Part of the development of the LRT will require that Metrolinx (not the city) will either buy or expropriate up to 250 properties along the 14 km route. In some cases, it may only be small portions of a property, in others it could be the whole lot/building displacing families or businesses.
In the event of an expropriation that you don’t want, there is some possible recourse. One option is to sue the city. Although Metrolinx had taken responsibility for all property purchases (since they will own the land), then city is equally culpable since they have entered into this agreement with Metrolinx and authorized them to acquire the necessary lands.
More information about options can be found here:
Full traffic and transit studies have not yet been completed, these are now underway. However the city can not in good conscience make decisions until the final information is available. Plus these studies are flawed in that they make the assumption an LRT will be installed and will force a solution around it, regardless of whether it’s appropriate or not.
All of the LRT will run along King St – both east and west-bound rail lines. This will consume 2 or 3 car lanes. This means west bound car traffic will be severely impeded. Through the International Village area, traffic will be reduced to only 1 lane that will go Eastbound instead of westbound. Traffic will be expected to be diverted to Cannon, Barton, etc. None of these secondary roads are wide enough, nor do they travel the entire width of the city from 403 to Red Hill. This means increased travel along connecting neighbourhood roads.
Preliminary traffic studies indicate that traffic could increase congestion by a factor of up to 4. They do not have a viable plan to redirect traffic from King St to Cannon, Barton and Aberdeen.
The LRT and HSR will operate as separate entities. This means revenues from the LRT may NOT go to the HSR, leaving it more underfunded than it already is. The city has chronically underfunded transit for more than a decade, even with budget commitments and gas tax revenues.
The project has been set at $1 Billion. The Cost_Benefit Analysis indicated that there could be up to a net benefit of $90 Million. So the project has been capped at the $1B. If the cost goes any higher, then the projected benefit will be lost. To avoid this, Metrolinx would scale back the project. This could mean fewer stops, less line on the A-Line (James St N), less track on King St or other reductions.
However this is only for the capital costs. While some of the underlying infrastructure will be repaired, upgraded and relocated as part of the $1B, it will depend on a number of conditions. If the work is for old outdated systems, then the city (ie taxpayers) will have to pay the cost, not part of the $1B. This work would have to be done now rather than being deferred by the city.
Also the relocated services (water, gas, sewers, etc) will have to be moved away from underneath the rail lines since they will be untouchable once the LRT goes in. Since there are residences and businesses on either side of the street that the LRT will run along, they would have to duplicate those services on each side of the LRT to be accessible without going under the LRT. This means more cost to the project, to the city and ultimately the taxpayers.
An Operating and Maintenance Cost agreement has to be finalized prior to moving forward with the project. At this point cost sharing if any are to be determined.
One of the beneficial claims for LRT is that it will reduce pollution. However, since the LRT does not run the entire length that the B-Line buses currently run, regular diesel or natural gas buses will still be required at either end to feed the LRT. So this means you get on a bus at Eastgate Mall, transfer to the LRT at the Queenston Traffic Circle, transfer back to a bus at McMaster University, to finally get to University Plaza if that’s your destination. Plus with cars begin diverted down secondary roads, cross-town travel will be increased, resulting in more pollution.
The LRT will cost much more than $1B. The city will have to pay for infrastructure repairs and replacements that may not have been scheduled or could be deferred for decades.
LRT will operate separately from HSR. The B-Line is the busiest service in HSR. This means it generates the most revenue. When the LRT goes in, that revenue will be removed from the HSR operating budget leaving the service further underfunded. This will mean further service cuts to outlying areas instead of improving service.