My list of 36 rea­sons LRT isn’t right for Hamil­ton

Elec­tric buses bet­ter for tran­sit users, mo­torists, cy­clists, busi­nesses, trees, es­thet­ics …

The Hamilton Spectator - - COMMENT - STEPHEN PARAZADER

I be­lieve LRT is wrong for Hamil­ton, and that elec­tric buses would be a bet­ter al­ter­na­tive. In my view, LRT will:

1) cause huge dis­rup­tion to traf­fic, busi­nesses, and peo­ple’s lives, dur­ing con­struc­tion which would take years;

2) put peo­ple out of busi­ness dur­ing con­struc­tion since it would be dif­fi­cult to get to them;

3) put peo­ple out of busi­ness after con­struc­tion since LRT with few stops would just go past them and there will be no buses mak­ing more fre­quent stops be­tween the long dis­tance be­tween LRT stops;

4) make it much more dif­fi­cult for peo­ple to get to their des­ti­na­tion, par­tic­u­larly dis­abled and older peo­ple since there would only be 14 LRT stops while 34 ex­ist­ing bus stops would be elim­i­nated; 5) take away needed traf­fic lanes; 6) take away needed park­ing spaces in front of busi­nesses;

7) elim­i­nate left-hand turns into busi­ness park­ing lots and drive­ways due to the el­e­vated tracks;

8) make it much more dif­fi­cult to go in/out of the un­der­ground park­ing garages down­town;

9) pre­vent driv­ing across King or Main streets at hun­dreds of cross streets due to the el­e­vated tracks;

10) drop you off at the mid­dle of the street whereas buses drop you off at the side­walk;

11) at McMaster Univer­sity, drop you off at the street whereas buses take you right into McMaster and closer to build­ings;

12) re­quire un­sightly over­head in­fra­struc­ture along the en­tire route con­sist­ing of hun­dreds of poles along the en­tire route, with brack­ets etc. to sup­port the power lines and ca­bles re­quired to sup­port the power lines;

13) de­stroy trees in front of McMaster and In­ter­na­tional Vil­lage and flower beds at other lo­ca­tions along the LRT cor­ri­dor, which would be re­placed with rail­way tracks and un­sightly over­head in­fra­struc­ture;

14) re­quire un­sightly con­tin­u­ous bar­ri­ers that should be pro­vided along the en­tire route to keep kids and oth­ers from cross­ing the tracks which would be dan­ger­ous;

15) re­quire load­ing plat­forms at the mid­dle of the streets which would take away space needed for traf­fic;

16) cause an­noy­ance to cars and bi­cy­cles cross­ing the rails;

17) waste peo­ple’s time wait­ing at in­ter­sec­tions for the LRT to ar­rive and pass;

18) make it more in­con­ve­nient when your des­ti­na­tion is per­pen­dic­u­lar to the ‘straight­line’ whereas buses can go any­where and take you di­rectly to your des­ti­na­tion;

19) re­quire a huge amount un­der­ground work to re­lo­cate and mod­ify ex­ist­ing sew­ers etc. in­clud­ing thou­sands of con­nec­tions to prop­er­ties along the LRT cor­ri­dor;

20) make it much more dif­fi­cult to con­nect to un­der­ground ser­vices in the fu­ture from the op­po­site side of the street since ser­vices would be moved to one side of the tracks;

21) re­sult in re­moval of un­der­ground ser­vices that are in good con­di­tion solely for the pur­pose of LRT:

22) re­quire ex­pro­pri­a­tion of build­ings and prop­er­ties;

23) take up al­most the en­tire street width in the In­ter­na­tional Vil­lage;

24) re­quire new bridge or mod­ify ex­ist­ing bridge over the Red Hill Val­ley Park­way;

25) re­quire an un­der­pass at the rail­way tracks on King Street East;

26) re­quire the pedes­trian bridge on King at the Art Gallery to be re­moved or raised to pro­vide more clear­ance re­quired for LRT;

27) re­quire a “bridge over Hwy. 403” which would ac­tu­ally be a 3,050-foot (1/2mile) long ‘el­e­vated guide­way struc­ture’ over ex­ist­ing rail­way tracks, high­ways ramps, four lanes of Hwy. 403, pri­vate prop­erty, and over the slop­ing part of Main Street to get to level street el­e­va­tion which would se­verely af­fect traf­fic and ac­cess to ex­ist­ing prop­er­ties and build­ings at both ends; 28) re­quire a new garage; 29) re­quire a wider bridge on Long­wood Road to get to the garage;

30) re­sult in lost rev­enue from Hamil­ton’s most prof­itable bus route;

31) be nois­ier than buses due to steel wheels run­ning on steel rails com­pared to buses with rub­ber tires;

32) be more dan­ger­ous than buses since they take longer to stop and can­not turn if/ when re­quired to avoid col­li­sions;

33) not re­duce pol­lu­tion any more than bat­tery-op­er­ated elec­tric buses would do;

34) have higher op­er­at­ing elec­tric­ity costs since LRT would use elec­tric­ity dur­ing the day at high hy­dro rates whereas elec­tric buses would be recharged overnight at lower hy­dro rates;

35) make fu­ture devel­op­ment and con­struc­tion along the LRT cor­ri­dor much more dif­fi­cult be­cause of re­duced traf­fic lanes and road­way space avail­able for con­struc­tion and in­ter­fer­ence caused by the raised tracks, poles and over­head ca­bles and wires;

36) be ex­tremely costly com­pared to us­ing elec­tric buses and fix­ing the roads and un­der­ground ser­vices in­clud­ing up­siz­ing as re­quired which would avoid and elim­i­nate the huge dis­rup­tion and prob­lems as­so­ci­ated with LRT, not only dur­ing con­struc­tion but after.

Stephen Parazader lives in West Flam­bor­ough

PETER LEE, RECORD STAFF

Traf­fic con­ges­tion caused by LRT con­struc­tion in Kitchener-Water­loo. This is what we can look for­ward to, ar­gues Stephen Parazader.

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