The Spectator’s View: Transit First is a bold and demanding approach

Opinion Mar 22, 2016 by Howard Elliott Hamilton Spectator

Provincial and city staff members working together to plan and implement Hamilton's light rail transit project cannot be called timid.

Their approach to the project, named Transit First in information obtained by columnist Andrew Dreschel, is exactly what the name implies — transit comes first. Among other things this means we can expect to see LRT running straight down the middle of King Street for much of the planned route. It means parking displacement will be at least as significant as has been predicted. It means King will be converted to two-way traffic for the outside lanes.

[DRESCHEL: 'Transit first' LRT option would close part of King St. to cars ]

It means, significantly, that the International Village area will become a pedestrian and transit mall, with all car and truck traffic diverted from the area.

The details are far from final — they and the entire project will be the subject of extensive public consultation. But it is not too early to say this approach, philosophically at least, is bold. This is about LRT, and making it sufficiently accessible, frequent and efficient, and that means that some other aspects of the picture are going to be disrupted, possibly even sacrificed, to make sure the project is true to that spirit.

It's not the easiest strategy. It's going to make public education and selling the project more challenging. But it makes sense, again, on a philosophical level. This is what the province is funding. Those who believe in the potential of LRT to help the downtown core, and by extension the entire city, evolve and develop in positive ways, should appreciate Transit First because of that boldness. It doesn't equivocate. And that, ultimately, should help optimize the potential of the project, specifically in term of economic development along the route.

The case for LRT in Hamilton, as well as for Waterloo Region where construction is underway, and Calgary when the decision was made years ago, has never been largely about easing congestion. Instead, it is more about evolving transit infrastructure to a higher order and thus changing the face of the city. Frequent, on-time rides from the Queenston Traffic Circle to the university with a spur option to the James Street GO station will do that.

But it was never going to be a smooth ride getting to LRT. And the Transit First approach, while laudable, hints it will be downright turbulent. The reality is that many Hamilton citizens don't get LRT or just don't like it. Many of them, for ideological reasons among others, will never get on board. But many others, we suggest the relatively silent majority, are recruitable with robust education and consultation.

Of course getting the logistics right is Job 1 at the moment. But sooner rather than later, it will be full throttle on the public consultation part of this process. There is some very heavy lifting waiting there.

Howard Elliott

helliott@thespec.com

905-526-3348

The Spectator’s View: Transit First is a bold and demanding approach

On a philosophical level, the strategy makes sense. But it has more than its share of challenges, too

Opinion Mar 22, 2016 by Howard Elliott Hamilton Spectator

Provincial and city staff members working together to plan and implement Hamilton's light rail transit project cannot be called timid.

Their approach to the project, named Transit First in information obtained by columnist Andrew Dreschel, is exactly what the name implies — transit comes first. Among other things this means we can expect to see LRT running straight down the middle of King Street for much of the planned route. It means parking displacement will be at least as significant as has been predicted. It means King will be converted to two-way traffic for the outside lanes.

[DRESCHEL: 'Transit first' LRT option would close part of King St. to cars ]

It means, significantly, that the International Village area will become a pedestrian and transit mall, with all car and truck traffic diverted from the area.

The details are far from final — they and the entire project will be the subject of extensive public consultation. But it is not too early to say this approach, philosophically at least, is bold. This is about LRT, and making it sufficiently accessible, frequent and efficient, and that means that some other aspects of the picture are going to be disrupted, possibly even sacrificed, to make sure the project is true to that spirit.

It's not the easiest strategy. It's going to make public education and selling the project more challenging. But it makes sense, again, on a philosophical level. This is what the province is funding. Those who believe in the potential of LRT to help the downtown core, and by extension the entire city, evolve and develop in positive ways, should appreciate Transit First because of that boldness. It doesn't equivocate. And that, ultimately, should help optimize the potential of the project, specifically in term of economic development along the route.

The case for LRT in Hamilton, as well as for Waterloo Region where construction is underway, and Calgary when the decision was made years ago, has never been largely about easing congestion. Instead, it is more about evolving transit infrastructure to a higher order and thus changing the face of the city. Frequent, on-time rides from the Queenston Traffic Circle to the university with a spur option to the James Street GO station will do that.

But it was never going to be a smooth ride getting to LRT. And the Transit First approach, while laudable, hints it will be downright turbulent. The reality is that many Hamilton citizens don't get LRT or just don't like it. Many of them, for ideological reasons among others, will never get on board. But many others, we suggest the relatively silent majority, are recruitable with robust education and consultation.

Of course getting the logistics right is Job 1 at the moment. But sooner rather than later, it will be full throttle on the public consultation part of this process. There is some very heavy lifting waiting there.

Howard Elliott

helliott@thespec.com

905-526-3348

The Spectator’s View: Transit First is a bold and demanding approach

On a philosophical level, the strategy makes sense. But it has more than its share of challenges, too

Opinion Mar 22, 2016 by Howard Elliott Hamilton Spectator

Provincial and city staff members working together to plan and implement Hamilton's light rail transit project cannot be called timid.

Their approach to the project, named Transit First in information obtained by columnist Andrew Dreschel, is exactly what the name implies — transit comes first. Among other things this means we can expect to see LRT running straight down the middle of King Street for much of the planned route. It means parking displacement will be at least as significant as has been predicted. It means King will be converted to two-way traffic for the outside lanes.

[DRESCHEL: 'Transit first' LRT option would close part of King St. to cars ]

It means, significantly, that the International Village area will become a pedestrian and transit mall, with all car and truck traffic diverted from the area.

The details are far from final — they and the entire project will be the subject of extensive public consultation. But it is not too early to say this approach, philosophically at least, is bold. This is about LRT, and making it sufficiently accessible, frequent and efficient, and that means that some other aspects of the picture are going to be disrupted, possibly even sacrificed, to make sure the project is true to that spirit.

It's not the easiest strategy. It's going to make public education and selling the project more challenging. But it makes sense, again, on a philosophical level. This is what the province is funding. Those who believe in the potential of LRT to help the downtown core, and by extension the entire city, evolve and develop in positive ways, should appreciate Transit First because of that boldness. It doesn't equivocate. And that, ultimately, should help optimize the potential of the project, specifically in term of economic development along the route.

The case for LRT in Hamilton, as well as for Waterloo Region where construction is underway, and Calgary when the decision was made years ago, has never been largely about easing congestion. Instead, it is more about evolving transit infrastructure to a higher order and thus changing the face of the city. Frequent, on-time rides from the Queenston Traffic Circle to the university with a spur option to the James Street GO station will do that.

But it was never going to be a smooth ride getting to LRT. And the Transit First approach, while laudable, hints it will be downright turbulent. The reality is that many Hamilton citizens don't get LRT or just don't like it. Many of them, for ideological reasons among others, will never get on board. But many others, we suggest the relatively silent majority, are recruitable with robust education and consultation.

Of course getting the logistics right is Job 1 at the moment. But sooner rather than later, it will be full throttle on the public consultation part of this process. There is some very heavy lifting waiting there.

Howard Elliott

helliott@thespec.com

905-526-3348