Comment 51010

By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted November 02, 2010 at 09:11:42

Interesting read, good ideas. (And I like the term "pathologically hopeful.") I've often championed the need for service expansion on the mountain and into the suburbs. Transit advocates tend to be relatively urban creatures, but it seems to me that the chicken-egg dilemma of support for transit is not likely going to be solved because of suburban petitions. While it's true that there's room for improvement in transit everywhere, it is also true that in Hamilton, the HSR's current reality possibly contributes to its limited success.

You describe a 41-minute bus ride to Ancaster as being relatively convenient. I suppose that is true if you compare it to an 80-minute Toronto commute, but not if you live off the 5C line (or have access to a car (15 min), at which point your total travel time might be equal to the route's half-hour scheduling). It's a forgiving yardstick, too: The Meadowlands is about 10km from Strathcona, while Union Station is around 60km distant – one would hope that you could get to Ancaster in half that time. Seasoned commuters, of course, don't need as much converting (though some look down their noses at bumpy, over-stuffed and decidedly un-plush city buses), but to someone who has spent most of their adult life going wherever they wish they wish whenever they wish, the circumscribed freedoms of public transit may only ever hold so much appeal.

The ideological plasticity of users might also be something of a geographically relative proposition. Have you ever wondered why last week's poll map of Toronto was the shape that it was?

In Hamilton's case, the connections are just as important, especially when it comes to fostering attitudinal change. Brenda Johnson's Ward 11 upset of Dave Mitchell was cause for elation, but the fact remains that she can either drive for half an hour to City Hall or drive five minutes to the start of an hour-long, two-bus commute.

The other upshot of "re-imagining suburbia" is that it has the effect of making peripheral places more well-rounded, more self-sufficient and arguably less connected to the old city. Go scout a model home in Glanbrook, for example, and think about the circumference of daily life for area homeowners, and the political priorities that accompany.

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