Hamilton’s LRT is going to be built, so let’s make it better. Better in an à la carte sort of way.
That is one mission of the Hamilton Community Benefits Network. The non-profit HCBN came into being when LRT was first approved for Hamilton. Through networking, and community engagement, they gather ideas for benefits beyond transit along the LRT line.
HCBN held the first of two meetings this week on Zoom-soliciting fresh ideas for positive LRT spinoffs. In partnership with CityLab the hour and a half virtual session was a snappy exchange of ideas that could elevate LRT.
The 30 or so members of the public in attendance were reminded that the session was not to debate the pros and cons of LRT.
In fact, most if not all of those participating were in support of the light rail project.
Topics for LRT benefits discussed were-housing affordability, environment, accessibility and arts and community. With regard to housing there was some discussion about the introduction of what is termed inclusionary zoning which has been used in other jurisdictions to mandate a certain percentage of affordable housing be included in any development proposals that are stimulated by the LRT development. When the former Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna announced funding for the LRT project she declared that affordable housing would be a requirement of the federal support, but the Bay Observer has thus far, been unable to find any language mandating the requirement.
Here’s a list of LRT ideas presented at the meeting.
-make station stops accessible, no ramps or stairs
-allow varied forms of payment including cash and Presto
-include public washrooms along the route
-consult with indigenous groups before moving ahead
-use indigenous names for the station stops
-replace the 600 trees that will be removed for LRT
-provide shade trees at the stations
-use LRT as an opportunity to encourage people to use their cars less
-create better integration with HSR and other forms of transit
-provide WIFI along the route
-use incentives to encourage students at Bernie Custis Secondary School to use the LRT
-invite artists to be part of station design
-make the station stops fun, creative, inviting, and architecturally interesting
-station stops should reflect the neighbourhoods they service
-consider inclusionary zoning for development along the LRT route
There is another LRT benefits session with HCBN Thursday. It was worth attending, even as an observer. It was well run, many young people attended, and fresh ideas were in play. The link for information on Thursday’s session is below.
•Thursday, November 25, 2021 from 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM.
RSVP using the following link: https://bit.ly/3CY7dYT
For more information on CityLab: