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Light Rail Transit Update
March 2017


A message from the Chair, Herb Wodehouse:

With the upcoming LRT project plans well underway, it is important for each and every one of our members to understand the role of the International Village BIA board of management and how we can help you through the LRT process.  We want to make it clear that the BIA is neither for or against LRT. We have members who are strongly in support of LRT, and members who  strongly disagree with elements of this LRT project. The role of the BIA is to be the connector and communicator of information to and from our membership, the City of Hamilton and Metrolinx throughout the LRT project.  We are not involved in the political decision making of this project.  The board is made up of a group of volunteers from various businesses and properties around the village and we have a great cross-section of opinions and views.

Our executive director Susie Braithwaite sits on several committees which deal with LRT and related issues and is able to bring our board valuable information from those meetings.  She is also able to tackle issues that face our BIA in a timely manner by having a seat on these committees.  Again, Susie has been very clear that she is neither for or against the LRT project but is here to represent our BIA members as we go through this process.

The next several years of LRT consultation and then construction are going to be especially tough for our businesses and property owners.  As a board, we are working very closely with the City of Hamilton and Metrolinx LRT staff to keep current on all information about this project and to make sure that nothing is ‘slipping through the cracks’.  We will continue to host public meetings at least twice a year and more leading up to construction.  We encourage you to take the time to attend these meetings as they are extremely helpful in educating us about the LRT project and are also a way to have your voices heard – whether for or against.

Your views, concerns, comments and suggestions are always welcome.  You can reach out to Susie, myself or to any of our board members.  We want our members to feel that you do have a voice and that you are being properly represented.  LRT is proving to be a very complex project. As I write this message, we are told that the LRT project is moving ahead, which is why we wish to emphasize the need for you to follow all developments very closely, to voice any concerns you may have, and to adjust your business practices, plans and policies wherever necessary to put the best interest of your business at the forefront. As a business or property owner, this places a very significant undertaking and responsibility on you. On behalf of the International Village BIA board of management , I want you to know that we are here to help you channel whatever representation you feel is needed, to the appropriate decision-makers, and to do all that is within our powers  to help you through this project.

Sincerely,
Herb Wodehouse, International Village BIA Chair
Engaging on LRT Implementation - by Ward 2 Councillor, Jason Farr (Co-Chair of the LRT Implementation Sub-Committee)

As co-chair of the LRT Implementation Sub-committee, I am proud to sit at the table with the mayor, several councillors along side many members of our business community that include, but are not limited to Chambers of Commerce, the Hamilton/Halton Realtors Association and Executive Directors of BIA's along the route, including your own, Susie Braithwaite who has made some very valuable contributions to date. Susie successfully lobbied for more strategically located LRT stops to service the International Village as we as promoted the benefits of an additional stop at King and Bay.

Since the Provincial Government answered councils motion for a fully funded B-line LRT and announced that they would fully fund a the project, there has been tremendous momentum toward achieving this higher order transit initiative. (* see motion below)

Following the full-funding announcement, on August 2015 Council directed the City Manager to create an LRT project office, establish an LRT Sub-committee of Council, retain consultant (SDG) to complete the required technical work and begin working with Metrolinx to develop an MOA (see below 2015 unanimous motion) we have been actively pursuing an aggressive LRT implementation timeline and a significant part of what we do, is engage the public.  
 
We have spent or committed approximately $60-70M in LRT implementation to date. This includes staff hired by the City and Metrolinx to support the work of the project office and the consultants who are supporting the completion of a number of technical and Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP) related activities. It also includes hosting Public Information Centres (PICs) and providing all businesses and residents along the route with face to face interaction from our LRT Implementation Community Connectors.
 
The Community Connectors team visited all properties along the LRT routes (B-Line and former A-Line spur) twice in 2016.  There are approximately 1,250 properties.  They visited all 1,250 properties and, of those addresses, they had 633 face-to-face conversations. They also had six information sessions with multi-level buildings. 
 
If you were one of the properties missed in past door to door meets, the next visits will occur in May. 
Since the LRT implementation began, There have been 7 PICs in September 2016.There were 3 PICs along the LRT corridor in January 2017, as well as 3 supplementary meetings in communities outside of the corridor (Dundas, Stoney Creek and the Mountain).

Specifically in the International Village, the BIA, in partnership with Metrolinx and City LRT Implementation Staff, arranged 2 open houses for BIA members in 2016. As well, on your behalf, the International Village monthly board meetings usually see visits from the LRT Implementation staff. More recently, they have joined our meetings to share some visuals on the LRT street-scape design in your BIA.  

There is much more to come. It is most important to Council that we engage the public on this significant and trans-formative city-building initiative. At the LRT Implementation Sub-Committee, we have stressed the need to carry out this project with the highest level of engagement and to set a standard in cooperating with and assisting businesses along the route throughout the construction phase. Part of this work includes consulting with our neighbours in Kitchener/Waterloo who began their LRT construction in 2014. 

Recently, IFpress.com reported that within the confines of the 450 member Waterloo BIA, 2 businesses have closed shop since the start of the LRT construction. They are slated for completion soon and their LRT will be operating in 2018. The Downtown Waterloo executive director, Patti Brooks says that in the end, "We only had two businesses that closed due to construction.  I would first and foremost suggest they (buisnesses) become very well-versed on what the project is and how it will affect them, so they’re looking at this not out of fear, but out of knowledge."

There is no doubt that, along with our LRT Implementation staff, your International Village BIA is doing everything they can to provide you with opportunities to gain knowledge on this significant infrastructure project. How it may affect business during construction and how your business will benefit once the project is complete. 
This is also a priority for me as Councillor for Ward 2/Downtown.  

*On February 27, 2013 Hamilton City Council unanimously approved Rapid Ready, a multi-modal transportation framework for the next five years, including a strategy to develop a rapid ready City and investment requirements.

Part of this resolution also authorized staff to submit the B-Line Light Rail Transit (LRT) documents to Metrolinx for a funding decision. The link to the Council minutes from Feb. 27, 2013 is below for your reference. I also copied and pasted the wording. 
http://www2.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/5FF8FFE2-7DF5-4D89-A4E6-AD777E473BFD/0/Feb27Minutes_ecopy.pdf

1. Rapid Ready – Expanding Mobility Choices in Hamilton (PW13014) (City
Wide) (Item 5.1)
(a) That Report PW13014 be submitted, including Appendix A, “Rapid Ready
- Expanding Mobility Choices in Hamilton (January 2013)”, as the City of Hamilton’s submission to Metrolinx in accordance with the Contribution Agreement between the City and Metrolinx, with the understanding that the funding requirements for Hamilton’s public transportation program are
as follows:
 
(i) 100% capital and any upset net operating levy impact for Light
Rail Transit;
 
(ii) Growth funding for the overall public transportation program, as
summarized on Pages 43 and 44 of Appendix A to Report
PW03014 (refer to Investment Plan Tab), necessary to support a
successful Light Rail Transit system.
 
(b) That the Work Plan detailed in the Appendix A to Report PW03014 be used as the basis for future budget submissions.
 
(c) That the correspondence requesting the reimbursement of the total funding allocated by the City of Hamilton to the transit initiative sent to
John Howe, Vice President Investment Strategy & Project Evaluation Metrolinx from Don Hall, Director of Transportation on May 3, 2012, as directed by Council on October 26, 2011, Item 1 of General Issues Committee Report 11-030, be resubmitted with a request that Metrolinx provide a formal response.
 
(d) That the Medical Officer of Health be directed to consult with Health Care Institutions to obtain their input on Hamilton Specific Health Impacts for purposes of supporting the City’s Public Transportation Program as
outlined in Report PW13014.
 
The Motion CARRIED on the following Standing Recorded Vote:
 
Yeas: R. Bratina, B. McHattie, J. Farr, B. Morelli, S. Merulla, C. Collins,
T. Jackson, S. Duvall, T. Whitehead, M. Pearson, B. Johnson, L.
Ferguson, R. Powers, R. Pasuta, J. Partridge
Total Yeas: 15
Nays: None
Total Nays: 0
Absent: B. Clark
Total Absent: 1
A message from City of Hamilton and Metrolinx LRT Staff:

The Hamilton LRT project remains on schedule. In this video Andrew Hope with Metrolinx discusses what to expect from the Hamilton LRT project in terms of next steps.
Here is a look at upcoming milestones:
March 28th Special LRT General Issues Committee meeting
A Special General Issues Committee meeting of Council regarding LRT matters will be held on March 28. The following updates will be brought forward at that meeting:
  • Environmental Project Report – seeking Council approval to submit the Environmental Assessment report to the Ministry of the Environment & Climate Change
  • Bus Rapid Transit (A-Line) update
  • Metrolinx Community Benefits Overview
  • Bay Street stop discussion
LRT Community Connectors will be hitting the streets again in May
You will start to see the LRT Community Connectors again in May as they provide the latest project information and gather more feedback from you.  
 
LRT streetscaping plan and impact on trees
Some tree removals will be required because of space constraints and utility relocation. Underground utilities need to be relocated from under the LRT tracks to either side of the LRT.  This helps ensure the trains can continue providing reliable service if utilities need to be accessed when LRT is in service. 
 
The project team is refining the design and construction plan requirements so there aren’t any details to share at this point but new information will be shared as it becomes available.  The team is also working on a streetscape plan and every effort will be made to maintain or replace as many trees as possible and add new plantings along the corridor.
 
The International Village is one of the priority areas for streetscaping along the LRT corridor.  Concepts for streetscaping in International Village were shared at Public Information Centres in September 2016 and January 2017. You can view these concepts on pages 23 and 24 of the following link:
 
https://d3fpllf1m7bbt3.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/media/browser/2017-01-16/lrt-presentation-pic2.pdf
 
Parking, loading and deliveries
The LRT team continues to work on a comprehensive strategy to address parking, loading and deliveries along the LRT route.  This work is expected to take at least a few more months to complete. Updates will be provided as they become available. 
Underground Investigations continue along the LRT corridor
Crews are continuing work along the LRT corridor to determine the location and depth of existing utilities, as well as identifying soil, rock and groundwater conditions. Activities include surveying, borehole drilling, video inspection of sewer lines and excavating small test pits to obtain additional information. This work began in August 2016 and is expected to continue into the summer months.
 
Temporary lane reductions are required to locate utilities and drill boreholes within the roadway, but pedestrian and property access will be maintained. As always, please take care when travelling near work sites.  
 
For more information visit the LRT Traffic Impacts page at Hamilton.ca/LRT or follow us on Twitter. You can also check out this video on preliminary investigation works and what they mean.
 
We appreciate your patience!
 
LRT news and updates
For news and updates about LRT follow along on Twitter @HamiltonLRT and sign up for the LRT project e-newsletter at Hamilton.ca/LRT
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