Friday, March 14, 2008

Unrest in the 'burbs

Barrhaveners are still pissed off. They don't think any of the four transit plans serve their area well enough. The Ottawa Citizen had a story about it today:

Barrhaven Councillor Jan Harder said she's "not surprised people in Barrhaven are pissed."

"I think the plan is good overall for the city, but in my area, it's like were moving decades backwards," she said. "People in my ward are being short changed. Many who have taken the bus for 17, 20 years aren't doing it any more because its not reliable, and the buses are full. You can't service this area anymore with buses."

Ms. Harder lobbied hard to get a rail extension to Barrhaven under the old plan, and she said she is working with OC Transpo officials on some new initiatives for transit in the area. She declined, however, to provide details.West Barrhaven Community Association president James Gilliland said there are cost effective alternatives to bring light rail to the the suburb, and it's puzzling why city staff haven't proposed doing so because if they did, people would get out of their cars and on to trains in droves.

He said Mr. O'Brien, himself, put it best last year when he said the new system needs to be faster, more reliable, and more convenient. Mr. Gilliland said the city's current plans accomplish none of these for Barrhaven.


Mr. O'Brien said the concerns being voiced by Barrhaven residents are a good example of why the public consultation process is valuable. However, he said, every resident would probably like a light-rail stop on their streets, but financial realities are what they are.

"If we had the money, we would gladly put light rail everywhere right now, but we don't," he said.

I've got to agree to O'Brien on this one. Yeah, it would be really nice to get rail to everyone right away, but it's not realistic. The amount of light-rail transit that is in the plans will certainly help get commuters from Barrhaven downtown faster, and that speed will help ease the congestion within the buses. I can't blame Barrhaveners for trying to get whatever they can, but realisitically I think that we've all got to be a little patient if we have any hope of making this city's transit system work.

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