Stylocycle’s Blog


New year… what?
January 2, 2011, 8:06 pm
Filed under: around town, Hop on the bus Gus

I never really expect things to happen all of a sudden just because yet another day has turned over on the calendar. It’s just another day, people.
However, much of the world does get all excited about the ‘new year’… so hey: smoke ’em if ya got ’em, I guess.

I’ll admit that this year I’ll be very interested to see how the local discussions about public transit progress. I happen to favour the development of a central LRT with a more grid-oriented bus service that would connect to the LRT with a few rapid bus routes heading east-west, and with localised routes for neighbourhoods bounded by those rapid bus routes. I can see rapid buses making sense on Northfield, Columbia, University, Victoria and Ottawa and the LRT to take us from the very North end of town to at least the bottom end of King St. in Kitchener.

Apparently 3/4 of the local population works in the Cambridge-K/W region, and the existing bus lines on the main corridor can’t keep up with demand, meaning that people continue to drive instead. I happen to have a bus that stops almost outside my front door, and if I take that bus and transfer to the mainline I can make it to work in 22 minutes (including a walk across campus from where I get off the bus). In good weather I can walk to campus in 28 minutes (i.e., when the sidewalks are clear and I don’t have to navigate snow, ice, or puddles). In bad weather it can take as much as 45-50 minutes to walk to campus and the bus will still get me there in under 30.

But my bike? Well my bike gets me to campus in about 15 minutes, and a smidgeon less than that to get home, and that’s door-to-door, with no walk across parking-lots or fields, etc.

Therefore, it’s almost always my bike that I use… but someday I imagine that I’ll be too old to do everything by bike. We’d like to give up the car, too. So for us, having an LRT line makes most sense. Thing is, I think it makes most sense for the region, too. Lots of people want to give up their cars, but keep them because the bus schedules are unreliable and because the transfers are terribly inconvenient. The only reason the bus works so well for us is that we live only 2 blocks away from the main line with something like 5 routes to choose from to get to our work-places.

LRT will not require more and more bus drivers or more and more buses to be added, and won’t require paving over even more space in order to create designated bus-routes all over the place. There’s a pretty compelling argument favouring LRT in Today’s local paper (www.therecord.com). It outlines these and other observations that make the initial outlay for LRT the better financial and service choice.

All this said, I don’t have much faith in my fellow humans. Too many feel entitled to their private little living-rooms on wheels. Selfishness and griping about “my tax dollars” will persuade regional politicians… and the idea that bus-riding, bike-commuting people aren’t paying taxes will prevail.

I sure hope I’m wrong.

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