) but that only addresses capital funding. 75% of the City's transit spending is on operational budgets, and the more drivers, mechanics and service hours you add, the higher that number goes. And that's where the problems start.

      Hamilton is famous for having some of the most miserly transit spending in the country. That's partly because our councillors don't like funding transit. And it's partly because the citizenry at large don't like funding transit. This is why the $1B is so contentious: All of the low-information voters and talk-show callers see it as the cure to all of their infrastructure ills and a way of shaving their tax bill by having someone the province subsidize transit (perhaps as they did before the Harris Tories gutted the file). But Moving Ontario Forward funds were earmarked for a specific transportation agenda that has nothing to do with conventional municipal service. And so we're back to the "Made-In-Hamilton" solution, which for the last two years has involved users paying 95% of expansion costs of enhanced service, with enhanced service delayed by council because they imagined that senior government would arrive to pick up the tab.

      A tricky issue to resolve. But maybe you have some ingenious solutions.

      Sigma Cub

      Delete
    6. I believe transit is underfunded resulting in less than stellar performance.
      Nothing ingenuous from me, rather quite straightforward."Fix" area rating for transit, increase funding, and let the wailing from Ferguson begin in earnest.But that would require courage and conviction, something in short supply around this table. And of course it would put an end to this foolishness in a heartbeat, an added benefit.

      Delete
  13. actually Jim, in some instances, several extra blocks. Interesting how easily that is dismissed, without any consideration to a possible remedy.Slower, costlier, intended to service dwindling ridership totals with the revenue from our most productive existing route soon to be siphoned off forever. Yes sir, upgrade me.
    The Province is still paying for the required infrastructure upgrades I reference.
    "We have identified your crumbling infrastructure, and we intend to do nothing unless you do as you are told, submit to a radical new transport plan intended to drastically alter existing practice, and endure years of disruptive construction."
    That's the plan? Easy "problem" to fix Jim.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "in some instances, several extra blocks"

      King and Main are three blocks (500m) apart at their greatest distance. The most-impacted B-Line stops are west of the Delta, with an existing stops at Sherman being replaced by a new stops two blocks/400m north of its current location (a new stop at Scott Park is added to this stretch, though like the Gage Park stop and the Wellington stop, it is not offered in current B-Line service). In most cases, the amalgamation of King and Main stops means a transit stop relocation of around 100m-200m. This is mitigated somewhat by the addition of transit stops where they did not exist previously, and by the fact that King Street and Main Street will continue to be serviced by the 1 King, the 51 University and the 5 Delaware, which stop every few blocks.

      "dwindling ridership totals"

      The HSR on a system-wide basis saw its numbers dip slightly, after two years of rate hikes in the absence of promised service improvements. And the 10 Express saw no additional service hours in 2015 or 2016, though the 1, 5 and 51 routes did.

      http://hamiltoncatch.org/view_article.php?id=1400
      http://hamilton.siretechnologies.com/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=1109&amp%3Bamp%3Bdoctype=AGENDA

      Reporting on the King Street Bus Lane Pilot in January 2015, then-HSR Director David Dixon noted that ridership along the B-Line corridor had increased by 20% over the 2010-2014 period, compared to 4% ridership growth over the entire system. IClearly, HSR ridership numbers are generated by counting riders on all of the system's 34 routes. Assuming that it is uniformly expressed might be a simplification.

      "the revenue from our most productive existing route"

      None of the HSR's routes make net profit. All are subsidized to some extent. As of the 2010 HSR Operational Review, the HSR's highest performer was the 1 King, which was operating at a 93% Revenue/Cost (R/C) ratio. The 51 University was second-highest at around 90%. The B-Line's R/C Ratio was 55%. As of 2010, the B-Line was the HSR's seventh most productive route. But it also had some of the lowest service hours in the lower city: 45 hours a week, where the 1 King travels basically the same route for 137 hours a week.

      Sigma Cub



      Delete
    2. Regarding Jim Grahams comment

      Regarding the point made by Sigma Cub. The stops are nor being reduce by half as you asserted. We should thank Sigma Cub for giving you and me new information too help us better understand the issue. Thanks Sigma Cub! Yes some stops will be further apart, that may concern some. Then again many stops will be closer together than presently. Since your stated view is that your opposition to the LRT is primarily the distance between stops, your opposition should be reduced by a fair certain degree of magnitude.

      Delete
    3. between Gage and Wentworth Ave. there are currently 9 existing stops, with LRT we will have 1. No other buses will be covering the route. But you can get on a bus headed in the opposite direction on Main? Or travel further and get another that does not take you where you need to go? Now that is a fitting analogy. Solution selling. Any way you wish to spin it Sigma, this equates to a service reduction which will negatively impact those who are most vulnerable along the route.
      Ridership is in free-fall, 2 years in a row,and the failure to invest has definitely had an impact.
      No route generates greater revenue than the 1 King. And that money will be siphoned off forever under this proposal. Sayonara.

      Delete
    4. Can you share a URL citation to support your assertion that HSR service will be removed from King and Main between Gage and Wentworth?

      Here's what I was able to find:

      "Will buses still run on the B-Line when LRT is in service? The LRT will replace current HSR B-Line express service. Local bus service in and around the LRT corridor will be maintained to feed the LRT line, however parallel routes may be used in some sections. HSR is still working on these details so updates will be provided when they become available."

      https://www.hamilton.ca/city-initiatives/priority-projects/frequently-asked-lrt-questions

      I will concede that I neglected to include the bottleneck on King between Wellington and Mary (a stretch that contains four HSR stops and two LRT stops). King between Wellington and Mary currently contains four HSR stops (Wellington, Ferguson, Walnut, Mary), which would be replaced by two LRT stops (Wellington, Mary). Walnut is 1 block east of Mary. Ferguson is 2 blocks west of Wellington. Every other stretch of King and Main appears to have sufficient lane capacity to accommodate vehicles other than LRV.

      Again, from the City:

      "Traffic lanes: One lane of traffic in each direction plus the LRT line in the centre of the road."

      https://www.hamilton.ca/city-initiatives/priority-projects/lrt-fact-sheets-renderings

      I'm certainly open to entertaining more complete, detailed and up-to-date information and would welcome same from you regarding the removal of HSR service between Gage and Wentworth and the cancellation of the 1 King route.

      Sigma Cub

      Delete
    5. "No route generates greater revenue than the 1 King. And that money will be siphoned off forever under this proposal."

      Do you have a citation on LRT revenue sharing agreement? I would have thought that would be determined no earlier than the RFP stage, which is "anticipated in summer 2017."

      http://www.infrastructureontario.ca/Request-for-Qualifications-Issued-Hamilton-LRT/

      Sigma Cub

      Delete
    6. are you suggesting it is your understanding bus service will continue unaffected on King St? Does that make sense to anyone?

      Delete
    7. I'm suggesting that there is no evidence that bus stops will be moved "several blocks" from their current configuration, and that, to quote the City, "The LRT will replace current HSR B-Line express service. Local bus service in and around the LRT corridor will be maintained to feed the LRT line, however parallel routes may be used in some sections. HSR is still working on these details so updates will be provided when they become available."

      Again, I'm happy to revise my thinking if you have evidence to support your claims.

      Sigma Cub

      Delete
    8. you are correct, they will be eliminated, not moved.

      Delete
    9. "within a few hours of floating a motion to have staff study converting Main Street to two-way traffic, Councilor Farr put the idea on ice for the foreseeable future"
      Hamilton Spectator "Farr gets cold feet"
      11/29/16

      Delete
    10. I'm suggesting that there is no evidence that bus stops will be moved "several blocks" from their current configuration, and that, to quote the City, "The LRT will replace current HSR B-Line express service. Local bus service in and around the LRT corridor will be maintained to feed the LRT line, however parallel routes may be used in some sections. HSR is still working on these details so updates will be provided when they become available."

      Again, I'm happy to revise my thinking if you have evidence to support your claims.

      Sigma Cub

      Delete
    11. re: same as it ever was

      The more things change, the more they stay the same.

      http://www.thespec.com/opinion-story/6993992-dreschel-farr-gets-cold-feet-over-two-waying-main

      Byrne

      Delete
    12. "That's a pity. The truth is, the prospect of two-waying Main — Hamilton's primary one-way thoroughfare in the lower city — has been hovering in the background throughout the LRT debate.

      Metrolinx, the provincial transit agency, recommended it in 2010. And it was reportedly raised during some one-on-one private LRT staff briefings with councillors earlier this year.

      The issue faded somewhat last August after the city's LRT team publicly revealed that preliminary traffic modelling found traffic displacement along the 11-km route can be accommodated without converting Main.

      But anyone paying attention to this city's goal of expanding mobility choices and reducing dependency on driving in the name of a healthier urban environment knows the matter stills begs to be studied and discussed."

      http://www.thespec.com/opinion-story/6993992-dreschel-farr-gets-cold-feet-over-two-waying-main


      Verbatim

      Delete
    13. 2way can never happen

      Delete
  14. Hamiltonian AdminApril 06, 2017

    There is someone who is posting legitimate comments but has not assigned a handle or a name to their posts. Sorry but we will not post comments without a handle or name assigned to the. Please resubmit with a name/handle affixed.

    ReplyDelete
  15. provide a single example of "many stops will be closer together than presently" with the new design.
    Show me any evidence Main Street is being converted to 2 way traffic, with associated transit travelling in either direction.
    Metrolinx should be grateful for Sigma Cub, a loyal employee. Your efforts appear to have attracted yet another anonymous advocate.

    ReplyDelete
  16. provide a single example of "many stops will be closer together than presently" with the new design.

    http://www2.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/5078DFE7-3CEB-4730-A152-336852CCCE4A/0/June2014_Bline.pdf
    https://www.hamilton.ca/city-initiatives/priority-projects/frequently-asked-lrt-questions

    Bill Jessop

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. your link confirms:
      a) LRT will have 14 stops. HSR currently has 40 stops on the same route.
      b)stops for LRT are 600-800 meters apart, with few exceptions. There is not a single example of an HSR stop on the same route more than 400 meter from the previous.
      Thanks Bill, appreciate your help.

      Delete
    2. No GO bus stops? No Burlington Transit stops? Hard to believe.

      Occhio

      Delete
  17. with all of the usual suspects in attendance for delegations, it was illuminating that it was an unknown 14 year old from Winona who distanced himself from other advocates in the discussion and captured the imagination of the public.
    "I had to speak in a proper manner and in no way in my speech could I harm or be rude to them"
    A public relations department captained by the faithful at RTH has badly damaged the image of LRT in Hamilton. Mayor Eisenberger could certainly improve public support by embracing one and discarding the other.

    mike orangefield

    ReplyDelete

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