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An Open Letter to Mr. Luksic and Mr. Mirza on LRT

Recently, two Ontario Liberal party candidates publicly came out in support of scrapping Light Rail Transit (LRT) in Hamilton, proposing instead that we adopt Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).

This is not the right path for Hamilton to pursue. Light Rail Transit offers Hamilton a sincere path of economic enhancement that would improve the quality of life of Hamilton residents drastically more than any implementation of Bus Rapid Transit ever could.

As such, I would like to openly express my concerns here.

Dear Mr. Luksic and Mr. Mizra,

I recently read the piece that you co-authored together, in the Spectator in which you wrote about LRT being unaffordable and the wrong choice for this great city.

This concerns me greatly, because as a person who has grown up living in the riding of Hamilton Mountain, I have been taking Hamilton public transit, daily, for the majority of my life.

As a child in a single-parent family, my mother relied upon Hamilton's transit system in order to get me to daycare, for her transport to work, and for our trips to the grocery store.

Later in life, I relied upon it to go to my local high school, St. Jean De Brebeuf Catholic Seondary School.

Now, as a young adult, I still rely on it daily to commute to my place of employment and to my place of post-secondary education, McMaster University.

As you can see, I have a fairly thorough experience actually using Hamilton's public transit service on a daily basis. And this is why it is with great concern that I read that you believe that LRT is not the right option for the future of Hamilton's public transit.

In your article, you write that Bus Rapid Transit would better serve the city. I have to wonder how it is you reach this conclusion when there has been numerous studies done by professionals in their fields in regards to this matter that claim the contrary? Please consider, for example, the following report published by the Center for Engineering and Public Policy at McMaster University.

Specifically, I would like to highlight this line from the report for your consideration:

The results of the research on light rail transit (LRT) and its possible benefits indicate overwhelming support for the economic, health, environmental and social benefits of LRT, especially when compared to other forms of transit, including rapid bus and local transit schemes [Emphasis added].

You will note that this report directly contradicts your position on LRT.

Further, I am curious if you have ever had the pleasure, as I have had many times, of having your only means of viable transportation, a bus (as you argue in favour of over LRT) zoom by you because it is full to capacity. The proposed LRT line would help to mitigate that in a way which BRT never could. To provide you with some further background, I am an elected member of the governing body of the McMaster Students Union. This organization, of which I am a part, has a contract with the HSR in which we receive additional buses on top of the regular service levels to alleviate the fact that over 13,000 passengers use the route that McMaster students and Hamiltonians rely upon daily. The result, even with additional buses being added, has been less than desirable.

Even with this additional service we see buses stacking behind each other all at once (despite being purposefully scheduled not to do so-- much like your proposed Bus Rapid Transit would do), and leaving several passengers behind because of it. It is inefficient and entirely avoidable with the implementation of the proper Transit initiatives. That is why you can see here in the organizations transit policy, that the McMaster Students Union also is advocating for LRT over your proposed BRT scheme. Specifically stating that:

The MSU shall continue to support and lobby for the implementation of Light Rail Transit in Hamilton.

So, dear sirs, to conclude, I do hope that you will reconsider your positions on LRT and the future of Hamilton's transit. I truly do believe that you are erring in your judgement and, in all sincerity,

Hope that you see the light (rail transit).