If all goes according to plan, by 2024 the City of Hamilton could be one of nine cities across Canada to have integrated a light rail system (Hamilton LRT) into their transit services. While the project is still in its infancy, the City of Hamilton is optimistic about the project’s future and all the benefits the LRT is projected to bring. The Hamilton LRT will provide better access and more opportunities for businesses and residents to connect and grow.
What is the Hamilton LRT?
The LRT, or Light Rail Transit is a transportation system that uses a segregated, right of way track. The passenger trains, or LRVs, can be coupled together or run separately, at the discretion of the city’s transportation needs. An LRT system has a higher capacity than other transit systems and their designated lanes are independent from the rest of traffic.
The Hamilton LRT system is planned to include 17 stops, stretched from McMaster University to Eastgate Square and will connect with GO Rail on the Lakeshore West line, at the West Harbour GO Station. Each end of the line will allow seamless integration with other transit systems in Hamilton including the HSR buses, GO transit, and Sobi bike share. Cars will have multiple entrances and be low floor so they can be accessible to all customers.
An LRT only bridge has also been proposed to help keep the progression of the line working smoothly. The bridge will be built over highway 403 and the expense of the bridge has been included in the $1 billion budget. Construction is scheduled from 2019 to 2024. Source
Here are some areas expected to benefit from the installation of a Hamilton’s LRT system:
Hamilton’s LRT network is one piece of a ‘multi-model network’. The LRT will benefit residents from all walks of life and is expected to attract investors, increase tax revenue, bring more jobs to Hamilton, and ultimately help the economy flourish. Hamilton’s Light Rail Transit is one of many plans the city is undertaking in preparation for the future.
Hamilton’s LRT system is designed to be environmentally friendly, with no emissions from the vehicles. Clean and ‘green’ transportation will reduce air and noise pollution, reducing Hamilton’s carbon footprint.
Transportation and Mobility
The efficiency of Hamilton’s Light Rail Transit is expected to reduce the congestion along Queen Street. Plans for single, 30 metre vehicles will be available for opening day, while preparations for a double vehicle system will be made as the population and customer participation grows.
The 10 Year Local Transit Strategy provides more short term solutions for upgrading Hamilton’s current transit system to meet service standards. Buses from the B-line will be able to transfer to other areas of the city to meet demands.
Integrated Transportation Systems
The new system will also integrate with Hamilton’s Street Railway (HSR), include pedestrian connections, cycling routes, and the Sobi bike share system. Hamilton’s LRT will provide residents and businesses with connections that are fast, reliable, and convenient.
Opportunities for Renewed Infrastructure
Upgrading Hamilton’s transit system with the proposed LRT is expected to provide an opportunity for the city to revive other areas as well. Upsizing the sewer and pipe systems has been an issue for Hamilton and the city is expected to take advantage of the construction of the LRT system to rearrange their location to better optimize their functionality. The LRT provides an opportunity for the city to optimize their sewer and pipe systems for a fraction of the cost. The estimated value falls between $150 to $180 million.
Road work is another area up for discussion at city hall. Repairing the 44km of road would require nearly $30 million without the LRT. However, if the road construction were to coincide with the construction of Hamilton’s LRT, it could knock the city’s expense to $5 to $10 million.
The overall net benefit for Hamilton’s infrastructure sits somewhere between the $180 million and the $205 million mark.
The $1 billion project has been funded by the Government of Ontario, and currently the money is only to be used for Hamilton’s LRT. However, conservatives are proposing another deal with less strings attached should they win the June 2018 elections. No other announcements regarding Hamilton’s LRT line has been made and construction is still scheduled to begin in 2019.
Any decisions about operations and maintenance are still being discussed between Merolinx and the Ministry of Transportation. The city of Hamilton expects to have more details on the elements of Operations and Maintenance Agreement, including where the revenue from the system will be awarded, to be made available throughout the year.
Hamilton’s Light Rail Transit will be a wonderful upgrade for Hamilton commuters and present residents and investors with more options in regarding housing and business.
For continuous updates on the progress of Hamilton’s LRT, the City of Hamilton has taken it upon themselves to regularly posting new videos on Youtube, as well as on the City of Hamilton’s website. Source