Transit is NOT the Only Answer

There have been a lot of questions during this election campaign about reaching our emission targets as well as the population targets set for Guelph in 2051 by the province.

Many of the current councillors and the mayor have taken a pie-in-the-sky view and are citing better transit as the only option. If you ever doubted that these members of the 1% were out of touch with the majority of residents in Guelph, you should be convinced by now.

We need better, more efficient, more effective and more affordable transit – I agree 100%. It would be great if more people could walk to work and/or while running errands, and I would love to see more people using our bike lanes. In a perfect world, this would all be great.

However, those of us who are realists, know the world is far from perfect.

Transit, walking and cycling all work in cities such as London, England, where the city has grown up in the more distant past; each neighbourhood has shopping, services and residences all mingled together. And they have had the underground for longer than Canada has been a nation.

In reality, most cities in North America (Guelph included) have grown up as the car has grown up. Our cities are urban sprawls, with 100s of acres of only housing, and 100s of acres of shopping. And poor excuses for transit.

Canadians love their cars, and will use them to visit family and friends across the province. They will use them to run errands, because getting one child to swimming and another to soccer, grocery shopping, getting in a workout, gathering the kids back up and making dinner cannot be done by walking, cycling or using transit. At least, not in a city as spread out as ours.

People’s lives are already busy and complicated enough. The mayor and the new council need to stop living in dreamland and face reality – this city was built for people to use cars. Forcing them into worse traffic situations or trying to force them to take transit is like putting a square peg in a round hole. Our elected city officials are supposed to be there to help make the lives of their citizens easier, less frustrating and more enjoyable. Forcing them to use inefficient, time-consuming, ineffective transit will do the opposite.

For my ideas to make real change and still help reach our emission targets and keep our residents happy, read my next blog: Working Together.