Widening Bayers Road won’t just hurt the environment — it won’t even help ease traffic congestion for long, says Jen Powley, sustainable transportation co-ordinator with the Ecology Action Centre.
Powley responded yesterday to comments by Conserve Nova Scotia Minister Barry Barnet, who claimed widening the highly travelled road would help the environment by cutting back the amount of time vehicles spend idling in traffic.
Powley said vehicles might spend just an hour a day idling in traffic on Bayers Road now, compared to emissions from increased traffic along the widened street in the future.
“It’s a vicious cycle,” Powley said of road-building. “Rather than getting people to think about the way they’re travelling, you build more roads, which leads to more traffic.”
She cited a California study that suggested any extra road capacity is usually filled within five years.
Instead, Powley said, the city and the province should be trying to encourage carpooling, cycling and walking, as well as the use of public transit.
She said employers should only offer free parking to those who carpool, and should build shower facilities so workers can cycle to work, but not have to worry about being sweaty for the day.