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Light Rail and Jackson Square

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This proposal outlines the potential development of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) system for Northern to Southern formal region of Hamilton. LRT has 2 main routes that are being proposed; East-West route running from Eastgate Square Mall to McMaster University and North-South route running from Hamilton International Airport to Hamilton Harbour. The proposed system enclosed within this report will run from Hamilton International Airport to Hamilton Harbour. The report will outline the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed route in depth, as well as specific rejected routes. In addition, the report will go into detail of three chosen locations, which will discuss why the location was chosen, area amenities, as well as the pros and cons of the station selected. Furthermore, two maps are attached within the report, as well as site photography to help visualize the selected route and selected stop locations. Background on Nature of Proposed Light Rail Transit for Hamilton LRT is a public transportation train that provides rapid, environmentally friendly services dedicated for the City of Hamilton.

LRT was first introduced to the city in 2007 as “MoveOntario 2020,” and is now known as “Metrolinx” by the Ontario Provincial Government. (Hamilton Light Rail, 2012). LRT is an electric railway system characterized by its ability to operate single cars or short trains along exclusive right-of-way at street level. These vehicles are usually powered by overhead electrical wires and offer a frequent, fast, reliable, comfortable and high quality service that is environmentally sustainable (Light Rail Technology Analysis). Research has indicated that implementing local rail transits is a catalyst for economic development, thus creating new neighbourhoods, renovating older ones, and leads to more attraction to local businesses (Stephen). Initially, the system was proposed to North America by engineer Dean Quinby. Quinby, part of the San Francisco team, designed America’s first local LRT system known as “Bay Area Rapid Transit,” or BART (Thompson). The concept behind LRT is to relieve areas that contain heavy traffic density, with railway transportation that would increase speed and passenger capacity, which would be constructed via light infrastructure.

Essentially, LRT is designed to provide rapid transit throughout the GTA and Hamilton by integrating light rail lines within the city to provide an efficient, more feasible mode of public transportation. The proposed system will increase land value by fourteen percent within 800 metres of the line and particularly close within proximity to station areas. (Hamilton Rapid Transit). In addition, the system will also create approximately 6,000 construction jobs within the city and will need 1000 maintenance workers when the transit system is established (Hamilton Rapid Transit). The proposed modern light rail system in Hamilton is not similar to the system seen in Toronto, as the system would run quietly on clean energy, 100% low floor and avoid overhead wiring (Light Rail Now). Each “rolling rock”, also known as the cab of the train, is estimated to weigh 41,0000 kilograms when empty and 63,0000 kilograms when full to capacity. The train will be able to transport 190 passengers, sixty seated and 130 standing, making the LRT highly efficient. (Light Rail Technology Analysis).

The traditional track bed will be used outside the central business district, which consists track ballast that are ten inches in depth and sub-ballast that are eight inches in depth. Within the central business district will be embedded tracks that will have a sub-ballast eight inches in depth (Light Rail Technology Analysis). Each station is proposed to be spaced 800 to 1000 metres apart that will be only situated at important locations. Currently, the project is estimated to cost the City of Hamilton around the ranges of $66 million to $100 million dollars in construction, renovations and maintenance of the LRT (Light Rail Technology Analysis). The intersection between the East-West and North-South route will be situated at North entrance of Jackson Square Garden, as it is located in the core of downtown Hamilton.

This location is ideal for the connection of the two railway lines because the proposed LRT route outlined in The Silhouette displays it is located equidistant for both tracks and therefore lets passengers get to their destinations faster and more conveniently. Spatial diffusion is the process of dispersion of an idea or an item from a center of origin to more distant points with which it is directly or indirectly connected (Fellman, Getis, Shrubsole, Hopkins, 2009, P.22). This location would therefore be feasible for both tracks. MacNab Terminal is a Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) transportation hub, located one minute away from Jackson Square Garden resulting in high accessibility to HSR transportation.

As well, the GO Station is located approximately 10 minutes from Jackson Square stop allowing passengers to connect with the GO Bus or GO Train. In addition, traffic runs both ways in this location so it will not be a disruption to the flow of traffic. Due to the higher level of density in the Jackson Square area, placing the station here is more appropriate when compared to the GO Bus terminal. There is a higher concentration of commuters closer to this site, whereas the GO Bus terminal is not utilized to that extent. Demolition would also be extremely costly because available space is much less when compared to Jackson Square mall, in respect to number of lanes, and infrastructure surrounding the area. Proposed Route

The suggested route for the LRT is along one of the most congested roads within Hamilton. These roads within Hamilton have the highest volumes of traffic during peak hours of commute and are operating well beyond their volume-to-capacity ratio (Prokask). Once the LRT is implemented, it will help relieve pressure from the volume of traffic in rush hour (Macleod). The first train will depart at 5:00 am and will stop its route at 2:00 am. During peak travelling hours, the LRT system will have the six trains in operation whereas during down times, the LRT will have 4 trains. During peak times, there will be three trains travelling north bound and three trains travelling south bound. During down time, there will be two trains travelling north bound and two trains travelling south bound. Trains will be operating under peak hours Monday-Friday from 6:00 am until 10:00 am and 3:00 pm until 7:00 pm. Normal hours of operation will be Monday-Friday from 10:00am-2:00pm and 8:00pm-2:00am.

In addition, the train will operate seven days of the week as well as on statured holidays. The system will allow a train at every train platform every ten minutes during peak travelling times whereas during down times, the train will be at every stop every twenty minutes. In addition, the three hour gap from start of the route to end of the route will allow maintenance employees to prepare the trains for operation for the next day. The route for the LRT will start at Hamilton International Airport and will turn left on Airport Road moving eastbound. The first major stop will be at Hamilton International Airport, as many passengers from all flights will need to get to downtown City of Hamilton. The train will keep traveling eastbound to Upper James and make a left on Fennel Street moving northbound. The LRT will travel down northbound on Fennel Street and make a right onto West 5th Street moving northbound. The second major stop will be at Margaret and Charles Juravinski Centre for Integrated Health Care Hospital. This is an essential stop as it allows passengers get off at one of Hamilton’s major hospitals, allowing access to premium health care.

In addition, Mohawk College commuters will be able to utilize LRT services as this college is located within 5 km of the platform station. The train will keep travelling along James Mountain Road moving along James Street North. The third major stop will be at St. Joseph General Hospital. This will give access for passengers to Hamilton’s general hospital. The fourth major stop will be at Hamilton Go Centre. This allows passengers of the LRT to transfer onto the GO Train and GO Bus, which leads to higher accessibility to the public transportation system. The fifth stop will be at Lloyd D. Jackson Square mall. This stop allows passengers to access one of Hamilton’s major malls, as well be able to catch the connecting LRT train travelling East-West bound. The train will keep moving along James Street North and will stop at Hamilton Harbour. This will be the fifth and last stop of the route which allows passengers to go to the Harbour. The route for the LRT will initially go down south of the Harbour along James Street North. From James Street North, the train will turn right onto King Street moving westbound.

Then it will turn left onto Queen Street heading northbound to make a stop at one of the train station platforms. The train will then head eastbound, taking a right onto Main Street at Queen Street, at which point the train will take a right on James Street, heading southbound. The train will make a stop at the GO Centre as well as St. Joseph General Hospital. The train will continue down James Street which eventually turns into James Mountain road and then into West Fifth Street; the LRT will make another stop at Juravinski hospital. The LRT will then head eastbound onto Fennell Street and then take a right onto Upper James Street. Next, the LRT will take a right onto Airport Road heading westbound and continue until it reaches its final destination, the airport. The advantages of proposing this route will allow passengers to get on and off at the most important train stations. The proposed route will not only remove congestion from these areas, but it will also help to connect the residents of Hamilton to these key sections (Macleod).

Passengers are able to access both Juravinski and General Hospital, the Go Centre, Jackson Square mall, as well MacNab terminal and the East-West LRT trains via walking. In addition, passengers are able to access both Hamilton Mountain and Hamilton’s core downtown. Moreover, this route provides the best access for passengers travelling from Hamilton International Airport to Hamilton Harbour. The route is the most convenient, time efficient and least amount of kilometres driven. The disadvantage to this route is that the grade of James Mountain will pose construction problems, indicating that different track types must be laid down to accommodate the grade. In this LRT proposal, the train is supposed to stop in the middle of the street. However, due to the slope and lack of lanes up the James Mountain, it is merely impossible for this to be constructed. In addition, it would be difficult to expand the width of the road as it is presently located on the edge of the escarpment. On the other hand, an alternative solution will be an underground tunnel running up the mountain so it does not interfere with the flow of traffic. When the LRT reaches West 5th, it will continue back onto the main road.

The setup of the tracks for the LRT will be located in the middle of the roads along the entire route of the LRT. There will be two tracks running adjacent, separated by the occasional median. However, when the train turns westbound on to King Street and northbound onto Queen Street, the tracks will be located on the immediate left near the curb. When the train moves eastbound onto Main Street, the tracks will be located on the immediate right of the curb. This allows the least amount of disruption for traffic to flow within the core of the city. At each stop the passengers will enter and exit the shuttle from a median, situated between the two tracks and in the middle of the road. These medians will be large with guardrails around the perimeter of the median, for extra precaution and safety of the passengers. All the LRT stops will be constructed to allow the train to have the right of way when it passes along as it will lead to the most efficient time for the route. In addition, each stop will have cross walks which allow passengers to arrive or exit the median safely. Rejected Alternative Route

Many routes were considered, however, they did not meet the required criteria. One example would be the route going from the harbour via Claremont Access. Initially, the train was supposed to travel eastbound to Main Street East and turn northbound on Wellington Street to travel on the Claremont access. The reason why this was not expected was because this route would not include Hamilton Go centre, Juravinski hospital and Mohawk College; these sites are critical locations within Hamilton as high concentration of commuters travel to and from these locations. Another route that was considered but ultimately rejected was travelling northbound from the harbour to the Airport along Barton street west turning on Queen Street north. The reason why it was not considered was because it would not be able to stop at Jackson Square mall, a major pitfall since this is one of the most crucial stations. Locations of the LRT Stations

The process of selecting the locations for this LRT stops resulted in numerous possibilities for stops along the route. After hours of fieldwork, the following stops have been decided, including the on campus stop: Jackson Square mall, Queen Street at King Street and Hamilton Harbour. Each stop was based off a specific criterion that included highest density of population in the given area, easiest access to the public transportation system and least amount of disruption in infrastructure demolition. There were also many potential locations which ultimately did not meet the criteria for the proposed LRT route in South Hamilton. Essentially, the three proposed locations for LRT stations throughout South Hamilton are the optimal locations for the proposed route. The first stop will be located at Bay Street North at Strachan Street West. The train platform will be situated in the middle of the street adjacent to the Bayfront Park Sign. Located at the heart of the harbour, this stop provides passengers access to Bayfront Park, the Harbour and Hutches Restaurant. This stop is ideal due to its scenic view as it can become potentially classified as a tourist attraction.

Passengers will be able to visit Hamilton’s waterfront and look into Lake Ontario as well as discover one of Hamilton’s most prominent trails: Waterfront Trail. In addition, passengers will be able to visit Workers Art and Heritage Centre, located within a 10 minute walk from the proposed train platform. One of major catalysts for the location of this stop is to allow those traveling access into and out of the harbour. This will allow individuals to explore Hamilton’s most unique and diverse areas. In contrast, this location will pose obstruction to flow of traffic due to only one lane travelling north and southbound which will cause delays in traffic. The second stop will be located at Jackson Square mall. The train platform will be situated in the middle of the street between James Street South opposite King William East. The stop will be directly in front of Jackson Square’s South entrance. Located in the heart of downtown Hamilton, this stop provides passenger’s access to Jackson Square mall, fast food restaurants, Gore Park, Commerce Place I and II, MacNab Terminal as well as it allows passengers to transfer onto the East-West LRT train situated King Street East.

In addition, passengers will be also able to access Hamilton City Centre and Downtown Arts Centre on King Street East at Rebecca Street South. Also, passengers will be in walking distance of Hamilton Convention Centre and the Art Gallery of Hamilton. All these locations are within 10 minutes walking distance for the passengers. This location will therefore serve to provide access to these major attractions in Hamilton’s core district. However, due to the high concentration of people within the area of the platform and with the right of way for the LRT, it will create havoc for everyone not using the LRT train. The third stop will be located on Queen Street at King Street. The train platform will be situated in the middle of the street. The train will run adjacent to the church. This location is ideal because it is close to Hess Village, the entertainment district of Hamilton, as well as All Sainte Church. In addition, with this location being in the Business Improvement Area (BIA); it is essential for catering to all sorts of clienteles, especially those who belong to the corporate world.

This area is an optimal stop since there are numerous shops located on Queen Street which will attract local businesses to further expand and will boost Hamilton’s economy. On the contrary, with Queen Street being a one way street, the LRT can potentially be disrupting the flow of traffic. There are many locations that were considered however were not in the feasible region such as a train platform on James Street South at King Street East. This would be an ideal location, however when travelling northbound, the train would not be able to run along King Street to stop at the Queen Street South at King Street East platform. Due to the one way traffic flow on Main Street East, this stop would not be achievable. This location would have been ideal as it would stopped in front of Gore Park and allow easier access to Jackson Square and other area amenities. Another location for the platform to be created would have been on King Street East at MacNab Street South. This location would cater to passengers who transfer to HSR buses, however due to its close proximity to Jackson Square, this stop did not meet the criteria that was established for the platforms. Conclusion

Overall, the route proposed with the three specific locations best fit the needs of Hamiltonians. Hamilton Harbour, Jackson Square mall and Queen Street at King Street was strategically suggested as it would maximize passenger occupation, the most effective and efficient location as well as the most optimal feasible solution to the problem. With the train running through downtown Hamilton to the escarpment via James Mountain Road, it will allow passengers to get to their destination in the fastest possible route. Students, seniors and commuters will be able to use this route to their advantage, allowing them to travel to different locations within the city, improving the economy as a whole. The future for LRT in Hamilton will shape the outlook and revolutionize travel within the core of the city.


Site 1 : http://hamiltonlightrail.com/
Site 2: http://www.hamiltonrapidtransit.ca/index.php/project-information/key-benefits/ Site 3: http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/A5E6E5F1-C6AD-4745-A733 166A3EDF079F/0/TechnologyAnalysis.pdf

Stephen, Jill (N.A). Moving Forward with LRT. City of Hamilton. Retrieved from the Internet on November 23rd, 2010: http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/559A62D4-7FDD-4A25-9108- 95B68083FD01/0/RT_Funding_Proposal_FINAL.pdf Thompson, Gregory (N.A). Defining an Alternative Future. Transportation Research Circular Retrieved from the Internet on November 23rd, 2010 http://pubsindex.trb.org/view.aspx?id=700149 Light Rail Now (2007). Development Oriented Transit: An Economic case in Modern Light Rail in Hamilton. Hamilton Light Rail. Retrieved from the Internet on November 23rd, 2010: http://hamiltonlightrail.com/files/light_rail_presentation.pdf Macleod, M. (2010). LRT will motivate us to ditch cars: HSR Chief. Hamilton Spectator, February, 02.

Prokask, L. (2010). LRT cases more than numbers. The Hamilton Spectator, February 4. IBI Group. (2007). Road network strategy. Hamilton: Dillon

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