Hamilton is changing – it is one of the fastest-growing urban regions and is attracting a growing number of new small businesses, entrepreneurs, and artists. How people move around the city is changing too – new investment in alternative transportation including transit, cycling, pedestrian mobility, car share and bike share, renewal of infrastructure, and changing attitudes toward multi-modal transport are positioning the city well to build a comprehensive rapid transit network.
The City of Hamilton has a long-range vision for a rapid transit network referred to as the B-L- A-S-T network.The network will connect the east and west ends of the city, link downtown Hamilton to the Waterdown Commercial district, connect the waterfront to Hamilton Airport and also link the Ancaster Meadowlands to the Centre On Barton (Centre Mall).
Building the first piece of the BLAST network: Light Rail Transit is coming to Hamilton
Together with the City of Hamilton, Metrolinx is building Hamilton Light Rail Transit (LRT): a new 13-kilometre LRT line that will run through downtown Hamilton along Main and King streets, and along James Street North to the new West Harbour GO station. Hamilton LRT will connect McMaster in the west to Queenston Circle in the east, and protect for future growth through segregated LRT lines.The A-line will extend to the Hamilton waterfront, budget permitting, and connect to the existing Hamilton Centre GO Station through a high- order pedestrian connection at the James stop.
The Hamilton LRT is an integral part of the Metrolinx Regional Transportation Plan and will provide residents and businesses in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area with fast, reliable, convenient and integrated transit.With 17 stops, and connections with local HSR service, the Lakeshore West GO Transit line and multiple GO Bus routes, Hamilton LRT will drive economic growth and improve connectivity across local communities.
As part of Metrolinx’s Moving Ontario Forward plan, the Ontario government is investing up to $1 billion and will cover 100 per cent of the capital costs of building LRT in Hamilton.
Major construction is expected to begin in 2019 with the LRT in service by 2024.The City of Hamilton and Metrolinx work in collaboration as they continue to develop and refine the alignment of the LRT route, and engage various audiences across Hamilton in important conversation about the project.
The addition of new LRT service puts Hamilton closer to having efficient, fast and frequent regional rapid transit network needed to help the city and its businesses thrive.
The Hamilton LRT will stimulate economic growth and contribute to the ongoing revitalization of Hamilton’s downtown, while acting as a catalyst for the development of high quality, safe, sustainable and affordable transportation options for our citizens. It will be part of a multi-modal network of transportation options throughout the city that will attract new investors, grow our economy, broaden the tax base and bring more jobs to Hamilton.
This project represents an investment in tran sit but also an investment in improved quality
of life for the community and the surrounding environment, as we move Hamilton forward.
Investments in local transit service are also underway
The City of Hamilton is implementing a 10-year strategy to continue developing Hamilton’s local transit network (HSR). Local transit service will be enhanced to meet service standards, feed the LRT line when it’s in service and ensure the entire city is connected with reliable transit as Hamilton’s population grows.
Connecting Hamilton to the Greater Toronto Area and Niagara Region
Metrolinx is expanding GO Train service to Hamilton as part of its 10- year plan to transform the GO rail network. Current plans include service to Toronto in the morning rush from Hamilton GO Centre every 15 minutes and from West Harbour GO Station every 30 minutes.This service would operate in reverse in the evening rush. During weekday midday and evenings, and on weekends, there would be hourly service in both directions between Union Station and Hamilton GO Centre downtown.
The Province is planning to bring new weekday GO rail service between the future Confederation GO Station in Hamilton and the Niagara Region starting in 2021, with service to Niagara Falls by 2023. Three other stations are proposed along the corridor in addition to the Confederation GO Station – a new station on Casablanca Boulevard in Grimsby as well as upgraded VIA rail stations in St. Catharines and Niagara Falls. Construction on the new Confederation GO Station in Hamilton is expected to start in 2017, with completion expected in 2019.
SoBi Bike Share program thriving in Hamilton
SoBi Hamilton, Hamilton’s public bike share system, was launched in March 2015. Since then, the system has been widely embraced as an integral and exciting part of Hamilton’s transportation system and cultural landscape.The new system utilizes smart-bike technology developed by Social Bicycles, and the innovative design gives users greater flexibility than traditional dock based systems. Hamilton’s bike share system spans across approximately 30 square kilometres with 750 bikes at 115 hubs.The system is largely used for commuting by Hamilton residents, and is an excellent solution for first/last mile connectivity to transit.The uptake has been quite successful as the system has over 12,000 active users.
For more information about Hamilton’s LRT project visit Hamilton.ca/LRT.