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City Shaping Light Rail Transit: The Hamilton, Ontario Project and Lessons for Other North American Cities


Hamilton, Ontario has ambitious plans for a 5-Line rapid transit network to be constructed and implemented over the next 30+ years. For the City, Rapid Transit is about much more than just moving people; it is considered to be a catalyst for economic development and revitalization. The first line of the network – the B-Line – is undergoing a Planning, Design and Engineering (PDE) study and, to maximize economic, social and environmental benefits, the PDE study is integrated with a concurrent Corridor Land Use Planning study. Issues to be addressed include the development of a land use plan that will identify appropriate transit supportive land use and development patterns, and the PDE study that will bring the B-Line LRT design to a maximum state of implementation readiness (approximately 30%) based on a series of best practice design principles. The objectives of the studies are to integrate land-use planning and higher order transit to promote high quality, sustainable development along the corridor. In addition, the studies are closely examining the economic uplift potential and how Light Rail Transit can be used as a city shaper. The study methodology includes coordinated consultation efforts for the technical and land-use planning components. Consultation activities include focus groups, workshops, social networking tools, comprehensive government and media relations strategies, door-to-door visits and traditional public information centres. Strong cross-departmental collaboration and a flexible planning approach assists in strengthening the responsiveness of the plan components to ensure project success. As for process, the studies begin with feasibility (for the technical components) and visioning (for the land use components) and are aligned to ensure that appropriate land use and urban design plans are tied to transit elements along the corridor with a strong focus on nodes and station areas. The paper will present the wider corridor design approach which has been used, including lessons learned, how this has been applied elsewhere in North America and a framework for Canadian municipalities. 

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Jillian Stephen
Justin Readman
Christine Lee-Morrison
Ashley Curtis
Active transportation, Environmental issues, Environmental legislation, Mobility management