Saturday, October 11, 2008

Time to re-think transit's role in cities

An article in North-Central Connecticut's Journal-Inquirer had a plea for city planners and residents to re-think the role public transit plays in a city's development. Although the article deals with Hartford in particular, it can basically be linked to any city in the world--incuding Ottawa. Substituting a few words to "Ottawa" makes a certain point about what public transit can do for our city:
A good mass-transit system can mean the difference between a thriving metropolitan economy and a mediocre or dead one. With energy and environmental concerns around the world likely to get even more pressing in the years ahead, good mass transit will become more to a city’s comparative advantage. And with a recession and the current price of gasoline, even your average [Ottawa] suburbanite is starting to eye the bus. Could the family, he wonders, get by with one car instead of two?

Think of the great cities in America [or Canada] — Boston, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Washington, D.C., San Francisco [Toronto]. Come up with your own list. All have great, or at least good, mass-transit systems.

We can only drill so much oil in the next five to 10 years.

We can only make so many hybrid cars in that time.

Is it time for revival of mass transit?

Is it time to invest in it?

Could it help [Ottawa] or greater [Ottawa]?

Could it even help create community, and save us from turning all of [Ottawa's greenbelt and suburbs] into a highway?

[Ottawan] people have never much liked mass transit. We have always preferred cars.

We’d have to change.
'Nuff said.

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