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Why Canada has fallen so far behind on public transit

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  • Why Canada has fallen so far behind on public transit

    Why Canada has fallen so far behind on public transit
    'Electoral alliances and political gains,' are driving new transit, not smart decision making

    Shocking, right?
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

  • #2
    ^ Yes indeed, shocking. As in shockingly obvious.

    I was pointing these issues out 10 years ago and published this back in 2007
    Current transit issues are numerous but the core issues are that:

    - most transit systems are owned by civic entities with an entrenched administration that is not innovative nor accountable to the end user. There is no interest to improve the service of a monopoly. In monopolistic bureaucracies, the only incentive is to grow the bureaucracy. When they are not delivering, the answer is always the same - we need more money to solve the problems.

    - we are fighting against the established norms of "bigger is better" engineering that envisions 400kph trains with 1,000 passengers that do not solve the first and last mile problem or how can I get to the supermarket without having to own a car?

    - Edmonton Transit has averaged a dismal 2% annual increase in ridership since 1998. Edmonton Transit’s claims of substantial increases in ridership levels in the past two years are “due to a change in pass multipliers used to calculate ridership.” OCA, ETS Branch Audit, Dec. 18, 2006.

    - The current 2007 civic budget for transit exceeds 16% of the entire city expenditures. That's 33% more than spent on roads or more than the budget of the fire, ambulance and police departments combined.

    - Commuters and transit users are most concerned about the net travel time to their destination. Statistics Canada reports that users of public transit have an average of 41 extra minutes commuting time than their automobile counterparts.

    - Edmonton’s severe weather requires greater concern for transit users in lowering the wait times and transfer connections.

    - The economics of LRT are driven not by the needs of users, rather the avoidance of high construction costs and transit union entanglements.

    - Council is left to solve the problems created by the administration in order to complete the project.
    The last two are a case in point. Moreover, at the time, I did not want to upset civic entities that the politics of LRT are rife with corruption and vote buying using public money. Shovel ready projects and using massive LRT projects to demonstrate that the Party is "Green" and concerned about the environment is just a shell game.
    Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.


    • #3
      There are incredibly questionable, obviously political choices at the municipal level as well. A main one observable in Edmonton is the bizarre desire to expand transit service to every single far flung nook and cranny of our isolated greenfield suburbs.

      When developer buys a plot of isolated land and builds a thousand cookie cutter homes with no services in any reasonable distance, the city just steps in and absorbs them into transit provision. This despite the fact that people who choose to live there are overwhelmingly vehicle commuters.

      It would be far more effective to use the money spent on the meandering, hardly used routes out to new developments on faster and more comprehensive coverage in the core. Instead of one bus every 30 minutes with 2 passengers on it, you could have bus rapid transit lines that bus loads every 5 minutes, non-stop all day. Instead of mediocre service for 12 hours a day, you could have great service in the core 24 hours a day.

      It makes no sense. Why are we spending ludicrous amounts of money extending service to people who willingly chose to live in a place that is 100% car-centric?


      • #4
        ^ An excellent post.

        Rezoning low cost farmland into high cost, low density suburbs is a profit center for local developers.
        Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.


        • #5
          Council needs to guide new developments into having a transit friendly Main Street in the middle.

          That way those who want transit can make the quick walk or bike to that street and those that don't want transit won't have to do anything. Decreases empty bus runs as well.

          Also GRID STREETS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!oh my god a poor ethnic person might drive past my house, better get a cul-de sac (sp)

          (In before suburb defense force gets the mods to lock this thread )
          be offended! figure out why later...


          • #6
            They built Millwoods with a TOD Town Centre that was perfect for a LRT station. 30+ years later not one foot of track has been made in that direction and instead we get a hugely expensive spur line in the opposite direction that does not work.
            Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.


            • #7
              ^I disagree that town centre is a good TOD potential location.

              I had a nice write up why I think that but I hit back accidentally and it deleted and I don't want to type it again ��
              be offended! figure out why later...


              • #8
                Everyone is grasping at straws trying to find a good example.

                Best chance, another city.



                San Francisco

                Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.


                • #9
                  Cities need more predictable funding from the province and feds instead of election gift horse money. Also, the cities are the economic engines but rural areas have far more political clout and receive disproportionately amount of funding .