What is Hamilton Light Rail Transit (LRT)?
Hamilton LRT is focused on improving access to transit and supporting the continued growth and revitalization of the city. It is the first piece of a broader rapid transit strategy for Hamilton, referred to as the BLAST Network, as well as a priority project in Metrolinx’s Regional Transportation Plan. This project is funded through a $1 billion commitment from the Province of Ontario. A signature project under the Moving Ontario Forward Plan, the City of Hamilton and Metrolinx are working together to build Hamilton LRT. Construction is expected to begin in late 2019 with the LRT in service in 2024.
New, modern light rail vehicles on tracks separated from regular traffic will offer frequent, reliable and safe service from McMaster University in the west, through downtown Hamilton to Eastgate in Stoney Creek. The LRT will also connect to the Hamilton GO Centre through a pedestrian connection via Hughson Street. This 14 kilometre corridor will include 17 stops.
Is the project on schedule?
Yes, the project remains on schedule.
The Request for Proposals (RFP) to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Hamilton LRT project for a 30-year term was issued on April 13, 2018 to three shortlisted teams. The RFP submissions will be evaluated and the contract awarded in 2019. Learn more about the request for proposals.
Construction is expected to begin in late 2019 with the LRT in service by 2024. Specifics regarding the timeline will be confirmed and shared as we progress through procurement.
When will the costs for Operations & maintenance be known?
The final details will be concluded through the negotiations with the preferred proponent as part of the bid process that will include the operations and maintenance costs. The Request for Proposals was issued on April 13, 2018 to three shortlisted teams. The RFP submissions will be evaluated and the contract awarded in 2019.
View the most recent Operations and Maintenance update.
What is the City legally bound to at this point?
About Hamilton LRT
Why does Hamilton need LRT?
Hamilton LRT is about building for the needs of tomorrow. The City of Hamilton is growing – according to the Provincial Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (2017), we expect our population to increase to 780,000 by 2041, while the number of jobs will increase up to 350,000. This represents an increase of approximately 220,000 people and 135,000 jobs over the next 23 years. The Growth Plan has also set a minimum target for residential intensification of 60%. These projections will generate a significant demand to move people throughout the city and connect them to employment and the services and supports they need. The City of Hamilton recognizes the need to look at new and improved ways to prepare for the future.
The City, together with Metrolinx – through its Regional Transportation Plan – is encouraging development and growth within existing urban areas. By focusing development in the core and building up instead of out, we will limit urban sprawl, protect the environment, and increase the connectivity and vibrancy of urban areas.
What are the benefits of LRT in Hamilton?
Light rail transit will:
- Better accommodate future travel demand and build healthier, more sustainable communities by encouraging the development of mixed-use, higher density communities.
- Support city growth by building transit to prepare for Hamilton’s expected increase of population to 780,000 by 2041.
- Include significant investment to both public and private infrastructure such as roads, sidewalks, bridges, water mains, sewers, electrical distribution (hydro), telecommunications, natural gas, traffic control signals and streetlights.
- Contribute to economic uplift by attracting long-term development and investments.
- Provide new local jobs through employment and training opportunities and apprenticeships.
- Contribute to an efficient and integrated public transit system for all users by being the first of a network of rapid transit lines, known as the BLAST Network, that are proposed for Hamilton. With an annual ridership of 9.2 million each year, this corridor is the most used of any within the city.
- Provide improved frequency and increased service hours with trains running every 6 minutes during peak hours.
- Be clean and green with no emissions from the vehicle, which reduces air pollution and contributes to cleaner air.
- Be accessible due to low floor level boarding with multiple doors, so strollers and mobility devices can easily roll on and off.
How does the LRT benefit the entire city?
Whether you live in the lower city or on the Mountain; in the east or west end; downtown or in a suburban or rural area, light rail transit provides benefits for all Hamiltonians and will contribute to the revitalization of our city.
LRT will support the development of existing and new residential and commercial developments along the corridor, contributing to economic uplift that benefits the entire city. By focusing development in the core and building up instead of out, the need to expand and build new roads and infrastructure to serve growing rural communities will be limited, which could result in cost savings to taxpayers. Encouraging development in existing urban areas also contributes to the preservation of surrounding green and agricultural lands, such as the Greenbelt.
The LRT project includes significant investment in existing infrastructure along the corridor, with a majority of private utilities and existing municipal infrastructure expected to be replaced. The replacement and renewal of this infrastructure is included in the $1 billion capital cost of the project, fully funded by the Province of Ontario.
LRT will also provide residents with a new transportation choice in a multimodal transit network, connected with local HSR bus service, regional GO Transit service, and SoBi bike share. Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs) move more people more efficiently, which means improved wait times and comfort. LRT will help create a better balance between daily car and transit use, reducing congestion and related impacts.
How will LRT integrate with transit across Hamilton?
The City has a long-range vision for a rapid transit network, referred to as the BLAST network. The BLAST network is comprised of 5 rapid transit corridors connecting key destinations of the city, such as Downtown to the Waterdown Commercial District, Waterfront to the Hamilton Airport, Ancaster Meadowlands to the Centre on Barton (Centre Mall), Ancaster Business Park to the Elfrida Growth Area, and Upper Stoney Creek to Eastgate Square.
The City has committed to a 10-Year Local Transit Strategy to continue developing Hamilton’s transit network. The LRT is the first piece of building the BLAST rapid transit network and is the ‘B’ in BLAST. The timing and implementation of the other rapid transit lines in the BLAST network are dependent on funding commitments.
Enhanced transit helps accommodate future population and employment growth in Hamilton.
What infrastructure will be renewed as part of the project?
The Hamilton LRT includes significant investment in existing infrastructure along the corridor, with a majority of existing municipal infrastructure and private utilities expected to be replaced. These include, but are not limited to, roads, sidewalks, bridges, water mains, sewers, electrical distribution (hydro), telecommunications, natural gas, traffic control signals and streetlights.
The replacement and renewal of this infrastructure along the corridor is included in the $1 billion capital cost of the project – this means the renewal of this infrastructure will allow the City of Hamilton to shift priority and funding previously dedicated to this corridor to other areas of the city.
What kinds of development are expected along the LRT corridor?
Studies throughout North America consistently show that properties adjacent to enhanced transit experience improved value. Hamilton LRT will act as a catalyst for stimulating economic development – it will provide direct access to many existing shops, cafes, and restaurants along the corridor, in addition to attracting further long-term development investments. The line will service several of the City’s adjacent Business Improvement Areas, including King Street West, Downtown, International Village, and Ottawa Street. The LRT is just one part of a larger integrated transit plan, which will stimulate economic growth and contribute to the ongoing revitalization of Hamilton.
For more information, please refer to LRT Zoning.
What is the projected ridership for Hamilton LRT?
For information regarding projected ridership scenarios, please refer to Appendix E: EMME Ridership Forecasting Report (PDF, 2.42 MB) from the Hamilton LRT Environmental Project Report (EPR) Addendum.
The Hamilton LRT Route
How long is the LRT route?
The LRT route will be 14 km.
What will the LRT route look like?
The LRT route will travel 14 km from McMaster University to Eastgate. It will service 17 stops along Main Street, King Street, and Queenston Road. A new LRT-only bridge will be constructed over Highway 403 to transition the LRT from Main Street West across Highway 403 and onto King Street West.
There will be a connection to the existing Hamilton GO Centre via a pedestrian connection on Hughson Street.
To ensure rapid and reliable service, a grade separation of the CP Rail spur on King Street East, east of Gage Street, has been proposed. This underpass will allow the light rail vehicles (LRVs) to pass under the CP Rail spur without delay. Vehicular traffic and pedestrian crossings will remain at grade, or street level, meaning only the LRVs will use the underpass.
How many stops will there be?
There will be 17 stops:
- Scott Park
- Gage Park
How far apart are the stops?
The majority of the stops are approximately 600-800 metres apart, with a few exceptions. This stop distance is similar to the current B-Line express Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) service.
How long will it take to go from McMaster University to Eastgate Square?
It will take approximately 32 minutes to travel from end to end.
How often will the LRT run?
The LRT will run every 6 minutes during peak hours.
Will there be any park and ride stations on the LRT route?
At this time there are no plans for any park and ride stations along the corridor; however the LRT will connect with HSR bus routes and GO Transit services to ensure efficiency and seamless transfers.
Will emergency response vehicles (Police, Fire, EMS) be able to cross the LRT tracks?
Ensuring emergency access to the LRT corridor is extremely important. The curbed barrier segregating the LRT tracks from other traffic will be mountable for emergency response and maintenance access. Emergency vehicles can also access the tracks at major intersections where there is no barrier at all.
Light Rail Vehicles
What is the capacity of a light rail vehicle (LRV) versus a bus?
LRT moves more people with fewer vehicles. The full standing capacity of standard and articulated (or accordion-like) buses is approximately 75-115 passengers, compared with up to 400 passengers on a two-car LRV.
Will bicycles be accommodated on the light rail vehicles?
Yes. There is a strong connection between cycling and transit, so Metrolinx together with the City will be working to identify opportunities for bike racks and bike share facilities at various stops along the corridor.
How will LRT run in the snow?
The operation of a light rail vehicle (LRV) in snow will not be an issue. In inclement weather, the LRV will be run through the night to keep the overhead catenary lines clear of ice and the transit way clear of any snow build up.
LRT systems successfully run in many other cities that experience harsh winter conditions, including Calgary, Edmonton and Minneapolis.
How long will the light rail vehicles be?
We expect there to be one-car (30-metre) LRT trains on opening day of LRT service, but we are designing stops to accommodate two-car (60-metre) trains in the future as ridership grows.
How do the light rail vehicles switch over tracks at the end of the line?
Crossovers will be provided at the end of the line where drivers will be able to switch tracks. Each train has two operating cabs (at either end of the vehicle), so the driver simply walks from one cab to the other to operate the train in the opposite direction.
Project Roles And Responsibilities
Who is involved in the Hamilton LRT project?
Hamilton LRT is a joint-project involving the City of Hamilton, Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario. The LRT will be owned by Metrolinx (an agency of the Government of Ontario), and designed, built, financed, operated, and maintained by a third party team under contract to Metrolinx.
For additional information, please refer to the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). (PDF, 500 KB)
Has the third party consortium been selected?
Not yet – Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario issued the Request for Proposals to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Hamilton LRT project for a 30-year term was issued on April 13, 2018 to three shortlisted teams. The contract will be awarded in 2019.
Who are the third party teams bidding on the Hamilton LRT project?
CityLine Transit Group:
- Equity providers: ACS, Aecon, CRH, TIAA
- Constructors: Dragados, Aecon, Dufferin
- Design team: Parsons, HDR, Amec, RDHA
- Operation, Maintenance and Rehabilitation team: ACS, Aecon, CRH, Serco
- Equity providers: EllisDon, Fluor, Bombardier
- Constructors: Fluor Canada, EllisDon Civil, Bombardier
- Design team: WSP/MMM, Hatch, Gh3, Bombardier
- Operation, Maintenance and Rehabilitation team: EllisDon Facilities Services, Bombardier
- Equity providers: Astaldi, John Laing, Hitachi-Ansaldo, Amico, Transdev
- Constructors: Astaldi, Hitachi-Ansaldo, Amico, Bot
- Design team: IBI, Hitachi-Ansaldo, Daoust Lestage, Morrison Hershfield, Exp Services, Arcadis
- Operation, Maintenance and Rehabilitation team: Transdev, Hitachi-Ansaldo, Astaldi
How were the three shortlisted teams selected?
The three teams were selected by Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx through a Request for Qualifications process that took place in 2017. Teams were selected based on their experience, ability and financial capacity to deliver a product of this size and scope.
Who will operate and maintain LRT?
As part of the Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Maintain (DBFOM) procurement model, a third party team will be contracted by Metrolinx to operate and maintain the LRT for a 30 year concession period.
Will the City be a signing authority on the construction contract?
No. The Project Agreement will be signed by Metrolinx.
Will the City be asked to provide approvals on other aspects of the project?
Yes. Council will also be asked to approve the execution of a Master Agreement and an Operating and Maintenance Agreement with Metrolinx once they are negotiated. Throughout project implementation Council may be required to approve other elements of the project as required, particularly in relation to City infrastructure.
Will the City set the fares for the LRT?
All fares for the LRT will be set by the City and will be the same as existing HSR service to allow for convenient transfer between the LRT and HSR systems. This has been communicated to Council.
Who gets the fare revenue?
The City will keep all fare revenue generated by the LRT.
Who is funding the Hamilton LRT project? What is the budget?
Construction of the Hamilton LRT project is being funded by the Province of Ontario. In 2015, the Province announced a $1 billion investment to cover the capital costs of light rail transit in Hamilton.
Who is paying the capital construction costs covered by the project budget?
Metrolinx is responsible for all capital costs associated with the project unless the City decides to upsize or enhance City-owned infrastructure affected by the project. The City would be responsible for incremental costs related to the upgrades if it chose to do so.
Who is paying for operations and maintenance costs?
Metrolinx is responsible for construction and long term maintenance costs while the City will be responsible for the day to day operating costs once the LRT is in service.
Could project scope be reduced if bids come in over $1 billion?
Metrolinx is confident that the approved project scope can be accommodated within the $1 billion budget.
If bids come in over budget during the procurement process, scope reductions would be one option to address budget pressures, but it would depend on the size of the pressure.
As indicated in the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) (PDF, 500 KB), Metrolinx would consult with the City of Hamilton on any material changes to the project and provide an opportunity for the City’s input prior to making a final decision. Also, as stated in the MOA, the City is not responsible for any capital costs associated with the project unless specifically stated.
Who will pay if the project is over budget?
As indicated in the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) (PDF, 500 KB) between Metrolinx and the City of Hamilton, the City is not responsible for any capital costs associated with the project unless specifically stated. Metrolinx intends to build the project as set out in the scope but it is always subject to eligible costs and budgets.
The project will be delivered using an Alternative Financing and Procurement (AFP) approach, which requires a fixed-price contract signed by Metrolinx and the successful proponent for the delivery of the project. The project budget includes appropriate contingency to accommodate design development and address unforeseen circumstances that may arise during construction.
What are the estimated electrical costs?
The project team is currently working in partnership with the local hydro utility, Alectra Utilities (formerly Horizon Utilities), to assess power requirements for the project. Final costs will depend on the results of this work and will be confirmed through the procurement process to select the proponent that will build and operate the project. As part of the procurement process, bidders will be required to propose options to reduce energy use, both to reduce operating costs and to enhance sustainability.
When will the light rail vehicles be purchased?
Purchasing of the light rail vehicles will be included as part of the project procurement process. There are several benefits of including the vehicles in the project procurement:
- Transfers the risks associated with the delivery and quality of the vehicles to the proponent
- Provides proponents with greater schedule certainty
- Allows the team to optimize vehicle design including length, number of vehicles, etc.
- Allows the team to optimize vehicle procurement and stagger delivery of vehicles to meet ridership requirements
- Simplifies systems integration between the vehicles and track/systems operations
Will Gas Tax funding be affected in the future?
The City of Hamilton and the Province (Metrolinx and the Ministry of Transportation) will be working together on this matter as per City Council’s direction. We anticipate this to be addressed as part of negotiations on the Operations and Maintenance Agreement.
Have other municipalities lost Gas Tax revenue through operations and Maintenance Agreements?
To date, no formal Operations and Maintenance Agreements for Provincially-owned LRTs have been executed. For example, the recent draft cost-sharing terms endorsed by the City of Toronto for LRT Projects in that community represent the first step towards a formal Operations & Maintenance Agreement. The draft terms established that the City of Toronto will be responsible for operating and regular maintenance costs. The draft terms for an LRT Operations & Maintenance Cost-sharing Agreement in Toronto do not impact its Gas Tax revenues.
When will construction take place?
Construction is expected to begin in late 2019 with the LRT in service in 2024.
What is the construction schedule and will it be staged to alleviate impacts on traffic and businesses?
Specifics with regards to construction staging have not been determined yet; however, the entire length of the corridor will not be fully closed for five years of construction. There are measures that will be put in place in order to mitigate impacts of construction on businesses and residences along the corridor.
Provisions may include:
- Access to homes and businesses is provided at all times;
- Keeping roads and sidewalks accessible and functional as much as possible during construction;
- The surrounding road system remains functional to accommodate diversion;
- Restrictions on allowable length of time of consecutive construction work; and
- Assurance that access to front doors will always be maintained.
Final details on construction staging will be determined based on proposed construction schedules submitted by proponents during the procurement process. Proposed construction schedules will need to adhere to the rules set out in the RFP by Metrolinx and the City of Hamilton.
Why are we building an LRT-dedicated bridge over Highway 403?
A new LRT-only bridge will be constructed over Highway 403 to transition the LRT from Main Street West across Highway 403 and onto King Street West. This avoids complications with the Highway 403 ramps. The cost to build the bridge is part of the $1 billion project budget.
Will business owners along the route be compensated for business losses during construction?
Businesses will not be compensated for construction losses. The LRT project team is committed to working with affected businesses to provide marketing support and other assistance throughout construction to mitigate the impacts.
What recourse does the City have if there are construction delays?
With respect to construction delays, the successful proponent is required to identify and commit to a “Substantial Completion” date as part of their proposal submission. The successful proponent will also be required to submit progress reports and construction schedules on a regular basis and must identify and remedy potential delays. Failure to correct schedule deficiencies in a timely manner will result in monetary deductions that will escalate over time. The City, through Metrolinx, can also claim for actual/verifiable damages incurred as a result of any delay or action by the successful proponent.
How is the LRT project team engaging with the local community?
The LRT project team continues to meet and consult with various organizations, BIAs, major stakeholders and community groups and neighbourhood associations regularly across the city. Follow us on Twitter or sign up for our newsletter to receive ongoing project updates.
In 2016, the LRT Community Connectors program was launched. Our team of Connectors, made up of a diverse group of individuals from across the city, is committed to visiting every property (nearly 1,400) along the corridor twice per year for the duration of the project. Their role is to inform, educate and engage property owners and also gather feedback that will help inform the LRT plans. As of spring 2018, our Community Connectors have knocked on doors nearly 10,000 times and have engaged in almost 4,000 unique conversations during canvasses. As part of this engagement, they also staff info tables at office and residential towers across the corridor.
Events and Festivals
Since May 2016, the LRT Team has engaged and consulted with more than 100 different groups, and has attended more than 60 community events and festivals where we interacted with more than 9,000 attendees.
Public Information Centres (PIC)
Between September 2016 and January 2017, ten Public Information Centres were held, where more than 1,200 community members attended to learn about new developments to the project and to provide input. Review the presentation boards and maps from both meetings.
Ahead of LRT construction beginning in late 2019, the LRT project team will be establishing two fully staffed Community Offices along the corridor as an additional resource available to residents who would like to speak to our team directly in-person.
What public consultation has been done prior to the Province announcing the LRT funding?
Significant public consultation was undertaken including the following:
For the 2011 Environmental Project Report (EPR)
- Six formal rounds of public consultation/engagement have been undertaken; five as part of the Pre-Planning phase and the sixth as part of the Transit Project Assessment (TPAP) phase. Each round of public consultation featured several public open houses. A total of 21 opportunities.
- Formation of the Rapid Transit Citizen Advisory Committee was also established in summer 2010 to ensure regular engagement and input into the development of the project. This committee of 26 members was made up of members of the public, property owners in the corridor and a number of stakeholder organizations.
- Two Open Houses were held in May 2008 following the completion of the Rapid Transit Feasibility Study (FTFS) Phase 1.
- Two Community Update Meetings were held in December 2008.
- Two Property Owners Workshops were held in February 2009.
- Three Community Update Meetings were held in June 2009 on the options being investigated and the next steps for the project.
- An Open House was held on September 30, 2010 to give the public an update on project progress and to introduce the Rapid Transit Citizens Advisory Committee.
- Seven Public Open Houses were held between January and February 2011.
- Four Open Houses were held in August 2011 after the Notice of Commencement was issued.
For the 2017 Environmental Project Report (EPR) Addendum
- Between September 2016 and January 2017, ten Public Information Centres were held, where more than 1,200 community members attended to learn about new developments to the project and to provide input.
- The January meetings were supplemented by three Community Update presentations in communities outside of the LRT corridor.
- Stakeholder meetings since May 2016 held with more than 75 stakeholder and community groups including Chambers of Commerce, Business Improvement Areas (BIAs), Ward meetings, neighbourhood associations, school boards, advisory groups and other major organizations.
- Participated in several community events including Supercrawl, Concession Street Fest 2016, Gore Park Summer Promenade, and hosted lunch and learn sessions.
- Meetings were held specifically related to the Pedestrian Connection.
- The full public consultation process is summarized in Chapter 5 of the 2017 Hamilton Light Rail Transit Environmental Project Report Addendum. (PDF, 14 MB)
How will the LRT project team work with affected businesses along the route?
The LRT project team recognizes that construction is going to be difficult for many businesses along the corridor, particularly in the downtown core. The project team has begun consulting with various business owners on how to best support them and business preparedness initiatives are already underway.
In 2017, Metrolinx funded a 4-part business support workshop series, titled LRT Ready, through the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and local Business Improvement Areas (BIAs). LRT Ready series offerings will continue ahead of construction. Learn more about this initiative.
These workshops are only the first step in what will be a comprehensive and fully-funded business support strategy and the Hamilton LRT project team will continue to share information about other offerings as they are confirmed. The project team recognizes that the strategy for Hamilton LRT needs to be customized: a Made in Hamilton approach to best serve the needs of the businesses on the corridor.
The Hamilton LRT project team will be establishing two fully-staffed community offices, which will work directly with the local community to promote individual businesses, mitigate construction impacts and support a broader Shop Local-type campaign.
How can I get involved with the project?
Is a member of the LRT Team available to attend our community event?
Please contact our office at HamiltonLRT@metrolinx.com or (905) 521-1003 for availability.
Integration With Local And Regional Transit (GO, HSR, SoBi)
How will the LRT integrate with other transit (HSR and GO)?
Each end of the LRT route will have an end-of-line terminal to allow for integration with other transit systems, including HSR buses, GO Transit and SoBi bike share. There will also be a pedestrian connection from the LRT corridor to the Hamilton GO Centre, with further connections to the Lakeshore West GO Transit line.
The 10-Year Local Transit Strategy, approved by Council on March 11, 2015, provides short term actions for City Council to continue developing Hamilton’s transit network. Local transit service will be enhanced to meet service standards, feed the LRT and keep up with projected population growth (by 2041 the population of Hamilton is expected to grow to 780,000 people). As recommended in the strategy, HSR is reviewing the design of the transit network to ensure it is serving the needs of customers through their (RE) envision Hamilton Street Railway project: more information.
Will HSR buses still run on the B-line when LRT is in service?
HSR will still operate in the west-end of Hamilton near McMaster, but LRT will effectively replace buses along King Street in the downtown core. A key component of LRT however, is integration with other local transit options (HSR, SoBi bike share). HSR is currently undergoing a network redesign of the local bus system to ensure that LRT stops are fully integrated with HSR bus routes.
Can buses from the B-Line be redeployed to other areas of the city?
These plans are currently being developed.
HSR is reviewing the design of the transit network to ensure it is serving the needs of customers through their (RE) envisioning Hamilton Street Railway project.
When will Hamilton see all-day two-way GO service?
Metrolinx is committed to expanding GO Train service to the City of 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.
Why isn’t all day GO service going to the West Harbour GO Station?
The construction of West Harbour is part of the Metrolinx 10-year plan to transform the GO rail network and our commitment to expand GO Train service to the city of Hamilton.
Service levels west of Burlington GO Station, including service levels at Aldershot, are dependent on infrastructure and service agreements with CN and CP, who own the rail corridors. Final plans may vary as the 10-year program evolves.
Metrolinx is closely working with CN to finalize construction plans for the new track over the Desjardins Bridge and any other infrastructure required to bring this new track into service. Metrolinx will continue to update the community and stakeholders as this project progresses.
What effect will ride share services and autonomous vehicles have on LRT ridership?
Ride share services and autonomous vehicles are likely to reduce the cost of personal travel by automobile, making these services more competitive with transit travel, and likely divert trips from transit, particularly for short, local trips. However, in major corridors, these services (or technologies) differ little from today in terms of single-occupant-vehicle capacity so will not be able to manage the mass transit demands of BRT, LRT or other high order transit services.
What are the property impacts as part of this project?
As part of the Hamilton LRT project Metrolinx is acquiring a number of properties to accommodate required widening of the right of way for LRT along Main Street, King Street and Queenston Road. The project requires approximately 90 full property acquisitions and 300 partial property acquisitions.
The Hamilton LRT corridor engagement strategy includes direct outreach to any affected residential tenants once a property has been acquired by Metrolinx. In these cases Metrolinx works one-on-one with each and every unit to facilitate transition into new housing, employing customized transition support. A tenant support team works diligently to find, view and secure new housing based on a tenant’s specific accommodation requirements, and ensures they feel engaged and supported throughout the process.
How do I know if my property is affected?
Property acquisitions for the Hamilton LRT project are the responsibility of Metrolinx. Any impacted property owners along the LRT corridor would be contacted by Metrolinx should their property be identified for future requirement.
If you have further questions, you may contact the Hamilton LRT Office via HamiltonLRT@metrolinx.com or (905) 521-1003.
Has Metrolinx expropriated any properties?
No, Metrolinx has not commenced expropriation on any property required for the LRT project. Metrolinx’s preference is to acquire properties through negotiations on a willing buyer, willing seller basis. Metrolinx would initiate the expropriation process only when a negotiated agreement is not possible. Expropriations may sometimes occur while continuing to negotiate with a property owner in order to provide schedule certainty.
It is important to note that in cases where acquisition or expropriations are required, compensation is paid to property owners based on fair market value.
Can expropriation proceedings drag on and delay the project?
Metrolinx may start the expropriation process while negotiations are underway. This parallel approach is used to ensure that all necessary lands are available to start construction on schedule.
What is Metrolinx doing to support tenants?
The Hamilton LRT corridor engagement strategy includes direct outreach to any affected residential tenants once a property has been acquired by Metrolinx. Metrolinx works one-on-one with each and every tenant to facilitate the transition into new housing, employing customized transition support.
Our tenant support team works diligently to find, view and secure new housing based on a tenant’s specific accommodation requirements. Our goal is to fully engage with and support tenants throughout the entire process. Other supports that may be offered include language translation services and assistance with necessary paperwork, and arrangement of moving logistics.
What type of financial assistance does Metrolinx provide to tenants?
Metrolinx provides financial assistance to its tenants for the direct costs to be incurred by the tenant related to the mutual termination of a lease. Financial assistance may include payment of rent in accordance with applicable Ontario law, and other direct expenses such as furniture movers, opening new utility accounts, etc. Depending on the unique circumstances of each tenant, other costs related to the transition into new housing may also be considered by Metrolinx for compensation.
When does Metrolinx begin communicating with impacted tenants?
As soon as Metrolinx acquires a property that has existing tenants, it provides a letter to each tenant which advises that our tenant support team will be in touch with the tenant to schedule an appointment and help the tenant transition to new accommodations. An after-hours hotline is available 24/7 to tenants for emergency situations.
Do tenants have to be out right away?
No, they do not. The tenant support team works with them to determine a convenient transition plan and ensure they find appropriate alternative accommodations.
What happens if a tenant hears rumours about their building being bought by Metrolinx?
Metrolinx will work one-on-one with tenants after it has acquired ownership of the property.
If a tenant calls Metrolinx inquiring about the future status of their unit or building, Metrolinx will suggest that they have a conversation with their building owner or property manager for insight into their situation. If they are concerned about possible relocation, they are also encouraged to contact the Hamilton Housing Help Centre, which can assist with information on relocation services and options should they wish to relocate.
Tenants may also wish to contact the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic so that they are aware of their rights under Ontario’s Residential Tenancies Act. Unfortunately, Metrolinx is unable to work one-on-one with affected residents until we take ownership of the property.
How will the project work towards mitigating housing impacts and rising costs of properties along the corridor?
The LRT project team will continue to work with community partners and City staff to work towards mitigation strategies.
How do I find employment opportunities with the LRT project?
How many jobs will be created?
Once a successful proponent team is awarded the contract, they will provide an estimate of the number jobs created by the project.
Will the selected team be required to “hire local”?
The proponent will be responsible for assembling the construction team. Based on previous Alternative Financing and Procurement (AFP) projects, opportunities for local contractors are anticipated.
Local companies typically provide a significant contribution towards large infrastructure projects. Past experience demonstrates that Canadian and international bidders will seek local partners because of the following advantages:
- Proven experience of local contractors;
- Knowledge of local conditions;
- Experience with local labour pool; and
- Not having to provide travel and accommodation expenses for out-of-town workers.
Further, the Province and Metrolinx recognize that major infrastructure investments should also provide benefits for the communities in which they are located, including apprenticeship, employment and local supplier opportunities where possible.
Building on the experience of the Toronto Transit Projects Community Benefits Program, Metrolinx will issue provisions for the Community Benefits Program for the Hamilton LRT project as part of its procurement documents. The Project Agreement will require:
- that the team submit an apprenticeship plan and community benefits and liaison plan to Metrolinx;
- that the team and partners sign an Apprenticeship Declaration with aspirational targets, and;
- that community benefits objectives are achieved.
How do I become a vendor for the LRT project?
Hamilton LRT is being delivered under the Alternative Financing and Procurement (AFP) model. Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario are currently in the procurement phase of the project; the Request for Proposals to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Hamilton LRT project was issued to three shortlisted teams on April 13, 2018. Read the press release.
As part of the Project Agreement, and in order to encourage the procurement of services on a local level, the successful proponent will be required to organize and execute public tradeshows to provide a beneficial networking opportunity between the team and local contractors, vendors, community businesses and agencies.
Additional information on how to become a vendor will be made available towards the end of the procurement phase.
History Of LRT In Hamilton
What is the history of Hamilton LRT?
In June 2007, the Province of Ontario released their MoveOntario 2020 plan, which was a multi-year rapid transit action plan for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). Metrolinx was then established by the Province to develop and implement a Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) along with an Investment Strategy and Capital Plan.
Following the announcement, the City worked closely with Metrolinx to undertake rapid transit feasibility studies, develop technical reports and undertake consultations. This work culminated in the February 2013 report, Rapid Ready - Expanding Mobility Choices in Hamilton, which outlines the City's vision for rapid transit along the B-Line corridor; which then led to a provincial announcement in May 2015 of a $1 billion investment of light rail transit in Hamilton.
Why rapid transit?
Rapid transit is more than just moving people from place to place. It is about providing a catalyst for the development of high quality, safe, sustainable and affordable transportation options for our citizens, connecting key destination points, stimulating economic development and revitalizing Hamilton. Rapid Transit planning strives to improve the quality of life for our community and the surrounding environment, as we move Hamilton forward.
Why Light Rail Transit (LRT) and not Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)?
The decision on technology choice for a rapid transit project depends on a number of factors, including existing and future population and employment densities in the corridor and the projected future transit ridership the project is intended to serve. Bus rapid transit (BRT) and light rail transit (LRT) can both provide high quality service, and Metrolinx is currently delivering both BRT (e.g., VIVA in York Region) and LRT (Eglinton Crosstown, Finch West in Toronto, Hurontario in Mississauga/Brampton and Hamilton) projects across the region.
There are trade-offs to each choice with regards to cost, capacity, impacts, ridership and many other factors. For example, although BRT is generally less expensive to construct than light rail, it may be more expensive to operate on a per passenger basis than LRT. As ridership increases within a corridor, the higher carrying capacity of light rail vehicles (LRVs) creates operating efficiencies that generally can’t be matched by buses.
Is LRT old technology?
LRT is a proven and tested technology currently being implemented in many cities around the world. The City cannot wait to address its transportation needs for 5, 10, 30 years for a new technology that may or may not provide benefits beyond those of the available or implemented technology. Furthermore, LRT as a technology has advanced throughout the years and will continue to be adapted as the project is implemented.
Why and how was LRT chosen for Hamilton?
The Hamilton LRT project has been developed over many years through initiatives undertaken by both the City of Hamilton and Metrolinx.
In June 2007, the Province of Ontario released their MoveOntario 2020 plan, which was a multi-year rapid transit action plan for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). Metrolinx was then established by the Province to develop and implement a Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) along with an Investment Strategy and Capital Plan.
A Rapid Transit Feasibility Study was completed by the City of Hamilton in 2008 examining rapid transit options on both the A-Line and B-Line. This was followed by the completion of a Benefits Case Analysis (BCA) for the B-Line by Metrolinx in cooperation with the City of Hamilton, which focused on examining the relative benefits and costs of implementing LRT, BRT and a hybrid option with both technologies in the corridor. The BCA found that although the full LRT option would have higher initial capital costs than the BRT or hybrid BRT/LRT options; it would also generate significantly greater benefits (travel time savings, socio-economic and environmental benefits). A copy of the final BCA report is available.
Following the completion of the BCA, the Province provided funding for the City of Hamilton to undertake additional planning, design and engineering work for the B-Line LRT option as well as an environmental assessment, which was completed in 2011. Through the environmental assessment process many technologies and solutions to the City’s transportation needs of the future were evaluated. This included transit, roads, and active transportation. It was determined that LRT was the preferred technology for the B-Line corridor for many reasons including moving people (high capacity, rapid, reliable public transit) and shaping urban form (city-building and re-urbanization). LRT looks to direct growth along the corridor and serve a higher density of population and jobs.
The City of Hamilton worked closely with Metrolinx to undertake rapid transit feasibility studies, develop technical reports and undertake consultations. This work led to Rapid Ready - Expanding Mobility Choices in Hamilton, a report to Council in February 2013 setting out Hamilton's rapid transit options.
In 2013, the City submitted a request to the Province to fund 100% of the capital costs of implementing LRT in the B-Line corridor, which the Province committed to doing through the Premier’s May 2015 project funding announcement.
Why is the LRT running on King Street as opposed to Main Street?
There is no technical report or study directly comparing an LRT project on King Street (between the Delta and the 403) versus Main Street (between the Delta and the 403). In 2009, a Corporate Working Group (comprised of City staff from various disciplines across the corporation) analyzed the options and concluded that King Street was the best option which Council subsequently approved. There was also a significant amount of public and Council consultation on the proposed route during the original Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP).
The request for funding from the Province was based on the route detailed through the TPAP and Council directed staff to update the previously approved TPAP based on the changes in the Provincial announcement.
In addition, several planning and policy documents guided the decision to implement rapid transit on King Street. Most notably, “Putting People First”, the Downtown Secondary Plan was approved in 2008. This document pre-dated LRT discussions. Main and Cannon Streets were identified as through streets with King Street and York Boulevard identified as key streets that run through the Downtown proper. King Street and York Boulevard were identified as more pedestrian focused streets which cater to higher order transit (rapid transit). Other significant decision points were as follows:
- In 2007-2009, the City carried out a Rapid Transit Feasibility Study looking at both LRT and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on both King and Main Streets;
- In 2009, a Corporate Working Group identified King Street as the preferred alternative and all reports to Council going forward identified LRT on King Street;
- King Street has been Council approved since 2009 and has been the focus of rapid transit planning since that time;
- The approved Environmental Project Report (EPR) that was approved in 2011 as part of the Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP) identified King Street for the project. The EPR included extensive public consultation (see detailed summary above); and,
- Council reaffirmed support for LRT on King Street on April 24, 2013. (Item 7.2, Page 9)
King Street and Main Streets are located close to each other and have many of the same constraints and opportunities:
- Both King and Main Streets have the potential to stimulate economic development and improve the quality of life for the community. The King and James intersection is a highly pedestrianized focal point of Hamilton’s downtown.
- Both present opportunities to improve the streetscape and enhance the space for pedestrians and cyclists.
- Both Main and King Streets are actually similar in width, although Main Street may look wider because the traffic lanes and sidewalks are narrower. Both right-of-ways are approximately 20 metres wide except for a pinch point in the International Village on King Street when it narrows by 1.5 metres.
- Both corridors would need to be converted to two-way traffic to accommodate center-running LRT.
- The primary challenge with Main Street is the existing Highway 403 interchange. Reconstructing the existing Highway 403 ramps could be a very costly and complicated process. The LRT bridge in the project plan allows the LRT corridor to transition from Main Street West to King Street and avoids impacting the existing 403 interchange (this was included in the previously approved 2011 Environmental Assessment for the project).
- An additional consideration is that Main Street (through the downtown) is a designated truck route, whereas King Street is not. Therefore, LRT on Main Street would mean diverting heavy truck traffic onto alternate routes.
Is there an updated list of Council motions/direction?
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