Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sustainability on the Edge and Personal Choices

I am an ordinary man and I have learned a lot from an advisory group in Langley called South Fraser OnTrax. The reason I attend these meetings is mostly to learn from others such as Port Metro Vancouver, council members, environmental groups, the BC Truckers Association, TransLink, and mayors. For example:

In the first half of the 20th century people had choices with transportation whether it was walking, taking the streetcar, taking the train, cycling, and of course driving. Things seemed to work well until the more cars and trucks we had on our streets and faster speeds over longer distances lead to more injuries and deaths. In Detroit, there was even a large board on the corner of a busy street giving the death toll as the auto started taking over the road.

Needless to say our choices began to dwindle at this point in time as more personal cars and trucks became the norm. In most place in Canada, we do not have any other choice than our own vehicle. This seemed good, of course, until the price of oil destabilized and our single-mode transportation system started to break down. I cannot help but wonder how we thought this could have ever lasted.

When I worked in New Westminster, I took transit from the City of Langley into New Westminster. The SkyTrain took me over the Fraser River far faster and for less money than I could drive. While riding 502 bus to Langley, I studied an Industrial First aid Course. Studying this course on the bus saved me time. And unlike driving, I was in a far better mood when I arrived home after taking the bus. I did pass that course and riding public transportation became a part of my life. I am wondering what it would look like if we spent our next tax dollars on better public transportation instead of using them for roads and bridges and parking lots?

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