Ppl often ask for more road lanes due to frustrating commutes. In some cases that’s needed. But what is the ACTUAL need? A less frustrating commute!
Less cars=less traffic
Better transit - in EVERY way! - clears up roads. Here’s how:
Again, with less cars on the road, our infrastructure takes way less of a pounding. Our annual road capital infrastructure spending has gone up almost 4x since 2006 - we have invested, continue to invest, let’s make sure it lasts.
Less cars on the road mean less collisions - both between drivers & between drivers and pedestrians. Period.
We have to make transit feel safer. An essential part of that is increasing ridership & activating stations so people have many reasons to be there. #yeg
For every $1 put into transit $4 is returned in benefits on average. It may be more in #yeg
Knowing that, are we maximizing & optimizing this tool?
We are not.
Not by far.
Transit should be a much larger concern locally, provincially and federally.
More roads cost more money. An incredible amount of tax dollars, actually.
And every time we build, the road quickly fills up. It’s called induced demand. Look at Toronto or Los Angeles for examples.
We have to be smarter.
Conventional wisdom states that cities should recover 1/2 the cost of transit through fares. Why? In Alberta we don’t charge tolls for roads, they’re tax supported - but we charge tolls for transit, a double tax.
We already see the $ return of transit.
When we focus on cost recovery, we focus on the wrong thing so what happens? The attempt to reach that goal means we raise fares. When we raise fares, ridership decreases. This is called ‘elasticity’.
When ridership decreases we raise fares again.
The next stage is to then reduce investment in the service or to reduce the service itself. Funding slows or decreases, and routes are cut or service hours are cut etc.
This leads to problems that we slap bandaids into which leads to...
To bandaid problems we turn to private solutions like taxi cabs and private security to fill the gaps. Sounds smart, right?
Except we still pay publicly and YOU pay again to the private service - costing you more than adequate funding ever would.
#yeg has incredibly low density. That means there are less people to pay taxes for sprawling infrastructure and service needs. It also means the res/non res tax rate is growing wildly out of balance. Sprawl costs us all.
If we can’t afford services, stop spreading.
The two should be seen as part of the same build, along with better mobility paths for people with mobility aids, seniors, etc.
That is building for now & the future and it’s what #Yeg asks for.
SPRAWL COSTS US ALL
More roads means more maintenance. Potholes, patches, resurfacing, reconstruction, snow & ice removal, lights, enforcement, & so on.
So #yeg will build more road but won’t include transit in the equation.
The cost is dumped onto YOU! & it costs you far more than a great transit system ever could.
Without adequate transit you are compelled to buy a car. It’s second nature to assume you need one in the city because HOW ELSE will you get around?
What if we had a blank slate and could design the best transit system possible to serve our economic, social, health, education & emissions needs?
Work back from the ideal.
We have outdated assumptions about cost recovery, what transit is, who it exists for & what it delivers.
Right now, we’re likely to continue in that vein.
We don’t need a redesign, we need a reset.
That YOU are a customer of your gov’t.
Hmm...most businesses will tell you there are customers they don’t serve because it’s not profitable.
So should we cut you? Who?
You are not a customer.
Government is not a business.
You ARE the government.
The purpose of govt is to leverage taxes into stronger opportunities & stronger communities as intelligently & compassionately as possible.
For you & by you.
Govts should take many lessons from business, but should never try to be what it’s not. (hint: a business)
Govt is a service for public good.
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