Comment 2929

By Rusty (registered) - website | Posted January 12, 2007 at 13:08:24

Scmadrian,

Lots of points here!

I'll add my 2c to some of them:

  1. Agree with the slice of land between Main and King. It's a real no-mans land with King and Main being the opposing 'trenches' (sorry Jase! :) ) This was the first neighbourhood my wife and I looked at when we were house shopping in Hamilton, but there was no way we were going to traipse our kids across those roads everyday. Decision over.

  2. The Europe transit debate is an interesting one. I too lived in the UK (Leeds and London mainly) and I've traveled around Europe a fair bit. I agree with your point about the car being king over there. In many ways the roads are getting worse (so I hear, my wife recently came back from Spain and I have friends who visit France, Italy and Germany often) and the driving is way more dangerous (anyone seen that roundabout which circles the Arch-De-Triumph? Or those tiny laneways in Rome...? Madness!) The Europeans are baaaad drivers. But, as you say, the transit is there and seems to be a mainstay for most European cities. It's not as if they are particularly enlightened. They just never lost much of their transit infrastructure. We did and now we're trying to sell it back.

  3. Agree also on some of your points about UK transit, however I think the discussion goes a bit deeper. I think the Brits have more of a malaise mentality (if that makes any sense?). What I mean is that in many ways the Brits are happiest when they are complaining and I think they just have an ability to put up with more than other countries. I suspect Canadians might hit that Michael Douglas Falling Down traffic jam breaking point moment a lot quicker than the Brits. I'm amazed at just how congested, expensive and downright crappy that country is becoming. When I think of my time in London, sat in traffic on the M25 - I would NEVER do that over here. 4 - I don't fully agree with your complaints about the usefulness of demonizing the car to sell transit. I think Canadians are quite forward thinking when it comes to understanding their environmental and social responsibilities and I believe many people would settle for a mediocre transit system if it was offered to them. That said your suggestion that we need to seduce transit riders with a kick ass system is spot on - we just don't appear to have the invest in transit mentality (it's always seen as a subsidized component) so we'll probably always be shooting for something that is just 'OK'

Some other interesting posts on this topic. It wasn't my intention to re-open the entire Ottawa Light Rail debate when I submitted this interview, I just wanted to get a little bit closer to understanding why it is we don't seem to be able to bring LRT back to our cities. I really do believe that everybody wants it. It's just that we seem too paralyzed by politics to make it happen.

Cheers

Ben

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