Monday, February 1, 2010

When politics goes bad

Later this year, the City of Toronto will be having an election. The election is some nine months away, but it seems that one of the major election issues will be fought over transit and bike lanes. Now some history.

In Metro Toronto 27% of the population bikes or takes transit to work, in the City of Toronto 43%; numbers that put Metro Vancouver to shame. Just like our NDP got out of funding transit operating costs in the 1990’s, Ontario’s Conservative government stopped funding transit operating costs in Toronto. Both TransLink and the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) have been a mess ever since. With the lack of investment to keep up the TTC network, there has been service delays, strikes, and even some accidents. These issues are at the top of people’s minds. While there has been good news for Canada’s largest urban region with Toronto Transit City and other programs, it seems that some politicians are trying to capitalize on people emissions instead of suggestion real solutions to the TTC’s problem. It seems to me that these politicians are throwing out the baby with the bath water. I’m hoping that the general public in Toronto is smart enough to not vote for these politicians. According to the Toronto Star:
That includes cancelling Transit City, removing politicians from the TTC board, and if there were any lingering doubt left about where he stands, keeping the fifth lane on Jarvis St. exactly as it is – for vehicles, not cyclists.

That Transit City would provide those living in Toronto's former suburbs with an alternative to the car only compounds the irony. The voters Rossi wants to attract are precisely those who would benefit most from the new LRT lines.

Rossi isn't the first wannabe politician to try to harness suburban resentment to his own ends, but for the city the timing could be disastrous. Experts tell us that Toronto is already 20 years behind the most advanced transit cities.
In the National Post:
Selley It's almost like Rossi's idea is to mollify the War on the Car folks by declaring War on Bikes. And notwithstanding some serious questions about basic transit-delivery competency, his stance on Transit City likewise seems both hasty and reactionary.
I’m thankful that in Metro Vancouver, and Langley, we have politicians that value public transit. We would never get someone so outright anti-transit elected in our region. We all know that transit’s funding model is broken. The solution isn’t to cut back on transit, it’s to solve the funding problem.

Last year the mayor's council promised to come back to the table to solve TransLink’s funding issue this year. Let’s hope they keep their word and don’t do anything as silly as mayoral candidates in Toronto.

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