We need a solution that works for everyone. We can't just ignore the needs of transit riders just like we can't ignore the needs of drivers or businesses.
By Martin Zarate
Published January 14, 2015
I've lived in Hamilton my entire life, and I can't remember a time I have been more excited about my city's future than the last few years. The city is quickly becoming bikeable, and the new transit plans can revolutionize how we get around and develop the core.
I'm envious of kids growing up in this city because they get to see a city on the rise instead of watching it slide downwards like I did. I've started biking (even in snow) and taking transit around town myself, something I haven't done since I was a teenager.
Of course, there has been disappointment. I think we all know the bus lane hasn't gone as well as it could have. It's shown some success, but the traffic downside is higher than anybody would have liked.
But why give up? Why did we wait a whole year before even discussing improvements? Why all the fear?
The sad part of the bus lane isn't that it didn't go well. It's that we reacted to things going badly with the discussion of "keep it or get rid of it" instead of "how do we fix it?"
It took a whole year and an election before the Mayor and city staff finally started having that conversation, and that's much too long. It hasn't just harmed the commuters and the businesses, it has also jeopardized transit improvements on the whole.
We need a solution that works for everyone. We can't ignore the needs of transit riders, just like we can't ignore the needs of drivers or businesses.
I know nobody likes to talk about the environmental side of this, but I have three young children. One day I hope to see grandchildren - even great-grandchildren.
And one day in the far future, those kids are going to ask us about climate change and fuel reserves and why we didn't do anything when we had the chance.
At the very least, I'd like to tell them that we tried.
This article is adapted from a letter to Council.
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