Some real head shakers this week – Metro US

Some real head shakers this week

Riding public transit is pretty straight forward. But public transit politics? — not so much. My head hurts from trying to make sense of some of this past week’s transit news.

Why, for example, have some city councillors chosen the moment Option 4 is presented to the public as the preferred transit proposal to pipe up with proposals of their own? This is just one transit rider’s perspective, but I find these competing proposals confusing and alarming. Do they signal a division in council that could disable the plan when the city meets to discuss it May 21? Or are they just suggestions?

Another head shaker is the plan to expropriate 25 homes on Roman Avenue to link two sections of the Transitway instead of building a tunnel. The city says it can’t afford to turn its back on the $46 million in savings.

Putting people out of their homes to save money on a bus route is weird enough, but what really puzzles me is why council is spending any money at all on Transitway expansion at this point. With a new plan on the table, does it make sense to press forward with a plan originally passed in 1994? Is it possible that a better, more relevant idea will surface in 2008 that won’t require the demolition of a 40-year-old neighbourhood? Especially as the “savings” quoted are only projected for the next 30 years.

The city managed for 14 years without linking the sections, so what’s the rush now?
And while I’m on the subject of the Transitway, why does the plan include bus rapid transit extensions at all? Buses are not the most efficient or cost-effective way to move people around in 2008, never mind 2031.

It’s a transportation technology that reached its sell-by date some time ago. The transit committee doesn’t seriously believe that Barrhaven, Kanata and Orléans residents will be transferring from the train to a bus 23 years from now, do they?

My head hurts. The weather is nice. The bus drivers are looking very attractive. Time to get back to the easy part about public transit — riding it. You can make my job even easier by weighing in with what’s been bothering you with all things transit. The most interesting gripe will get aired in this column next week!